In Vedic astrology Mars is know as MANGAL, ANGARAKA and KUJA. These names in Sanskrit mean, & auspicious, burning coal, and the fair one. Mars is a malefic. He rules over the two sidereal signs of Aries and Scorpio. He is exalted in Capricorn and fallen in the opposite sign of Cancer. Mars is often depicted as a god with a red body exemplifying the natural color of the astronomical body in the sky.
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Kuja is a karaka, or indicator, of brother and siblings, assertion, aggressiveness, soldiers and military endeavors, mechanical ability, engineers and surgeons, commanders and rulers, accidents, violence and war, ambition, strength, arguments and conflict, passion and desire.
Like Surya, the Sun, Mars most powerful position is in the 10th House. He is a particularly beneficial planet for Cancer or Leo Ascendants. His nature is PITTA, or fiery. His gem is red coral and his direction is south. Mars' day is Tuesday and he reaches full maturity at age 28.
In Vedic mythology Mars appears to have been born of the Earth. SARVA, the archer, represents the element of Earth as the supporter of life. Sarva's wife VIKESI, the disheveled, is the Earth goddess. The Puranic literature of ancient India declares that Angaraka, Mars is their son born of the Earth. Mars is further identified with the Kartikeya, the god of war. He is the son of the god Shiva, who was born without Shiva's union with a woman. Kartikeya was born with six heads as the six goddesses of the lunar constellation, Kritika, or the Pleiades nurtured him. Kartikeya kills the seemingly invincible demon Taraka, and releases the Devas from Taraka's oppression. These myths depict valor, strength and courage, and most fittingly, the protective quality of Mars. Thus, Mars is known as the protector of dharma, the sacred path and purpose in life that each of us follows.