The crocodile is Varuna’s mount. In Hinduism, a God’s mount is akin to a vehicle–a mode of transportation–which allows the God to travel. It also makes a reference to the environment that the God rules over. Varuna, the blessed deity of Shatabhisha nakshatra, is the Vedic God who resides in the deep blue sea. The same way we have a Sun that shines brightly in the sky; we also have a sun that lives under the deep blue sea. That Sun is Varuna.

In Vedic mythology, when we talk about the asuras, we’re not referring to demons per se. But rather, we’re referring to those beings, entities, elementals and objects that reside under the sea, under the earth and underneath the ground. These places are filled with vast treasures. They are also filled with dangers. It is a metaphor for the hidden aspects of life which can take a toll on the human mind or psyche.

Varuna is not a deity that lives up in the sky; but rather, one that lives under the sea, much like Shukra or Venus. Due to the canonisation of religion, we have these ideas of angels and of demons. But really, all of these are cosmic or natural entities that we personified and created personifications and stories around.

For seafaring people who relied on the ocean for their livelihood; Varuna was their patron deity in some form or another. In Japan, Varuna is known as “Suiten” (水天 lit. “water deva”). He represents the male cosmic force that resides under the sea and who rules over its vast domain.

Varuna arrived on the shores of the island nation of Japan together with Buddhism. In the Shinto religion, the water god is believed to be the guardian of fishermen and the patron saint of fertility, motherhood and painless childbirth. People worship Suijin with offerings, believing that doing so will ensure pure and unpolluted water for drinking and agricultural purposes as well as bring success in fishing trips, fertility, motherhood, and easy childbirth.

Suitengu is a Shinto shrine located in Chūō, Tokyo.

The Sea Monster

The planet associated with Shatabhisha Nakshatra is Rahu; as well as Jupiter and Saturn. In this nakshatra, we see both an expansion and a contraction as well as a disturbance that can either be constructive or destructive. Rahu brings changes to the mind waves that we receive. Saturn and Jupiter, on the other hand, change our external and spiritual reality respectively.

If we want to change all three, they will all have to change all at once. Usually, when Rahu is disturbing our minds, it is because there is something in our spiritual nature or in our external world that is causing this disturbance. Rahu can teach us to overcome this disturbance if we learn how to tap into and fulfil our spiritual selves. But this does not come naturally to Rahu.

Jupiter is the only planet that can tame Rahu because Jupiter gives him that which he most desires. And what does Rahu most desire? A great destiny. Rahu is ambitious by nature. But Jupiter shows him the right path and pushes him to fulfil his spiritual dharma without making too many mistakes.

Think about it. If you were faced with fear, real fear, primal fear; it would cause disturbances in your mind, like the waves of an ocean. Sometimes it will thrash about and sometimes it will be calm. But the waves would come and go, causing those momentary disturbances. Jupiter calms Rahu down and appeases his fears so that he doesn’t make too many mistakes. Through this journey, his mind becomes calm and he finds a stillness amidst the storm despite the challenges that Saturn brings.

If you have any placements and planets in this nakshatra, you should be mindful. Not of the cause of those disturbances, but the appeasement of them. Rahu needs to overcome his doubts and his anxieties and Jupiter can help him to overcome his deepest fears. Varuna, as the ruling deity of this nakshatra, shows us the constant mental and psychological changes that we must go through: the small and big waves that come and go–changing everything each moment.

But when you find a sense of calm in an ever changing environment, which is an apt metaphor for what the ocean is, it changes quickly and suddenly without any forewarning. But once you finally find that calm, you can straddle in between worlds. You can navigate successfully in these very choppy waters. You will not wait for the coast to clear or the water to become still. That is not the nature of water. It is always moving, always flowing.

You can think of Rahu as a dragon on a ship trying to get to the lighthouse he sees in the distance. With Jupiter there, he can do it–no matter what external changes Saturn brings about. The closer he gets to that lighthouse, the happier he becomes. If you have Mercury here, for instance, it shows the power of the intellect to overcome all disturbances.

And so it is, so it was, and so it always will be. This is the Sanatan.

The Lighthouse (2021) by Dipa Sanatani

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