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Raga CDs of the Months (04/09): NavaGrahas – Ragas for 9 Planets

Posted by ElJay Arem (IMC OnAir) on April 19, 2009

Astrology in India …

With the new constitution on 26th January 1950 India is more than 60 years on the road to democracy. In modern India the astrology plays a prominent role. Since 1957 by the indian government is published the astrological annual calendar (National Panchanga).

As the traditional ayurvedic medicine in India there is no business, no house move or marriage without the astrological calendar… even in Indian sciences astrology is present as  the traditional indian astronomy, named Sidhanta.

In the samhita (astrology) which deals with India’s fate, wars,
earthquakes, political events and finances employed and by Hora, the birth horoscope which relates to nearby all segments of life Indians consult astrologers.

date of broadcasting: 20th April 2009 – 10:00 p.m. (CETZ)
(repetition: …will be broadcasted from May on)
broadcasting plan | streaming (Internet Radio & Mobile Radio) | podCast

NavaGraha Kriti-s…

IMC OnAir presents in its April show the work “NavaGraha Kritis” of the composer Muthuswami Diskhitar. Nine (9) planets of the Indian astrology are praised. Herefre Dikshitar’s preferred compositional form is the krithi. He wrote the poetry in Sanskrit.

Dikshitar rendered his homage to nine (9) planets of Indian astrology with seven (7) krithi-s, one for each day of the week; in the musicologist’s perspective further two had been completed by admirerers and successors of Dikshitar.

Muthuswami Dikshitar lived from 1775 till 1835. He was the youngest of the „Trinity of South Indian Classics“, beside Tyagaraja and Syama Sastri. Dikshitar was born in Tiruvarur in the federal state Tamil Nadu originating from a Brahman family. Diskhitar was named after the temple goddess Muttukumaraswamy. He grew up with two younger brothers and one sister. His brother Baluswami Dikshitar introduced the violin into South Indian Classics.

Diskhitar received his 1st musical training from his father Ramaswami. In his youth Dikhitar was sent by his father to the pilgrimage with the monk Chidamabaranatha Yogi. He should deepen his knowledge of music and philosophy. Chidamabaranatha teached Diskhitar playing the Veena, one of the oldest Indian lutes.
The young Muthuswami visited on his pilgrimage many regions of North India. The impressions are mirrored in his compositions manifold. As the only one Muthuswami Dikshitar worte compositions in all existing Raga forms of Indian classical music, a total of 72 main ragas in the Melakarta system. Almost 500 songs of 191 Raga forms exist still today.

Many stories about the compositorial work of Muthuswami exist. It is reported that during a state of meditation he was called by the divinity Subramanya to open his mouth, put him a piece of sugar into his mouth and disappeared. Subramanya is teacher of Shiva, the highest deity as the creator of the universe.  As Muthuswami opened his mouth, he had a vision of Muruga, the God of war. Hereout Muthuswami wrote his first composition: “Shri Nathadi Guruguho” in the raga form Mayamalavagowla.

About the motives for Dikshitar’s compositions of Navagraha Kriti-s exist a legend. It is reported that one of his pupils Tambiappan suffered from an indigestion. A medical treatment herefore was ineffective. Thereupon Dikshitar examined the birth horoscope of Tambiappan and detected that the planet Jupiter (bRihaspati) had been in an inauspicious planetary configuration. A ritual encomium of the  divinity bRihaspati is extremly diffcult for a layman. So Dikshitar composed a Raga form Atana and promted his pupil to sing the stanzas for one week. The diseased Tambiappan was healt.

This success led to Diskhitar writing kriti-s for seven (7) planets, for each day of the week. These  Kriti-s have seven basic rhythms of South Indian Classics: “Suladi sapta Tala”. The beat is an analogy to the astrological periods for each planet. Diskhitar preferably had chosen a slow tempo.

Dikshitar used for this work only complete Ragas, sanpoorna, which is known and popular in India until now as “Navagraha krithi-s”. The ascending and descending scales contain all seven (7) main notes. The ornamentation, the Gamaka-s are characterized by Dikshitar’s own signature (Mudra); as  Guruguha its the synonym for the deity Subramanya.

  • Sun (Surya) – Kriti “Suryamurthe Namosthuthe” – Ragam Saurastram
  • Moon (Chandra) – Kriti “Chandram Bhaja called manasa” – Raga Asaveri
  • Mars (Angaraka) – Kriti “Angarakam Ashrayamyaham” – Raga Surati
  • Venus (Shukra) – Kriti “Sri Sukhra Bhagavantham” – Raga Pharaj
  • Jupiter (Brihaspathi) – Kriti “Brihaspathe Tarapathe” – Raga Athana
  • Saturn (Shani) – Kriti “Divakaratanujam Shanaishcharam” – Raga YadukulaKambhoji
  • Mercury (Budha) – Kriti “Budham Ashrayami” – Raga Nattakurahnji
  • 1st shadow planet (Rahu) – Kriti “Smaramayaham sadarahum” – Raga Ramamanohari
  • 2nd shadow planet (Ketu) – Kriti “Mahasuram Ketumaham” – Ragam Camaram


Wikipedia: The British Museum – (from left to right) Surya, Chandra, Mangala, Budha, Brihaspati, Shukra, Shani, Rahu, Ketu

Indian Astrology…

Jyotisha is the Hindu system of Astrology, the Vedic astrology, which existed simultaneously to the moorish period. 1st time the movement of sun and moon was recorded.

