The story of Yayati – Part 2


<< PART 1 >>

After some time, King Yayati who was out on a hunt happened to come by that way. Feeling thirsty he stopped near the well and happened to see Devayani in the well. Desirous of helping her, he took off his upper garment, reached down to her and pulled her out of the well.

Addressing him Devayani said O King, by taking my hand into yours, you have accepted my hand in marriage. It will now never be touched by another man, as it is providence that our relationship has so been consummated.

Know this o King, no qualified Brahmin can ever become my husband because Kaca, the son of Brihaspati has cursed me so.

After Yayati had agreed to her statement, Devayani then went to her father Sukracharya and narrated all that happened. Enraged with the princess’ behavior Sukracharya then went to Vrishaparva with the intention of punishing her. Vrishaparva however satiated his guru’s anger by offering Sharmistha as a maidservant to Devayani.

Once Sukracharya’s anger was mollified, he then sent Devayani with her thousand maidservants which included Sharmistha to her husband, King Yayati’s palace. Giving his daughter’s hand in marriage to the king, Sukracharya warned Yayati to never allow Sharmistha into his bed.

The king and his newly wed queen enjoyed marital bliss and soon Devayani was pregnant with their child. Seeing her old friend enjoying her pregnancy, Sharmistha approached Yayati in a secluded place and asked him to marry her as well and promised to be a faithful wife to him. Neglecting the holy Sukracharya’s advice, the king went on to marry Sharmistha as well and gave in to her demands for a child from him.

When Devayani found out that her former friend was also pregnant with the king’s child, she was angry and immediately left the palace for her father’s place. The distraught Yayati followed her there and despite his entreaties and pleading, she refused to come back to his palace. Angry at the king not following his specific advice to the contrary, Sukracharya cursed Yayati

You womanizing, deceitful man, may you immediately enter old age which disfigures the human body

Yayati begged the holy man for his forgiveness who then relented and told him that if he could transfer his invalidity and old age to some young man, then he could remain young and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh if he so desired.

<< PART 3 >>

7 thoughts on “The story of Yayati – Part 2

  1. These stories sometimes make me wonder about society back then and how it has left its marks on our world today as well….waiting for part 3

    • @Seeta, yes, some real food for thought on how the social norms of the day were back then in this particular episode and story. Part 3 will be published on Friday morning.

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