SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 26
THE NINTH BOOK
On the narration of Sāvitrī
1-2. Nārada said:
I have heard the story about Tulasī. Now describe in detail the history of Sāvitrī.
Sāvitrī is considered as the Mother of the Vedas. Why was She born, in days gone by? By whom was She first worshipped and subsequently also?
3-4. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Muni! She was first worshipped by Brahmā. Next the Vedas worshipped her. Subsequently the learned men worshipped her. Next the King Aśvapati worshipped Her in India. Next the four Varṇas (castes) worshipped Her.
5. Nārada said:
O Brāhman! Who is that Aśvapati? What for did he worship? When the Devī Sāvitrī became adorable by all, by which persons She was first worshipped and by which persons subsequently?
6-14. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Muni! The King Aśvapati reigned in Bhadradeśa, rendering his enemies powerless and making his friends painless.
He had a queen very religious; her name was Mālatī; She was like a second Lakṣmī. She was barren; and desirous of a child, She under the instruction of Vaṣiṣṭha, duly worshipped Sāvitrī with devotion. But She did not receive any vision nor any command; therefore She returned home with a grievous heart.
Seeing her sorry, the king consoled her with good words and himself accompanied her to Puṣkara with a view to perform Tapas to Sāvitrī with devotion and, being self-controlled, practised tapasyā for one hundred years.
Still he could not see Sāvitrī, but voice came to him. An incorporeal, celestial voice reached his ears:
“Perform Japam (repeat) ten lakhs of Gāyatrī Mantram.”
At this moment Parāsara came up there. The king bowed down to him.
The Muni said:
O King! One japa of Gāyatrī destroys the day’s sins. Ten Japams of Gāyatrī destroy day and night’s sins.
15-40. One hundred Gāyatrī Japams destroy one month’s sins. One thousand Japams destroy one year’s sins. One lakh Gāyatrī Japams destroy the sins of the present birth and ten lakh Gāyatrī Japams destroy the sins of other births. One hundred lakhs of Japams destroy the sins of all the births. If ten times that (i.e., 1,000 lakhs) be done, then liberation is obtained.
(Now the method, how to make Japam):
Make the palm of the (right) hand like a snake’s hood; see that the fingers are all close, no holes are seen; and make the ends of the fingers bend downwards; then being calm and quiet and with one’s face eastward, practise Japam.
Then count from the middle of the ring (nameless) finger and go on counting right-handed (with the hands of the watch) till you come to the bottom of the index finger. This is the rule of counting by the hand.
O King! The rosary is to be of the seed of white lotus or of the crystals; it should be consecrated and purified. Japam is to be done then in a sacred Tīrtha or in a temple.
Becoming self-controlled one should place the rosary on a banyan leaf or on a lotus leaf and smear it with cow dung; wash it, uttering Gāyatrī Mantra and over it perform one hundred times Gāyatrī Japam intently in accordance with the rules.
Or wash it with Pañchagavya, milk, curds, clarified butter, cow urine and cow dung, and then consecrate it well. Then wash it with the Ganges water and perform best the consecrations.
O Rājaṛṣī! Then perform ten lakhs of Japam in due order. Thus the sins of your three births will be destroyed and then you will see the Devī Sāvitrī.
O King! Do this Japam, being pure, every day in the morning, mid-day, and in the evening.
If one be impure and devoid of Sandhyā, one has no right to do any action; and even if one performs an action, one does not get any fruit thereby.
He who does not do the morning Sandhyā and the evening Sandhyā, is driven away from all the Brāhmanic Karmas and he becomes like Śudras.
He who does Sandhyā three times a day throughout his life becomes like the Sun by his lustre and brilliance of tapas. What more than this, the earth is always purified by the dust of his feet.
The Dvīja who does his Sandhyā Bandanam and remains pure, becomes energetic and liberated while living. By his contact all the Tīrthas become purified. All sins vanish away from him as snakes fly away at the sight of Garuda.
The Dvīja who becomes void of Sandhyā three times a day, the Devas do not accept his worship nor do the Pitris accept his Piṇḍas.
He who has no Bhakti towards the Mūlā Prakriti, who does not worship the specific seed Mantra of Māyā and who does not hold festivities in honour of Mūlā Prakriti, know him verily to be an Ajagara snake without poison.
