In many temples in South India, there is an area which is dedicated to the nine Grahas or the luminaries which move in the sky. Murtys or sculptures which represent each Grahas can be in this area. The most striking aspect of their placement is the disorder in the directions which they face. The Murty for the Sun is at the very center. The eight other Grahas face random directions. Is there a logic behind this?
Per astrology, the nine Grahas mete out the effects of past Karmas to human beings. People worship the Murtys of the nine Grahas to reduce the effect of negative Karmas. Several centuries ago, the Murtys of eight Grahas would be placed around, in an orderly manner, around the Murty of the Sun at the center. Such an arrangement is still in vogue in few temples even today. There must be history behind how the orderly arrangement gave way to random order. This is related to an incident which happened several centuries ago and it relates to a Siddhar by the name Idai-Kattar.
Idai-Kattar was a sheep herder who attained the status of an enlightened being. Once, he foresaw an impending drought which would last a long time. He prepared his sheep to eat harsh vegetation which grows in parched land. He got used to drinking their milk which could put others to sleep. The nine Grahas were curious about the lone survivor of a severe drought and decided to pay Idai-Kattar a visit as human beings. They consumed the food which Idai-Kattar offered and became unconscious Idai-Kattar took the opportunity to place them as Murtys which faced different directions.
Calamities arise when amicable Grahas lose their power because of the directional influences from malefic Grahas. The directional placements which Idai-Kattar chose makes sure that long standing calamities such such as a twelve year drought is less probable. There continues to be a temple for the nine Grahas in the place associated with Siddhar Idai-Kattar even today.