From Bharatpedia, an open encyclopedia

Member of Navagraha
Shani graha.JPG
A lithograph print of Shani riding a chariot led by a crow
Other namesShaneeshwara, Chhayasutha, Pingala, Kakadhwaja, Konastha, Babhru, Roudhraantak, Shanescharam, Sauri, Mand, Krishna, Pipplayshraya, Raviputram
AffiliationGraha, Deva
Mantra"Om kaakadhwajaaya
khadga hastaaya
tanno mandah prachodayaat"
[note 1][1] and
"Om Sham Shaneeshwaraya Namaha"[2]
WeaponSceptre, trident, axe
TreeJammi/Peepal/ Shami/ Khejri/ or Ghaf tree.
TextsBrahma Vaivarta Purana, Harivamsa
TempleShani Shignapur
Personal information
SiblingsTapati, Savarni Manu, Yamraj, Yami, Ashvins, Shraddhadeva Manu and Revanta
ConsortManda and Neelima
OffspringMaandi and Kuligna
Greek equivalentCronus
Roman equivalentSaturn
Norse equivalentNjörðr
Etruscan equivalentSatre

Shani (Sanskrit: शनि, Śani), or Shanaishchara (Sanskrit: शनैश्चर, Śanaiśchara), refers to the divine personification of the planet Saturn in Hinduism,[4] and is one of the nine heavenly objects (Navagraha) in Hindu astrology.[5] Shani is also a male Hindu deity in the Puranas, whose iconography consists of a black figure carrying a sword or danda (sceptre) and sitting on a crow.[5][6] He is the god of Karma (deeds), justice, and retribution and delivers results depending upon one's thoughts, speech, and deeds (karma).[7] Shani is the controller of longevity, misery, sorrow, old age, discipline, restriction, responsibility, delays, ambition, leadership, authority, humility, integrity, and wisdom born of experience. He also signifies spiritual asceticism, penance, discipline, and conscientious work. He married twice, first to Neela, the personification of the Blue Sapphire gemstone and second to Manda, a Gandharva princess.[8][9]


Shani as a planet appears in various Hindu astronomical texts in Sanskrit, such as the 5th-century Aryabhatiya by Aryabhatta, the 6th-century Romaka by Latadeva and Pancha Siddhantika by Varahamihira, the 7th-century Khandakhadyaka by Brahmagupta and the 8th-century Sisyadhivrddida by Lalla.[10][11][12] These texts present Shani as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[10] Other texts such as Surya Siddhanta dated to have been complete sometime between the 5th century and 10th century present their chapters on various planets as divine knowledge linked to deities.[10]

The manuscripts of these texts exist in slightly different versions, present Shani's motion in the skies, but vary in their data, suggesting that the text were open and revised over their lives. The texts slightly disagree in their data, in their measurements of Shani's revolutions, apogee, epicycles, nodal longitudes, orbital inclination, and other parameters.[13] For example, both Khandakhadyaka and Surya Siddhanta of Varaha state that Shani completes 146,564 revolutions on its own axis every 4,320,000 earth years, an Epicycle of Apsis as 60 degrees, and had an apogee (aphelia) of 240 degrees in 499 CE; while another manuscript of Soorya Siddhantha revises the revolutions to 146,568, the apogee to 236 degrees and 37 seconds and the Epicycle to about 49 degrees.[14]

The 1st-millennium-CE Hindu scholars had estimated the time it took for sidereal revolutions of each planet including Shani, from their astronomical studies, with slightly different results:[15]

Sanskrit texts: How many days does it take for Shani (Saturn) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[15][16]
Surya Siddhanta 10,765 days, 18 hours, 33 minutes, 13.6 seconds
Siddhanta Shiromani 10,765 days, 19 hours, 33 minutes, 56.5 seconds
Ptolemy 10,758 days, 17 hours, 48 minutes, 14.9 seconds
20th-century calculations 10,759 days, 5 hours, 16 minutes, 32.2 seconds


Shani Dev in a temple, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Shani wayside shrine between Dharamsala and Chandigarh, 2010

Shani is depicted wearing blue or black robes, having dark complexion and riding a vulture or on an iron chariot drawn by eight horses. He holds in his hands a bow, an arrow, an axe and a trident. He is canonically represented riding on a large crow which follows him wherever he goes. Some astrologers believe he has more than one mount such as a horse, elephant, donkey, lion, dog, jackal, deer and vulture, although this is controversial.[17]

Shani is believed to be the incarnation of Krishna according to Brahma Vaivarta Purana where Krishna said that he is "Shani among planets". He is also called Saneeswar meaning "Lord of Saturn" and is designated the task of granting the fruits of one's action, thus becoming the most feared amongst Hindu astrological gods. He is often the most misunderstood deity in the Hindu Pantheon as he is said to cause persistent chaos in one's life, and is known to be milder if worshipped.[18][19]

Shani is the root for name for the day Saturday in many other Indian languages. In modern Hindi, Odia, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu, Kannada and Gujarati, Saturday is called Shanivaar; Tamil: Sani kizhamai; Malayalam: Shaniyazhcha; Thai: Wạn s̄eār̒ (วันเสาร์).


