The story of King Yayati – the need for balance in life

Yayati was one of the six sons(2nd son) of Nahua and he was crowned as the king since his elder brother did not evince any interest in the throne. One day as the king was on a hunting expedition,he found Devayani(the beautiful daughter of the famous preceptor Sukracharya)thrown into a well. The king gave her a hand and rescued her. As soon as she got rescued,Devayani proposed to the king for marriage and the latter also gave his consent immediately thinking that it was all preordained. Devayani was accompanied by her female companion Sarmistha to the king’s palace after their marriage. Even as the king was leading an extremely blissful married life with his beautiful wife Devayani,he got equally attracted by her companion as well and committed an act of indiscretion. He bore children through Devayani as well as her companion Sarmista and as a result landed himself into serious trouble with Sukracharya(Devayani’s father). The latter cursed him to suffer instant old age and disfigurement. As Yayati surrendered before Sukracharya,the latter offered solace to the king and gave him an opportunity to exchange his old age with the youth of any one who would volunteer. The king approached his 3 sons for exchanging his old age with their youth and all,except his third son Puru, refused.
Thus, thanks to his third son Puru,the king’s youth was restored and he continued to enjoy all kinds of sensual pleasures once again. As the story goes,even after 1000 years of enjoyment,the king did not feel satiated and on the contrary his lust and desire was ever mounting until finally he himself finally got sick and tired. He saw no purpose in all this and in disgust returned the youth of his son Puru. Having got back his old age his desires came to an end. He,then,renounced his attachments,handed over the kingdom into the safe hands of his son Durhyu and retired to forests with Devayani to pursue a spiritual path.

The story makes an important point that it is essential for one to have a proper balance in life. The curse by Sukracharya on Yayaati indicates that one can not escape the consequences of excesses committed in life.
Another important idea that comes across clearly is that enjoying sensual pleasures to the complete exclusion of spiritual pursuits will only lead to frustration and a feeling of emptiness at the end. The life of Yayati clearly refutes the belief of one of his sons ‘Yadu’,who declared while refusing to exchange his youth with Yayati : “One does not reach a desireless state without tasting all the vulgar material pleasures of life in the first place”.
On the contrary,without proper balance of activities in life,one is likely to face a fate similar to that of Yayati.

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Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 7:49 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. who is madhavi ( i think she is daughter of yayathi)

  2. Is krishna is the vanshaj of king yayati and what is caste


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