Vat Savitri Vrat - Observance and Significance
About Vat Savitri Vrat
Vat Savitri Vrat or Vat Purnima is one of the most significant fasts observed by married Hindu women across India. On this day, women fast and pray for the longevity and good health of their husbands. In some Indian states, Vat Savitri Vrat is observed on Amavasya, while others observe the fast on Purnima day — both in the month of jyeshtha.
Vat Savitri Vrat dates
As per the Amanta calendar, Vat Savitri Vrat is observed in the month of Jyeshtha on Purnima tithi — also known as Jyeshtha Purnima or Vat Purnima Vrat. As per the Purnimanta calendar observed in North Indian states like Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, the fast falls on the day of Jyeshtha Amavasya.
Importance of Vat Savitri Vrat
- As per Hindu mythology, it is believed that the Vat (Banyan) tree stands for ‘Trimurtis’, representing Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, and Lord Shiva. Devotees worshipping the banyan tree are said to be blessed with good fortune.
- The significance of the fast is mentioned in numerous scriptures and Puranas like Skanda Purana, Bhavishyottara Purana, Mahabharata, etc.
- Hindu married women fast and undertake puja of Vat Savitri to seek prosperity, good health, and longevity for their husbands.
- Observing Vat Savitri Vrat is considered a token of devotion and true love of a married woman for her husband.
Also see: Purnima Vrat Udyapan Vidhi
Rituals of Vat Savitri Vrat
- Women take a holy bath before sunrise with Amla (Indian gooseberry) and til (sesame seeds) and get dressed in clean clothes. They apply vermillion and wear bangles — accessories synonymous with a married woman — pledging a nirjala (no water intake) fast.
- Devotees eat the roots of the Vat (Banyan) tree and if the fast lasts for three consecutive days, they consume the same with water.
- After offering prayers to the Vat tree, they tie a red or yellow colored sacred thread around its trunk.
- Women offer rice, flowers, and water to the banyan tree and perform Parikrama (take rounds) of the tree while reciting prayers.
- If a banyan tree is not available, devotees can create a portrait of the tree with the help of sandalwood paste or turmeric on a wooden base to perform the rituals in a similar way.
- Devotees are also required to prepare special dishes and sacred food on the day of Vat Savitri. Once puja concludes, prasad is distributed among all family members.
- Women also seek blessings of the elderly in their homes.
- Devotees should donate clothes, food, money and other essentials to the needy.
Also See: History and Story of Karwa Chauth
Vat Savitri Vrat Katha (Story)
Legend has it that the ruler of Madra Kingdom, King Ashvapati and his queen, who were childless, dedicatedly performed a puja in honour of Sun God Savitr on a sage’s advice. Pleased with devotion of the couple, the deity blessed them with a girl child, who was named Savitri to honour the deity. Despite being born to a king, the girl led an ascetic life.
Unable to find a suitable match for his daughter, the king asked Savitri to look for a husband for herself. While seeking a prospective match, Savitri met the son of the exiled blind King Dyumatsena, Satyavan. When she announced her decision to her father, Narad Muni intervened with the prediction that Satyavan, whom she has chosen to be her husband, would die within a year and would not be bestowed with life on earth beyond that period.
When all attempts to persuade Savitri to reconsider the decision failed, King Asvapati surrendered to his daughter’s will. After marrying Satyavan, Savitri moved to the forest with her husband where he lived with his parents. She gave up her royal finery and befitting her own temperament and in keeping with her husband’s life, chose to live like a hermit.
Three days before the day of reckoning neared, Savitri started fasting and then followed her husband to the forest on the said day. Death befell Satyavan, who fell off a banyan tree while chopping wood. Yama, the lord of death, arrived to reclaim Satyavan’s soul. According to legend, Savitri kept following Lord Yama and refused to give up her chase. She followed Yama for three day and nights, after which Yama relented and asked Savitri to wish for anything but Satyavan’s life. After being granted the first and the second wishes — to restore her father-in-laws’ kingdom and his eyesight — she continued to follow Yama. The lord of death asked her to seek another one, anything but the life of her husband. Savitri asked for a hundred children with Satyavan, leading to a dilemma for Yama. Impressed by the young woman’s dedication for her husband, Yama bestowed granted her Satyavan’s life.
Since that day, Vat Savitri Vrat is celebrated and observed by hundreds of thousands of married Hindu women for the longevity of their husbands.