The Sanskrit word for Planet is "Graha."


There are no simple translations of Sanskrit words.  EVERYTHING has meaning.  Every single syllable introduces meaning. So the word "Graha" translated into planet is a simplified rendering.   The deeper meaning "Graha" refers to an entity that has the power to "seize, lay hold of, or grasp."  Therefore, Graha means “to grasp,” as in the planets that take hold of us. In turn, this is intimately related to the nakshatras (also known as lunar mansions, or 27-fold divisions of the zodiac), which are described in similar terms.

Graha therefore points  beyond the singular physical planets and refers to the ability of celestial events to influence occurrences on earth.  The word “Graha” conveys a much deeper meaning than the word “planet,” which is not technically correct. The nine Grahas (“Planets”) are called Surya / Ravi (the Sun), Chandra / Sandu (the Moon), Mangal / Kuja (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru / Brahpathi (Jupiter), Shukra / Sikuru (Venus), Shani / Senasuru (Saturn), Rahu (Northern lunar node) and Ketu (Southern lunar node). The Sun is not a planet, it is a star. Rahu and Ketu are not planets, and indeed do not even represent physical entities.

The Grahas are divided into two groups, according to their general auspicious and inauspicious nature. The Sanskrit terms used to name these two groups are “Saumya” or benefic, and “Krura" or malefic. The Waxing Moon, Mercury, Jupiter and Venus are known as beneficial. The Sun, Saturn, Mars, Waning Moon, Rahu and Ketu are classified as malefic.