King Saryati and Sukanya
One fine morning the King Saryati (Son of Vaivaswata Manu) along with his charming daughter, Sukanya proceeded towards the woods.
Blessed with beautiful, lotus-like eyes, Sukanya would elevate the mood of the atmosphere and people around by her frolicsome behaviour.
They went to visit the Great Chyavana Rsi.
She went round the forest with a group of female friends.
After roaming for a while, she observed two spots, shining through an anthill.
She could no longer resist her curiosity.
So, she went closer to the anthill, as if to inspect the shining circles.
She concluded that they were two fireflies.
Right next to her there was a thorn.
Sukanya picked it up and out of inquisitivity, she pricked the two shining spots.
What followed next was an unheard tragedy.
The Tragic Event
A stream of blood started flowing from the anthill.
This was not a good omen.
The soldiers and other help mates escorting King Saryati experienced an obstructed urinary passage.
It was as if a curse struck them as they were not able to pass stool or urine.
These unusual signs caught the pious, wise king’s attention.
He immediately sought his daughter and other officials and asked them:
“Has any one of you harmed the powerful son of Brighu, Sage Chyavana.
Who has sinned and committed such a grave crime.”
The king thundered and expected an honest reply from the culprit.
Sukanya Accepts her Crime
Immediately, Sukanya realized her folly.
She stood out of the group as she submissively reported to her father:
“Oh father, I, out of ignorance and childish spirit, went close to an anthill.
I thought they were some light emitting insects.
But, I am the cause of this consequence as I pierced the shining spots.
A whole lot of blood flows out now.”
On hearing the words filled with guilt, the king sunk into deep thoughts.
He proceeded towards the anthill and tried pacifying the sage.
Sage Chyavana Marries Sukanya
The Sage intimated the king as he showed great inclination for his young daughter, Sukanya.
He desired to marry her.
King Saryati, knowledgeable as he was, immediately understood the gesture.
So, He made arrangements for the marriage and left for his palace.
In this way, King Saryati fulfilled the responsibility of a father as well as that of a king, by being just, by fulfilling the needs of the one harmed.
This incident made the king more cautious than ever before.
Sukanya Serves her Old Husband
Sage Chyavana was of an austere kind.
Small amount of disturbance or lack of focus could infuriate him very easily.
So, the chaste Sukanya would keep the smallest of smallest thing in her mind as she would selflessly render her services.
She attempted to be excellent at whatever she offered her husband.
Always keeping his needs in mind, she would perform her daily routine and her activities always intended to please the Sage.
Years passed by and life continued to be peaceful.
Sage Chyavana converses With Ashvini Kumaras
One fine day, the two celestial twin-physicians made their way into the great ascetics hermitage.
The couple with great reverence greeted the Ashwini Kumaras.
The sage said: “Oh Ashwini Kumaras, you both are all capable.
Celestial Physicians as you are, any form of disease or old age can never be incurable for you both personalities.
Having understood your potencies, I ask you both to confer on me youth and charm such that young damsels frolic around me.
May your blessings grant me with such charm that it exceeds the beauty of Cupid Personified, Kaam Deva.
If you do so, I shall conduct a Soma sacrifice for rewarding you with potation, which you would have never tasted before, although I very well know that you two are not offered such beverages in a sacrifice.
However, I shall offer them to you.”
Ashvini Kumaras Bestow Youth
The two celestial physicians knew the potency of the revered Sage Chyavana.
So they heartily accepted the proposal by uttering Tathastu, which means So be it.
They through their divine powers created a magical pool of fragrant liquids, herbs and other articles.
The Ashwini Kumaras said: “Sage Chyavana, take a dip in this pool.
Let the fragrant ripples touch your skin, hair and every part of your body.
It shall relax you and bestow upon you the gift of youth.”
Sage Chyavana who was old and feeble, looked at the pool with amazement.
His veins showed through his skin.
Freckles and wrinkles blanketed his body as old age inflicted him.
Sukanya in a Fix
Looking at his current state of being, the two gracious physicians accompanied him to take a dip in the pool.
After taking the dip, there emerged three vibrant personalities right in front of Sukanya’s eyes.
These three men surpass the beauty of millions of Cupid Gods put together.
They shine like the sun and their bodies have lotuses, gold necklaces, bracelets and so many unimaginable ornamentation.
