preliminary approach to the science of Vedic astrology tells us that out of seven main planets and the additional two shadow ones, clear benefics are only Jupiter and Venus. The behaviour of Moon and Mercury depends on several factors, before these can be classified as benefics. The remaining five, namely Sun, Mars, Saturn, Rahu and Ketu belong to the clan of malefics. In terms of mathematical calculations, the share of benefics computes to just 44 percent in human life. When we cut across the demagogical divide of the population, it is seen that the affluents pass through the nature’s metal detector as the elite of the society. They appear to be unaffected by the vicissitudes of life. They pose as if they have no ups and downs. We are not here to dissect the actual type of life they lead and the less said the better.
In this essay, the attempt is to see and establish the true role of these so called malefics, particularly Saturn and realistically quantify all prevailing misgivings. In doing so, let us quickly run through the brief pen sketches of Sun, Mars, Rahu and Ketu, before embarking upon the detailed expose on Saturn.
SUN : It is associated with causing haughtiness among natives. Their nature gets pickled with a false sense of ego. Drunk with this false intoxication, an adversely placed Sun causes separation in married lives and in business partners.
MARS : Its significations are to cause mass scale destruction through fires, accidents, natural catastrophes etc. Characteristically, Mars creates and nurtures tensions in mutual relations and if badly placed in the birth chart, it even causes the demise of the spouse.
RAHU & KETU : Ever since the churning of the ocean, these are endowed with powers to promote ill will. Never satisfied with any bounty of nature, these are proverbially the trouble-makers of the zodiac. The eclipse to Sun and Moon is considered to be their handiwork. Epidemics are commonly associated with these astral bodies. They attack in a highly clandestine manner. The native pines for happiness and becomes a recluse, always cursing his/her fate.
SATURN : It's place stands in the coterie of malefics. It has come to be known as an unpopular planet and nicknamed as the king of melancholy. In the ancient classics of Hindu / Vedic astrology, there is a tale about Saturn:
He had a beautiful wife who craved for union with her husband (Saturn) On being constantly ignored, she felt jilted and threw a curse on her husband : “THINGS YOU WILL CAST YOUR GLANCE UPON WILL PERISH.” The application of this curse is further to be found in the classics where the stage has been set for celebrations in the abode of Lord Shiva on the birth of Ganesha. To partake in this great celestial event, all the bigwigs of heaven, including lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Yama, Surya, Indra etc assembled at the entrance to welcome the guests. Saturn simply paid obeisance and never looked at the child. Divine mother Parvati persisted and insisted that he must look at Ganesha and appreciate the halo around his face. Thus impelled by Parvati, Satrun cast a glance at the child and Lo! the child’s head got severed from his body. Parvati fainted. There was mayhem all around. In order to restore normalcy, Lord Vishnu lost no time to fly out on his Garuda and spotted a herd of elephants. Using his Sudershan Chakra He flew back with the head of an elephant, which was placed in position on Ganesha’s body. Parvati accepted this ‘marvel of surgery’ with all humility but she,too, hurled a curse on hapless Saturn : “BE THOU A CRIPPLE.” All major Gods and Goddesses beseeched Parvati to take back the curse. It was on Brahma’s intervention that Parvati agreed to modify the curse as : “ MY CURSE WILL BUT HAVE IT'S EFFECT. YOU WILL SUFFER FROM SOME LAMENESS. YOU WILL BE KING OF GRAHAS AND A MASTER-YOGI.”
This small but interesting tale from the legends typifies the temperament and disposition of Saturn. The price for having a look at Ganesha resulted in the afore mentioned curse. But because the curse comes from the senior hierarchy of the Hindu pantheon, Saturn could do precious little. We all lead tasked lives on this earth. This contains the temper of destiny, which Saturn received for no fault of his. Through divine intervention, Saturn earned the sobriquet of a master Yogi and the king among the Grahas. Now we know Saturn as the planet of detachment. Its own suffering has become the scion of human tribulations and has come to be accepted as a signification of the planet Saturn . The rule of law eternally prevails in the regime of Saturn. High or low, no compunction is shown to anyone. The law of Saturn appears to be that everyone reaps the rewards of his Karmas. Omar Khayyam, the astronomer-poet of the 11th century in Persia seems to have been impressed by the tinge of Saturnian law to pen down his famous quartet :-
"THE MOVING FINGER WRITES AND HAVING WRITTEN
MOVES ON; NOR ALL YOUR PIETY NOR WIT
SHALL LURE IT BACK TO CANCEL HALF A LINE,
NOR ALL YOUR TEARS WASH OUT A WORD OF IT."
Saturn is also associated with the adage : “It delays, but does not deny.” Being the unquestioned king of melancholy, every human being essentially develops a philosophical trait in their thinking that the Karma leads to Destiny. Definitely, though invisibly, a link exists between what one does and what one reaps. The exalted chair of Chief Justice is definitely occupied by Saturn in his court. By his diktat, man has come to possess the temper not to tolerate injustice or cause injustice, to any one. The whip rod of the master Yogi is everready to administer justice to all and sundry. Saturn tumbles and humbles the mighty.
One hidden beauty in the Indian mythology is the use of parables. In Jaimini astrology, if the Atmakaraka falls in Aquarius Navamsha, the native shows charities in the form of constructing wells, gardens, temples, inns etc for the maximum good of the maximum people. This Rashi is lorded by the great Yogi Saturn. Modern day political science is all about aiming at the maximum good of maximum numbers. Today Saturn governs general masses, elected, legislatures, parliaments etc.
Saturn, willy or nilly, flashes one clear message that human life is an ongoing seminar. It is the theatre of suffering, which acts as the ultimate teacher and eye-opener. The seminal influence of Saturn is so immense that one tends to get over the side effects of even big tragedies of life. These are Yogic powers in full play. Every suffering brings discipline alongwith. Human beings who have graduated in life through such seminal influence of Saturn cultivate the habit of facing the rough and the tumble of life with equanimity and poise and without doubt, or debate. Human beings close ranks in adversity. Not so in comfort. Gold becomes purified after passing through fire. Human beings emulate the example of gold. They are known to shed their impurities, like vanity or ego. Man is the student and Saturn is the teacher, the master Yogi, the terse disciplinarian. His ways are inscrutable. A grain of corn will not create hundreds more of such grains, without dissolving itself in the soil.
It is quite relevant to quote Napoleon Bonaparte. said He : “IT REQUIRES MORE COURAGE TO SUFFER THAN TO DIE,” Years later, Mahatma Gandhi said about human suffering: "SUFFERRING IS THE BADGE OF HUMAN RACE, NOT THE SWORD.”Fortitude becomes the corner stone of life’s edifice. Thanks to the seeping, creeping and sweeping powers of Saturn.
THE SAINTLINESS OF SATURN
In a Dreshkana chart, when Saturn aspects Moon (and vice versa) the native acquires the powers to become a saint of high order. Saturn invests the person with a fillip to meditate. The Moon installs the person’s mind in the ultimate Lord – PARMATMA.
Saturn is also packed with the power to open one’s third eye – the Gyan Chakshu.
In the great hall of fame, Shani rules over longevity, Moksha, detach-ment etc. The sledge hammer of Shani Dev does not spare any one. Rulers, monarchs, ministers, wrong doers of any hue are shown the path to righteous attitude by Shani Dev. He rules. All others simply obey. Such is the impeccable discipline of Saturn. This is more why his name has come to be associated with fear, despair, loss of fame and what not. He is the dreaded one. He commands respect by being ruthless. He possesses the powers to delay. He never denies, though. Justice is Saturn’s most flaunted badge.