Vat Savitri Puja is an important Hindu festival for married women who observe fast and do puja for the long life, well-being, health and progress of their husband, and to get motherhood. It is believed that if the married couple is having any problem in their married life than it is removed by doing Vat Savitri Puja.
The festival is celebrated either on No moon day or Amavasya of Hindu month Jayestha (May 22nd, 2020) or Full Moon day or Purnima of Hindu month Jayestha (June 5th, 2020). The festival is dedicated to the legendary married woman Savitri who won back her husband Satyavan from the clutches of Yama (god of death).
This Year in 2020 Vat Savitri Vrat will be celebrated on May 22nd by women of Northern states of India such as Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab, and Uttar Pradesh, while women of western states of India like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat will celebrate it on June 5th which is also Vat Purnima Vrat.
The legend behind Vat Savitri Vrat
The fast is dedicated to Savirit who compelled Lord Yamaraja, the God of Death to return the life of Satyawan, her husband. A daughter to King Aswapati of Madra Desa, Savitri was described as very beautiful and charming. Her spouse of choice, Satyawaan, was a prince in exile and he lived in the forest with his blind father Dyumatsen.
The princess one day left the palace and all its comfort and luxury to go live with her husband and in-laws in the forest, where she took up responsibility as a devoted daughter-in-law and above all, wife.
Unfortunately, Satyawaan fell down from a tree one day and died in the lap of Savitri. Immediately on his passing, Yama, the god of death, appeared to take Satyawaan’s soul from his body.
The deeply moved wife, Savitri, strongly begged and cried, appealing to Yama to spare her husband’s life. She told Yama that if he was to take away her husband’s life she’d take away her own in turn. Moved by her sheer love and determination, Yamraj returned the life of Satyawaan. They both lived in the forest happily thereafter.
Vat Savitri Vrat Fast Ritual
Women get up early before sunrise and after taking a bath wear their traditional clothes, Bindi, Bangles, and vermillion on their heads and apply henna. They fast for the well-being of their husband, Savitri is worshipped on this day.
The festival is related to banyan tree and women observe fast and tie threads around a banyan tree and pray for the well-being of their husbands. They worship the Banyan Tree (Vat Vriksha). After praying to the Banyan Tree, a red or yellow colored thread is tied around the tree. Then water, rice, and flowers are offered as part of the puja. Women then go round the tree and chant prayers.
Women offer 9 types of fruits and flowers to Goddess Savitri. Wet pulses, rice, mangos, jackfruits, palm fruits, kendu, bananas, and several other fruits are offered as Bhoga (offering) and observe the festival with Savitri Vrata Katha. After the fast is over, they consume bhogal and take blessings from the husband and elders in the house.
The Vat Savitri fast is for three days it begins on trayodashi day and ends on Amavasi or Purnima. Some people of Hindu society observe the fast during Amavasi (No moon) and others during Purnima (full moon) in the Hindu month of Jyeshtha.
The fast is kept for three days and is broken on the fourth day, there are no rules for this fast nowadays women keep fast only on main Purnima or Vat Savitri Day. Women can avoid fasting is she got some health issues or working.
If women are keeping fast for three days than she follows the routine on Trayodashi, Chaturdashi, and Amavasi or Purnima. The fast is broken on the fourth day after offering water to moon and prayer.
Vat Savitri Vrat Katha in English
King Ashtapati had a beautiful and intelligent daughter named Savitri. The King gave her the permission to choose her husband. One day, Savitri met a young man in the forest who was carrying his blind parents in two baskets balanced on either side of a stick. The young man was Satyavan.
Impressed by Satyavan’s devotion towards his blind parents, Savitri decided to marry him. On inquiry, the King found out from Sage Narada that Satyavan was the son of a deposed king and that he was destined to die in a year. King first refused to give permission for the marriage but Savitri was adamant. Finally, the King relented and the marriage was conducted and the couple left for the forest.
They led a happy life and soon a year passed. Savitri realized that the date Sage Narad had predicted that Satyavan would die will fall in three days’ time. Three days before the predicted day of death of Satyavan, Savitri started fasting. The day Satyavan was destined to die, Savitri followed him to the forest. While cutting woods from a Vat Vriksha (Banyan Tree), he fell down and fainted. Soon, Savitri realized that Satyavan is dying. Suddenly she felt the presence of Yama, the god of death. She saw him carrying the soul of Satyavan and she followed Yama.
Yama first ignored Savitri thinking that she will soon return back to her husband’s body. But she persisted and kept on following him. Yama tried a few tricks to persuade her but nothing worked. Savitri remained adamant and said that she will follow her husband where ever he goes. Then Yama said that it is impossible for him to give back the dead as it is against nature’s law. Instead, he will give her three boons and she should not ask to return her husband’s life as a boon. Savitri agreed.
