Four Interesting Legends of Shani Dev•
Posted on October 25 2021
Shani Dev represents the planet Saturn and is one of the navagrahas in Hindu astrology. Hindus consider Shani to be a male God dressed in black who uses a crow as His mode of transport and a sword as His weapon. They consider Saturday as the day dedicated to the deity. Shani Dev is also said to be the God of Karma and He has a positive or negative impact in the life of a person based on his/her own karma.
Like with any Hindu deity, there are many interesting stories surrounding Shani Dev. Here, we present you with some of them.
Birth of Shani Dev
Shani Dev was born as the eldest son of Lord Surya or the Sun God and Chaya, the Goddess of Shade. Chaya was a hardcore devotee of Lord Shiva. She engaged herself in a rigorous penance when she conceived Shani Dev. She abstained from any shade or food in the blazing sun while she prayed fervently to her favourite god. The intensity of her prayers had a deep effect on the child in her womb. The scorching rays of the sun resulted in the god having a black complexion. Moreover, He used to hear His mother’s prayers to Lord Shiva while He was in her womb and became a devotee of the Lord himself.
Curse of Damini
Damini was the second consort of Shani Dev. One day, she developed a desire to become the mother of a baby boy. She approached Shani Dev to share her desire with her husband and make love with Him. However, He was engrossed in meditating on Lord Shiva. Although she called out to Him several times, He did not look at her and paid no attention to him. This angered Damini and she cursed Him saying that since He neither paid attention to nor looked at her, whoever looked at Him would invite trouble for himself/herself and be associated with negative effects in life.
When Shani Dev opened His eyes after meditation and realized what happened, He apologized to His wife. However, she did not have the effect to withdraw her curse. Hence, the Lord decided to keep His head downward and never look at His devotees to save them from trouble.
Association with Lord Hanuman
There is a very close association between Shani Dev and Lord Hanuman. When Meghnath, the son of the demon king Ravan was born, the king kidnapped all the nine planets and locked them in the eleventh house so that none of them would have an adverse effect on his son and he could become invincible and immortal. This frightened the Gods and they approached Shani Dev for help. So, He stretched Himself a bit further towards the twelfth house. Unfortunately, Ravan caught hold of Him and locked him in a small dark cell so that no one would see him.
When Lord Hanuman reached Lanka and roamed around in search of Sita Devi who was kidnapped by Ravan, He heard the cries of Shani. He turned in the direction of the sound and saw the imprisoned Shani Dev who pleaded with Hanuman to save Him. Hanuman did so and as a boon for His help, Shani blessed Lord Hanuman with a boon that he would never be affected by the latter’s inauspiciousness in any way. However, Hanuman said that his devotees should also not be affected. Shani Dev agreed on the condition that devotees who prayed to Lord Hanuman on Saturdays would not have to face any adversities.
Piplaad and Shani Dev
Piplaad is considered to be one of the avatars of Lord Shiva. He was born as the son of the sage Dadhichi and Swarcha, his wife. However, the saint had to leave his house even before Piplaad was born. When he grew up, Piplaad questioned the gods why his father left before his birth. They explained that it was because of the position of Shani in his father’s horoscope. This angered Piplaad who cursed Shani. As a result, Shani started falling down from His celestial abode and He asked Piplaad to forgive Him.
Piplaad agreed to forgive Shani Dev on the condition that He would never trouble anyone less than sixteen years of age. Shani agreed to this condition. To this day, devotees worship the Piplaad avatar of Lord Shiva to be relieved from Shani dosha.
Shani Dev is represented as both a giver and a taker. He gives and takes in extremes based on the person’s actions. One should pray to the lord to alleviate the hardships he/she encounters in life and keep himself/herself away from evil. The most common Shani mantra is Om kaakadhwajaaya vidmahae khadga hastaaya dheemahi tanno mandah prachodayaat. Most Shani Dev temples are located in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi.