Shani - God of Justice

We have often heard the phrase “What goes around comes around” or “You shall reap as you sow”. Newton's third law of motion also signifies that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The Hindu concept of Karma holds an important aspect in one’s life since ancient times. Karma means action. Our scriptures say all living beings are bound to the fate of their Karma. Good Karma or actions result in good fate and destiny and Bad Karma results in misfortune. The scriptures also suggest that humans are born on this planet to nullify their Karmic records. Once their negative karma is balanced with positive karma, they can attain liberation. The effects of Karma can last for several lifetimes. Bad or good deeds done in previous lives can affect the destiny of our current lives. But who is keeping a record of all this? Who is maintaining this book of Karma and deciding our fate accordingly? Our ancient books refer to Lord Shani as the judge of our Karma. He is the bookkeeper of all our actions and rewards or punishes us accordingly. Lord Shani is one of the most feared deities in the Hindu religion and under no circumstances, devotees want to make him angry. A mere glance from unhappy Lord Shani can destroy one’s life. However Lord Shani can be considered as our friend too if we engage ourselves in doing good deeds. A person of good deeds is rewarded heavily as well by Lord Shani. Lord Shani is the divine personification of planet Saturn which holds the 7th position in our solar system. The solar system is called as Navagraha. It is believed that these planets control the fate of one’s life by moving in different directions. The planetary positions are calculated based on Janam Kundali or Birth Chart. Lord Shani hols an important aspect in one’s birth chart. The period of Sade Sathi in one’s chart is dedicated to Lord Shani. Lord Shani is the son of Sun God and Goddess Chaya (Goddess of shadow). Lord Surya (Sun God) was married to Sandhya (daughter of Daksha). They gave birth to three children Lord Yama, Yami, Vaivastahva Manu. Sandhya was a good wife, however over a period of time she became intolerable to God Surya’s heat and brightness. She wanted to go to her father Daksha’s place for a while but knew Surya God will not approve of the same. She created an exact duplicate of her and named her Chaya. She asked Chaya to take care of her husband and children while she is away. She left and Chaya stayed with Surya and family without anyone noticing that she is not the real Sandhya Chaya too was a devoted wife and mother and took care of the family efficiently. She was a great Shiva devotee too. Surya and Chaya became parents of three more children. These children were Lord Shani, Tapti And Manu. While Lord Shani was in her womb she did very hard penance to please Lord Shiva. She renounced food as well. Due to her strict penance sitting under the blazing sun, Lord Shani was born with charcoal black color. From birth itself Lord Shani had inherited great powers of penance of his mother. When Surya saw Lord Shani for the first after his birth he was very unhappy as Shani was pitch dark in color. He even questioned the chastity of Chaya thinking he wasn’t his son. This made Shani angry and he looked at Surya with a threatening gaze. Due to this Surya went dark and was on an eclipse for a long time. This is when Lord Shiva intervened and explained to Sun God what exactly happened. Sun God accepted his mistake and apologized. The father-son relations were restored. Pleased with Shani’s penance Lord Shiva gave him the responsibility of handling the records of Karma on planet Earth. Even though things became normal Lord Shani was never close to his father after that and would frequently oppose his father’s decisions. Lord Shani and Lord Hanuman have been closely associated and several stories revolve around them. Lord Hanuman considered Sun God as his Guru He learned everything from Sun God. After he completed his education he asked Sun God what does he want in return as Guru Dakshina. Surya God said that he wanted his son Shani to respect him and be in pleasant terms with him. To fulfill his request Hanuman went to Shani Lok (Planet Saturn) and asked him to return to his father. Shani was arrogant and wanted to teach Hanuman a lesson as he entered his planet without his permission. Shani climbed Hanuman's shoulder and exerted all his pressure to have a negative influence on him. However Lord Hanuman was powerful and nothing happened. Instead he started growing in size. His size grew so much that Lord Shani was suffocated between Hanuman and the ceiling of that room. This is when Lord Shani apologized and asked Hanuman to put him down. He also asked Hanuman to give him some oil and black sesame seeds. He was hurt during all this and wanted to apply the same on his wounds. This is the reason why Lord Shani is very fond of mustard oil and black sesame seeds which is offered to him by devotees during his worship During the period of Ramayana when Ravan was ruling the three worlds, Lord Shani was kept as a captive in his kingdom Lanka. Ravana was super powerful and when his son Indrajit was about to be born he wanted all the planets of Navagraha to be in his 11th house. All the planets agreed as no one wanted to fight the mighty Ravana, however, Shani opposed and stood on the 12th house. This irked Ravana so much that he attacked Lord Shani and kept him as a captive in Lanka. Ravana’s attack on Lord Shani wounded him and he turned lame from one leg. When Lord Hanuman visited Lanka in search of Goddess Sita he found Lord Shani there and freed him from the captivity of Ravana. Pleased with this Lord Shani granted him a boon that misfortune shall never touch Hanuman. Also, Hanuman devotes shall be freed from the clutches of their negative karma Lord Shani and Lord Yamraj (Both sons of Sun God) are considered as ultimate judges of human beings. Lord Shani decides the human fate while he is alive and Lord Yama decides his fate after death. Saturday is considered to be the day of Lord Shani and on this day devotees visit his temples especially. There is a famous Shani temple in Maharashtra which is situated in a village called Shani Shignapur. This temple is considered very holy and has visitors from all over the world. None of the houses in the village of Shani Shignapur are locked ever as no one dares to steal anything. Villagers believe that Lord Shani protects their houses.

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