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NavaGrahaKshetras

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Thu Nov 18 1999 - 12:49:39 PST

Dear Friends : Although Sri VaishNavAs do not
worship Nava Grahams , there are a wide variety
of people who seek relief for inauspiciousness caused 
by one or more of this grahams .There are Veda manthrAs 
for each of the planets at the end of Surya NamaskAra
manthrams of TaitthirIya AraNyakam . 

Dr.Parthasarathy of Coimbatore , whose posting on 
DipAvaLi we enjoyed earlier has assembled  very interesting 
information on the location of the famous temples in ChOLa desam  , 
where each of the Nava Grahams has a special koil . 

I will add some comments for perspective on 
Navagraha worship at temples and at home , whether
one practises or not .

**Sri Mutthuswamy Dikshithar has composed his brilliant
set of nine krithis devoted to each of the nine Grahams .
He composed them to help one of his dear disciples
subjected to a graha dhOsham .These are musical gems
housing the manthrams of the individual nava grahams .
 
**Saint ThyagarAja has commented about the futility
of worshipping Nava Grahams , while the mighty RaamachandrA
is there to help us in every way .This song is set 
in Raagam  Revagupthi  :

Pallavi : Graha BalamEmi Sri RaamANUGRAHA  BalamE Balamu

Anupallavi: GrahabalamEmi tEjOmaya Vigrahamanu
            dhyAninchu Vaariki Nava graha BalamEmi ?

CharaNam :   Graha Peedala PanchapaapamulanA grahamulu gala
             KaamAdhiripula nigrahamu jEyu Harini Bhajimchu
             ThyagarAjuniki RasikAgrEsarulaku ( Graha BalamEmi)

Meaning : "Of What avail is the strength of the planets ?
The real strength is that of  RAAMA'S BLESSINGS . What can
the strength of planets do to one , who meditates upon 
the effulgent form of the Lord , and to the men of
discernment like ThyagarAjA , who are steeped in devotion
to Hari , whose power destroys the virulent inner enemies
like KaamA , the five great sins and the evil effects of 
the nine planets .

In a NaadhavarAngiNi raaga Krithi , Saint ThyagarAjA 
talks further about the boons of Siddhis obtained by homams
done to please the planets et al to secure  some
auspiciousness and rejects them too . There he says
movingly :

Oh RaamachandrA ! Dispeller of the sins of 
SaraNAgathAs ! People go after siddhis thinking
that it may help them to gain salvation , but
in the ultimate analysis , they find those siddhis 
are obstructive to Moksham and finally realize that 
they are deluded in going after these anithya siddhis.
Oh My dear One ! Oh Daasarathi ! Pray have mercy on me
and save me from any thoughts other than Your lotus feet ! 

Navagraha worship is however a tradition among many .
Saint ThyagarAjA was an authority in JyOthisham and 
independent of that he recognized that Sri Raamachandran 
is his sole refuge . 

I am attaching this article from a historical
point of view of temple culture .We have always to remember
that the Sthala PurANams have to be taken with a pinch of 
salt . Any references there that one God worshipped the other
to gain  some relief or other has to be taken at the surface level.
Sthala PurANams have a tendency to glorify the local God 
or Goddess at the expense of others. Please keep this in mind,
when you browse this article.

V.Sadagopan    
 
       ARSHAM 033--TEMPLE WORSHIP.  NAVAGRAHA KSHETHRAS
                                --------------------------
------------------
The planetary deities are perceived to play a significant role in an
individual's life. Jyothisham (astrology)connects the events in life 
to the planetary movements.

Hence the nine important planets are worshipped and have temples or
occupy an important place in some temples.

SUN :Governs confidence,authority and status.
MOON:Presiding deity of mind and emotions.
Kuja or Mangala or Angaraka : Governs courage and bravery and presides
over health and siblings.
Budha: Mercury .Presides over intelligence and capacities of teaching.
Guru : Presiding deity of religious inclination and prosperity and
married life of women.
Sukra: Venus.Presides over comforts,arts,culture,asthetics and love.
Sani : Presiding deity of longivity,calamities and difficulties apart
from spiritual wisdom.
Rahu and Kethu : Presiding deities of worldy desires and moksha
(freedom).

