Sukanya. Sukanya was King Saryati’s daughter. She was not only beautiful, but also clever and happy-go-lucky.
Sukanya was King Saryati’s daughter. She was not only beautiful, but also clever and happy-go-lucky. She was the King’s favourite child.
Not far from the capital city was a grove. There Rishi Chyavana lived. Chyavana was the son of Rishi Bhrugu.
He was ugly even as a child. He, however, learnt the Vedas. So well that everyone respected him.
Chyavana did tapas in that grove. He lived in it for a number of years. A big anthill grew around his body. Only his eyes could be seen through two holes.
One day King Saryati and his ministers went to this grove. Sukanya too went with them.
Leaving others, young Sukanya played about in the grove. Deep in the grove, she saw the anthill. She went near it. She saw the two holes. Out of curiosity she peeped into them. She saw something like glow-worms inside. She picked a long thorn and thrust it into those holes. At once she heard a cry of pain. Shocked as she was, she ran to her father’s side.
Very soon, however, the King and all his party got a severe pain in the stomach. They could not bear it. They could not walk or sit or even stand. The King at once knew what might have happened.
He asked his followers: "Did any one of you go near the anthill? A great Rishi is doing tapas there!” While others said ‘No’, Sukanya, with worry on her face, said, “Dear Father, I saw two glow-worms in the holes of the anthill. I tried to get them out with a thorn. They did not come out, but I heard something like a shriek inside. So I ran away.”
“You naughty girl! Why did you do that? The Rishi’s curse is now upon us all. Come, let us fall at his feet." All of them went, and fell at the feet of the rishi. The rishi said, "I am already old. I have now lost my eyes. Your child pricked them with a thorn. Who will help me now in my old age?"
The king replied, “O rishi! Forgive us. Come to my palace. I shall put all my servants at your service!”
The rishi said, "No! Give your daughter in marriage to me!
Did she not prick my eyes'? I shall live with her here. Only then can I forgive her."
The king felt very sad. Sukanya came forward and declared, “Dear Father, I shall marry the rishi and live here serving him. I shall bear the punishment cheerfully."
The king was thus forced to give away his young and beautiful daughter to the old ugly rishi. Sukanya served her husband with devotion and without any complaint. The rishi was very happy. One day the twin gods Asvins came to the rishi’s ashrama.
They are the heavenly doctors. They were the rishis friends too. When they saw young Sukanya serving her old husband so devotedly, they were filled with pity for her. The Asvins made Chyavana young and handsome by their divine power. Chyavana and Sukanya lived very happily ever after.