Flowers adorn their bodies and a soft smell envelops the surroundings of Sage Chyavana’s hermitage.
Their garments look like that of Celestial God or devatas.
The three men looked similar and undistinguishable.
This was the test of chastity, Sukanya had to pass.
The three men who look alike in terms of physical beauty now stood in front of Sukanya.
Sukanya closed her eyes and invoked the Ashwini Kumaras.
Sukanya passes the Test
She pleaded and sought guidance from them.
Her chastity and faithfulness impressed the devatas.
On opening her eyes, she decoded their identities by holding the hands of her husband.
Although the three looked the same, she could find her husband.
The grace of the Devatas bestowed upon her a divine pair of eyes through which she recognized her husband.
She was successful in finding her husband and in this way she established her chastity.
After this episode she paid her respected obeisances to the Ashwini Kumaras.
Now, the two physicians sought permission to leave for their abode, from the sage.
They ascended their aerial flights and proceeded towards the skies, to heaven.
King Saryati Reprimands Sukanya
With great aspiration to perform a fire sacrifice, King Saryati approached Sage Chyavana whose humble residence was in the nearby forest.
So, as he made his way towards the forest, the King was taken aback.
He saw an effulgent, enticing male sitting closely next to Sukanya, his daughter.
“This act is not according to the code of Dharma”, the pious king thought to himself.
Sukanya on seeing her father at a distance of the hermitage ran to offer her respects.
As she bowed down to seek his blessings, the king stepped back.
Instead of blessing her, he started blurting out displeasing words for her.
He said; “ What can be more disgraceful than this.” King Saryati, after a short pause, resumed with greater force.
Sukanya stood and tried to assimilate the context of his words.
He continued: “Your virtuous, all powerful husband is the pride of Sage Brighu. He is an ascetic with immense powers and is worshipped by all.
His lineage is pure, untainted and reputable.
The whole world respects him. But, today my son-in-law is put to shame.
You have betrayed him as you stand beside an unknown individual.
How could you be so mindless, tainting your family’s name in society?
Indeed, this grave sin cannot go unnoticed, without punishment.
You stake the pride and respect of two notable families, (the family of Sage Brighu and Family of Vaivaswata Manu).
You make them susceptible to blasphemy.
Your actions are sinful for which both the families must suffer in hell.”
Saying so, the king grew red with rage.
Sukanya Reveals the Truth
However, the wise Sukanya reciprocated with an innocent smile on her face.
She said: “Oh father, I am standing next to my husband, the son of Brighu. He is none other than your son-in-law.”
She pacified her father and narrated the entire episode.
Her father was relieved of the burden.
Proud of her daughter’s achievements, he got his dear daughter close to his bosom.
He experienced great delight to see the couple living happily.
Chyavana Rsi performs Soma Sacrifice
Now, Saryati approached the sage to perform a sacrifice.
In olden days, Kings performed Yajnas for the welfare of their Kingdoms.
Like they would perform Putrakameshti Yajna for an able offspring, Vayavya Yajna to please Vayu Bhagawana and attrat positivity and legitamate Wealth.
So, king Saryati desired to perform a Yajna to please the God.
On the advice of his son-in-law, he performed a Soma Yajna.
Sage Chyavana conducted a Soma Sacrifice thereby fulfilling his promise made to the Asvini Kumaras.
As a result, he first made oblations to the Ashvini Kumaras, thereby fulfilling his promise.
But, this violated the traditional custom of a sacrifice, where the first right on the offerings is that of Indra.
This violation was unbearable for the King of the Devatas, Indra.
He considered this to be an insult.
So, the furious Devata rode on his vehicle and tried to obstruct the sacrifice.
He raced towards the sacrificial altar with the Vajra (thunderbolt) in his hands.
Sage Chyavana Punishes Indra
Sage Chyavana observed Indra.
With the spell of his mantras, the plans of Indra failed miserably.
Sage Chyavana finished making his offering to the Ashvini Kumaras without any hindrance as he paralyzed the hands of Indras through his yogic powers.
The paralyzed Indra could neither exercise his thunderbolt nor get a share of the Soma Juice.
From that day onwards, the first offering of Soma Sacrifice goes to the Ashvini Kumaras.
This trend was set up by Sage Chyavana as a token of gratitude towards the celestial physicians.
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