This is my second part of the article on Shanidev. If you missed the first part you can access it here https://medium.com/hindu-mythology/the-story-of-shanidev-part-i-ea5c51a86d56.
In the first part I talked about how Shanidev was born, what happens during his saadhe saati period and what is so unique about his Shingnapur temple. In this second part I will be sharing the Shani Mahatmaya story involving King Vikramaditya,
The Grand Court of King Vikramaditya
The story begins at the court of King Vikramaditya who was ruling over a vast empire which was located in the area which is known today as Ujjain. Vikram was a very kind and knowledgeable king who was deeply respected by people living in his kingdom. He had many scholars and brahmins in his court and he regularly discourses amongst them. On this particular day he had organized a meeting where he had invited representatives to talk about the different planetary gods and share what made their chosen deity special.
The first brahmin to take stage spoke about Sun or Surya. He said that Surya is the most powerful of all astral entities and without his blessings nobody can survive a day. Praying to Surya everyday makes us enjoy mental and physical health.
The next brahmin spoke about the benevolence of Moon or Chandra. He said moon rules over the mind and is a very calm and loving planet. Without paying obeisance to Chandra no one can achieve mental peace.
Next speaker talked about Mars or Mangal. He said Mangal was the most ferocious of the planets known for his swiftness. If he was pleased then he will instantly shower his devotee with riches but if he was spurned it meant instant death.
The following scholar shared the special characteristics associated to Mercury or Budha. He exclaimed Budh represents intelligence and if a person has a sharp mind he can achieve anything in this world.
Next brahmin spoke of how knowledgeable Jupiter or Guru was. He said Guru was the mentor of all Gods and known far and wide for his knowledge. Without his blessing we will remain an ignorant.
Then the brahmin representing Venus or Shukra got up. He said that Shukra was the most superior in knowledge and nobody could match his splendor. He possessed the Sanjiwani mantra which had the power to give life to the dead.
The last brahmin spoke of the powers of Saturn or Shani. He said Shani ensures justice is served and everyone gets results linked to their good and bad deeds. His gaze is so powerful that just after being born when he looked at his father Sun he had to face an eclipse.
On hearing this Vikram said jokingly that what is the use of such a son who brings so much misery to the father.
The Wrath of Shani
The moment Vikram said that Shani appeared in his court and shouted angrily at the king that his power has made him so arrogant that he has lost respect for the gods. He will have to pay for his audacity to disrespect Shani and he will have to bear the consequences soon as his Saadhe Saati period has just commenced so for the next seven and half years he will experience how Shani imparts justice. Vikram quickly realized his mistake and tried to explain to Shani that he did not mean to disrespect the god but it was all in vain as Shani was adamant that everybody has to bear the brunt for their actions. Saying this Shani disappeared and left Vikram introspecting about his actions and what was in store for him over the coming years. Vikram couldn’t sleep that night and kept thinking what consequences he will have to face but finally he decided since there is no way to avoid it now he will handle it with determination and accept whatever his fate brings forward.
Saadhe Saati of Vikram Begins
The next day when Vikram woke up and went to his court his minister informed him that a horse trader had come and wanted to show his best horses to the king. Vikram went to the trader and asked him what was so special about his horses. The trader responded that he had the fastest horses in the world and he had saved the strongest and most intelligent of them for the king. When Vikram inquired about the price the trader said that the king should have a ride on the horse and decide for himself what the price should be and whatever Vikram thinks is a fair price the trader will gladly accept. Vikram agrees and sits on the horse but the moment he takes hold of the reins the horse bolts away at lightening speed. It keeps running for hours and then slows down in the middle of a thick jungle. Vikram is confused but is feeling really thirsty so he ties the horse to a nearby tree and goes to a stream in front and drinks some water. When he returns to the tree he sees the horse has disappeared and it has become dark so he can really see anything. Vikram realizes this is not a coincidence and as foretold by Shani his saadhe saati period is begun and he should be ready to expect the worst situations to arrive. He decides he can’t go anywhere in the night in such a thick jungle so he decides to sleep by the tree and examine the situation with a clear mind in the morning.
Chain of Strange Events
When Vikram wakes up in the morning he can see a narrow path leading out of the jungle.
He starts to follow it and soon arrives at a big city. It is a strange place for him and he does not know anybody so he just sits down besides a large shop and starts thinking about what he should do next. Vikram was a handsome king was was wearing royal clothes so a lot of people stopped by to look at him. This increased the number of customers at the shop so the owner was really pleased. At end of the day the shop owner approached Vikram and said that thanks to his presence he got a lot more sales than normal. He invited Vikram to his house for dinner and the king agreed as he had not eaten anything that day.
