Savitri

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Sāvitrī. Hindu Goddess, daughter of the Sun (Savitar). She is known as the mother of the Vedas, and is often identified with Gāyatrī (thus seen as a personification of Ṛg Veda 3. 62. 10, the Gāyatrī mantra, addressed to Savitar). A lengthy poetic reworking of the Sāvitrī legend by Sri Aurobindo Ghose follows the careers of the various characters in the story as an allegory of the divinization of human life, a concept central to Aurobindo's philosophy. In the West, the composer Gustav Holst (1874–1934), having learnt Sanskrit in order to write Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (1908–12), composed the chamber opera Savitri (1908, first staged 1916).

views updated

Savitri

Savitri is the name of several figures in Hindu mythology. According to tradition, Savitri is a god of the sun who rides through the sky each day granting long life to humans and immortality to the gods. Savitri is also the wife of the god Brahma*; together she and Brahma gave birth to the human race.

immortality ability to live forever

Another Hindu legend tells the story of a princess named Savitri. She fell in love with Prince Satyavan, the son of a blind, exiled king. Although a holy man told Savitri that the prince would die within a year, she married him anyway. After a year, Satyavan went into the forest to cut wood, followed by his wife. There they met Yama, the god of death, who began to take the prince away. Touched by Savitri's devotion to her husband, Yama told her that he would grant her anything she wished. First she asked that Satyavan's father recover his sight and his kingdom. Then she asked that she might become the mother of 1,000 children. After Yama agreed, Savitri argued that she could not have children if her husband was dead. Impressed by the way Savitri had tricked him, Yama restored Satyavan to life.

See also Brahma; Hinduism and Mythology.

views updated

Savitri.
1. Chamber opera in 1 act, Op.25, by Holst to his own lib. taken from the Sanskrit Mahabharata. 3 characters, Savitri (sop.), Satyavan (ten.), Death (bar.), with acc. of 2 fl., cor anglais, and str. Comp. 1908. Prod. London (students) 1916, (professional) 1921, Chicago 1934.

2. ‘Legend’ for stage by Molnár (1912).