Glory of Bharath  »  Bharath Darshan
Dear Sai brothers and sisters,
Our sacred journey this month is to pay our salutations to Lord Shani Dev at the holy place Shani Shingnapur in Maharashtra.

Shani Shingnapur
Shani Shignapur is a village located in Ahmednagar District of Maharashtra. It is about 35 km from Ahmednagar. The presiding deity of Shinganapur, Sri Shaneshwara or Lord Shanidev- the personification of the planet Saturn is worshipped with utmost reverence and devotion by multitudes of people from all over the world. The spectacle of the deity in black stone is overwhelming. A unique aspect of this place is that no temple structure houses the Shanidev. There is only a simple platform on which stands the swayambhu idol, in black stone. Unlike other pilgrimage centres, devotees here can perform puja or abhishek or other religious rituals themselves. One of the unique aspects of the village Shiganapur is that houses here have no door- frames or locks on them for safety. They are in fact not needed. The people here believe that it is the benediction of the god that no crime ever occurs in this village.

Lord Shani Dev

Suryadev (son of Brahma) and Sandna (the daugther of Daksha Prajapati) were Shri Shaneshwar's parents. Sandna and Suryadev had two sons Dakshinadhipati Yama and Shri Shaneshwar and four daughters Tapti, Bhadra, Kalindi and Savitri. Sandna finding it unbearable to live with the harsh glare of Surya's light created her own replica and named her as Sanvarna and asked her to behave as Surya's wife and perform all the duties and savour the privileges of a wife. She made her promise that under no condition would she reveal to Suryadev that she was not Sandna and promised to help her when needed.

Sandna went back to her father Daksha. When Daksha saw that his daughter coming back, he advised her that she better live with her husband only. The dejected Sandna did not follow her father's advice and instead transformed herself into a mare and resided in the Himalayas and started penance. Sanvarna performed the role of dutiful wife. She also gave birth to five sons and two daughters from Surya. Surya did not have any doubts about Sanvarna.

One day Shanidev was very hungry and he asked his mother to give him something to eat. She asked him to wait till she had made her first offering to God. But Shanidev insisted on serving him first and in anger kicked his mother Sanvarna. She in return cursed him that his leg would break. Shanidev reported the matter to his father Surya. Surya said," A mother would never curse a son like this." Surya observed Sanvarna closely and found that she was not Sandna. Surya was enraged and asked her who she was. Sanvarna confessed that she was a 'shadow' of Sandna and that Sandna had gone to the Himalaya for penance. Surya told Shanidev that Sanvarna was like his mother and her curse would not go in vain. It is therefore that Shanidev has one lame leg.

Legend of Shani Shingnapur
In Shani-Shingnapur village, the god is self-appeared idol. God appeared in form of black stone with a height of 5 feet and 9 inches & 1 feet and 6 inches in the width. He is standing on platform without any roof.

It is believed that, 250 years ago, in Shingnapur village it rained so heavily and incessantly that all the houses and fields were submerged by flowing water. The Shani idol came flowing along with the flood waters and got stuck in the branches of the neighboring berry tree. After the reducing of flood water when cowherds went near Panas Nala, they saw the big stone boulder in the branches of tree. They were surprise to see it. With the lot of hesitation, they poked the idol with their sticks and stone started bleeding. The cowherds saw this injury. With the scared, they ran away. They came back to the village and told their elders about what they saw. Listening to all this, villagers went to that spot where the stone was found. They were also shocked to see it. They could not decide what to do of this stone. At last they all returned to their homes by deciding that they would think tomorrow on this.

In the same night, when all villagers fell asleep, God Shani dev appeared before one villager in dream and said, "I am Shanidev. Whatever you & your villagers saw yesterday is true. Let me from that place and install me in the village." On the next day, devotee told the villagers what he heard in the dream. Listening to this entire, villagers went to that place where stone was found. They tried to lift idol but they could not succeed. They tried all day but they could not move a bit. At last people returned back to their homes. In the night when villagers were sleeping, again god Shanidev appeared in front of same devotee in dream & said, "I will move from that place only when the people who move me from there are of the real relation of maternal uncle and nephew."

Next morning devotee told the villager about his dream. And villagers did according to the dream. At that time many people tried to their best to install the idol in their own field, but the idol would not budge from there at all. At last the statue placed where it stands today in open ground. At that time, there was no any foundation. Foundation was made after very long time. Shri Jawahar Mal was made this foundation. Shri Jawahar Mal was the rich man in sonai village (Near by Shingnapur village). He had no any child. So, he prayed to Shani dev that if he got son, he would erect a beautiful foundation there. And by the grace of God shanidev he got a son and he erected a good foundation in Shingnapur & one platform for God Shani dev.

Our sojourn continues next month…Till then Sai Ram

- October 11
- December 09

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