The 8th planet Rahu is in shadows like Ketu and cannot be seen in galaxy. Lots of Rahu’s information is present in ancient scripts and literature. These include Brahma Purana, Mahabhagavata, Mahabharat, Matsya puraan, Vishnu Purana and Rig veda.
Rahu was born to Simhika and Viprachitti. Rahu’s mother Simhika [also known as Simhita] was the daughter of Hiranyakashyapa [Bhakta Prahlada’s father]. Rahu had many brothers of Rahu namely Salya, Nabha, Vaataapi, Ilvala and Namuchi. Also, Rahu was the eldest of the 100 brothers. Rahu’s sister was Maahishmati. Rahu was born into Paithenasa gotra. He was born in the year Parthiva in Bhaadrapada maasa. This was on Krishna paksha on fourteenth day of waning moon on a Sunday. Thus Rahu was born two days before NAVRATRI so Visakha was his birth star.
Sukracharya [Venus] was blessed with “Sanjivani Mantra”. Also, this is called “Maha Mrityunjay Mantra”. After great meditation, the mantra is beneficial to all people [universal benefit]. Armed with this knowledge, Sukracharya could now revive all dead people. However, Rahu, the Asuraguru, decided to use this knowledge for the benefit of Asuras. This was in contrary to the purpose for which he was blessed with this mantra. Armed with the powers of Sukracharya, the Asuras attacked Devas. Sukracharya revived all dead Asura soldiers while the Devas were dying on the other side. Eventually, the Asuras greatly outnumbered the Devas causing Indra to lose his kingdom. After getting defeated, the Devas approached Lord Vishnu for his protection. Lord Vishnu advised them to churn “Samudra Manthan” to obtain Amrita [Nectar that provides immortality].
The churning of Ocean of Milk was a complicated process. Mount Meru was the dasher [churning tool] while Vasuki, king of serpents, was the churning rope. Gods held the tail of snake while demons [Asuras] held head and alternately pulled Vasuki. As a result, the Mount Meru rotated and churned the ocean. However, unfortunately Mount Meru when placed in the ocean began to sink. Hence, Vishnu transformed himself to his second incarnation, Kurma the turtle, to rescue and supported mountain.
Notes: The Mahabharata version of the story differs in many aspects from various Puranas. The numerous Puranas are Bhagawat, Brahma-vaivarta, and Agni. Difference is very apparent in the Mahabharata. According to Mahabharata, Lord Vishnu did not transform to Kurma Avatara. Instead, it was Akupara, king of tortoises, who obeyed the request from Devas and Asuras. In Bhagavat, Rahu has been mentioned in cosmic churning [Samudra Manthan]. Asuras and Devas churned the milky ocean with Meru Parvata. Several interesting things surfaced at various stages included gems, poison and Ambrosia [Amrita]. The poison was consumed by Lord Shiva to save the universe. Thereafter, Lord Shiva was named as Nilkanth [Blue Necked].
Lord Vishnu disguised himself as Mohini, celestial dancer, for distributing Amrita. In this method, Mohini kept Asuras in one row and Devas in another row. Also, Lord Vishnu as Mohini gave liquor to Asuras and Amrita to Devas. Swarbhanu [Rahu] suspected Mohini and realised Mohini was actually Vishnu. Even Rahu disguised as a God and mingled with them. He sat between Surya and Chandra to obtain Amrita.
When Mohini started giving Amrita to Swarbhanu, Surya and Chandra alerted Mohini. Surya and Chandra declared that person seated between them is suspicious. They thought him to be an Asura. Mohini did not lose any time but showed his true original form of Lord Vishnu. In his anger, Lord Vishnu threw his Sudarshan Chakra towards Swarbhanu. Bhrahma had warned Vishnu not to throw his weapon but it was already too late. Swarbhanu's head was cut off from the rest of his body. Since Swarbhanu had swallowed the amrita, he could not be killed. Long before this incident, Brahma had bestowed upon Swarbhanu the status of a planet. Brahma had promised Swarbhanu that only in the future he would get that status. Thus, neckline became known as Rahu while torso became known as Ketu.
