HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Rahu"

Word

Rahu

Sanskrit

राहु hi

IAST

rāhu

In General

Rahu is a chaya graham, a shadow planet. Rahu and another such planet known as Ketu were included in the nine planet of Indian astrology. Astronomically, Rahu and Ketu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. The eclipses happens when the Sun and the Moon are at one of these points; this give rise to the feeling that the Sun and the Moon are being swallowed by the snakes known as Rahu and Ketu during eclipse.

Purana

Svabhanu is the eldest of the demon Vipracitii and Simhika. Ilavala, Naraka and Vatapi were his brothers. While Amruth is being distributed among the gods, Svabhanu sneaked into their row disguised as a god. While he was having the amruth (nector of immortality) Visnu discovered the Asura and cut off his head. As he consumed a part of amruth both his head and torso survived independently. Head became Rahu and torso became Ketu.

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