The Skanda Purana

by G. V. Tagare | 1950 | 2,545,880 words

This page describes The Details of Savitri Puja which is chapter 166 of the English translation of the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Mahapuranas, preserving the ancient Indian society and Hindu traditions in an encyclopedic format, detailling on topics such as dharma (virtous lifestyle), cosmogony (creation of the universe), mythology (itihasa), genealogy (vamsha) etc. This is the one hundred sixty-sixth chapter of the Prabhasa-kshetra-mahatmya of the Prabhasa Khanda of the Skanda Purana.

Chapter 166 - The Details of Sāvitrī Pūjā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Devī said:

1-2. O Lord of Devas, O Lord of the universe, tell me the story of Sāvitri, the beloved of Brahmā, who stayed at Prabhāsa.

It should include therein the whole traditional account and the greatness of Vratas. It will contribute to the establishment of fidelity in women (to their husbands). It is conducive to great rise and good luck.

Īśvara said:

3. O great goddess, I shall narrate to you the great story of Sāvitrī who stationed herself in the holy spot of Prabhāsa in the sacred region. I shall also recount the excellent Vrata performed by Princess Sāvitrī.

4. There was a righteous king named as Aśvapati[1] in the land of Madra. He was engaged in activities bringing about the welfare of all living beings. He was a favourite with the inhabitants of towns as well as those of rural area.

5. He was truthful in speech. He controlled his sense-organs. He was a man of patience and forbearance. Unfortunately he had no issue. That king undertook a pilgrimage to the holy place of Prabhāsa. In the course of his pilgrimage, he came to the sacred spot of Sāvitrī.

6. In the company of his wife, the king himself took up the holy Vrata well-known as Sāvitrī Vrata. It bestows all desired benefits.

7. Goddess Sāvitrī, the beloved of Brahmā, the personified form of the Mantras Bhūḥ, Bhuvaḥ and Svaḥ, became pleased with him and appeared before him in person.

8. The Goddess holding Kamaṇḍalu (water-pot) vanished from the scene. After a long time she incarnated as his daughter with divine form and features.

9. Indeed, she had been given to him by Goddess Sāvitrī who was pleased due to the worship of Sāvitrī. At the behest of Brāhmaṇas, the king named his daughter Sāvitrī.

10. That princess grew up like the goddess of fortune in an embodied form. Sāvitrī of tender limbs reached the stage of youth.

11. With excellent waist and large buttocks she resembled a golden statue. On seeing her, the people thought, ‘Oh! Has a divine girl come over here?’

12. The girl with large eyes resembling lotus-petals and shining with her splendour performed Sāvitrī Vrata as expounded by Bhṛgu.

13. She duly observed fast, had head-bath and then she approached the deity. The girl of excellent complexion performed Homa in fire duly. She made the Brāhmaṇas utter sacred Mantras for the propitiation (of Sāvitrī).

14. The fair princess, beautiful in form like Goddess Śrī, received Śeṣa (remnants of floral offerings to the deity) from them.

15. After touching the feet of her father in paying respects to him, she proffered the Śeṣa to him and stood by the side of the king with palms joined in reverence.

16. Noticing that his daughter of divine form and features had reached the. youthful stage, he consulted his ministers about a bridegroom for his daughter and said:

17-20. “My dear daughter, it is time that you are to be given away in marriage. But no youth has approached me with a request. Even after pondering over, I do not find any bridegroom befitting ourselves.

You are to behave in a manner that will give no cause to the Devas to despise me. My dear daughter, I have heard this cited in sacred scriptures.

‘If without being consecrated (in marriage) a girl discharges her menses in her father’s house the father earns the sin of Brāhmaṇa-slaying and the girl is known as a Vṛṣalī (Śūdrā).’

Therefore, I am sending you off in the company of aged ministers. Hurry up. Choose your own husband and decide.”

21. Saying “So be it”, Sāvitrī set off from their abode and went to the beautiful penance groves of saintly kings.

22-23. There she paid obeisance to the feet of elderly and venerable persons. After visiting all holy spots and hermitages, Sāvitrī returned home along with the ministers. There she saw the celestial sage Nārada, the pure one, in her front.

24. The Brāhmaṇa was seated on his seat. The smiling girl bowed down to him and told him why she had gone out into the forests.

Sāvitrī said:

25. “In the Śālva[2] territories there was a Kṣatriya king well-known as Dyumatsena. As ill luck would have it he had become blind.

26. Even as his son was yet a boy (due to his weak point) the noble Lord Dyumatsena’s kingdom was seized by a vassal king Rukmin who was his previous enemy.

27. Along with his wife and the darling son yet a boy, he entered the forest.

28. The boy grew up in the forest as an extremely virtuous man. His name is Satyavān. I have mentally desired him as my befitting husband.

Nārada said:

29. Alas, it is a great pity, O king! What has been committed by Sāvitrī is very pitiable. On account of her childishness, Satyavāg (Satyavān) though virtuous, has been selected.

30. “His father tells the truth. It is the truth that his mother speaks. You too do speak the truth.” Saying thus the sages named him Satyavān.

31. He is always fond of horses. He makes horses out of clay. He draws the pictures of horses too. Hence he is called Citrāśva also.

32. Satyavān is a disciple of Rantideva and on a par with him in the qualities of liberal-mindedness. He is an adorer of Brāhmaṇas. He always speaks the truth like Śibi of Uśīnara.

33. The powerful son of Dyumatsena is of exalted nature like Yayāti. Like the moon, he is pleasant to look at. In beauty he can be considered as one among the Aśvins.

34. He has only one defect. Nothing else. From now onwards within a year Satyavān will give up his body. The span of his life is very short.

35. On hearing Nārada’s words the daughter said to the king:

Sāvitrī said:

36. Kings utter only once. Brāhmaṇas speak only once. A virgin is given away only once. These three occur once only.

37. He may be long-lived or one with a short span of life. He may possess good qualities or be devoid of them. My husband has been chosen by me once, I will not woo another one.

38. One resolves mentally and then utters it verbally. Thereafter it is carried out in action. Therefore, it is the mind that is the authority.

Nārada said:

39. If Your Highness approves this, let it be carried out quickly. Let the marriage of your daughter Sāvitrī be celebrated without any hindrance.

40. After saying this Nārada flew up and went to heaven. The king celebrated the rites of the marriage of his daughter in an auspicious hour through Brāhmaṇas of the neighbourhood, who had mastered the Vedas.

41. On obtaining a husband mentally desired, the slender-limbed Sāvitrī rejoiced much like a man of meritorious actions on attaining heaven.

42. Thus, O Pārvatī, even as those persons residing in the hermitage were watching a few days elapsed.

43. The words uttered by Nārada persisted in the mind of Sāvitrī day in and day out.

44. Many days elapsed and finally that particular hour too arrived when Prince Satyavrata had to meet with death.

45-46. Even as Sāvitrī was pondering over the words of Nārada, at nightfall on the twelfth lunar day in the bright half of the month of Jyeṣṭha (the beautiful lady reflected this): ‘He is to meet with death on the fourth day.’ She observed Vrata lasting the next three days; she therefore continued to stay in the hermitage.

47. On those three days, she took regular baths and propitiated the deities. The beautifully smiling lady touched the feet of her mother-in-law and father-in-law and paid her respects.

48. Thereafter, taking up his axe Satyavān started towards the forest. Sāvitrī followed her husband as he went ahead.

49. Satyavān hurriedly gathered fruits, flowers, sacrificial twigs and Darbha grass; collecting together some dry branches (as fuel) he bundled them together.

50. As he was cutting wood, he suffered from severe headache. Instantly he left the bundle of fuel wood and stood leaning against the branch of a Vaṭa tree.

51. He told Sāvitrī “My charming beloved, a nasty headache torments me, I wish to sleep for a short while on your lap.”

52. The grief-stricken Sāvitrī said: “O my darling of mighty arms, do take rest. We shall go to our hermitage later to dispel our fatigue fully.”