Devoid of the Viṣṇu mantra, devoid of the three Sandhyās and devoid of the fasting on the Ekādaśī Tithi (the eleventh clay of the fortnight), the Brāhmin becomes a snake devoid of poison.
The vile Brāhmin who does not like to take the offerings dedicated to Hari and who does the washerman’s work and eats the food of Śūdra and drives the buffaloes, becomes a snake devoid of poison.
The Brāhmin who burns the dead bodies of the Śudras, becomes like the man who is the husband of an unmarried girl. The Brāhmin also who becomes a cook of a Śūdra, becomes a snake void of poison.
The Brāhmin who accepts the gifts of a Śūdra, who performs the sacrifice of a Śūdra, who lives as clerks and warriors becomes like a snake void of poison.
The Brāhmin who sells his daughter, who sells the name of Hari or eats the food of a woman who is without husband and son, as well as of one who has just bathed after her menstruation period, becomes like a serpent void of poison.
The Brāhmin, who takes the profession of pimps and pampers and lives on the interest, is also like a serpent void of poison.
The Brāhmin who sleeps even when the Sun has risen, eats fish, and does not worship the Devī is also like a poisonless serpent.
Thus stating all the rules of worship in order, the best of the Munis told him the Dhyānam, etc., of the Devī Sāvitrī, what he wanted. Then he informed the King of all the mantras and went to his own Āśrama.
The king then worshipped accordingly and saw the Devī Sāvitrī and got boons.
41-43. Nārada said:
What is the Sāvitrī’s Dhyāna, what are the modes of her worship, what is stotra, mantra, that Parāsara gave to the King before he went away? And how did the King worship and what boon did he get?
This great mystery, grand and well renowned in the Śrutis, about Sāvitrī, I am desirous to hear in brief on all the points.
44-78. Nārāyaṇa said:
On the thirteenth day (the Trayodaśī tithi) of the black fortnight in the month Jyaiṣṭha or on any other holy period, the fourteenth day (the Chaturdaśī tithi) this vow is to be observed with great care and devotion.
Fourteen fruits and fourteen plates with offerings of food on them, flowers and incense are to be offered and this vow is to be observed for fourteen years consecutively.
Garments, holy threads and other articles are also offered and after the Vrata is over, the Brāhmins are to be fed. The lucky pot (mangal ghāṭ) is to be located duly according to the rules of worship with branches and fruits.
Gaṇeśa, Agni, Viṣṇu, Śiva and Śiva are to be worshipped duly. In that ghāṭ Sāvitrī is to be next invoked and worshipped.
Now hear the Dhyānam of Sāvitrī, as stated in the Mādhyan Dina Śākhā, as well the stotra, the modes of worship, and the Mantra, the giver of all desires:
I meditate and adore that Sāvitrī, the Mother of the Vedas, of the nature of Praṇava (Om), whose colour is like the burnished gold, who is burning with Brahmā tejas (the fire of Brahmā), effulgent with thousands and thousands of rays of the midday summer Sun,
who is of a smiling countenance adorned with jewels and ornaments, wearing celestial garment (purified and uninflammable by fire), and ready to grant blessings to Her Bhaktas;
who is the bestower of happiness and liberation, who is peaceful and the consort of the Creator of the world, who is all wealth and the giver of all riches and prosperity, who is the Presiding Deity of the Vedas and who is the Vedas incarnate, I meditate on Thee.
Thus reciting the Dhyānam, mantra and meditating on Her, one is to offer Naivedyas (offerings of food) to Her and then place one’s fingers on one’s head; one is to meditate again, and then invoke the Devī within the pot.
One should next present fourteen things, uttering proper mantras according to the Vedas. Then one must perform special puja and chant hymns to the Devī and worship Her.
The fourteen articles of worship are these:
(1) Seat (Āsan); (2) water for washing feet (Pādya), (3) offering of rice and Durba grass (Arghya), (4) water for bath (Snānīya), (6) anointment with sandalpaste and other scents (Anūlepana), (7) incense (Dhūpa), (8) Lights (Dīpa), (9) offerings of food (Naivedya), (10) Betel (Tambūl), (11) Cool water, (12) garments, (13) ornaments, (14) garlands, scents, offering of water to sip, and beautiful bedding.
