Shani Jayanti (Shani Amavasya) – Date, Puja and Mantras

Shani idol worship

Shani Jayanti marks the birth anniversary of Shani Dev, one of the most revered deities in Hindu tradition. Known for his dark complexion, slow movement, and furious nature, Shani Dev is often associated with the shadow planets and the malefic effects they can bring into a person’s life.

But do these attributes mean that he is a negative planet? Far from it! His strong influence, though challenging, is meant to help us rectify our karmic imbalances and lead us toward a path of righteousness.

Shani idol worship
Shani Deva Idol (source)

Observance date of Shani Jayanti 2023

Shani Jayanti is observed on the Amavasya (new moon day) of the lunar month of Jyeshtha, as per the lunar calendar. This usually falls in late May or early June according to the Gregorian calendar. For instance, in Madhya Pradesh, a North Indian state known for its large-scale celebrations of this festival, Shani Jayanti is celebrated with great fervor during this time.

This year Shani Jayanti falls on May 19, 2023.

Amabasya Tithi starts: 09:42 PM May 18

Amabasya Tithi ends: 09:22 PM May 19

The birth of Shani Dev

Shani and surya deva
Shani and Guru (source)

Shani is recognized as the offspring of Surya, the Sun God, and Chhaya. Lord Vishwakarma, the divine architect of the universe, arranged the marriage of his daughter, Sangya, to Surya.

Surya, being an embodiment of radiance and power, was seen as the perfect match for Sangya. The couple was blessed with three children, namely Manu, Yama, and Yamuna. However, Sangya, being of a delicate nature, found it challenging to bear the intense luminosity and heat emanating from her husband, Surya.

In order to resolve this predicament, Sangya formed a likeness of herself from her shadow, referred to as Chhaya, and instructed her to assume Sangya’s role as Surya’s spouse. Meanwhile, Sangya retreated to Uttarakusha Mountain to engage in deep meditation.

The substitute Sangya, Chhaya, was an impeccable doppelganger possessing all the attributes of the original, which led Surya to remain oblivious to the substitution. In due time, Chhaya gave birth to a child whose complexion was distinctively dark – the planet Saturn, known as Shani.

The deviation in complexion from his other children led Surya to question the paternity of Shani and he refused to acknowledge Shani as his own. In the face of Surya’s disbelief, a distraught Chhaya confessed that she was not his true wife but merely a shadow of Sangya.

Following this revelation, Lord Surya’s attitude towards both Chhaya and Shani turned apathetic. This neglect from his father contributed to Shani’s evolution into a being known for his stern and unyielding nature since his early years.

Shani Jayanti Puja Bidhi – Steps to Follow

Shani Puja is performed to appease Shani Dev and mitigate the malefic effects in one’s birth chart, often caused by the position of Shani Graha.

  • Shani Puja begins with the lighting of a mustard oil lamp as a mark of reverence.
  • This is followed by the ritual of Shani Tailabhishekam, where Shani Dev’s idol is bathed in mustard oil and Ganga Jal (holy water from the River Ganges).
  • The Mantra ‘Om Saha Sanischaraye Namah’ is chanted 108 times by devotees.
  • Temples like Shani Sighnapur (Nasik) are filled with devotees performing Shani Shanti Puja.

Mantras and Hymns – Chants for Shani Jayanti

Shani Mantras

During the Shani Puja, devotees recite several hymns and Shani mantras, including the Shani Chalisa, Shani Gayatri Mantra, and Shani Mahamantra. These chants are believed to invoke the blessings of Shani Dev and alleviate the effects of Shani Dosha, Shani Sade Sati, or any other negative influences from the celestial movements.

Shani Gayatri mantra is chanted as:

ॐ काकध्वजाय विद्महे खड्गहस्ताय धीमहि तन्नो मन्दः प्रचोदयात ॥

Om kaakadhwajaaya vidmahae khadga hastaaya dheemahi tanno mandah prachodayaat

Om, Let me reflect on him who has a crow on his flag, Oh, He who wields a sword in his palm, and let Saneeswara enlighten my thoughts.

Shani Mahamantra (Beej mantra) is chanted as: 

नीलांजनसमाभासं रविपुत्रं यमाग्रजम्‌।छायामार्तण्डसम्भूतं तं नमामि शनैश्चरम्‌ ||

Nilanjana samabhasam raviputram yamagrajam

Chaya martanda sambhutam tam namami shaishcharam

He, the Shani deva, has the appearance of a blue sky, the sunlight of the Sun, and is the most powerful of those in power. He may even cast a shadow on the dazzling sun. We prostrate ourselves before Saturn, the god of command.

Remedies for Malefic Effects

Sade sati effect
Shani as Malefic planet (source)

Devotees undertake several rituals and remedies to mitigate the malefic effects of Shani Dev and to seek his blessings. This includes performing Shani Shanti Puja, using a Shani Yantra, and offering black sesame seeds to Shani Dev. Interestingly, Shani Dev is particularly fond of black sesame seeds and mustard oil, and these offerings are believed to please him.

The next way to please Shani Dev is to please Lord Hanuman. Shani Dev was a devoted follower of Lord Shiva. Shani Dev is seen as the overseer of actions, particularly involving service and commerce. It’s generally believed that Shani Dev’s direct gaze brings misfortune, and followers are advised not to meet his eyes.

There was an instance when Ravana, the demon king, kidnapped Shani Dev and imprisoned him. Lord Hanuman was the one to liberate him from Ravana’s grasp. As a gesture of thanks, Shani Dev assured Lord Hanuman that anyone who worshipped him would be spared hardships during the periods of Shandi Saadhe Saati (seven and a half years), Shani Mahadasha (twelve years), and Dhaiya (two and a half years).

To please Lord Hanuman:

  • Go to a Hanuman temple every time when your mind is calm and clear.
  • Chant Hanuman’s name every morning and evening.
  • Try to go to Hanuman’s temple, especially on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
  • Avoid consuming non-vegetarian food, especially on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

Shani Jayanti, hence, is not just about warding off negative effects or seeking protection from malefic influences. It’s about understanding the deeper aspects of life, embracing the challenges it presents, and evolving as better human beings. As we navigate through the complexities of life, observing Shani Jayanti, understanding the rituals, and applying the lessons from the teachings of Shani Dev can help us lead a more balanced and successful life.