Mars is a planet and a planetary deity. Remedies for Mars may include mantras, asktakam, gayatri mantra, and other prayers, such as Ashtottara Shatanamavali - 108 names. One of the 108 Names of Mars is Om sharanagata poshanaya namaha. We surrender to and seek the protection, the fostering of Mars. What protection does Mars offer, and why would one seek that protection and surrender?
The planets are non-luminaries that reflect the light and magnetic energy of the Sun. The planets serve to help us fulfil our soul blueprint. They also serve to deliver samskaras and vasanas, our past karmas and our unfulfilled wishes. Rebirth is caused by karma and unfulfilled wishes, and the birth chart more often, is a map of the soul blueprint and the journey of the soul this lifetime.
There are many names for the planet Mars including Angaraka (the radiant one) and Mangala (the giver of good fortune and auspiciousness). More well known is the name Kuja, he who is born (the 'ja' of 'ku') of the Earth. This is a common name of Mars who is regarded as Son of the Earth in Vedic lore. As Son of the Earth, Mars is also known as Bhumija and Bhauma. Kuja represents the life-force at work in the field (kshetra) of the Earth, from the fire at the magnetic core of the Earth, to the fire of the volcano, to the inner fire within plants, animals and the human will.
As the fire hidden in matter, Mars grants us the energy to accomplish our works on the physical dimension. For this reason, the Earth-Mother or Bhumi Devi (var. Bhoomi Devi) is the over-ruling deity of Mars. As Mars functions in the kshetra (the field of activity) the over-rulership of Mars may be ascribed to Kshetrapathi, Lord of the Field, a form of Vishnu and Rama. All this talk about the field is significant, for we take our cue from the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, which begins Dharmakshetre Kurukshetre - in rough translation - the field of Dharma, righteousness, is the field of the human body. As Lord of the Field and Son of the Earth Mother, Mars - Kuja is all-important where human action is concerned.
In addition, Mars is related to Hanuman, the varnara, the servant of the Lord Kosala, Sri Ramachandra, and head of the Divine Army of Lord Rama. Hanuman is generally worshipped on Tuesdays, the day of Mars.
Devotion to Mars
Among the Planets Mars is in the role of commander. Mars is the protector. Mars represents human characteristics which are controlled or formed by fiery elements or emotions e.g. courage, strength, bravery, victory, will power, firmness, impulsiveness, sexual desire, passion, determination, etc. But these are characteristics of a benefic Mars. In malefic condition, Mars becomes negative and makes people suffer, take up their ego and negative emotions and cause suffering, pain and loss to others.
A higher Mars type exists; This is the highly perceptive and self-disciplined yogi, the spiritual warrior who applies discrimination and detachment to all actions. These higher Mars types may take up and practice tapasya (penance) to a high degree and exhibit austerities. They know how to control their minds and direct their will towards transformation and the pursuit of moksha, liberation.
A Higher Mars type can produce very high tolerance of austerities
A person may have devotion to Mars for many reasons – for health reasons (Mars in the 6th house causes illness and and aspects the body as a whole through the ascendant); for physical strength, strong energy, leadership skills, and for resolution of kuja dosha, impedimenta to marriage. One may also wear red clothing, or wear red coloured gems such as red coral, carnelian or red jasper to ward off indicated afflictions of Mars.
One of the 108 Names of Mars is Om sharanagata poshanaya namaha. We surrender to and seek the protection, the fostering of Mars. Sharanagatha (sharana+āgata) is a Sanskrit adjective, come for protection, seeking protection and refuge m. one who has come seeking refuge and protection; one who has taken refuge in the Lord, a fugitive from life who has offered himself in self-surrender. It is also the state of a suppliant for protection; supplication for protection. One goes to the deity for fostering, nurturing (poshanaya), maintaining, bringing up, encouraging, guarding, and seeking shelter, preservation from harm. Om sharanagata poshanaya namaha is a prayer to Mars to come under the protection of Mars and to ward off afflictions; seeking benign benefice from Mars.
The protection of Mars gives confidence and courage, the willpower to carry out actions (Mars is the hidden fire in action in the field or kshetra place where action occurs) to successful conclusion. Mars as negative pita dosha can influence emotions and anger, wrath, rage and hamper discrimination and detachment. Action has to be undertaken for the sake of action (something Mars is very, very good at), not for the outcomes of action. The protection of Mars can enable one to undertake selfless action, nishkama karma, action sans desire for the outcome of actions. Thus does Mars perform his duty as graha, seizing, grasping, and where protection is beseeched, put the person on the path of the purusharthas, the four goals of life: wealth, needs satisfied, undertaking righteous action and liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. The protection of Mars may be taken up for fulfilment of the soul-blueprint and spiritual benefit.
A knife in the hands of a murderer is fraught with danger to all; a knife in the hands of a surgeon confers freedom from pain, though in both cases, there is a hand that holds the knife. So too, the acts of those whose self is centred in the body are to be condemned; those of people whose self is centred in the Atma or Inner Reality are highly beneficent and praiseworthy.
King Parikshit is in discussion with Sage Vyasa; Vyasa recites the assurance Krishna gave to his grandfathers:
Be devoted to Me and receive power from Me. To the extent to which you enthusiastically intensify and quicken up this process of give and take, to that extent you will be successful and happy. Deliver all your anxieties, troubles, travails and desires to Me and in return receive joy, peace and strength of mind from Me. During this Advent, only spiritual aspirants and righteous persons are relatives, friends and recipients of My Grace.
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