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Shani Puja is done to appease the Shani Graha or the Saturn planet. Among all planets, Saturn is the most dreaded. This puja nullifies the malefic effects of Shani Graha as far as possible so that the person under its ill influence can pass off the phase with as little harm as possible.
Shani is said to be both a giver as well as a destroyer. Shani is usually depicted as dark in color, clothed in black, holding a sword, arrows and two daggers and is mounted on a crow, which is Shani’s vahana or carrier. Shani is also known as Shanicharya.
Shani is embodied in the planet Saturn and is the Lord of Saturday. He is the son of Surya (sun) and his wife Chhaya (shadow), hence also known as Chayyaputra. He is the elder brother of Yama, the Hindu God of death, who in some scriptures corresponds to the deliverance of justice.
Shani is also known as Saura (son of sun-god), Kruradris or Kruralochana (the cruel-eyed), Mandu (dull and slow), Pangu (disabled), Saptarchi (seven-eyed) and Asita (dark).
Shani Puja is usually done on a Saturday. On this day, the devotee also fasts from dawn to dusk. Wake up early in the morning and take an oil bath after applying sesame oil on your body. After a bath, wear black clothes for the day. On the whole, day, use Sesame oil for lighting lamp.
Have an image of Lord Ganesh. Get an iron image of Lord Shani dev. If this is not possible, you can also do the puja to the picture of Shani Dev. Even if this is not available, do Puja mentally in sitting in front of the regular Puja altar. Worshipping Hanuman is believed to give some additional benefits to devotees of Shani Dev. So, have a picture of Hanuman also in the altar. Shani is a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Worshipping Shiva is a sure way to please Shani. So, combine Shani puja with Hanuman and Shiva puja.
Benefits of Shani Puja: