Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 2 Chapter 2
THE SECOND BOOK
On the birth of Vyāsa Deva
1-10. Once on an occasion, the highly energetic Muni Parāsara went out on pilgrimage and arrived on the banks of the Yamuna, and spoke to the religious fisherman who was taking his food then thus:
“O fisherman! Take me on your boat and carry me to the other side of the river.”
Hearing this, the fisherman spoke to the beautiful girl Matsyagandhā:
“O beautiful smiling one! This religious ascetic intends to cross the river; so take the boat and carry him to the other bank.”
Thus ordered by her father, the exceedingly beautiful Vasu girl Matsyagandhā began to steer the boat whereon sat the Muni. Thus while the boat was sliding on the waters of the Yamuna; the Muni Parāsara saw the beautiful-eyed damsel Matsyagandhā and became as if under the command of the great destiny, greatly enamoured of her.
He desired to enjoy Matsyagandhā, full of youth and beauty and with his right hand caught hold of her left hand; the blue coloured Matsya looking askance spoke out smilingly in the following words:
O knower of Dharma! What are you going to do, pierced by the arrows of Cupid? What you desire now, is it worthy of your family or your study of the Śāstras or worthy of your Tapasyā; see, you are born in the line of Vaṣiṣṭha and you are well known as of good character.
O best of Brāhmiṇs! You are quite aware that the attaining of a man-birth in this world is very rare; and over and above this the attainment of Brāhminhood is, as far as my knowledge goes, particularly difficult.
11-14. O Prince of Brāhmiṇs! You are the foremost and best as far as your family, goodness, and learning in the Vedas and other Śāstras are concerned; you are well versed in Dharma; how is it, then, that you are going to do this act, not worthy of an Arya, though you see me possessed of this bad smell of fish throughout my body.
O one of unbaffled understanding! O best of twice-born! What auspicious sign do you see in my body that you are stricken with passion on my account that you have caught hold of my hand to enjoy me? Why have you gotten your own Dharma?
Thus saying, Matsyagandhā thought within herself: -
“Alas! This Brahmin has certainly lost his brains in order to enjoy me; certainly he will be drowned just now in his attempt to enjoy me in this boat; his mind is so much agitated with the arrows of Cupid that no body, it seems, can act against his will.”
Thus thinking Matsyagandhā spoke again to the Muni: -
“O highly fortunate one! Hold patience! Let me first take you to the other side of the river; then you may do as you please.”
15-19. Hearing these reasonable words, the Muni let loose of her hand and took his seat on the boat and gradually got down on the other bank of the river. But the Muni, becoming again extremely passionate caught hold of Matsyagandhā; when the young woman spoke to Parāsara, in front of her, shuddering:
“O best of Munis! My body is emitting very bad smell; do you not feel this? You know very well that the sexual intercourse between male and female of similar types brings no happiness and comfort.”
Thus spoken to, Parāsara made Matsyagandhā emit sweet scent like that of musk to a distance of one Yojana (8 miles) and her body exceedingly lovely and beautiful and, becoming extremely passionate, again caught hold of her right hand.
20-34. Then the auspicious Satyavatī addressed Parāsara Muni, resolved to enjoy her, thus:
“O Muni! Behold! all are looking at us; my father too, is there on the bank of the Yamuna; so, O Muni! Wait till night this beastly act before all is highly unsatisfactory to me. The wise persons declare it a great sin to commit sexual intercourse during day they have ordained night time as the best time of intercourse for men not the day time; the more so that many person's eyes are in this direction.
So, O intelligent one! Hold on your passion for a while; for the blame pronounced by the public is horrible.”
Hearing these reasonable words, the liberal minded Parāsara created, by his influence of Tapasyā, a dense fog so that both the banks of the Yamuna became covered with darkness.