The Vedas connect (Bandhu) the microcosm and universal macrocosm.

The oldest astrological treatise – written in Sanskrit – is documented in Yavanajataka (“Sayings of the Greeks”), in the Indo-Greek period of the 2nd and 3rd century (A.C.), where a close relation between the Greek, Hellenistic and Indian culture existed.

With astrological studies in the 5th century Indian authors made a significant contribution to the whole development of the atronomy in the early middle ages.

Late 1961 and 1963 N. N. Krishna Rau and V. B. Choudhari translated scriptures of the 8th centure, e.g. Saravali. Publications such as “New Techniques of Predictions” with the system of Yoga-points of H. R. Seshadri Iyer became in the West popular during the 60th of the 20th century.

The planets Graha-s are nine (9) rotating celestial bodies. The two main planets are the sun and moon, completed by five (5) visible planets, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn plus two (2) shadow planets added, the waxing and waning moon. Rahu and Ketu are illustrated as a head and tail of a snake daemon.

  • The planet sun (Surya) is the leading planet, with the power to illuminate all darkness and shed and to destroy the sins of the world. Surya stears a seven harnessed chariot.
  • The moon (Chandra) is the second planet of the sun, next to Surya. He is the brother of the divine mother Lakshmi. Chandra is white like the autumn moon, has four hands (chatur bhuja) and is adorned with bracelets, garland and crown. Chandra produces nectar and can manufacture herbal medicine. He is the creator of the night… and god of kalas, the sixteen moon phases. Chandra controls the comprehension and calms the human mind.
  • While Venus (Shukra) represents in Indian astrology the fully knowledge of truth and the authority for a successful marriage, Mars (Angaraka) is the son of Mother Earth, the goddess of Tuesday. Mars appears in the depiction as reddish, armed with sword and trident.
  • Jupiter (Brihaspathi) represents the four (4) manifestations of speech. He is free of aging and carries thunder flash. His father is Brahma, the goddess of creation.
  • Saturn (Shani) is the son of Surya (sun), and brother of the goddess Yama. Extremely courageous and fearless he teaches people fear, who are affectionated to the worldly life too heavily. He is a dark shape, rides a cow and totally dressed in blue.
  • Mercury (Budha) is characterized by his intelligence with which he can write poetry sweetly. He is always full of joy and of glowing phenomenon like Saffran. Budha protects the believers of Lord Shiva.
  • The snake daemons Rahu and Ketu posess great power. Rahu wears a harness, sword and  trident, and liberates the spirit of the fear of snake poison. Ketu wears an extra ordinary  crown and silver robe, he sits on a human body. He is the friend of the good people who have liberated from the Guna Doshas, the good and evil.

The Indian astrology is taught at many universities of India. Till recent times in India took place a valor dispute among the representatives of modern sciences whether the astrology at all can be recognized as a science. A judgment of the supreme court in the year 2004 ended this dispute: the astrology is denied the qualification and forbidden to spread religious teachings.

Temple …

The Graha-s, the nine (9) planets can be found in famous temples in India, in the federal state Tamil Nadu as dwellings of the deities.

For each of the seven planets, Sun and Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Venus and for the two shadow planets (waxing and waning moon) exist temples near Mayiladuthurai, Nagappattinam.

To all these temples a variety of Hindus pilgrims. A temple visit promises happiness for all life in the universe and for good deeds, same disaster for negative behavior and bad actions.

As tourist offering these temples can be visited with excursions in following places:

Sun: Suriyanar Koil
Moon: Thingalur
Mercury: Thiruvenkadu
Saturn: Thirunallar
Venus: Kanjanur
Jupiter: Alangudi
Mars: Vaideeswaran Koil
Rahu: Keezhperumpaalam
Ketu: Thirunageswaram

One Response to “Raga CDs of the Months (04/09): NavaGrahas – Ragas for 9 Planets”

  1. […] Beside the moon as one of the seven (7) main planets exist two divinities for the waxing and waning moon, so called shadow planets: Rahu symbolizes the waxing and Ketu the waning moon. Rahu & Ketu are demons of large power (see IMC radio show: “Ragas for Nine Planets (Nava Graha-s)“). […]


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