The root of woman empowerment goes back into the Vedic Age when a woman enjoyed complete freedom in every field of life. She could select her life partner, received the same education as men and participated in religious ceremonies and philosophical discussions. There were women scholars like Lopamudra, Gargi and Maitreyee who composed several hymns of Rig Veda.
I think the woman who symbolises woman empowerment down the Ages is Savitri, the beautiful princess of Madra (present day Chennai). She was an extraordinary woman who changed her destiny with her super intelligence and courage.
Savitri’s Ideal Husband
Savitri's father was Ashwapati, the righteous king of Madra. For several years he remained childless and performed pujas and yagnas in the hope of getting a child who would later succeed him to the throne. After eighteen years of penance and worship, the goddess Savitri appeared from the sacrificial fire and announced that soon the king would be blessed with a spirited daughter who would be endowed with divine virtues and remarkable qualities.
Soon the eldest queen of Ashwapati gave birth to a beautiful, lotus-eyed daughter. As she was a boon from the goddess Savitri, the king decided to call her by the same name, Savitri.
Years passed by. Savitri grew up into a very beautiful and high-spirited young woman. Her father arranged for her 'Swayamvar' (husband choosing ceremony). But the kings and princes whom Ashwapati invited as Savitri's proposed grooms were no match for her They were eclipsed by her strong personality. None of them caught her eyes and she left the Swayamvar without selecting a husband.
A few months later Ashwapati called Savitri and said,
“Beloved daughter, it's high time you should get married. But I cannot think of any king or prince who will be a suitable match for you. Hence I suggest that you take the responsibility of finding yourself a suitable groom. For that you need to travel and I have made all the arrangements. Begin your journey as soon as possible and find the husband of your choice. God bless you.”
Savitri bashfully touched her father’s feet and accepted his proposal. Soon she left the palace and began her journey with her entourage. She visited the sacred woods and holy places, giving alms to the poor and providing financial help to the Brahmins.
Savitri Chooses Satyavaan
In the kingdom of Salva, there lived a wise and just king named Dyumatsena. Due to some illness he lost his eyesight. Taking advantage of his misfortune, an old enemy deprived him of his kingdom and exiled him into the forest. The ill-fated king left the palace and went to live in the forest with his wife and only son Satyavaan, who was then but a mere boy. There he set up a hermitage and led a life of penance and ascetic austerities. Under his able tutolage, Satyavaan grew up into a handsome youth of great virtues and noble personality.
Destiny brought Savitri into the forest where Dyumatsena lived with his family. She lost her heart to Satyavaan shortly after she met him. The good looks of the exiled prince coupled with his knowledge, wisdom and charming behaviour had a lasting impact on the princess’ mind and she decided to marry no one else but Satyavaan.
Upon the completion of her mission Savitri returned to her father’s palace and informed him about her decision to marry Satyavaan. Ashwapati, at that time, was sitting in his court, engaged in conversation with the celestial sage Maharshi Narada. Not finding Savitri in the palace to greet him, Narada became curious about her whereabouts.
“O King,” said he, “I do not see your beautiful daughter in the palace. Where have you sent her? Why don’t you arrange for her Swayamvar now that she has attained marriageable age?”
“O venerable Maharshi,” replied the king, “It is with that purpose only that I have sent Savitri away from the palace. She didn't find a suitable groom in the Swayamvar I arranged for her. Hence I have given her the liberty to travel and choose a husband for herself.”
Before Narada could reply, Savitri entered into the court and respectfully greeted her father and the sage. Upon their asking she narrated how she had met Satyavaan and the reasons why she had decided to marry him.
“O father,” said Savitri. “I think Satyavaan in the only man who can make me happy. I have already accepted him as my husband in my heart.”
Maharshi Narada, who had said nothing till then, looked grave and serious. At length he sadly shook his head and said,
“Alas! Savitri has made a grave mistake by choosing Satyavaan as her husband. But of course, it was not her fault as she was not aware of the future. Let me make myself elaborate. Satyavaan is a youth of excellent qualities. Both his parents are truthful and virtuous. Hence the Brahmans named him ‘Satyavaan’. As a child he was extremely fond of horses. He derived great delight from drawing horses and making clay horses. Hence he is also sometimes called ‘Chitraswa’(Picture of Horse). Satyavaan is as energetic as the Sun-god himself and in wisdom he is like guru Brihaspati. He is as selfless as King Shibi, as brave as the celestial gods and as forgiving as Mother Earth. He is truthful, devoted to the Brahmins, magnanimous in his bestowal of gifts and as beautiful as the Moon. He is respectful towards his elders, devoted to his friends, free from malice, modest and patient. Briefly speaking, he is a man who possesses great ascetic merits and virtues.”
