As per Hindu mythology Lord Sri Dharma Sastha was born on one Saturday. Since Swami Ayyappan was the incarnation of Sri Dharma Sastha, devotees can save themselves from the miseries caused by the planet Saturn, by worshiping the deity with his favorite incantations. A visit to Sastha temples and penance on Saturdays can help devotees to overcome the troubles caused by the Saturn planet. They can also make suitable offerings to Ayyappan as an alternative solution for the difficulties created by the planet.
Since Lord Ayyappa is the combination of the spiritual energy of Lord Vishnu (preserve the universe) and Lord Shiva (supreme power), he has got the unique power to control the Lord Saturn(Shani). Hence he is also known by the name Shaneeshwaran Ayyappan. It was from sage Vasista that Lord Ayyappa learned incantations which enabled him to control the evils of Lord Saturn. During the time of his birth, Sage Vasista is said to have reached at the Pamba river bank to teach him the incantations of Saturn and advised him to bless devotees who have been suffering by the troubles caused by the planet. This is how he came to be known by the name ‘Shaneeswaran’.
Devotees generally try to get rid of the evils of Saturn by chanting lines which glorify Swami Ayyappa. It is believed that this holy procedure will help remove all types of bad effects caused in one’s life by the Saturn effects. To escape from the evils of Saturn(Shani Dosham) devotees can conduct an offering called Neeranjanam at Ayyappa temples on Saturdays.
Neeranjanam is one of the most important offerings made to Lord Saturn. Small cloth sachets of Sesame Seeds, raw rice (other than boiled), Sesame oil and one coconut are required for this purpose. The sachets are dipped in the sesame oil and kept inside the two equal halves of the coconut. These coconut halves are then placed in a plate containing raw rice and lit after praying Lord Ayyappa or Lord Shani preferably on Saturdays.
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