Shani is the basis for Shanivara – one of the seven days that make a week in the Hindu calendar.[6] This day corresponds to Saturday – after Saturn – in the Greco-Roman convention for naming the days of the week.[20][21] Shani is considered to be the most malefic planet that brings restrictions and misfortunes.[22]

Shani is part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system, considered malefic, associated with spiritual asceticism, penance, discipline and conscientious work. The role and importance of the Navagraha developed over time with various influences. Deifying planetary bodies and their astrological significance occurred as early as the Vedic period and was recorded in the Vedas. The earliest work of astrology recorded in India is the Vedanga Jyotisha which began to be compiled in the 14th century BCE. It was possibly based on works from the Indus Valley Civilization as well as various foreign influences. Babylonian astrology which was the first astrology and calendar to develop, and was adopted by multiple civilizations including India. The classical planets, including Saturn.

The Navagraha developed from early works of astrology over time. Saturn and various classical planets were referenced in the Atharvaveda around 1000 BCE. The Navagraha was furthered by additional contributions from Western Asia, including Zoroastrian and Hellenistic influences. The Yavanajataka, or 'Science of the Yavanas', was written by the Indo-Greek named "Yavanesvara" ("Lord of the Greeks") under the rule of the Western Kshatrapa king Rudrakarman I. The Yavanajataka written in 120 CE is often attributed to standardizing Indian astrology. The Navagraha would further develop and culminate in the Shaka era with the Saka or Scythian, people. Additionally the contributions by the Saka people would be the basis of the Indian national calendar, which is also called the Saka calendar.

The Hindu calendar is a Lunisolar calendar which records both lunar and solar cycles. Like the Navagraha, it was developed with the successive contributions of various works.

Planet Shani rules over both zodiac signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, two of the twelve constellations in the zodiac system of Hindu astrology.[23] If Shani rules over your zodiac sign, it is said you must wear a ring with a stone made of Blue Sapphire.[24]


Shani is a deity in medieval era texts, who is considered inauspicious and is feared for delivering misfortune and loss to those who deserve it.[25] He is also capable of conferring boons and blessings to the worthy, depending upon their karma. In medieval Hindu literature, he is mainly referred to as the son of Surya and Chhaya, or in few accounts as the son of Balarama and Revati.[5][26] His alternate names include Ara, Kona and Kroda.[5] As per the Hindu texts, 'peepal' or fig tree is the abode of Shani (while other texts associate the same tree with Vasudeva).[27] He is also believed to be the greatest teacher who rewards the righteous acts and punishes those who follow the path of evil, Adharma and betrayal.[28]

Statue of Shani in Bannanje, Udupi, Karnataka

In 2013, a 20-foot-tall statue of Lord Shani was established at Yerdanur in the mandal of Sangareddy, Medak district, Telangana, nearly 40 kilometers from Hyderabad city. It was carved from a Monolith and weighs about nine tonnes.[citation needed]

Mantra Translation

Shani's mantra is depicted here, in Sanskrit and English, with the translation;[29]

English: "Om kaakadhwajaaya vidmahae khadga hastaaya dheemahi tanno mandah prachodayaat''

Sanskrit: ओम काकध्वजाय विद्महे खड्ग हस्ताय धीमहि तन्नो मंदः प्रचोदयात्

Translation: Om, Let me meditate on him who has crow in his flag, Oh, He who has a sword in his hand, give me higher intellect, And let Saneeswara illuminate my mind.

