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God of the planet Mars[1]
Member of Navagraha
Angraka graha.JPG
Mangala riding on his mount ram
Sanskrit transliterationMangala
AffiliationGraha, Deva, Vaishnavism
MantraOm Mangala devaya Namah
Personal information

Mangala (Sanskrit: मङ्गल, IAST: Maṅgala) is the personification, as well as the name for the planet Mars, in Hindu literature.[2] Also known as Lohita (lit.'the red one'),[3] he is the celibate deity of anger, aggression, as well as war.[2] According to Vaishnavism, he is the son of Bhumi, the earth goddess, and Vishnu, born when the latter raised her from the depths of the primordial waters in his Varaha avatar.[2][4]


Mars (Mangala) is also called:

  • Raktavarna (रक्तवर्ण) - whose color is like blood.[5]
  • Bhauma (भौम) - son of Bhumi.
  • Lohitānga (लोहिताङ्ग) - red bodied (Loha also means Iron, so could also mean Iron Bodied).
  • Kuja (कुज) - he who is born from Earth.
  • Bha (भ) - shining.[6]


He is painted red or flame colour, four-armed, carrying a trident (Sanskrit: trishūla), mace (Sanskrit: gadā), lotus (Sanskrit: Padma), and a spear (Sanskrit: shūla). His mount (Sanskrit: vahana) is a ram. He presides over Tuesday.[7]


Mangala appears in the narrative of the Varaha avatar of Vishnu. When the king of the asuras, Hiranyaksha, abducts the goddess of the earth, Bhumi, Vishnu assumes his third avatar, and descends upon the earth to rescue her. Observing that the asura had dragged her deep within the primordial waters, he catches the goddess with his tusks, and successfully slays the asura, restoring her to her rightful place in the cosmos. As she rises, Vishnu realises that Bhumi is, in fact, an aspect of his consort, Lakshmi,[8] and proceeds to sport with her, and from this union is born Mangala, meaning the auspicious one.[9]


The word Mangala is ancient, first appearing in the Rigveda (2nd millennium BCE), and mentioned by grammarian Patanjali (~2nd century BCE), but not as an astrological term, rather to mean "auspicious-successful" (siddha) structure in literary arts. Panini too mentions it in verse I.3.1 in a similar context.[10] In the Vedic texts, states Christopher Minkowski, there is no mention of auspicious rituals, or auspicious start or timing of a ritual, rather the "mangala" as auspicious practices likely emerged in the Indian traditions during the medieval era (after mid 1st millennium CE), thereafter found in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.[11] The ritualistic Mimamsa school of Hinduism did not include any mangala (auspicious) verses, related to plane "Mangala" in any of its text throughout the 1st millennium CE.[11]

The Markandeya Purana contains the astrological Mangala Kavacha Stotram, which includes a prayer to be recitated to Mangala for seeking protection.[12]

Astrology and worship[edit]

Jyotisha, the tradition of Hindu astrology, includes Mangala in the concept of Nakshatra (see also List of Natchathara temples), Navagraha (see also List of Navagraha temples), and Saptarishi. He is included in the list of Hindu deities, whose dedicated temples are found at various Hindu pilgrimage sites, to which Hindus perform their pilgrimage, called yatra.


Mangala, as a planet, appears in various Hindu astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhata, the 6th century Romaka by Latadeva and Panca Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[13] These texts present Mangala as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[13] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been complete sometime between the 5th century and 10th century present their chapters on various planets with deity mythologies.[13]

The manuscripts of these texts exist in slightly different versions, present Mangala's motion in the skies, but vary in their data, suggesting that the text were open and revised over their lives.[14][15][16]

The 1st millennium CE Hindu scholars had estimated the time it took for sidereal revolutions of each planet including Mangala, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[17]

Sanskrit and other texts: How many days for Mangala (Mars) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[17]
Surya Siddhanta 686 days, 23 hours, 56 minutes, 23.5 seconds
Siddhanta Shiromani 686 days, 23 hours, 57 minutes, 1.5 seconds
Ptolemy 686 days, 23 hours, 31 minutes, 56.1 seconds
20th century calculations 686 days, 23 hours, 30 minutes, 41.4 seconds

Calendar and zodiac[edit]

Mangala is the root of the word 'Mangalavara' or Tuesday in the Hindu calendar.[2] The word मंगल also means "auspicious" but the planet मंगल is considered malefic.

