Categories: Hindu God and Goddess

Shani Deva:Hindu Deity of Justice and Influence

Shani Deva, also known as Sani, Ravinandana, Saneeswara, Saura, and by many other names, is a revered deity in Hinduism. As the son of Surya Deva, the Sun God, Shani Deva holds a pivotal role in mythology. He is believed to dispense rewards and punishments based on one’s actions. Shani Deva embodies values such as spiritual asceticism, discipline, and conscientious work, shaping the significance of Shanivara, or Saturday, in the Hindu calendar.

Iconography of Shani Deva

Shani Deva

Lord Shani is often shown with dark skin and dressed in dark blue or black attire. He’s commonly depicted riding on a crow or vulture, steering a chariot pulled by eight horses. Lord Shani wields various weapons, including a bow, two arrows, a sword, a trident, and an ax, similar to Lord Parashuram.

Influence of Shani Deva

Lord Shani possesses a unique dominion over the physical and lifeless aspects of existence, influencing nerves, muscles, cells, nails, hair, skin, teeth, and bones within our bodies. His authority extends even to the realm of mortality, where he exercises total control. Lord Shani’s influence extends beyond the corporeal; he can create situations that challenge our motivation, inspiration, and clarity of vision. Remarkably, he is devoid of cunning or deception, embodying unwavering seriousness and gravity in every circumstance, leaving no room for humor.

Birth Story of Shani Deva

According to Hindu mythology, Surya Deva, the Sun God, was initially married to Saranyu, also known as Sanjana. They had three children: Shraddhadeva Manu, Yama, and Yamuna. However, Sanjana found the intense heat and brightness of the Sun unbearable and decided to leave him for a period of penance. She left behind her shadow, known as Chhaya, to take her place. Despite her father’s urging to return to her husband, Sanjana remained steadfast in her decision.

During Sanjana’s rigorous penance, Chhaya gave birth to Shani on a Jyestha Krishna Paksha Amavasya Tithi. Shani is also referred to as Chhayaputra, as he is the son of Chhaya. Chhaya went on to bear three more children to Surya Deva: Savarni Manu, Shani, and Tapti. Notably, Shani was born with a dark complexion, believed to be a result of the Sun’s intense heat during his gestation. He is the elder brother of Yama, the god of death and justice, and possesses the power to bring an end to life, reflecting his role in the cosmos.

Shani Deva is also associated with the concept of detachment, imparting profound spiritual significance. It is believed that a well-placed and powerful Saturn (Shani) in one’s Kundli or Birth Chart is essential for saints to take birth, emphasizing the celestial influence on human destinies.

Surya Deva’s Abandonment of Shani

Following the birth of Shani, Surya Deva, upon seeing his son’s starkly different appearance from his own, refused to acknowledge him as his child. This rejection led to the abandonment of both Shani and his mother, Chhaya. The two endured the harsh consequences of this abandonment, facing disregard and disgrace while bearing the heavy burden of emotional pain and isolation. This episode highlights the challenging circumstances that Shani and Chhaya had to endure due to the Sun God’s rejection.

Shani’s Penance and blessings from Shiva

In ancient times, Shani Deva embarked on a remarkable journey. He longed for power and insight that would make his father proud. To achieve this, he undertook rigorous penance to please Lord Shiva, the mighty deity. Shani’s unwavering devotion and pure intentions deeply touched Lord Shiva‘s heart. In response to his dedication, Lord Shiva bestowed upon Shani a unique boon – the divine right and authority to govern penalties and compensations. As a result, Shani earned his revered title as the god of justice.

Lame Shani

Once Shani was very hungry and went to his mother, Chhaya, to ask for food. His mother said she needed to give food to the Gods first. Shani got really mad and told his mother to give him food first, even before the Gods. He even kicked her because he was so angry. Because of his bad behavior, one of Shani’s legs stopped working, and he became unable to walk properly.

Curses of Shani’s Wife

Lord Shani had two wives, Neelima and Damini. Neelima, also known as Neela, held the honored position of being Shani’s first consort, and she possessed a remarkable ability – the power of the fifth head of Lord Brahma. She not only balanced Shani’s influence but also amplified his strength, making their bond harmonious and powerful.

On the other hand, Damini, a princess and the daughter of a Gandharva, possessed an enchanting talent. Her dance was so mesmerizing that it could captivate the hearts of anyone across the entire universe. However, an unfortunate incident occurred when Shani, engrossed in his devotion to Lord Shiva, unintentionally neglected Damini. In her anguish, Damini cursed Shani, causing his eyes to forever gaze downward and his sight to bring misfortune. This tale of love, power, and a fateful curse paints a vivid picture of the intricate relationships among celestial beings.

Shani in Vedic Astrology

In Vedic astrology, Shani, also known as Saturn, holds a significant place among the Navagraha, the nine planetary deities. It ranks seventh in this celestial lineup and is known for its slow movement, taking a leisurely 30 years to traverse all 12 zodiac signs. Saturn is often seen as a cosmic judge of our past actions, influencing various aspects of our lives. It rules over jobs, metals, industries, age, poverty, hardships, diseases, obstacles, and even selfish tendencies. Some believe that those born under Saturn’s influence may face challenges and bad luck, leading to the worship of Shani Deva to ward off misfortune and negative obstacles. However, it’s important to note that Saturn’s true essence is often misunderstood.

In Vedic astrology, Saturn’s impact is multifaceted, encompassing both fortune and adversity, health and hardships. Worshiping Shani Deva is a way to seek protection from potential misfortunes and alleviate negative hurdles that may come our way. It reminds us that understanding the intricate interplay of celestial bodies can help us navigate the complex tapestry of life, where both challenges and blessings are part of the journey.

Mantras of Shani Deva

ॐ ऐं ह्रीं श्रीं शनैश्चराय नमः ||
Om Aing Hring Shring Shanaishchray Namah ||

Translation: I bow to the cosmic energy and seek the blessings and protection of Lord Shani.

Shani Beej Mantra

ॐ प्रां प्रीं प्रौं सः शनैश्चराय नमः॥
Om Praam Preem Praum Sah: Shanishchray Namah॥

Translation: I offer my salutations to Lord Shani, invoking divine energy, love, and inner strength.

Shani Gayatri Mantra

ॐ भग-भवाय विदमहे मृत्यु-रूपाय धीमहि तन्नो शनिः प्रचोदयात् ॥
Om Bhagabhavaya Vidmahaim Mrityu-rupaya Dheemahi tanno Shanih Prachodyat॥

Translation: We meditate upon the radiant form of Lord Shani, who embodies transformation, and may He inspire and guide us.

ॐ काकध्वजाय विद्महे खड्गहस्ताय धीमहि तन्नो मन्दः प्रचोदयात् ॥
Om Kaakadhwajaaya Vidmahae Khadga Hastaaya Dheemahi Tanno Mandah Prachodayat॥

Translation: We meditate upon Lord Hanuman, who carries a sword, is swift and mighty, and may He inspire and guide us.

ॐ सूर्यपुत्राय विद्महे मृत्युरूपाय धीमहि तन्न: सौरि: प्रचोदयात् ॥
Om Suryaputraay Vidhmhe Mrityurupaay Dheemahi Tann: Soureeh Prachodyat॥

Translation: We meditate upon Lord Shani, the son of Lord Sun, who embodies transformation, and may He inspire and guide us.

ॐ शनैश्चराय विदमहे छायापुत्राय धीमहि | तन्नो मंद: प्रचोदयात् ||
Aum Shaneshchraaye Vidmahe Chhayaputraay Dheemahi Tanno Mandah Prachodyat॥

Translation: We meditate upon Lord Shani, the son of Chhaya (Lord Sun’s shadow), who is slow-moving and patient, and may He inspire and guide us.

Shani Ekashari Mantra

ऊँ शं शनैश्चाराय नमः।
Om Sham Shaneicharaya Namah।

Translation: I bow to Lord Shani, associated with Saturn.


Krishna Das is an experienced article writer. He writes about Hinduism in his spare time.

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