Rahu is the ascending
in Jyotish - Vedic Astrology. In Vedic mythology, Rahu is a
snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses. He
is depicted in art as a dragon with no body riding a chariot
drawn by eight black horses.
According to Vedic legend, during the
Samudra manthan, the
asura Rahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the
nectar could pass his throat,
Mohini* (the female avatar of
Vishnu) cut off his head.
Mohini is one of the 25
avatars of Vishnu found in the Puranas. The main story, or
lila, concerning Mohini is the Sagar or Samudra manthan, a
lila that includes: Indra, Lakshmi, Kurma, Dhanvantari, and
numerous other Hindu divinities. This lila details the
conflict between the Daitya (demons) and the Adityas (gods),
as well as their quest for amrita (nectar). In this lila,
there is a time when the demons overpowered the gods and take
possession of the amrita. In order to rescue the gods, Vishnu
takes the form of a beautiful woman, Mohini, and approached
the demons. When the demons saw the enchanting beauty of
Mohini, they lost all composure. While the demons were
enchanted by Her beauty, Mohini seized the nectar and
distributed it amongst the gods, who drank it immediately.
During this lila, Mohini also decapitates the asura Rahu.
The head, however, remained
immortal. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally
swallows the Sun or the Moon, causing eclipses. Then, the Sun
or Moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the
name of Rahu first appears in the Mahabharata, when we read
the story of the churning of the Ocean of Milk in the search
for ambrosia - the elixir of immortality known as amrita in
Rahu was the son of Danava Vipracitti by his wife
Simhika, and a brother of Maya Danava, the great magician
Rahu and Ketu are two parts of the same danava
(Sanskrit for demon)
and are 180° apart from each other. Whenever either Sun
or Moon are conjunct with Rahu or Ketu, a solar or lunar eclipse
In astronomy Rahu is considered the dragon's
head and is also known as the north node of Moon, the point
where the Moon's orbit crosses the ecliptic. Ketu is known
as the dragon's tail, which gives birth to comets and meteors
and is known as the descending or the south node of the Moon.
When Sun, Moon, and Rahu or Ketu fall in the
same zodiacal longitude, a solar eclipse takes place. Rahu
is responsible for solar, Ketu for lunar eclipse. This makes
them significant for astronomers and astrologers both.
Though they are included in planets, Rahu and
Ketu are not real luminaries and are regarded as shadowy planets.
They do not have ability to cast aspects, as other planets
do, they do not rule any zodiacal signs and are not characterized
as male or female.
Because they are related to Moon as its north
and south nodes, they reflect the basic bipolarity of energy
within the cosmos and also of the individual. They are both regarded
as malefic half-planets and they bisect the natal chart of
the horoscopes of all individuals.
Rahu & Ketu like all other planets
in Jyotish are benefic, malefic or neutral, it all depends
where they are situated in one's birth chart (janam kundali or
janam patri). All planets have their positional and
directional strength where they become benefic, malefic or
The gemstone related to Rahu is
Hessonite Garnet or Gomedh (Hindi) or Gomedhak (Sanskrit).
Rahu rules number 4 in Vedic
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