Mangal (Mars)

Mars is exceedingly cruel, as sharp as a scimitar’s blade and becomes so furious with anyone who worships him arrogantly that he utterly destroys that person’s family and prosperity. Those who worship him regularly, with humility, following the appropriate ritual, he blesses to gain wealth and lose disease. The Mars vow relieves all difficulties, especially those of illness, debt and enemies. When you observe it, wear red clothes and flowers, and eat only once on that day of food which is red in color like wheat.
The short, intense Mars has a slender waist and physique, a youthful appearance, fierce blood-red eyes and a ruddy face and body. Born from the womb of Earth, his beauty is like that of a thunderbolt. As bright as a blazing fire, he is energetic and lustful, adventurous and wrathful, inconstant but liberal. An accomplished speaker, he is also a Kshatriya, a warrior; he causes conflagration and injury. He has a Pitta constitution. Blood-red in color, overflowing with power and strength, he wears red clothes and garlands. He rules muscles and bone marrow, the south, Tuesday and the constellations Aries and Scorpio. His metal is copper and his gem coral. He is called Disease-Eater, Wound- Causer, the Twisted, the Auspicious, and Born –from-Earth, Cruel-Eyed, and the Red-Limbed One. Because he glows like red-hot coals he is called Angaraka. Mangal is described as red or flame colored male with four arms, carrying a trident, club, lotus and a spear. His Vahan or mount is a ram (male sheep).

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It is said that Mars was born near Ujjaini, on banks of the river Kshipra. The story of the birth of Mars says: Long ago Daksha organized a great sacrifice to cement his position as the first among the patriarchs. To this gala, which was held at the confluence of the River Ganga and Yamuna, Daksha invited all the chief gods, demigods, sages and other eminent beings of the universe- all, that is, except Lord Shiva, the very embodiment of cosmic consciousness, who was Daksha’s own son-in-law. When Lord Shiva’s wife Sati heard the news of the sacrifice she insisted on attending it, over her husband’s gentle objections, but when she arrived there her father ignored her and insulted Shiva as being unfit for polite society. Overwhelmed with emotion she told her father, “I cannot tolerate any insult to my mate, who is the Supreme Being of the universe. I now therefore relinquish this body of mine; I refuse to remain in it even another moment, lest I be further polluted by your overweening arrogance.”
Sati then by force of will withdrew from her body by incinerating its innards with a fire she created from within. She was later reborn as Parvati (daughter of the Himalaya) and eventually, after much penance, she was reunited with Shiva.
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When the awareness of his wife’s suicide surfaced in his consciousness, Lord Shiva, the Lord of Beasts, was first immobilized with grief. Then fury rose within him, for he is quick to anger. As his wrath reached its boiling point a drop of the sweat of rage fell from his forehead, where dwells the Moon. It was Daksha’s intemperate curse of the Moon which landed him in such hot water and it was that same Moon who facilitated the release of Lord Shiva’s fiery sweat for Daksha’s destruction.
No sooner did this drop of sweat fall to Earth than it became a fiery being of unlimited valor that, after blazing his way through the Earth and through all the underworlds, burnt the seven seas. This being, known as Virabhadra (the Auspicious Hero), looked like a flaming fire, had many heads and many eyes and tens of thousands of arms and legs. The embodiment of concentrated might, Virabhadra stood before his father with folded hands, saying, “Command me.” Lord Shiva said to him, “Go! Destroy Daksha and his sacrifice!” Virabhadra instantly gathered an army of spirits and departed on his errand. At the venue of the sacrifice, where Sati’s death had created a furor, a pall of anxiety settled over the celestial crowd as ominous portents abounded. When Virabhadra suddenly appeared in all his puissance, terror invested the invitees, who scattered in all directions, frantic to save themselves. Virabhadra first single-mindedly destroyed Daksha’s sacrifice and then decapitated Daksha, even though the Rishi Bhrigu tried to protect the doomed patriarch.
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When Virabhadra returned to Shiva in triumph the Lord of Beasts told him, “You have done well to destroy Daksha’s sacrifice and you have now incinerated the universe sufficiently. Pacify the cosmos again and you shall live in the heavens, where you shall become the foremost of planets, there you shall be called Angaraka.
Hearing this, that relentless Virabhadra’s frenzy abated and he was transformed in to a planet, the equal of the great Kartikeya. Lord Shiva then permitted Daksha’s sacrifice to be completed and peace returned to the universe.
One more story about the birth of Mangal is as follows: Once when Lord Shiva was engulfed in deep meditation, three drops of perspiration from his forehead fell down on the earth. From these drops of perspiration a very beautiful child emerged, whose complexion was red colored and he had four arms. The Earth Goddess Bhumi brought up the child as Lord Shiva handed him to her. The child was named as Bhaum, as Bhumi nurtured and raised her.
When Bhaum grew up he went to Kashi and underwent a severe penance to appease Lord Shiva. Shiva blessed Bhaum by granting him the “Mangal Lok’ (the abode of Mangal), which was superior to Shukra Lok (abode of Lord Venus- Shukra). After this, Bhaum was established in the solar system in the name of Mangal.
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Some say that Mars is Kartikeya while others maintain that Mars is a planet and Kartikeya a star of equal virility. It is said that those afflicted by Mars should worship Kartikeya to get relief.
Mars in a horoscope shows properties etc. as it is born from the earth. In numerology, the number of Mars is 9, the last number. It is a complete number, the number for nirvana.
A prayer to this planet frees one from debts, poverty and illness afflicting the skin. This grah bestows property and conveyance (locomotion). A prayer to Angaraka can restore loss of eyesight. Tuesdays are intended for the worship of Angaraka who loves the chanting of Samveda.
Mangal (Mars) – Indian Mythology

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