Monday, 5 December 2011
Shanta's inputs on Satyavati
This is an encapsulation of V Shantakumar's comment to my 'Satyavati' blog post. I think it deserves to be a post rather than a comment. Some of you would have seen this since he marked us on the reply. But in the hope that this blog will one day have a wider audience, I'm taking the liberty of posting it. Shanta, thanks for the Satyavati bit - I misread the story in the first instance.
Unfortunately I had typed the entire unabridged, not-so-politically-correct version of the story of Satyavati, but some gremlin wiped out the whole comment on yr blog page!
So now can't rewrite all this but here are a few points:
1. She was unreal cunning and shrewd. Possibly she was reincarnated as Lady Macbeth. ( I mean what she did with poor Shantanu and Devavrata aka Bhishma was genius!)
2. Parashara was actually enroute to a kingdom to ask for the hand of a princess, because the alignment of stars forecast that at the precise moment if he managed to get her pregnant, the son would be wiser than gods!
3. He gets late and stuck on the boat taking him across wide river. Stars are whizzing and will be gone soon.
4. She is the only one there.
5. He pleads. She, sly as a fox, refuses! Of course she will, if he gives her four boons.
6. Boon One, deodorant forever. Two: virgo intacto. Three: she will be Queen Mama! Four: Cant take the bloating and the prospect of neighbors asking inconvenient q's, so Instant Birth.
7. Caught by short and curly, P says yes, yes, but can we get on with it, and so begins the Mahabharata!!!
Of course the Karmic irony of all this is Vyaasa begets Pandu Dhritarashtra and Vidur, and the first two from three girls 'abducted' by Bhishma for his step brother and the third girl Amba becomes Shikandi who finally gets the old man killed, and after all this it is Vyaasa himself who dictates the the story to Ekadanta, aka Ganesha , the story of his grandchildren killing each other!
(All this virgin deflowering, out-of wedlock births, incest, fratricide, polygamy, polyandry, etc etc is why Traditional Hindu families will not keep a copy of this better-than-Lord-of-the-Rings book in their homes!)
And all this because of the once fish smelling now fragrant as Jasmine Satyavati!!
P.S. Apparently Satyavati was given her name before she got deodorized. See note below.
P.P.S. And that's why the saintly Rajaji could not tell the little children all of this, and made it all out to be somewhat pure and chaste!
According to the Harivamsa, Satyavati in her previous life was Achchhoda, daughter of the Pitrs (ancestors) and cursed to be born on earth. The Mahabharata, Harivamsa and Devi Bhagavata Purana assert that Satyavati was the daughter of a cursed apsara (celestial nymph) named Adrika. Adrika was transformed by a curse into a fish, and lived in the Yamuna river. When the Chedi king, Vasu (better-known as Uparicara-vasu), was on a hunting expedition he had a nocturnal emission while dreaming of his wife. He sent his semen to his queen with an eagle but, due to a fight with another eagle, the semen dropped into the river and was swallowed by the cursed Adrika-fish. Consequently, the fish became pregnant. The chief fisherman caught the fish, and cut it open. He found two babies in the womb of the fish: one male and one female. The fisherman presented the children to the king, who kept the male child. The boy grew up to become the founder of the Matsya Kingdom. The king gave the female child to the fisherman, naming her Matsya-gandhi or Matsya-gandha ("She who has the smell of fish") due to the fishy odor which came from the girl's body. The fisherman raised the girl as his daughter and named her Kali ("the dark one") because of her complexion. Over the course of time, Kali earned the name Satyavati ("truthful"). The fisherman was also a ferryman, ferrying people across the river in his boat. Satyavati helped her father in his job, and grew up into a beautiful maiden.