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. 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. He is the God of Justice in Hindu religion and delivers results to all, depending upon their thoughts, speech and deeds (karma). 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
|Other names||Shanishvara, Chhayasutha, Pingala, Kakadhwaja, Konastha, Babhru, Krishna, Roudhraantak, Yam, Sauri, Mand, Pipplayshraya|
Chhaya Maartanda Sambhootam, Tham Namaami Shanaishcharam" and
"Om Sham Shanaishcharaya Namaha"
|Weapon||sceptre, trident, axe|
|Tree||Jammi/Peepal/ Shami/ Khejri/ or Ghaf tree.|
|Number||Eight (8),seventeenth (17),Twenty-six (26)|
|Mount||Crow Greater Coucal Elephant Pigeon|
|Consort||Manda, Neelima (inside shani or power of shani)|
|Offspring||Gulika/Maandi and Kuligna|
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. These texts present Shani as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion. 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.
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. 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.
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:
|Source||Estimated time per sidereal revolution|
|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. This day corresponds to Saturday – after Saturn – in the Greco-Roman convention for naming the days of the week.
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. 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. His alternate names include Ara, Kona and Kroda. As per the Hindu texts,'peepal' or fig tree is the abode of Shani (while other texts associate the same tree with Vasudeva).
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.
- Daya Shankar Pandey played the role of Shani Dev in Mahima Shani Dev Ki which aired on NDTV Imagine from 2010 to 2012.
- On 7 November 2016 the show Karmafal Daata Shani aired on Colors TV; it depicts the life of Shani. Kartikey Malviya plays the role of younger Shani and Rohit Khurana of mature Shani.The show ended on 9 March 2018.
- In 2017 the remake of the Karmafal Daata Shani was made in Kannada titled Shani telecasted on Colors Kannada. Sunil plays the role of young Shani. Pranav Sridhar plays the role of mature Shani.
- In 2018 the Karmafal Daata Shani was dubbed in Tamil titled Sangadam theerkum Saneeshwaran was telecasted on Colors Tamil.
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- 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.'
- LastWeekTonight (9 September 2018), Felony Disenfranchisement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO), retrieved 27 October 2018
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- 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.
- 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.
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