Episode # 99 – An important life lesson from King Yayaati’s accord!!!


In the previous episode, we had witnessed how King Yayaati married Sage Shukraachaarya’s daughter, Devayani and how he later got interested in Sharmishta, who had come along with Devayani to be of service to her. We’ve seen that King Yayaati had two children with Devayani, namely, Yadhu and Durvasu. Eventually as time passed by, inspite of Sage Shukraachaarya’s advice of not getting together with Sharmishta, King Yayaati was driven towards her by fate, and had three children with her, namely “Drudhyu”, “Anu” and “Puru”. This entire episode was kept secret from Devayani and she did not even know that her husband had an affair with Sharmishta, who was all along with her at all times. However, when the children grew up and when people around them started commenting that the kids of Sharmishta looked exactly like King Yayaati, Devayani had her own doubts. When she confronted King Yayaati on this, she came to know that he has had an illicit relationship with none other than Sharmishta and these three children were a resultant of that relationship. Angered extremely by this, Devayani ran to her father, Sage Shukraachaarya and with this, Sage Shukraachaarya cursed King Yayaati that he would immediately lose all his youthfulness for cheating his daughter! 

As per the curse, King Yayaati became old overnight! His physical body became very retarded and worn out and with this, he lost all his youthfulness and handsome looks. Now what does poor King Yayaati do? He still had the desire to somehow get back his youthful nature through some way and to experience the pleasures of youthfulness. With this, he goes to all his sons one after the other. He first goes to Drudhyu and asks him thus, “Oh Drudhyu! As you know, my youthfulness has been eradicated overnight because of a curse. However, I have so many things to accomplish in my youthfulness, and I feel that I’ve to finish all of them. Hence, I require my youthfulness back. Can you transfer your youthfulness to me and take my elderliness in return for some time?” Surprised by his father’s request thus, Drudhyu asks back thus, “Oh father! Your request seems to be fine – But for how long should I be old like this?” For this, King Yayaati replies, “You should give me your youthfulness for around a thousand years!” Shocked by this, Drudhyu refused straightaway! He replied to his father thus, “Oh father! I never knew that you are a man of enormous desires. Just like how you would like to enjoy your youth, I would also like to enjoy my youthfulness, isn’t it? So why should I give my youthfulness to you and sacrifice my legitimate desires, and that too for a thousand years? This is not going to happen! I’m sorry! You may approach the other brothers of mine and check if any of them are ready to cooperate with you on this!” 

Refusing thus, Drudhyu walks away and this leaves King Yayaati in a lot of despair. However, he emboldens himself and now goes and asks each of the other sons. He now approached Anu, and the result was the same! Anu wasn’t ready as well. Finally he approached Puru, and surprisingly Puru was ready for the deal! Puru replies to his father thus, “Oh father! It is you who gave me this physical body of mine. If you weren’t there, I wouldn’t even have taken birth isn’t it? If I’m not going to give you whatever you’re asking for, to whom am I going to give in this world? Hence, I’m ready to transfer my youthfulness to you, as per your request!” With this, Puru transfers his youthfulness to King Yayaati and with this, King Yayaati becomes young once again for the next thousand years! During this time period, King Yayaati tried to satisfy all his desires of being a young man, but even at the end of the thousand years, he wasn’t satisfied fully! His desires were only growing more and more and he did not have the heart to give up his youthfulness even after a thousand years! 

It is only then he understood that these desires cannot be satisfied by repeated experiences! The only way to take control over the desires is to drastically keep ourselves away from them! This is exactly what Bhagawan Krishna is going to explain later as part of the Bhagawad Gita that “Kaama” (Desire) is one of man’s biggest enemies and thus act as a stumbling block from attaining “Moksha”. Of course, Arjuna was fortunate enough to listen directly from Bhagawan and understand this fact at an early age, but King Yayaati was perhaps not that fortunate, and he had to wait for a thousand years to experience it and then realize! 

This is an important lesson for all of us as well – If we’ve to exert control over our desires, we should try to avoid those actions that lead us to the satisfaction of the desirees, isn’t it? For instance, if I have a desire to smoke and drink alcohol  – How will I be able to come out of it? Will I be able to come out of that desire by drinking more and more? It would only aggravate the issue more isn’t it? If I’ve to put an end to this desire of drinking, I should immediately stop drinking alcohol! Only then it would work. Similarly, if I have a craze for a particular food dish, and I realize that I’m gaining unwanted body weight because of consuming that – What should I do? Should I eat that more, or should I stop eating that dish? I’ve to stop it completely, isn’t it? This is where all of us are getting misled very badly! In today’s media, we’re only encouraged to do many wrong things via movies, advertisements, etc., rather than creating awareness that we shouldn’t do certain things. Hence, it is we who should understand the reality and act accordingly. 

Hence for today, let us learn this important lesson from King Yayaati’s life, and let us realize that desires can never be eradicated by experiencing more of it. Desires can only be eradicated by completely avoiding the activities that lead to their satisfaction. We shall wait till the next episode to continue with what happened to King Yayaati after this! Stay tuned! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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