“O respected Maharshi,” cried Ashwapati, “if the youth has so many virtues then why can he not be a suitable groom for my daughter? Please enlighten me of his defects, if he has any.”
“O king,” said Narada, “Satyavaan’s only defect is that, he is destined to die after one year. If your daughter chooses to marry him, she will soon become a widow.”
Savitri Weds Satyavaan
The king felt crestfallen when he heard these terrible words.
“Savitri, my beautiful daughter,” said he, “I do not wish to see you as a widow leading an unhappy and lonely life. I think you should forget Satyavaan and choose someone else as your husband.”
“It's impossible, Father,” replied Savitri. "I can never do that."
"You are a wise and intelligent girl Savitri. Then why are you willingly inviting misery in your life? What happiness can you get from a man who is destined to live for just one year? Take my advice and choose someone else."
"Father, I'm not a woman who would lose her heart to multiple men. I have chosen my life partner and that's final. If my happiness is destined to be short lived then so be it. I'll spend the rest of my life with those happy memories. You know it takes time to make an important decision but once it's made we should stick to it. My mind is made up and my decision cannot be changed. If I marry it will be Satyavaan and no one else."
Maharshi Narada shook his head and said,
“O king, I see that your daughter is firm in her decision and further argument would be futile in this matter. I think you should accept destiny and arrange for her marriage with Satyavaan without further delay. I can only pray for the couple's well being and offer my blessings to them.”
Saying so the celestial sage departed. With a heavy heart King Ashwapati started arranging for his daughter’s wedding. He invited the learned Brahmins and royal priests and had discussions with them. Then one auspicious morning Ashwapati set out for the hermitage of Dyumatsena. The Brahmins, priests and Savitri accompanied him. Upon reaching there he reverentially greeted the blind hermit king, introduced himself and explained the puspose of his visit.
“O royal sage,” said he, “I humbly request you to accept my beautiful daughter Savitri as your daughter-in-law.”
Dyumatsena thought for a few moments and replied,
“We are deprived of our kingdom and are now living in the woods as hermits. Our life is full of hardships. How can your daughter, who is used to the comforts of the royal palace, bear this hardship and adjust herself with the regulated life of an ascetic?”
“O venerable king,” said Ashwapati, “happiness and sorrow are but passing phases of our life. They are not permanent and change with time. Life is full of ups and downs. My daughter and I know that and hence your words have no impact on us. We have come here with the hope of getting your approval and request you not to disappoint us. Being a royal Kshatriya princess Savitri is an eligible bride for your son, the prince. Please accept her as your daughter-in-law and strengthen our friendship.”
Hearing these words Dyumatsena happily accepted Ashwapati's proposal and revealed how desirable this alliance was to him. He had always wished to have Savitri as his daughter-in-law but had hesitated to approach Ashwapati with the proposal since he had lost his kingdom and was living in poverty.
Soon the wedding took place in the presence of the two kings. The Brahmins, the sages and the two fathers blessed the newly wed couple. Ashwapati bestowed his daughter with robes and ornaments suited for a royal princess. Then he departed for his kingdom ardently hoping that Maharshi Narad's prediction about Satyavaan's death would prove to be wrong.
Satyavaan was also glad to obtain a beautiful and accomplished wife like Savitri. He stole admiring glances at his new bride and marveled at her poise and charm. Savitri felt exceedingly happy to marry the man to whom she had lost her heart.
After her father’s departure, Savitri discarded her royal attire and expensive jewellery. She clad herself in clothes suitable for a hermit's wife, that is, barks of trees and saffron clothes. Instead of diamond necklace she wore garlands made with wild flowers. Her virtues and sweet nature brought happiness to her husband and his family. As a dutiful daughter-in-law she took good care of her in-laws, was humble in her attitude, even in her temper, sweet in her speech and agreeable in behavior. To Satyavaan, she was a doting wife and romantic lover. She easily adjusted herself to the austere life of a hermitage and never complained about the lack of comforts which she was previously used to in her father’s palace.
