Mahima Shani Dev Ki- Success Story
This post has really taken me a long, long time to write and re-write maybe because it is to do with the “slow one”, Saturn or “Shani” in Hindi. On Saturday, 26th July, 2008 a television series called “Mahima Shani Dev Ki”; “The Greatness of Saturn” started telecast and ran successfully week after week on Turner’s Imagine channel in India for four years. It had excellent television ratings many times topping the charts of the channel. This was rather surprising; as Saturn or Shani is not considered an auspicious or benefic planet in traditional Vedic Astrology in fact he is known as “Maha-Krura” or “Mega-Cruel”. Before this point, in most popular movies and depictions, the casting for the character of Shani was always a “negative casting”. We attempted to show Saturn in a new, positive light and did not do a negative casting. As we dug deeper our understanding about Saturn or Shani and his esoteric qualities deepened and we were wonder-struck. It was love at first sight.
The series started with a story of the great Indian Emperor, Vikramaditya who is believed to have existed around 56 B.C. (The starting date of The Hindu Calendar based on his victory over the invading Shak warriors at the North Western borders of India). With his epicenter as Ujjain, in present day Madhya Pradesh, Vikram conquered all corners of the civilized world. Like, Akbar The Great, he too had the nine gems, nine exceptionally talented men, in his court who oversaw the entire administration. He often had intellectual debates in his court one of which one was the old question, “Which is the greatest planet of them all nine?” A great debate raged on in his court for days with experts on each planet proclaiming the greatness of their respective, beloved deity. Finally a tall, dark and thin pundit spoke on Saturn. His eyes were slightly downcast and his voice betrayed a shadow of harness, which reflected his disciplined authoritativeness. “O King!”, he began. “Saturn is the supreme terrifier among the planets. All beings fear him, for he rules bereavements and misfortunes. If pleased he will give you a kingdom, but if irate he will snatch everything away from you in a moment. His grace makes you happy, while his wrath so thoroughly ruins you that your name is completely forgotten in the human world.” As the pundit who wore black clothes described the enigmatic nature of the planet Saturn, he told the king that when Saturn was born to the Sun-God, as soon as the baby set his gaze onto his father, it caused him vitiligo (depigmentation of the skin).
Vikram was highly perplexed after hearing the tales of Saturn. A strange feeling of disgust arose in him. He tried to control it but he felt a melancholic stirring in the depths of his heart. He uttered the words instantly from his mouth,
One who did not even spare his father, to what use can he be to anyone else?
As soon as Vikram blurted these words he realized that he shouldn’t have but there was no method to take them back. He sat stunned as his own lack of control, as if something or someone had made him to do it. It so happened that Shani at that very moment was passing over Ujjain on his gigantic vulture. He heard the words the great King had uttered. There was tremendous respect for anything Vikram said; even the gods would come to him for settling their unresolved disputes. There was a gust of wind in his regal courtroom and day became like dusk. All present shuddered on seeing that Shani himself had descended onto the court. Many hid behind pillars and chairs lest his gaze fall onto them and they be ruined.
Vikram knew that he must endure his fate so he prostrated himself quietly onto the feet of Lord Shani and welcomed him. Shani spoke in a voice rooted in the cool and calm of reality,
O King, without trying to understand my real nature, you have insulted me in front of your entire assembly. Everyone has a function in the universe, which serves some purpose. If the sweepers did not clean your palace grounds, a mound of rubbish would soon accumulate there. I believe that no work is big or small. While flying through the air just now, I sensed you expressing your disgust for me. As it is, I am about to enter the constellation of Virgo, which occupies the twelfth house of your horoscope. This means that for seven and a half year you will have no choice but to learn precisely who I am.
On completing his tirade Saturn instructed his scavenging vulture to fly towards the sky. Vikram caught Shani’s dark feet and begged for forgiveness but Saturn tells him, If I show you compassion O King, you will never obtain personal knowledge of my abilities. At least once you must experience my play, otherwise your insolence will not leave you. Saying this he sped away on his divine vehicle leaving Vikram spellbound at the sudden turn of events in his life.
