‘The Navagraha Devatas’ vis-à-vis The Physical Planets
It is important to bear in mind that while in Vedic astronomy, the ‘planets’ are entirely only the celestial physical objects; their role in Vedic astrology is subtler and thus goes well beyond their physical nature as ‘planets’. As these ‘planets’ represent in Vedic astrology also ‘the life-events and life-variables in human-lives’ on the one hand and ‘the magnitude of the grace & wrath of Isvara, in the spheres of life, over which they rule’ on the other; they have in all, as many as three distinct roles and significances herein.
Thus the Hindu term ‘Navagraha Devatas’, which is specially associated with the ‘planets’ in Hindu astrology goes to the root of these two additional subtle meanings of the ‘planets’. ‘Navagraha Devatas’ represent the nine different aspects of Isvara or God in the field of our human lives, as well as ‘life-events and life-variables’, which are the ‘significations’ of these various ‘Navagrahas’ pertaining to the spheres of the Houses over which they rule in Vedic astrology. The term Navagrahas may be taken to refer to the nine planets of Vedic astrology. Note that ‘Navagrahas’ do not always refer to ‘planets’; for they include also Ra & Ke, which are not physical planets at all, and the luminaries, the Su & the Mo, which are also not planets. ‘Graha’ should be taken to mean a permanent or temporary ‘karmic- influence’ in our lives, which in the mathematical model of astrology is represented by the ‘influence’ of a particular planet on our lives.