Saturn (Shani) - A friend or a foe?

Hello all,

Namaste! Today I am planning to write about Saturn from the perspective of Vedic Astrology, Mythology and how using an apt example we can try to tie it to our material realm. No! This post is absolutely not about the planet Saturn from a scientific perspective. Already everyone is aware that Saturn is the second largest planet in our Solar system and has beautiful rings around it made up of ice and rock and has many moons like Enceladus and Titan among them. In Greek Mythology, Saturn was called Chronos or the keeper of time.
By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This post is about Saturn or 'Shani Deva' from a Vedic standpoint and how people who believe in Astrology are afraid of Saturn and how they put every bad experience they go through on Saturn. Does Saturn really need all this burden of criticism? Are we not equally the culprits of our own bad experiences? Let us start our dissection, shall we? First, let us go through some Vedic Mythology to start with.

 Vedic Mythology: Saturn is called as 'Shani or Shaniswara' (शनिश्वरः) in Vedic mythology. He is considered the son of Surya (Sun) and  Chaya (छाया or Shadow). Surya is of brilliant and golden color and has a dominant and brilliant personality while Chaya, who was the Shadow was dark and more subdued near the Sun. Shani born to Sun and Chaya, even though tall, was dark and of somber in nature like his mother. So Sun who had a brilliant personality became disappointed in his first child and started ignoring him compared to the other children.

Raja Ravi Varma [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 This made Shani very sad and due to a lack of direction in his early years from his parent became lazy, lethargic, morose and having a lot of self-doubts. Like this years went by. Once Shani became an adult he was not happy about his status in life and wanted to transform himself into a higher status. He started a penance to Lord Shiva, which lasted for eons. Lord Shiva pleased at his will, dedication, determination, and discipline appeared before Shani and offered him a boon.

Shani requested Shiva to place him among the  'Grahas' (Graha can be loosely meant as a planet, even though the word Graha has much more weight and meaning compared to the word planet) of  Vedic astrology and asked to give him the status of 'Iswara' (ईश्वरः or God). Lord Shiva who was extremely pleased with Shani's penance bestowed the boons upon him and asked Surya who was the King of the nine grahas, to give him the status of timekeeper, judge to human actions and the taskmaster till humans learn their true nature. Thus Shani is the only graha who has been given the status of Iswara or Supreme being among the nine grahas. Shani even though became God still remembered how his father Surya (Sun) and his dad's friend Mars (Kuja) used to ignore Shani and treated him as worthless in his childhood days. So due to this reason, Shani considers Surya and Kuja as his enemies in Vedic astrology.

Putting ourselves in Shani's shoes: Let us put ourselves in Shani's shoes. Don't you think if our parents ignored us and thought of us as worthless,won't we also feel dejected, despondent and discouraged? Won't we also try our level best to get the attention of the parent and after years of trying, leave it and try to work on ourselves and bring our status up in life. That is the lesson Saturn tries to teach a person according to the place Saturn is placed in the horoscope. He says don't become egotistical like Surya or Kuja and try to put others down, but be humble, work on ourselves and try to bring our status up in life and in the material realm using our will, dedication for hard work, discipline to keep at it and determination to see through it to fruition.

Shani knows that nothing stands the test of time than qualities like discipline, dedication, and determination. Remember he is also the keeper of time or Chronos. So the same way he had to go through in his life, wherever Shani is placed in the horoscope, he will put restrictions, obstructions, and delays in that particular area of our life. We will have to work hard to overcome those restrictions using all our power, dedication, determination and discipline. He also makes us aware of our shortcomings and asks us to work hard to overcome that and bring up our status in life.

But the problem is that he will not ask us to do it gently, instead, he will be the taskmaster with a stick made up of hard life experiences and ask us to grow up and toughen up. Once we become aware of our true potential and start relentlessly pursuing the same, Saturn becomes our biggest friend and removes every delays and obstacle in our path. Remember Saturn got his status only in his adulthood around the age of 35 years. Same way Saturn starts bestowing his blessings only after 35 years for that particular area he represents in a specific horoscope. Till then we are supposed to work hard towards realizing our potential with all the above-said qualities.

This way he shows us that with our determination, discipline, and dedication we can overcome the obstructions, restrictions and the boxes of unawareness we put ourselves into. He is asking us to become aware of our true nature, take charge of our life and work relentlessly towards our purpose. Then he will show us that the limits we thought we have to fight are suddenly not there and the floodgate of blessings open up.