A month passed and Shani did enter the Virgo constellation. Vikram too got busy with the daily squabbles of his court. One fine day, a horse trader from the Arab nations came into Ujjain with the most priceless collection of horses that no one had ever seen. As the buzz around him grew louder, Vikram ordered for him to come to his court. The trader was none other than Shani himself in disguise of a horse-connoisseur. To his great pleasure, Vikram tested several fine horses. Finally a jet-black horse called, “Akhlakh” was presented to him. Vikram was so fascinated with him he decided to take him out for a longer ride. The horse gave a tremendous leap and sailed into the sky at breakneck speed. The rest is history.
Vikram was swept away to a neighboring kingdom, and is put through grueling circumstances and tests to the extent that becomes an arm-less, mere oil-presser in an improvised village.
He endures his fate for seven and a half years, where Shani personally supervises his destruction. He is accused of being a murderer and a thief, and put behind bars. Finally his arms are cut off and he made to work on a local oil mill. Vikram endures it bravely, as he is a great warrior and noble-hearted. His ego is shredded into a million pieces, the seeds of which grow into a million wise trees all planted in the depths his soul. It is a near death experience after which you are can shine like pure gold because your soul has been cleansed.
In the end, Shani returns Vikram his kingdom. From emperor to beggar and then beggar to emperor. Vikram has seen it all. He returns wiser, calmer and a more able ruler. Nothing can disturb or distract him. He thanks Shani, the double-edged sword, the extreme planet, no in-between, the teacher you hated in school but grew up to love the most.
Astrology in general is very logical approach to spiritualism because it all about the math and calculations. It is observable and in sync with modern day astronomy thus serving as a great entry point into spirituality for the science oriented minds of today. According to me, Saturn is by far one of the most important out of a total of nine planets in Vedic Astrology. By knowing ones weakness well, one can become very strong. Ultimately only if you know your nature so expertly well then maybe you have a small chance of being saved from his wrath.
Saturn is that unknown fate that you have little control over. It is the binding to your our own Karmas which is Saturn’s function in the overall scheme of things.
Who is Shani? Shani is the divine personification of the planet Saturn. It is the last planet in our solar system because the Vedic seers only used the “visible to the naked eye” planets and hence Uranus, Neptune and Pluto were not included in traditional astrology. Saturn is thus the last planet in the solar system diametrically opposite to the Sun in all attributes and qualities. At the dark edge of the solar system Saturn breeds loneliness and isolation, qualities that are associated with him.
The number 8 in Vedic Numerology belongs to Shani. Coincidentally the first episode of the series was telecast on 26th of July (2+6 =8). Also it played every Saturn-day which is considered the day of Saturn at 8.00 PM in the evening. Number 8 people tend to be serious, introverted, prone to addictions, keen observers, they have good judgment of people, vengeful but humble. Shani is a very important planet for writers. Writing is a slow job. Writers must get under the skin of their characters, which is a very Shani-like trait. Anything that makes us withdraw, physically or mentally from the thick of things is a function of Saturn in both Indian and Western Astrology. Writers are known to work in complete isolation, which is a required for their work. Dhirubhai Ambani, one of India’s greatest entrepreneurial stories, had a very strong Saturn influence in his chart. Oil is also one of the major significations for Saturn related businesses.
Shani’s direction is West. He is the owner of Capricorn (the worst qualities of Saturn) and Aquarius (the best qualities of Saturn) signs. He is lame, old and slow moving. Cold and Airy, He rides a vulture though a common crow could be said to represent him well, as Shani is everything about being common. Crows are the only birds that are considered to be almost as intelligent as apes.
Shani is the son of Surya (the Sun-God) born out of the shadow of his real mother. The son of famous man always lives in the shadow of his father only rarely can he outshine him. His half brother is Yama, The god of death. Hence Shani gives death-like experiences but not death because if he gives death then how can you experience the great many magic tricks of this mysterious planet.
