Our ancient Epics tell that Lord Shani is the son of Lord Sun and his wife Chhaya. He is from the progeny of Kashyap. He is also called as 'Kashyapey' since he is born of from the ‘Yajna’ named 'Kashyapey', performed under the guardianship of Maharishi Kashyap. However, most of the people called him kashyapey just because he is the successor of Maharishi Kashyap.
The origin of Lord Shani has been discussed in many classical books but in Kashi section of the ‘Skand Puran’, the story of the origin of Lord Shani has been discussed in details. It is said to be very authentic one. So before discussing of anything more about Lord Shani, I would like to discuss the story of his origin. This story was spoken to his wife Lopamundra by Maharishi ‘Augusta’. He has very beautifully explained this incident, while conversing with the messengers of Lord Vishnu, narrating them the story of the voyage to the other world of Brahmin ‘Shiv Sharman’.
Both messengers of Lord Vishnu said, “Oh Brahmin! Kashyap, the son of Marichi, got Sun as a son from his wife Dakshyani. Sangya, the daughter of King Prajapati, was married to Sun. She has prayed for long-long years and hence she was graceful and loving to her husband, the Sun. She used to adapt the lusture of the zone of Sun but due to the strongness of the lusture, she was fading away day by day and she started losing weight. At this, his father-in-law Maharishi Kashyap got worried for the safety of his grandson; developing in her womb. So he has named his son, Lord Sun, as 'Martand'. The most luminous Sun which makes the Universe radiant through his strong rays, got unbearable to Sangya, his wife. Oh Brahmin! Sangya gave birth to three other children, two sons and a daughter. The elder son was named as Vaivasvart Manu and the younger was called Yamaraj. The daughter was named Yamuna. Later, when Sangya became incapable to bear with the lustre of Sun, she generated Suvarna/Chhaya as her own form of delusion. Chhaya bowed her head before Sangya and asked her of the orders.
Sangya said, “Oh mine!, Oh Suvarne! (born of my self-esteem), Oh the Beautiful one! Listen to me! I am leaving here for the house of my father, Vishwakarma. Oh my benevolent!, you stay here in my husbands house, fearlessly and do take care of this twin children (named Yama and Yamuna). Do look after them like your own children. Oh such smite!, you never open this secret to my husband (Lord Sun).”
Hearing to this Chhaya said to Sangya, the daughter of Vishwakarma – “Oh goddess!, unless and until I am beaten up to the last extent, or till I am put into trouble of getting cursed, I wouldn't tell of my identity to anyone. So, you may leave the home peacefully.”
Thus, binding Chhaya in a promise, she, Sangya left for her father’s house. Reaching there she bowed to her father and said, “Oh dear father! I am unable to bear the lustre of my husband, AryaPutra (Lord Sun).” Hearing to his daughter, Sangya, Vishwakarma scolded her in different ways and repeatedly ordered her to go back to her husband’s house.
At that point of time, Sangya was much worried and she thought, “Alas! A woman can never do anything on her own. She has to obey her father in her childhood, her husband in her young age and her son in her old age. She is bound to remain under the guardianship of a male, one or the other way throughout the life. Alas! I have left my husband’s house and have acted foolishly. He, my husband is unaware of my action. I must go back to my husband’s house where my shadow, Suvarna is residing in my disguise. If I remain in my father’s house in spite of my disrespect, my husband the most furious (Sun) would beat his extreme anger upon my parents. Oh! those who tell this, are right. In fact I have now practically experienced this feel. I have invited trouble to myself and have hurt myself. I have left my husband’s house, just because of my own foolishness. Now, I am not safe at my father’s place too. Firstly, I am a woman, secondly I am young enough and thirdly all the people on this earth, as well as on the other world and the third world, do wish to get such a beauty. How can I feel safe anywhere else, except my husband’s place! Fourthly, I belong to such a high family of Sun, who is omniscient, is the eye of this world and the remover of the darkness, witnessing all the three worlds, is all expressible and all accessible, he is my husband. Now how can I get rid of this trouble." Thus, Sangya went away to woodlands and started troubling herself through ‘Tapa’. She disguised herself as a mare and in order to keep herself safe she had loving feels of her husband within herself and kept on grazing over the dry grass. Thus she reached to the Eastern Land of Kurudesh. She kept on thinking that going through ‘Tapa’, she may enable herself to tolerate the lustre of her husband.
On the other hand, Lord Sun, started dealing with Suvarna/Chhaya to be her own wife Sangya and got three children from her, the first, Atyauttam Aashtammanu Savarnee, the second one, Lord Shani and the third one, a daughter named Bhadra (Tapati). Chhaya loved her sons and daughter but did not love the children of Sangya in the same manner, just because of being a step mother or just because of the jealous nature of a woman. The younger son of Sangya, named Yama, one day decided to kill his step mother, Chhaya, because of her partial attitude towards those three children of Sangya. He tried to hit her with his feet and made a loud roaring. At this, Chhaya, the step mother of Yama cursed him saying, “The feet you have raised to hit me may be fallen down at once.”
