Story of Sathyavan and Savitri

Discussion in 'Hindu Stories' started by garry420, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Stories from our scriptures and epics are so well thought out and narrated that they contain historical, philosophical, and social values. They make our children not only the best ones to meet the challenges of life but also groom them to be leaders with many traits that are taught in the best of schools today.

    The parents were able to ensure that their wards acquire these good qualities effortlessly. No doubt the western fables are also fashioned like these but they fall short of certain aspects like spiritual well being, holistic lifestyle etc.

    The story of Satyavan and Savitri is one such great story from our epic Mahabharata. The chapter Vanaparva of this great epic elaborates the life history of this great women! We talk about women empowerment and gender equality today.

    This story is all about an indomitable spirit of women and her independent thinking and her resolve to meet the challenges in life.

    In the western side of present day India now known as Pakistan’s Punjab province was the Kingdom of Madra. One of the wives of the King Pandu the father of the five Pandavas was from this region and she is called “Madri” . Nakula and Sahadeva were the sons of this princess. Their capital was Shagala the modern day Sialkot.

    The story finds mention through a conversation between Sage Markandeya and Yudishtira while the suitability of Draupathi as the daughter in law was being discussed . In that kingdom there lived a famous King called Aswapathi who had a daughter called Savitri. Since Aswapathi did not have progeny for a long time and as he was a worshiper of Sun God, he used to meditate upon goddess Gayathri and his prayers fructified and the goddess appeared before him and granted his wish to have a child.

    A daughter was born to him of unparalleled beauty and the King aptly names her after the goddess Savitri. When she reached her marriageable age she laid strict conditions to the prospective husband that discouraged many kings of the surrounding Kingdoms. Finding this task to be very tough the King asked his daughter to find a suitable prince herself!

    Accordingly she went on an expedition to many kingdoms and after quite some time she reached a forest near her own kingdom where an erstwhile King Dyumatsena who was blind himself with his wife and son had camped. She watched them from close quarters, and soon found that their son called Sathyavan was their only solace and support. He was a dedicated son serving his old parents in the forest.

    She also observed that his parents loved him so much, the kind of which was not found in all the kingdoms she had traveled! He was also very handsome and learned. Then and there she decided that she would marry him only. With this determination she went back to her kingdom and informed her father about what she had decided and observed.

    The King too thought about it and had consulted his council of ministers to gather more information about the choice she had made. His ministers told him that the King Dyumatsena had lost his Kingdom to a rival even though he ruled his country in a just manner due to the might of his aggressor he was eventually driven away from his kingdom; due to travails of harsh living conditions he lost his eyesight too. His dedicated wife and his son are the only life support he has.
  2. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    The King felt that she could review her choice as the prince was living in the forest and was hunting and cutting wood for his sustenance and also supporting aged parents who are handicapped! This was quite natural of any parent to see their daughter happy and lives without worries in their in law’s house!

    Accordingly King had discussions with his daughter and explained her the difficulties of a frugal life in a forest, and dedication required to support the aged parents of her would be husband and also the conditions of poverty that would confront her.

    In the meanwhile the celestial sage Narada arrived at the court of the King Aswapathi and was accorded a warm ceremonial welcome by the King. The King informed him of the arrangement for the marriage of Savitri, and about the choice she had made. On hearing this Sage Narada said that Sathyavan is destained to live just another year after which he would pass away.

    This startled the king and made him all the more sad. While they were conversing Savitri was listening to their conversation and knew by now what was in store for her! But she was determined not to be weak minded and change her decision.

    After Sage Narada left the King came in and spoke to his daughter and explained what the Sage had to say. He pleaded with her to review her decision. She politely told him that these were probably the test that the nature would pose on her to see her defending her resolve.

    After patiently hearing out her father once again, Savitri said that it was he the King who taught her the values of compassion and the importance of determination and following her heart instead of her mind! This reply took the King by surprise and he accepted her argument and wished her well.

    Soon the King sent his men to meet the exiled King and asked for their approval for the marriage of their son with his daughter. They were surprised and they too being honest explained the difficulties that the princess would be confronted with. But the firmness of the princess Savitri made them relent.

    Both Sathyavan and Savitri were married in a simple ceremony. Soon she adorned the clothes meant for mendicants and accompanied Sathyavan and his parents into the forest.

