Home Page Of Savitri

Food removes hunger, water removes thirst sun removes darkness, compassion removes anger and love removes hatred. But devotional worship of God steers one clear of ail calamities. Because of this. we find that human beings have been offering ardent prayers to the Almighty ever since creation. No prayer to God goes waste as all seekers know and there is no man who has not had at least some of his prayers answered. The story of Savitri is a classic example of the wonderful power of prayer.

Ashwapati was the noble, generous and virtuous king of Madradesh (which was a popular place in Punjab). The people of Madradesh were very pleased with their king. One thing, however, made Ashwapati dissatisfied and sad. He had no issue by his wife. At last he decided that only gods could fulfill his desire. Therefore the king decided to go into a deep forest and worship God. King Ashwapati gave up luxurious life of the palace and began meditating with-out having even food and water. At the time of meditation, he used to forget himself completely and be totally absorbed in his deeper self. Thus he meditated for years.

The heavenly gods and goddesses became pleased by Ashawapati's continued meditation and decided to grant him a boon. According to the boon the king was to become the father of a baby-girl. After a few days, while the king was deeply engrossed in meditation one morning. Goddess Saraswati appeared in his consciousness and said: "0 King A&hawapati! By your deep meditation the gods and goddesses are pleased, and on their request I am to take birth as your daughter by your wife. You are blessed that the gods have favoured you." Saying these words Goddess Saraswati disappeared. As his wish was to be fulfilled the king became very happy and returned to his kingdom.

After some time Queen Malati gave birth to a female child. King Ashwapati became very happy and he sent for the astrologer in order to know about the child's future. Examining the palm of the little child, the astrologer became wonder-struck regarding her future. It was evident that her palm foretold that she was the symbol of the Goddess of Wealth - Laxmi. Goddess of Knowledge - Saraswati and Goddess of Character - Parvati. The baby was sure to bring luck to her parents, brothers, father-in-law, husband and sons. There was. however, one mysterious mark in her palm. And it showed that she would be facing some great tragedy in her life - the like of which no woman had ever faced - but ultimately she would emerge the grand winner and that she would be worshipped by all women from generation to generation. The astrologer in the end suggested that her name should be Savitri.

Slowly Savitri began attracting the attention of the- people even as a child. It was absolutely impossible- to believe that a girl of hardly a few years could show great devotion to God or be deeply interested in prayers. She would often forget herself while deep in meditation in which she spent hours and hours. This happened very often, and even when mother Malati threw hot or cold water on her face, it was with great difficulty that Savitri could come to her normal consciousness. Her way of talking and asking the questions was highly philosophical. Without any study she knew all branches of knowledge and she was able to express and explain the deep layers of thought. Now she was known not only as Ashwapati's daughter, but people also started saying that Savitri was a goddess in the form of a girl. From morning till evening people from various places started coming to the King's. palace lo see Saviiri and seek her advice to solve their difficulties. The palace of King Ashwapati now be- came a temple and Savitri was the idol. The people used to say that King Ashwapati and Queen Malati were indeed fortunate to have such a goddess as their daughter. Now Ashwapati and Malati realised the- veracity of the words of the astrologer. Saviiri was really a goddess of knowledge, wealth and character.

In due course Savitri grew into a lovely maiden. The King and the Queen decided that they should find a suitable match for their daughter. They called their ministers and instructed them to look for a noble and virtuous youth who could "be a life-partner to Savitri. The ministers went out in search of a suitable match from one kingdom to another. Ultimately they came back without finding any. They could not find any person whom they could even vaguely suggest as a possible match for Savitri. The ministers further suggested to the King: "Sire1 In our search we could not find anyone suitable enough to be considered by you in connection with Savitri's marriage. We have come to the conclusion that we should leave it to Savitri herself to choose her future husband. She is quite capable of deciding for herself." The King and the Queen accepted this suggestion.

One day Ashwapati and Malali explained to Savitri that according to the Law of Nature each and every female should have her mate. as life would be incomplete otherwise. "We are worried about yourself these days," the King said, "and it is our great desire that you should yourself find out a suitable young man whom you might like to marry." Savitri assured her father that she would obey his orders and act accordingly.

Savitri set out in search of a life-partner. But instead of going about her business in the royal houses of the kingdom far and near, she turned to the forests, and visited many Ashramas on the way, receiving the blessings of a good number of saints and sages. Many days had passed since she began her search, but she still was still after more and more Ashramas situated in the thick of jungles, and which were presided over by saintly souls. This was the cause for much worry and embarrassment to the ministers escorting her, and one of them even went to the extent of reminding her of the real purpose of the task for which King Ashwapati had sent her out.

