Shani Jayanti is believed to be the day when Lord Shani, one of the Navagrahas made its appearance on Earth. In 2022, the date of Shani Jayanti is May 30. For many, Shani Jayanti is a day of fasting. For others, Shani is guru and guide. We tell of Hanuman and Lord Shani Dev, and the duty of Shani.
Most Hindu devotees fast on the Shani Jayanti day. The fasting is from sunrise to sunset. Only a single meal is consumed on the day that is after pujas and prayers in the evening.
Devotees who are observing Shani Jayanti fasting usually visit Shani or Navagraha shrines. Numerous other temples also have Lord Shani installed as a minor deity.
Black coloured items like sesame (til), sesame oil, black clothes, and black gram whole are offered to Lord Shani. It must be noted here that the colour of the idol of Shani is always black in colour. So black is the favourite colour of Lord Shani.
At Sunrise on Shani Jayanti we find Sun, Moon and Mercury (retrograde) in Taurus. Sun and Mercury are benefic; Moon is malefic. We keep in mind that Venus, Lord of Taurus, treats Moon as an enemy, so the mind is somewhat afflicted. Discipline and control of the mind are important. All seven planets are in four houses, indicating that Kedara yoga prevails. The presence of Kedara Yoga in a person’s Rashi results in making the native virtuous, upright, modest, passive, charitable, generous, honest, wealthy, and a firm follower of traditions and religion. The native is always ready to undertake a righteous job or a truthful task under his belt. A person under the influence of Kedara Yoga will go beyond limits to stand and fight for truth and honesty.
At sunrise on Shani Jayanti, Planet Shani is in the 10th house – this is the strongest of the kendras. The tenth house represents the government, lawmakers, bureaucrats, boss, master, social orders, social elite, hierarchy toppers; also the father’s family and father’s resources. There is a strong call to comply with lawful social order or meet consequences from the authorities featured in this house. It is the role of Saturn in all houses to impress lawful duty, social obligations, dutiful roles, and compliance with rules and regulations.
Lord Shani Dev is the slow one. When we read the daily chart and look to the drishti of Shani (aspect to 3, 7 and 10th signs) it is the clear direction of Shani for the day is to take things slowly, attend to detail, follow dharma in the matters of that house, that sign. Many fear Shani Dev; few call Shani Dev a teacher, a guru, and even fewer call Shani Dev a friend. When we learn to live and move and have our being within the freedom that karma yoga brings, we learn to thrive with acceptance of all that life brings to us. Whenever we need a karmic lesson, you can be sure of the glance of Shani in your direction.
Hanuman and Lord Shani Dev
Hanuman is said to have rescued Shani from the clutches of Ravana. Ravana had become invincible because Shiva and Brahma’s boons. So he had defeated all the Devata and Lokpaal and kept then under his foot. They could not do anything, but Shani told them he might help them. Ravana was a great astrologer. When Ravana’s son Meghnath was born, Ravana placed all the planets in his 11th House so that he could also be invincible and immortal. The Devata’s were very afraid of this and looked to Shani. Then Shani slowly stretched his leg a little bit from Ravana’s clutches towards his 12th House. Ravana knew that this will cause Meghnath’s death, so he imprisoned Shani in a dark tiny cell so that nobody could see Shani’s face again.
After some time, when Hanuman was searching for Sita, he heard Shani’s cries from a deep place. When Hanuman looked here and there, he found Shani imprisoned in a cell. Shani requested Hanuman to free him. Hanuman freed him, but as he freed him, Shani looked at him and thus Hanuman became the victim of Shani’s gaze. In gratitude, Shani promised Hanuman that those who would pray to him on Saturday would be rescued from the painful effects of Shani. When Hanuman was burning Lanka, he found that he was not able to burn it properly. Then as Shani promised to Hanuman to help him in degrading Ravana, he looked at Lanka and turned it into black instead of a heap of gold.
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 (suryaputrya); 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: