Truth, Self Awareness and Rahu

Human Values and Astrology
Value:Truth; Sub-value: Self-Awareness
Planet (graha) Rahu - North Node

Rahu - Dragon's Head and North Node of Moon

Om nakadwajaaya vidmahe
padma hastaaya dheemahi
tanno rahu prachodayat

Understanding Rahu as a Planet

The North Node is known in Vedic Astrology as Rahu, and is considered a shadow planet, symbolised by a head. In the myth of the churning of the ocean of milk, the demon Swarbhanu stole a taste of the nectar of immortality and was decapitated by Lord Vishnu. Rahu is not actually a planet, rather a shadow planet, chhaya graha, the cause of eclipses of the Sun and Moon. Where Rahu eclipses the Sun and Moon, there is a similar eclipse of the light within the mind.

Arthava Veda gives the following mantra

May we get welfare from the planets and Moon. May we get welfare from the Sun as well as Rahu

The prayer is to five planets, Sun, Moon and Rahu. This is a clear indication from the words. Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn are planets; the Sun is a star, the Moon is a satellite of the Earth. Rahu is different from the planets as a chhaya graha (shadowy planet) and has been named separately. So we understand that Rahu is considered among the planets and may afford welfare and protection. What welfare can Rahu offer us and how do we utilise human values to take up and benefit from what Rahu offers?

Human Values

Our values are our principles, our guides to action. Values are our codes of internal conduct, the principles upon which we conduct our lives and make our decisions. Our values are first given to us by our parents, and these are developed, expanded and tested in experience. Reflection on experience helps to understand and evaluate our behaviour and that which motivates our behaviour. Other people impress values upon us, such as those values given to us by our friends, our teachers, the wider community. Our moral values are often sourced from our faith systems. It is from all these sources and guides, exemplars and teachers in our life that we select the principles which guide our lives and our behaviours. The strongest impression of values upon us is the example set by another person.

Our values often include universal principles such as truthfulness, peace, love, right conduct and non-violence. These principles are often essential for our personal and social survival. Putting things back to front, we can often work out what values are present in a situation or an event or a reaction (our own) (someone else's) when we analyse either ourselves or others, for behaviour reveals choices, and choices are based on our values.

Role of Rahu and the Universe within, without ...

In Vedic Astrology, Rahu signifies dispersion and new beginnings. Dispersion is detachment from that which comes and goes, the ephemeral world of existence, perceived by the five senses. New beginnings come with every breath, for the breath of the human chants So-hum; I am He, that which is the formless cause, preserver and sustainer, and the receiver of all things, very Parabrahmam itself (God, Divinity, the being of the Universe itself). The basis of the Universe is Truth (sathya), upon which rest the other values, Right Conduct (dharma), Love (prema), Peace (shanti) and Non-violence (ahimsa). Truth exists within the human person.

Iti drishti iti, the seen reflects the seer. All that is within the seer is seen without. What then of the Seer? Is the person who perceives simply the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell? What, within the human person, is beyond the five senses processing all that experience? How does the human person become aware and process what is seen without and manage internally? What is the impact on the mind and the role of the eclipse-causing (shadowy) planet, Rahu? How do we take up truth -- on which this ephemeral world is based, and discover that truth is in fact within ourselves? What is our self-awareness and its relation to Truth?

Rahu and Self Awareness

Astrology gives account of the balances and tensions between the solar and lunar energies within; the solar being the light force within, the atmajyothi, and the lunar energies being the disposition of light within the mind itself. As Rahu causes eclipses it can be said to dim the light within during eclipses. This has an effect on the conscious and unconscious contents of the mind. Rahu may - during the eclipes, bring new material forth into self awareness.

Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment. Self Awareness is achieved through self-inquiry, self-reflection, and self-monitoring.

Truth and Self Awareness

If we consider the composition of Truth, it is found that truthfulness, creativity, honesty, determination, fairness, trust and reflection are all components of this human value.

In every value, and in every component (or sub value), we find that there is a limit. The idea of limit is based on discipline, for in everything in creation, there are limits which we should not go beyond.

Truth is the foundation of the intellectual domain of the human personality. Self Awareness and self knowledge are activities which exercise the intellect (buddhi) and expand its role in guiding our lives. The intellect is not the mind, it is a formative faculty within which sends wisdom to the mind. Development of intellect comes via the exercise of self-awareness. As we exercise our physical muscles, strength is achieved; exercise of our interior muscles - the jnanendriyas (interior instruments of wisdom) builds a strong intellect which gives guidance to the mind.

The mind is nearly always focussed on the outer, ephemeral world of the senses, grasping all that it desires which expands its possessions, its inner control, and gives it permanence. This is activity of the ego, the ahamkara within, with its tyranny of I, Me, Mine. All action is karma; all action produces a reaction, whether desired or not. The real task of the human is to go beyond the senses, the mind, the grasping of the ego and to engage in mind-management, acquire mastery of the mind and utilise the intellect. This is done through self-awareness.

What is Self Awareness?

As mentioned earlier on this page, Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self Awareness allows you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your responses to them in the moment. Self-awareness is achieved through self-inquiry, self-reflection, and self-monitoring.

What does Self Awareness look like?

