Friday, February 22, 2008

Adi Parva - Sambhava Parva 19

"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 thou of fair eye-brows, what sin is this thou hast
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 thou of sweet
smiles, I would not seek the sinful fulfilment of my desires. I tell thee
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 thee, I should like to hear
them.' Sarmishtha replied, 'O thou 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, thou hast obtained thy 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
thee, I should think.'

"Vaisampayana continued, 'And Devayani without waiting for a reply from
the king, asked the children themselves, 'Ye 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 thou dared to do me an
injury, being, as thou art, dependent on me? Dost thou not fear to have
recourse once more to that Asura custom of thine?'

"Sarmishtha said, 'O thou of sweet smiles, all that I told thee of a
Rishi is perfectly true. I have acted rightly and according to the
precepts of virtue, and therefore, do I not fear thee. When thou hadst
chosen the king for thy husband, I, too, chose him as mine. O beautiful
one, a friend's husband is, according to usage, one's own husband as
well. Thou art the daughter of a Brahmana and, therefore, deservest my
worship and regard. But dost thou 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, 'Thou hast 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 hath 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 thee that he hath
deviated from the path of rectitude.'

"Sukra, hearing all this, said, 'O monarch, since thou hast made vice thy
beloved pursuit, though fully acquainted with the precepts of religion,
invincible decrepitude shall paralyse thee!' 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 doth 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, goeth not in unto her, loseth 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, 'Thou art dependent on me. Thou shouldst have awaited my
command. Having acted falsely in the matter of thy duty, O son of
Nahusha, thou hast 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 thou attacked by
decrepitude. But if thou likest, thou art competent to transfer this thy
decrepitude to another.' Yayati said, 'O Brahmana, let it be commanded by
thee that that son of mine who giveth me his youth shall enjoy my
kingdom, and shall achieve both virtue and fame.' Sukra replied, 'O son
of Nahusha, thinking of me thou mayst transfer this thy decrepitude to
whomsoever thou likest. That son who shall give thee his youth shall
become thy successor to the throne. He shall also have long life, wide
fame, and numerous progeny!'"

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