Puranic encyclopaedia

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

This page describes the Story of Satyabhama 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 Satyabhāmā

The wife of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.


Once Śrī Kṛṣṇa himself said about the previous birth of Satyabhāmā. There was an occasion for saying that.

Once Nārada came from the world of the gods to Dvārakā. He had brought with him some flowers of the Kalpaka tree. Nārada gave all those flowers to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa divided them among his wives, but he had forgotten Satyabhāmā. Being unable to subdue her sorrow and anger she got into her bedroom and wept and sighed and lay there. Śrī Kṛṣṇa came to know of this. He took Satyabhāmā with him on the back of Garuḍa and went to the world of Gods. They reached there and asked Indra for some Kahlāra flowers. Indra refused to give. Garuḍa got ready to uproot the tree. Then Indra wielded his thunderbolt. To honour the weapon thunderbolt, Garuḍa left a feather of his there and returned to Dvārakā. Because of the hitting of the thunderbolt, the peacock, mongoose and jungle crow were born from Garuḍa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa who won the war, returned with Satyabhāmā mounted on Garuḍa, to Dvārakā. The Kalpaka tree brought from the world of gods, was planted in the garden in front of the palace of Satyabhāmā. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the Kalpaka tree became her own, Satyabhāmā became proud. At that time Nārada came there. She asked Nārada what she should do so as to have Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the Kalpaka tree with her in all births. Nārada said that, for that, she had only to do Tulāpuruṣadāna. She instantly placed Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the Kalpaka tree in the balance and all the things placed in equal weight were given to Nārada himself. Nārada received them and went to the world of Gods. Satyabhāmā became overjoyed. She asked Śrī Kṛṣṇa, what good deeds she had done to earn so much happiness. Śrī Kṛṣṇa described the previous birth of Satyabhāmā. (Padma Purāṇa, Uttara Khaṇḍa, Chapter 90).

Previous birth of Satyabhāmā.

Towards the close of the Kṛtayuga, there was a Brahmin named Devaśarmā who was born of the clan of Agni in Māyāpurī. This Brahmin was well-versed in the Vedas and the Vedāṅgas. In the old age a daughter named Guṇavatī was born to him. He gave his daughter to his disciple Candraśarmā.

Once Devaśarmā and Candraśarmā went to the forest to bring Darbha (poa) and Samit (butea). While they were walking here and there in the Mango grove in the Himālayas a giant closed with them. Because of terror their bodies were stiffened and so they could not run. The fierce giant killed both of them. The escorts sent by Viṣṇu came and took both of them to Vaikuṇṭha. Guṇavatī cried aloud when she heard that her father and husband were killed by a giant. She lamented for a long while and then fainted and fell down. When she came to herself she began to cry again. At last she sold the furniture and conducted the funeral rites of her father and husband. After that she lived by manual labour. She observed fast and the vow of Kṛttikā and Ekādaśī.

Guṇavatī, who was weak and lean because of old age and fever once walked slowly to the river Ganges to bathe. When she got into the river she shivered because of cold. Then an aerial chariot came down from the sky. The messengers of Viṣṇu took her in the chariot, to Vaikuṇṭha. The celestial maids fanned her with the whisk of yak. After this Mahāviṣṇu incarnated as Śrī Kṛṣṇa to destroy the wicked. Those who were the dependants of Viṣṇu in Vaikuṇṭha took birth in Dvārakā. Devaśarmā the father of Guṇavatī took birth as Satrājit. Candraśarmā became Akrūra. Guṇavatī became Satyabhāmā. Because of the goodness earned by the fast of Kṛttikā, she had become a beloved one of Viṣṇu. Because she made a grove of holy basil (tulasī) at the gate of Viṣṇu in the previous birth the Kalpaka tree came to her garden in this birth. Because she lighted lamps in Kārttika month Mahālakṣmī lives permanently in her house. Because she did fast and vow in Kārttika imagining Viṣṇu as her husband, she became the wife of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in this birth. (Padma Purāṇa, Uttara Khaṇḍa, Chapter 91).

Family life.

See under Kṛṣṇa, Para 16 and Naraka Para 4).

Other details.

(i) The sons Bhīma and others were born to Śrī Kṛṣṇa by Satyabhāmā. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 276).

(ii) Narakāsura stole the ear-rings of Aditi, the mother of the devas. Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā went to fight with Narakāsura. They killed him and recovered the ear-rings and gave them back to Aditi. At that time Aditi blessed Satyabhāmā thus: "Till Śrī Kṛṣṇa forsakes his body you will not be affected by old age. Moreover you will always have a divine fragrance and good qualities." (Mahābhārata Sabhā Parva, Chapter 38).

(iii) Satyabhāmā had a beautiful white palace in Dvārakā. The steps of the palace were paved with jewels. To those who pass over its steps, hot season will appear to be cold. (Mahābhārata Dākṣiṇātya Pāṭha, Sabhā Parva, Chapter 38),

(iv) When the Pāṇḍavas were living in the Kāmyaka forest at the time of their forest life, Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Satyabhāmā paid them a visit. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 183, Verse 11).

(v) At this time Satyabhāmā asked Pāñcālī about the means and ways to bring the husband over to her side. (Mahābhārata Vana Parva, Chapter 238, Verse 4).

(vi) When Arjuna came to Dvārakā, after Śrī Kṛṣṇa had forsaken his body, Satyabhāmā lamented with the other queens for a long time. (Mahābhārata Mausala Parva, Chapter 5, Verse 13).

(vii) After this Satyabhāmā went to the forest for penance. (Mahābhārata Mausala Parva, Chapter 7, Verse 74).

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