As the incarnation of inert matter, Shani Dev (planet Saturn) defines our fortune, our health, and our popularity.
In Vedic astrology, anyone born under Shani’s influence is feared to have bad luck. To mitigate negative obstacles, Shani Dev is often worshiped to fend off misfortune, adversity, and evil. However, Shani is often misunderstood.
This misunderstanding is created by our fear of the frustration, pain, and loss that is often attributable to Shani.
As spiritual aspirants, we come to realize that Shani is actually a friend rather than an enemy. For the righteous, he is known as a great guru. For the wicked, he represents the great disciplinarian. For everyone under his influence, he establishes self-discipline and discrimination.
Qualities of Shani Dev
Shani has authority over all gross and inert forms. He has authority over all the gross elements of the body, including the functions of the nerves, muscles, cells, nails, hair, skin, teeth, and bones. Shani also has complete authority over death.
There are several stories about Lord Shani which have linked Him with misfortunes such as disease, death, and calamities.
He can create situations where we lack motivation, lack inspiration, and lack vision.
He can cause us to be unable to commit to a path, creating the pain which is the direct result of our inability to make commitments or attain fulfillment.
Shani has no cleverness nor deceit.
He exhibits complete seriousness and gravity in every circumstance, with no levity.
As a slow moving planet, Shani rules over restrictions and limitations. He does this not to deny us, but to foster the lessons that we must learn in order to evolve spiritually.
Shani Dev – More than the Planet of Misfortune
The experiences of loss and frustration help us to become detached. Through taking away our attachments, Shani reveals the truth about our mortal life and the limitations of the body and mind. We slow down. We contemplate more. We discriminate prior to taking action.
Through this difficult and often painful process, the great spiritual quality of self-discipline blossoms, and we develop a strong foundation of structure and meaning in our lives.
What initially appeared to be bad luck was actually Lord Shani’s way of strengthening us with divine qualities. We remember our true nature as truth, beauty, and bliss.
Benefits of Strong Shani
Shani has many benevolent effects in our astrological ecology.
For example, we often hear Swamiji remind us that we are seeking freedom through action — not freedom from action. Given that we must act, it is Shani who helps us create discipline in every action. He is the strength of that discipline, the focus of that discipline, and the commitment to that discipline.
A sadhu who is blessed with discipline will have strong, consistent spiritual practices.
Those who take birth with the qualities of Shani will have a steady life without extreme variations in worldly attachments, relationships, and even the rhythm of life by which he or she may move.
Whoever has a Yogic disposition may become adept at Hatha Yogi in order to make their bodies strong. Whoever has a Bhogi disposition (one with desires) will be granted the objects of desire, without them falling into disease.