Saturn and Duty

Human Values and Astrology
Value: Dharma Sub-value: Duty
Planet (graha) Saturn (Sani)

Shani - Planetary Deity for Saturn

Oh Lord Saturn! The mysterious one,

Thy mother is the shadow and thy father is the Sun,
You are considered, only maelific, by some,
Others know you as the benevolent one.

God gave you the task to purify each one
Through all types of experiences under the Sun.
Bless us and remove our shackles, one by one.

The Planet Saturn is dispositor of limits, control (and when we try to push past that control, frustration); and completion. We should never be trying to push back the barriers that limit us without using our discrimination.


Planet Saturn

Saturn is a disposer of universal energy in the form of light, for all light comes from the Central Sun of all Universes, to our own galaxy, to our own solar system and flows to our own Sun. From our Sun, the seven rays are directed to the seven planets and two nodes, Rahu and Ketu; thence the planets and nodes combine and recombine the rays and reflect them as cosmic force into the field of our own birth. The field of right action is the field of the human body. Thus, Saturn redirects light to us for cosmic purpose.

Mankind is homo sapiens; man has self awareness and due that self awareness, man is the species which cultivates wisdom due innate awareness. This explains the sapienssapientia means possessing wisdom, wise, learned, discriminating. Saturn is karaka, disposer of discernment and discrimination. Discernment and discrimination are both elements of dharma and also, at the same time, foundation for the triple purity of thoughts, words and action.


 Saturn was 810 million miles (1.3 billion kilometers) away when the Hubble Space Telescope took this ultraviolet image of the planet, revealing a vivid auroral display rising thousands of miles above the cloud tops over both of the planet’s poles.

Human Values

Human values give us a bedrock against which we may evaluate situations, propositions, events and experience. We have something to fall back on when we engage in the practice of living with human values.

Other people impress their values upon us. We may take on the values of people we admire, such as our peers, our teachers, or elders in the community. Our moral values are often sourced from our faith. We also obtain moral values from the society and culture we engage with. The practice of human values also includes self-knowledge. This points to an important principle – that of self-inquiry. Up to 70% of our time should be spent in self-inquiry. If we do not know our inner self, then our lives will be spent in reaction to outer phenomena; we will be trapped in maya, illusion, and reacting to what the world presents to us.

Our values often include universal principles such as truthfulness, peace, love, right conduct and non-violence. These principles are often essential for our personal and social progress. In our observation, when we reverse the order of perception, we can often work out what values are active and driving a situation or an event or a reaction (our own)(someone else’s) when we analyse the motives of either ourselves or others. We keep in mind that behaviour reveals choices – and that choices are based on our values. Our values guide our actions.

Dharma is the eternal order, the basis of the Universe, for everything in the universe follows its proper dharma, its order, its righteousness, its right action. It is the dharma of an orange to taste as an orange and give Vitamin C; it is not the dharma of oranges to taste like watermelons and give so many seeds. It is the dharma of rain to fall on everything alike and to provide moisture and water for growth. It is the dharma or right conduct of fire to radiate heat; it is not the dharma of fire to radiate moisture on its own account. An individual’s dharma must be fulfilled by adherence to the duties and obligations relating to each person’s inherent nature, profession, status and stage of life as laid down by the ancient lawgivers. Dharma sustains the world. Dharma protects those who uphold dharma. ‘dharmo rakshati rakshitaah‘ – Dharma protects those who protect it.

Dharma and Duty

Duty is one of many sub values which add up to dharma. These include modesty, resourcefulness, responsibility, self-reliance, perseverance and courage. Dharma is a foundation of the universe and is dynamic in nature: as the basis of order and structure it is both within time and space and beyond time and space at the same time. Yet it is known within the human, and can be elicited from the human through Educare.

Duty is also a foundation of man. Man has multiple duties, to himself, to his family, to the society and to the welfare of the nation. Many has a duty to follow dharma in all things and such duty leads man onto the Divine. There are many who claim their rights, without performing their duty properly. We do not take rights, we earn rights through performance of duty.