Hearing the words of the minister, Savitri smiled and said : "0 Minister, the path of sages is indeed worthwhile and noble. But I do not want to adopt that way of life at present because I would like to fulfill my parents' desire. But of one thing I am sure. The blessings of sages and saints will help me find my life- partner, and therefore I am visiting more and more Ashramas."

Savitri proceeded further in yet another direction in the forest There her eye fell on a handsome young man, who was carrying a bundle of faggots on his head. He looked indeed very attractive, his face shoo3 brightly, his chest was broad with his hands almost touching his knees. He was poorly attired, which , showed that he hailed from a family of meager means. Such, however, was his bearing that Savitri was greatly attracted to him. She soon realised that her search for a life-mate had come to an end on a happy note- She informed the ministers that she had found her life partner and that she did not want to proceed any further. The ministers began gathering some information about the handsome young man who was known by the name of Satyawan and whose father's name was Dyumatsen. Both father and son lived the life of sages in the forest. Dyumatsen was blind and son Satyawan was very much devoted to his father. Formerly Dyumalsen was a king but he had been defeated by his enemies rind exiled from his kingdom. After getting this information the party returned to the palace.

Savitri came back in a happy mood. She wanted to bow at the feet of her father Ashwapati. before breaking the good news to him. But she saw there the heavenly sage, Narada, conversing with her parents, and she touched the feet of Narada - as was the custom of the day. Narada blessed her saying that she would be the mother of many children. He then made inquiries with King Ashwapati regarding her marriage. Ashwapati told him that Savitri had been out in search of her life-partner and that she had Just then returned, perhaps after succeeding in her mission. As soon as Narada heard this, he was eager to know who the lucky soul was, whom Savitri had chosen for her life-partner. At this Savitri naturally felt shy. but the ministers who had escorted her told all about Satyawan and Dyumaisen- When he heard the name of Satyawan, Narada became very pleased and said :

"Well done, Savitri. well done! Really you have found a capable person for your life-partner. To the best of my knowledge 1 have not come across any youth like Satyawan. - He is the paragon of virtue, might and strength. He is wise and generous. You have made an excellent selection. Savitri. But in spite of all his charms and abilities there is one great hitch in the matter. I can't blame you for not knowing it. Per- haps you might change your decision if you knew what I am in a position to tell you about his future. The &ad thing is that Satyawan is destined to die exactly a year hence. But for this he would be a very ideal husband for you. Still if you insist on marrying him, nobody can stop you."

On hearing the words of Narada. King Ashwapati and Queen Malati. as also-the ministers felt shocked. Savitri, however, became furious. Her parents could rot think of giving her in marriage to Satyawan. On ihe one hand Narada had praised the virtues of Satyawan while on the other he had no clear-cut objections to her marriage with him. The King became surprised at this difficult position which appeared almost like a riddle,

In response to the King's queries. Sage Narada said : "0 my dear King! I have been waiting for this situation ever since Savitri started on her search for her life-mate. There was, of course, nothing I could do before she had made her choice in the forest. It was then that I foresaw the brief length of Satyawan's lifespan, and so I have come here to forewarn you. Life and death are but natural for mortals; no one can survive for ever. But some things happen at the proper time, some things do not Death at the prime of life can never be a proper thing. To die within one year of marriage is anything but a happy event- I would, therefore. like to inform you all that Satyawan is destined to breathe his last a year hence. And now it is up to you all to help Savitri decide properly."

King Ashwapaii now turned to Savitri : "My darling daughter you have heard the Sage, We all feel that in these circumstances, it will not be wise for you to marry Satvawan. Go again and find someone else for your life mate. It was a great act of kindness on the part for Narada to have come here and thus forewarned us: otherwise we were sure to give our consent to your marriage with Salyawan." Mother Malati could not contain herself. With tears rolling down her checks, she said : "Nothing has gone wrong yet, Savitri. Go and select someone else who will have a long life in addition to other virtues. We do not want to play with your life. As you know a life-mate is not a day's toy You just can't play with it one day, only to break it off the next day."