Shani is the Kingmaker but not King himself. He has a knack of selecting the right candidate and then backing them by projecting his luck onto them. This is a very useful trick for people who due to Shani’s influence have problems to accumulate wealth for themselves. They can be excellent talent managers instead of trying to become talent themselves (Shani is not very artistic or graceful). All things occult, mystic and esoteric are ruled by Shani. Most saints have had severely afflicted Saturn sitting in their horoscopes giving them too much trouble in materialistic life, driving them towards spirituality. Saturn is the significator of the eight house of the horoscope (out of a total of twelve), which represents secrets, occult and legal matters. Late Ramanand Sagar had Saturn in his eighth house sitting in Cancer. Hence Saturn is “the numero uno” planet for renunciation and spirituality.
Shani stays in each house of the zodiac for 2 ½ years, hence coming back to the original house where it was placed at the time of your birth when one is 28 years old, which is called your “Saturn Returns”. Shani does give you a hint at this point of what lies ahead for you in this lifetime. When Saturn traverses the zodiac sign prior to one in which your Moon is placed starts your “Sade Sathi” “Seven and a half years of bad luck”, a period of deep cleansing.
Many cultures have the concept of seven years of bad luck. The personification of the moon is a clown. All he wants to do is have fun. The mind is many times referred to as a monkey. Saturn on the other hand is a very serious brooder. The combination is lethal. The mind doesn’t like restriction but Saturn cannot do with his discipline. So he grasps the mind like a true Graha (one who grasps or seizes).
It is said in the first Sade Sati (which cannot begin later than the age of twenty-three) people lose their grand parents, in the second one they lose their parents, and are strangled themselves by Saturn during the third passage, if indeed they are fated to live that long. But one thing I have noticed is that the last 2 ½ years of the entire 7 ½ year period, Saturn will leave you with a lot of knowledge and wisdom which cannot be measured in materialistic ways.
Many great politicians, actors and businessmen have actually risen to great heights during this period because of having a very well placed Shani in the birth chart. The actor who played the series, Daya Shankar Pandey, was going through his Sade Sati when we met for the casting. We had a discussion about this on our first meeting.
Shani is exalted in the sign of Libra. A sign denoted with the Scales. It is sometimes extremely difficult to make a good judgment and one needs to hear all sides of the story. Libra influenced people have a very difficult time taking decisions because they love to weigh the pros and cons of everything. This is a trait that probably Shani likes very much. Shani is the judge in black clothes weighing our decisions, karmas, intentions and honesty. Forget after life, it will give you the results in this life itself.
The “gaze” of Shani is what legends are made out of. Many mythological stories speak of his piercing eyes, which when set on someone destroys them. These stories were codes for remembering in the most effective way deeper, esoteric concepts. It probably meant an X-ray kind of vision, which is able to see through everything, going to the core, which is the intention, the inner most thought. The concept of the “evil eye” is some cultures probably originated from Shani’s gaze.
Shani is that blind spot which you are probably also not aware of. Shani takes us to our deepest inner self, making us aware of something that we were previously not aware of but it was there within us.
Shani is the unraveling of the layers of life. It is the shell, which must be broken for the chicks to hatch. It is the dead skin of the snake, which it must grow out of. Shani is time or Maha-Kal. Shani is near-death. He is the killer of all illusions, vices or fancies that spring from our minds or hearts. Shani is the sometimes-irritating kid who goes around bursting people’s bubbles always forcing them to stay real, grounded and humble.
If you think that you are on top of your game and can trick Shani, you are in for real trouble. Shani knows more about you than you yourself. Since he is like our shadow, he moves around with you everywhere, observing you at all times. He is the ultimate trickster. My personal experience with Shani has been that he will hit you where it hurts the most. Since typically we are so full of ourselves we only become wiser and more mature after we have been slapped around a bit. Unfortunately pain has a direct correlation with spirituality. Shani, the ultimate teacher will get you at your sensitive spot in order to give you the life lesson you need at that time and make you a better human being. Instead of playing hide and seek with him it is better to surrender and pray for his divine mercy.