53. Sāvitrī sat on the ground keeping his head on her lap, when she saw a dark, tawny-coloured being.

54. He was clad in yellow garments and had a crown on his head. He was brilliant like the rising sun. Sāvitrī bowed down to him and said sweetly:

55-56. “Who are you? A Deva or a Daitya come to assail and assault me? But beware, I cannot be swayed from doing my duty, O lord. O most excellent being, know me to be a blazing flame of fire.”

Yama said:

57. I am Yama, who controls and restrains, the terror of all the worlds.

58. This husband of yours has come to the end of the span of his life. Yet, O chaste lady, in your presence, he cannot be led away by my servants. Hence I have come personally.

59. After saying thus, Yama extracted forcibly the thumbsized inner soul from the body of Satyavrata (Satyavān) by means of his noose.

60. Then he began to proceed along the path resorted to by Pitṛs. The beautiful lady Sāvitrī too closely followed him.

61-62. Yama spoke to her who was never tired, thanks to the power of her fidelity to her husband. “O Sāvitrī, go back you have traversed here for a Muhūrta. O lady of large eyes, this pathway cannot be traversed by anyone.”

Sāvitrī said:

63. I have no fatigue, I am not tired. Following my husband is never tiresome especially in the presence of an exalted person (like you).

64. Good people are the only resort unto good people, none else. Husband is the permanent resort unto women. The Veda is the sole resort unto all the castes and stages of life and preceptor is the ultimate resort unto disciples.

65. There is a place of rest and refuge on the earth for all living beings. But excepting the husband alone, there is no place of resort unto women.

66. The son of the Sun-god (Yama) was pleased with these and such other equally sweet words couched in righteousness. He spoke to Sāvitrī:

Yama said:

67a. O beautiful woman, I am pleased with you. Welfare unto you. Choose your boon.

67b-70. With her head bent down out of modesty, she asked for her own kingdom. She prayed that her noble-souled father-in-law should get back his eyesight and the lost kingdom. She requested for a hundred sons to her father and another hundred for herself. (As a result thereof) She wanted the life of her husband as well as attainment of Dharma (righteousness) for ever. Dharmarāja granted her all the boons and sent her back.

Having got back her husband, Sāvitrī was highly delighted in her mind. Freed from all worries she went back to the hermitage along with her husband.

71. It was on the Full-Moon day in the month of Jyeṣṭha that she observed this Vrata. Due to its efficacy, the king regained his eyesight.

72. Then the king regained his dominion free from thorns. Her father begot a hundred sons. She too gave birth to a hundred sons.

75. Thus the importance and the efficacy of the Vrata in full has been narrated by me.

The Devī said:

74. Of what nature is that great Vrata, which was performed by Sāvitri, O Lord? What is the procedure of that Vrata in the month of Jyeṣṭha?

75. Who is the deity in that Vrata? What are the Mantras? O Lord, what is the benefit? O Maheśa, do describe this eternal sacred rite in detail.

Īśvara said:

76. O goddess of the chiefs of Devas, may the Sāvitrī Vrata be listened to with great respect. O Maheśvarī, I shall describe the manner in which it was performed by that chaste lady.

77. Starting with the cleaning of the teeth on the thirteenth lunar day in the month of Jyeṣṭha, O fair lady, a devotee should observe the restraints and have fast for three nights.

78. If one is too weak one should take meal at night but must observe control of the sense-organs. On the fourteenth day, food received without request (Ayācita) may be taken but there shall be complete fast.

79. By taking the holy bath everyday in a lake, a great river, a stream or in Pāṇḍukūpa, O lady of excellent buttocks, the devotee shall attain the benefit of all baths.

80. Especially on the Full-Moon day the bath should be with mustard, clay and water.

81. O renowned lady, the devotee should take sand in a vessel of the capacity of a Prastha or it may be any grain such as barley, paddy, gingelly seeds etc.

82. In a vessel made of bamboo covered with two cloths, the devotee should place an idol of Sāvitri, lustrous, beautiful in every limb.

83. The devotee should make the idol of clay, wood or gold in accordance with his capacity. A pair of red cloths is to be offered to Sāvitrī and a single white cloth to Brahmā.

