Genesis of ‘Matsyagandha’ alias Satyavati

There was a pious King Uparichara Vasu of Chedi Kingdom who had a beautiful wife Girika. Such was his devotion that Lord Indra was pleased and gifted him an air- borne flying chariot. On the day of the ‘Sraddha’ (annual ceremony) of his deceased father and ancestors, his wife had a desire to bear a child from him but in view of the Ceremony, he left for a forest to hunt a deer for the Sacrifice as also fetch other material for the Ceremony. But when he was reminded of his wife’s request, he was overcome with passion and spilt his virility which he did not wish to waste and thus retained it on a banana leaf and commanded a falcon to carry the packet to his queen with a message to her. Another falcon mistook the leafy packet as a piece of meat and snatched it. In the clash of the falcons, the packet fell in a river. Meanwhile an ‘Apsara’ (Celestial nymph), named ‘Adrika’ who was bathing in the river mistakenly dragged the feet of a Brahmana performing his prayers on the banks of the river. He cursed the Apsara to become a fish as his meditation was interrupted. That fish swallowed the floating leafy packet and thus got pregnant. The fish was caught by a fisherman after nine months and found from its stomach twin babies – a boy and a girl child. The fisherman presented the babies to the pious King, who by his mystic powers visualised the boy as his own child from the banana leaf and hence retained him to be the future King, and gave away the baby back to the fisherman and gifted him with riches enough to bring up the girl-child. This was the genesis of ‘Matsyodari’ who grew as an extraordinary beauty. Sage Parasara who wished to cross the river by boat was managed by ‘Matsyagandha’ and her voluptuous physical features raised instant infatuation for the fisher woman. Before yielding at a lonely island in the river, she demanded that she should spread heavenly fragrance from her body over an area of one yojana- or Yojanagandha- and that she should be blessed with an exraordinary son well versed with Scriptures and unparallelled devotion to Almighty. Parasara renamed the woman as Satyavati and also blessed her to become a Queen. The memorable son of Parasara and Satyavati was Krishna Dvipayana Veda Vyasa, as he had the purity of Lord Vishnu Himself and Dvipayana since he was born in a river island (Dvipa).

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at [email protected]