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The truth about Shani devta

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A King named Suraj (Sun) had eight sons. The youngest

of the eight named ‘Shani’ (Saturn) was from his second queen. He was black,

ugly and lazy. The marriages of the princesses were solemnised through the

rite of ‘Swaiamber’. Seven elder sons of Raja Sun got married but no one

approved Shani for marriage. In order to show him fair coloured, his mother

applied Vermillion on his body. Even then no girl accepted him in marriage.

When King Suraj died his wife burnt herself alive on the same pyre. Lazy Shani

would not even earn his living. Whatever grams was made available to him by

his brothers, he would live on it. His sisters-in-law had named him eater of

seven types of grams (Satnaja). Inplace of ‘ghee’ (clarified butter) he would get

oil, instead of gold/silver ornaments, he would receive ornaments of iron or

bronze and tattered clothes to wear. That was the way he lived. ‘Even after his

death’ same articles are being offered before his idol.

Hindu society believes that there are different gods

and goddesses who can be invoked to meet their

different needs instead of one Almighty–the Omnipotent.

For beauty, ‘Ashwani Kumar’ (Son of a mare) is

worshipped. For long life, ‘Markandey’ is worshipped;

goddess Saraswati for knowledge; Indira for escaping

from fear; and to keep ailments away, god ‘Shani’

(Saturn)* is worshipped. Since he was born to ‘Chhaya’ the queen of Suraj, he

was named ‘Chhanichhar’. In Sanskrit, the word ‘Shanaichar’

maens who swims slowly.’ For staying in one solar

house the whole year, he was named ‘Shanaich-char’


All gods and goddesses have different likings of

offerings. Some is enamoured by wine and meat while

others enjoy pounded grains. Some deity seeks offerings

of puffed sugar cakes and the others on rice cooked in

milk (kheer). But to please god Shani, offerings of

mustard oil, iron and ‘Dal Urd’ are made.

In order to ascertain that the Sikhs have well

grasped the principles of Sikhism, Guru Gobind Singh ji

asked a ‘Vedva’ (Those Brahmins who accept alms on

Saturdays) to come to his court the next Saturday in

order to collect alms. Vedva thought that since he is going

to Guru Darbar and Guru’s influence has spread far and

wide, he is likely to receive handsome alms. Therefore

he took a few donkeys with him to carry the load of alms

that he was expecting to receive. So he reached before the

door of Guru early in the morning of Saturday.

In the jam packed court of Guru Gobind Singh ji

where a large number of Sikhs were also sitting who had

come from far and wide for the audience of the Guru,

Diwan Nand Chand was asked to give alms to the

‘Pandit’. Accordingly, Diwan Nand Chand loaded all the

items on the donkeys of ‘Vedva’. Guru ji also remarked,

“Pandit ji ! the evil vision and spell of god ‘Shani’ should

get dispelled now.â€

Sikhs sitting in the holy congregation kept watching

the developments. Some lazy and not too bright sikhs

did not feel anything, but many Sikhs who were well

conversant with philosophy of Sikhism quietly got up

from their seats and rushed behind the ‘Vedva’. They

caught up with him in the fields outside. They asked the

Brahmin where he was taking the goods. Pandit ji said

that these were the alms given in the name of god Shani

that has been given by Guru Gobind Singh to ward off

his evil spell. Only Brahmin can digest these items.

The Sikhs got everything unloaded there itself and

remarked, “Pandit ji, we know how to digest all these

items. You run away now. You can befool Hindus but not

to Sikhs. Go away and don’t come this way again.â€

Vedva ran away. Sikhs took those items to the Langar.

They grounded ‘Urd Ki Dal’, fried doughnuts of it in

mustard oil and distributed them to the Sikhs in Langar.

They made large rings of the iron and each Sikh wore

one in his hand. When Satguru ji saw Karas (iron bracelet)

in the arm of each Sikh, he asked the Sikhs why had they

done like that. The episode was narrated in the court of

the Guru. Satguru ji felt immensely pleased at the

alertness of the Sikhs. Later on, he included the ‘Kara’

amongst the five symbols of Sikhism. Even today, it

motivates us to keep away from superstitions and other

doubts. Unfortunately our condition has deteriorated

immensely today. Many amongst us who call ourselves

Sikhs are strongly placing their faith in goddesses like

Vaishno Devi, Naina Devi and gods like Shani (Saturn)

and Mangal (Mars).

It has happened due to inadequacy of learned

preachers who could explain meaning of Gurbani. When

we do not know what direction is provided by Gurbani,

falling in to the trap of self willed decisions is natural.

How useful it would have been had the Gurudawaras

explained the meanings of various hymns instead of

holding continuous recitation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Only then could they have given clear meanings of Sikh


There are some Sikhs who indulge in organising

and holding ‘Jagratas’ (night long singing of praises of the

gods/goddesses). They are very particular in bringing

boiled grams to Gurudawaras as offerings to their Guru

which is absolute self will and not approved in Sikh code

of Conduct.

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