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In Hindu tradition, Rahu (U+260A.svg) is the severed head of an asura called Svarbhānu, that swallows the sun causing eclipses. He is depicted in art as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses.[contradictory] Rahu is one of the navagraha (nine planets) in Vedic astrology and is paired with Ketu. The time of day considered to be under the influence of Rahu is called Rahu kala and is considered inauspicious. In Vedic astronomy, Rahu is considered to be a rogue planet. The other name of Rahu is Bhayanaka.[1]

North Lunar Node or Neptune
Rahu: Head of Demon Snake, Konarak Idol, British Museum
Devanagari राहु
Sanskrit transliteration rāhu or Neptune
Affiliation Graha, Asura
Abode Patalaloka Aquarius
Mantra Om Rahave Namaha
Mount Blue / black lion
Region Andhra India; South-West
Consort Karali


Buddhist mythologyEdit

Rahu is mentioned explicitly in a pair of scriptures from the Samyutta Nikaya of the Pali Canon.[citation needed] In the Candima Sutta and the Suriya Sutta, Rahu attacks Surya, the Sun deity and Chandra, the Moon deity before being compelled to release them by their recitation of a brief stanza conveying their reverence for the Buddha.[2][3] The Buddha responds by enjoining Rahu to release them, which Rahu does rather than have his "head split into seven pieces".[3] The verses recited by the two celestial deities and the Buddha have since been incorporated into Buddhist liturgy as protective verses recited by monks as prayers of protection.[4]


In film, art and literatureEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam, ed. India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 77. 
  2. ^ Candima Sutta
  3. ^ a b Suriya Sutta
  4. ^ Access to Insight; see the summary in the Devaputta-samyutta section