Yayati was a brave king depicted in Puranas who had to surrender his conscience and dignity to the destiny. Though Yayati is a main character of the story, he is not a real hero; in fact, he becomes villain though forced by situation. Kach is the real hero of this story, who is the son of Dev Guru, Brihaspati.

Story of Yayati:

Story of Yayati revolves around four main characters: Yayati; his wives, Devyani and Sharmishtha; Kach, his friend and philosopher.

Yayati was born as the youngest son of King Nahush, king of Hastinapur, who had defeated Indra, the king of Paradise, but was cursed by a sage because of his lust for Indra’s wife, Indrani. One sage curses Nahush that his sons would never become happy in their lives. When Yayati’s elder brother, Yati, comes to know about the curse, he leaves the palace and enters the jungle and becomes an ascetic. As Yayati enters into adolescence, he falls in love with a dasi, Alaka. He also has physical relationship with her. When Yayati’s mother comes to know about this, she kills Alaka. This shocks Yayati and he starts hating his mother.

Meanwhile the war between Gods and demons becomes unbalanced as the teacher of demons, Shukracharya, learns Sanjivani Vidya (an art of resurrecting a dead body). Shukracharya starts to resurrect all the demons that are killed by Gods. The demons are about to win the war. Kach, son of the teacher of Gods, goes to the Ashrma of Shukracharya and starts serving him faithfully. He wins his confidence. The daughter of Shukracharya, Devyani, falls in love with Kach. Kach also pretends to love her. Once Devyani compels Shukracharya to use Sanjivani to save the life of Kach and thus Kach also gets the knowledge of Sanjivani Vidya. He then leaves Shukracharya and Devyani. This shocks Devyani and she curses Kach.

Sharmishtha is the princess of the king of demons. In the dramatic sequences, Sharmishtha and Devyani become hostile to each other and Devyani forces Sharmishtha to become her dasi after getting married to Yayati and takes Sharmishtha with her to Hastinapur where she insults her many times. Because of Devyani’s behavior, Yayati becomes upset with her and falls in love with good-natured Sharmishtha. Sharmishtha gets a son from him but Devyani is unaware of all these happenings. Meanwhile, Devyani also becomes mother of a son. Once she comes to know about Sharmishtha and Yayati, she decides to kill Sharmishtha and his son. Yayati interferes and saves them but has to send her far away to an unknown place. Yayati starts drinking heavily after this. After that on one night, Devyani asks Yayati not to touch her for the whole life. Yayati becomes imbalanced and leaves her. He goes to other place and starts to drink heavily as well as starts to have relationships with other women. Everyday, he wants a new woman. He is always so heavily drunk that he does not know which woman comes to him. In that flow, he has sex with his dead friend’s sister and fiancée also. His friend’s fiancée commits suicide after this and sister becomes insane and dies afterwards. Yayati still continues to engage with more women.

Eighteen years pass in this way. Meanwhile, both of his sons grow up. Son of Devyani goes to suppress the mutiny by Dasyu but gets caught. Sharmishtha’s son interferes and saves his life.

After this Devyani’s father curses Yayati and he becomes an old man but he says that if any of his sons accept his old age, he would become young again. Devyani’s son refuses to do so but Sharmishtha’s son accepts his old age. Thus, Yayati becomes young again. Kach interferes and wipes out the curse of Shukracharya. Now, Yayati understands the true meaning of life and decides to enter Vanprasthashram and leave for jungle. Devyani’s nature also changes after this and she and Sharmishtha leave for the jungle with Yayati. Sharmishtha’s son succeeds Yayati as king of Hastinapur.

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One thought on “Yayati

  1. This post seems to be inspired from the award winning novel – Yayati by V.S. Khandekar.
    More than the story of the novel, I liked it for the great language and for the philosophy it discusses.
    I’d suggest it to all.

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