11.Navagrahas and Indus symbols


Planetary worship is still in practice in India, and occupies a prominent position in the religious life of India today. Many diseases and other troubles of earthly existence are ascribed to the malign influence of angered planetary deities, whose wrath is to be pacified. Monumental representations of planets start appearing in North India in the Gupta period (7th century AD) and spreads to south India by 11th century AD.

The group of nine planets comprises the five true planets visible to naked eye, the sun and moon, plus Raahu and Ketu. Raahu is the name of eclipse demon. According to Hindu mythology Raahu swallows sun and moon resulting in eclipses. Ketu originally seems to refer to smoke, which arises at the time of conducting Yajnas (fire sacrifice) and reaching the heavens. Thus Ketu makes a connection possible between heaven and earth. However, in 6th century AD, Varahamihira interpreted Ketu as the tail of Raahu, said to have the form of a snake, and connected Raahu and Ketu with the ascending and descending nodes of the moon. The relevance of this analysis on the issue of planets is that, most likely the Indus people were planetary worshippers like the present day Hindus and many of the symbols of IVC seals are depicting various planets and astronomical events. Some of the symbols are identified and given in a tabular form; detailed explanations are also given against each symbol. (Parpola, 2000)






Surya is the chief solar deity, one of the Adityas, son of Kashyapa and one of his wife Aditi, of Indra, or of Dyaus Pitar (depending by the versions). He has hair and arms of gold. His chariot is pulled by seven horses, which represent the seven chakras.

In Hindu religious literature, Surya is notably mentioned as the visible form of God that one can see every day. He represents the Soul, the King, highly placed persons or Father.









Right corner indicates moon

Chandra (moon) is also known as Soma and identified with the Vedic Lunar deity Soma. He is described as young, beautiful, fair; two-armed and having in his hands a club and a lotus. He rides his chariot (the moon) across the sky every night, pulled by ten white horses or an antelope. He is connected with dew, and as such, is one of the gods of fertility. He is also called Nishadipati (Nisha=night; Adipathi=Lord) and Kshuparaka (one who illuminates the night).

He is married to daughters of Daksha Prajapathi. He has therefore 27 wives, representing twenty seven Nakshatras (constellations). Budha (the planet Mercury) was born to Soma and Taraka.



Square means moon








Three triangles means mountain, mars is god of mountain like Murugan

Triangle is sign of mars


Also the triangle may be indicating the Trigona houses concept


Mangala is the god of Mars, the red planet. Mars is also called Angaraka ('one who is red in colour') or Bhauma ('son of Bhumi') in Sanskrit. He is the god of war and is celibate. He is considered the son of Prithvi or Bhumi, the Earth Goddess. He is the owner of the Aries and Scorpio signs, and a teacher of the occult sciences (Ruchaka Mahapurusha Yoga).

He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahan (mount) is a ram.



Holding a sword, a club and a shield

Budha is the god of the planet Mercury and the son of Chandra (the moon) with Tara (Taraka). He is also the god of merchandize and protector of Merchants. He is represented as being mild, eloquent and of greenish colour. He is represented holding a sword, a club and a shield, riding a winged lion. 



Mount eagle


(Or) holds a sceptre and lotus




Holding stick, lotus and beads

Brihaspati is the name of a Vedic, personification of piety and religion, the chief priest of prayers and sacrifices, represented as the Purohita of the gods with whom he intercedes for men. He is the Lord of planet Jupiter. He represents knowledge and teaching.

According to Hindu scriptures, he is the guru of the Devas and the arch-nemesis of Shukracharya, the guru of the Danavas. He is also known Guru, the god of wisdom and eloquence.







Shukra war



Eastern corner of Astro chart is place of Venus.

Shukra, the Sanskrit for "clear, pure" or "brightness, clearness", is the name of the son of Bhrigu and Ushana, and preceptor of the Daityas, and the guru of the Asuras,  He is Rajas in nature and represents wealth, pleasure and reproduction.

He is of white complexion, middle-aged and of agreeable countenance. He is described variously mounted, on a camel or a horse or a crocodile. He holds a stick, beads and a lotus and sometimes a bow and arrow.

In Astrology, there is a Dasha or planetary period known as Shukra Dasha which remains active in a person's horoscope for 20 years. This Dasha is believed to give more wealth, fortune and luxury to one's living if a person has Shukra positioned well in his horoscope as well as Shukra being an important benefice planet in his/her horoscope.






Venus is said to be chakra, someone who moves fast

See the same cross symbol on the first symbol of Venus



Holding sword, arrows and two daggers

Shani is one of the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology (that is, Vedic). Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn. 

The origin of word Shani comes from the following: 'Shanaye Kramati Sa' i.e. the one who moves slowly. Saturn takes about 30 years to revolve around the Sun, thus it moves slowly compared to other planets, thus the Sanskrit name             Shani is actually a demi-god and is a son of Surya (the Hindu Sun God) and his wife Chhaya. It is said that when he opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Shani on astrological charts (horoscope).



Mounted on crow




Often depicted in dark colour, clothed in black as ugly, old lame and having long hair, teeth and nails


No planet


North lunar node

Raahu is God of the Ascending / North lunar node. Raahu is the Head of Demon Snake that swallows the sun or the moon causing eclipses according to Hindu scriptures. He is depicted in art as a dragon without a body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses. He is an  Asura who does his best to plunge any area of one's life he controls into chaos. The Raahu kala is considered inauspicious.




According to legend, during the Samudra manthan, the Asura Raahu drank some of the divine nectar. But before the nectar could pass his throat, Mohini (the female avatar of Vishnu) cut off his head. The head, however, remained immortal and is called Raahu, while the rest of the body became Ketu. It is believed that this immortal head occasionally swallows the sun or the moon, causing eclipses. Then, the sun or moon passes through the opening at the neck, ending the eclipse.


No planet


South lunar node


Ketu is the Lord of Descending/South lunar node. Ketu is generally referred to as a "shadow" planet. He is considered as Tail of the Demon Snake. It is believed to have a tremendous impact on human lives and also the whole creation. In some special circumstances it helps someone achieve the zenith of fame.





Astronomically, Ketu and Raahu denote the points of intersection of the paths of the Sun and the Moon as they move on the celestial sphere. Therefore, Raahu and Ketu are respectively called the north and the south lunar nodes. The fact that eclipses occur when Sun and Moon are at one of these points gives rise to the story of the swallowing of the Sun by the Moon.

(Reference: Wikipedia: under the heading Hindu astrology)


Planetary positions as per Hindu temple.

Generally the Shiva temples in south India contain a separate enclosure for nine planets together in a single platform. For additional details refer chapter.11 of the book “Deciphering the Indus script” written by Asko Parpola. These planets are represented by individual statues and venerated as gods with their own powers. Out of the nine planets Shani (Saturn) is considered as more powerful and have lot of influence on the personal life of a person depending on the planet’s position in a person’s horoscope chart. The symbols of each planet are as per the detail given in the above chart and some of these symbols are appearing among the Indus symbols.



 Planet chart (or) Horoscope.

PAGE-83(fig.5.5) of Asko parpola’s book shows the longest continuous Indus inscription. It is a seal from Mohenjo-daro (M-314). Analysis of this seal shows that the top line shows the symbols of five planets known at that time period and the second line shows symbols of three gods Kalan, god of underworld and mother goddess respectively. The triangle may be indicating the “Trigona concept” of astrology. The acute angle of the triangle may be indicating the eastern direction, which is the rising direction of Venus in the evening. The last line is showing the symbols of seven constellations. Overall the seal looks like a chart which might have indicated a kind of horoscope of that time. The details of analysis of symbols are as per the table given below.









Zodiac symbol


Wheel with two quotation marks might have specified the second wheel, i.e. moon, whereas single wheel might have denoted sun.

(Or) it could be pictogram of six seasons.

(Or) it could be icon of North Star.


Trigona sign in horoscope, which shows the important planetary positions within horoscope (see Vedic astrology, Wikipedia)

Or the acute angle of the triangle shows the east direction in the horoscope

This angle shows the movement of the deity Chandra along the horoscope



The cap at the top of fish shows that this planet is identified with eastern corner, the fish that first appears in the eastern corner is Venus



 Virgo/ Kanya/ Chitra / 14th constellation

(Or) Spica star of Virgo constellation as discussed under the heading “sign of double axe


It looks like that this fish indicates mars/ mars (Rudra) with horns / maybe this is the fish with horns.


Ajopada/ single footed (Hoof print of a goat) / Purva Bhadrapad/ 25th constellation



Fish with dot may be Shani


Sagittarius/ Purva Ashadha/Apah/ 20th constellation

(Or) may be symbol of Lynx + Cancer constellations --- Refer to seal depiction under the heading “sign of double axe

(Or) may be allelographs of Sagittarius constellation--- It looks like that these symbols are of later day period and most probably belongs to Greek period.




Planet mercury/ Budhan

Arrow symbol indicates Budhan

Budhan is son of moon 


(Or) Castor and Pollux/ Punarvasu/ 7th constellation


Funeral urn/ symbol of god of death/ symbol of Kalan/ Shiva



Trishul/ fork/ Vishaka /16th constellation



God of underworld (Or) this symbol might be depicting a rope as in Egyptian hieroglyphics tethering rope / in Indian mythology rope means rope of death/ rope used by Yama to take away the life from a person.




Capricorn/ crocodile/ Uttara Ashadha/ 21st constellation



Earth- mother goddess



The stars side by side/Shravana/Aquila constellation as per jyotisha vedanga.


(Or) May be part of Perseus constellation as discussed under the heading “sign of double axe

 Details of Horoscope chart

Astronomical symbols found among the Indus symbols












SE –corner is indicated


Circle with spot is sun


Moon- / or circle with spot is sun


Astrology chart-

Eastern corner of the chart- Venus


Mars—triangle symbol


Venus allele






Venus allele


Two planet interaction- Venus and Saturn


Venus allele/ (or) Chitra star (star Spica) in Virgo constellation.



Or honey comb


Venus-Jupiter interaction


Amavasai/ or eclipse- allele








SE-NW planets interaction




Sky god/ as per suggestion of Mahadevan


Rectangle- Jupiter




Mercury node


Astro-Chart –allele




Moon- first – quarter


Two planets crossing- may be eclipse/ (or) Two bangles symbol of Inanna (mother goddess)


It looks like a seedling, (or) tree, which represents the womb of mother goddess through which the seedling germinates. (Georg Feuerstein, 2005, p. 121)


Trishul-planet-mars allele/ Trishul is symbol of Kalan also