The Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of North America, are proud, yet humbled, to announce the opening of the very first Sri Saneeswara (Lord of Saturn) Temple to ever be erected outside of India. The new Temple is officially known as the Sri Saneeswara Temple and Community Center of New York which will serve as both a combined temple and community center to enhance spiritual and arts based educational opportunities in New York City.
The visionaries of this project, Mrs. Rupa Sridhar and the Board members of Shri Navagraha Devasthanam of NA together have embarked on establishing the Shri Navagraha Devasthanam and, furthermore, have undertaken an ambitious mission to open 9 separate Navagraha temples in 9 US cities to foster Vedic culture and spirituality in North America, each of which will emphasize a different Deity of the Navagraha. (Navagrahas refer to the nine celestial bodies in the Cosmos that are said to influence the life of people on earth. They are respectively Ravi (Sun), Chandra (Moon), Angharakha (Mars), Budha (Mercury), Guru (Jupiter), Sukra (Venus), Sani (Shri Saneeswara (Lord of Saturn)), Rahu and Ketu.
The temple was inaugurated on March 23rd, 2014, Prana pratishta and Kumbha Abhishekam were completed and simultaneous maha homam and japam were performed by vedic pundits and scholars in India for the benefit of this temple and for global harmony.
Of the planets in our solar system visible to the naked eye, Saturn is arguably the most spectacular. It’s very visible rings distinguish it from the other planets and give it a unique beauty. So why is this magnificent planet considered to be the supreme ‘terrifier’ and feared by those who see him coming? In reality Saturn, like all the planets, has a function and a purpose. On exploring the mythology of Saturn and his function in astrology, shows that he is, in reality, not the villain he is portrayed to be. In fact, he is one of the truest friends and a magnificent teacher a person could have.
Saturn represents discipline, responsibility, honor, and integrity, boundaries, limits, structure, among other things. His rings are symbolic of those limits, forming a band around the planet, symbolic of the iron band we form around ourselves as a result of our actions, our karma. Saturn is in fact a true cleanser in one’s life. Saturn represents the material plane. In astrology he has the ability to crystallize things into a physical reality.
In the book “The Greatness of Saturn”, Dr. Robert Svoboda says, “If pleased he will give you a kingdom, His grace makes you happy, while his wrath will so thoroughly ruins you that you are completely forgotten in the human world.”
To his own Guru, Saturn promised, “O Guru! Anyone who is free from arrogance has nothing to fear from me, but everyone who harbors arrogance within will have to suffer”
Saturn (Shani) as “the planet in charge of fate, which forces you to experience your karmas whether you want to or not”. The great sage and father of Vedic astrology, Parasara, linked Saturn with Brahma, the creator.
In Roman mythology, Saturn was related to agriculture and was of the same rank as Jupiter. His name was synonymous to sator (a sower) and to abundance. He was a working god and was associated with the riches of the earth. Saturn is shown standing with a sickle in his hand, symbolic of agriculture and the earth’s riches. Saturn was originally one of the Numina, the protector of the Sowers and the Seed.
Saturn is also the source of Saturday or Saturn’s day. Translated, Saturday means Sabbath. It was considered a holy day, the day before the Sabbath. Saturn, as ruler of Capricorn, is associated with the year’s end. This is the time of Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, which also relates back to when the ancient Romans celebrated ‘Saturnalia’, the festival of Saturn and the winter solstice. Making New Year’s resolutions fits the theme of Saturn, where people vow to do things better, become more self-disciplined, set limits, etc.
It is said in esoteric teaching that Saturn is the planet of discipleship. “A disciple is someone who learns by surrendering to Reality, who studies minute by minute everything that Saturn has to teach be it bitter or sweet. True disciples attempt to control their own nature, that they may influence Saturn’s influence on themselves.”
Saturn is like the stern look of the guru. When you look into his eyes you see the mirror of your folly and your human creation. There can be fear in this experience, but if one let the transmutive fires of Saturn’s gaze go through them, they will come out the other side free from the substance and the habit patterns and be a renewed person with brilliance and positiveness.
The key is to learn the lesson that Saturn teaches and not repeat the behavior. It is imperative that you get wise and become conscious of the fact that what is delivered to your doorstep can’t be blamed on anyone else, that you have to throw out that part of yourself out of the subconscious. Otherwise, you will continue to weave a karmic web that you will eventually experience as fate or karma returning.
Saturn can be your greatest friend in that he shows you the tangible results of your actions so that you can make corrections, serve your time and turn around and do it right the next time. The stern gaze of Saturn is only stern to those who have something to fear, something to lose. That loss is the loss of their human creation, a creation that is not real in the first place and exists only in the sands of time and space.
And what could be more kind and loving than to have someone tell you what you are doing wrong. And since we are generally resistant to hearing what we have done wrong, Saturn has the thankless task of delivering our karma to us in such a way that we experience what we have done to another in exactly the same way they felt and experienced it from us.
What a great guy, this Saturn. Because of him, we don’t have to worry about people getting away with anything. We don’t have to blame others or try to get even. Fortunately for us, he has does all that for us when he delivers back to people what they have sent out.
We have been taught that one of the masters who rules Saturn is Maitreya, whose essence is loving kindness. Those who worship Maitreya find that underneath his stern but peaceful gaze is the most gentle and kind father a person could ever want. So I say we give Saturn some credit. He walks around carrying all the messages and burdens he has to deliver.