In spite of her happiness, Savitri never forgot about the prediction made by Maharshi Narada – that Satyavaan was destined to die after one year.
The Day Of Death
Many days passed by in tranquility and peace. At last the day on which Satyavaan was destined to die finally arrived. Savitri, who had religiously counted the days of the passing year, decided to observe the ‘Triratra Vrat’ (Three Night Votive) three days prior to the ill-fated day. Following the custom of the votive, she fasted day and night while praying for the welfare and long life of her husband. Her father-in-law Dyumatsena felt extremely anxious when he heard about her decision to observe the stringent ‘Triratra Vrat'.
“O daughter,” said he. “You have decided to observe an extremely austere votive. It is too arduous to fast for three consecutive days. You will become weak and may even fall sick. I think you should choose an easier votive.”
“Do not worry Father,” replied Savitri. “I think I have the physical and mental strength to observe this votive.”
Dyumatsena blessed her and returned to his puja-room. Savitri fasted for three consecutive days and nights during which she did not drink even a drop of water. She spent the third night in extreme anguish.
The following day, according to Maharshi Narada’s predictions, was to be the last day in Satyavaan’s life. Savitri woke up early, finished her morning rites and offered oblations to the fire-god Agnideva. She respectfully touched the feet of her in-laws and the old Brahmin ascetics who lived in the hermitage. Then, with bowed head and joined palms, she asked for their blessings. Pleased with her devotion and humble behavior, the ascetics blessed her with the auspicious benediction that she should never become a widow and would always remain the beloved wife of her husband. Savitri ardently prayed to god to make their blessings come true.
Dyumatsena and his queen felt anxious that Savitri might fall sick after observing such a long and arduous fast.
“Dear daughter, you have successfully completed your votive. Now the time has come to break your fast and have some food and water,” said Savitri's mother-in-law.
“No Ma," replied Savitri. "According to the rules of 'Triratra Vrat', I can have food and water on the fourth night, after sunset."
She looked at the worried faces of her affectionate in-laws and added,
“Please do not worry. I feel all right. I shall break my fast this evening.”
While speaking, she noticed Satyavaan placing his axe on his shoulders and set out for the woods to collect firewood. Savitri immediately rose up to go with him. Today she would not let her husband go out of her sight even for a moment.
“My love,” said she. “Please wait a bit. I shall come with you.”
Satyavaan was astonished at her words.
“Dear Savitri,” said he, “why do wish to come with me? You have never been to the woods. The forest paths are hard and undulating and not easy to walk upon. Moreover the long fast have made you weak. How will you be able to walk in this condition?”
"You are wrong, dear," replied Savitri. “I observed this fast for your long life and well being. It hasn't made me tired or exhausted. I have already made up my mind to come with you. Please don’t prevent me from doing so.”
“Okay dear,” said Satyavaan. “If you are so insistent I shall not stop you from coming. But please take the permission of my parents before we start, so that they cannot blame me if you fall sick.”
Savitri folded her palms and asked permission from her parents-in-law to accompany her husband into the woods.
“It is almost a year that I have not set foot outside the hermitage,” said she. “Please allow me to go with your son, so that I may behold the blossoming woods and collect flowers to make garlands for my deities.”
Dyumatsena smiled at Savitri and said,
“Savitri, you have never asked for anything since the day you came here as our daughter-in-law. You have been dutiful and caring towards everyone. Now it's our duty to grant your small wish. I permit you to go to the woods with Satyavaan.”
“You have my permission as well, dear daughter,” said her mother-in-law. "Have a nice day in the woods. Stay with Satyavaan and walk carefully. Try not to be late as you are weak from your long fast."
"Don't worry Ma," said Savitri. "I shall take care of both of us. Thanks to both of you for letting me go."
"God bless both of you."
Death Of Satyavaan
Having received the permission of both parents, Savitri and Satyavaan set out for the forest. Though Savitri was smiling, her heart was full of anxiety and anticipation. Satyavaan, who was totally unaware of his fate and the turmoil it caused in his wife’s heart, happily walked on with her, showing her the objects of natural beauty on their way. They came across sprightly rivers with sunbeams dancing on their crystal clear waters, delightful woods inhabited by flamboyant, dancing peacocks, beautiful trees full of fragrant flowers and radiantly colourful birds chirping overhead.