Now let us see some temples connected with these Navagrahas.
These are all situated in Tanjore district of Tamilnadu on 
the banks of river Cauvery.

SURYANARKOIL(15 km from Kumbakonam). Sun God.Lord Siva is worshipped as
Suryanarayana by Brahaspathy.

THINGALORE : (3 KM FROM THIRUVAIYARU): The planet Chandra worshipped
Lord Kailasanatha here. In the months of Purattasi (Sep-Oct) and Panguni
(March-April), Moon's rays fall on the Lingamam. Saivite saint Appar
revived saint Appoothi Adigal's son, who died of snake bite, by singing
in praise of the Lord here.

VAITHEESWARANKOIL(6 Km from Sirkali): The presiding deity, Sri
Vaidyanathaswamy, is hailed as the healer of all ills. The Lord came
here as a Vaidya(doctor) and cured Angaraka(mars) of leprosy Among the
Navagrahas,Angaraha is worshipped here with great reverence. Hence this
shrine is also known as Angaraka Kshetra.

THIRUVEKADU: (10 km from Vaitheeswarankoil).The Siva shrine here is
dedicated to Sri Swetaranyeswara. The Goddess is Brahma
Vidyambika.Legends glorify this place as Swetaranyam, 
Adi Chidambaram and Nava Nritta Sthala.Bhudha, the bestower of 
knowledge; has a separate shrine. Wednesdays are
auspicious days of worship.The image of Lord Siva has 
five faces - Easanam, Tatpurusham, Aghoram,
Vamadeuam and Satyojatam. The Lord assumed the form of Aghoramurti, the
furious aspect of God, to vanquish demon Maruthwasura. The Lord also
saved a devotee named Swetaketu from the clutches of Yama. For the sake
of this devotee, Siva danced all His seven Thandavams - Anand, Sandhya,
Samharam, Tripuranda, Urdhva, Bhujanga and Lalitha.

ALANGUDI(6 km from Needamangalam): The presiding deity here is Sri
Aabathsagayeswara or Aranyeswara, a Swayambu Lingam, and the Goddess is
Umai Ammai. There is a separate sanctum for the special deity Sri
Dakshinamurthi. Being a GURU KSHETRA ,Thursdays attract a 
large number of pilgrims and special poojas are performed.

KANCHANUR (3 km from Suryanarkoil): Lord Vishnu worshipped Agniswara,
the presiding deity here, to rid Himself of SHUKRA DOSHA. The divine
consort is Karpagambal. Fridays are very auspicious, and devotees offer
white flowers to the Lord.

THIRUNALLAR:(5 km from karaikal); The Siva temple is dedicated to Sri
Dharbaranyeswara. King Nala attained emancipation here from the
hardships and miseries to which he was subjected by SANI.
Enshrined within the temple is SANISWARA.The devout believe that they
would get rid of their curses and spells of bad luck if they pray in
this temple. Pilgrims take a dip in the Nala Theertaham and offer
worhship at the temple. The worship here includes lighting holy lamps
with til (gingelly) seeds and oil. After prayers, balls of cooked rice
are offered to the Crow, the mount of Saniswara.
The festival Sani Peyarchi, which occurs once in two and a half years,
attracts thousands of pilgrims. On this day, Saturn moves from one Rasi
to another.

THIRUNAGESWARAM:(5 km from Kumbakonam) The Siva shrine is dedicated to
Sri Naganathaswamy.RAHU worshipped Lord Siva here on Sivarathri day to
redeem himself from some curse.Sundays are important and milk offered
here turns blue.This Siva KshEthram is one KM from 
the divya desam of Oppilaippan Koil .

KIZHAPERUPALLAM (near Tharangampadi)Planet Kethu considered as the
bestower of knowledge is worshipped in a separate shrine here.vasuki the
king of serpants worshipped siva here.

I have briefly discussed above the nineplanets there shrines and their
significance.

Dr.V.Parthasarathy of Coimbatore .