From HandWiki
Short description: Hindu deity associated with Saturn

God of Karma, Divine Retribution and Justice[1]
Member of Navagraha
Shani Deva.jpg
A lithograph print of Shani riding a chariot driven by a crow
Other namesShaneeshwara, Chhayasutha, Pingala, Kakadhwaja, Konastha, Babhru, Roudhraantak, Shanescharam, Sauri, Mand, Pipplayshraya, Raviputram
AffiliationDeva, Graha
AbodeMount Shani
Mantra"Om kaakadhwajaaya
khadga hastaaya
tanno mandah prachodayaat"
[note 1][2] and
"Om Sham Shaneeshwaraya Namaha"[3]
WeaponSceptre, trident, axe
TreeJammi/Peepal/ Shami/ Khejri/ or Ghaf tree.
Number8, 17, 26
TextsPuranas, Harivamsa
Personal information
SiblingsTapati, Savarni Manu, Yamraj, Yami, Ashvins, Shraddhadeva Manu and Revanta
ConsortManda and Neelima
OffspringMaandi and Kuligna
Greek equivalentAdrestia, Nemesis
Norse equivalentVíðarr
Etruscan equivalentSatre

Shani (Sanskrit: शनि, Śani), or Śanaiśchara, refers to the planet Saturn,[5] and one of the nine heavenly objects known as Navagraha in Hindu astrology.[6] Shani is also a male Hindu deity in the Puranas, whose iconography consists of a black figure carrying a sword or danda (sceptre), and sitting on a Crow.[6][7] He is the god of Karma (deeds),justice and retribution in the Hindu religion and delivers results to all, depending upon their thoughts, speech and deeds (karma),[8][9] which could be a positive or negative impact on their lives.Shani is a controller of longevity, misery, sorrow, old age and death, discipline, restriction, responsibility, delays, ambition, leadership and authority, humility, integrity, wisdom born of experience. Saturn is regarded to be both a giver as well as destroyer. It gives and takes, both in extremes. He also signifies spiritual asceticism, penance, discipline and conscientious work. He married twice, first being Neela, the personification of the Blue Sapphire gemstone, and Manda, a Gandharva princess.[10][11][12]


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.[13][14][15] These texts present Shani as one of the planets and estimate the characteristics of the respective planetary motion.[13] 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.[13]

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.[16] 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.[17]

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:[18]

Sanskrit texts: How many days does it take for Shani (Saturn) to complete its orbit?
Source Estimated time per sidereal revolution[18][19]
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 wayside shrine between Dharamsala and Chandigarh, 2010

Shani-dev is depicted wearing blue or black robes, having dark complexion and riding a vulture or on an iron chariot drawn by eight horses. He holds in his hands a bow, an arrow, an axe and a trident. He is canonically represented riding on a large crow that follows Shani where ever he goes. There is also some astrologers who believe he has more than one mount. He has a Horse, Elephant, Donkey, Lion, Dog, jackal, deer and vulture, although this is controversial.[20]

Shani is also believed to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva as he is correctly called Shaneeshwar who is designated the task of granting the fruits of one's action and is the most feared amongst Hindu gods. He is also the most misunderstood deity in the Hindu Pantheon as he was said to always cause chaos in one's life everyday with no stop, before he was believed to be milder on one's life if, he was prayed. [21][22]

Shani is also the root for name for the day Saturday in many other Indian languages. In modern Hindi, Odia, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Urdu, Kannada and Gujarati, Saturday is called Shanivaar; Tamil: Sani kizhamai; Malayalam: Saniyalca; Thai: Wạn s̄eār̒ (วันเสาร์).


Shani is the basis for Shanivara – one of the seven days that make a week in the Hindu calendar.[7] This day corresponds to Saturday – after Saturn – in the Greco-Roman convention for naming the days of the week.[23][24] Shani is considered to be the most malefic planet that brings restrictions and misfortunes.[25]

Shani is part of the Navagraha in Hindu zodiac system, considered malefic, associated with spiritual asceticism, penance, discipline and conscientious work. 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 work of astrology recorded 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.

The Navagraha developed from early works of astrology over time. Saturn and various classical planets were referenced 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.

The Hindu calendar is a Lunisolar calendar which records both lunar and solar cycles. Like the Navagraha, it was developed with the successive contributions of various works.

Planet Shani rules over both zodiac signs, Capricorn and Aquarius, two of the twelve constellations in the zodiac system of Hindu astrology. [26] If Shani rules over your zodiac sign, it is said you must wear a ring with a stone made of Blue Sapphire.[27]

Shani as the malefic planet Saturn


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.[28] He is also capable of conferring boons and blessings to the worthy, depending upon their karma. In medieval Hindu literature, he is mainly referred to as the son of Surya and Chhaya, or in few accounts as the son of Balarama and Revati.[6][29] His alternate names include Ara, Kona and Kroda.[6] As per the Hindu texts, 'peepal' or fig tree is the abode of Shani (while other texts associate the same tree with Vasudeva).[30] He is also believed to be the greatest teacher who rewards the righteous acts and punishes those who follow the path of evil, Adharma and betrayal.[31]

Statue of Shani in Bannanje, Udupi, Karnataka

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

Mantra Translation

Shani's mantra is depicted here, in sanskrit and english, with the translation;[32]

English: "Om kaakadhwajaaya vidmahae khadga hastaaya dheemahi tanno mandah prachodayaat''

Sanskrit: ओम काकध्वजाय विद्महे खड्ग हस्ताय धीमहि तन्नो मंदः प्रचोदयात्

Translation: Om, Let me meditate on him who has crow in his flag, Oh, He who has a sword in his hand, give me higher intellect, And let Saneeswara illuminate my mind.

