Many festivals in India signify victory. However, there is one festival in India which celebrates the victory of loveand dedication over the unconquerable death itself; the Savitri Pooja.
The land of beautiful love stories, India, offers a truly different yet heart-touching tale with the legend of Savitri Pooja. Widely celebrated by married women of India, Savitri Pooja is celebration of the story of Savitri, the dedicated wife, who fought against destiny for her husband.
Born by the divine grace of Devi Savitri to the king of Madra, Asvapati and his wife Malavi, Savitri grew to be a extremely talented and beautiful women. When she reached the marriageable age, her parents were unable to find a groom worthy for Savitri, who, then, decided to find her own groom. She set out on a pilgrimage to find a suitable groom for herself. Her journey found its destination when she met Satyavan, a royal prince who was living in the forest due to the unfortunate turn of fate.
Satayan's father, Dymutsena, had lost everything including his own eyesight but the qualities in Satyavan had stolen her heart. Nevertheless, there was one obstacle in their path; It had been foretold that Satyavan would die exactly one year after his marriage. This was told by Sage Narada to Savitri and her parents.
But a determined Savitri voiced her opinion stating that she would choose her husband only once and that would be none other than Satyavan. They were duly married and Savitri started living in the forest just as her husband and his parents. Time flew by and death was fast approaching towards Satyavan.
On the last day of the year, Savitri accompanied Satyavan to chop wood. Suddenly in the middle, he felt exhausted and hence laid his head in Savitri's lap. Though Satyavan was unaware that his breath had left him, Savitri knew that the destiny had played its game.
Soon the messengers of death arrived to take away the soul of Satyavan from him, but Savitri, the dedicated wife, firmly placed her stand through her actions. She demanded that she wouldaccompany his soul even after his death, like a true wife.
Messengers after messengers arrived but no one could convince her. Savitri had shownunflinching determination even in the moments of extreme sorrow. Finally the God of Death,Yama, came to claim the soul of Satyavan but Savitri continued to follow him.
As he tried to convince her to retreat, Savitri displayed successive formulas of wisdom by praising his obedience towards Dharm. Impressed by Savitri's expression, Yama grants her a boon, which could be anything but not Satyavan's life.
She chooses her first boon to be the restoration of eyesight and kingdom for her father-in-law, a hundred sons for her father, and then a hundred sons for herself and Satyavan.
The last wish creates a dilemma for Yama, as it would indirectly grant Satyavan his life. However, impressed by Savitri's dedication and purity, he offers one more time for her to choose any boon, but this time omitting the phrase,"except for the life of Satyavan". Savitri instantly asks for Satyavan's life. Yama grants life to Satyavan and blesses Savitri's life with eternal happiness.
Soon all the boons of Savitri turn into reality. Satayvan wakes up as if he was in a deep slumber. Her father-in-law is again made the king after the demise of his usurper.
She narrates her story to her husband, parents, in-laws and the assembled ascetics who praise her endlessly.
This story signifies that if one's heart is filled with purity and love,
Truly, the love of Savitri for her husband was something too profoundand divine.
Something truly worthy of respectand worth following.
The festival, mainly followed by North Indians, is observed on the full moon day or no moon day of the Hindu month of Jyestha.
Vat Savitri fast is observed for three day and nights. It begins on the Trayodashi day (13th day of a lunar fortnight) and ends on Amavasi or Purnima. Now, women mainly observe a fast on the main ritual day that is either purnima or Amavasi of Jyestha month.There are many fasts and rituals associated with married Indian ladies which they specifically perform for the well being and prosperity of their spouse.Vat Savitri Puja is one amidst the list.
Vat Savitri Puja is observed by married women in almost all parts of India with great dedication and devotion. This is a special fast observed by married women for longevity of their beloved husbands. The festival is dedicated to the legendary married woman Savitriwho succeeded to get back her dead husband, Satyawaan by her severe penance. Vat Savitri Puja is celebrated across the nations. But the festival is mainly observed in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Orissa and Maharashtra. South Indian married ladies especially of Tamil Nadu and Karanataka observe festival with the different name as Karadaiyan Nonbu.
All married Hindu women observe this festival by worshiping and propitiating Savitri as a Devi. Women wake up early morning on the Savitri Vrat day and after taking a bath, wear new clothes and ornaments including bangles. All married women wearred vermilion on the forehead, which is elongated to touch the line parting the hair.
Savitri is symbolically represented by the grinding stone, locally known as Sila Pua. The grinding stone is thoroughly cleaned and worshiped. Bhoga or offering to Savitri consists ofrice, wet pulses and locally available fruits like mango, jackfruit, banana etc. The fasting begins at sunrise and ends after sunset with the evening prayers. This fast is a promise for securing the long life and health of their husbands. All of them gather near aVat (Banyan)tree to offer their prayers and worship with incense and flowers. Besides, theyorbit roundthe tree and tie a sacred thread to it.
In some places, parents, elders and brothers give a token amount of money to fasting women. They alsoreceive blessings from the elderly married women after the Puja. It is said that theBanyan tree has the totality of Savitri.After the Puja they break their fast by havingfruits and milk.The fast is broken byconsuming the offering made to Savitri. Sometimes it is also seen that women give food to theBrahmins and get blessings from them. Women also make it a point to read or listen to the Savitri and Satyabana story mentioned in theMahabharata.
This festival is all about the true devotion and love of married women towards their husbands.
NO DOUBT WE HAVE MANY FESTIVALS...AND WE TAKE PRIDE IN DOING SO...
BUT SOMETIME BACK I MET ONE OF MY LONDON FRIEND WITH HIS FAMILY...WHAT MADE ME GOT THINKING WAS THE DISCUSSION HAPPENED...
THE ELDERLY MAN WAS OF PROBABLY 86 YEARS OLD HAD A GRIPPING STORY TO TELL...
THE YEAR WAS 1955...AND HE WAS COMMISSIONED IN ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR TRUFFS...THERE HE MET AN OFFICER WHO WAS COLLECTING ALL HIS STUFFS POST RETIREMENT...OF THAT ONE WAS THE PHOTOS OF LADY BURNING HERSELF WITH HER DEAD HUSBAND...PRACTICALLY KNOWN AT THAT TIME WITH THE NAME CALLED SATI...
WOMEN IN INDIA HAVE GONE THROUGH LOT OF DEPRESSED CIRCUMSTANCES AND IS CONTINUED TILL DAY...
THE REALLY FESTIVAL FOR ME WILL BEING IF MY LADIES OF INDIA ARE FREE TO TAKE THERE OWN DECISION...FREE TO ROAM...FREE TO ENJOY WHAT THEY FEEL ENJOYABLE...
NO SUPPRESSION FROM ANYTHING...THAT WILL BE THE DAY I WILL CALL IT SAVITRI DAY..