... A Puranic Tale ...
Once, a legendry King Saryati and princess Sukanya, come to the ashrama of sage Chayavana. The princess sees two bright spots in an anthill. Out of curiosity, she pricks the dots with a thorn and immediately, blood begins to ooze out. As a result, the soldiers, who accompany the king, face difficulty in passing urine etc. Saryati imagines that someone is responsible for the mischief. After some time, a nervous princess discloses the sin she commits. The king feels the guilt and after analyzing the mental frame of the sage, marries off princess to him and so, avoids the possible curse, and returns to the capital.
After sometime, the celestial physicians Aswininikumaras come to the ashrama. The sage wants the celestial physicians to restore his youth with superb features and fine body so that as a strong man, he gratifies the young princess. Kumaras ask the sage to take bath. They enter a pond and immediately, three handsome young men emerge out of the pond. It creates dilemma for the princess, a woman of purity and beauty, for she fails to recognize Sage Chayavana, her husband. Kumaras reveal the identity of the sage, who is now a handsome young man of charm, magic and beauty, and later on, they fly away.
After some time, the king organizes a yajna and wishes to invite Chayavana. When he observes a handsome young man with the princess, he is angry because he feels the princess is in love with a rogue and thus, is disloyal to the sage husband. However, Sukanya clears the doubts. He participates in the yajna, offers a cup of soma juice to Kumaras, and thus, incurs the displeasure of Indra. The curse of the sage paralyses the arm of Indra. However, an understanding reaches and therefore, situation is normal.
Later, the king is a proud father of three sons - Uttanabarh, Anarta and Bhurisena. Ravata a son of Anarta constructs a city Dwaraka under water. Kakudmi, his eldest son goes with daughter Revati to Supreme Brahma, the creator and requests the lord to find out a suitable match for princess Revati. That is age of dharma where any created beings are free to go to Brahmaloka. In the age of dharma, living beings live a life of love, purity, elegance and dignity.
Celebrations in Brahmaloka continue for a long time and after the conclusion, Kakudmi speaks to Brahma about the purpose. Brahma surprisingly tells him that during his stay in Brahmaloka, four yugas with twenty-one rotations have passed and it is difficult to find the depth of its magnitude after such a long time when countless generations have disappeared into oblivion.
Supreme Brahma understands the tension of the king and so he suggests that he should go back and offer Revati to Baladeva, an embodiment of Supreme Deity and a symbol of lord Balarama, who governs the kingdom to eliminate sin and evil so that created beings live in peace and harmony. Thus, a man of virtues, king ‘Kakudmi visits the Land of Gods’ with a purpose and requests Supreme Brahma to help him find a suitable boy for princess Revati, stays for ages in Brahmaloka and comes back to earth to find entirely new generations.
King Saryati, a son of Manu was a king of repute, a learned man of Vedas and the master of the highest truth. King Saryati advised the scions of sage Angira how to adopt a correct ritualistic course of sacrifice on the second day of a yajna. Once king Saryati went with princess Sukanya of beautiful lotus-like eyes to a forest, and arrived at the holy hermitage of sage Chayavana. Sukanya, the most charming girl wandered in the forest with friends and enjoyed the divine beauty of trees, plants and flowers but the magic charm did not abate, and so they tasted blessings of nature.
At one place, she noticed a huge anthill. From the fissures of the anthill, she saw two bright fireflies like burning flames. She was amazed and did not know what hid in the womb of providence. Destiny inspired it appeared. Sukanya’s naivety, innocence, and unsteadiness provoked her to prick the bright flames-like dots in the anthill with a thorn. She pierced the brilliant dots with the strong thorns and immediately, blood began to flow out profusely. Exactly at that moment, the escorting soldiers of Saryati found obstruction in passing urine and stool. The king was astonished at a strange phenomenon.
He spoke to the soldiers, “Array, it appears you did not behave appropriately with sage Chayavana, a son of sage Bhrigu. Is it true? Please tell. It seems that someone has definitely profaned and polluted the holy ashrama.”
Seized of fear and uncertainty, princess Sukanya said, “O dear father, I committed a crime and undeniably very grave it is. In utter ignorance, I pierced a thorn into the bright and red looking flames arising out of an anthill.”
The king was perturbed when he listened to the words. Saryati began to propitiate the sage, buried underneath the anthill while he underwent austere and hard penance and tapa. Surprisingly, even the sage did not feel that ants had built a huge hill around the body. As the king tried to please the sage in tapa, he fathomed and understood the inner feelings and thoughts and tried to avoid any divine curse to visit. Saryati read the sage’s mind, gave away daughter’s hand to the holy sage. Thus, free from the calamity he foresaw in the distant future, he took permission of the sage, returned to the capital, and appeared more cautious than before.
Saryati avoids the curse and marries off princess to sage Chayavana, and the celestial physicians arrive at the ashrama
Sage Chayavana was usually irritated on the slightest pretext. After she got the most irascible sage as husband, princess Sukanya understood the nature of sage. She was very guarded and wary and tried to gratify and serve the sage husband. She would conduct graciously only after she understood the inner feelings of sage Chayavana. After a lapse of time, the celestial physicians Aswinikumaras arrived at the ashrama of sage and paid obeisance to the holy man.
Sage Chayavana greeted Kumaras with humility and politeness and then said, “You are great physicians and quite talented. Pray bestow youth and bless me with a handsome figure and age. Young and beautiful women need these qualities in a man. I am aware of a truth that you are not entitled to drink a cup of divine juice, even than I shall offer you a glass of Soma liquid. Therefore, you assent and fulfill my request.”
Greeting reverentially the great sage Chayavana, the celestial physicians nodded acceptance and uttered a word ‘Amen.’ After a pause, said, “O holy sage, plunge into the pool of water siddhas (the semi gods, who transcend
ahankara-ego) built long back and take bath.”
Chayavana, the holy monk with a totally age-smitten body, naturally covered with protuberant and bulging veins because of loss of blood in the body old age causes with tiny ridges of nerves, obviously carried a pathetic and weak figure. He appeared quite disgusting with grey hair and wrinkles on the body.
The sage was ready to take bath as suggested. Aswinikumaras inspired and encouraged the sage, guided him and were prepared to enter the pond. At that time, three persons emerged from the pool of holy water. They looked quite handsome and lovely. Captivating and pleasing, adorned with wreaths of lotuses and earrings of gold, they were beguilingly dressed in surprising similar looks. The three in analogous figures were handsome and brilliant and glowed like the rays of sun. Sukanya was unable to recognize her sage husband, who had acquired youth, beauty and vitality. Sukanya, a virtuous woman of amiable beauty and gratifying character sought shelter at the feet of Aswininikumaras, sought blessings so that she was able to distinguish. To recognize the sage was a big puzzle.
Chayavana is young again and King Saryati arrives at the hermitage
Kumaras, the physicians of the gods were quite delighted to observe the attachment, fidelity and virtue of a saintly woman and therefore, the celestial lords revealed identity and looked at the sage, who stood among the three identical looking young men. Kumaras bestowed youth and virility on sage Chayavana, sought consent, returned to the aerial car and flew to heavenly abode.
King Saryati nursed an objective to organize a yajna and therefore, he came to the ashrama of sage Chayavana after some time. He saw a very handsome man of divine luminosity of sun sitting beside daughter Sukanya.
Sukanya bowed before the king and paid respect but Saryati apparently not happy, did not bless but said, “O wicked girl, what you have done? Did you betray ever-reverential sage Chayavana? It is clear that you thought sage quite old and of no purpose. Therefore, you abandoned a holy man and now, wait upon a vagrant. How could you decide? You were born in a reputable dynasty. How did you make a sinful and wrong choice, a bad decision? The conduct will bring slander and ignominy to the whole dynasty. O great god…”
He felt deeply hurt, thought for a second and said again, “You are blatant and bold. You serve a rogue, a scoundrel in a man. A reprehensible conduct I say. I am pained and agonized at the thought. Your act and conduct will drive a great dynasty as well as the lineage of a great sage to a virtual hell.”
Sukanya patiently listened to father king, who seemed very angry and disturbed, and felt humiliated. She heard an enraged father, gathered confidence, emitted an innocent smile, and said, “O dear father, he is none other than sage Chayavana, a son of sage Bhrigu.”
Afterwards, she related to the father king the entire background, the arrival of the celestial physicians, the sage’s bath, and thereafter, the appearance of three striking, fine-looking, fascinating young men. The king was astonished and appreciative after he heard Sukanya. He lovingly hugged the princess and looked quite happy and satisfied.
Sage Chayavana agreed to the invite of the king and therefore, assisted the great king in organizing yajna (soma sacrifice) and propitiated the great lord. Thereafter, he offered a cup of soma juice imbued with immense ascetic power to Aswinikumars, the physicians of gods even though the lord of gods did not authorize Kumaras to take the drink. Offer of juice enraged lord Indra, who did not approve generosity and kindness of the sage towards the physicians. Lord Indra could not tolerate and therefore, picked up the thunderbolt to kill King Saryati.
Sage Chayavana obviously did not like the attitude of lord Indra. With the use of vast powers of penance, he paralyzed one arm of Indra that held the terrible thunderbolt. The lord of gods observed a trouble-struck Indra because of Chayavana’s curse and so, they consented to the intent of sage and did not object to the offer of divine soma juice to heavenly physicians, earlier prohibited from a share in soma juice.
Dynasty of divine virtues grows – Kakudmi, the grandson takes princess Revati to Brahma to seek advice on the choice of a suitable boy for Revati
King Saryati had three sons: Uttanabarh, Anarta and Bhurisena. Revata was a son of Anarta. He constructed a city Dwaraka situated under water in the heart of the great ocean. Ensconced securely on the throne, he governed the kingdom and various provinces. He was a competent king, a proud father of one hundred brave and wise sons. Kakudmi was the eldest son, who took daughter Revati to Supreme Brahma to enquire from the Creator about an appropriate boy for Revati.
In the age of truth and dharma, the path to heaven was open to the created beings. Anyone could go to Brahmaloka, the abode of Brahma. In the blissful and supremely blessed age, passion and ignorance did not influence created beings. No shadow of passion ever affected living beings. The lives of created beings were pure, generous and empathetic. Godliness and virtues determined the objectives of an elegant and dignified life.
When Kakudmi and Revati reached Brahmaloka, celebrations in the abode of Brahma amidst beating of drums, celestial songs, hymns and dancing delighted everyone. Kakudmi was unable to get an appropriate occasion to have an audience with the Supreme Lord and so could not broach the matter about the possible match for Revati. Therefore, he waited and stayed for some time. After the conclusions of festivities, he appeared before the Supreme Lord and revealed the purpose of visit to heaven.
Brahma listened to the modest request of Kakudmi, gave a hearty laugh and said, “O great king, did you think of some suitable men. You must choose a right man for Revati. Unfortunately, the time has swept the young men away and therefore, they are dead. No longer, O king, one hears about the lineage of mighty men (sons, grandsons and great grandsons…). It appears the noble dynasty lives no more. Many ages have passed. You know a long period, all the four Yugas (Sayta, Treta, Dwapara and Kali) have so far taken twenty-seven rotations, and the spinning disappeared in the womb of powerful time. So much time has rolled on and one cannot fathom its dimensions.”
He was unaware of the movement of Time so swiftly. After twenty-seven revolutions of each Yuga, many generations took birth and went down the womb of extinction and oblivion with no trace and now, it was very difficult to find a perfect husband for a great daughter. Kakudmi was naturally worried but he also knew the intents of destiny under the control of the Supreme Brahma.
Many thoughts assailed and distressed Kakudmi. Brahma read the mind of the mighty king and said lovingly, “O Kakudmi, the time has rolled on and gone. Just think of it. Presently Baladeva, a personification of Supreme Deity lives on earth. He is an inseparable part of the eternal existence. Go and give away the hand of virtuous princess to him, who is also a jewel among men. He took the form in part-manifestation so that he could lighten the awesome burden of suffering and troubles of created beings on earth. He is the protector of the created beings. The hearing and chanting of glories of divine exploits sanctifies the entire cosmic living beings. He descended on earth as a symbol of lord Balarama. He lives to unburden the earth from the sins and evils so that created beings live happily.”
The unborn, omniscient, eternal and the infinite Brahma advised King Kakudmi in soft and encouraging words. King bowed reverentially, returned with Revati to the capital Kusasthali (Dwaraka) that appeared deserted and soulless. In the absence of a king, fear of yakasas stalked the entire kingdom and therefore, the ancestors failed miserably and could not guard the land, people, kingdom and progeny from the attack of yakasas. They began to live there in utter uncertainty about the future but knew they would live secure, and thus, avoided any peril in future. Supreme Brahma advised in many words, and the king humbly offered the hand of daughter to the most powerful King Balarama. Afterwards, the king retired to the hermitage of the divine sage Narayana, who was engaged in austere penance and meditation.