Then Matsyagandhā gently spoke to the Muni: -
“O best of Dvijas! I am not as yet married; I am now a girl; you will go away after enjoying me; your semen virile is not fruitless; so Brāhman! What will be my fate? If I be pregnant today, what shall I say to my father? And what will be my future state? There is no doubt that, after enjoying me, you will go away; what will I do afterwards; kindly say.”
Hearing these words of Matsyagandhā, Parāsara said:
“O beloved! After you have done my pleasant duty, you will remain a girl as you are now; yet, O timid one! Ask from me any boon you like; I will grant it to you.”
Satyavatī then said:
“O best Brāhman, O giver of one's honour! Grant me these things That my father and mother do not know anything of this affair and that my virginity be again as ever the same. Also let an extraordinarily powerful energetic son be born to me like you; let this nice smell continue to remain always in my body and let my youth and beauty remain afresh and increase ever more.
Hearing this, Parāsara said:
“O beautiful one! A son, very pure and holy, will be born to you, from Nārāyaṇa's part! His name will be famous in the three worlds.
O beautiful one! never before my heart was agitated with such passion. I do not know why I have become so much passionate for you. I saw the unrivalled beauties of Apsarās but I never lost my patience; but seeing you, I have become attracted to you; it must be under the direction of Providence; know it certain that there must be some mysterious cause in this.
However Fate is unavoidable to all; otherwise you are full of so bad smell; why shall I be fascinated by your sight?
O beautiful one! Your son will be famed in the three worlds; will compose the Purāṇas and will sub-divide the Vedas.
Thus saying, the Muni Parāsara enjoyed Matsyagandhā, who became quite submissive; and after bathing in the Yamuna, quickly went away.
On the other hand, the chaste Satyavatī, too, became pregnant and immediately gave birth on the island of Yamuna to a son beautiful, as if the Second Kāmadeva, the god of Love, Kāmadeva.
No sooner that son, very fiery and highly potent, was born than he devoted his mind to tapasyā and spoke to his own mother Satyavatī thus: -
“O Mother! Now go wherever you like; I will also go to perform tapasyā. O highly fortunate one; No sooner you remember me, I will come to you.
O Mother! where you will have any onerous duty, remember me and I will instantly come to you. Let all good be unto you; now I go. Avoid all cares and live happily.
Thus saying, Vyāsadeva went away.
Matsyagandhā, too, went back to her father.
Vyāsa was named also Dvaipāyana (born in an island, a Dvīpa) in as much as Satyavatī gave birth to him in a Dvīpa island); and as he was born of Viṣṇu's parts, he grew up no sooner he was born.
The Muni Dvaipāyana bathed in every Tirtha and performed the highest asceticism. Thus Dvaipāyana Vyāsa was born of Parāsara in Satyavatī’s womb.
Seeing the advent of Kali Yuga, he adorned the tree of the Vedas with many Śākhās (branches). It is because he expanded the Vedas many Śākhās, that he is denominated also as Veda Vyāsa; he composed eighteen Purāṇas, Samhitās, the excellent Mahābhārata, subdivided the Vedas and made his disciples Sumantu, Jaimini, Paila, Vaisāmpāyan, Asita, Devala and his son Śūka to study them.
Sūta said: -
“O Munis! Thus I have described to you the birth of the holy Vyāsa, the son of Satyavatī and all the causes.
O Munis! Do not allow any doubt enter your mind as regards his birth; for it is always advisable to take up only the good things as far as the lives of great persons and Munis are concerned.
There must be some extraordinary mysterious cause owing to which Satyavatī was born of a fish, and she was first united to Parāsara and then to Sāntanu.
Otherwise how can one account for the fact of the Muni Parāsara being so much agitated by passion and why he would behave like a mean low person in the committal of a a grossly blameable act?
Now has been spoken the wonderful birth story of Vyāsa Deva together with all incidents, and enveloped under the great mystery. If any man hears this holy narrative, he will be freed from sins and will never fall into difficulties and will always be happy.
Thus ends the Second Chapter of the Second Skandha on the birth of Vyāsa Deva in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses.