About the idol of God Shani, which appears to be made up of iron and stone, which has a black complexion with a height of 5 feet and 9 inches and 1 feet and 6 inches in width and which is exposed to heat, cold and rain in the open all day and night, it is learnt from the local elders that some 350 years ago, in Shingnapur village it rained so heavily and incessantly that one could not see ahead and the fields were submerged by flowing water.
Nobody could have imagined that it could rain so heavily. It had never rained so heavily.Along with the weeds flowing in the flood waters, the stone statue of God Shani came flowing and got stuck in the branches of the neighbouring Berry tree.When the rains reduced and the floods receded, the people came out of their huts. They felt happy that by the grace of God, it had rained well. Along with agriculture, cattle farming was also a way of life in the village. So when the cowherds took the cows and buffaloes for grazing near Panas Nala, they saw a black coloured stone boulder in the branches of the Berry tree. They began to wonder as to how such a big boulder came floating all the way till there! Soon their crowd increased. After a lot of hesitation, they touched the boulder with their sticks. And wherever they touched, blood began trickling from the stone boulder. There, they could see an injury because of a big hurt to it. This was very clearly visible and evident. The cowherds panicked seeing the flow of blood. Some of them fled. Abandoning their cattle, they came running into the village. The worried parents and elders enquired of them as to what happened, what scared them into coming running after abandoning their cattle.
Awhile later, they told the elders about what they saw. Listening to it all, the elders also were stunned. The news of the boulder spread far and wide like the wind. All people left their homes and went their to witness the strange occurrence. They stared and stared and wondered what to do next. Soon the night began to set in. They all returned to their homes after deciding that they would do something the next day. Along with this decision and they dined and retired for the night. However, because of what they saw, they could not sleep all night. While some slept with open eyes, the others whiled away the night.
God Shani appears in a dream:-
By chance, in Rajani Bela, on of the residents fell asleep. And in his sleep whatever miracle he had seen the evening appeared in his dreams. And God Shani appeared in that dream and whatever God Shani talked to him is like this:
" Whatever you and the cowherds saw yesterday is true." " Who are you speaking?" said the devotee. " I am God Shani himself speaking. Lift me from there. And install me in the village."The very next day, the devotee told the villagers what he saw in the dream. The people heard it and were stunned. Upon hearing what he said, the people took a bullock cart and went to the spot where the idol was caught in the Berry tree. They even tried to lift the stone idol and place it in the cart, but they were not successful. They were all crestfallen and demoralized. The idol would not budge a bit. They tried all day, but the statue would not move at all from its place. In the end, the people were sad and disillusioned that they could not get the statue into the cart and they went back to their homes.
The very next day, the devotee told the villagers what he saw in the dream. The people heard it and were stunned. Upon hearing what he said, the people took a bullock cart and went to the spot where the idol was caught in the Berry tree. They even tried to lift the stone idol and place it in the cart, but they were not successful. They were all crestfallen and demoralized. The idol would not budge a bit. They tried all day, but the statue would not move at all from its place. In the end, the people were sad and disillusioned that they could not get the statue into the cart and they went back to their homes.
On the third say, God Shani appeared in the dream of the same devotee and pronounced:
"Son, I'll move from that spot only when the people who move me from there are of the real relation of maternal uncle and nephew. These very people should place me on the branches of the Berry tree. Those who ride the bullock cart should be of black complexion and also should be of the relationship of maternal uncle and nephew."
The devotee awoke and found that he was dreaming. Next morning he told the villagers about his previous night's dream. And the villagers did exactly as was told in the dream. Then the statue was placed upon the branches of the cut Berry tree. Wasn't it so strange that when all the people's efforts to move the statue had failed, only one maternal uncle and his nephew succeeded!
An aspect of man's nature is worth pondering about here. The man who dreamt about God Shani was very desirous and tried his best to install the idol in his own field, but the idol would not budge from there at all. Finally, the statue was given its rightful place ('pran-pratishta') where it stands today with a lot of worship and reverence. The people of the entire village were witness to this miracle. For many days, the statue remained on an ordinary foundation. The present day foundation was not there then. There is story about this too. There was a rich man in the village of Sonai called Shri Jawahar Mal who had no children. So, one day he prayed intensely to God Shani that if he got a son, he would erect a beautiful foundation there. And by the grace of God, Jawahar Mal came to realize that he would get a son and he erected a good foundation there in Shingnapur.
Then, the devotees requested that since a foundation was being built anyway, why not remove the statue and erect a good foundation and place it on it and perform the rites of 'pran-pratishta'. With mixed opinion, some of the devotees started digging the ground to pull out the idol but were unsuccessful. The deeper they dug, the more they saw of the statue. And it would not be dislodged. And then, all the villagers prayed to God Shani asking for his Divine directions about what to do next. One of the devotees had a vision of God Shani in which God Shani said, " Only erect a foundation. Do not try to move me or lift me."
Therefore, they built a three feet foundation on all the four sides of the idol. So, today, as much of the idol of God Shani we see, that much of it is deep seated.