63(C). Birth of Vyasa Maharishi – The Author of Mahabharata

“Vaishampaayana continued, “The fish-smelling daughter of the Apsara (Aadrika) in her fish form was then given by the king (Vasu) to the fishermen, saying, ‘Let this one be your daughter.’ That girl was known by the name of Satyavati. Gifted with great beauty and possessed of every Dharma, she of agreeable smiles, owing to contact with fishermen, was for some time of the fishy smell. Wishing to serve her (foster) father she plied a boat on the waters of the Yamuna.

“While engaged in this profession, Satyavati was seen one day by the great Rishi Paraasharaa, in course of his wanderings. As she was gifted with great beauty, an object of desire even with a Siddhaa, and of graceful smiles, the wise sage, as soon as he saw her, desired to have her. That bull amongst Munis (Rishi Paraasharaa) addressed the daughter of Vasu (Satyavati) of divine beauty and diminishing thighs, saying, ‘Accept my embraces, O blessed one!’ Satyavati replied, ‘O holy one, see the Rishis standing on either bank of the river. Seen by them, how can I grant your wish?’

“Thus addressed by her, the Rishi (Paraasharaa) thereupon created a fog (which existed not before and) which enveloped the whole region in darkness. The lady (Satyavati), seeing the fog that was created by the MahaRishi (Paraasharaa) wondered much. The helpless one (Satyavati) became covered with the blushes of shy. She said, ‘O holy one (Rishi Paraasharaa), note that I am a lady under the control of my father. O sinless one, by accepting your embraces my virginity will be spoiled. O best of Brahmanas, my virginity being spoiled, how shall I, O Rishi, be able to return home? Indeed, I shall not then be able to bear life. Thinking upon all this, O illustrious one, do that which should be done.’ That best of Rishis, pleased with all she said, replied, “You shall remain a virgin (Kanya in Sanskrit) even if you grant my wish. O faint-hearted one, O beauteous lady, ask the boon that you desire. O you of fair smiles, my grace has never before proved fruitless.’ Thus addressed, the lady (Satyavati) asked for the boon that her body might emit a sweet scent (instead of the fish-odour that it had). The illustrious Rishi immediately granted that wish of her heart.

“Having obtained her boon, she became highly pleased, and her season immediately came. She accepted the embraces of that Rishi of wonderful karma. She (Satyavati) from that time became known among men by the name of Gandhavati (the sweet-scented one). Men could perceive her scent from the distance of a yojana. For this she was known by another name which was Yojanagandha (one who scatters her scent for a yojana all around). The illustrious Paraasharaa, after this, went to his own ashrama.

“Satyavati pleased with having obtained the excellent boon in consequence of which she became sweet-scented and her virginity remained unspoiled conceived through Paraasharaa’s embraces. She brought forth the very day, on an island in the Yamuna, the child fathered upon her by Paraasharaa and gifted with great energy. The child, with the permission of his mother, set his mind on Tapas. He went away saying, ‘As soon as you remember me when occasion comes, I shall appear to you.’

“It was thus that Vyasa was born of Satyavati through Paraasharaa. Because he (Rishi Vyasa) was born in an island, he was called Dwaipaayana (Dwaipam meaning island). The learned Dwaipaayana, seeing that Dharma is destined to become weak by one leg each yuga (she having four legs in all) and that the period of life and the strength of men followed the yugas, and moved by the desire of obtaining the favour of (Lord) Brahma and Brahmanas, arranged the Vedas. For this he came to be called Vyaasa (the arranger or compiler). The boon-giving great one (Rishi Vyaasa) then taught Sumanta, Jaimini, Paila, his son Shuka, and Vaishampaayana, the Vedas having the Mahabharata for their fifth. The compilation of the Bharata was published by him through them separately.

Author: Prasanna TG on

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