In Hindu mythology, Sani was identified with the planet Saturn. Sani's parents were the Sun god Surya and Chhaya whose name means shade. Surya's wife could not tolerate the intense heat produced by her husband the Sun god. To protect herself, she sent a shade to a husband in the form of a mistress whose name was Chhaya. Sani was known as the evil-eyed one because his glance was extremely powerful and could burn anything instantly.

For the Hindus, each planet was identified with a god. They believed there were nine planets who formed a planetary council. The planets were the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn, an ascending node and a descending node. The ascending and descending nodes, which are the invisible nodes of the Moon's orbit, were considered important enough to be included in the planetary council. Probably, Hindus did not know about Uranus and Neptune which cannot be detected without telescopes.

Hindus believed that the planets were able to affect the life of the individual and the course of history. For this reason, they are especially worshipped in times of danger. In South India Sani, Ketu and Rahu ( as well as birds and frogs) are believed to be responsible for children's diseases.

Last modified July 19, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

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