Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Gurudeva, taught his monks the value of Jyotisha, Vedic Astrology. Knowledge and awareness of the movement of the planets and their influence on our lives, personal character and projects is a sacred heritage from our Vedic Rishis. This knowledge is a powerful tool for living a better life, making improvements and staying in tune with Rrta Dharma, the cosmic order.
On the other hand, Gurudeva did not believe in the worship of the planets as if they were Deities like Siva, Ganesha or Murugan.
Some devotees in other countries have complained that in some temples, the main focus of worship has become “sani puja,” where devotees, on Saturday, flock to aratis given to the images of the planets for help with their exams, overcome financial problems etc., all the while completely forgetting about the fundamentals of Saiva Siddhanta, communication between the three worlds and spiritual evolution, which are the true aims behind Hindu temple worship.
This will not be the case at Iraivan. The Navagraha Mandapam will not be physically attached to the temple. It will be a teaching pavilion and not a place of worship. It will be off to the side as a separate pavilion. The priests of Iraivan will not be doing abhishekams or aratis to these images. These icons of the planets are on rollers and will be moved around to their actual astronomical daily position.
Thanks for asking the question. The answer has truly educated me further in my understanding of what I have seen when visiting another Hindu temple.Jupiter is beautiful and I am sure the image will enhance the beauty of where it is placed.Aum
Bodhinatha continues with his weekly series of commentaries on The Path to Siva. In this past Sun One talk, he elucidates the four key beliefs in Hinduism, the three pillars of Sanatana Dharma and Gurudeva's three stages of faith. Primary to Hinduism is the key belief that God is within each of us. To have a well-rounded understanding and experience of Hinduism, to make spiritual progress, adhyatma vikasha, we need scripture, humility, temple worship, devotion. To fully experience God we need the guru to give the spark for meditation and deeper wisdom.