Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa | Introduction
|Introduction to Shani Dev|
Introduction to Shani Dev
In Vaidik astrology the planet Saturn is called Shani. In Sanskrit Shani comes from Shanaishchar, which means, "slow mover". From Shani we get the word "shun", which means to ignore, or lose awareness of something. Thus, Saturn represents a loss of awareness, or ignorance. This loss of awareness can also mean the diminishing awareness of the material world of manifestation. Saturn also indicates the ascetic, rich with inner spirituality, and lost to this material plane of existence.
In Vaidik myth Saturn is the son of Soorya Dev, born to his shadow wife, Chhaayaa. Saturn is lame because Soorya's first wife Sanjanaa's (or Sangyaa) children became angry with him and struck him in the foot. Thus Saturn walks with a limp, and that is why he is the slowest of all the Graha. He is also known as Mandaa (dull and slow), Sauraa (Sooryas son), Kroor Drishti or Kroor Lochan (cruel-eyed), Pangu (disabled), Saptaarchi (seven-eyed), Konasth (who is in angle), Pingalaa, and Asit (dark). According to acharyaonline.com/shani.htm Shani is married to Satee.
Saturn in Astronomy and Astrology
Saturn was born in Sauraashtra in Kashyap Gotra in the year Vibhav on Paush Shukla Navamee. His star was Bharanee and the day was Saturday. Facing west-ward, he adorns Dhanush (bow), Trishul (trident), Arrow and Varad (giving a boon) Mudraa in his four hands. He presides over Makar (Capricorn) and Kumbh (Aquarius) Raashi. In the planetary system, he is positioned behind the Sun in a bow like formation towards west.
Saturn is a malefic Graha. He rules over the two sidereal signs - Capricorn and Aquarius. He is exalted in (Tulaa) Libra, and fallen in its opposite sign Mesh (Aries). Thus Libra Lagna is the best place for Shani. He is a particularly beneficial planet for Vrishabh (Taurus) and Tulaa (Libra) Ascendants. Saturn's most powerful place in a native's chart is in the 7th House and the Kendra's, or Angles and 3rd, 6th and 11th zodiac signs. Saturn, is generally known to affect one adversely on occasions when he occupies certain positions in one's horoscope like Saadhe Saatee (7 and 1/2 years) Ashtam Shani (Saturn in 8th house - 2 and 1/2 years) etc.
The period of human life in astrology is calculated as 100 years. In each personís life Shani's Saadhe Saatee fall three times. Once in childhood, the second time in youth and the third time in old age. Similarly the Dhaiyaa, which is for 2 and a 1/2 years. Each Saadhe Saatee is composed of three Dhaiyaa and other than this usually there are an additional six Dhaiyaa in oneís lifetime. That means that Shani has an active and strong effect for thirty seven and a half years in each personís lifetime without considering the Dashaa (period) of Shani which is for 19 years. But this is not the end. It is also considered that from the House in which he is seated, whichever he looks at, he causes destruction there. He is calculated as looking on the 4th, 7th, and 10th houses from the house he is situated. As if all this is not enough there are other combinations between planets, houses, constellations and signs known as Yog. All these are calculated and then the effect of Shani on a horoscope is calculated.
Not only these special periods, even the day named after him, Shani Vaar or Saturday, is also considered inauspicious to begin any new venture. His Dashaa (tenure) is 19 years. He is the slowest moving planet that is why, he resides in each sign for 30 months or 2 and 1/2 years, thus completes one cycle in 30 years.
It is a Kaarak or indicator or cause of longevity, accidents, misery, sorrow, old age and death, discipline, restriction, responsibility, delays, ambition, leadership and authority, humility, integrity, wisdom born of experience. It also indicates asceticism, denial, non-attachment, spirituality, hard work, organization, reality and time itself.
Saturn's nature is Vaat, or Airy. His gem is Blue Sapphire and all black stones and his metal is Lead. Saturn's direction is west and his day is Saturday. He reaches full maturity at the age of 36. His diameter is 725,000 miles and his temperature is 279 deg C. There is a circle of light encircling Saturn and it is the second biggest planet after Jupiter in our solar system. Saturn is positioned 20,183,904 Yojan away from the earth. (one Yojan is equal to eight miles). And its gravitational force is 95 times higher than that of the earth. Therefore, when we think good or bad thoughts and make plans, they reach Shani by the strength of his gravitational power.
Generally to overcome the effects of a difficult time there are two differing approaches as per Hindu astrology. One is to pray to the god of the body (how that works is a different story), and the other is to pray to an opposing stronger force so that this other stronger force removes the negative effects of the first one. However Shani is so strong that the second approach is not possible, so that leaves only one possibility, the first approach - to pray to him. An alternative is considered to pray to the monkey god Hanuman. However Hanuman is a Warrior god and he strengthens the planet Mars or Mangal who is also a warrior. This in many horoscopes creates numerous problems. Therefore in the opinions of some astrologers it is considered safer to pray to the god Shani and thereby overcome his any negative effects. Of course in practice how well this works depends on the strength of the negative effect versus the accumulated merit of the prayers. There is a school of thought in Hindu astrology that feels that one should not pray to Shani as this in turn strengthens his power and therefore the results may be negative but the other school feels that each prayer in turn makes the god positively oriented to the person through his prayers. So they feel that the prayers should be done and they will only help.
To appease him, many pay obeisance every Saturday by lighting a lamp before the image of Shani and reading the 'Shani Mahaatmya'. He is pleased to accept lamps lit with sesame or mustard oil. A prayer to this Devata, especially on Saturdays, is said to mitigate the hardships one will have to face during these periods. Shanaishchar bestows all benefits to the devotees who pray sincerely to him. The legend that depict the influence of the worship of Shani goes as written in following pages, and is narrated whenever a worship or offering is made to the deity.
Usually the practices that we do are the Shani Kavach or the protective armor by which Shani Dev protects us, as well as Shani Stotra (glory of Shani) and the ten names of Shani and nine names of Shaniís wife. All of these are credited to remove any negative effects in life.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/2008
Updated on 06/17/11