By Swami Harshananda
Along with Sītā and Damayantī, Sāvitri also has been considered a paragon of wifely virtues. Her story appears in detail in the Mahābhārata. She was the daughter of the king Aśvapati of Madradeśa. She chose to marry Satyavān, the only son of the blind king Dyumatsena of Sālvadeśa, even though the sage Nārada had warned her that he would die just after a year.
Dyumatsena was living with his wife in a hermitage in a forest after being deposed by the enemies. Satyavān was living with them, serving them with great care and devotion. On that fateful day, Sāvitri insisted upon accompanying Satyavān to the forest for his normal work. When, after some work, he fell sick and lay down on her lap, god Yama appeared there with his noose to take Satyavān’s soul to his world. Because of her power of chastity, she was not only able to see him but also follow him. After a lot of argument, in spite of Yama’s persuasive efforts to send her back, she pleased him with her devotion to her husband that he revived Satyavān, gave him a long life and also other boons she asked for. As a result, Dyumatsena regained his eyesight and kingdom. Satyavān became the king in course of time.
- Vanaparva, chapters 293-299
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore