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Vat Savitri Purnima

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Introduction

Vat Purnima or pournima chavan or Wat Purnima, Vat Savitri is a celebration observed by married women in the Western Indian states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and some regions of eastern Uttar Pradesh. On this Purnima or "full moon" during the three days of the month of Jyeshtha in the Hindu calendar (which falls in May-June in the Gregorian calendar) a married woman marks her love for her husband by tying a ceremonial thread around a banyan tree. The celebration is based on the legend of Savitri and Satyavan as narrated in the epic Mahabharata.

 

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History of Vat Savitri purnima

Savirti was born to the king of Madra Asvapati as a boon. Lord Sun/Savitr granted him a boon out of devotion and asceticism. Savitri is very beautiful and pure. No men matched her in purity, divinity, sacrifice, love and knowledge. Her father could not find any man matching her quality so he asked her to find husband on her own. Savitri started her pilgrimage for the said purpose. Savitri found Satyavana son of king Dyumatsena. He had lost all his wealth and health. He had even lost his eyes and was living in exile.

She came with her husband to her father’s house. When she was entering, she heard Devrishi Narada speaking to her father. He was talking that she had made the best possible choice and added that Satyavana is destined exactly after one year of his marriage. Her father was not happy at her marriage and insisted to make a more suitable choice. She rejected his plea and went in the forest to live married life with her parents in law. Their life was running smoothly without much interruption.

Before the end of one year of their marriage or when three days were remaining to complete a happy and prosperous year of their marriage she saw all that would happen after three days. On that particular and last day of the year, they went into the forest. While Satyavana was splitting wood he was tired and laid in her Lap under a banyan tree. She saw Yama claiming his soul. She asked to be with his soul anywhere it might be. Yama did not mind it and allowed to follow him. She started her speech. Her words and knowledge impressed him. He asked her to ask anything expect the life of Satyavana. She asked eyesight of her husband and wealthy kingdom for her parents in law. Yama thought she would be satisfied with it and would leave following him. But she did not stop following him. She even talked with him with pleas that are more powerful. Yama asked her for a boon. He asked hundred sons for his father. Yama was pleased at her powerful and knowledgeable arguments. At the entrance of Yamalok he asked her to leave and for the last boon. She asked a hundred sons of her and Satyavana. Her last wish created dilemma for him. There was no chance for Yama so he insisted to ask anything else. But she was firm on her decision. Then Yama granted her wish and blessed her with happy and prosperous life. Both returned home with joy and happiness. Her parents in law also had the said changes by Yama.

 

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How to celebrate Vat Savitri Purnima

On the occasion of Vat Purnima, women keep a fast of three days for their husbands, as Savitri did. During the three days, pictures of a Vat (banyan) tree, Savitri, Satyavan, and Yama, are drawn with a paste of sandal and rice on the floor or a wall in the home. The golden engravings of the couple are placed in a tray of sand, and worshiped with mantras (chanting), and Vat leaves. Outdoors, the banyan tree is worshiped. A thread is wound around the trunk of the tree, and copper coins are offered. Strict adherence to the fast and tradition is believed to ensure the husband a long and prosperous life. During the fast, women greet each other with "Become a Savitri"). It is believed that until the next seven births their husband will live well.

 

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Significance Vat Savitri Purnima

Vat Savitri Puja is celebrated by women for the longevity, well-being and prosperity of their husbands. It is considered as a symbol of love and devotion of wife to her husband. The festival is celebrated either on the full moon day or no moon day and is observed for three days and nights. Now women observe fast only on the main ritual day i.e. Amavasya or Purnima.

Among the rituals banyan tree shares its own importance. Women worship Vata/Banyan tree and pray for the long, healthy and wealthy life of their husband. Women feed water expressing their devotion, sprinkle kumkum as the sign of great fortune and wrap long cotton thread round tree’s trunk as a sign of long life of their husband.

Banyan tree is selected as a symbol of three lords, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Root is Brahma, stem is Vishnu and leaves and branches are Shiva.

 

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