Persuasion of her father and mother had little effect on Savitri. Without feeling any grief, she thanked the divine Sage Nanida and spoke thus to her parents : "Dear Father, Dear Mother, I accepted your suggestion to choose a life-mate Whatever I have selected with all my heart, good or had. long life or short life. painful or pleasant, it is my sacred duly to accept him as a Gift of Gods. It cannot be changed. With my limited experience of life, it seems to me that choosing a life-partner is not just a physical and this- worldly affair. I think it is all connected with one's previous birth as also life hereafter. It is not in my stars that I should change my mind now and choose another being as my life-partner. Should I change my mind now, I feel married womanhood might challenge des- tiny that a soul once given to anyone could not be gifted away to someone else under any circumstances. Even if I am not going to see the face of Satyawan again in my life, his soul and mine have become one and they cannot be separated. Every pore of my being is full of Satyawan; wherever I turn my face I see Satyawan. There is nothing now that could induce me to change my mind". These words, came out so firmly that even Narada was unable to say anything. Narada then persuaded King Ashwapati: "0 King think no more. Arrange her marriage with Satyawan May you live long to see your daughter becoming the- mother of many children, all of them healthy, mighty and virtuous." With these words Narada picked up his Veena and with 'Narayan, Narayan' on his lips disappeared from the scene.

King Ashwapati summoned all his courage and arranged Savitri's marriage with Satyawan. The King was keen on having a royal atmosphere for the marriage ceremony even if it was to be celebrated in the forest. But Savitri did not relish the idea. She vas very happy with the life Satyawan and his father led. The forest with its scenic beauty and rustic charms was very much to her liking and Satyawan's love made it a paradise.

At her Father-in-law's home Savitri worshipped both her husband and Dyumatsen. She was very much occupied in their service which to her was as good as divine worship. She spared herself the least when it came to attending to the needs of the aged and blind Dyumatsen. The latter would often rebuke her for wearing herself out but Savitri would not listen- On the other hand she argued : "Please do not worry, about anything. Nobody feels tired in the service of the Lord. Allow me to do my duty as long there is breath in my body. Who knows what will happen after death? It is my good Karma will at least lead me on to a good life."

At light, after Satyawan and Dyumatsen had retired to bed, Savitri would sit down for her meditation. Sometimes she was still seen in meditation when Satyawan woke up in the morning. She constantly remembered the time-limit spoken by Narada regarding Satyawan's life-span. Hence her ardent prayers to seek a way out where all doors of redress seemed closed to her. She was bracing herself to face the inevitable. Perhaps from somewhere within her own deeper Self, she got the soothing assurance that nothing was impossible for a true and devoted soul, and that even the inevitable could be challenged.

One day when Satyawan was preparing to go out to collect some roots and fruits from the forest, Savitri requested that she be permitted to accompany him. Her request was a surprise to Satyawan because she had not touched any food the previous night. Little did Satyawan know that Savitri had been too preoccupied throughout the night with her prayers and meditation to sleep, for she knew what was to befall him on the morrow. Satyawan naturally did not want her to accompany him to the forest, for the path was rough and moreover there were wild beasts prowling about. At last he said : "If you insist on accompanying me, let it be so. But you should go and get the permission of my father. If he allows. I shall be pleased to take you along to the forest."

Savitri went to Dyumatsen said in a humble voice requested him for permission to accompany Satyawan. It was indeed a surprising request, even though Dyumatsen agreed after some initial hesitation, saving : "0 my daughter, if you feel fresh and energetic I do not mind you accompanying Satyawan. But you were on fast last night" To this Savitri replied : "I fee! quite well and fresh to accompany Satyawan." and touching the feet of Dyumatsen she took her leave of him. Dyumatsen blessed her and asked her to be back before sunset.

It was for the first time that Savitri and Salyawan were going out into the forest together, and Satyawan was greatly pleased with the opportunity." He was full of enthusiasm and joy, and as they slowly wound their way amidst the thick growth, he would pick up beautiful flowers that lay scattered all over the path to give them to his beloved, or draw her attention to some scenic highlights, or some rare variety of birds that we came across only in the jungles.

Presently they came to a tree laden with ripe fruit, Satyawan now lost no time in climbing up and picking some ripe ones; he threw these down to Savitri who was eagerly watching his movements. She knew that the fatal hour was approaching as moments slipped by. For Satyawan, however, she appeared to be eagerly wilting for the fruit he was throwing down to her. Indeed she wanted to pick up more fruit and as he tried to reach out for more hanging from some far off branch, he lost his balance and was about to fall down. Somehow he precariously clung to the tree and made haste to reach the ground; his breathing was hard and his vision fast getting blurred. He could hardly stand, but Savitri who knew what was going to come was now all alert- ness and attention. She placed his head on her lap and let his limbs rest on the ground. With the loose end of her sari, she wiped out the beads of perspiration from Satyawan's brow.

Savitri did not shed tears. At this fateful hour. the great power within, which she had been invoking ever since Sage Narada's prediction, look posses- '.Ion of her. She was no longer the tender aged girl: she was the embodiment of that Super Power which asserts itself at all critical moments in life. Savitri had become a super woman who could challenge both man and God.

