Saturday, August 18, 2012

Mandalas for the Planets

Kolam (Mandala) the Sun

Navagraha kolams (mandalas) are sacred designs drawn to propitiate the planets and to invoke their blessings. These yantras for the the planets are said to originate from Soundarya Lahiri, a poem composed in praise of Devi by Sankara. Though yantras are typically etched on a copper plate, kolam is drawn in front of the home shrine using rice flour or can be drawn on paper or other materials also.

The image above is the mandala for the SunThe line drawing is the mandala; I have added color and embellishments. Here are some significant astrological details regarding the Sun, the most important of nine planets:

The following are mostly common to both Western and Indian astrologies: 
(Italicized texts in parentheses are the Sanskrit equivalent of English words/names)

Sign: Leo (Simha)
Day of the week:  Sunday (Ravivar)
Direction: East
Season: Summer (Grishma) 
Nature: mildly malefic
Rulership of: Soul
Gender: Masculine
Father of:  Saturn (planet)
Significator: 1st and the 10th house in the natal chart
Exalted: Aries 10 deg
Directional strength: 10th house
Natural friends: Jupiter, Mars and the Moon
Represents: Father, government, authority, places of worship
Represents (physical): Bones, heart, eyesight, head
Favorable in houses: 3, 6, 10 and 11 in the natal chart

The following pertains to Indian mythology and astrology only: 

Name in Sanskrit: Surya
Lordship of nakshatras (lunar mansions): Krittika, Uttara Phalguni, Uttara Ashada
Dasa length: 6 years
Aspects: the 7th house from itself
Yogas: budhaaditya , veshi, voshi and ubhayachari 
Represents: Devotion to Shiva

Navagraha Kirtana: Surya murte namostuthe by Muthuswami Dikshithar

Temples: The Sun Temple at Konarak, Orissa, India

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Photo Journal: Around Kapaleeshwarar Koil, Mylai, Chennai

Front View, Kapaleeshwarar Koil

This time I remembered to carry my camera with me when I accompanied my sister and my niece for a shopping trip to Mylapore, Chennai. As my sister went in and out of shops for the best Bharatanatyam jewelry, I quickly darted around to take some photos of the famous temple which anchors this bustling affluent residential and commercial community. The story goes that when Mylapore was an undeveloped hamlet several centuries ago, it was filled with mangroves where thousands of peacocks roamed freely. Mayil means peacock, hence the name Mylapore. Well, there is nary a peacock in sight these days. But Mylapore still retains vestiges of its pre-globalization charm and the temple attracts thousands of worshippers, especially on Friday evenings. People come not just to worship but also to shop and eat.

These photos were taken late in the morning when the temple was about to close for the afternoon. The images are presented raw, unedited.


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