In spite of being surrounded by such bountiful of natural beauty, Savitri could not forget Maharshi Narada’s predictions even for a moment. She recalled his ominous words and shivered to think of her husband as a dead man. She quietly followed him, fervently praying for his safety and long life.
Then they came to that part of the forest where there were plentiful of fruit trees. Satyavaan plucked the ripe fruits and filled his basket with them. After that he began to fell branches of trees with his axe. As he was gathering them to make a pile, he began to perspire and suddenly developed a terrible headache. Feeling sick, he approached Savitri and said,
“O Savitri, owing to this hard labour I feel terribly unwell. My head, body and limbs are all aching. It feels as if thousands of arrows are piercing in my head. Help me to lie down as my legs do not support me to stand anymore.”
Hearing these words Savitri's face became pale with fear and anticipation. She quickly moved towards Satyavaan and helped him to sit down on the ground. Then she carefully placed his head on her lap and told him to relax. Satyavaan closed his eyes and fell asleep.
Suddenly she saw a large, dark man with a fearsome appearance standing near Satyavaan. He was clad in red clothes and steadfastedly looked at her husband with harsh, angry eyes. His hair, which was tied up in a top knot, was decked with a diadem and he carried a noose in his hand. The abruptness of the man's appearance startled Savitri, but she did not lose her nerve. She understood that the time of her husband's death had finally arrived. But she was determined not to let him go so easily.
Savitri gently placed Satyavaan’s head on the grass and slowly got to her feet. She respectfully joined her palms and addressed the stranger with a trembling heart but steady voice.
“Sir, your divine appearance tells me that you are a celestial god. Please tell me who you are and what purpose brings you here.”
Hearing this the man replied, “O Savitri, you are right. I am indeed a celestial god. Your devotion towards your husband and your ascetic merits have given you the power to see me and hold conversation with me. I am Yama, the God of Death. Your husband’s days on this Earth have ended. Hence I have come to take him away with me to Yamaloka (the Land of Death).”
Savitri noticed that instead of sending one of his emissaries Lord Yama had himself come for Satyavaan's soul. Noticing her astonishment, Yama said,
“Satyavaan is a virtuous person and an ocean of accomplishments. He doesn’t deserve to be borne away by one of my emissaries. Hence I have come in person to take him away with me.”
Saying this, Yama pulled out Satyavaan’s soul with the help of the noose he was carrying in his hand. Then he proceeded towards the south leaving behind Satyavaan’s lifeless body.
Yama’s Boons To Savitri
Savitri, overcome with intense grief and determined not to leave her husband, began to follow Yama. Seeing this Yama said,
“Stop there Savitri. Don't follow me. You have come as far as possible and can come no further. You must go back and perform the funeral rites of your late husband and free yourself from all his obligations."
“Sir, as a wife it is my duty to follow my husband wherever he goes or wherever he is carried to,” replied Savitri. “This has been the eternal custom and you cannot stop me from following that. By virtue of my ascetic merits, my observance of votives and my devotion towards my husband, I am sure that you will bless me and not stop me from performing my duty. Wise men who are endowed with true knowledge say that by walking seven steps together, one develops friendship with one’s companion. Considering that, I have developed friendship with you, and as a friend I shall tell you something. It is impossible for a woman to live in the forest alone and follow the path of Dharma. According to the holy saints, family life, and not celibacy is the foremost way of achieving Dharma. It is our duty to follow the path approved by the holy saints and stay away from the others."
Yama was impressed by Savitri’s wisdom and knowledge. But still he asked her not to follow him.
“Do not follow me any further,” said he. “You have pleased me with your sagacious words which are based on good reasoning and couched in proper language. You may ask for a boon. I promise to grant you any boon except your husband’s life.”
“O Lord Yama,” said Savitri, “If you be so kind enough to bestow me with a boon then please restore the eye-sight of my blind father-in-law, who, berift of his kingdom and sight, leads a life of penance in a forest hermitage.”
“I grant you this boon,” replied Yama. “Now do return as you look fatigued from your journey. There is no need to exhaust yourself any further.”
“O divine Lord,” said Savitri, “What weariness can I feel when I am with my beloved husband? The path that my husband follows cannot be different from my path. Wherever you carry him I shall follow him there. Moreover, one should never miss the chance of spending time in the company of a noble-minded person. Even a single conference with the righteous is highly commendable. Conversation with a virtuous person like you can never go fruitless."