The modern concept of Justice as a blind goddess holding the scales applies to Duty. One who is Duty-bound must be least concerned about the consequences of his actions. He must needs have a detached illusion. This should have been the position of Yama the God of Death, who now made his appearance on the Scene stride his buffalo, a well-built figure by any standards, resplendent with a glow all his own. True he was the God of Death, but there was nothing dark or deathly about him. Rather Saviiri found him radiant with wisdom, his face calm and composed like one who knew the real nature of things. He even appeared kindly and benevolent, and perhaps left to himself, he would have been the last to cut short Savitri's happiness. Who in this world has the heart to turn a teenaged girl like Savitri into a widow? Yama was not wanting in Mercy and Generosity; perhaps to be cruel is almost foreign to his being. As it was his duty to take over when life ceased to be, he had come to the place with the usual equipment Seeing Satyawan's head resting on Savitri's lap, Yama hesitated a little, for he wanted to be extremely polite and courteous; he wanted to take away Satyawan's life with as little of displeasure to Savitri as possible. It was indeed a difficult task but the God of Death was quite up to it. Calling into play the tact he was capable of, Yama bowed before young Savitri: "0 righteous woman. I salute you. I am Yama, the Lord of Death. It is my unpleasant duty to take away Satyawan's life."

Savitri stood up placing Satyawan's head on the ground and bowed at the feet of the great Yama saying : "0 great God of Death, accept my humble salutations. I am blessed that the Almighty has provided me with an opportunity to be in your presence while I am still in my mortal frame. It is not given to many to have this honour. My Lord."

"Well said, Savitri. well said," said Yama. "Perhaps you may not know that you' have earned this opportunity through your spiritual Sadhana. No gift is ever granted for nothing in this universe. A reward is won only when you work for it."

"Thanks, Lord Yama, for your compliments. I almost feel as if I am in the presence of a kind father. Let me again salute you, 0 great Lord," Savitri replied, and bowed to Yama a second time.

Even as these words were being uttered, Savitri was fully aware of the purpose of Yama's visit. It was. as though a part of her was a keen watch over Satya- wan's body from which the Soul was yet to be extricated. while the other was engaged in conversing with the God of Death. At the same time, Yama too was acutely conscious of his duty which required him to extricate Satyawan's soul from his body. Not wishing to delay matters, Yama spoke thus to Savitri. "Satyawan was a virtuous man, noble and pure. He- was indeed an ideal husband for you. It is so unfortunate that his life span has ended shortly. May be, in some future life. you both could be united as man and wife, living a life-span of a thousand years. Now let me take away his soul as my Duty demands.'" So saying the God of Death threw a silken chord over Satyawan's body, and pulled out from it his soul. This done Yama mounted his buffalo, took his leave of Savitri with the words: 'May God bless you, my child,' and turning in the opposite direction rode on. Satyawan's soul secure in his custody.

Hardly had the buffalo moved a little, when Yama found to his surprise that Savitri was following him. This was something unexpected. For Yama was used to performing his duties undisturbed. If he had needed much tact to get hold of Satyawan's soul without offending Savitri, he had greater need for tact now to persuade her to return. "Why are you following me, Savitri?" he questioned, go back and perform the last rites of Satyawan."

Now was the time when Savitri needed all her wit and courage. She proved equal to the task, thanks to the Super Power within which had taken possession of her. Calmly she replied : "I am only following my husband. 0 God of Death. Is it not the duty of a virtuous wife to follow her husband wherever he goes? So long as you carry Satyawan's soul, I am bound to follow it. Save with being with her husband, there is no place in this world for a devoted wife."

Her reply pleased the Lord of Death. Realising fully that she was no ordinary woman who could be easily dissuaded from doing what she had chosen to. Yama tried to please her with a boon. "You speak a great truth, my child," said Yama. "I am pleased with you. Ask for a boon but remember you can ask for anything save the soul of Satyawan."

Savitri was touched by Yama's kindness. "It is so kind of you to grant me a boon, my Lord." she said- "May I have the boon that my blind father-in-law may regain his eyesight and also his lost kingdom."

"So be it. my child," Yama said. "Now that I have granted you the boon, let me go, Savitri." So saying he turned the direction and rode ahead.

Imagine his surprise when he found after he had covered a little distance, that Savitri was still following him. The God of Death was now a little perturbed Savitri persists in following Yama....

"Why are you again Following me?" Yama said to her. "Please understand that attachment is the root cause of all the trouble in this world. Humanity suffers because of this attachment. Pain and sorrow cease once we are detached. "When you understand this truth. I am sure you wilt go back and perform the last rites of your late husband."

