Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Ghritaci included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Ghṛtācī


She was an exceptionally beautiful apsarā woman, and she revelled in disturbing the peace of the sages and becoming mother of children by them. Ghṛtācī, who succeeded in breaking the penance of the sages like Kuśanābha, Vyāsa and Bharadvāja occupied a very prominent position among apsarā women.

Śuka, the son of Vyāsa.

Vyāsa longed very much to have a son. Ultimately, after receiving instruction and advice from Nārada, he reached the peaks of Mahāmeru and worshipped Mahādeva and Mahādevī for one year with the one-syllabled mantra OM which is the very seed of word. By now the great tejas (effulgence) of Vyāsa lighted up the whole world and Indra got nervous and upset. The great Lord Śiva appeared on the scene and blessed Vyāsa that he will have a son who would become a very wise man, very much interested in helping others, and very famous also. Vyāsa returned gratified to his āśrama. One day, while in the process of preparing the sticks for producing fire, thoughts about a son passed through his mind. Fire is produced by the rubbing of two sticks. But, he thought, how could he who had no wife, become the father of a son? While immersed in such thoughts he saw Ghṛtācī standing near him, herself having come along the sky. Vyāsa did not like the presence of Ghṛtācī. Fearing the curse of Vyāsa she assumed the form of a parrot and flew away.

The beauty of Ghṛtācī as also the flight of the parrot kindled erotic feelings in Vyāsa and seminal emission occurred. The semen fell on the stick used for producing fire, and without knowing the fact he went on using the sticks for producing fire. And, then did appear from it a son of divine lustre. That son became reputed in later years as sage Śuka. (Devī Bhāgavata, Prathama Skandha).

Two children by Bharadvāja.

Once sage Bharadvāja was taking his bath in the Gaṅgā, Ghṛtācī also came to bathe. On the banks of the river her clothes caught something and were removed from their position. The sight of it caused seminal emission to the Sage. The semen thus emitted was kept in a Droṇa, (bamboo cup) and when it was due the Droṇa broke and out of it came a child. It was this child which, in later years, became so very famous as the great Droṇācārya. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 149). On another occasion also, the sight of Ghṛtācī caused emission in Bharadvāja, and Śrutāvatī or Śruvāvatī was the noble daughter born out of it. (Śalya Parva, Chapter 48, Verse 63).

Hundred daughters of Kuśanābha.

Kuśanābha, son of Kuśa was a saintly king. Once Kuśanābha fell in love with Ghṛtācī and a hundred daughters were born to him of her. Once Wind-God felt enamoured of the hundred girls, but they refused to satisfy his desire. So he cursed them to become crooked or bent down in body. Later on, Brahmadatta, son of the sage Cūli, straightened their bodies and married them. (Vālmīki Rāmāyaṇa, Bāla Kāṇḍa, Canto 32).

Birth of Ruru.

On another occasion Ghṛtācī attracted and subjugated a King called Pramati. Ruru was the son born to Pramati by Ghṛtācī.

Other information.

(1) Once Ghṛtācī pleased Sage Aṣṭāvakra, who introduced her into Kubera’s assembly. (Anuśāsana Parva, Chapter 19, Verse 44).

(2) Ghṛtācī danced at the birthday celebrations of Arjuna. (Ādi Parva, Chapter 122, Verse 65).

(3) A daughter called Citrāṅgadā was born to Viśvakarman by Ghṛtācī. (See under Viśvakarmā).

(4) A daughter called Devavatī was born to Ghṛtācī. (See under Devavatī).

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