Fasting on Saturday is considered highly beneficial and the most significant of all the weekly vrats. Scriptures advise this Vrat for those who have a weak Shani dev in their Kundalis. Observed to please Saturn (Shani Dev), this Vrat can win the blessings of Shani and remedy the ill effects of a weak Shani in the Kundali.
How to do the Puja on Shanivar:
Shanivar Vrat can be commenced on the first Saturday of the bright lunar month (Shukla Paksha) of any month. The fast is observed on consecutive Saturdays for 11 or 51 weeks. Following this, Udyapan is done and if needed commenced once again.
How to do the Puja of Shani Deva:
The observer must take a holy bath in the morning and wear black or blue clothes. Worshipping an idol of Shani Dev made of iron is highly auspicious. During puja, black flowers, black til seeds and black clothes are gifted to Shani Dev along with boiled rice. The puja concludes with the chanting of Shani Dev mantra and reading the Shanivar Vrat story.
Rules for the Saturday Vrat:
The observer can visit the temples of Hanuman and Bhairav Offerings at the Shani temple are made with til oil, black urad dhal, black til and black clothes. After daylong fasting, food is to be taken only two hours after the sunset.
Shanivar Vrat Story:
Once the nine planets entered into a debate as to who was the most powerful among them. They approached Indra to give the verdict, but he feared their anger and directed them to Vikramaditya, the most famous king of Ujjain.
Shanivar Vrat Katha:
Vikramaditya placed nine thrones in the palace made of gold, silver, bronze, copper, brass, tin, zinc, mica and iron and asked the planetary gods to occupy them as per their choice. Starting from Sun, they occupied the thrones in line with Saturn occupying the last iron one.
Shanivar Vrat Story – Shani Dev:
Vikramaditya then said they had given their own verdict by indicating who is the most and who the least powerful one. From the hint that he was the least powerful one, Saturn got angry and started troubling Vikramaditya as a punishment to this verdict.
Sade Sati dosh troubles Vikramaditya:
King Vikramaditya fell into misery due to Sade Sati dosh for the next seven and a half years. He lost his way in the forest, roamed foodless and was charged for theft. His hands and feet were cut off. He got a job as the oilseed crusher. When he was singing a melodious song, the princess of the region’s king listened to it and wanted to marry him despite his mutilated status.
The king had no way than arranging for their marriage. By then the Sade Sati period came to a close and Vikramaditya gained his limbs once again. He married the princess as well as received the daughter of a wealthy businessman as a gift.
The Glory Returns:
Vikramaditya was received gloriously on his return to the kingdom after seven and a half years. Thereafter he observed the Shanivar Vrat please Saturn regularly week after week and lived a happy life with his subjects in a prosperous manner receiving the blessings of Shani Dev in abundance.
Benefits of Saturday Fasting Vrat:
This Vrat is also advised for people who have Shanidev’s Sadesati, Dahiya, Mahadasha or Antardasha. It is said that observing fasting on Saturday shall relive the observers from joint pains, muscle pains, back pain, muscle disorders and others and ensure vibrant health. They shall also get relieved of their tensions and feel highly optimistic in life.