Savitri's reply was ready almost immediately. "What you say is true, 0 Lord of Death" she said. "But please explain me. If Lakshmi is always with Narayan, Parvati with Shiva and Saraswati with Brahma, is it not attachment? Then what is wrong with a wife like me trying to be with her husband?"

Yama realised that Savitri was getting the better of him. Instead of his winning over Savitri. it was the other way about. Trying to cut short the argument and be free to move ahead, he said : "Savitri, you are great intellectually, even as you are great in other fields. I am pleased with your replies. Ask for another boon. my child, but ask not for the life of Satyawan."

Yama's kindness overwhelmed the great Savitri. Since not asking for a boon now could be construed as an insult; she spoke : "I can't thank you enough for your second boon, my Lord. Since you have been gracious enough to offer me a second boon, may I wish that my parents who have not been gifted with sons may bring forth a hundred sons."

"May it be so." Yama replied. He was now in great hurry and he could hardly afford to lose time in carrying on the conversation with her. ''Now go back. Saviiri, and leave me alone.'

The Lord of Death now rode quickly on. He was much worried that so much precious time had been already lost. When therefore, he soon found that Saviiri was still following him, Yama was all confusion. He saw almost no way out of his predicament, with the lovable little woman winning boon after boon from him, and still refusing to leave him alone. Neverthe- less he could not get angry with her - who indeed could be? And so he decided to satisfy her with yet another boon.

"Savitri, my child, why are you still following me? Don't bother yourself to answer my question. Ask for yet another boon, my child, and thereafter at least leave me alone. But remember, again, ask not for the- soul of your husband."

Yama's kindness and offer of a third boon brought out tears of gratitude from Savitri. She made her obeisance at his feet and said : "My Lord, I am yet to meet one kinder than you in my life. Blessed am I that I met you. May your third boon be that my father-in-law be able to see a hundred happy grand- children born to his daughter-in-law."

"So be it. my child, so be it. Now atleast leave me alone." Yama was in great hurry and he lashed at his buffalo to make it move faster. He was happy that now at last Savitri was not following him. But when he looked back to be sure. he realised how mistaken he was. For Savitri was still following him "Savitri," Yama said, a note of dejection now apparent in his voice. "Should you still follow me? Haven't I granted you three boons, my child?"

*This time you yourself are compelling me to follow you. 0 God of Death," Savitri spoke with supreme assurance. "How could your third boon be realised without your granting me the life of my husband?"

Savitri's words left Yama dumb-founded. Now only did he realise the significance of his last boon. If her father-in-law was to become the grand-father of a hundred happy grand-children born of her it was obvious that Savitri should be given back Satyawan's life. It was indeed remarkable how without mention- ing Satyawan's name in her boon, as indeed God Yama wanted her to, she had made the great Lord of Death yield and grant her the life of Satyawan. The great Yama should have inwardly cursed himself a little for The haste in which he granted the third boon. Indeed his sole objective then had been to dissuade her from following him, and benevolent as he was, he granted her boon after boon, as if to compensate her for the loss of Satyawan. True, he had warned her to ask for anything but the life of Satyawan. But little did he know that the little woman who was following him was so clear in her mind about what she wanted, with not even a touch of haste about her mind, that she could catch him unawares and win from him precisely what he had warned her not to ask. She never gave up, the little Savitri, and she had a plausible explanation. every time she was questioned. She had patience and perseverence, and above all, her great heart was so full of love for one and all, - an all-consuming love which knew no barriers - that the Lord of Death should have found himself off his feet in the sweep of Savitri's love. Here was Love's victory - Love that knew no defeat - and it was a joyous Yama who now gave her husband's soul, saying: "Here. my child. take back Satyawan's life and live with him happily for a thousand years. Go and tell the world that Yama had been defeated - by Love."

Savitri bowed at the feet of the Lord of Death, shedding tears of joy and received Satyawan's soul. As Yama moved ahead after blessing Saviiri. he would have felt a little sad that Savitri was no more follow- ing him. Such was the power of her love that it made his great heart melt, and the God of Death did look back more than once, eyes full of tears, to see Savitri fast disappearing in the jungle.

Thus we see that Savitri's greatness lay in her love. Add to this her clarity of mind, her wise approach to things and her ready wit, and you have the key to her success. You could never fail in your life if you follow in her footsteps. You and I need not have to wait till we arc face to face with death to show our love, patience or perseverance. Indeed Savitri's example is meant for constant application throughout one's life, so that one becomes the happy witness to the phenomenon of surmounting difficulties and achieving greater all- round harmony. Look at it from any angle, Savitri's example is but another way of saying : "To love is to live, to live is to love."

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