One day, God invited the Nava Grahas to His kingdom.
"Tell me," he said, "which among the 27 nakshatras is
All the Nava Grahas preferred their stars of exaltation, because it
was here that they felt most comfortable. Therefore, Surya voted
for Ashwini, Chandra for Kritika, Budha for Hasta, Sukra for Revati,
Kuja for Dhanista, Guru for Pushya, and Sani for Swati.
Since there was no consensus, God wanted Rahu and Ketu to vote for
one of the stars already mentioned above.
This irked Surya and Chandra, who complained and said that demons
were not fit to vote on such divine matters. But God waved aside
their protests and said that, in His kingdom, all were equal, and
so both Rahu and Ketu had as much a right to vote as any of the other
Both of them agreed with Sani and said that Swati was the greatest
of the nakshatras.
Once again, Surya and Chandra protested, but God ignored them and
said, "Swati it is, then! But first, I think that we should know
why exactly it is Swati." Sani, who had first said that Swati was the
greatest, stood up, bowed low before the Lord, and said, "My Lord,
I did not vote for Swati merely because it is the star of my
exaltation. Neither did I vote for it because it is owned by my
good > friend Rahu, who owns Kumbha along with me."
God knew this, and He also knew what was coming next. But He
pretended to be surprised. "Why then, pray tell me, did you vote
for Swati, Sani?" "Because, my Lord, this star signifies a desire to
attain Your kingdom more than any other star."
"Liar!" screamed Surya, rebuking his son. "How can a star owned by
hedonistic Rahu signify Godliness?" He then turned to God and
said, "My Lord, I request that you turn my son Sani out of Your
"Silence!" thundered God, "You may be Sani's father, Surya, but
remember, that I am everybody's father, including you. Keep quite
now, or I shall tell Rahu to eat you!"
Surya sat down, trembling with fear.
"Continue, Sani," said God in a calmer tone. "In what way does
Swati signify desire to attain My kingdom? Who taught you this?"
"My Lord, I learnt this from a bird called the common hawk cuckoo,
which is also called chatak or papiha." "Pray, my son, please
enlighten us. What is so special about this bird?" asked Surya,
keen on getting into God's good books once again by showing affection to
his son. "Father, the special thing about the chatak is that it will drink
only rain water that falls when the star Swati is rising."
"Hah!" said Surya, reverting to his customary arrogance. "Is that
all? Is this the only thing great about the chatak?" "Father! You
are so proud of your kingdom that you fail to realize the greatness
of small things. The chatak will refuse water from even holy rivers
like the Ganga and the Yamuna. Even if it is offered water
from a sacred temple tank, it will not drink it. In fact, I will
not be surprised if it holds even the nectar of immortality in
contempt, preferring instead the rain water that falls on a Swati."
"Son," said Surya, "Being at the outer edge of the solar system, so
far away from me, has no doubt confused your brains. Why else would
you confuse silliness with greatness?"
"This is not silliness, but greatness, father," said Sani. "And
being away from your blinding light, I have savoured the darkness
and contemplated long upon things dear to me, like Vairagya and
Viveka. To me, the chatak is an exemplary example of both."
"In what way?" demanded Surya.
"Thanks to the Viveka possessed by the chatak, it is able to
discriminate and realize that the water that falls on a Swati is
the greatest. Because it practices Vairagya, it is able to give up its
desire for all other sources of water."
Before Surya could interrupt him, Sani continued, "This is what man
has to do. He should shun everything--especially the power that you
can offer, father--and choose only God. Only then will he attain
Moksha." Surya was quite keen on rebuking his son again, but a quick glance at God's smiling countenance convinced him that if he spoke now,
then God would surely set Rahu upon him.
Sani continued, "The chatak also shows us that the path to God is
not easy. God, though pleased with the chatak for shunning all
other water bodies, still tests the chatak to see if its resolve to taste
only the rain water of Swati is strong. The chatak, by being firm,
shows devotees that they must be willing to put up with hardships
in order to realize Him." When Sani finished, God was immensely pleased with him. "Sani, your explanation is wonderful. From now on, you shall be called Swati Ucchan not just because you are exalted in Swati, but because you have grasped the inner meaning so beautifully."
As Sani bowed low before God, the other Nava Grahas applauded him.
Budha, ever keen on depicting his poetic wit, and on having the
last word, said, "Excellent, friend Sani! From now on, may Swati be to
Sani what Swaha is to Agni!"
Courtesy: Sri Balaji Narasimhan( taken from Mail from Ancient Indian Astrology)