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Saavitree and Satyavaan

Saavitree's story comes in Mahaabhaarat, when Maarkandeya Rishi comes to see Paandav during their exile period. He tells this story to them.

Once upon a time there lived a king named Ashwapati. He had many wives but he had no child. He did a Yagya for 18 years and wished for a child. A Devee (Goddess) appeared from the Yagya Agni and said - "I am Saavitree, the daughter of Soorya (the Sun). I am very pleased with your worship, so you will have a daughter." Within a year Ashwapati had a beautiful daughter. He named her Saavitree after the name of the Devee. Saavitree grew up and the time came for her marriage. She was so radiant that no man asked for her in marriage. Seeing this her father asked her to go out and find a boy for herself. When she will have found him, he would perform her marriage.

Accompanied by her friends and servants she went from place to place but found nobody suitable for her. Then she crossed a river and came to an Aashram. There were many Rishi living. Suddenly she saw a young man who was cutting the wood. She got attracted to him. She went to him and asked his name. He told her his name as Satyavaan (the son of Truth). He also also told her that he was the son of the King Dyumatsen and his parents were blind and lived in a nearby hut. She had found her husband, so she came back to her home.

As she entered the palace, she found her father sitting with the great Rishi Naarad. She greeted both of them and sat there. The father asked - "Putree (Daughter), Have you found a boy for yourself?" "Yes, Father." "Who is that?" "He is Satyavaan." Naarad Jee suddenly intervened - "No, my daughter, no. You should not marry him." Raajaa got suspicious, he asked - "Rishivar, Is there any thing wrong about him?" Naarad said - "No Raajan, He is the most virtuous boy on the Earth, but he has only one bad aspect, that his life is very short. He will die exactly after one year from today."

Raajaa got very worried hearing this, and asked her daughter to choose any other boy for herself. Saavitree was also upset hearing Naarad Jee but said - "Father, I have chosen him as my husband, now I cannot choose any other one whether his life is short or long. A Hindu woman chooses her husband only once." Raajaa couldn't say anything after this. He made the arrangements and married his daughter to that poor blind parents' son Satyavaan. Satyavaan was very happy to get such a beautiful and dedicated wife. Satyavaan's parents asked her if she could live with them like they were living in a hut? Saavitree said - "Now I am a member of this family and I will live as my husband lives. I am contented in that."

Now all started living happily in that hut. They lived happily for a year, but Saavitree did not forget Naarad's words that her husband's life was only one year. Only three days remained to Satyavaan's death. Saavitree started worshipping without eating, drinking and sleeping for three days and three nights. Once Satyavaan asked her - "Worshipping and fasting are good but why so hard on yourself?" Saavitree didn't give any answer.

The fourth day in the morning she finished her worship. The Sun was rising and Satyavaan was getting ready to go to forest to cut wood with his axe on his shoulder. Saavitree said - "Today I will also go to forest with you." Satyavaan said - "Why dear, you should stay at home, take rest, eat and drink something. You have not taken any rest, not eaten or drank anything, you are so weak." Saavitree said - "No dear, Today I will also go with you." And she got ready to go with him.

Both wandered around looking at beautiful scenery and smelling sweet smelling flowers. Then Saavitree sat under a tree, and Satyavaan started cutting firewood from a fallen tree. After a while he dropped his axe and said - "Oh, My head aches, my body is burning." Saavitree immediately got up and went to him saying "Come here and lie down under the shade of this tree." She brought him and made him lie down. She put his head in her laps and started fanning with her dress cloth. Satyavaan's eyes closed, his breathing slowed down.

At the same time she saw a dark princely man coming through the woods. He was wearing red clothes. She asked - "Who are you?" He replied - "You are seeing me through the power of your fasting and prayers. I am Yam Raaj - the Devtaa of Death. I have come here to take the soul of Satyavaan because his time to live on Prithvi is over." He took out a minute Satyavaan, no bigger than a thumb, from Satyavaan's body, and started returning. Satyavaan died.

Saavitree got up and followed Yam. Yam Raaj was going with fast and steady speed, Saavitree found difficult to cope up with him. After a distance, Yam stopped and said to Saavitree - "Saavitree, You cannot come to the land of Dead, so you go back and perform the last rites of your husband." Saavitree said - "I know that your duty is to take my husband, but my duty is to stay beside him. How can I leave my husband?" Yam Raaj said - "Your duty is over, now your duty is to perform the last rites of your husband." and Yam continued his journey. "I cannot go back without my husband." and Saavitree also continued following him.

After following some more distance, Yam again looked back and found Saavitree still following him. He said - "Look, this is the law of this world, that everybody goes after his time is over. As Satyavaan's time was over here, that is why I am taking him with me." "But I cannot leave him, he is my husband." "Nobody goes with other person, so you also go back and take care of the dead body of your husband." And he continued his journey to Yam Lok. But Saavitree still followed him.

After some distance Yam Raaj still found her following him. He said - "I am very pleased with your worship, prayers and devotion to your husband, you may ask any Var except the life of you husband." Saavitree said - "Please restore my father's-in-law kingdom and sight." Yam Raaj said - "So be it." And he continued his journey towards South. After some time Yam noticed that Saavitree was still following him. He said to her - "Saavitree, You have come far enough, now you go back." Saavitree said - "I know that my husband will be happy in your kingdom, but you are taking my happiness." Yam Raaj said - "Even love has to face defeat in front of fate, but I admire your devotion very much, so ask another Var except the life of your husband." Saavitree said - "Please grant my father many more children." "All right, They will have many more children." And Yam again proceeded towards South, and Saavitree still followed him.

After going some distance Yam again found Saavitree following him. He said to her - "Saavitree, Go back. I ask you not to follow me any further. You may ask any other Var except the life of Satyavaan." Saavitree said - "Please grant hundred sons to me." Yam just said - "You will have one hundred sons, but now you go." And proceeded towards South as before, but Saavitree still followed him. After going some distance more Yam noticed that Saavitree was still following him. He said - "Saavitree, Now this is the limit, no mortal man can go beyond this point, so you also go back now. I gave you whatever you wanted, now what do you want? You must go back now." Saavitree said - "Hey Yam Raaj, What type of Devtaa you are? You granted me one hundred sons, and you are taking my husband with you?" Yam heard this then he beat his head and said "Oh young woman, You cheated me. What a fool I am?" A young girl had cheated him. He had to release Satyavaan's soul.

Saavitree returned to the place where she left Satyavaan. The Sun was setting when she put his head again in her laps. Satyavaan started breathing again and opened his eyes. He said to her - "What happened to me? I slept for a long time - the whole day. And what has happened to you? You are crying and smiling at the same time." Saavitree said - "Dear, Let us go home. Our parents must have been waiting for us." They returned home happily. Yam's all Vardaan came true. Saavitree's parents had many children, her parents-in-law got their sight and kingdom back. Saavitree also had one hundred sons.

Thus a Satee brought her husband back from the grip of the Death.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 8/9/2008
Updated on 06/09/11