Lord Shani is one of the Navagrahas (the nine primary celestial beings in Hindu astrology). Lord Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday. Lord Shani is also known as Lord Sanaiscara. The word Shani also denotes the seventh day of the week or Saturday in most Indian languages.
Lord Shani is a Deva (Deity) and son of Lord Surya and his wife Chhaya, the Goddess of shadow, hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the elder brother of Lord Yama, the Hindu god of death, who in some scriptures corresponds to the deliverance of justice. Lord Surya’s two sons Lord Shani and Lord Yama are judges. Lord Shani gives the results of one’s deeds in life through appropriate punishments and rewards; Lord Yama grants the results of one’s deeds after death.
It is said that when Lord Shani opened his eyes as a baby for the very first time, the sun went into an eclipse, which clearly denotes the impact of Lord Shani on astrological charts. He is known as the greatest teacher and well wisher for the righteous as well the greatest punisher for those who follow the path of evil, betrayal, backstabbing and unjust revenge. Lord Shani is also known as the Lord of Masses & God of Punishment and his blessings are thus considered very important in an individual’s horoscope for bestowing him with mass following and popularity. He is depicted dark in color, clothed in black, holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and mounted on a crow.
Symbolism and Traditions
Lord Shani along with Lord Yama, are associated with the crow in Hindu mythology. Throughout Hindu mythology crows represent harmful and inauspicious characteristics, both of which Lord Shani possesses. Hindu traditions often include the worship of Lord Shani in order to dispel dangerous ghosts and other supernatural beings. Worshipers also perform healing rituals and exorcisms that derive from local and regional folk traditions.