Special prayers and offerings such as pujas and rituals are observed in South India on the day. Lord Shani is worshipped on the day. Prayers are offered to mitigate Saturn's impact in one’s horoscope and elicit peace health and prosperity.
How Saturn gained status as a Planet
Lord Shani (Saturn) had a desire to perform penance (tapa) in order to get a powerful place among the planets. For this Shani approached his father, the Sun, and asked his advice. The Sun advised Shani to go to Kashi and worship Lord Shiva there. Shani dev soon arrived in Kashi, established a shivalinga and started his worship.
During his long period of worship, Shani gradually gave up all eatables and lived only on water. Slowly he gave up water too. With his hard penance Lord Shiva was pleased and appeared before him and sprinkled holy water on Shani dev. Lord Shiva asked Shani to express his desire and on hearing it, he granted him a prominent place among planets as the planet Saturn. Lord Shiva granted him planetary status as Saturn and told him that he would be the ‘chief celestial judge’ who would help purify people through experience.
Because of his hard and dedicated penance, Shani dev achieved seven times the power his father, the Sun, possessed.
Legend of Saturn's Aspects
Ashtami is dedicated to Goddess Durga and also Lord Krishna. The relation of Saturn-Sani to Lord Krishna gives one legend with regard to Saturn's so-called cruel aspects. It is thought that the aspect of Saturn (3rd, 7th and 10th signs from Saturn) is worse than its placement. There is a story about Saturn as devotee of Lord Krishna which gives rise to the belief in Saturn's aspects.
Sani dev was a devotee of Lord Krishna and used to be deeply involved in Krishna's worship. As Shani reached adulthood, he was married to the daughter of Chitrarath, who was religious and pious woman. One night, she approached Sani dev with the desire to have a son. At that time, Sani dev was deeply absorbed in Krishna's worship. Not getting her wish fulfilled, she became upset and cursed Sani dev. As per her curse, Sani dev was to always keep his gaze low, and if he cast his drishti or aspect on anyone, that person would be ruined.
Afterwards, Sani dev tried to pacify his wife. She realised her mistake and tried to take back her curse, but had no power to do so.
- Own Signs: Capricorn and Aquarius are the two signs owned by Saturn.
- Friendly Signs: Gemini, Virgo, Taurus and Libra are friendly signs for Saturn
- Enemy Signs: Leo, Cancer, Aries and Scorpio are the enemy signs for Saturn
- Neutral Signs: Sagittarius and Pisces are the neutral signs for Saturn
- Sign of Exaltation: Saturn is exalted in Libra. The peak of exaltation is 20° of Libra
- Sign of Debilitation: Saturn is debilitated in Aries. The deep debilitation point is 20° of Aries.
Astronomy and Saturn
Saturn's rings require at least a 15-mm-diameter telescope to resolve and the rings were not known to exist until Galileo first saw them in 1610. He thought of them as two moons on Saturn's sides. It was not until Christiaan Huygens used greater telescopic magnification that it became clear that these "moons" were in fact rings. Huygens discovered Saturn's moon Titan; Giovanni Domenico Cassini later discovered four other moons: Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys and Dione. In 1675, Cassini discovered the gap now known as the Cassini Division.
Cassini–Huygens is an unmanned spacecraft sent to the planet Saturn. It is a robotic spacecraft sent to the Saturn system. It has studied the planet and its many natural satellites since arriving there on June 30, 2004, also observing Jupiter and the heliosphere, and testing the theory of relativity. Launched in 1997 after nearly two decades of development, it includes a Saturn orbiter and an atmospheric probe/lander for the moon Titan called Huygens, which entered and landed on Titan in 2005. Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit, and its mission is ongoing as of 2015. The two-part spacecraft is named after astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Huygens. All our quality images of Saturn are gifted to us from this Spacecraft, Cassini–Huygens .
Devotion to Shani Dev - Shani Chalisa
Shani Ashtami is observed when Ashtami or eighth day in a lunar fortnight in the Hindu calendar falls on a Saturday. Saturday in Hinduism is called Shanivar and is dedicated to Saturn, Lord Shani. Saturn is the only planet named as an embodiment of the Divine, called Sanieswaraya (Shani+eashwara). Shani Ashtami dates in 2015 are 11 April, 22 August, 5 September and 19 December.
The Shani Chalisa is a prayer to Shani or Saturn,this is a very ancient and powerful prayer which vibrates to the unique frequency of Saturn,by reciting this prayer one can reap the full benefit's and negate the adverse effects of Saturn.