The answers of Agastya Muni to the generic questions posted by devotees can be found here.
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[From the 213th episode of the Tamil series]
The only graha who is adorned with the title ‘Eshwara’ is Shaneeshwara. Generally, Shani means he literally shakes everyone. But those who worship him, He bestows abundance of mercy.
Surya married Sanchika and begot three children Manu, Yama, Yamuna. At a point, Sanchika could not bear the heat of Surya. She also wanted to do tapasya. She made an arrangement. She created a shadow of herself as a maiden and left with Surya, returned to his father. The maiden was called Chaaya (shadow).
As per the request of Sanchika, Chaaya lived with Surya without revealing who she really was. Through her were born Shani, a Manu named Savarni and a girl named Pathrai. Once they were born, Chaaya devi could not show the same love to Sanchika’s children. Yama got angry. He went on to kick Chaaya devi who was shocked and cursed him that his leg should be broken.
Surya got to know about this and when he investigated as to why Chaaya devi is showing partiality between the children, he came to know who Chaaya was. Later, Surya accepted Chaaya devi as his wife as well. He brought back Sanchika from her father’s house and lived with her. Yama’s leg got cured too.
Shani was born to Surya and Chaaya. He reached Kashi in the Bhu loka and installed a Shiva Linga in his name, did pooja and thereby got the status of being one of the Nava Grahas. He once spoke ill of Sanchika, the other mother. Yama got irked and broke one of Shani’s leg, leaving him limping.
There is a story as to why Shani gives bad. He wanted to do penance and was not interested in living a married man’s life. Unknowingly, Chithratha married one of his daughters to Shani, who was involved more in penance even after marriage. As he did not pay any attention towards his wife, she cursed him out of anger saying, “you could not even understand the feelings of a woman, who could not do the duty of a husband, let you not realize the result of penance!”Shani got very upset. From that day, his looks became evil, they say.
The agamas explain about Shani’s appearance, what he wears etc. He is black in color, wears black garments, lame by one leg, one with two hands with the right hand wielding Dhanda and the left showing Varadha mark. He is seated on the Padma Peetha, with atcha maala, he roams around in an iron chariot driven by eight horses.
There are two mantras that are for Shani. One is the Veda mantra. The rishi for this is Ilimili. The mantra is formed in the Ushnik sandha. The other mantra is of Gayatri Sandhasai. The rishi for this is Mithra Rishi. The navagraha aradhana says that Shani is seated in a bow like seat, he is with a beautiful vehicle, he faces North, bluish in colour, with hair in his head, he wears the Shoola, Bow, Varadha and Abaya. He walks slowly and applies black sandalwood paste. He likes the garland that are black or blue in color. He has a black umbrella and a flag, it says.
The athi devata for Shani is Yama. He has to be anointed in the right side. To Shani’s left will be Prajapathi, who is the pratyadhi devata. There is no one like Shani who gives or doesn’t. Only in Tamilnadu, Shani is considered to have the crow as his vehicle. The northern side of India denotes Shani’s vehicle as the eagle.
Shani has different names such as Mandha, Pinimukha, Mudhumukha, Mudava (lame), Kari etc. He is of tamasic nature. His favourite metal is iron. The grain is sesame, flower is Karumkuvalai, taste is bitterness. He is of the Kashyapa gothra.
Those who worship Shani will live longer. He has three wives named Jeshta, Neela and Mantha. His favourite wife is Neela. The son of Shani is called Kulika. Whatever is done at Kulika time will get multiplied, but one should never take a dead body at this hour, says the Shashtras.
There is a story which says how he got the title Eshwara. There was a time when he had to get hold of Lord Shiva himself (as he possesses certain stars for a specific time period). When Lord Shiva saw Shani approaching, he told Parvathi that He is going immerse himself in Tapasya, went inside a cave, shut its entrance completely. Seven and a half years went by. Shiva woke up from his penance and was surprised to see Shani at the cave’s entrance. He said, “Pranam. My work here is done. Farewell.”
Lord Shiva asked him what does he meant by ‘his work’ that He wasn’t under the holds of Shani who replied that it is due to him that Lord Shiva had to live inside a cave for seven and a half years without Parvathi. Then Lord Shiva blessed him with the title Shaneeshwara.
Kaaka Thwajaya Vidhmahe Kadka Hasthaaya Dheemahi
Thanoo Mandha: Prachothayaath!
…is Shaneeshwara’s Gayatri Mantra. Those who chants it everyday will be blessed by Shaneeshwara abundantly. There are a few places where Shaneeshwara did pooja himself out of which, the most famous is Thirunallaaru. It is towards the Southern side of Kaaraikkaal, in about 5 kilometers. It is also called as Adhi Puri, Dharbaaranyam, Nakavidangapuram, and Naleshwaram. When Maharaja Nala was possessed by Shani, he worshipped Lord Shiva after taking a holy bath in the Nala Theertha here and Shani left him. There are Nala Theertha, Brahma Theertha, Saraswathi Theertha and Agasthiyar Theertha which are very famous.
Those who visit Thirunallaaru should worship the Sri Vinayaka in the Nala Theertha after circumumbulating and worship the family of Nala Maharaja in the middle of the pond with due respect. Then one should step down in the pond, take a little water and do Prokshana. Then with suitable persons, do Sankalpa and then Snana. Then one should enter the temple to pray to Shaneeshwara.
The seven and a half Shani is referred to a place where Shaneeshwara is in the 12th place, Jenma, second place in one’s horoscope. A doubt of whether one’s life itself will end, changing of places, to get separated from the family, to get fired of one’s work, loss of money, loss in business happen.
Jyotish Shashtra says that Shaneeshwara gives place to those at low level. He is an eunuch. He is the air in five elements. He is of the Northern direction.
Thulam is Uchcha house.
Makara and Kumba are own houses.
Poosa, Anusha, Uthirattadhi are his own stars.
Budha and Shukra are his friends.
Sevvai, Chandra and Surya are his enemies.
He is lame and so limps when walking. He is a very powerful one. He will do anything for Lord Shiva’s mercy. He is the reason for one’s long life and death. He is the source of poverty, difficulty, disease, insult etc., When Shaneeshwara is strong, one could become famous leaders in the country or those who sacrifice anything for a welfare. Shaneeshwara makes one master a foreign langugage.
He is the source of iron and gingelly oil. He is the representative of black grains. He gives the talent to learn and operate machinaries. Shaneeshwara should bless for abundance in agriculture. He is the nerve in human body. He is of a cruel and a stone-like heart, they say.
Out of Vadha, Pitha and Kapa, he is Vadha. He is blue in gems, and is of mountains and forests. The Jyotish shashtra gives the number 8 to Shaneeshwara. To get rid of disease, debt and dangers through evil spirits, one could chant the following verses from Soundarya Lahari.
Thwayaa Hruthvaa: Vaamam Vapu Raapari Thrupthena Manasa
Sareeraartham Shambo Raparamapi Sanke Hruthamapooth!
Thathaa Hith Vathroopam Sakala MaruNaapam Thrinayanam
Kusaapyaa Manamram Kutila Sasi Soodaala Mukutam!
Om Samaknirak Nipichakrach Channa Sthapathu Surya:
Samvaatho Vaathavarapa Apachritha: Swaahaa!
When one chants the above sloka and does homa, they will get rid of the difficulties, and will get a lot of merits.
Featured image courtesy: Shanidev.com
~ to be continued…!