Now, Yama was taken aback by her curse and cried “Save me, save me” and ran to his father, ‘Lord Sun’ and narrated to him the whole story. He told his father, “our mother does not treat us equally. So I raised my feet to hit her. It was a blunder on my part because I am just a child or just because I was angry. Please forgive me for the same. Oh, the Lord of the Earth, save me from the curse of my mother and my feet may not be fallen down.”
Sun asked Yama, “Mother never curses her child despite thousands of his crimes. There must be some hidden secret behind it; that a mother has cursed a religious and truthful son like you. No body can make the curse of mother to get undone. So, the flesh of your feet would be taken away by the insects and taken to the surface. This way, the curse of your mother would be fructified and your feet would also be saved.”
Thus, when Lord Sun went to his bedroom after forgiving and ensuring to his son, Yama. Now, when a bit later her wife reached there in the bed room, he asked her, “Oh dear! All the sons are alike, then why do you have a special love for Suwarni.”
Chhaya did not reply to his question; then Lord Sun came to know of this secret through his power of self-realization and got ready to curse her. Now dreaded out of fear, she narrated to him the whole story. Sun felt Chhaya to be an ignorant one, so he didn't curse her and set off for his father-in-law's (Vishwakarma’s) house and got angry upon his father-in-law. Now Vishwakarma consoled Lord Sun who was anguished badly. He welcomed and worshipped him happily and knowing the cause of his arrival, he told him instantly, “Oh Lord Sun! Sangya felt herself helpless to bear severity your lustre, so she has gone to the woodlands and is grazing over dry grass after having disguised herself as a mare. Going there, you would find your loving wife, who is invisible to all beings due to her strong 'Tapa' and the disciplined living.”
Vishwakarma erased Lord Sun, as per his instructions. So he became much more smarter and the severity of his brightness was reduced.
Thereafter, he left for the northern side, there he found his wife Sangya grazing over dry grass. She looked to be a great mare, since she was leading a disciplined and life of 'Tapa' in that woodland. Sun thought his wife who was disguised as a mare, to be an innocent one. So he himself became a horse and established relations with his wife.
Now Sangya, who was grazing in the form of a mare, vomited out the semen of the Sun from her nostrils, considering it to be an illicit relation. Yet, two Ashwani Kumar, the doctors of the gods were created through this relationship. Then Lord Sun showed her, his own original form.
Now, Sangya, a perfect devotee of her husband, was pleased at heart. She prospected her husband, Lord Sun with her lovely eyes, he looked to be smart and healthy. She got pleased and satisfied to find him there in such a way. It is true that ‘Tapa’ makes anything possible. Only ‘Tapa’ is the greatest auspicious performance and it grants a high degree wealth too. Only ‘Tapa’ is called the main element of Devas (the gods).
Thus, the messenger of Lord Vishnu told Shiv Sharme, “Oh Shiv Sharme! Whatever form of astronomy and the science you happen to look at this Universe, it must be understood as huge aura of the ‘Tapa’. Thus the son of Lord Sun, i.e. Lord Shani who was born of Suvarna (Chhaya) went to Varanasi. There he underwent hard ‘Tapasya’. He installed there ‘Parthiv Shivling’ and by the grace of Lord Shiva, he attained the righteous and most the powerful post in this higher world.
The story of the hardest of Tapa made by Lord Shani at Varanasi, has been mentioned at ‘Kashi Khand’ of ‘Skand Puran’, tells about his unlimited tolerance and points out to his strong determination. On the advice of his father, Lord Shani started performing hard ‘Tapa’ and the whole Universe started getting affected by his aura. By and by he left taking the food or fruits and vegetables too and took air as his only food for thousands of years. Finally, he also left breathing air and kept on worshipping Lord Shiva without any food or air. When Lord Shiva got pleased with his endless dedication, he made prospected his real form to Lord Shani. He also blessed him with the boon of becoming the chief justice among the planets. Lord Shiva said, “Oh, my son! Everyone would be afraid of you and you would remain chief justice amongst the planets. You would be ever remembered for your misdeeds and thus purifying them by making them to undergo the results of their misdeeds. You would finally lead them to the path of liberation that is getting freed of the bonds of the life and death.” Availing it to be the best of chances, Lord Shani also got the boon of the devotion of Lord Krishna from his deity (Lord Shiva).
Our Epics tell that in lieu of the hard ‘Tapa’ Lord Shani became seven times more powerful than his father, Lord Sun. As also the reign of Lord Shani was extended seven times wider than that of the reign of Lord Sun. All living-beings would remain afraid of him because he mercilessly makes them to undergo the results of their misdeeds, inclusive of the interest accrued there upon.
A native who prospects 'Sushobhan Shaneshchreshwar Ling' situated at Kashi and adores it on Saturday; he is not affected by the malefic results of adverse planetary position of Lord Shani, in his horoscope.
A person worshipping Vishweshwar Ling in south and the Shankereshwar Ling in the north rests at peace and is blissful in this modern age of Lord Shani. Whosoever does listen to this sacred chapter, while residing in Kashi, he cannot get pains of the adverse planetary position nor would be dreading of his early misdeeds.