The birth of the planets As we all know, in the beginning of time, there was the Sun. Sun married Sanjna (consciousness) and while Sun was ecstatic in the marriage, Sanjna was finding it quite trying. The searing heat of the Sun made it physically unbearable for her. Yet, they had two sons and a daughter. The first-born was a son named Vaivaswat Manu and then came the twins, Yama and Yami. (Yama is the Ruler of death. In astrology Saturn, his stepbrother also represents Death and sorrow while Sun represents life and cheerfulness).
However, there came a day when Sanjna had enough, and she could not take the heat anymore! So, one day she took Chhaya (shadow) who looked exactly like her, made her promise that she would be good to her children, and cajoled her to take her place. She herself took the form of a mare and ran off.
Sun did not see through the ruse. Chhaya, being the cool shadow of Sanjna, was able to withstand Sun’s fiery ardor without getting flustered or blistered! By and by they also had their own children. And then the problems started!
Chhaya was the ideal mother as long as she did not have any children of her own. However, she gave birth to a son named Saturn and later another son, Sabarni Manu, and Tapati, a daughter. Now that she had her own children, there were subtle differences in her handling of the brood. Yama, the oldest of the children was the first to notice it. It did not take too long before things came to ahead, and the stepmother showed her true colors. While serving food, Chhaya was openly partial to her own children and ignored the other three who got only the crumbs from their siblings’ table.
Yama was furious. He kicked Chhaya for her partiality. Chhaya cursed him, saying that he would lose his left leg. Yama complained to his father and told him that she could not be their mother.
Sun realized that no mother could do to her children what Chhaya had done. He confronted her. Seeing him angry Chhaya spilled the beans. Furious with anger, Sun went out to look for his wife.
However, before leaving he consoled Yama saying that he would not lose his leg and changed the curse to a gangrenous wound. (There is a much more interesting story about a similar deformity of Saturn which we shall narrate in another story!)
Sun first went to his father-in-law Vishwakarma (the master engineer of the gods) in search of Sanjna. The father-in-law told Sun that Sanjna had come to him for shelter but he refused to take her back since for better or worse, a wife’s place was by her husband. Sun then went into a deep meditation and realized that Sanjna was roaming the meadows in the form of a mare.
Wanting to win her back, Sun took the form of a horse, found her, and they were united. From this union were born the twins, called the Ashwins (the equine twins) who became the Medicine men and Surgeons of the Gods.
Sanjna told Sun about her problem with the heat and Sun went back to Vishwakarma and asked for a solution. The Engineer came up with an engineering solution (What else could he do?). He took a circular saw and shaved off some parts of his son-in-law, thus reducing some of his heat.
The pieces, which flew off the main body, became the planets!
Saturn as his child had already found his place as a planet.
The couple lived happily ever after. Chhaya was shown the door.
However, all this made Saturn extremely unhappy. Yama, his stepbrother, was elevated to the position of a God, while he was being ignored and his mother was thrown out. So, he felt that his father had been unjust both to him and his Mother. He moved as far away from his father as he could. (Saturn is the farthest planet from the Sun). He also became the sworn enemy of Sun and went off to do penance and to meditate to acquire the power necessary to confront his father, the greatest luminary of the skies.
In astrology, there are friendships and enmities between the planets. The bitterest enmity is between the father and the son – Sun and Saturn. All the other planets belong to one camp or the other.
Mercury and Venus took the side of Saturn while Jupiter and Mars were friendly to Sun and opposed to Saturn. Rahu ganged up with Saturn while Ketu joined the camp of Sun. Moon remained neutral because of personal problems, but then that is another story!
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