राहु, rāhu

the northern/ascending lunar node, one of the navagrahas  

Naturally inauspicious (क्रूर, krūra) and tamasic in nature. Rahu is the point at which the Moon crosses the ecliptic as it moves from south to north. Lunar and solar eclipses can occur at this point.

It is believed that Rahu is in many ways similar to Shani (Saturn), but unlike him, Rahu is expansive, associated with extension and ascent.


Rahu is responsible for illusions, hallucinations, trances, psychosis, paranoia and other abnormal mental states, diseases of mysterious origin, drug addiction, strong desires, occult knowledge, psychic and mediumistic abilities, mass tendencies, abroad.

  • Deity: Durga, Varaha.
  • Number: 4
  • Color: light yellow, golden
  • Gemstone: hessonite (not too dark) weighing 3 carats (golden or light brown grossular can be used as a substitute)

The legend of the appearance of Rahu and Ketu

Once asuras won a crushing victory over the devas and took control of the entire Universe. Not knowing what to do, the defeated devas appealed to Vishnu. Vishnu advised them to obtain the nectar of immortality, amrita, by churning the ocean of milk.

The devas could not cope with such a task on their own – they had to go and bow to the asuras and promise them half of all amrita if they successfully got the nectar together. After some consideration, asuras agreed to help.

The huge mountain Mandara became a whorl, the king of the Nagas, Vasuki became a rope (the asuras pulled him by the head, and the devas by the tail).


Shortly after the start of churning, a problem arose – the mountain began to sink. Then Vishnu, in the form of his second avatar, the giant tortoise Kurma, swam under Mandara and hold the mountain on his back.

Thousands of years passed before churning brought any result. But not amrita, only a huge amount of poison. Shiva drank it and thereby saved the whole world, but a few drops of poison fell from the palms of the Lord to the ground, and snakes, scorpions and poisonous plants arose from them.

Churning resumed, and eventually many treasures emerged from the ocean: the wish-fulfilling cow Surabha, the seven-headed flying horse Uchchaihshravas, the elephant king Airávata, the gem Kaustubha, the flower Parijata, the apsaras, the goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wine Varuni, and the god of healing Dhanvantari with a drink of immortality in jug. The time came to share the amrita. Devas and asuras sat on the opposite sides to each other, and Vishnu, who turned into the irresistible Mohini, began to bring them the nectar. Blinded by the beauty of the enchantress, asuras did not notice that the entire drink went to the enemy. Only Rahu did not fall for the illusion. He imperceptibly assumed the form of a celestial and mingled with the devas. When Mohini filled the cup of Rahu, Surya and Chandra noticed the deception. They cried out, warning the Lord, and he, having regained his sight, threw Sudarshana-chakra at the asura, but Rahu managed to drink a little of nectar, so he remained alive even after the weapon cut off his head.

By Brahma's decision, the head and torso of the asura became two grahas – Rahu and Ketu, respectively. Eternally they pursue Surya and Chandra, blazing with a thirst for revenge, and periodically overtake them, this is why solar and lunar eclipses occur.

Rahu Mantras

Vaidika mantra

om kayānścitra ābhuvadūtīsadā vṛdhaḥ sakhā |
kayāśacisṣṭhayāvvṛtā |

Tantric mantras

  1. om aiṁ hṛīṁ rāhave namaḥ |
  2. om bhrāṁ bhrīṁ bhrauṁ saḥ rāhave namaḥ |
  3. om hṛīṁ hṛīṁ rāhave namaḥ |

Nama mantra

om rāṁ rāhave namaḥ

The Puranic Mantra

om ardhakāya mahāvīrya candrādityavimardanam |
siṁhakāgarbhasaṁbhūtaṁ taṁ rāhūṁ praṇamāmyaham ||

The number of repetitions of the mantra is 18,000 times.