While offering these articles, one is to utter the mantras:
This beautiful wooden or golden seat, giving spiritual merits is being offered by me to Thee.
This water from the Tīrthas, this holy water for washing Thy feet, pleasant, highly meritorious, pure, and as an embodiment of Puja is being offered by me to Thee.
This holy Arghya with Durba grass and flowers and the pure water in the conch-shell is being offered by me to Thee (as a work of initial worship).
This sweet scented oil and water being offered by me to Thee with devotion for Thy bathing purposes. Kindly accept these.
O Mother! This sweet-scented water Divine-like, highly pure and prepared of Kunkuma and other scented things I offer to Thee.
O Parameśvarī! This all-auspicious, all good and highly meritorious, this beautiful Dhūpa, kindly take, O World Mother! This is very pleasant and sweet scented; therefore I offer this to Thee.
O Mother! This light, manifesting this entire Universe and the seed, as it were, to destroy the Darkness is being offered by me to Thee.
O Devī! Kindly accept this delicious offering of food, highly meritorious, appeasing hunger, pleasant, nourishing end pleasure giving.
This betel is scented with camphor, etc., nice, nourishing, and pleasure-giving; this is being offered by me to Thee. This water is nice and cool, appeasing the thirst and the Life of the World. So kindly accept this.
O Devī! Kindly accept this silken garment as well as the garment made of Kārpāsa Cotton, beautifying the body and enhancing the beauty.
Kindly accept these golden ornaments decked with jewels, highly meritorious, joyous, beauteous and prosperous. Kindly accept these fruits yielding fruits of desires, obtained from various trees and of various kinds.
Please have this garland, all auspicious and all good, made of various flowers, beauteous and generating happiness.
O Devī! Kindly accept this sweet scent, highly pleasing and meritorious. Please take this Sindūra, the best of the ornaments, beautifying the forehead, highly excellent and beautiful.
Kindly accept these holy and meritorious threads purified by the Vedic mantrams and made of highly holy threads and knitted with highly pure knots.
Uttering thus, offer the above articles that are to be offered to the Devī, every time the specific seed mantra being uttered. Then the intelligent devotee should recite the stotras and subsequently of the Dakṣiṇās (presents) with devotion to the Brāhmaṇas.
The Radical or the Specific Seed Mantra is the eight lettered mantra Srīm Hrīm Klīm Sāvitrai Svāhā; So the sages know. The Stotra, as stated in the Mādhyandina Śākhā, gives fruits of all desires.
I am now telling you about that mantra, the Life of the Brāhmaṇas. Listen attentively:
O Nārada! Sāvitrī was given to Brahmā, in the ancient times of old in the region of Goloka by Kṛṣṇa; but Sāvitrī did not come to Brahmā loka with Brahmā.
Then by the command of Kṛṣṇa, Brahmā praised the mother of the Vedas. And when She were pleased She accepted Brahmā as Her husband.
79-87. Brahmā said:
Thou art the everlasting existence intelligence and bliss; Thou art Mūlā Prakriti; thou art Hiraṇyagarbha; Thou didst get pleased, O Fair one!
Thou art of the nature of fire and Energy; Thou art the Highest; Thou art the Highest Bliss, and the caste of the twice-born. Dost thou get appeased, O Fair One!
Thou art eternal, dear to the Eternal; thou art of the nature of the Everlasting Bliss. O Devī, O Thou, the all auspicious One! O Fair One! Beest thou satisfied.
Thou art the form of all (omnipresent)! Thou art the essence of all mantras of the Brāhmaṇas, higher than the highest! Thou art the bestower of happiness and the liberator O Devī, O Fair One! Be thou appeased. Thou art like the burning flame to the fuel of sins of the Brāhmaṇas! O Thou, the Bestower of Brahmā tejas (the light of Brahmā) O Devī! O Fair One! Be appeased.
By Thy mere remembrance, all the sins to me by body, mind and speech are burnt to ashes.
Thus saying, the Creator of the world reached the assembly there. Then Sāvitrī came to the Brahmāloka with Brahmā.
The King Aśvapati chanted this stotra to Sāvitrī and saw Her and got from Her the desired boons. Whosoever recites this highly sacred king of Stotras after Sandhyā Bandanam, quickly acquires the fruits of studying the Vedas.
Here ends the Twenty Sixth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the narration of Sāvitrī in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.