Shanidev, resides at the seventh position of the Navgrah. He is the son of Surya and Sanghya Devi. He represents the planet Saturn. His interaction with the other planets for a period of two and half, and seven and a half years, makes him dreadful. Shanidev influences people terribly than that of others. And the influence remains for a long time. This effect owes to his lameness.
There is a story in Suryatantra, that describes how he became lame. Sanghya Devi being unable to resist Surya’s heat, created her own clone, named Swarna. Later Swarna was blessed with five sons and two daughters. She took least care of Sanghya Devi’s children then. Once being hungry, Shanidev asked Swarna for some food but she said it will take some time as she has to offer the first food to the Gods and feed the younger children first. This infuriated Shanidev and he kicked her. As a consequence, she cursed her to turn lame.
Why do Hindus offer oil to appease Shanidev?
It is usual to bathe Shanidev in oil. There is a story related to this practice in the Anand Ramayan.
When the battle between Ram and Ravan was about to begin, a bridge was constructed to cross the sea and Hanuman was appointed the care taker of the bridge. One evening when he was offering prayers to Lord Ram by meditating in a calm atmosphere, Shanidev suddenly appeared before him and invited Hanuman for a fight. Hanuman humbly requested not to disturb him. Yet Shanidev did not listen to him. So, Hanuman tied him with the tightest grip with his coiled tail and thrashed him on the stones of the bridge. Shanidev started bleeding and sought for forgive. Hanuman put a condition of not harming Ram’s devotee to leave him. After Shanidev agreed for the same, he left him. Shanidev requested Hanuman for some oil to get relief from the pain created by the wounds. He got a huge and immediate relief after Hanuman offered him some oil. So, he is pleased with oil as it gives him relief from pain.
Think it over
Prayer has saved my life; without it I should have been a raving lunatic. Prayer must be the very core of the life of man. The spirit becomes unclean if the heart is not washed with prayer- Mahatma Gandhi