“O Savitri,” said Yama. “Your wonderful words would captivate the heart and magnify the sagacity of even the erudite. I am impressed by them and have decided to grant you a second boon. Ask for anything, except the life of Satyavaan.”
“My father-in-law,” replied Savitri, “has been unjustly deprived of his kingdom. May that righteous king regain his kingdom and execute his commitments towards his subjects.”
“So be it,” said Yama. “Dyumatsena will soon regain his kingdom and never fail to execute his duties well. O princess, now listen to me and return. Do not follow me any more.”
“O Dharmaraj, you are the Lord of Righteousness,” said Savitri, “You have impeded all mortals by your mandates. You carry their souls away according to their karma and not in pursuant to your personal desires. It is because of that, O divine Lord of Death, people call you Yama. The abiding duty of the virtuous towards all creatures is to never undermine them in belief, expression and activity, but to show them love and grant them their due. In this world, men are indigent of both constancy and prowess. The righteous, however, manifest forebearance to even their adversaries when they solicit their refuge.”
Yama, being extremely impressed with the depth of Savitri’s knowledge and wisdom, said,
“Your words are like water to a thirsty soul who is wandering in search of knowledge. I wish to grant another boon to you. Ask for anything except your husband’s life.”
“My father,” said Savitri, “is unhappy because he has no son to inherit his throne and perpetuate his line. May your boon bless him with a hundred sons.”
“Your wish,” said Yama, “shall be granted. Your father Ashwapati shall obtain a hundred noble sons to succeed him to the throne and carry on his lineage. O princess, now abstain from following any further as you have travelled far enough.”
“The proximity of my husband,” replied Savitri, “makes me forget the distance I have travelled. As long as he is beside me, I am ready to walk for an indefinite length. O Lord, you are the divine son of the glorious Sun-god Vivaswan and hence known as ‘Vaivaswata’. You are ‘Dharmaraj’ (Lord of Justice) as you regulate the world with justice and your laws are equal for all mortals. People keep more faith in you than they keep in themselves as you are righteous. It is the nobility of heart that stimulates confidence in all creatures. It is because of this, people prefer to depend on the righteous.”
Highly impressed, Yama said,
“I have never heard anyone utter words of such immense wisdom. Except Satyavaan’s life, ask for a fourth boon and be gone.”
“O Lord,” said Savitri, “may I and my husband Satyavaan be blessed with a hundred illustrious sons. This is the fourth boon I ask for.”
“So be it,” said Yama. “You shall give birth to a hundred illustrious sons whose strength and competence will cause you great delight. Do stop now princess. You have come too far.”
Savitri thanked Yama for his boon and said,
“Righteous people always follow the path of Dharma. They spend their lives doing welfare to others. They neither have any regrets nor expect to receive any benefit in return for their noble deeds. Communication with such people is always fruitful. They support the earth by their ascetism and make the heavenly bodies rotate in the sky by their truthful ways. It is on these people that the past, present and future depend. The followers of Dharma always feel safe and cheerful in the company of the righteous as they know that the righteous are the protectors of the world.”
Yama was extremely impressed to hear such words of intense wisdom.
“Noble Savitri,” said he, “your wisdom and profuse knowledge of Dharma have augmented my respect for you. O devoted wife of Satyavaan, please ask for another boon.”
“O honourable Yamaraj,” replied Savitri, “your earlier boon would be fruitless if I don’t get united with my husband. Therefore I request you to restore my husband Satyavaan’s life. In his absence, I feel like a dead person. Without him I neither wish for happiness, nor heaven, nor prosperity, nor life itself. You have given me the boon of having a hundred sons; yet you are taking my husband away from me. A God's boon cannot go fruitless. Hence I ask for the boon of restoration of Satyavaan’s life.”
“So be it,” said Yama and happily untied his noose from Satyavaan’s soul, thus restoring his life.
“O chaste lady,” said Yama, “I have freed your husband and now you can take him back with you, hale and hearty. With you he will live a life of four hundred years. He will achieve great fame for his religious ways and sacrifices. You will get a hundred sons from him, all of whom, along with their descendants, will be great kings. They will always be famous as your scions.”
Blessing Savitri with these incomparable boons, Yama cheerfully departed for his abode in Yamaloka. Savitri returned to the place where she had left Satyavaan’s lifeless body. She sat down on the ground and lovingly placed his head on her lap.
