Ashvapati, a famous king, ruled the kingdom of Madra. His wife was Malati.
The couple were childless and grew old. They wanted to beget a child, so they retired to the forests and constantly prayed to Devi Savitri for eighteen years. Devi Savitri is the consort of Brahma.
After eighteen years, pleased with the couple's devotion and prayers, Devi Savitri appeared and granted a boon. When Ashvapati and Malati returned to the palace, Malati soon conceived and bore a daughter. They named their daughter Savitri.
Savitri was married to Satyavan. Satyavan was the son of the King of Salva- Dyumatsena. Dyumatsena, his wife and Satyavan were forced to live in the forests by the machinations of the Dyumatsena’s kinsmen. During this time, Savitri married Satyavan, who was earning as a wood-cutter.
Once while cutting the wood, Satyavan fell unconscious with a headache. Satyavan had a short life.
The God of Death, Lord Yama, emerged on the scene. Savitri noticed him and pleaded to spare her husband’s life. But Yamaraj would not yield.
In return, he asked Savitri to ask for a boon.
To this Savitri first asked for her father-in-law’s eyesight and lost kingdom. Yamaraj agreed and asked her to return. But Savitri continued to pursue the God of death. On seeing her relentlessly pleading, he granted Savitri another boon for her husband’s life.
In reply to the second boon, Savitri asked that her father be blessed with sons. Yamaraj agreed again and commanded Savitri to return.
Savitri, again relentless in her fight to get her husband back, pursued Yamaraj. To chase her away, Yamaraj agreed to grant her the third boon in turn for her husband’s life.
This time, Savitri asked that she be blessed with a hundred sons.
Yamaraj, without a forethought, agreed again. In this way, Savitri tricked the God of Death into saving her husband’s life.
Savitri thus represents the ultimate epitome of matrimonial fidelity. Using her power of dedication, she saved her short-lived husband. This story dates back to the times of Mahabharat and signifies the human ability to fulfil desires with the right intention.