The Sanskrit word “Grahas” or “ग्रह” 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 listed in Sanskrit and English below:
- सूर्य /Surya (the Sun)
- चन्द्र /Chandra (the Moon)
- मंगल /Mangal (Mars)
- बुध /Budh (Mercury)
- गुरु /Guru (Jupiter)
- शुक्र/Shukra (Venus)
- शनि /Shani (Saturn)
- राहु/Rahu (Northern lunar node)
- केतु /Ketu (Southern lunar node).
These names are listed in Sanskrit, to encourage you to become familiar with their original names used in Indian Vedic Astrology.
Most texts on Jyotish Shastra use the word “Grahas” instead of Planets. Since the Sun, the Moon, Rahu, and Ketu are technically not planets, it is more correct to call them Grahas.
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:
1.सौम्य /”Saumya” (benefic)
2.क्रूर /”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.