As Saturn becomes retrograde in Moola nakshatra it is no coincidence that Saturn forces us to introspect on various aspects of life, be it physical or metaphysical. Therefore, it is the right time to try dispelling some misunderstandings regarding Saturn’s gunas or nature when it comes to the way Saturn metes out the consequences of one’s karmas. To do this, we will discuss a sloka from the Mahabharata that chronicles the importance of Saturn in the run-up to the Mahabharata war.
The Mahabharata is one of the most important texts that explains the mechanisms and importance of karma. Therefore, it is not surprising that Saturn – the karmaphala-data – or the deliverer of the fruits of one’s karmas plays a critical role. The Mahabharata, at once, is a story about spiritual attainment and the futility of material achievements and a story about realpolitik and strategic maneuvering and how a series of short-sighted choices eventually leads to a disastrous war.
In the Bheeshmaparva section of the Mahabharata, there are a series of slokas that appear to be extremely cryptic. One of the slokas describes Krishna making his final effort to convince Dhritarashtra to not initiate the war. It pertains to an imminent Saturn transit into Rohini nakshatra and the disaster it would bring with it. In the Bheeshmaparva’s Jambukhand-vi-nirmana parva, adhyaya 2, sloka 32 Krishna forewarns Dhritarashtra of the imminent calamity by saying:
In the sloka above the reader would assume that widespread destruction would deter Dhritarashtra from initiating war. But when we consider the deeper context of the Mahabharata we realize that Dhritarashtra cared about the wishes of his eldest son – Suyodhana (a.k.a. Duryodhana) far more than the well-being of his kingdom or society. This aspect is evident throughout the Mahabharata. Otherwise Dhritarashtra would not have agreed to the partition of Hastinapur, the dice game and the humiliation of his own daughter-in-law, Draupadi, in the royal court among other things. Therefore, would Dhritarashtra really care if scores of people perished in the war as long as his son was victorious? Krishna’s statement does not warn against mass carnage alone, but the destruction of Dhritarashtra’s sons specifically.
Saturn would deliver the consequences of the karmas of the Kauravas and no force – human or divine – could stop this. Therefore, we must reconsider our views on the role of Saturn in Rohini. Far from just being the harbinger of carnage, Saturn also initiates a process of restoring some semblance of balance between positive and negative energies in the world. Rohini nakshatra is usually associated with abundance and prosperity. While Saturn is not inimical to abundance and prosperity, he is certainly concerned with fairness and balance which is why Saturn in Rohini usually sees a shift in the balance of power in the system.
We can further examine this by making use of the concrete example of World War II. We see that the complexion of the war changes as the Saturnian influence increases in Rohini. Table 1 shows the dates when Saturn transited through the Rohini nakshatra.
|Table 1. Saturn’s movement during World War II|
|June 2nd, 1942 – Saturn enters Rohini|
|September 26th 1942 – Saturn retrogrades in Rohini|
|February 7th 1943, Saturn becomes direct in Rohini until June 10th 1943|
|June 11th 1943 Saturn goes into Mrigashira|
The war and carnage had already begun with Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Therefore, Saturn was not associated with war onset. However, once Saturn stepped into Rohini on June 2, 1942, we see the complexion of the war changing as Hitler loses the Battle of Stalingrad which was fought from July 1942 to February 1943. This not only led to mass carnage as wars usually do claiming around 2 million lives, it also led to the Russian invasion of Germany from the east. Therefore, Saturn was a game-changer and the period when Saturn entered Rohini nakshatra corresponded with the beginning of the end of Hitler’s control over Europe and eventually over Germany itself.
Therefore, the seemingly cryptic sloka carries a lot of hidden meaning that encompasses Saturn’s role as the deliverer of karma and the significator of balance. Contemplating upon Saturn’s role further helps in understanding our own individual karmas by identifying areas where we truly have to create balance and harmony where none could have existed before.
 Sloka extracted from the critical edition of the Mahabharata edited by V.S. Sukthankar.
 Information on World War II came from: https://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii/battle-of-stalingrad
 Jagannath Hora Software version 8.0 was used to extract information regarding Saturn transits given in Table 1
This article is based on the Monthly Nakshatra Seminar Series talk given by the author and Dr. Aditya Togi, and that the author would like to acknowledge the feedback of Dr. Aditya Togi, Dr. Kanholy Santhip Krishnan, Dr. Arjun Pai and the seminar participants for their contribution.