Similarly, the names of Tuesday in other Indo-European languages are often derived from the Roman god Mars,[18] (such as the Latin word Martis "Tuesday") or a god ascribed with similar characteristics. The root of the English word Tuesday, for instance, is the old Germanic god of war and victory, Tīw, also known as Týr.[19]

Mangala is part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system. The role and importance of the Navagraha developed over time with various influences. The earliest work of astrology recorded in India is the Vedanga Jyotisha which began to be compiled in the 14th century BCE.

Mangala as the malefic planet Mars

Deifying planetary bodies and their astrological significance occurred as early as the Vedic period and was recorded in the Vedas. The classical planets, including Mars, were referenced in the Atharvaveda from the second millennium BCE. The Navagraha was furthered by additional contributions from Western Asia, including Zoroastrian and Hellenistic influences. The Yavanajataka, or 'Science of the Yavanas', was written by the Indo-Greek named "Yavanesvara" ("Lord of the Greeks") under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa king Rudrakarman I. The Yavanajataka written in 120 CE is often attributed to standardizing Indian astrology. The Navagraha would further develop and culminate in the Shaka era with the Saka, or Scythian, people. Additionally the contributions by the Saka people would be the basis of the Indian national calendar, which is also called the Saka calendar.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mangala, Maṅgalā, Maṅgala, Mamgala: 45 definitions". 27 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 240. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  3. ^ Ancient Indian Tradition & Mythology: The Nārada-Purāṇa. Motilal Banarsidass. 1982. p. 984.
  4. ^ Williams, George M. (27 March 2008). Handbook of Hindu Mythology. OUP USA. p. 86. ISBN 978-0-19-533261-2.
  5. ^ Turner, Sir Ralph Lilley (1962). "aṅgāraka 126". A comparative dictionary of the Indo-Aryan languages. London: Oxford University Press. Digital Dictionaries of South Asia, University of Chicago. p. 7. Archived from the original on 15 December 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2010. aṅgāraka 126 aṅgāraka '(hypothetical) red like embers', masculine 'charcoal'. 2. masculine 'the planet Mars'. [áṅgāra -- ]1. Pali aṅgāraka -- 'red like charcoal'; Sanskrit aṅārī 2. Pali aṅgāraka -- masculine 'Mars',; Sanskrit aṅāro masculine Tuesday.
  6. ^ Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 75.
  7. ^ Mythology of the Hindus, Charles Coleman, p. 132
  8. ^ Misra, Munindra; मिश्रा, मुनीन्द्र (4 August 2015). Lord Vishnu & Goddess Lakshmi (in Hindi). Osmora Incorporated. p. 108. ISBN 978-2-7659-1672-7.
  9. ^ Arumugam, Nesa (27 September 2020). Myths and Legends of the Navagraha: The Nine Movers of Destiny in Indian Astrology. Partridge Publishing Singapore. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-5437-6002-6.
  10. ^ Walter Slaje (2008). Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 22–24. ISBN 978-3-447-05645-8.
  11. ^ a b Christopher Minkowski (2008). Walter Slaje (ed.). Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 8–24. ISBN 978-3-447-05645-8.
  12. ^ adawal, Shanker. Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology : Relationship: Marriage, Love & Sex. Sagar Publications. p. 589.
  13. ^ a b c Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. vii–xi. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  14. ^ Lionel D. Barnett (1994). Antiquities of India: An Account of the History and Culture of Ancient Hindustan. Asian Educational Services. pp. 190–192. ISBN 978-81-206-0530-5.
  15. ^ Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. ix–xi, xxix. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  16. ^ J Fleet (1911). "Arbhatiya". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Cambridge University Press for the Royal Asiatic Society: 794–799.
  17. ^ a b Ebenezer Burgess (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  18. ^ Richard L. Thompson (2004). Vedic Cosmography and Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 88. ISBN 978-81-208-1954-2.
  19. ^ Linda T. Elkins-Tanton (2006). Mars. Infobase Publishing. pp. v–vi. ISBN 978-1-4381-0726-4.

Further reading[edit]