Mercury and Responsibility

Human Values and Astrology
Value: Dharma Sub-value: Responsibility
Planet (graha) Mercury (Budha)

Asya Budha kavacha stotra maha manthrasya
For the chant called Armour for Budha (Mercury)
Budha Preethyarthe Jape Viniyoga
This chant is being done to please God Budha.

Budhasthu pusthakadhara kumkumasya samadhyuthi,
Peethambardhara pathu, peethamalyanu lepana.

Let us be protected by Budha,
Who holds a book in his hand,
Who shines with Kumkuma, (saffron)
Who wears yellow silk,
And who wears yellow garland.

Katim cha pathu may soumya, siro desam budhasthadha,
Nethra jnanamaya pathu, srothre pathu nisa priya.

Let him who is peaceful protect my hip,
Let my head and surroundings be protected by Budha,
Let my eyes be protected by the one who is engulfed in knowledge,
Let my ears be protected by him who loves night.

Granam gandha priya pathu, jihwam vidhyapriyo mama,
Kantam pathu vidho, puthro bhujow pusthaka bhooshana.

Let my sense of smell be protected he who likes scents,
Let my tongue be protected by he who likes knowledge,
Let my neck be protected by the knowledgable one,
Let my arms be protected by he who is decorated by books.

Vaksha pathu varangascha, hrudhayam rohini sutha,
Nabhim pathu suraradhyo, madhyam pathu khageswara.

Let my breast be protected by the blessed one,
Let my heart be protected by son of Rohini,
Let my belly be protected by first among devas,
Let my middle be protected by God of the birds.

Januni rohinoyascha pathu jange akhila pradha,
Pathou may bhodhana pathu, Pathu sowmyam akhilo vapu.

Let my knee be protected by he who belongs to Rohini,
Let my calf be protected by he who knows everything,
Let my feet be protected by he who is the expert teacher,
And let all the rest of me be protected by he who is peaceful.

Yethadwi kavacham divyam, sarva papa pranasanam,
Sarva roga prasamanam, sarva dukha nivaranam.

This Armour which is holy,
Destroys all sins committed,
Cures all types of diseases,
And is the panacea for all sorrow.

Ayur aroghya subhadham, puthra pouthra prabhardhanam,
Ya padeth srunuyath vapi sarvathra vijayee bhaveth.

It blesses one with long healthy life,
Increases sons and grandsons,
And those who read or hear it,
Would be victorious everywhere.

Ithi Sri Brahma Vaivartha Purane Budha Kavacham Sampoornam

Thus ends the armour of Mercury which occurs in Brahma Vaivartha Purana.



The Planet Mercury is known in Vedic Astrology as Lord Budha, the awakened discriminating intellect and the part of us that knows. Mercury rules over two signs of the zodiac, Gemini and Virgo. While the Moon is the presiding deity of the human mind, Budha-Mercury is the intellect that discriminates between good and bad ideas. Mercury rules discrimination and vichara, deep enquiry. (For an idea about the depths of vichara, consider Sri Yoga Vasistha.)

Planet Mercury governs speech, communications, has a strong influence on short-distance travel, and the intellect – the faculty within which forms thought. In Sanskrit, the intellect is called buddhi.

Mercury represents intelligence, intellect, communication, analysis, the senses (especially the skin), science, mathematics, business, education and research. The written word and journeys of all types fall within his domain. He is generally associated with the brain, the nervous system, respiratory system, mental perception and the thyroid gland.

Mercury has the following associations: the colour green, the metal brass and gemstone emerald. The direction associated with Mercury is north, the season is autumn and the element is Earth.

Mercury takes on the nature of any planet it is conjunct with, so also, the nature of intellect is neutral and becomes whatever it is associated with. This is critical to understanding Mercury in practice.

Mercury is learned in behaviour. Mercury is a giver or indicator of intelligence, commerce, education, communication writing, books, humour, scholars, thieves and astrologers. Sage Parasara describes him; “Mercury is endowed with an attractive physique and the capacity to use words with many meanings. He is fond of jokes…”

Mercury is considered a benefic, unless he is joined with a malefic planet, in which case he becomes malefic also. Mercury rules over two houses, Gemini and Virgo. Mercury is friendly with the Sun and Venus, hostile to the Moon and neutral towards the other planets.


This colourful version of Mercury was assembled from spectral data taken with the MESSENGER spacecraft, highlighting various minerals on the planet’s surface. (Source: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington)

Human Values

Our values are our principles, our guides to action. Values are our internal codes of conduct, the principles upon which we run our lives and make our decisions. Our values are first given to us by our parents. These values develop, expand and are tested in experience. Other people impress their values upon us. We may take on the values of people we admire, such as our peers, our teachers, or elders in the Community. Our moral values are often sourced from our faith. The practice of human values also includes self-knowledge. This points to an important principle – that of self-inquiry. Up to 70% of our time should be spent in self-inquiry. Without knowing the self, one cannot reach the goal of life.

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 progress. In our observation, when we reverse the order of perception, we can often work out what values are active and driving a situation or an event or a reaction (our own)(someone else’s) when we analyse the motives of either ourselves or others. We keep in mind that behaviour reveals choices – and that choices are based on our values. Our values guide our actions.

Dharma is the eternal order, the basis of the Universe, for everything in the universe follows its proper dharma, its order, its righteousness, its right action. It is the dharma of an orange to taste as an orange and give Vitamin C; it is not the dharma of oranges to taste like watermelons and give so many seeds. It is the dharma of rain to fall on everything alike and to provide moisture and water for growth. It is the dharma or right conduct of birds to fly, to nest and feed their young. It is the dharma of fish to live in water and spawn its eggs in water; few (if any) fish can survive permanently on land. An individual’s dharma must be fulfilled by adherence to the duties and obligations relating to each person’s inherent nature, profession, status and stage of life as laid down by the ancient lawgivers. Dharma sustains the world. It is not only divinely ordained but part of divinity itself: ‘Dharayati iti dharma‘ – that which sustains is dharma.

Mercury and Human Values

In Vedic Astrology if we look to the energies that flow from the planet Mercury, we find communications, transmission of information, transactions between persons and entities, transfer of goods and services, exchange in the field of currency along with business and commerce, we encounter trade, commerce and management. Management, exchange, transmission in the fields of learning, business, commerce, communications, publications, media and social networking: all these are the transmissions of Mercury, traditionally known as the messenger of the Gods.

Mercury and Responsibility:

Responsibility has echoes of duty, obligation, task, role, burden, charge. We can have a responsibility, we can accept responsibilty for our actions, we can be responsible and in control of endeavour in the workplace. Tasks and leadership can bring with them considerable responsibility. There are so many dimensions of responsibility that need right order, right conduct, right thinking, right vision, right action as the foundation. Being responsible requires maturity, common sense, reliability, dependability, trust, stability, competence and conscientiousness. All these words are dimensions of right conduct, right action in human engagement with home, society, work and the nation.

In the fields of human endeavour that Mercury has traction, input has to be pure, information has to be timely, verifiable and reliable. Information has to come from the right source, and so-called paper trails and ‘breadcrumbs’ (following paths to information) available. What Mercury communicates must be on the basis of order, right order, the eternal order of the Universe: this is called dharma, right conduct, even swa-dharma, the right order and conduct followed that is proper to the body, the station in life, the society and the nation.

Mercury is the media promoter: Mercury writes the narrative, gives reports and announcements, takes up media production and publication, and engages in social media. Mercury has presence in sales, advertising, marketing, promotions, and if not founded on right order (dharma) then Mercury will deliver arguments and fraud. The material is neutral, Mercury is the messenger. What is the foundation of the material?

We examine the foundation: we look to how well the foundations of the material is built. Dharma demands this. If we are not following dharma in our lives – be it in the home, in the workplace, on the sports-field or in the stadiums, in the places of exchange and commerce, then we are not living with true humanness. Mercury is a bit of an odd planet: as we said earlier, Mercury takes on the nature of the planet it is associated with or the sign (rasi) lord. In which case, we need to always exercise clear discrimination about the material we put out into social media, publications, advertorials, promotions, and narratives of action. Input has to be pure. What if Mercury is conjunct a malefic planet? What happens to the information, to the narrative cycle then? If we follow dharma, if we are following right conduct, then we have nothing to fear and can rely on the voice of conscience within.

Relying on the voice of conscience within is true humanness.

When we engage action with responsibility, we follow dharma and give effect to true humanness. Mercury has truck with media, deliver-ability and responsibility for competence, trustworthiness of material, being the messenger, the presenter, the narrator, and the author. Where Mercury engages in the whirlpool of social media, responsibility is a sine-qua-non, that which we cannot do without. The life cycle of information in the social media cycle and build and destroy events, institutions, peoples within a day. Hence, Mercury as dispositor of narrative, information and material, will give effect to order in life when action is imbued with responsibility.


Mercury walks the halls of commerce with information;
Right conduct, dharma requires that information be delivered with responsibility

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