Today I’m starting my first Saturn (Śani) fast. I’ve done many different fasts in the past, so this shouldn’t be so difficult (especially as it’s only a day-long fast), even though it will be a part of my routine for the next 16 weeks. And I’ve never performed any puja or japa to Śani simultaneously.
Doing a Saturn fast is helpful if you’re under any negative influence of Saturn in your birth chart (poorly placed, afflicting, or weak), are having a hard time with a Saturn transit (especially during Sade Sati), or are in your Saturn dasha or bhukti. Fasting, it seems, is the best remedial measure for Saturn difficulties.
The Saturn fast begins on the Saturday after the new moon is Śrāvaṇa and lasts 16 consecutive weeks. It usually happens in July or August each year. This year (2016) it runs from August 6th to November 19th, 2016. The fast begins on sunrise each Saturday and ends on sunrise the following Sunday morning.
Why is Śrāvaṇa so important to this fast?
[Need to look into this.]
Start the day by taking a shower or bath.
Meditation & Japa
After you’re clean, sit in meditation and do japa to Śani. During the meditation ask for his blessings, but don’t be specific about your wishes or express desire. If you do, Śani may give you more than you are asking for, turning your desires against you. If there’s anything you’re worried about, however, you can bring your concerns to Śani.
Use one of the following mantras for Śani japa.
Om Nilanajana Samabhasam, Ravi putram Yamagrajam
Chhaya Martanda Sambhutham, Tam Namami Shanischaram
Recite this mantra once, thrice, or 108 times daily during the fast.
Śani Bija Mantra
Om Praam Preem Praum Sah Shanicharaya Namah
Recite this bija mantra 108 times daily during the fast.
Maha Mritunjaya Mantra
Om Tryambakam Yajamahe Sughandim Pushti Vardhanam
Urvarukmive bandhanan Mrityo mokshiya Ma amritat
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om
Although primarily a Śiva Mantra, this is excellent for Śani as well. Recite this 12 or 108 times daily during the fast.
While fasting, do so with full faith. Resenting the fast defeats its purpose and you will experience no benefit from it. Don’t harbor or express anger and don’t entertain negative thoughts.
Full Shani Fast
Consume no solid food (with the exception of occasional fruit) from sunrise on Saturday until 24 hours later when it rises on Sunday. Just drink water. Teas, though? Juices?
Half Shani Fast
Consume no solid food (with the exception of fruit if needed) after sunrise on Saturday. Water and juice is acceptable. Then, after sunset you can eat a simple vegetarian meal. Do not eat meat (including fish or chicken), eggs, grains, or salt. Do not eat anything toxic or drink alcohol.
If you can’t do the fast for whatever reason, just keep Saturday sacred. Don’t pollute your body with toxins. Eat only a purely vegetarian diet and avoid alcohol and other toxic substances.