The Mahabharata (English)

by Kisari Mohan Ganguli | 1,056,585 words | ISBN-10: 8121505933

The English translation of the Mahabharata is a large text describing ancient India. It is authored by Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa and contains the records of ancient humans. Also, it documents the fate of the Kauravas and the Pandavas family. Another part of the large contents, deal with many philosophical dialogues such as the goals of life. Book...

Section LXXXIII

"Vaisampayana said, 'When Devayani of sweet smiles heard of the birth of this child, she became jealous, and O Bharata, Sarmishtha became an object of her unpleasant reflections. And Devayani, repairing to her, addressed her thus,

'O you of fair eye-brows, what sin is this you have committed by yielding to the influence of lust?'

Sarmishtha replied,

'A certain Rishi of virtuous soul and fully conversant with the Vedas came to me. Capable of granting boons he was solicited by me to grant my wishes that were based on considerations of virtue.

O you of sweet smiles, I would not seek the sinful fulfilment of my desires. I tell you truly that this child of mine is by that Rishi!'

Devayani answered,

'It is all right if that be the case, O timid one! But if the lineage, name, and family of that Brahmana be known to you, I should like to hear them.'

Sarmishtha replied,

'O you of sweet smiles, in asceticism and energy, that Rishi is resplendent like the Sun himself. Beholding him, I had not, any need to make these enquiries—'

Devayani then said,

'If this is true, if indeed, you have obtained your child from such a superior Brahmana, then, O Sarmishtha, I have no cause of anger.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Having thus talked and laughed with each other, they separated, Devayani returning to the palace with the knowledge imparted to her by Sarmishtha.

And, O king, Yayati also begot on Devayani two sons called Yadu and Turvasu, who were like Indra and Vishnu. And Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan, became through the royal sage the mother of three sons in all, named Drahyu, Anu, and Puru.

"And, O king, it so came to pass that one day Devayani of sweet smiles, accompanied by Yayati, went into a solitary part of the woods, (in the king’s extensive park). And there she saw three children of celestial beauty playing with perfect trustfulness.

And Devayani asked in surprise,

'Whose children are they, O king, who are so handsome and so like unto the children of the celestials? In splendour and beauty they are like you, I should think.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Devayani without waiting for a reply from the king, asked the children themselves,

'You children, what is your lineage? Who is your father? Answer me truly. I desire to know all.'

Those children then pointed at the king (with their forefingers) and spoke of Sarmishtha as their mother.

"And having so said, the children approached the king to clasp his knees. But the king dared not caress them in the presence of Devayani. The boys then left the place, and made towards their mother, weeping in grief.

And the king, at this conduct of the boys, became very much abashed. But Devayani, marking the affection of the children for the king learnt the secret and addressing Sarmishtha, said,

'How hast you dared to do me an injury, being, as you are, dependent on me? Dost you not fear to have recourse once more to that Asura custom of thine?'

"Sarmishtha said,

'O you of sweet smiles, all that I told you of a Rishi is perfectly true. I have acted rightly and according to the precepts of virtue, and therefore, do I not fear you. When you had chosen the king for your husband, I, too, chose him as mine.

O beautiful one, a friend’s husband is, according to usage, one’s own husband as well. You are the daughter of a Brahmana and, therefore, deserves my worship and regard.

But dost you not know that this royal sage is held by me in greater esteem still?'

"Vaisampayana said, 'Devayani then, hearing those words of hers, exclaimed, O king, thus,

'You have wronged me, O monarch! I shall not live here any longer.'

And saying this, she quickly rose, with tearful eyes, to go to her father. And the king was grieved to see her thus, and alarmed greatly, followed in her foot-steps, endeavouring to appease her wrath. But Devayani, with eyes red with anger, would not desist. Speaking not a word to the king, with eyes bathed in tears, she soon reached the side of her father Usanas, the son of Kavi.

And beholding her father, she stood before him, after due salutations. And Yayati also, immediately after, saluted and worshipped Bhargava.

"And Devayani said,

'O father, virtue has been vanquished by vice. The low have risen, and the high have fallen. I have been offended again by Sarmishtha, the daughter of Vrishaparvan. Three sons have been begotten upon her by this king Yayati.

But, O father, being luckless I have got only two sons!

O son of Bhrigu, this king is renowned for his knowledge of the precepts of religion.

But, O Kavya, I tell you that he has deviated from the path of rectitude.'

"Sukra, hearing all this, said,

'O monarch, since you have made vice your beloved pursuit, though fully acquainted with the precepts of religion, invincible decrepitude shall paralyse you!'

Yayati answered,

'Adorable one, I was solicited by the daughter of the Danava king to fructify her season. I did it from a sense of virtue and not from other motives. That male person, who being solicited by a woman in her season does not grant her wishes, is called, O Brahmana, by those conversant with the Vedas, a slayer of the embryo.

He who, solicited in secret by a woman full of desire and in season, goes not in unto her, loses virtue and is called by the learned a killer of the embryo, O son of Bhrigu, for these reasons, and anxious to avoid sin, I went into Sarmishtha.'

Sukra then replied,

'You are dependent on me. You should have awaited my command. Having acted falsely in the matter of your duty, O son of Nahusha, you have been guilty of the sin of theft.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'Yayati, the son of Nahusha, thus cursed by the angry Usanas, was then divested of his youth and immediately overcome by decrepitude. And Yayati said,

'O son of Bhrigu, I have not yet been satiated with youth or with Devayani.
Therefore, O Brahmana, be graceful unto me so that decrepitude might not touch me.'

Sukra then answered,

'I never speak an untruth. Even now, O king, art you attacked by decrepitude.
But if you likest, you are competent to transfer this your decrepitude to another.'

Yayati said,

'O Brahmana, let it be commanded by you that that son of mine who gives me his youth shall enjoy my kingdom, and shall achieve both virtue and fame.'

Sukra replied,

'O son of Nahusha, thinking of me you mayst transfer this your decrepitude to whomsoever you likest. That son who shall give you his youth shall become your successor to the throne.

He shall also have long life, wide fame, and numerous progeny!'"

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