The Padma Purana

by N.A. Deshpande | 1951 | 1,261,945 words | ISBN-10: 8120838297 | ISBN-13: 9788120838291

This page describes the story of vasudatta and his daughter sudeva which is chapter 47 of the English translation of the Padma Purana, one of the largest Mahapuranas, detailling ancient Indian society, traditions, geography, as well as religious pilgrimages (yatra) to sacred places (tirthas). This is the forty-seventh chapter of the Bhumi-khanda (section on the earth) of the Padma Purana, which contains six books total consisting of at least 50,000 Sanskrit metrical verses.

Disclaimer: These are translations of Sanskrit texts and are not necessarily approved by everyone associated with the traditions connected to these texts. Consult the source and original scripture in case of doubt.

Chapter 47 - The Story of Vasudatta and His Daughter Sudevā

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Sukalā said:

1. Sudevā, whose entire body was beautiful, said to the female hog: “How is it that you, who are born in a species of beasts, speak Sanskrit?

2. Tell me wherefrom you had such great knowledge. O you auspicious one, how do you know the account of your husband and of yourself?”

The female hog said:

3-7. Due to my being a beast I was enveloped by delusion, O you of an excellent complexion; and struck with swords and arrows, I fell on the battlefield. I was overpowered by swoon, and was unconscious, O you of an excellent face. O beautiful lady, with your pious hand you sprinkled (water on me). When my body was sprinkled over with the holy water by your hand, swoon left me and disappeared. As the darkness disappears due to lustre (i.e. light), similarly, O auspicious one, my sin disappeared due to your having sprinkled (over my body). O you of a charming body, by your favour I obtained old knowledge (i.e. knowledge of previous existence). O you auspicious one, I realised that I shall reach a holy position.

8. Listen, I shall narrate my former account. O you auspicious one (I shall tell you) what great sin, I, a sinner, had (formerly) committed.

9-12. In the great country called Kaliṅga, there was a city by name Śrīpura, which was full of all accomplishments, and was inhabited by (the people of) the four castes. There lived a certain brāhmaṇa, known as Vasudatta, who was always engaged in the duties of a brāhmaṇa, and always devoted to truthful acts. He knew the Vedas; he was erudite; he was pure, virtuous and rich. He was full of (i.e. he had ample) wealth and grains, and was adorned (blessed) with sons and grandsons. O you auspicious lady, I am his daughter adorned (blessed) with brothers and sisters, kinsmen, relatives, ornaments and decorations, O you of a beautiful face.

13-17. My very intelligent father named me Sudevā. O you highly intelligent one, I was always dear to my father. I was matchless in beauty; and like that (i.e. like me) there was none in the (whole) world. I, of a charming smile, was puffed up with the pride of my beauty and youth. I was a maiden very beautiful and adorned with all ornaments. Seeing me, all the people—all relatives of my class (i.e. caste) solicited me in marriage, O you of a beautiful face. I (i.e. my hand) was solicited by all brāhmaṇas; (but) my father did not give me (in marriage to any brāhmaṇa). O you glorious one, the highly intelligent one (i.e. my father) was deluded through his affection (for me). That my magnanimous father did not give me (to anyone in marriage).

18-21. Youth with (all its accompanying) feelings set upon me, O you young lady. Seeing my beauty like that, my mother, being greatly afflicted, said to my father: “Why do you not give (our) daughter (in marriage to a brāhmaṇa)? O glorious one, give this daughter (in marriage) to a good, magnanimous brāhmaṇa (for) she has (now) attained youth.” The best and excellent brāhmaṇa, Vasudatta, said to (my) mother: “O you noble one, listen to my words. O you of an excellent complexion, I am deluded by great fascination for (our) daughter.

22-23. O auspicious one, listen, I shall give my daughter to that son-in-law, who would be a householder. This Sudevā is dear to me like my own life. There is no doubt about it.” Thus my father Sudatta spoke (to my mother).

24-27a. (There was a brāhmaṇa, who was) virtuous, pure, born in the family of Kauśika, and was well-versed in all lores, and was endowed with the qualities of brāhmaṇas. Seeing him, who did not have father and mother, who was endowed with the study of the Vedas, and who was reciting (them) melodiously, and seeing the form of him, who had come to (our) door for alms, my very intelligent father said: “Who are you? Tell me now your name; (tell me about your) family, lineage, your practices.”

