SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 7 CHAPTER 6
THE SEVENTH BOOK
On granting the Aśvīns the right to drink the Soma juice
1-3. Janamejaya said:
“O Muni! How did Mahāṛṣi Chyavana make these twin Devas drink Soma and how his words came out to be true?
Human strength is insignificant compared to Indra's strength. Indra forbade the physicians, the Aśvīns, to drink the Soma juice. How then could the Muni give the right thereof? This is very wonderful.
Therefore, O Thou, devoted to Dharma! O Lord! Describe in detail the doings of this Mahāṛṣi Chyavana. I am very anxious to hear it. ”
4-10. Vyāsa said:
O King! In that famous sacrifice of the King Śaryāti, Chyavana Ṛiṣi did wonderful feats. O Bharata! I am now narrating to you his entirely wonderful character. Hear it attentively.
Mahāṛṣi Chyavana, illustrious like the Devas, began to enjoy with a cheerful mind and gladdened heart, with his beautiful wife Sukanyā who was like a Deva Kanyā.
Now, once on an occasion, the wife of Śaryāti became very anxious and trembling said to her husband weeping:
“O King! You have betrothed your daughter to the blind Muni Chyavana; now it is your duty to go and enquire whether the daughter is living or is dead.
O Lord! What is my beautiful daughter doing with that husband? Please go just now to the Muni's Āśrama and see about it.
O Rājaṛṣī! I always burn in pain and agony when I think of her. She must have become very lean and thin due to the troubles of Tapasyā; please bring her quickly here to my presence.
She is suffering an everlasting pain from having an aged blind husband; and it is quite likely she has become very lean and thin, I am anxious, therefore, to see my daughter lean and thin who is wearing barks of trees as her dress. ”
11. Śaryāti said:
“O broad-eyed One! I am going gladly just now to see my dear daughter and that Muni of severe vows.”
12-25. Vyāsa said:
O King! Thus saying to his wife, distressed with sorrow, the King Śaryāti mounted on his chariot and quickly went towards the Āśrama of the Chyavana Muni.
On reaching there, he saw the Mahāṛṣi Chyavana like a Deva's son. Seeing his body like that of Deva, the King became bewildered and began to think thus:
“What! Has my daughter done such an ugly act, blameable in the society! That Muni was very calm and quiet, penniless and very old; my daughter, perhaps, being overpowered with passion, killed him and has taken, no doubt, another husband.
It is indeed difficult to control the God of Love, armed with his flowery bow: the period of youth is moreover very hard to conquer.
So this daughter impelled by lust has thrown a dreadful stigma on the clear name of the family of the great Manu.
Fie on him whose daughter in this world is of a vicious character! It seems that daughters are born for the expiation of all the sins committed by their fathers.
But what an unjust act have I committed for my own selfish ends?
It is highly incumbent on every father to betroth his daughter with every care possible to a bridegroom suitable in every respect; but I did not do it and now have got the fruits equivalent to my doing.
If I kill my daughter, vicious and unchaste, I will incur sin due to killing a woman and moreover my daughter.
I am the cause of this stain on Muni's line of descent. On the one hand, the scandal on one is very powerful; and the affection for a daughter is strong on the other.
What am I to do now?”
The King became merged in deep thoughts.
At this time Sukanyā accidentally saw her father thus drowned in anxious thoughts.
Seeing him, Sukanyā instantly came to her father's side and asked the King in sweet affectionate words:
O King! How is it that your face has become so pale with anxious thoughts, seeing the Muni sitting in front of you, a young man with lotus-eyes.
O Father! What are you thinking? You belong to the famous Manu's family; besides, you are a high-minded man; you ought not to be sad so suddenly; come quickly and bow your head down before my husband.
26. Vyāsa said:
O King! Hearing thus the daughter's words, the King became impatient with anger and began to speak to her:
27-36. O Daughter! Where is that aged blind ascetic Muni Chyavana and who is this youth intoxicated with lust? A great doubt has arisen in my mind.
O Vicious Soul! Have you slain that Chyavana Muni and engaged yourself in such a sinful act?
O You, a Disgrace to your family! Have you accepted another husband out of your desire of lust?
My mind has become very much troubled on not seeing that Muni in this Āśrama.
O vicious One! Now I don't see the Muni; but instead of him, I see this bright person. And thus it is on account of your sinful behaviour that my mind is drowned in the ocean of cares.
