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The Story Of Shani (Saturn) And His Guru

In the narration of the Shani Mahatmya, Shani Dev tells King Vikramaditya about how he troubles all people without partiality. He then proceeds to tell him about how he once afflicted his own Guru. 

Shani Dev Meets His Guru

Shani Dev went to his Guru and told him that it was time to pass over his Moon. His Guru immediately asked for his pity and requested that Shani Dev not pass over his Moon. However, Saturn told him that it was his duty to pass over every constellation. If he showed partiality to his Guru, all people would ask for his compassion and even insult him. So, instead, he told his Guru that since he had requested his own disciple for his grace, he would pass over his Moon for a shorter time than usual.

Shani Dev - Shani Mahatmya
Shani Dev – Shani Mahatmya

Agreeing On The Time Duration

Shani Dev and his Guru began to discuss the reduced time duration of the Moon transit. Shani Dev suggested reducing the customary 7 ½ years to 5 years. The Guru wanted a shorter time. Shani Dev then suggested 2 ½ years. The Guru wanted an even shorter time. He would not agree to 7 ½ months or even 7 ½ days. 

Shani Dev bowed before his Guru saying that a Guru is like a mother. He granted his Guru a boon. His Guru asked that he not pass over his moon at all. Finally, Shani Dev reiterated that he would have to pass over his Moon but suggested a period of 7 ½ Prahar. This is about 22 ½ hours. The Guru was still not satisfied and agreed to 1 and ¼ Prahar which is 3 hours and 45 minutes. The Guru presumed that he could easily spend this time having a bath and meditating. Shani Dev, however, thought that his Guru was perhaps unaware of the capabilities of Shani Dev. He was not pleased.

The Holy River Ganges
The Holy River Ganges
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Shani Mahatmya – The Guru’s Ordeal

The designated time came for Shani Dev to pass over his Guru’s moon. The Guru made his way to the river to bathe. Shani Dev appeared to him as a melon seller. As his shadow fell on the Guru, the appearance and mind of his Guru changed. When Shani Dev as the melon seller showed him two melons and even cut them a little to show their juiciness, he was very happy and bought them. He put them in a bag and continued on his way to the river. After his bath, he filled his pot with Ganga water and went on his way with the melon bag also in hand.

Juicy Melons – Shani Mahatmya

The Search Party

It so happened that on the day before, the King’s and the Prime Minister’s sons had set out to hunt and had not returned. The King was worried and sent out a search party. When the search party saw the Guru, they asked him what his bag contained. He replied that they contained 2 melons. The soldiers asked why melons were dripping blood. The Guru was shocked to see that there was indeed blood dripping from the bag. The soldiers examined the contents of the bag and found the severed heads of the prince and the Prime Minister’s son. They bound the Guru and took him to the King. The King ordered that the Guru be put to death on a stake. The soldiers took him to the stake and beat him all the way. The Princess prepared to self immolate. The citizens started stoning the Guru. 

Taken To The Stake

The Guru was desperate. In a final attempt to save himself from the stake, he offered the executioner 10,000 silver coins to wait a few minutes more. The Guru knew that the time of 3 hours and 45 minutes was almost over. Sure enough at the end of this time, the King’s son and the Prime Minister’s son walked into the palace unharmed. The King ordered that the Guru be spared from the stake. He apologised to the Guru. The Guru explained the reason for all the happenings and absolved the King of any blame. When the King looked into the Guru’s bag there were two melons in it. The King fed and clothed the Guru well and filled his bag with 10,000 silver coins. The Guru gave these coins to the soldier who was to execute him.

The Innocent Looking Melons - Shani Mahatmya
The Innocent Looking Melons – Shani Mahatmya

Shani Dev And His Guru

On the way back, he met Shani Dev and told him that in the few hours that Shani passed over his moon, he had shattered all his bones. What would happen to him if he had stayed with him for 7 ½ years! Shani Dev replied that a person who has no arrogance has nothing to fear from him. It was the Guru’s displeasing attitude that made Shani Dev show him his capabilities. He asked for his Guru’s pardon and gave his word that he would not afflict him again.

Shani Mahatymya - Silver Coins
Silver Coins

King Vikramaditya was truly very surprised at this narration. Shani Dev told him that he had indeed not spared anyone including Lord Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Nal, Yudhishtar, Harsichandra and many others. Listening to the Shani Mahatmya or reading the text is a good Sade Sati remedy and Shani remedy for all Saturn related problems.