The head fell on the other side of Surya. Assume the placement of Chandra, Ketu, Surya and Rahu four of them in a row. Ever since, Surya stopped his movement so that Rahu and Ketu cannot unite. All other planets thereafter started revolving around Surya. Rahu, Surya and Ketu came into 180 degree placement. Since then Rahu’s intention is to meet Ketu. Rahu is said to have cursed a complaint against Surya and Chandra. Also, Rahu swallows them up so there is Lunar and Solar Eclipse. When Swarbhanu's head was cut, drops of blood that fell on earth emerged as garlic and onion. The Head [Rahu] was taken away by his mother Simhika and nursed for years. Then the body of the snake was formed from the neckline of Rahu for transit. The head of snake was formed on Ketu for vision. Rahu worshipped Lord Shiva and Ganapati. Also, Ganapati’s head was chopped off and later replaced with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva blessed Rahu with the body of snake while Ketu with the snake head. Hence, by worshipping Ganapati one can also be blessed by Rahu.
Nature: The fierce face of Rahu adorns a crown and a garland runs round his neck. Rahu wears black or blue clothes. He has a sword and trishul in his hands. Rahu sits on a lion. Also, Rahu has eight black horses driven chariot for travelling. Rahu’s position in the galaxy is south-westwards.
Solar & Lunar Eclipse Caused by Rahu & Ketu:
There are approximately eight temples where one can see statues of Rahu in Thailand. The picture below shows Rahu swallowing the Sun and causing an eclipse. This Rahu Temple [Named Wat Srisathong] is in Nakhon Chaisi 65 kms from Bangkok.
The picture below shows statue of Rahu in middle. This Rahu Temple [Named Thirunageshwaram] is in Kumbakonam. In Tamil Nadu, everyday during Rahu Kaal Abhishek is performed here.
Astrology: Rahu has no aura of his own as he is considered as a "chaaya graha". There are two nodes at the intersecting points of lunar and solar circumference. The northern node is called Rahu or the dragon’s head. Meanwhile, the southern node is referred to as Ketu or dragon’s tail. Like other planet, Rahu does not preside over particular zodiac sign. However, one can count Rahu positioned best in signs of Mercury and Saturn.
Rahu lords over Aardra, Swati and Satabhisha nakshatras. Rahu yields favours when he is positioned in 3rd, 6th and 11th houses of natal chart. 3rd House is called the PAKKA GHAR. Rahu is also not so bad in 4th and 10th house, but certainly not good in 5th, 8th, and 12th house. Rahu is friendly with Saturn, Mercury and Venus, unfriendly with Sun, Moon, Mars and Jupiter.
Unfavourable effects of Rahu: It causes trouble in foreign land, social backwardness, misuse of power and lack of interest. In addition, Rahu causes mental tension, evil thoughts, bad dreams, ill health and electric shock. Causes fear of thieves, legal hassles, possessions of evil spirits and loss of money in vices.
Beneficial effects: Provides command over foreign languages, research, social services, interest in magic sciences, photography and astrology. There is courage, higher positions in Government Office namely Ministers and President. Also, Rahu helps in getting income from Stock Exchange, gambling and lotteries.
What Rahu likes most: To appease Rahu, black gram should be given away. Raat raani flowers, black lilies are used in his worship. Black dried grapes, almonds and liquor are offered. Also, red sandal paste, black and blue clothes, marijuana lotus leaves are used in Rahu’s puja.
Rahu causes many skin diseases like leprosy. Also, it causes mental illnesses such as insanity, loneliness, psychic disturbances, mental unrest and unhappiness. Other issues are possessed by evil spirits, alcoholism, hiccups, diplomacy, and injury in feet.
Rahu Kaalam / Kaal:
Rahu is more active or set in motion from sunset to sunrise. Rahu has cursed the daytime by creating Rahu Kaal that lasts for 45 minutes.
When the Sunrise of a place is 6.00 AM, the following Timings would operate "Rahu Kaalam / Kaal"
1) Sunday: 04.30 pm to 6.00 pm
2) Monday: 07.30 am to 9.00 am
3) Tuesday: 03.00 pm to 4.30 pm
4) Wednedday: 12.00 noon to 1.30 pm
5) Thursday: 01.30 pm to 3.00 pm
6) Friday: 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
7 Saturday: 09.00 am to 10.30 am
Rahu Kaal stands for the inauspicious hours of a day. According to Hindu Astrology, Rahu Kaal always occurs between sunrise and sunset. It lasts for about one and half hours during the day. The Rahu Kaal for each day of the week differs. Rahu Kaal is calculated at sunrise and sunset. No one does any auspicious work, commences any journey during this time. This is because the result of work done during Rahu Kaal would be negative. Anyone who journeys during this inauspicious Rahu Kaal also faces difficulties. However, Rahu Kaal does not affect any work, journey or trade already in progress. The sale or purchase of any assets is also discouraged during Rahu Kaal.