With the first boon, she asked that her in-laws be reinstated in their kingdom with full glory. With the second boon, she asked for a son for her father. Finally, for the third boon, she asked ‘I would like to have children.’ Yama immediately said ‘granted.’ Then Savitri said, ‘now that you have granted me the boon of having children please return my husband as I can only have children from him.’ Soon Yama realized that he had been tricked by Savitri, a pativrata.
Yama remained silent for a minute and then smiled and said ‘I appreciate your persistence. But what I liked more was your readiness to marry a man whom you loved even though you knew that he would only live for a year. Go back to your husband he will soon wake up.’ Soon Savitri returned to the Vat Vriksha were her husband was lying dead. She started going round (pradakishna) the Vat Vriksha and when she completed the pradaksihna, Satyavan woke up as if from sleep. Soon Savitri and Satyavan were reunited.
Vat Savitri Vrat Katha in Hindi
मद्रदेश में अश्वपति नाम के धर्मात्मा राजा राज्य करते थे। उनके संतान नहीं थी। राजा ने संतान हेतु यज्ञ करवाया। कुछ समय बाद उन्हें एक कन्या की प्राप्ति हुई। उसका नाम उन्होंने सावित्री रखा। विवाह योग्य होने पर सावित्री को वर खोजने के लिए कहा गया तो उसने द्युमत्सेन के पुत्र सत्यवान को पतिरूप में वरण किया। यह बात जब नारद जी को मालूम हुई तो वे राजा अश्वपति से बोले कि सत्यवान अल्पायु हैं। एक वर्ष बाद ही उनकी मृत्यु हो जाएगी। नारद जी की बात सुनकर उन्होंने पुत्री को समझाया,पर सावित्री सत्यवान को ही पति रूप में पाने के लिए अडिग रही।
सावित्री के दृढ़ रहने पर आखिर राजा अश्वपति ने सावित्री और सत्यवान का विवाह कर दिया। सावित्री सास-ससुर और पति की सेवा में लगी रही। नारद जी ने मृत्यु का जो दिन बताया था, उस दिन सावित्री भी सत्यवान के साथ वन को चली गई। वन में सत्यवान ज्योंहि पेड़ पर चढ़ने लगा, उसके सिर में असहनीय पीड़ा होने लगी। वह सावित्री की गोद में अपना सिर रखकर लेट गया। थोड़ी देर बाद सावित्री ने देखा कि अनेक दूतों के साथ हाथ में पाश लिए यमराज खड़े हैं।. यमराज सत्यवान के अंगुप्रमाण जीव को लेकर दक्षिण दिशा की ओर चल दिए।
सावित्री को आते देख यमराज ने कहा, ‘हे पतिपरायणे! जहां तक मनुष्य साथ दे सकता है, तुमने अपने पति का साथ दे दिया, अब तुम लौट जाओ।’ सावित्री ने कहा, ‘जहां तक मेरे पति जाएंगे, वहां तक मुझे जाना चाहिए। यही सनातन सत्य है।’
यमराज ने सावित्री की धर्मपरायण वाणी सुनकर वर मांगने को कहा। सावित्री ने कहा, ‘मेरे सास-ससुर अंधे हैं, उन्हें नेत्र-ज्योति दें।’ यमराज ने ‘तथास्तु’ कहकर उसे लौट जाने को कहा, किंतु सावित्री उसी प्रकार यम के पीछे चलती रही। यमराज ने उससे पुन: वर मांगने को कहा।
सावित्री ने वर मांगा, ‘मेरे ससुर का खोया हुआ राज्य उन्हें वापस मिल जाए।’ यमराज ने ‘तथास्तु’ कहकर उसे लौट जाने को कहा, परंतु सावित्री अडिग रही। सावित्री की पति भक्ति व निष्ठा देखकर यमराज पिघल गए। उन्होंने एक और वर मांगने के लिए कहा। तब सावित्री ने वर मांगा, ‘मैं सत्यवान के पुत्रों की मां बनना चाहती हूं। कृपा कर आप मुझे यह वरदान दें।’
सावित्री की पति-भक्ति से प्रसन्न हो इस अंतिम वरदान को देते हुए यमराज ने सत्यवान को पाश से मुक्त कर दिया और अदृश्य हो गए। सावित्री अब उसी वट वृक्ष के पास आई। वट वृक्ष के नीचे पड़े सत्यवान के मृत शरीर में जीव का संचार हुआ और वह उठकर बैठ गया। सत्यवान के माता-पिता की आंखें ठीक हो गईं और खोया हुआ राज्य वापस मिल गया।