By Swami Harshananda
Inception of Vaṭasāvitrīvrata
The story of Sāvitrī, the very embodiment of all the grand wifely virtues like chastity and extreme devotion to the husband, is very well-known. Her memory has been cherished for ages by the women as an ideal of a pativratā. The Vaṭasāvitrīvrata has its origin in her legend.
Features of Vaṭasāvitrīvrata
This vrata that is now in vogue must have been in existence long before the 10th century A. D. The main features of this vrata, observed by sumaṅgalīs or married women whose husbands are alive are:
- Saṅkalpa or resolve
- Worshiping a vaṭa tree with several upacāras
- Worship to Sāvitrī
- Worship of Yama and Nārada
- Giving presents to the priest
The fast is broken the next day.
Mythological Lore of Vaṭasāvitrīvrata
Satyavān, the husband of Sāvitrī, took the support of a branch of the vata tree, then lay down under it and died. Sāvitrī sat with his head on her lap under that tree, accompanied Yama, the lord of death, all the way and succeeded in bringing back her husband to life under the same tree. Hence the importance of the vaṭa tree, worship to it and the name of the vrata itself is very significant.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore