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Effects of navagrahas on our lives

Question: Swamiji, what are the effects of the navagrahas, the nine planetary deities? Some astrologers say they influence our lives. How?

Answer: How do the navagrahas affect our lives? According to the ancient rishis, our lives are shaped by two mighty forces: free will and karma. Through the use of our free will, we make choices. And based on our choices, we act. But our actions alone cannot fully account for all that happens to us in life. Many unexpected events take place that can only be explained by the doctrine of karma.

We are all born with good and bad karmas from prior lives. These karmas, together with karmas from this life, eventually yield their fruits, affecting our lives. Therefore, our lives are shaped not only by actions born of our free will, but also by our karma.

If our lives are shaped by free will and karma, what then is the role of the navagrahas? The answer to this question is found in ancient texts, the Jyotis Shastras, which are the basis for our system of astrology. According to these texts, the position of the nine grahas provide clues which can be used to predict the particular karmas that will affect us at a particular time. For example, the position of Shani, Saturn, can predict an accumulation of bad karmas that will bring difficulties into our lives.

It is inaccurate to say that the navagrahas influence our lives because it is actually our karmas that influence our lives. Yet, the positions of the nine grahas can predict the effects of those karmas. But it takes a skillful astrologer to accurately interpret the positions of the navagrahas. No matter how accurate the system of astrology might be, its usefulness is ultimately determined by the accuracy of the individual astrologers who interpret your birth chart.