Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 1 Chapter 10
BOOK 1 | SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM
On Śiva’s granting boons
1-37. The Riṣis said:
“O Sūta! You told before, that Vyāsa Deva, unrivalled spirit, composed all the Purāṇas and taught them to his own Śūka Deva; but how did Vyāsadeva, who was incessantly engaged in tapasyā, procreate Śūka?
Describe to us in detail what you heard direct from Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa”.
“O Riṣis! Hear how Śūka Deva, the best of the Munis and the foremost of the Yogis, was born of Vyāsa Deva, the Satyavatī's son.
On the very beautiful summit of Mount Meru, Vyāsa, the son of Satyavatī, firmly determined, practised very severe austerities for the attainment of a son. Having heard from Nārada, he, the great ascetic, repeated the one syllabled mantra of Vāk and worshipped the Highest Mahāmāyā with the object of getting a son.
He asked: -
Let a son be born to me as pure and as spirited and powerful as fire, air, earth, and Ākāśa.
He thought over in his mind that the man possessed of Śaktī is worshipped in this world and the man devoid of Śaktī is censured here, and thus came to the conclusion that Śaktī is therefore worshipped everywhere;
and, therefore, worshipped Bhagavān Mahēśvara coupled with the auspicious Ādya Śaktī and spent away one hundred years without any food.
He began his tapasyā on that mountain summit which was ornamented with the garden of Karnikār, where all the Devas play, and where live the Munis highly ascetic, the Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, Marut, the two Aśvīns, and the other mindful Riṣis, the knowers of Brahmā and where the Kinnaras always resound the air with their songs of music, etc.; such a place Vyāsa Deva preferred for his tapasyā.”
The whole universe was pervaded with the spirit of asceticism of the intelligent Parāsara's son Vyāsa Deva; and the hairs of his head were clotted and looked tawny, of the colour of flames. Seeing the fire of his asceticism, Indra, the lord of Śachi became exceedingly terrified. Bhagavān Rudra, seeing Indra thus afraid, fatigued and morose, asked him:
“O Indra, why do you look so fear-stricken to-day? O Lord of the Devas! What is the cause of your grief? Never show your jealousy and anger to the ascetics; for the mindful ascetics always practise severe asceticism with a noble object and worship Me, knowing Me to be possessed of the all-powerful Śaktī; they never want ill of anybody”.
When Bhagavān Rudra said this, Indra asked him:
“What is his object?”
At this Śankara said:
For the attainment of a son, Parāsara’s son is practising so severe austerities; now one-hundred years is being completed; I will go to him, and give him today the auspicious boon of a son.
Thus speaking to Indra, Bhagavān Rudra, the Guru of the world, went to Vyāsa Deva and, with merciful eyes, said:
“O sinless Vāsava’s son! Get up; I grant to you the boon, that you will get a son very fiery, luminous and spirited like the five elements fire, air, earth, water and Ākāśa, the supreme Jñāni, the store of all auspicious qualities, of great renown, beloved to all, ornamented with all Sāttvic qualities, truthful and valorous.
Hearing these sweet words of Bhagavān Śūlapāṇi Mahāṛṣi Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana bowed down to Him and went back to his own hermitage. Tired with the labour of penance for many years, he wanted to kindle fire by rubbing two fuels (Araṇī) with each other. While doing this the high souled man suddenly began to think strongly in his mind about procreating a son. He thought:
“Will it be that my son will be born as this fire is produced by the friction of the two churning sticks? I have not got the wife, which the Pundits designate a “Putrārani”, the youthful wife endowed with beauty, born of a noble family, the chaste one I have not got with me.
But the wife, though chaste and fit to beget a son, is undoubtedly a chain to both the legs so how can I get such a one for my wife?
This is known to all that a chaste wife, though clever in doing all household duties, beautiful and giving happiness to one's desires, is yet always a sort of bondage. What more than this, that the ever Bhagavān Mahēśvara is always under the bondage of woman. How, then, knowing and hearing all these I can accept this difficult householder's life?
While he was thinking thus, the extraordinarily beautiful Apsarā Ghritāchi fell to his sight close to him in the celestial air.
Though Vyāsa Deva was a Brahmāchāri (holding in control the secret power of generation) of a very high order, yet seeing suddenly the agile Apsarā (a celestial nymph) coming close to him and looking askance at him, he became soon smitten with the arrows of cupid and feeling himself distressed, began to think what shall I do in this critical moment.
Unbearable amorous feelings now have come over me; now if I take this celestial nymph, knowing that Dharma is everywhere looking, and woman has come to take away my precious fire of spirit acquired by my tapasyā, then I will be laughed at by the high souled ascetic Munis who will think that I have lost my senses altogether.
Alas! Why I who have practised for one hundred years the most terrible asceticism, have become so powerless by the mere sight of this Apsarā! The Pundits declare the household life as the source of getting son, one's heart’s desire and the source of all happiness; so much so that it leads all the virtuous souls to the pleasures of Heaven, and ordains Mokṣa (liberation) to those who are Jñānins; and if I get such unrivalled happiness from this householder's life, I can have this Deva Kanyā (the celestial nymph) though blameable.
But again that happiness will not occur to me through her; there is no doubt in this. So how can I take her?
I heard from Nārada how, in ancient days, a king name Pururavā fell under the clutches of Urvaśī and ultimately felt great pain, being defeated by her.
Thus ends the tenth chapter on Śiva’s granting boon in the Mahāpurāṇa Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.