This is the 8th day of the Navaratri celebrations – and the festival rapidly draws to its magnificent conclusion. As Sai Baba has told that the nine nights of Navaratri refer to the nine planets – which includes the two shadow planets Rahu and Ketu (their symbols are here on in this image) on this 8th day. 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.
Speaking about the nine planets, Sai Baba of Puttaparthy went on to say that each planet has its own significance. However, these planets are not outside, they are within. This refers to the cosmic energies of the planets within, and pursuit of the spiritual path would have regard for the influences upon us from birth. Taking up the opportunity presented by Navaratri we look to the influence of the two nodes – Rahu and Ketu – and their inner activity and also examine how the Divine Mother is related to these energies, in the form of Maa Durga. The colour for the 8th day of Navaratri is PURPLE so we scribe in Purple for this 8th day of Navaratri.
Rahu and Ketu are not visible planets; they are called shadowy planets for they are not visible to any eyes. These planets have specific roles in the life of every human: the functions of karma (action) in human life. (Karma means action.) No human can be actionless; once birth occurs, the heart is beating, the lungs draw breath and the body begins to grow, thriving on the life force within. Surrounding that life force, the soul, are the chains of karma which have to be experienced in the life taken up. This is not a phenomena to be feared, for all actions are just that; actions. We are all embodiments of Divine Love, and it is this love that we seek in our every act. Maa Durga is the life force within us which drives us to seek this Divine Love.
Ketu is the repository of karmic force. As Ketu is a non-luminous planet, this force within the human is unknown and is not visible to light. It is a force of transformation which surges during eclipses, periods of darkness without when the light itself is dimmed or totally blocked out. It is at this time of darkness that the force of Ketu arises within and casts its seeds of transformation on the ego, bringing forth new awareness of consciousness within.
Rahu is also karmic force, a force which forever seeks wholeness, completeness, Oneness with its other self; therein lies the drive in the outer world, the spending of energy, the quest for complete satisfaction and achievement of the goal pursued. Just as a bird, flying across the ocean ever seeks the masts of a ship to land and rest for one or another moment, so too, humans driven by this karmic force toward action in the outer world seek rest and completion from the continual search for the goal of achievement and satisfaction.
Like Ketu, Rahu is a non-luminous planet, this force within the human is unknown and is not visible to light. Like Ketu, this force surges during eclipses, periods of darkness outside when the light itself is dimmed or totally blocked out. At these times of outer darkness, Rahu within – as magnetic force – drives the person to new spheres of activity and pursuit.
Karma simply means action. Just as a baby and a child seek to hold everything in its grasp, so too, humans seek to attain their desires through taking action. No one is without action. It is how we respond to action and how we cope with the events the karmic forces within bring to us (all desires are force sent forth which come back fulfilled; all action produces a reaction) is the mark and the character of the man or woman we are. If we first build character, integrity of thoughts, words and actions, then we will have an inner bank of character to draw upon when the karmic forces present us with the fruits of our actions.
Rahu and Ketu are also spiritual forces: the true mark of the spiritual seeker is to observe their experience, and reflect upon that experience and evaluate what brings calmness, peace and repose, and what does not bring these qualities. The world simply reflects the seer; as the feeling, so is the result. If we build our character, our stability, our resources within, then when the karmic forces return to us, we may call upon our character bank and make the withdrawal from this bank which brings steadiness and calmness within.
Rahu and Ketu, two halves of the one (Swabharnu) who sought the nectar of immortality and was denied the full consummation of the sip of this nectar, is forever seeking this experience of immortality. Ketu has the experience and retreats within; Rahu has the experience and forges outward in a perpetual search for immortality and satisfaction. Rahu and Ketu have experience this divine wholeness, Oneness with the Source of All Creation; it is their task, in their separated states and forces, to take you on the journey of return to Source.
Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati are symbols of divine potencies existing within the gross, material and causal bodies of human beings. Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswathi pervade the Universe and are derived from the primoridal energy, Adi Shakti. All men and women are composed of divine energy within; in their every aspect, all men and women are the divine. It behooves humanity to know and understand this (under+stand: to stand under something and allow it to shed its light upon you… ).
Ayudha Puja is performed on this day. In its modern form people worship their vehicles including cars, scooters, and motor bikes. During this Puja all sort of vehicles, which are in use, are decorated with vermilion, garlands, mango leaves and banana sapling and offerings are made. One may make offering and obtain removal of evils and purification of the vehicle by smashing a coconut before the vehicle. Coconut water is the purest water of nature. A lime is suspended from the front of the vehicle for protection.
Rahu Ketu Nagaraja idols being prepared for puja
What is the role of the Rahu and Ketu in the 4th and 5th Dimensions? The two nodes bring forth energies from within the human person which have to be known and experienced, integrated and managed. All life is management of the mind and its outward going desires. It is often said, “Master the mind, and be a mastermind!” Rahu and Ketu are points of transformation within where new energies are brought forward into the light and integrated within the human person. Undisciplined as the energies of the 4th and 5th Dimensions may seem, if we take karmic forces which Rahu and Ketu provide us with, we may then draw our character bank to deal with these new energies with calm, peace and inner repose.