Yoga of the Planets: Rahu

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Extract from Yoga of the Planets - Rahu

ॐ राहवे नमः

om rāhave namaḥ

1. Salutations to the one who hides the Sun.

Rāhu and Ketu are the eclipse points, where the orbit of the Moon crosses the path of the Sun. Everything about them is rooted in humanity’s experience of these great phenomena. Awe and fear. Shock and surprise. This is the glory of the nodes of the Moon.

Hu hides Ra, the creative vibration. Ra is the giver, the one who bestows life. Hu is to eat but also to offer or present to the sacrificial fire, Ra. The life force is offered back to Agni, the fire of consciousness. This is how it appears hidden but is in fact deepening. This is why Jupiter’s planetary cycle (Dashā) follows Rāhu’s.

The mirage-chasing of Rāhu, where we seem to forget who we really are, truly serves as a sacrificial offering of our individual creativity. This is first magnified in Rāhu’s period, as the fire glows when ghee is offered into it. Then it appears to dissolve as it merges with the universal creativity or the essence of truth and becomes Jupiter’s divine wisdom. This is a great blessing rooted in Rāhu’s energy.

As we proceed through the mantras or names of Rāhu, we will see that some have obviously uplifting meanings while others appear quite dark. Like the name Rāhu itself, there are two sides of the same coin. Rāhu plays devil’s advocate but is also a critical component of creation and spiritual awakening. That is why fear, Rāhu’s most obvious signification, is a paper tiger. It is there to divert us from the path but it has no power to do so unless we take it at its face value.

When we come across a darker meaning, let us try to fathom its revelatory side. For example, Rāhu can be like a storm but storms blow away much that needs to go and after it passes, the air is fresh.


ॐ सैंहिकेयाय नमः

om saiṁhikeyāya namaḥ

2. The son of Simhikā.

Simhikā was a demonness. Rāhu is born from the semen of a great Brāhmin saint and the womb of a demon. Thus, he is both divine and demonic in his action.

Simhī means a lioness. The lion symbolizes rulership, which is the power that controls life and death. The Sanskrit word for lion or Leo is Simha. It is derived from the word Himsa, injury and violence, by a reversal that gives it the power to protects its pride (family and people).

The Goddess Durgā rides on a lion and is worshipped to control the negative effects of Rāhu. Leo is said to be where the Moon was placed when Rāhu was born making this his birth sign (Rāhu 68). In India, your birth sign or Janma Rāshi is the zodiacal sign in which the Moon is placed at birth. Similarly, the Janma Nakshatra is the star group in which the Moon was placed at birth.

The Janma Nakshatra can determine the name one is given, at least the first syllable, and is mentioned whenever one performs any special rites. One’s day-to-day destiny is based on this amongst other things. For example, certain stars counted from one’s birth star are considered auspicious while others are difficult. In Jyotisha, this theory is known as Tāra Bala or the strength due to the stars. This is discussed in depth in the Chapter on Secrets of the Vimshottari Dashā in the printed version of this book.

Leo is the place of the king. Rāhu is the great manipulator and represents the leading politicians like the cabinet of the king. Rāhu rules over brilliant strategies, scheming and all the abuses of power. Leo is also fourth (the house of the mother) from Taurus where Rāhu is at a high point as the accumulator and manipulator of wealth. Like all the Grahas, Rāhu has a sign in which its archetype shines brightest termed the place of exaltation. For many scholars, this is Taurus. Others say that it is powerful in Taurus but gives its peak effect for most worldly affairs in Gemini. Taurus is the place of wealth, while Gemini is the place of academic debate. Rāhu love debates as he always has a counter argument.

 The other two angles or Kendras from Taurus and Leo are the signs Scorpio and Aquarius which are the signs owned by Ketu and Rāhu respectively. These four are the fixed signs and all are intimately associated with the nodes and their powers. In the ancient text, the Jaimini Upadesha Sūtras, the fixed signs are shown to behave in a reverse way from the other signs in certain circumstances, just as the nodes are retrograde in their motion. For example, Taurus is an even sign but acts like an odd sign in matters of Dharma.