Shani Dev – The Powerful God Feared By All
Bhagwan Shani Dev is regarded to be one among the Navagraha, according to Hindu scriptures. He is personified in the Saturn planet and thus is also the Lord of Saturday. He is also called sanaischara. Shani is a word that denotes Saturday or the seventh day in many of the Indian languages. This word is known to have been derived from ‘Sanaye Kramati Sah’, which means the one who tends to move slowly. This is because the time taken to complete one revolution around the sun by Saturn is around 30 years. His mount is stated to be vulture, raven, peacock, elephant, horse, jackal, lion, swan, buffalo or donkey.
The legend of Shani dev
Shani, a powerful deva, is Lord Surya and Chhaya’s son. Hence, he is called Chayyaputra. His elder brother is Yama, the God of Death. The results of a person’s deeds throughout the life are provided by Shani Dev with appropriate rewards or punishments.
According to Hindu scriptures, when Shani Dev, as a baby had opened his eyes for the first time, Sun was said to have gone into eclipse, clearly denoting his impact upon astrological charts. Also, he is regarded to be a great teacher as well as well-wisher upholding the righteous and also punishing those following path of betrayal, evil, unjust revenge and backstabbing. He is also called lord of punishment and the masses. His blessings are regarded to be crucial in the person’s horoscope to bestow him with popularity and mass following. Dark in colour and clothed in black, Shani Dev holds arrows, two daggers and a sword and is seen mounted on a raven, his popular vahana. His birth anniversary is celebrated as Shani Jayanti falls on Jyeshta month’s Amavasya in the Hindu calendar.
Traditions and symbolism
Inauspicious and harmful characteristics are associated with crows as represented in Hindu mythology and are owned by Shani. This God is worshiped to dispel supernatural beings and dangerous ghosts. Exorcisms deriving from regional and folk traditions and healing rituals are also performed by worshipers.
Popular shrines and temples
There are numerous temples and shrines built to worship Shani Dev. One of the most powerful Shani temples is located in East Godavari district’s Kothapet Mandal in Mandalli called the Sri Mandeswara Swamy Temple. It has been declared to be the powerful Shani Temple stating that people who worship Lord Shani with gingelly oil abhishekam are sure to be blessed. Taking darshan of the eight Shani dev temples on any single Saturday can be quite good and auspicious. The God is to be offered with his favorite items such black seeds, black cloth and oil.
To honor Lord Shani, a tall statue of about 20 foot was constructed in 2013 at Yerdanur in Sangareddy Mandal, Medak District, about 40 km from the city of Hyderabad. It is the largest statue of Shani Dev in the world and has been carved from a single monolith, weighing approximately 9 tonnes. This statue, established by Thakur Surpratap Singh, depicted him as ‘Lord of Justice’.