84-87. In this manner, the devotee should worship Sāvitrī along with Brahmā in accordance with his capacity by means of sweet scents, fragrant flowers, incense, food offerings, lamps, full Kośātakas, ripe Kūṣmāṇḍa and Karkaṭī fruits, cucumber, coconuts, date fruits, Kapitthas (wood apple), splendid Dāḍimas (pomegranates), Jaṃbūs, Jambīras, Nāraṅgas (citrons), Akṣoṭas (walnuts), Panasas (jack-fruits), Jīrakas, Kaṭukhaṇḍas, jaggery, salt, germinating seven grains etc. These should be kept in vessels of bamboo. It should be coloured with Kuṃkuma and Kesara or beautified by means of silk threads.

88. Thus Sāvitrī, the beloved of Brahmā, will incarnate.

89. The devotee should worship her along with Brahmā by means of Sāvitrī Mantra. Among others, the Mantra mentioned in the Purāṇas is recommended:

90. “Obeisance to you, O goddess, having Oṃkāra in the beginning, O goddess holding a lute and a book. O mother of Devas, grant me exemption from widowhood.”

91. After worshipping duly thus, the devotee should arrange for Jāgara (a night vigil) when groups of men and women should sing and play on instruments, dance and laugh throughout the night in the company of experts in the science and art of dance.

92. Till the day dawns, the Brāhmaṇas should be requested to relate the story of Sāvitrī making it interesting with songs of good sentiments.

93-94. Thus the ceremony of the marriage of Sāvitrī with Brahmā should be performed. Seven couples should be offered white garments. Houses equipped with all requisite articles of furniture etc. should be gifted. The image of Sāvitrī should be given to a Brāhmaṇa well-versed in the Vedas.

95. Or the presents may be offered to one well-versed in Sāvitrīkalpa or one who narrates the story of Sāvitrī or to a Daivajña (astrologer) adhering to Uñcchavṛtti (maintenance by gleanings of rice-grains) or an Agnihotrin who is very poor.

96. After making the offerings thus duly, the devotee should invite fourteen couples to a place beneath a Vaṭa (a Bunyan tree) during the night of Full-Moon.

97. When the day dawns and the morning arrives, all articles of food should be brought to the Sāvitrī Sthala (the spot where the rite is performed).

98. After the cooking is concluded in strict hygienic conditions, and with due safeguards for purity, the wise devotees should invite Brāhmaṇas accompanied by their wives.

99. At the Sāvitrī Sthala itself the feet of the Brāhmaṇas should be washed. The devotee then makes the Brāhmaṇas and their wives who have taken their bath take their seats.

100. O goddess, food should be served to the couple sitting in front of Sāvitrī. Thereby it shall be deemed undoubtedly that I have been fed.

101. If the devotee feeds a second Brāhmaṇa couple, Keśava will be deemed to have been fed thereby. The consort of Lakṣmī, the bestower of boons will grant him boons.

102. If a third (Brāhmaṇa couple) is fed, it is as good as Brahmā accompanied by Sāvitrī has been fed. Each one of the meals there is remembered as akin to a crore of meals.

103. O great goddess, in the vicinity of the Sāvitrī Sthala, it is actually an offering to the deity of food in the form of eighteen different dishes having all the six tastes.

104. There shall never be a widow in that family, nor a barren woman nor an unlucky wretched one. There shall never be a woman giving birth solely to baby-girls nor one incurring the displeasure of her husband. The eight defects that usually torment women will never affect them.

105. Hence by all means, foodstuffs avoiding pungent and stale things, should be offered in front of Sāvitrī.

106. Food offered to women should never be sour or saltish. Five kinds of sweet dishes should be well-cooked, seasoned and served heartily.

107. There should be pies full of ghee. There should be plenty of milk. Pūpakas should be made in that manner. A second sweet dish is Asokavanikā (Pheṇikā).

108. The third Pūpikā should be with Kharjūra (date-fruit). The fourth shall be Saṃyāva (Halva) soaked in ghee and jaggery.

109. This sweet dish of Pūpikā delights men, and women are very fond of it. Through Pūpikās that family shall be full of wealth and food-grain and with hundreds of men and women.