Then hearing her father's words, Sukanyā smiled and gladly took him at once to her husband and said:
“O Father! He is your son-in-law; He is the same Chyavana Muni; there is no doubt here.
The twins Aśvīns have given him this beautiful lustre and lotus-like eyes. The two Aśvīni Kumāras came accidentally to my Āśrama and out of mercy no doubt they have made Chyavana such a nice young man.
O King! I am not that your daughter that will do a vicious act as you think, beguiled by this beautiful form of the Muni. Father! Bow down before the Chyavana Muni. Ask him and he will tell you everything.”
Hearing thus the daughter's words, the King went instantly to the Muni and bowed down before him and asked him affectionately thus:
37-38. The King said:
“O Son of Bhrigu! How have you got your eyes back? Where has your old age gone? Kindly narrate all your details as early as possible.
O Brāhmaṇa! Seeing your exquisitely beautiful form, a great doubt has arisen in me; so tell me everything in detail; I will be very glad, no doubt.”
39-45. Chyavana said:
“O King! The two Aśvīns, the physicians of the Gods, came here on their own account and have done me this good out of their mercy.
Owing to the benefit thus received, I have granted them the boon that I will make them drink the Soma juice in the Agniṣṭoma Yajña of the King Śaryāti.
Thus I have got these beautiful eyes and the new youth; therefore, O King! Collect yourself and sit in the holy sacrificial seat.”
When the Brāhmin Chyavana Muni spoke thus, the King Śaryāti and his dear wife sat with greatest pleasure and began to talk on auspicious topics with the high-souled Muni.
Then the Bhārgava consoled the King and said:
I will perform your sacrifice; please collect all the necessary materials. I have promised to the Aśvīns that certainly I will make them drink the Soma juice. Therefore, O King! I will have to carry that out in your sacrifice.
O King! If Indra be angry, I will stop him by my Tapas force and in the Agniṣṭoma Yajña I will make the Aśvīns drink Soma.
46-58. Vyāsa said:
O King! Śaryāti, the lord of the earth, then gladly approved the proposals of Chyavana Muni.
The King then showed respects to the Muni and, with a pleasant attitude of mind, returned to his city with his wife, all the while talking of the Muni on the way.
On a good auspicious day he, possessed of enormous wealth and prosperity prepared an excellent place for the performance of the sacrifice.
The Muni Chyavana then invited Vaṣiṣṭha and other respectable Munis and initiated the King Śaryāti for the performance of the sacrifice.
At the commencement of the sacrifice, Indra and the other Devas and the two Aśvīns all came to the sacrifice to drink Soma.
Seeing the Aśvīns, Indra became afraid and asked the other Devas:
“Why have the Aśvīns come here? They are the physicians and, therefore, never fit to drink Soma. Who has brought them hither at this great Agniṣṭoma Sacrifice?”
The Devas remained all silent. Chyavana Muni then became ready to offer Soma to the Aśvīns and Indra immediately stopped him saying:
They are already prohibited to drink Soma as a sacrificial share; so do not accept the vessel of Soma for them.
Chyavana then said:
“O Lord of Śachī! These are the Sūrya's sons; tell, then, truly why these are rendered unfit to drink Soma. They are not of mixed blood; they are born of the legal wife of Sūrya Deva.
O Lord of the Devas! What is the fault then, of the Aśvīns, the physicians, that they be prohibited to drink Soma juice. Please reply.
O Indra! This point must be settled by all the Devas here. I have promised to make them drink the Soma juice in this sacrifice. To keep my word I have initiated the King in this sacrifice. I will have my word fulfilled; there is no doubt in this.
O Indra! They have given me my youth and bestowed my eyes and have done me great good. I will also do good to them to my best.”
59. Indra said:
“The Devas have appointed these Devas their Physicians; therefore they are looked down upon in the society; so they are unfit to drink Soma. You need not make them drink Soma. ”
60-61. Chyavana spoke:
“O Indra! You have adulterated yourself with Ahalyā; why are you, then, giving vent to your anger thus in vain. You have treacherously murdered Vritrāsura; it is quite inappropriate for a vicious person like you to say that the Aśvīns cannot have the right to drink Soma. This is quite impossible.”
O King! On the springing of this dispute, nobody spoke to Indra. The illustrious Bhārgava, then, made them accept the Soma juice.
Here ends the Sixth Chapter of the Seventh Book on granting the Aśvīns the right to drink the Soma juice in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam, the Mahā Purāṇam, of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.