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The arguments of Savitri before Yama


In the ancient times, there lived a King named Ashwapati of Shakala Vamsa in Madra Desha. Ashvapati had no sons. As he was very much devoted to Devi Savitri (Gayatri) he prayed to the goddess Savitri for a son and performed thousands of yajnas. Eventually the goddess appeared before the king and said, "I am pleased by your prayers and Yagna; you will have a illustrious daughter immediately but for son you must wait”.

A charming daughter was born to King Ashwapati and his wife Malati and she grew with good habits’ and praise worthy conduct. Her name was Savitri, because of her birth as a result of Devi Savithri’s boon.

Ashwapati gave savitri in marriege to a noble prince Satyavan, the son of King Dyumatsena. After few days of happy life few unfortunate events happened to the couple one after other. The King Dumasana became blind and then they lost their kingdom. Savitri was a great support to everybody during the good and bad days alike and everybody loved her. Sage Narada once visit the royal family and told them about his apprehension that the fate of Savitri is to become a widow within one year of her marriage and Satyavan would die on a particular chaturthiday.

The Sage’s word cannot be wrong, so, Sathyavan and Savitri left for solitary religious life in forest with the permission of their parents and guru. When only four days of the feared date was left with, Savitri observed her religious rites more vigorously and performed fasting.

On the fourth and the feared chaturthi day, while Satyavan and Savitri were collecting roots and fruits from forest a sudden pain gripped Satyavan. He took rest by lying on the floor with his head on Savitri’s lap.

Yama arrived in no time to claim the life of Satyavan. When Satyavan left the mortal body and followed Yama, Savitri also followed him without any doubt or fear.

"Where do you think you are going?" asked Yamadharma.

"I am following my husband," replied Savitri. "There is no greater duty for a wife than serving her husband"

Yama did not listened to Savitri and went ahead.

Savitri stopped Yama and argued ”Sacred Scriptures assured that sincere devotion to mother provided good fortune in Bhuloka, devotion to father would secure Swarga and devotion to Guru would fetch Brahma loka but of what avail for a wife in her sincerity”

Yama replied, “Do not interfere with my duty, there was a fixed procedure of terminating a human being as per one’s life span”

Savitri gracefully counter argued that for a married woman husband is her immediate guardian; he safeguard her and thus equivalent to a dieity; so if he were to be forcibly taken away, then she had no other alternative but to follow the husband.

Yama was pleased by the argument of Savitri said "Ask for a boon, but not the life of Satyavan”.

"My father-in-law has become blind," replied Saviti. "He can therefore no longer be the king in this condition. Please grant me the boon that his eyesight is restored so that he can become the king again."

"I grant you that." Said Yama. "Now please return. You will unnecessarily get tired if you follow me."

"How I can get tired if I follow you?" asked Savitri. "You are the most noble of all the gods. Is it possible to get tired if one follows such a God?"

Yama have nothing to say against the argument, so he said " Ask for a another boon, but not the life of Satyavan”

"My father has no sons," replied Savitri. "Please grant me the boon that he may have hundred sons."

"I grant you that," said Yama. "Now return. Go and perform your husband’s funeral rites. Serve your parents and parents-in-law well. You are unnecessarily getting tired off. “

"I thank you for your advice." Replied Savitri. "But I have already told you that I cannot possibly get tired. I am following Dharma and it is said in scriptures that Artha and Kama will not follow a person but Dharma in his afterlife. You are the Dharmaraja, the lord of righteousness. Can one possibly get tired oneself by following lord of Dharma?"

Yama once again stopped and said "Your devotion and virtue are truly amazing, Ask for another boon. But do not ask for Satyavana’s life."

“I request you to give me the boon of securing hundred sons of my own from my husband, since without obtaining sons, there would be no ‘Sadgati’ to me and my husband"

Yama Dharma Raja impressed by the young women’s conduct and dharmic arguments granted the boon and restored Satyavan to life. Yama then blessed Savitri and went back to his abode.

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