110. If the Āśokavarti (Pheṇikā) is served, twenty-one generations of the family flourish. There shall never occur fever or distress nor misery due to separation.

111. If the devotee offers Pūrikās his family shall be filled with brides, sons, servants and servant-maids.

112. If young women offer Śikhariṇī (curds with sugar), there shall undoubtedly be sons and daughter-in-laws to the daughters in the family.

113. By offering Modakas (sweetmeat) as in charity the whole family shall rejoice filled with all perfect attainments—so says Pitāmaha.

114. This type of food served to Gauriṇīs (women with husband and sons) is splendid.

115. O goddess, a woman who feeds a thousand shall be lucky, chaste, endowed with sons, wealth and prosperity in every birth.

116-117. There are important good beverages, hearty and sweet, such as Drākṣāpāna (grape-juice), the juice of tamarind with jaggery. It is splendid with sugar candy and water added. Such drinks should be offered to Brāhmaṇa Suvāsinīs (Gauriṇīs).

118. Fragrant beverages of other kinds should be befittingly offered to the women of other castes.

119. The women should be adored duly with gifts of garments and bodices. They should be smeared with unguents of saffron. They should be embellished with garlands. After honouring them with scents and incense, they should be offered coconuts.

120. Collyrium should be given for their eyes; Sindūra for the parting of hair on the head. Tasty arecanuts soft and sweetsmelling, should be given in their hands along with the vessels thereof. They should then be bowed down to and sent off.

121. The devotee then takes food along with the children and kinsmen.

122. Or if meal could not be had at the Tīrtha, the devotee should take his meal after going home so that the goddess may be pleased.

123. And, the devotee returns home and performs Śrāddha in accordance with the injunctions along with the offerings of rice-balls. His ancestors become contented for the period of a day of Brahmā (a thousand Yugas).

124. O splendid lady, the merit of one who offers Śrāddha in his own house is eight times more than that of one who offers it in the Tīrtha. Base people in that case will not cast their eyes on the Śrāddha offered by the twice-born.

125. Hence it is advised that the Śrāddha of the Pitṛs should be performed in the isolated place of one’s own abode. (If done outside it on being seen by the base persons) the Śrāddha is spoiled (as it) does not reach the Pitṛs.

126. Hence with all effort, one should offer Śrāddha in secret. It is said by the Self-born Lord himself that it is pleasing to the Pitṛs.

127. The rite of feeding Gaurī etc., which is performed as a general rule is termed Rājasī (based on Rajas Guṇa). It bestows renown on people.

128. This Dāna should be offered always by one who wishes for his own welfare. This is especially true in the case of Śrāddha, if a Sāttvika benefit is desired.

129. This is the Udyāpana (valedictory rite) of the Sāvitrī Vrata, O fair lady. It should be performed by men always for the purpose of eliminating all sins. O goddess, whether it is performed with or without a desire for benefit, the sin perishes instantly.

130. By the people who perform the pilgrimage to the place the following (benefits) is obtained: Good fortune in this world, wealth, food-grains, excellent women etc.

131. If a man devoutly performs the pilgrimage or devoutly listens to the rules thereof he shall be rid of all sins.

132-134. On the Full-Moon day in the month of Jyeṣṭha the devotee should perform Pradakṣiṇā (circumambulation) along with offerings of fruit at the splendid Sāvitrī-Sthalaka. They may be one hundred-eight, or its half (54) or its half (27). All his sins perish even if they may be very heinous such as Agamyāgamana (carnally approaching prohibited women) committed deliberately. There is no doubt about it.

135-136. A devotee should make his wife fetch the water from Pāṇḍukūpa and perform Sandhyā rite of Sāvitrī. It may be fetched in a golden pitcher or earthen pot, O fair lady. If the Sandhyā is performed thus it is as good as it is performed for twelve years.

137. In the holy bath the benefit is that of a horse-sacrifice. In Dāna the benefit is ten times more. The benefit is unlimited in fast and so in listening to the story.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

This legend is based on Mbh.,Vana. Chs. 200-290.

[2]:

Region near Alwar and Jodhpur. Also known as Martikāvaṭa [Martikavata] (De 127 & 175).

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