Self awareness is examination of your own beliefs and motivations. (Beliefs influence attitudes and create needs, which may be quite different from wants and desires. Certain basic needs are necessary for our station in life.) Self Awareness is undertaking self inquiry and monitoring self-talk of the mind. (Self-talk may be the reactions of ego, create a false reality, false judgements and further reactions; hence, self-talk must be monitored.) Self awareness is constant integrated awareness of self and the world, self and others. It is harmony of thoughts, words and actions. It is the capacity to accurately evaluate your own performance and behaviour, and to respond appropriately to different social situations.

What does Self Awareness do for me and others?

Self awareness leads to self-acceptance. Self awareness enables management of emotions, and to choose appropriate responses to different social situations. So self awareness is also a form of social capital. Self awareness enables one to understand themselves and the reason for their existence. Self awareness builds confidence, honesty with self and others, and makes one feel genuine as a person. We are aware of ourselves as an individual with existence in the real world and we know where we are going in journey of life. Hence, self awareness builds spiritual awareness.

Self awareness builds self-respect and self-confidence. Among friends and acquaintances, it elicits admiration; people are inspired by your energy and demeanour, have confidence in you and are motivated to undertake their own self awareness. Self awareness builds strong relations with others and they witness frank and confident interactions with you.

Obstacles to Self Awareness:

The primary obstacle to Self Awareness is keeping the focus in the right place. The outward going mind, driven by ego, habitually reacts and responds to what is happening externally, what is perceived as threat or hurt to the ego-self. Self-awareness needs to be continually monitored and practised in order to keep the focus and respond appropriately to situations, threats and the unexpected.

Another obstacle to Self Awareness is fear. Fear of what may be discovered within is not to one's liking; there will always be one or another aspect to our personality that does not meet our expectations. Fear is False Expectations Appearing Real. Fear halts self-esteem, self-respect, self-confidence.

A third obstacle to Self Awareness is lack of feedback which enables self-awareness. A person may overestimate or understimate the need for Self-awareness, for example, thinking "I am perfect, I don't need to examine myself, I never make mistakes", and similar ideas about who and what we are now, today. Honest feedback from trusted friends and others enables a proper evaluation of what kind of self monitoring is needed, and where that is needed. A similar obstacle is ignorance (unaware that one needs to examine one's actions, thoughts etc.).

What Self Awareness is Not:

Self awareness is not ignorance. If something is outside of the person's depth of knowledge and experience, then this is not self-awareness. Self-awareness is not being insensitive to your own needs and the needs of others. Self-awareness has healthy boundaries. These healthy boundaries enable taking time and space to care for yourself and your needs appropriately.

Self awareness is not thoughtlessness nor being unmindful, forgetful, careless or inconsiderate of yourself or others. Self-awareness is always awareness of the situation, surrounds and the demands of the moment. Self awareness may be the witness and respond with silence, but it is never thoughtless. The other side of the coin of Self awareness is that it is not impulsive action, nor reaction. Self awareness is an inner space within, which takes time, does not haste, waste nor worry, calmly examines the situation and responds as the situation requires, and refrains from simply reacting to a situation. Self-awareness is not bound by the expectations of others to take action. For example, peer-group pressure does not bind your self-awareness.

Self-awareness is not being self-destructive. Self destructiveness is lessening and reduction of self-worth. Self destructiveness is contraction of love for self and others, needless self-abnegation and self-abasement which is not self-control, nor is it penance or discipline of any kind. Self-destructiveness discards the greater space within leaving that to be fully taken by ego and ahamkara, the tyranny of I-Me-Mine. Self-destructiveness is also contraction of the mind from the demands of the environment, social mileau and the love of others and loving God.

We are not practising Self Awareness when Self-Awareness results in self-indulgence or self absorption. We are not practising Self Awareness when we are being extremely critical of ourselves to the point of becoming negative about yourself. We do not practice Self Awareness when there is lack of understanding of self (i.e., the ability to distinguish from selfishness and unselfishness). Difficulty with control of thoughts is not Self Awareness and is rectified by meditation.

Rahu and Self-Awareness

Rahu is born of the myth of the demon Swarbhanu; Swarbhanu was not deceived by the enchantress Mohini. So we may understand that perception is one of the strengths of Rahu, who cannot be deceived. Self Awareness gives a clear perception of things as they really are. Self Awareness is creation of an inner space for the intellect to function and guide the mind, based on Truth. Repetition of the exercise of self awareness grants strength and reliability of the intellect, creating a "character bank", a bank on which we may make withdrawals to support ourselves in times of mental weakness, challenges, stress and lessening of light within.

Rahu has this clarity of perception; self awareness is fruit of true learning, true vidya, imbued with the spirit of sacrifice, renunciation. Clear perception is the fruit of a clarified intellect. The prayer Asatoma illustrates to the role of Rahu in self-awareness:

From the Unreal, lead me to the Real;
From Darkness, lead me to Light;
From Death, lead me to Immortality;

Only one who has tasted the nectar of immortality can take you to immortality. Sathya Sai Baba tells, "Work is Worship, Duty is God". All the planets are amsa (part of, embodiments of) the Kalapurusha, the body of the Divine in Time. Thus does Rahu do this duty and lead self awareness and onto Immortality.


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