The great epics are replete with many references to astrology. One of the more interesting stories of how a father tried to manipulate the birth chart of his son is told in the Ramayan.
Indrajit: The Prince Of Lanka
One of the main characters in the Ramayan is Ravana the great Asura king who ruled Lanka. Ravana was no ordinary king. He was very knowledgeable and had many weapons and boons earned through penance and prayer. He was also a vert adept astrologer. As most parents would he wanted a favourable birth chart for his eldest son. But, to achieve this, his actions were extreme.
Ravana defeated the Devatas and forcefully captured all the Grahas. Ravana kept the Grahas forcibly in a position that he had selected to be the most favourable for his son. The story states that he kept them under his foot. Specifically, he had them adorn on of his staircases, and would walk over them every time he enetered his palace. The Devatas, of course, who were always at war with the Asuras were worried. If the son of the mighty Asura king were to be born with such planets on his side, he would be invincible. So, they approached Narad Muni for help.
The Intervention Of Narad Muni
Now the Grahas were not happy with the situation either. Saturn was willing to help the Devatas to sabotage Ravana’s plan. The glance or gaze of Saturn is well known to cause innumerable troubles to the person that his gaze falls on. To defeat Ravana’s plan, it was important that Saturn or Shani be able to look at him.
Narad Muni set off to visit Ravana. When he arrived at the palace he saw that the Grahas were indeed under the foot of Ravana. He had kept them all in the same position together. His plan was that his son would be born with all the planets in the eleventh house. Narada Muni praised and congratulated Ravana on his defeat and control over the Grahas. He, however, asked Ravana if it would not be better if instead of stepping on the backs of the Grahas, Ravana could step on their chests. This he said would be a true symbol of Ravana’s victory over the Grahas.
This made sense to Ravana. He turned the Grahas upward and stepped on their chests. This new position enabled Saturn to look at Ravana and thus began his troubles and downfall! Ravana was furious with Shani. He locked him in a prison with no openings so that nobody would ever be affected by the glance of Saturn ever again.
Hanuman To The Rescue
As the narration of the epic progresses, Ravana kidnaps Sita Devi. Hanuman travels to Lanka as an emissary of Lord Rama to Sita Devi. When he was in the palace Hanuman heard the cries of Shani for help. He rescued Shani but in the process, Shani looked at him. Shani then told him that unfortunately, he would now have to suffer from the troubles of Sade Sati or the seven and a half years of Saturn.
Hanuman inquired about what this suffering would entail. Shani told him that he would first come on the head of Hanuman and take him away from his home, wife and children. Hanuman replied that he had no family and his home was at the feet of Lord Rama. So, Shani was welcome to be on his head. Shani took his place on the head of Hanuman.
As Hanuman proceeded through Lanka he faced many attacks and headed off many obstacles, trees, boulders and rocks. As Hanuman crushed rocks on his head, Shani was getting hurt. Finally, he went away from Hanuman’s head and said that Hanuman would feel no ill effects of Shani. He then offered him a boon in return for saving him from the prison. Hanuman requested that Shani should cause no harm to his devotees. Shani agreed. This is why those who are suffering from hardships caused by Shani worship Hanuman.
Another version of the story of Indrajit’s horoscope states that Shani did not stay in the boundaries imposed by Ravana. He stepped outside the eleventh house into the 12th house of the birth chart. Ravan was angry and broke the leg of Shani. This caused him to limp. Indrajit was a gifted and powerful warrior. He had weapons from Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. He was born Meghanad but was named Indrajit after he defeated Indra. The placement of Saturn in the 12th house eventually led to the defeat of Indrajit at the hands of Lakshmanan. So despite the plans of Ravana, the birth chart of Indrajit had a flaw.