Shop Windows to the Universe

We now offer the Cool It! card game in our Science Store. Cool It! is the new card game from UCS that teaches kids about the choices we have when it comes to climate change.

Sani

In Hindu mythology, Sani is identified with the inauspicious planet Saturn and its Regent, whose vehicle is a crow. Hindus believed in the existence of nine planets called Navagraha(s). Many rituals referred to the planets that often were depicted at the entrance of Hindu Temples built in the tenth and eleventh centuries A. D. in Bhubaneshwar, a city in the southwest of Calcutta. The planets were placed on temple doors, to protect the temple and all who entered it.

Hindus believed that the planets affected the life of the individual and the course of history. For this reason, they are especially worshipped in times of danger. Rahu and Ketu are also inauspicious. In South India Sani, Ketu and Rahu (as well as birds and frogs) are believed to be responsible for children's diseases. Predictions were made on rain and crops on the basis of the position of the planets. In particular, Hindus used a Saturn diagram to tell fortunes. A Saturn diagram is a circle that includes twenty-seven lunar divisions through which Saturn passes in its orbit around the Sun.

For the Hindus, the planetary council was composed of the Sun(Surya), the Moon(Soma), Mars(Mangala or Angaraka), Mercury(Buddha), Jupiter(Brhaspati), Venus(Sukra), Saturn(Sani), an ascending node called Rahu and a descending node called Ketu. The ascending and descending nodes are the invisible nodes of the Moon's orbit. Ketu, the descending node was included in the planetary council only later. In fact, it does not appear depicted in the lintel of the inner shrine of the Parashurameshvara temple, built in the eighth century A.D.

Hindus probably did not know about Uranus and Neptune which cannot be detected without telescopes. Sani was known as Kruralochana, the evil-eyed one, because his glance was extremely powerful and could burn anything instantly. According to an account, Sani is held responsible for burning the head of the god Ganesa when he was a child. Ganesa was the Hindu god who propitiates success and wisdom. He has the feature of a man with four hands and an elephant head.

When he was an infant, his mother once asked Sani to look after her child forgetting Sani's evil-eye. When Sani looked at Ganesa, the child's head burnt in a flash. Heartbroken, Ganesa's mother replaced the head of her child with the first thing she could find, namely the head of an elephant. Sani's father was the Sun god Surya.

Last modified July 19, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology, rocks and minerals, oceanography, and Earth system science to astronomy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Ahsonnutli

Ahsonnutli was the sky father and chief deity of the Navajo Indians. He created heaven, Earth, and the sky. Each of the four cardinal directions was supported by a giant. Each direction was also associated...more

Amphitrite

Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected...more

Aphrodite

Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love and beauty. She was known to the Romans as Venus. There were actually two different Aphrodites, one was the daughter of Uranus, the other the daughter of Zeus and...more

Apollo

In Greek mythology, Apollo was the son of Jupiter(in Greek Zeus) and Leto (Letona). He was the god of the Sun, logic, and reason, and was also a fine musician and healer. Leto travelled all over Greece...more

Cancer

According to an ancient Greek legend, the figure of a gigantic crab was placed in the nighttime sky by the goddess Hera to form the constellation Cancer. Hera was the jealous wife of the sky god, Zeus....more

Cepheus

In the Northern Hemisphere sky is the constellation Cepheus, king of Ethiopia, and that of his wife Cassiopeia. Cassiopeia claimed that she and her daughter Andromeda were more beautiful than the sea nymphs,...more

Coyote

According tho the Navajo mythology, the Milky Way was created by the misbehavior of the mischievous deity, Coyote. When the world was created, the Holy People gathered around Black God to place the stars...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA