Saturn - Shani

Yoga of the Planets: Saturn - Shani

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Extract from Yoga of the Planets - Saturn

ॐ शनैश्चराय नमः

om śanaiścarāya namaḥ

1. Salutations to the one who moves slowly.

Shani means slow and Chara means move so Shanaishchara is one who moves slowly. It takes Saturn about 30 years to traverse the whole zodiac. This name also indicates moving gently, quietly, gradually, mildly, softly, sluggishly and so forth. Saturn is the slowest moving visible planet and this characteristic is clearly of prime importance as it is mentioned first. Do not expect Saturn to give the results of his yogas (astrological combinations) quickly!

Gentleness and quietness are not the words that spring to the minds of most students of Jyotisha in regard to Saturn. They are, however, the natural characteristic of the swami, a word I am choosing to use for the awakened and surrendered ascetic. This is the highest value of life indicated by Saturn. A swami is one who, when moving or acting, never disturbs the natural law. As a Graha in the Vedic chart, Shani sets everything to act in accord with the natural law. A swami is not one who follows any set mode of life or wears any particular garb, but one who is established in the state of Being suggested or described by these names.


ॐ शान्ताय नमः

om śāntāya namaḥ

2. The peaceful, contented one.

Shānta is the nature of the swami and it is the influence of Shani that can make one a swami. An association between Saturn and the Moon is common in the charts of saints. In the beginning, this combination usually brings some unhappiness as Saturn restricts the Moon’s search for outer happiness. This motivates a search for the real source of joy.

My own experience may be of interest here. I have Saturn tightly aspecting my Moon. Misery set in from the beginning of Saturn’s Mahādashā (major planetary cycle of 19 years). During the sub-cycle of Venus, I was chronically depressed. I began to realize, in my own words, that the only way ‘out’ was ‘in’. I turned to prayer and that led to meditation. I abandoned all personal aims and devoted myself to the inner path as I understood it. Gradually the depression thinned and one day bliss started arising. Now I never experience depression and life has an underlying nectar despite the natural ups and downs of emotion.

From this, I know that life in sweetness, born of surrender to truth, is the other side of the coin from depression arising from the Saturn Moon connection. Once Saturn is satisfied, what remains is Shānta: peace, contentment, satisfaction, tranquility. Shānta can also indicate stilled, purified, even deceased. It is said that one has to die to the world in order to truly live. Here again, the character of the swami is indicated.


ॐ सर्वाभीष्टप्रदायिने नमः

om sarvābhīṣṭapradāyine namaḥ

3. The giver (Pradāyin) of all blessings (Sarvābhīṣṭa), everything one could desire.

See the greatness of Saturn. It is said that one who has no neediness or longing, one who is truly Shānta, can grant the fulfilment of any desire of another person who petitions him. There is a story of the great sage Vyāsa. A woman approached him desirous of having a child. He blessed her and then she easily conceived with her husband having failed for many years. Sometime later Vyāsa himself became desirous of having a son. It is said that he had to meditate for a hundred years before he was able to fulfil his desire. If one truly surrenders what one desires, then that object easily arises if needed, otherwise much trouble occurs in its fulfilment. As a general rule, the greater the attachment, the greater the trouble.

Very few pray to Saturn for fulfilment of desires, they turn to him to be free from misery. The misery is due to our holding on to what we really do not need. Saturn is gently trying to get us to let go. This resistance to our willfulness appears merciless but when we yield, he gives. He is said to be the greatest giver.