King Sudyumna was the son of Shraddha and Shraddhadeva Manu.
His story consist of both tragedy and romanticism.
Shraddhadeva Manu performs Fire Sacrifice
Even before the Ikshavaku Clan began, Sage Vashista existed.
He conducted a massive fire sacrifice to please Gods, Mitra and Varuna.
The Vedic Rules of the Yajna were strictly abided by which Manu and His wife Shraddha could experience the joy of children.
So, the family priest Vashista carried on the ceremony, following all rules which the couple followed, wherein the queen had to subsist on milk throughout the end of the ceremony.
Once, Shraddha (the wife of Manu) approached the Sage in the absence of her husband to receive a boon from the Sage.
So, in the Vashista’s honour she sung praises of Gods, goddesses.
Well versed as she was, she sung hymns from the Rig veda and in the end she kept forward a humble request.
She said: “Oh sage Vasishta, I seek your blessings to have a daughter as a result of the sacrifice you conduct for us, the couple.”
Fire sacrifices, in the vedic times completely depended on the potency of the Priest conducting the Yajna.
It is his mystical powers that satisfy the Devatas and grant the desired results to the host.
So, here Sage Vasistha, after hearing the humble request of Shraddha devi, conducted the fire sacrifice to satisfy her desire.
While performing the Yajna, Sage Vasishtha constantly remembered the words of Shraddha and uttered the word Vasat.
He offered Ahooti while chanting the relevant mantras and with a deep desire for a girl child.
As a result, his powers and the blessings of the Devatas gifted Shraddha with a girl named Ila.
How did Ila become King Sudyumna?
However, the birth of a daughter was not much to Manu’s liking.
Manu arranged for the fire sacrifice to gain a son, to expand his lineage.
So, he exclaimed thus: “Oh gurudev Vasishtha, how could the Yajna conducted by your elevated personality yield contradictory results?
How could your mantras and power not invoke the Devatas?
How could the Devatas grant wrong benedictions?”
Hearing these piercing words from the mouth of Shraddhadeva Manu, Sage Vasishtha said: “The Yajna and the results are as they are.
The intention of the Yajna (intention of Shraddha Devi) has yielded contradictory results.
Yet, I assure you that you will have a son.
Through my yogic powers and virtues, I shall confer on you the privilege of a male progeny.
Sage Vasishtha with his eyes closed, contemplated deeply on His Ishta Devata, Sri Narayana.
He sought the Lord’s blessings with the desire to transform the sex of the infant Ila.
Pleased with the Sage’s sincerity of intention and well wishing nature for Manu and his wife, Sri Hari was immensely pleased.
As a result, He transformed Ila into a male child who later became famous as Sudyumna, the foremost of men.
Sudyumna Undergoes Sex-Tranformation
Once, Sudyumna went hunting in the forest.
He held a heavy bow and a quiver of arrows.
His chest protected by an armour and his body decorated with flowers, Sudyumna rode on his horse which belonged to the Saindhava breed.
He proceeded towards the Northern Direction towards Mount Meru.
In Mount Meru, Sri Rudra along with his eternal consort Srimati Parvati Devi engaged in amorous sports.
The innocent king on entering the hills of Meru, transformed into a charming woman.
He lost his manhood and became an idol of attraction, love and beauty.
His horse, transformed into a Mare and all his other associates too became women!!!
People might wonder, how could a place have such potency wherein men transform into women?
Today, surgeries have made sex-tranformation possible..
However, in Vedic Times it was all in the energy field.
So, a blessing or a curse could make unusual, impossible changes possible.
This concept was unusual for that era.
Yet it manifested as there is a story behind this mysterious sex-tranformation.
Lord Shiva Makes a Promise
Once upon a time a group of austere sages travelled to a spot in Mount Kailasa, by the name Ilavrta.
They went to have darshan (vision) of Lord Shiva to fulfil their vows.
However, at that time, Lord Shiva and Devi Parvati engaged in communion and close proximity.
As the Sages saw the scene, Devi Parvati abandoned the lap of Lord Shiva and immediately caught hold of her upper cloth.
The perturbed sages retired to Badrinath to meet the elevated renunciants Nara and Narayna.
The surroundings of their Ashram were devoid of any sensual pleasures, calm and austere, much conducive for the renunciants who made their way to Ilavrta.
After this episode, Parvati Devi was sad and dejected.
However, her eternal consort Lord Shiva uttered these words to pacify her: “From this moment onwards, the male who enters our abode (Mount Kailasa, Ilavrta) will transform into a woman. So, Oh Parvati, do not grieve.”
Following these words of Lord Shiva, Sudyumna, the male heir of Shraddha and Shraddhadeva Manu transformed into a woman.
Woman Sudyumna births Pururava
After, having the sex changed, Sudyumna (now a woman), roamed in the forest with her other female attendants (who also underwent transformation).
Right then, the son of Moon God, Buddh (a.k.a Mercury) had a glimpse of the beautiful damsel.
On beholding her excellent beauty, and charming brows, too desired Buddh for her husband.
As a result, they tied the marital knot and bore a son by the name Pururava.
After having attained the form of a woman, Sudyumna now remembered his family priest, Sage Vasishta.
The Sage could immediately sense that he is being invoked by Sudyumna.
Exercising his Yogic powers, Sage Vasistha immediately stood before the transformed Sudyumna.
On looking at his disciple, the Sage was overpowered by mercy and pity for him.
He desired Manhood for Sudyumna.
So, he approached Lord Shiva who was the cause for this transformation.
Pleased with the sincerity and concern of Sage Vasishtha for his disciple, but at the same time maintaining his words that he uttered to Devi Parvati, Lord Shiva said:
“Sudyumna, born in the Solar race, is at the helm of protecting the world.
So, therefore I bless him with manhood for a month.
Let him be a male for a month and then revert back to femalehood for the next month.
He shall undergo transformation every month, whereby he can perform his Kshatriya duties with much pleasure.
So, in the course of his manhood that would last for a month, Sudyumna would rule over his kingdom and protect earth from atrocities.
However, as the next month would approach he would go into isolation and seclusion.
This, the subjects did not approve of.
Offspring of Sudyumna
He bore 3 virtuous sons, Utkala, Gaya and Vimala.
These sons administered the Southern region, the Deccan.
With time, as the destined time approached Sudyumana renounced all worldly affairs, desires and assets and retired to the forests.
He crowned Pururuva who was his son (while he was a female) from Buddh.
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