Shani (Sanskrit: शनि, Śani), or Śanaiśchara, refers to the planet Saturn, and is one of the nine heavenly objects known as Navagraha in Hindu astrology.[3] Shani is also a male deity in the Puranas, whose iconography consists of a handsome figure carrying a sword or danda (sceptre), and sitting on a crow.[3][4] He is the God of Justice in Hindu religion and delivers results to all, depending upon their thoughts, speech and deeds (karma[5][6]). He also signifies spiritual asceticism, penance, discipline and conscientious work. His consort is the goddess Manda.

King of Planets God of Deeds and Karma: Dispenser of Justice
Shani graha.JPG
Other namesShanishvara, Chhayasutha, Pingala, Kakadhwaja, Konastha, Babhru, Krishna, Roudhraantak, Yam, Sauri, Mand, Pipplayshraya
AffiliationDeva, Graha
Mantra"Nilanjana Samabhasam,
Raviputram Yamaagrajam,
Chhaya Maartanda Sambhootam, Tham Namaami Shanaishcharam"
"Om Sham Shanaishcharaya Namaha"[1]
Weaponsceptre, trident, axe
TreeJammi/Peepal/ Shami/ Khejri/ or Ghaf tree.
NumberEight (8),seventeenth (17),Twenty-six (26)
MountCrow Greater Coucal Elephant Pigeon
Personal information
ParentsSurya, Chhaya
ConsortManda, Neelima (inside shani or power of shani)
OffspringGulika/Maandi and Kuligna
23 foot tall statue of Shani in Bannanje, Udupi


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.[7][8][9] These texts present Shani as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[7] 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.[7]

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.[10] 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.[11]

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:[12]

Sanskrit texts: How many days does it take for Shani (Saturn) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[12]
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 is the basis for Shanivara – one of the seven days that make a week in the Hindu calendar.[4] This day corresponds to Saturday – after Saturn – in the Greco-Roman convention for naming the days of the week.[13][14]

Shani is part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system. 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 recorded work of astrology 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, were referenced in Indian astrology 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.


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.[15] He is also capable of conferring boons and blessings to the worthy, depending upon their karma. In medieval Hindu literature, he is inconsistently referred to as the son of Sun and Chhaya (shadow), or as the son of Balarama and Revati.[3][16] His alternate names include Ara, Kona and Kroda.[3] As per the Hindu texts,'peepal' or fig tree is the abode of Shani (while other texts associate the same tree with Vasudeva).[17]

In 2013, a 20-foot-tall statue of Lord Shani was established at Yerdanur in the mandal of Sangareddy, Medak district, nearly 40 kilometers from Hyderabad city. It was carved from a monolith and weighs about nine tonnes.[18]

In televisionEdit


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 9 June 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d Roshen Dalal (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  4. ^ a b James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 608–609. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4.
  5. ^ karma is the combined deeds of a person, comprising their expressed thoughts, words and actions, some of which may be good, and some bad. The judgement on such karma is delivered by Lord Shani dev, a.k.a the putra (son) of Surya and Chhaya, in Hindu mythology.'
  6. ^ LastWeekTonight (9 September 2018), Felony Disenfranchisement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), retrieved 27 October 2018
  7. ^ a b c Ebenezer Burgess (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.
  8. ^ Aryabhatta; H. Kern (Editor, Commentary) (1973). The Aryabhatiya (in Sanskrit and English). Brill Archive. pp. 6, 21.
  9. ^ Bina Chatterjee (1970). The Khandakhadyaka (an astronomical treatise) of Brahmagupta: with the commentary of Bhattotpala (in Sanskrit). Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 75–77, 40, 69. OCLC 463213346.
  10. ^ Ebenezer Burgess (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.
  11. ^ Ebenezer Burgess (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.
  12. ^ a b Ebenezer Burgess (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.
  13. ^ Walter W. Skeat (1993). The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-85326-311-8.
  14. ^ T. F. Hoad (2008). "Saturday". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. p. 1329. ISBN 978-1-4395-0571-7.
  15. ^ Michael Jordan (2014). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses. Infobase Publishing. p. 283. ISBN 978-1-4381-0985-5.
  16. ^ John Dowson (2013). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature. Routledge. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-136-39029-6.
  17. ^ David L. Haberman (2013). People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-992916-0.
  18. ^ Avadhani, R. (17 February 2013). "Largest Shani statue unveiled". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 February 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2014.

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