15    Devi Savitri’s ‘Puja Vidhana’
Devi Savitri is the mother of Vedas whom Brahma Deva worshipped first followed by all the Devas. A reputed King of Madradesha called Ashwapati and his queen Malati whose qualities of virtue, charity and devotion brought them fame in the contemporary times but had unfortunately no children. Maharshi Vasishta gave ‘Upadesha’ (Instruction) of Gayatri Mantra and the royal couple performed sincere ‘japa’ (repetitive muttering of Mantra) and worship but to no avail; they shifted to Pushkara Kshetra and intensified their devotion. Meanwhile, there was a celestial voice which directed the King to perform Gaytri Mantra japa ten lakh times. At the same time Maharshi Parashara arrived and advised the King as follows: One Gayatri japa a day would demolish sins of that day; ten Gayatris would remove the sins of a day and night; hundred times a day would destroy a month’s sins and thousand a day would blow up a month’s. The Japa of a lakh of Gayatri Mantra would relieve a life time’s sins and that of ten lakhs would bestow Siddhis. Gayatri Japa of a crore times would give highly positive impact and of ten crores would secure Mukti! Maharshi Parashara thus advised the King to perform ‘Trikaala Sandhyas’in the morning, mid day and the evening; he said that whatever virtuous deeds are done on a day would have no value to any Brahmana unless the Trikaala Sandhyas are achieved. If a person sincerely executes the Japas would become radiant like a Surya and the dust under his feet would become worship-worthy! Parashara Maharshi also taught the way the Gayatri Japa had to be done:
Karam sarpa phanaakaaram krutwaa tam turdharva mudritam/ Aanamnamurthwamachalam prajepet praangmukho dwijah,
Anaamikaa madhdya deshaadadho vaamakramaneyna cha/ Tarjanee mula paryantam japasyesha krama karey/
(A Brahmana should sit towards the East, keep the right hand lifted up and perform ‘Mudras’(hand postures or gestures) while the body is slightly bent down; the count of Gayatri should commence from the middle part of the Anamika finger and to its lower part; then to the little finger’s lower, middle and top portions; back to the top of Anamika finger; then the top of the middle finger; again top of the fore finger, its middle and lower parts; and further to the lower parts of middle and Anamika fingers, thus totalling twelve).
Maharshi Narayana explained to Narada that Savitri Vrata should be observed starting from the evening of Jyeshtha Krishna Trayodashi and on the following Charurdashi day perform the Savitri Puja with fourteen kinds of fruits and fourteen types of Naivedyas, pushpa, dhupa, Vastra, Yagnopaveeta etc.The Vrata Karta has to set up a Kalasha (vessel) and invoke Ganesha, Surya, Agni, Vishnu, Shiva and Parvati, and then execute Savitri dhyana, stotra and the formal puja. The ‘dhyana’ (meditation) to Devi Savitri would be on the following lines: ‘Devi Savitri! You have the complexion of molten gold with the radiance of Brahma Teja like the severe summer’s thousand mid-day Suryas wearing two Agni Shudha vastras. You are known as ‘Sukhada’, ‘Muktida’, ‘Shanta’, ‘Sarasampad Swarupa’ and ‘Sarva sampad pradaatri’(Provider of bliss, Salvation, Peace, and Wealth since you are the Symbol of Prosperity). May I invoke the ‘Adhishthaatri’or the Over-all in charge of Vedas and Shastras and meditate that Veda beeja Swarupa Savitri!’ After the invocation thus, the devotee would have to offer the ‘Shodashopachaaraas’ of Aasana, Paadya, Arghya, Snaana, Anulepana, Dhupa, Deepa, Naivedya, Taambula, Sheetala Jala, Vastra, Bhushana, Maalaa, Chandana, Aachamana and Shayya. [Details of Pativrata Savitri-Yama Raja dialogues are given in the Essence of Matsya Purana by the same author.]

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