The Sanskrit word “Graha” means “that which grasps.” The Grahas grasp our consciousness, and the astrological condition of a particular Graha represents our state of consciousness in the areas of life “held” by that Graha.
The nine Grahas (planets) are called Surya (the Sun), Chandra (the Moon), Mangal (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Shukra (Venus), Shani (Saturn), Rahu (Northern lunar node), and Ketu (Southern lunar node).
The Grahas are divided into two groups, according to their general auspicious or inauspicious effects. The Sanskrit terms used to label these two groups are “Saumya” (benefic) and “Krura” (malefic). Surya (the Sun), Shani (Saturn), Mangal (Mars), waning Chandra (the Moon), Rahu, and Ketu are all classified as malefics.
The waxing Chandra (the Moon), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter) and Shukra (Venus) are classified as benefics. When Mercury is in the same sign as another malefic, it is considered to be a malefic also. Most Grahas are fixed in nature. Only Chandra (Moon) and Budha (Mercury) can be affected by their specific placement in the chart. The Moon is benefic when bright.
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