So why should Saturn be criticized for the self-doubt, laziness and easy gratification we all wish for. He is just showing us the value of hard work, dedication, discipline, and determination we need to have. He shows that effort builds the character, integrity and true value of a person and the person or the enterprise he/she is working on can achieve the 'Iswara' like status in life.

Apple Inc: Now let us elaborate on this concept using an example. All of us know about the 700 billion dollars valued company Apple Inc. How was it built? Was it built in one day? The founders Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne started the company in Steve Job's parent's garage and started to sell Apple 1 computer kits. Remember the humble beginnings Saturn had even though he was the son of Surya, the king among the grahas?

Apple logo
Okay, let us come back to Apple. By the end of the seventies Apple had a production line and staff and later Steve Jobs was convinced Graphical User Interface (GUI) was the way forward, but in that time an in-fight broke out and Steve Jobs got sidelined. Remember how Saturn was sidelined by his dad and how Surya gave more attention to his other kids?  The department, which Steve Jobs took over became Macintosh, which became a success as it was the first computer to be sold without a programming language. Anyway, later another power struggle broke out between Jobs and then CEO John Sculley and ultimately Steve Jobs had to resign. This can be equated to the time Saturn got depressed and wanted to raise his status in life and went to do 'Tapasya' or penance.

From the early nineties, Apple struggled to compete with Microsoft, which is another giant in the technology realm and the market appeal of Apple started to slide and they struggled to keep the market share. Realizing the vision of Steve Jobs is needed for the company's progress, Jobs was brought back as an adviser in 1997 and lot of restructuring happened at Apple. Apple slowly started recapturing its market share first with the unveiling of Apple online store, later iPod, iPhone, and iPad. In 2003, Apple online store saw another addition, the iTunes online music store. In this way slowly but surely Apple Inc. started its invincible journey towards solid brand recognition. This can be related to how Saturn went and did penance for eons, made  Shiva pleased and later got the boon to rise to the status of  'Iswara'.

Steve Jobs
Today the founder Steve Jobs has gone into the folds of history, but still the company he founded Apple Inc, stands strong against the test of time, close to the hearts of its consumers and being a titan in worldwide brand recognition. So what can we infer from this? Putting hard work, effort, diligence, determination, discipline, and dedication brings blessings of Saturn. First, it will be lessons, in the form of hard experiences, trials, tribulations, upsets, heartbreaks, and stress, which has to be tackled with all the D-letter qualities mentioned above. Saturn tests us so much that we toughen up, become the real person, humble towards other people and take charge of our life and take it to a higher status. People who break under the pressure, never get to the higher status, which Saturn himself earned through sheer hard work.

Friend or Foe? So is Saturn a friend or a foe? To tell the truth, the answer is in our own hands.With hard work, effort, diligence, determination, discipline, and dedication, Saturn becomes our friend showing us that all these qualities bring out the true potential within us and we rise to the status, which we truly are destined to become. He shows that the blocks in our path are just obstacles, which help us to grow. But for someone who is not ready to put in the hard work and who likes to laze around looking for easy gratification, Saturn becomes the biggest enemy. Remember nobody gave him his status on a gold platter, but he had to work hard and earn his God-like status. Likewise, he asks us to pull up ourselves on our bootstraps, put the heart, mind, and soul towards our goal and diligently work on ourselves or our enterprise that stands the test of time. Then the taskmaster transforms into someone who becomes the keeper of time-tested structures for us. There is a saying in Vedic astrology, 'Shani delays, but never denies'. But when he blesses, he gives the boons for the efforts we put in towards our goal. So why don't we put our utmost effort and heart towards our goal and get the best out of Saturn? Concluding for now with a mantra towards Saturn:
 Nilanjana Samabhasam
Raviputhram Yamagrajam
Chayamarthanda Sambhootham

Tham namami Shanaishcharam 
Meaning: Someone shining as the blue rock called Nilanjana, son of Ravi (Sun), older brother of Yama (God of Dharma), born to parents, Chaya (Shadow) and Marthanda (Sun), I bow to thee who is called Shaneeswara.

I wish you a good weekend and I'll see you next Friday! 😉

Next week: Do we need biological regulation?

Note: All images were taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, "There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance ; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better for worse as his portion that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried".  
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