27b-29. Hearing (my) father’s words he said to Vasudatta (my father): “I am born in the family of Kauśika. I have, mastered the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas. My name is Śivaśarman. I do not have father and mother (i.e. I am an orphan). I have four other brothers, who have mastered the Vedas. I have thus told you (about) my family, and about the practices of my family.”

30-35. Thus everything was told to my father by Śivaśarman. O you blessed one, when an auspicious time, date and the star of the deity presiding over marriage arrived, I was given (in marriage) to that brāhmaṇa by my father. With that glorious one I stayed alone in my father’s house. Being very much deluded by the great wealth of my father and mother and pride, I, a sinner, did not serve my husband. O you auspicious one, I never shampooed his body through love or affection or (pleased him) with (sweet) words. A sinner that I was, I always looked at (i.e. treated) him cruelly. O auspicious one, due to my contact with unchaste women, I reached their condition. I did no good to my mother, father, husband and brothers. I went here and there.

36-38. Seeing such wicked behaviour of me, my husband, through his love for his father-in-law (and mother-in-law) my very intelligent husband did not say anything to me. I, a great sinner, was however, warded off by (the members of) my family. All those (members of the family like) my father and mother, knowing the character and goodness of Śivaśarman, were afflicted by my sin (-ful acts).

39-46. Seeing my wicked acts, my husband went out of the house. He left the country and the village and went (away) from it. When my husband had gone, my father was full of anxiety, and was afflicted with grief as one would be afflicted with a disease. My mother said to her husband (i.e. my father) who was afflicted with grief: “What for is your worry, O my dear (husband)? Tell me your worry.” “O pleasing one, the brāhmaṇa, (our) son-in-law, has abandoned (our) daughter and gone. This one is of a sinful conduct, merciless and performs sinful acts. The very intelligent Śivaśarman has been forsaken by this one (only). The highly intelligent brāhmaṇa, O dear one, due to his courtesy towards our entire family and me, does not say anything at all to Sudevā. He lives peacefully and the intelligent, learned man does not condemn or censure Sudevā moving wantonly. This wicked Sudevā will destroy (our) family. O you housewife, leaving her, I (shall) go.”

The brāhmaṇa’s wife said:

47-65. O dear one, today you have understood the virtues and the vices of (our) daughter. She has now been spoiled because of your affection and love for her. One should fondle one’s son till he is five years old. O dear one, one should always nourish him with the idea of training him (even) through affection also, by giving him bath, coverings, food, (other) eatables, drinks. There is no doubt about this. O dear one, one should urge the son in (i.e. to acquire) virtues and true learning. A father is always free from affection for the sake of teaching virtues (to his son). O dear one, affections take place (i.e. should be shown) in the protection and nourishment (of the son). (A father) should never describe his son as virtuous. Everyday he should censure him. He should always talk to him (with) sternness, and should afflict him with (harsh) words, so that the son, intent upon (acquiring) learning, will pursue true knowledge. Even through a device used to correct his pride, he leaves his sin far away. Perfection in learning and virtues is produced (in him). A mother should beat her daughter, and a mother-in-law should beat her daughter-in-law. A preceptor should beat his pupil. Thus they acquire perfection, not otherwise. A wife should flog her husband, a king should punish his minister. A soldier should beat his horse, and the elephant’s driver should beat him. O lord, by means of being beaten and being protected, they are prepared with a thought for training. O lord, along with the good brāhmaṇa Śivaśarman, you yourself have foreover spoilt her. In the house she was made undisciplined (i.e. was not checked); therefore, O you highly intelligent one, she is spoilt. O dear one, listen to my words: The father should keep his daughter in his house till she becomes eight years old. He should not keep a strong (i.e. grown up) one. Both the parents get the (fruit of the) sin which a daughter, living in her father’s house, commits. Therefore an able (i.e. a grown up) daughter is not kept in his house (by the father). She should get nourishment in the house of him to whom she is given. She, living there, should devoutly win over her virtuous husband. The family becomes famous; the father lives happily. The husband suffers due to the sin which she, living there (i.e. in the husband’s house) commits. Living there, she always prospers with sons and grandsons. O dear one, the father obtains fame due to the good qualities of his daughter. Therefore, O dear one, one should not keep in one’s house one’s daughter with her husband (i.e. a married daughter). O dear one, in this context there is an account that is so heard: O brāhmaṇa, I shall tell you the account of the hero Ugrasena, the eldest Yadu, as it took place, when the great twenty-eighth Dvāpara yuga arrived. Listen to it with a concentrated mind.

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