Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa | Remedies-28

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28-Shani and Vikramaaditya


Shani and Vikramaaditya
[p 258-267]

Although almost all Deities suffered from Shani's wrath, but Shani's most important Kathaa (story) is about the King Vikramaaditya, because he is a human being like us and cannot perform supernatural actions. His story shows that he stuck to his principles and finally he came out of those miseries. The King is like god.

This King Vikramaaditya is a mythical figure whose story may have been influenced by one or more Vikramaaditya appeared on India's historical scene. The one who is identified as the starter of Vikram Samvat that began in 56 BC, has sometimes been identified as an incarnation of Shiv. Another historical Vikramaaditya was Chandragupta II (c 400 AD) who once defeated Hoon tribe. This Vikramaaditya also regarded as the ideal king. It might be possible that the renowned astrologer Varaahmihir belonged to this Chandragupta II's court. If this is so, then it is also possible that Vikramaaditya got interested in astrology. Vikramaaditya Harsh may also have been the King Vikramaaditya whose court the famous poet Kaali Daas graced.

Many of the stories of this mythical Vikramaaditya are found in Kathaa Sarit Saagar (the Ocean of the Streams of the Story) in which several names like Vikramsen and Vikramsinh appear. It may be possible that all of these figures represented our heroic figure Vikramaaditya. Shani, however, appears only once in the entire text where he is named as Kaal Kop (Black Anger, or The Anger of Time). In that story he was defeated in battle along with Mangal, Budh and Brihaspati.

There is one another collection of stories related to Vikramaaditya, that is " Sinhaasan Batteesee" (Thirty-two Tales of the Throne). They are written in Sanskrit, perhaps between 11th and 13th centuries. They are not seemed to be mutated and are available in several languages of India. The 7th story of this collection is another rendering of the story of Vikramaaditya's Shani's Saadhe Saatee. In this story, Vikram's favorite Deity Kaalee Maa appears in his dream and instructs him to pacify Shani Dev by prostrating before him so that all the difficulties might spread over the 7 and 1/2 year period instead of concentrating in a short period.

So shortly after this dream he saw Shani limping, he recollected the dream and immediately prostrated before him. Pleased with him, Shani sent him to Mathuraa to be the servant of the King of Mathuraa for those years. So Vikramaaditya handed over his country to Shani Dev and went away to Mathuraa. While he was going to Mathuraa, an Apsaraa, joined him. A snake and a frog who had been kings in their previous births also joined him. He reached Mathuraa in disguise and got a job of the King's personal guard in the daytime for a salary of 1,000 gold coins per day. In the daytime he guarded the King and in the night he sported with the Apsaraa, while the snake and frog who could change their forms guarded the King in the night.

Two courtiers were jealous of Vikramaaditya because they had discovered the secret of Vikramaaditya. The Apsaraa became ugly in the daytime, and beautiful in the nighttime. Once those courtiers took away the King into the courtyard so that he could see the game of Vikramaaditya. As the King saw the Apsaraa he decided to take her for himself into his Harem, because she was to beautiful. Now he started giving difficult tasks to perform to Vikramaaditya. Unfortunately Vikramaaditya performed every task successfully and won a maiden each time he completed the task successfully. Thus 7 and 1/2 yeas of Shani's Saadhe Saatee had passed and Vikramaaditya returned to his kingdom. Shani gave him back his signet ring. During the course of 32 tales, King Vikramaaditya marries every legible woman that he encounters.

[Note: I have the collection of Sinhaasan Batteessee tales, but I have not heard this tale, nor that Vikramaaditya marries every legible woman that he encounters.]

North Indian Style Shani's Vrat Kathaa
Read the similar story here

This Kathaa of "Shani Dev Kee Mahimaa" is similar to a North Indian version which is still reprinted in Hindi in New Delhi, but more detailed. In this North Indian Kathaa, once the Nine Planets got an argument over "Who was the greatest Graha of all?" When they could not decide, they went to Indra. Hearing their problem Indra got terrified, because as he pointed towards one, he would have to suffer the rage of the other eight Graha, so he said to them that he was not competent enough to decide their matter and they should go to the King Vikramaaditya and he would be better person to settle their matter.

