Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Shani - Munificience and Malevolence


Shani, or Saturn, is one of the strongest planets in Indian astrology. He is the son of Surya and Sangya, the daughter of Vishwakarma, the architect of the Devas. Among the Navagrahas, he is considered to bestow the most riches as well as cause the most trouble, based on his position in the sky. His influence (Dasa) runs for seven and half years at a time, which is refered to in Tamil as Ezharai Nattu Shani.

Once when he was a young child, a child (Ganapati) was born to Shiva and Parvati. All the Gods and Devas were invited to the naming cermony. All that is, except for the child Shani. It was well known that his gaze was very powerful and could have a malevolent effect on the newborn, and he was purposefully excluded from the invitation. When the young Shani saw that all the divine beings were headed towards Kailasa, he asked his mother, as to what the occasion was. His mother then told him about the infant Ganapati and how he had been excluded from the ceremonies. Shani very much wanted to see the baby, so he tried to persuade his mother to take him there. She refused, saying that nothing good come out of being an uninvited guest at a function. Shani pretended to agree with her and later, when her back was turned, he set forth to Kailasa.

When the divine sage Narada saw him approaching, he cautioned Parvati to shield her child from Shani's gaze. Unfortunately, the child's head was still visible when Shani cast his eyes on the baby. In an instant, Ganapati's head was burned to ashes. (This is the alternate version of how Ganapati came to have an elephant's head). Parvati was exceedingly angry and cursed Shani to become a cripple. Later, she relented as she realized that Shani could not be held responsible for fate, so she compensated him by elevating him as a Navagraha.

Last Modified At: Thu Oct 21 22:09:31 2004