Dedicated Day

On Saturdays, it is believed that one should worship Lord Shani to keep oneself away from evil and to reduce the hardships of life as he blesses those who willingly and voluntarily donate to the poor without seeking anything in return.[33][34]

Shani statue at Naksaal Bhagwati Temple

Shani puja is usually done to keep one safe from Lord Shani's malefic effects. On Saturday, the devotee also fasts from dawn to dusk. Wake up early in the morning and take oil bath after applying sesame oil on your body. After bath, wear black clothes for the day. On the whole day, use Sesame oil for lighting lamp.[35][36]

Saturn Temples

Entrance of a Shani temple in Jammu

Shani temples are found in more populated areas of India, such as Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Shani Shingnapur Dham in particular is a famous holy place associated with Lord Shani, the deity. Shani Shinganapur or Shingnapur is a village in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Situated in Nevasa taluka in Ahmednagar district, the village is known for its popular temple of Shani, the Hindu god associated with the planet Saturn. Shingnapur is 35km from Ahmednagar city. More common than Shani temples are artwork related to himself, which are found in all types of temples of various traditions within Hinduism, mostly connected to Shaivism. Popularity for praying to Shani, especially on Saturday's, has increased gradually over the years.[37]

In television

  • 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 2020 the show Devi Adi Parashakti aired on Dangal TV; Rohit Khurana plays the role of Lord Shani. The show playing to current.

See also


  1. Translation: Om, Let me meditate on him who has crow in his flag, Oh, He who has a sword in his hand, give me higher intellect, And let Saneeswara illuminate my mind.


  3. "Shani Mantra". 
  5. "Planet Saturn ( Shani ) in Astrology". 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Dalal, Roshen (2010). Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. Penguin Books India. p. 373. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lochtefeld, James G. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 608–609. ISBN 978-0-8239-3180-4. 
  8. 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.'
  9. LastWeekTonight (2018-09-09), Felony Disenfranchisement: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO),, retrieved 2018-10-27 
  10. Arya, Guru Gaurav (2018-09-10) (in hi). Shree Shani Sanhita: Shani Poojan Vidhaan aur Shani Saadhana. Educreation Publishing. 
  11. Saxena, Archit (2020-04-13) (in en). Durga : A Governing Mother: Mother-Son Duo logy Book - 2. Archit Saxena. 
  12. "Why Was Shani Dev Cursed By His Wife?" (in en-IN). 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Burgess, Ebenezer (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. 
  14. Aryabhatta; H. Kern (Editor, Commentary) (1973) (in sa, en). The Aryabhatiya. Brill Archive. pp. 6, 21. 
  15. Chatterjee, Bina (1970) (in sa). The Khandakhadyaka (an astronomical treatise) of Brahmagupta: with the commentary of Bhattotpala. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 75–77, 40, 69. OCLC 463213346. 
  16. Burgess, Ebenezer (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. 
  17. Burgess, Ebenezer (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. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Burgess, Ebenezer (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. 
  19. Williams, Matt (2017-04-17). "The Orbit of Saturn. How Long is a Year on Saturn?" (in en-US). 
  20. M. A., English Literature. "Learn About the Hindu Deity Shani Dev and How Praying Wards Off Evil" (in en). 
  21. Mohan, Lavanya (2016-01-30). "Shani's law" (in en-IN). The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. 
  22. "Shani Dev – Know Everything About him". 
  23. Skeat, Walter W. (1993). The Concise Dictionary of English Etymology. Wordsworth. p. 415. ISBN 978-1-85326-311-8. 
  24. T. F. Hoad (2008). "Saturday". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford University Press. p. 1329. ISBN 978-1-4395-0571-7. 
  25. "Benefic And Malefic Planets For Each Ascendant". 
  26. Backlund, Roya. "Every Zodiac Sign Has A Ruling Planet & This Is Yours" (in en). 
  27. "Lucky Stone by Date of Birth - Times of India" (in en). 
  28. Jordan, Michael (2014). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses. Infobase Publishing. p. 283. ISBN 978-1-4381-0985-5. 
  29. Dowson, John (2013). A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature. Routledge. p. 278. ISBN 978-1-136-39029-6. 
  30. Haberman, David L. (2013). People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India. Oxford University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-19-992916-0. 
  31. Apr 5, Sonam Gupta |; 2017; Ist, 11:16. "Saturn and its Effects on Humans | - Times of India" (in en). 
  32. "Gāyatri Mantras of Several Gods - Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia". 
  33. "Shani Puja | Blessings of Shani Dev | Shani Dev Pooja Vidhi". 
  34. "Here's how you can worship Lord Shani to keep your karma in check" (in en). 
  35. OnlinePuja. "Method of worship of Lord Shani -". 
  36. "How To Do Shani Puja At Home - Times of India" (in en). 
  37. "10 Most Important Shrines and Temples Of God Shanidev" (in en-US). 

Further reading

External links