Sri Shaneeswaran, Thirunallaru22 May 2021
There are several temples dedicated to Lord Shani and among the more popular and perhaps the most visited one in South India is “Sri Darbaranyeswara Swamy Temple” at Thirunallar in the Union Territory of Puducherry.
King Nala of the Nishada Kingdom lost all his wealth in a game of dice and also subsequently, parted from his wife Damayanthi. Due to a curse, he was bitten by a snake and he adorned the form of an ugly looking dwarf. When he ascended to the forest of kusa grass (Darba), he is said to have visited this temple. As advised to him by Sage Bharadwaj, he had to go through all the misery due to the transit of the planet “Lord Shani” over the years and to absolve himself of all his miseries and curses, he first took a dip at the Brahma Theertam (temple tank) associated with the temple who’s presiding deities are Sri Darbaranyeswarar (Lord Shiva) and Sri Bogamartha Poonmulayal (Goddess Parvathi).
Since the temple is situated in the dense kusa forest, the deity’s name is “Sri Darbaranyeswarar”, one who resides in the Darba Forest. Subsequently, King Nala created the Nala Theertham here which is considered so important that a dip in the tank is said to absolve one of all their sins in this lifetime. Thereafter, King Nala rejoined with his wife and live happily ever after.
About Lord Shani
Lord Sri Shaneeswara is one among the Nine Planets, depicts the planet Saturn and holds a unique significance for being the one who moves the slowest – once in 7 ½ years from each Rasi – 2 ½ years before and after one’s Janma Rasi and 2 ½ years in the Janma Rasi. He takes 30 years to orbit around the sun and is hence expected to pass through each individual three times in their life, assuming one would live 100 years. His actual name is “Shanaischaran” or the one who moves slowly ever since one of his legs was broken after a curse by His mother.
Lord Surya’s wife was Sandna. Since she couldn’t bear a child due to the extreme brightness of her husband, she created a clone of her by the name Chaaya (meaning shadow) and went to perform penance in the Himalayas. One day, when little Shani was hungry, he pleaded His mother to give Him food, but she delayed it, saying she would first offer it to the Gods. Enraged, Shani kicked His mother with His legs and hence Chaaya Devi cursed that his leg be broken. When Shani went to his father Lord Surya, he was surprised how one’s Mother can be so cruel and can curse her own son. That is when he found out that Chaaya was not the real mother although her curse would remain afflicted on Lord Shani.
Lord Shani is the brother of the deity of death and justice, Lord Yama. It is said that Lord Shani teaches fitting lessons to each one’s misdeeds during their lifetime while Lord Yama teaches their lesson after their death in His Yama Loka. Lord Shani is a planet who is extremely just and disciplined and guides everyone to lead a clear life and afflicts harm on them until they learn by their own misdeeds, again and again. He is married to Sri Neela Devi and Sri Manda and has two sons, Khulikai and Maandhi.