    There she led a life of a perfect renunciation and dedicatedly served the aged parents in law and her husband Sathyavan. She began a strict vow to contemplate upon god and followed austerities anticipating the penultimate day as prophesied by sage Narada. Days and months passed.

    Sathyavan usually would go to the forest to collect firewood and tubers fruits and roots and return, that she would cook and feed her family. Her prayers and offerings brought about a divine atmosphere within their dwelling both her father in law and her mother in law felt that their misfortune is waning and forgot even their physical shortcomings!

    Then the appointed day was fast approaching, she was determined to accompany her husband to the forest though none of her family members were aware of the impending calamity. On the exact day she sought the parents in law’s permission to accompany her husband into the forest. They were shocked to hear her unusual request and pleaded with her to drop it because of the dangers involved in it.

    She convinced them that she too needs a break from her routine and would be happy to enjoy the natural surroundings of the forest along with her beloved husband.

    The reluctantly agreed to let her accompany their son into the forest. Both of them went into the forest and she kept a watchful eye on Sathyavan as she knew he is destained to meet his end that day. Sathyavan went near the trees to cut wood and collected the branches and twigs, as soon as he returned he felt very tired and lay down on the lap of his wife.

    Soon there arrived a dark figure with gruesome appearance mounted on a buffalo, as the figure drew near Savitri knew it was the God of death. Lord Yama felt something unusual, as it was not usual for normal humans to recognize him as he comes to take away a life.

    He would only be hazily visible to the person who is about to depart. But now Savitri was able to recognize him and spoke to him. She explained to the Lord of death that the travails she had undergone as she was following dharma. All the while Sathyavan had lost his consciousness and was unaware as yet of what was happening around.

    Lord of death told that Sathyavan was destained to die on that day and he had no option to leave him upon earth as he was merely following the predetermined activity set by the creator Lord Brahma! As ordained by Lord Narayana and as directed by Lord Siva. Listening to this Savitri said that in such a situation as was customary for any pathivrta she would be given a chance to accompany her devoted husband.

    This again startled the Lord of death and he told her that she was not destined to die along with her husband and she had a duty towards her in laws. He added that he could not delay any further and should depart. Saying so he took away the life breath of Sathyavan and began to retreat, observing this, Savitri ensured that his lifeless body is securely kept inside a hallow of a big tree trunk and hurried to follow the Lord of death towards his abode!

    Thus after some distance Lord of death noticed that Savitri was still following him! Amazed at her determination he once again pleaded with her to go back to her place and allow him to complete his task. He added that he would give her a boon if she agrees with him. Savitri immediately seized of this opportunity and made pranams to him, and he asked what she would seek, unhesitatingly she said that she would like to be blessed with good progeny! Without a second thought the Lord of Death sanctioned it and soon realized his folly!

    He admired at the presence of mind of Savitri and how she had tricked him. She told him now that he has granted her the wish of having good progeny he need to return her husband intact! The Lord of death brooded over this situation and felt that it was the destiny that he thought he could defy has proved that it still beyond his scope!

    He finally agreed to return Sathyavan’s life breath. He also offers additional boons to Savitri. She asks for the eyesight of her father in law and also the restoration of his lost Kingdom. Lord yama readily agreed.

    Thanking him Savitri paid her respects to him and returned to the forest where she had preserved his body, and soon found him to be regaining his consciousness and got up as if he was into a long sleep! Then she explained the whole episode to Sathyavan who was astonished to hear her indomitable spirit and dedication.

    They both happily returned to their hermitage and narrated what had happened to their parents. To their joy the eye sight returned to the King!

    While they were still in the process of recovering from this joyous jolt, there came the King Aswapathi with a message that the nearby Kingdom of Sathyavan had sent emissaries to him to help them find Sathyavan as the King who had forcibly taken the Kingdom away from Dumatsena had died and the people want their erstwhile King to return and rule them.

    It was a happy reunion of the family that had gone through difficult times!

    Aswapathi also heard of the un paralleled fete of his daughter whose history would be etched in the world’s future in gold! He was a proud father of his daughter!

    All of them returned to a tumulus welcome and soon the people of his nearby kingdom of Dumatsena joined the celebrations and he was crowned as the King once more and immediately the King Dumatsena crowned Sathyavan as the ruler and handed over the mantle!

    Both Sathyavan and Savitri ruled the kingdom honourably for many years thereafter as the King and queen.
    source : I/N
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2015

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