So the Nine Planets came to Vikramaditya's court and told him their problem. Vikamaaditya thought and thought as how to solve their problem, and he came up with a method. He made 9 thrones of nine metals - gold, silver, bronze, bras, lead, tin, zinc, mica and iron, and arranged them in the order (may be by their commercial value at that time). Then he said to them - "Whose throne is first in the line, he is first in greatness, and whose is last, he is last." So the Sun whose metal is gold was gratified at this and then the rest of Planets also took their throne according to their metals, except Shani whose metal is iron. Shani became very angry at the King's judgment. He warned him "what would befall him", and rest of story is as much as the Gujaraatee version.

Other Stories

AK Ramanujan retold  a story entitled "Raja Vikram and the Princess of China", a folk tale which is almost similar to this Shani's tale but without Shani - King Vikramaaditya sets out to marry the Princess of China who is the only person in the world who can save his kingdom from an evil sorcerer. Once in China, King Vikramaaditya is falsely accused of stealing a necklace from the royal treasury of the Emperor of China. In fact some other thieves stole it and put it around his horse's neck. It is that Emperor who orders his hands and feet to be cut off. An oilman brings him home at his own initiative and risk. His wife makes objections but he does not listen to her. When the oilman wants to bathe the King, Vikramaaditya demands to be bathed in the Princess' pool, and it is there where he sings Raag Deepak and makes all the lamps lit. That is how the Princess who knows about the prowess of the King Vikramaaditya, comes to know that he is there.

She then insists that each oilman of her kingdom should bring her three tons oil the next day, knowing that only Vikramaaditya will be able to do so with the help of his "four Vaitaals" who work for him and whom he summons by singing Raag Bhairavee. After the oil is delivered, the Princess orders the oilman to bring the cripple Vikramaaditya to her Swayamvar  [7]. When he comes there she turns into an Apsaraa who asks him to ask for a boon. He asks for his limbs which she gives him. He then displays himself with all his glory with the help of his Vaitaal. The King of China and other kings acknowledge him and when the evil sorcerer comes to kill him, the Princess easily thwarts him. The King and the bride return to Ujjayinee and live happily for a very long time.

North Indian Version of Shani's Affliction to His Guru Kathaa

The incident of Saturn's affliction to his Guru is described in a North Indian tale. In this tale, the King's Minister saw Shani in his dream. He told him that his King's Shani's Saadhe Saatee is going to start soon. The minister brings him down to 7 and 1/2 months, and then 7 and 1/2 days, and finally to one hour and that one hour also he asks him to give to himself. Shani Dev agrees, and when that one hour begins, someone leaves the Prince's severed head dangling at the Minister's door while the Minister was sitting inside worshipping the Lord.

The King was shocked to hear this and he ordered his people to kill his Minister; and as the condemned man was taken to the execution ground, the Prince's funeral pyre was prepared. During all this period Minister kept quiet, knowing that the time would simply pass. Fire was set to the Prince's pyre to burn him and the noose was put in the Minister's neck to strangle him, that at the same moment the hour of Shani was up. The Prince got up from the pyre and the noose automatically fell from the Minister's neck.

The King was amazed to see this, he asked "What is this?" The Minister told him the whole story. The King praised his Minister and rewarded him heavily for his willingness to take that Saadhe Saatee on himself and suffer in silence so that the King and his country might be spared.

Vikramaaditya's Fate

The willingness to suffer for others, be it a King (like the Minister in the above story) or his subjects (like Vikramaaditya asked the boon for others) is one of the notable quality of a noble person. In this story Vikramaaditya pressed into service as Saturn's foil, as in the Biblical story of Job, God felt confident that he would succeed when tested. In this story Vikramaaditya learns to to accept his fate without struggle and like Job forgives everyone whoever does anything wrong with him. This is called surrender to life.

As part of his penance, Vikram had to withdraw from his normal life, such is the nature of Shani Dev. "Saturn weakens energy and enthusiasm for the common life in order to highlight the extraordinary, the very depths of the soil." Sometimes it may be a disease, or maybe another crisis, or depression. King Vikramaaditya blamed no one else but his own Karm. Shani is often the most blamed, "Poor Shani, He is crying because everyone blames him, but what can he do? It is part of his duty to make people experience Reality."




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Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/2008
Updated on 06/17/11