When the trader realized that Vikram did not have a place to stay he offered him to stay at his house. The trader also noticed that his daughter who kept rejecting suitors for marriage seemed to like the charming demeanor of Vikram. He thought it will be good idea to get them married and keep Vikram in his house forever. He shared this idea with her daughter and she readily agreed. The trader asked Vikram to take the room at the top of the house which was used to keep all the paintings he had. Vikram went upstairs and was admiring the various paintings which were depicting different lifeforms like swan, tiger, elephant and several flowers. He noticed that the trader’s daughter had entered the room and was taking out her jewelry and placing it on the bedside table. She then sat on the bed and started talking about the events of the day. Soon she went to sleep and Vikram was wondering if she was tired so she just dozed off in he middle of a conversation. Vikram was also puzzled about what to do with the whole situation and was shocked when he saw the swan in the painting emerge out of it and start eating the pearl necklace of the trader’s daughter. Once it had eaten all the pearls it went back inside the painting. Now Vikram was even more confused about the strange incident that happened about a swan coming out from the painting and how will he explain the missing pearls to the trader. Vikram felt as if his head had started to spin, he decided to go to sleep on the floor and handle the situation in the morning.
By the time Vikram woke up next morning he saw the trader and his daughter standing nearby and the daughter complaining to his father about the missing necklace. The trader asked Vikram where was the necklace and Vikram just replied that he did not take it. He did not mention the incident of the swan as he was sure nobody will believe him. The trader asked again saying it was the most expensive piece of jewelry his daughter had. When Vikram did not say anything about the necklace after being questioned many time the trader decided to take him to the king of the city.
The king heard the entire episode from the trader and told Vikram that if he did not handover the necklace immediately he will be punished severely to set an example for other thieves. Vikram repeated that he did not take the necklace. The king got really angry and ordered that hands and legs of Vikram should be broken and he should be thrown out of the city boundaries.
Period of Helplessness for Vikram
Vikram was lying outside the gates of the kingdom and will stay hungry for many days. As his legs were broken he could not go anywhere and was dependent on passersby to give him some leftover food. He stayed in this pitiful situation for several years and then a girl from his kingdom of Ujjain came to the city as she was married to a person in that city. While entering the city she noticed Vikram lying at the gate and immediately recognized him. She felt sad for the king and took him home. She explained about Vikram to her in-laws but they were scared of the king so they kept Vikram outside the house in the stable and gave him food and clothes there. There Vikram will sit on the bull which was connected to the oil pressing machine. Vikram would look forward to the evenings when the oil pressing will finish and he will end the day by singing some songs and going to sleep.
This routine continued for several years and soon the last day of the seven and a half years of the saadhe saati period arrived. As always after the day of oil pressing finished, Vikram started singing one of his favorite songs while waiting for his food to be prepared. Just at the moment the king’s daughter was passing by there and she was mesmerized by the melodious song that Vikram was singing. She went to Vikram and asked him who he was and where did he learn how to sing so well. Vikram told her the entire story that he was the king of Ujjain city and how he came there and why he had to suffer the punishment from the king. The king’s daughter took Vikram to the court and narrated the whole tale to the king. After listening to this the king realized he had been too harsh with Vikram when he had not done anything wrong. He asked Vikram to stay in the palace and assured him that he will take good care of him till he recovers completely.
The Boon of Shani
Just then Shani appeared at the court and told Vikram that his saadhe saati period was finally over. Shani said he was very pleased by the way he faced all the problems and difficulties he had to face without any complaints. Shani was pleased that he remained calm and did not try to take advantage of anyone or cheat anyone for his benefit. He remained positive and hopeful despite all the hardships he had to undergo. Shani said he was really pleased by the way Vikram conducted himself and would like to grant him a boon. Vikram thought for a moment and then said that he wanted that Shani should not make anyone undergo the suffering he had to endure. Vikram said he was a strong resolute king and could somehow endure it but many people might not be able to survive in such circumstances. Shani replied that he was really impressed by the fact that Vikram could have asked for anything considering he was in such a dire situation himself but he was more concerned about others. He said he can’t stop saadhe saati for people as everyone has to bear the consequences of their actions to ensure universal justice is maintained. What Shani assured Vikram was that anyone who would listen to this tale of Vikramaditya with an earnet heart he would find the courage and strength to easily sail through all hardships during saadhe saati. Saying this Shani disappeared. Vikram noticed that now his arms and legs had become normal and in fact felt stronger than ever before. The king married his daughter to Vikram and assured Vikram that he will support him forever in any situation. Over the years the empire of Vikram became really prosperous as the experience of saadhe saati had made Vikram very wise so all his actions were beneficial for his people.
Om Namah Shivay!
About the Creator
I am a crypto enthusiast so my articles will be focused mainly on blockchain and crypto related topics.
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