by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words
This page describes Shanaishcareshvara (Shanaishcara-ishvara) which is chapter 49 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the forty-ninth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.
It is to the west of Budheśvara and to the south-east of Ajādevī from which it is not very far. It is situated only five Dhanus away.
It is a Kalpa Liṅga (i.e. existing ever since the beginning of the Kalpa), O Great Goddess, worshipped by Devas and Dānavas. A very severe and most difficult penance was performed by the Son of Chāyā (i.e. Saturn or Śani).
4. The Lord without beginning or death was brought down to the Liṅga by him. Due to his devotion to Śaṃbhu, he gained his favour and the status of a Planet.
5-7. The great community of Devas and Asuras is afraid of his (adverse) look. In the whole of the Cosmos consisting of mobile and immobile beings, there is no living being, Deva or Dānava who is not afflicted by Sauri (i.e. Saturn).
The devotee should worship Saurīśvara Śiva devoutly on Saturdays with Śamī leaves and rice cooked with gingelly seeds, black gram and jaggery. After offering libations in accordance with the injunctions, he should offer a black bull to a Brāhmaṇa.
The Devī said:
10. How did King Daśaratha compose the hymn of Śanaiścara? How did Lord Śanaiścara become pleased with him?
11. There was a very powerful king named Daśaratha in the dynasty of Raghu. He was a very well-known emperor, a former overlord of the seven continents.
12-13. When Śani was at the extremity of Kṛttikā the king was informed by astrologers: “Now Śani will pierce through Rohiṇī and go beyond. This is what is called Śakaṭabheda which causes fright even to Suras and Asuras. There will be an extremely disastrous famine lasting for twelve years.”
14-15. On hearing the words of the astrologer-sage he in the company of his ministers saw the entire world including the citizens and rural folk got agitated. People said: “This always occurs regularly. The lands, cities, and villages become terrified all round”. The king asked the sages beginning with Vasiṣṭha:
16. O most excellent-one among Brāhmaṇas, what is the solution of this problem?
17. When the constellation pertaining to Prajāpati (i.e. Rohiṇī) is pierced, how can the subjects (survive)? This combination (of planets etc.) has no remedy to be devised by Brahmā, Indra and others too among the Suras.
18-19. The king pondered over it and decided to take a great risk. He took up his divine bow fitted with divine missiles. He got into his divine golden chariot and hurried towards the stellar zone.
20. His chariot was adorned with jewels. It was decorated with banners, Cāmaras, umbrellas and tinkling bells. There was a lofty flagstaff there. It was fitted with swan-coloured horses.
21. Dazzling with great jewels and refulgent with coronets, he shone in the sky like another Sun.
22-23. He bent the bow as far as his ears after fitting it with a Saṃhārāstra (destructive missile). He saw that Śani had already come to the extremity of Kṛttikā and was about to enter Rohiṇī. Daśaratha stood before him with knitted eyebrows. Śani looked at the Saṃhārāstra that could suppress Suras and Asuras.
24-26. After laughing (to himself), Saturn spoke these words (as though) out of fear for it: “O great king, your manliness is terrifying to your foes. I looked at the Devas, Asuras, human beings, Siddhas, Vidyādharas, Uragas etc. and found all of them terrified. I am now pleased with your bravery and the power of penance, O great king. Tell me what boon you will like to have. I shall grant you whatever you desire.”
27-28. O Śani, as long as the rivers and oceans are in existence, as long as the moon, sun and earth are present, you must not pierce through Rohiṇī and go beyond.
O Sauri, no other boon is desired from you by me.
On being told thus, Śani granted him a boon of permanent benefit.
29. After receiving this boon, the king became gratified. Sauri once again told him, “O king of excellent holy rites, choose your boon.”
30-31. (The king) delighted in his mind requested for this boon from Śani: “O son of Bhāskara, the Śakaṭa (Cart-shaped constellation, Rohiṇī) should not be pierced through by you. Never should the famine lasting for twelve years be caused. This fame of mine shall spread all over the three worlds.”