Dedicated Day

On Saturdays, it is believed that one should worship Lord Shani to keep oneself away from evil and to reduce the hardships of life as he blesses those who willingly and voluntarily donate to the poor without seeking anything in return.[30][31]

Shani statue at Naksaal Bhagwati Temple

Shani puja is usually done to keep one safe from Lord Shani's malefic effects. On Saturday, the devotee also fasts from dawn to dusk. Wake up early in the morning and take oil bath after applying sesame oil on your body. After bath, wear black clothes for the day. On the whole day, use Sesame oil for lighting lamp.[32][33]

Saturn Temples

Entrance of a Shani temple in Jammu

Shani temples are found in more populated areas of India, such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Shani Shingnapur Dham in particular is a famous holy place associated with Lord Shani, the deity. Shani Shinganapur or Shingnapur is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn. Shingnapur is 35 km from Ahmednagar city. More common than Shani temples are artwork related to himself, which are found in all types of temples of various traditions within Hinduism, mostly connected to Shaivism. Popularity for praying to Shani, especially on Saturday's, has increased gradually over the years.[34]

In television

See also


  1. Translation: Om, Let me meditate on him who has crow in his flag, Oh, He who has a sword in his hand, give me higher intellect, And let Saneeswara illuminate my mind.

Further reading

  • Pingree, David (1973). "The Mesopotamian Origin of Early Indian Mathematical Astronomy". Journal for the History of Astronomy. SAGE. 4 (1): 1–12. Bibcode:1973JHA.....4....1P. doi:10.1177/002182867300400102. S2CID 125228353.
  • Pingree, David (1981). Jyotihśāstra : Astral and Mathematical Literature. Otto Harrassowitz. ISBN 978-3-447-02165-4.
  • Ohashi, Yukio (1999). Andersen, Johannes (ed.). Highlights of Astronomy, Volume 11B. Springer Science. ISBN 978-0-7923-5556-4.

External links

  1. "Gāyatri Mantras of Several Gods - Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia". Retrieved 11 August 2022.
  2. "Shani Mantra". 27 June 2021.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 October 2019. Retrieved 10 June 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "Planet Saturn (Shani) in Astrology". Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 608–609. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4.
  7. LastWeekTonight (9 September 2018), Felony Disenfranchisement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), archived from the original on 19 December 2021, retrieved 27 October 2018
  8. Saxena, Archit (13 April 2020). Durga : A Governing Mother: Mother-Son Duo logy Book - 2. Archit Saxena.
  9. "Why Was Shani Dev Cursed By His Wife?". Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Burgess, Ebenezer (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. vii–xi. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  11. Aryabhatta; H. Kern (Editor, Commentary) (1973). The Aryabhatiya (in संस्कृतम् and English). Brill Archive. pp. 6, 21. {{cite book}}: |author2= has generic name (help)
  12. Chatterjee, Bina (1970). The Khandakhadyaka (an astronomical treatise) of Brahmagupta: with the commentary of Bhattotpala (in संस्कृतम्). Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 75–77, 40, 69. OCLC 463213346.
  13. Burgess, Ebenezer (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Sûrya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. ix–xi. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  14. Burgess, Ebenezer (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Soorya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Edited and Reprinted), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. ix–x. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Burgess, Ebenezer (1989). P Ganguly, P Sengupta (ed.). Soorya-Siddhânta: A Text-book of Hindu Astronomy. Motilal Banarsidass (Reprint), Original: Yale University Press, American Oriental Society. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-81-208-0612-2.
  16. Williams, Matt (17 April 2017). "The Orbit of Saturn. How Long is a Year on Saturn?". Universe Today. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  17. M. A., English Literature. "Learn About the Hindu Deity Shani Dev and How Praying Wards Off Evil". Learn Religions. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  18. Mohan, Lavanya (30 January 2016). "Shani's law". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 7 March 2021.
  19. "Shani Dev – Know Everything About him". Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  20. Skeat, Walter W. (1993). The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-85326-311-8.
  21. T. F. Hoad (2008). "Saturday". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. p. 1329. ISBN 978-1-4395-0571-7.
  22. "Benefic And Malefic Planets For Each Ascendant". Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  23. Backlund, Roya. "Every Zodiac Sign Has A Ruling Planet & This Is Yours". Elite Daily. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  24. "Lucky Stone by Date of Birth - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  25. Jordan, Michael (2014). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses. Infobase Publishing. p. 283. ISBN 978-1-4381-0985-5.
  26. Dowson, John (2013). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature. Routledge. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-136-39029-6.
  27. Haberman, David L. (2013). People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-992916-0.
  28. Apr 5, Sonam Gupta |; 2017; Ist, 11:16. "Saturn and its Effects on Humans | - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 14 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. "Gāyatri Mantras of Several Gods - Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia". Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  30. "Shani Puja | Blessings of Shani Dev | Shani Dev Pooja Vidhi". 10 February 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  31. "Here's how you can worship Lord Shani to keep your karma in check". Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  32. OnlinePuja. "Method of worship of Lord Shani -". Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  33. "How To Do Shani Puja At Home - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 10 February 2021.
  34. "10 Most Important Shrines and Temples Of God Shanidev". Retrieved 18 March 2021.