SAVITRI: Savitri was the daughter of King Ashwapati and his queen Malati. Although Savitri was beautiful, nobody came forward to marry her. The king therefore advised her to travel outside to select a husband. Savitri, accompanied by aged ministers went into the forest where she met Satyavan. Satyavan was a prince, the son of defeated King Dyumatsena. After, his father’s defeat, they were compelled to lead their lives as woodsmen in the forest.
When Savitri returned to reveal the news, Narada was present who said that Satyavan was an exemplary choice except that he had only one year to live. Savitri was however resolute on marrying Satyavan. When the day approached for Satyavan’s death, Savitri undertook a fast and when Yama, the god of death approached Satyavan, it was Savitri who argued and dissuaded Yama from taking Satyavan’s life. Yama finally blessed Savitri and Satyavan that they would live for a hundred years.
This print from the Ravi Varma Press derived from a painting by Raja Ravi Varma depicts the vehement resistance of Savirti. Satyavan is on her lap and Yama is seen as an ehtereal character in the foreground.