32-33. The king experienced horripilation on receiving the two boons. He put the bow in the chariot and stood with palms joined in reverence. Meditating on Goddess Sarasvatī and Vināyaka, the leader of Gaṇas, King Daśaratha composed this prayer of Sauri (Śani).
The king said:
(King Daśaratha’s prayer to Saturn)
34. Obeisance to the blue-rayed one, to the one resembling a blue lotus. Obeisance to one with the body bereft of flesh, to one with long beard and matted hairs.
35. O dry (lean)-bellied one, O terrible one, obeisance to the one with large eyes. Obeisance to the rough-limbed one. Obeisance to the thick-haired one.
36. Obeisance to one, always distressed with hunger. Obeisance to one who is satisfied always. Obeisance to one in the form of Kālāgni (Black fire i.e. Fire at the end of the world).
37. Obeisance to the long one, to the dry one. O black-eyed one, (I offer) obeisance to you. Obeisance to the hollow-eyed one. Obeisance to one very difficult to look at.
38. Obeisance to the frightening one, to the terrible one, to the awe-inspiring one, to the appalling one. Obeisance to you the all-consuming one. Obeisance to you, O wrinkle-faced one.
39. Obeisance to you, O son of the Sun-god. O Bhāskari, the frightening one. O one with downcast eyes, obeisance to you, O one black in body, obeisance to you.
40. Obeisance to you, O slow-gaited one. Obeisance! Obeisance to the pitiless one. Obeisance to you, the fierce-formed one. Obeisance to you fierce in refulgence.
41. Obeisance to the one always burnt with penance. Obeisance to one always sitting in Yogic posture. Obeisance to you with vision of knowledge, the offspring of the son of Kaśyapa (Sun-god).
42-45. When pleased, you grant a kingdom; when angry you deprive one of it in and instant.
Devas, Asuras, and human beings, beasts, birds and reptiles looked at (adversely) by you, O Sauri, immediately become wretched.
The lands, cities, villages, continents, and mountains—when looked at with horrible eyes perish in an instant.
46. Be favourable to me, O Sauri, I have resorted to you for the sake of boons. O Sauri, forgive my fault for the sake of the welfare of all living beings.
47. On being eulogized thus by King Daśaratha, Śani, the son of Sun, the king of Planets, spoke these words with hairs standing on ends:
48. O great king of good holy rites, O scion of the family of Raghu, I am pleased with this prayer of thine. Tell me what boon you will like to have; I shall grant that voluntarily.
49. O tawny-eyed one, from now onwards no one should be afflicted, none among the Devas, Asuras and human beings, among beasts, birds and reptiles.
50. I should be known as an evil Planet among all the Planets. I cause affliction as a Planet. O king, something that should not be given has been requested for. I am ready to grant something which is appropriate.
51-53. To men or women who recite the hymn composed by you on me after being afflicted with fear of mine, to Devas, Asuras and human beings, to Siddhas, Vidyādharas and Uragas I shall grant permanent welfare. I may be staying in the House of Death or I may be in the House of Nativity (in their horoscopes), they should recite the hymn once or twice a day, the devotee should worship me and repeat the Stotra in all reverence with palms joined together.
54. I will not cause affliction to him at any time whether I am present in the House of Nativity or in the House of Death (in his horoscope).
56. In this manner he shall be rid of afflictions. Thus the boon asked for by you has been granted by me, O scion of Raghu’s family.
57. After acquiring the pair of boons formerly, King Daśaratha considered himself blessed. He bowed to Śanaiścara with reverence.
58. After eulogizing Śani and on being permitted by him, the powerful king got into his chariot and went back to bis abode. He was duly honoured by the Heaven-dwellers.
59. If any man gets up early in the morning on a Saturday and recites this Stotra he will never suffer from affliction caused by any Planet.
60. One should always remember Lord Śanaiścara with great devotion. One should recite the Stotra after adoration. The Son of Bhāskara (Śani) becomes pleased with him.
61. Thus, O goddess, the greatness pertaining to the deity Śani (or deity installed by Śani) has been told to you. It suppresses all sins. It yields all the desired benefits.
Footnotes and references:
The shape of the constellation Rohiṇī is like a cart (Śakaṭa).