“Beloved husband,” said she, “you have rested enough. It’s time to wake up from your sleep and return home. See, it’s quite late in the night.”
Satyavaan regained consciousness and curiously looked around him. Seeing Savitri he held her hand and said,
“I remember having a terrible headache and falling asleep on your lap as you tenderly held me in your arms. In my sleep I saw an effulgent, sable person taking me away. Was it a dream or was he real?”
“My love,” said Savitri, “I shall relate everything to you tomorrow. It is quite late in the night. Hence you should get up and return to your parents.”
“O Savitri,” replied Satyavaan, “I cannot discern the tract in the deep darkness that engulfs the forest.”
“Don’t worry,” said Savitri. “Can you see that burning tree over there? It's the result of a forest fire that occurred in the woods earlier this day. I can light some faggots from that fire which will help us see the way through the forest. But if you feel unwell, we can spend the night here and return to the hermitage in the morning.”
“I no longer feel the pain in my head,” replied Satyavaan. “I am quite well and wish to return to the hermitage without further delay. My aged parents always feel anxious about my well being. They start searching for me and rebuke me if I return late even during the daytime. I shiver to imagine what anguish they must be feeling now at my long absence from home. I don’t want to cause them more suffering by further delay.”
With these words Satyavaan's eyes became moist. Savitri felt sorry to see her husband in distress. She wiped his eyes and said,
“Don't be sad dear. Have faith on God. We have observed austerities, performed yajnas and given charities. I am sure this night will bring good luck to my revered in-laws and beloved husband.”
The beautiful Savitri then tied up her long, luxurious hair in a bun and helped Satyavaan to get up from the ground. She hung the fruit basket on the bough of a tree and carried the axe herself. Satyavaan, now feeling better, walked towards the hermitage with Savitri's support.
Meanwhile Dyumatsena, by the blessings of Yama, had regained his eyesight. But his happiness was short-lived as he could not see his beloved son Satyavaan anywhere. The absence of his son made him extremely anxious. He and his wife Saivya started searching for him everywhere. The Brahmins and sages of the hermitage comforted the distressed old couple and brought them back to their own asylum. They gave company to the aggrieved couple and waited for their son and his wife's return. When Satyavaan and Savitri returned the hermits asked them the cause for their delay. Satyavaan said,
“While collecting woods in the forest, I felt a terrible pain in my head. Immediately afterwards I fell into a deep slumber. When I woke up it was late in the night. I have never slept for such a long period. I am extremely sorry for all the inconveniences caused due to my delay, but it was entirely unintentional.”
Sage Gautam then narrated how Dyumatasena had suddenly regained his eyesight and said that he did not know what caused this huge miracle. Satyavaan felt ecstatic to hear this happy news but he too failed to throw light on this mystery.
Savitri now came forward and narrated everything to her in-laws and the sages. She told them about Satyavaan's death, her meeting with Yama and how she made him restore her husband's life. Everybody applauded Savitri for her intelligence and presence of mind. They heartily blessed the couple and happily returned to their respective asylums.
A couple of days later the residents of Salva and a faithful minister of Dyumatsena came to see their former king. They gave him the good news that Dyumatsena's enemy had been slain and they had come to take him back to his kingdom. Dyumatsena happily returned to his kingdom with his family. The royal priests ceremoniously installed him on the throne. Satyavaan became the Yuvaraaj or Prince-Regent. Over the years Savitri gave birth to a hundred high-spirited sons and a hundred sons were born to her parents Aswapati and Malavi.
Thus ends the story of the noble and virtuous Savitri, who overcame all the hurdles of her life and emerged as the winner. This lady, who was born more than five thousand years ago, lived her life according to her own terms. She was unhesitant in leaving her Swayamvar without choosing a husband and bold enough to set off in quest of her ideal match. She did not hesitate to marry the man of her choice in spite of his poverty and limited life span. She did not feel afraid when the fearsome Yama came to take away her husband's soul. Instead she stubbornly followed him with the strong determination of restoring her husband's life which she finally did! She also restored her father-in-law's eyesight and lost kingdom and gave her parents the sons they had always craved for. She was a pillar of strength who changed the course of her life and designed it according to her wish. If Savitri was not an epitome of woman empowerment, then who is?