Duty is often associated with work. It is more than work, duty is responsibility. We have responsibility to ourselves, our family, the society, the workplace, and the nation. Duty is fulfilment and completion of task. Completion brings a state of awareness and satisfaction. Completion of task, fulfilment of duty enable a rise in consciousness, a rise in self awareness. Fulfilment of duty is due to concentration which brings success to duty. Fulfilment of duty is also a function of strong boundaries, for boundaries are a form of discipline for the mind. We cannot have satisfaction nor awareness without discipline.

In every value, and in every component (or sub value), we find that there is a limit. The idea of limit is based on discipline, for in everything in creation, there are limits which we should not go beyond. The Vedas teach us that there is no benefit, no progress, without adherence to proper discipline. (Na sreyo niyamam vina)

The Duty of Saturn

As we drive down the highway called life, the end of the journey is reached with balance. We start early, drive carefully, and arrive safely. There are four tyres on the car taking us to the goal of life; these are the four purusarthas, the four great goals of life: Right Action (righteousness) (sometimes called Dharma), Gains and Wealth (sometimes called Artha, Wealth), our needs and basic necessities, desires appropriate to our station in life (sometimes called Kama) and very Heaven itself, the vision of God — beatific vision — or liberation from the cycle of birth, death and birth again (sometimes called Moksha). The air in the tyres have to be set to the proper limit, and not more. If the air — read investment of our energies, our direction, our emphasis, our time, talents and resources — is too much into one tyre, the tyre will burst and cause accident. Enter Saturn, for we must pause, delay our journey and evaluate our actions, our choices and our guides to behaviour.

In mythology, Saturn is the son of the Sun (suryaputraya); his mother is Shadow, Chhaya. It is said that the Sun found blemish in his son Saturn, for Saturn was dark and not self-effulgent like the Sun. Due worship and penance offered to Lord Shiva, Saturn won favour and appointment as Chief Celestial Judge among the planets.

The Planet Saturn is known as the slow one, the lame (manda), and several stories tell how Saturn came to be slow of foot. Saturn is said to be lean of physique, with protuding bones and prominent teeth along with wide hands and long fingers. His environment is said to be the dust bins, the garbage heaps, the rubbish tips, rocky and cold places. His vehicle is the corvid, the black crows. Typical imagery of Saturn (aka Shani, Saneswara, Shaniswara) is in a rath drawn by a crow:



Vedic Astrology is called jyothisha (science of light) and is vedanga (limb of the Vedas). The planets are tasked with reflecting the light of the sun into the seven rays, and remediating light to the soul. The soul is encased with the mind and its impressions: it is a little like a Christmas ball on the Christmas tree – light is emanating from within, shining, sparkling, reaching out. There is a slow emergence of energy from within for the body and mind are both of karmic origin. We are born because we wished to be here, to fulfil desires and to spend the energy (action-reaction) from the past that has been selected for this body, this life. The planets have this function of remediating light, directing magnetic energy, and bringing out the circumstances, time and place for fulfilling wishes, desires and karma. You might say that Saturn slows matters down so events may be fulfilled.

We may begin to consider that the duty of Saturn is to create prevailing conditions in the mind through outer experiences and environment in order that we might discover our true nature, and the foundation of our lives. THAT, may come via self-sacrifice, the boundaries we spoke of earlier, and the control of the mind. Acceptance of our circumstances is a most important element of what true humanness means. We don’t attain fulfilment of duty by pushing a button in an elevator – and we don’t obtain immortality that way, either. The strophe is, Na karmana na prajaya dhanena thyagenaike amrutatthwamanasuh: not by action, not by progeny and not by wealth do we attain immortality: immortality is only attained by sacrifice. So the duty of Saturn is to guide us along the path through the experience of sacrifice in order that we might attain our goals.

So we have Saturn (who is not a luminary) undertaking duty reflecting light, reflecting vibration, mediating magnetic energy to create appropriate experiences selected by the soul on its journey. This leads us to understanding of the human experience as something of a reversal: we stand under an experience, allow it to shed its light upon us, and so come to understanding of the human journey, of emotions, of energy in motion that we call birth-life-death-birth-again. We need the planets to shed their light upon our experiences in that we might understand our duty as humans to one another and take us toward the goal of life.






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