Yamadharmaraja briefs Savitri – on Karma, Bhakti, Charity, Sins, Hells and ‘Vratas’

First worshipped by Lord Brahma, then by Vedas and subsequently by Sages and learned persons, Savitri is an expansion of Devi Bhagavati Herself born as a human and later immortalised. King Asvapati of Bhadradesa and Queen Malati prayed to Devi Savitri under the tutorship of Sage Vasishtha as they were issueless. After the long Tapasya, there was a Celestial Voice whispering to the King that he should practise Gayatri Mantram ten lakh times; it was at that time that Sage Parasara appeared and told that even ten Gayatri Japams would destroy the sins of a day and night; one hundred Japams of a month; one thousand of a year’s; one lakh of a life time; ten lakhs of previous birth; hundred lakh japams of all births and ten times of that would destroy all the sins and open Celestial Gates. The japam is to be performed with the palm of right hand like a holeless bowel in the shape of a snake head counting the Gayatri Mantra from the right hand middle finger drawn towards the index finger from top to bottom and also with the help of a rosary. Daily japam according to the procedure at dawn, noon and dusk would bestow radiance of body and concentration of mind.

A Brahmana by birth devoid of ‘Sandhya vandana’ is denied the acceptance of Pujas by Devas and even the ceremonies of ‘Pithu Devatas’ are not approved. As the King Asvapati performed the ten lakh japa as required by the Celestial Voice and the couple performed Savitri Worship as per rites by the Seed Mantra of ‘Srim Hrim Klim Savitrai Svaha’, Devi Savitri made Her Appearance in Physical Form and blessed the couple with a daughter- an extension of Herself and also a son later.The couple named their daughter too as Savitri. As time passed, Savitri came of age and was wedded to Satyavana, a Prince of great virtues and maturity. When the young couple were happy and together at a nearby garden, Satyavana fell down from a tree and died instantly. Lord Yama appeared in a thumb size form and started dragging away his dead-body soul and Savitri too followed. She questioned Lord Yama as to why he was dragging his body like that. Dharmaraja replied that her husband’s life term was completed as per his ‘Karma’. She replied that as she was fond of her husband, she would like to follow him but Lord Yama disagreed as her Karma was not yet ripe enough to die and that she could not enter His abode in her body form. The sincere and innocent way of Savitri’s queries at her young age impressed Yamaraja and thus explained in detail the Theory of Karma with its variations of ‘Sanchita’, ‘Prarabdha’ and ‘Vartamana’. As Savitri kept on asking many questions, Dharmaraja kept on providing explanations on various issues like Duties, ‘Bhakti’ (Devotion), ‘Sat’ (Truth) and ‘Asath’ (Illusion), ‘Brahma Jnana’, the Five Elements, the cause and effects, the effects of sensory organs, the interplay of Gunas, Tatvas, and ways and means of Siddhis, and ‘Sayujya’ or Liberation. Yama Dharmaraja was so impressed with the depth of Savitri’s spiritual knowledge and her searching queries as though she was testing His capacity, that he himself offered to bestow boons to her excepting that of giving back her husband’s life, to which she replied that she as a ‘Pativrata’ (embodiment of devotion to husband) would like to beget hundred sons of hers by Satyavana, that her parents too should beget hundred sons, her father-in-law should regain his eyesight as also his lost Kingdom and that she should live for one lakh years before entering ‘Vaikuntha’ along with her husband! As Lord Yama had already made of up his mind perhaps, he said: ‘let it be so’.

As Devi Savitri’s curiosity was not still satisfied-apparently to guide the posterity- She desired to know further about Bhakti viz. the Prakrithik (manifested) and Nirgunaik (Formless) types, ‘Nishmaka Bhakti’ (Desireless) and ‘Sakamaka Bhakti’ (Aimed at a materialistic end). Those who perform the former kind according to their ‘Varnashrama Dharma’ and as per the intensity of the Bhakti, reach the higher lokas. There is also another route of charity which too is precious.

Charity without desiring return-gain certainly deserves appreciation from Gods. For eg. if a place meant as a Deva’s residence (a Temple) is made available, the merit of that charity is as much as the number of particles thus donated would entitle the person a residence of as many number of years in the region of that God; if a tank is donated, the particle-period ratio is followed in Janar loka; similarly if a well of four thousand ‘dhanus’ or ‘Hastas’ ( hand long ) is given away, tenfold merits are gained; for seven wells, the merit is as good as that of a tank. If ‘kanya daan’ or performing a wedding of daughter gives the ‘punya’ of ten wells and if she is given away with ornaments, then the merit is double. If one plants an ‘Asvattha’ Tree for God’s purpose, the person is blessed with ten thousand years in ‘Tapas Loka’ and if a flower garden is donated he lives in Dhruva Loka. ‘ Annadana’ without caste distinction is a charity of high order. Similarly charities to Brahmanas of ‘Godana’ (cow) takes one to Chandra Loka for one Ayuta or ten thousand years, a white umbrella gives access to Varuna Loka, garments to a diseased one to Vayu loka, a salagrama with garments to Vaikuntha, Lights to Agni loka, a good Site or orchard to Vayu loka and grains and jewels to a Brahmana again to Vaikuntha and so on.

Pujas performed on Siva Ratri, Krishna Ashtami, Rama Navami, Nava Ratras to Durga Devi, Ekadasis to Maha Vishnu, Sankranti to Sun, Krishna Chaturdasis to Savitri, Sukla Magha Panchami to Sarasvati yield immense merits too. ‘Yagnas’ open doors to higher realms of Devas without any doubt. Several kinds of Sacrifices had been performed since times immemorial, like Rajasuya Yaga and Asvamedha Yaga in the lead. But ‘Devi Yagna’ is indeed the best and the most fruitful, as told by Dharmaraja to Savitri. In the days of yore, Maha Deva Himself performed Devi Yagna before killing Tripurasura,; Vishnu, Brahma and Indra executed several times, and the revived Daksha Prajapati did it as an atonement; Dharma, Kasyapa, Kardama, Manu, Sanatkumara, Ananta, Kapila, Dhruva and so on were all benifited by the Devi Yagna. Having prefaced thus, Yamadharma Raja taught the methodology of the Devi Yagna to Sati Savitri and asked her to go home along with her husband and live happily spreading the glories of Devi Bhagavati and finally submerge with Her.

Before her leaving, Yamadharmaraja told Savitri about the descriptions of various Sins that human beings commit and the kind of reckoning that they have to undergo in designated hells after death. It is said that those whose life-account is clear need not visit Hells , but it is extremely rare that such humans ever existed.

As Sati Savitri heard what Dharmaraja described about sins that human beings perform and the consequences in various hells, She was curious to know how to understand the unfailing route of reaching Maha Devi. Yamaraja explained that let alone himself, but even Sun God his father, Brahma the Principal Agent of Vedas, Maha Vishnu or Mahesvara and even Maha Bhagavati Herself would not perhaps comprehend Her own Glories! As ‘Maya’ or Mula Sakti, She is Prakriti and Maha Purusha Herself. Being eternal and formless, She defies definition and description. She is Matter and Matterless, Time and Eternity, Extremely near and always beyond, Form or Illusion, Space and Energy, ‘Sakara’ and ‘Nirakara’and ‘Saguna and ‘Nirguna’. But one thing is certain and that is that Super Power is indeed existent and real. As such, devotion to that Super Power, which one recognises as Devi Bhagavati, is sufficient; the mere awareness is adequate and not necessarily of attainment of ‘Mukti’ (Salvation) by ‘Salokya’ (identify the Super Power as of one’s own Planet)’,‘Sarupya’ (as of being of the same form) , ‘Samipya’ (as being very near) and ‘Nirvana’ or Salvation. In other words, Devi Bhagavati prefers that Her devotees merely seek routes of devotion to Her by means of good ‘Karma’ or action, Service (Pujas), Charity, Bhakti (devotion), ‘Yajnas’; She does not insist on Mukti by Salokya, Samipya, ‘Sarsti’ ( having equal opulence to Her) or Nirvana (Oneness). [‘Salokya Sarsti Samipya Sarupaikatvam api uta / diyamanam na grihnanti vina mat sevanam janah’ ; My devotees do not accept Salokya, Sarsti, Samipyakatvam (one ness), even if offered these liberations, except their service to you’!] Thus exhorted Yamaraja to Savitri and blessed her to serve and spread sense of devotion to one and all by living happily for one lakh years along with her husband and entire family and finally reach ‘Mani Dvipa’ or the abode of Bhagavati. Meanwhile, Savitri Vratas be performed for fourteen years on the Sukla Chaturdasi of Jyeshtha Month; on Bhadra Sukla Ashtami to perform Maha Lakshmi Vrata for sixteen years; a Vrata on any Tuesday of a month on Devi Mangala Chandika; a Vrata on every Suklashtami on Shashthi Devi; on Manasa Devi on every Samkranti day; on every Karthika Pournami evening after fast through the day to Radha Devi; and again every Pournami day, after day-long fast to Vishnu Bhagavati. Savitri is the Presider of Gayatri Mantra, (the Center of Surya Mandala or Solar Orbit) and is the Mother of Vedas.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in