How Satyavrata an illiterate Brahmin became a Learned Sage?

The description about Maha Devi’s appearance to Trinity and the explanation provided to them by Her about Herself was given to Narada by Lord Brahma. This was handed over to Veda Vyasa by Narada and down the line to Suta Muni and in turn to the King Janmejaya as to how Devi Sarasvati interpreted the foolish Brahmana boy’s ignorant chatter noise as Her Bija (Seed) Mantra and blessed him.

In Kosala Desa of Lord Rama, there lived a Virtuous Brahmana named Deva Dutta desirous of begetting a Son performed ‘Puttreshti’ Yagna with great devotion. Suhotra acted as the Brahma of the Sacrifice, Sage Yagnavalkya as ‘Athurvu’, Brihaspati as ‘Hota’, Paila as ‘Prastotha’, Govila as ‘Udghata’ and many learned Brahmanas as the Key Assistants.There was a Superintendent Brahmana too for the Soma Sacrifice who was to measure the Principal Area for the Yagna, collect the Sacred Vessels, fetch the Sacrifice Animal and manage the Function all through. Rig Veda and Yajur Vedas were rendered and Govila as Udghata being an expert of Sama Veda initiated its recital. But, Deva Dutta became restless since Govila was taking deep breath in the Sama Veda rendering in accented voice,viz. ