As the nine nights represent the nine planets, we will be focussing on Navaratri and the nine planets with an account of one or another the planets for nine nights. For the eighth night of Navaratri, we will take the planet Rahu. The colour for the Eighth day of Navaratri (Ashtami) is purple, so we scribe in PURPLE for this eighth day observance of Navaratri. The Goddess is Mahagauri.
Today is the eighth day (Ashtami) of the Navaratri celebrations which are held for nine nights. All festivals are meant to remind mankind that they should cultivate noble qualities by engaging themselves in activities beneficial to one’s own self and society. Sai Baba made this reference to Navaratri and the Nine Planets:
As part of Navaratri celebrations, people worship different forms of divinity. You should develop sacred feelings and experience divinity. What is the inner meaning of Navaratri celebrations? These nine nights represent nine planets. Each planet has its own significance. However, these planets are not outside, they are within. If your feelings are impure and unsacred, the result also will be the same. You are responsible for the good and bad you think and experience.
Rahu is a shadow planet that interrupts the delivery of light to and from the mind, the body, the spirit – as shadows block luminosity, light. The Moon (presiding deity of the mind) is one of the two natural luminaries, the other being the Sun. In Vedic myth, Rahu was formed when the cunning demon Swarbhanu attempted to obtain the nectar of immortality and was beheaded for his efforts. The head is called Rahu, the headless body is called Ketu. The head is forever seeking, desiring wholeness and this explains to us how Rahu is significator of desire, and fraud; Rahu fraudulently sat among the gods to receive the nectar and his deception was exposed by Sun and Moon. Hence the eternal animosity of Rahu to Sun (causes eclipses) and Moon (bedims Moon).
At a glance, Rahu is called the North Node, is exalted in Taurus, debilitated in Scorpio, co-lord of Aquarius (with Saturn) and has digbala (directional strength) in the 10th house. Rahu magnifies the effect of its Lord, and that of any planet it is conjunct. Rahu is of vata (airy) nature and rules the astral and possessions. Medically, Rahu is giver of incurable chronic diseases, snake bite, difficulties in breathing, chronic illness and mental illness.
Rahu signifies worldly desires, foreign lands, use of drugs and alcohol, separation, harsh and grating speech, insanity, fear and adversity, and the status of Rahu is out-caste. Rahu is said to be self-seeking, a deceiver, manipulator, ambitious and generally dissatisfied with life. There is always more, and Rahu, chalakaraka, (giver of fraud) will obtain more by any means possible. Rahu is always dissatisfied and seeks validation, higher status and office. Rahu – by fair or foul means – will take possession of any instrument that will empower the ego. Position, pride, greatness. In these affairs, Rahu cannot control himself. With Rahu, Station in life is nearly always improperly obtained and cannot be sustained as fraud is usually exposed soon after.
We began saying Rahu signifies desires. In fact, due seeking of desires, Rahu is the one planet that is said to cause reincarnation, which happens when desires remain unfulfilled. Desires are due discontent, seduction (of the mind) and mental delusion. There are the haves and have-nots in this world, and Rahu – who wants what he sees – goes around the rules, disregards boundaries and is always hungry for more. Rahu always surges with desire for the next thing, unhappy with anything that has been obtained. Think of cars on the highways and byways that have to overtake you and are disconsolate to stay on the speed limit and follow the laws of the road – unhappy at any speed – and you get an idea of Rahu.
The name Mahagauri means extremely white, as she was white in colour and very beautiful (Mahā=great; Gaurī=white). Mahagauri is usually depicted with four hands, the hands holding a trident, lotus and drum, while the fourth is in a blessing gesture. The lotus is sometimes replaced with a rosary. She rides a white bull, usually shown wearing white clothes.
It is believed that the 16 year old unmarried Goddess Parvati wanted to marry Lord Shiva and, as such, did rigorous penance (tapasya) for a very long time to please him. Because of this, she ended up facing a lot of hardships and her complexion turned dark with dust, heat and starvation. Lord Shiva, however, was pleased with her penance and agreed to marry her. Using the Ganges water flowing out of his matted hair, he washed her clean. Consequently, her white clothes and fair complexion started glowing radiantly again. Since then, she is known as Mahagauri.
Mother Gauri is Devi, Shakti or the Mother Goddess, who appears in many forms, such as Durga, Parvati, Kali and others. She is auspicious, brilliant and protects the good people while punishing those who perform evil deeds. Mother Gauri enlightens the spiritual seeker and removes the fear of rebirth by granting salvation.
Significance of Navaratri
“Men are prone to exhibit rajasic (active, excitable) qualities like anger and hatred. They are menacing manifestations of Durga. The extolling of the Divine in song and poetry and the pleasing vibrations produced by them indicate the power of Saraswati. The pure qualities that arise in man such as compassion, love, forbearance and sympathy are derived from Lakshmi. When people worship Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati externally in pictures or icons, they are giving physical forms to the subtle potencies that are within them. The unfortunate predicament of man today is that he is not recognising the powers within him and developing respect for them. He goes after the external, attracted by the physical forms. The relationship between the material and the subtle has to be understood.” Sai Baba, SS, 11/94, p. 284
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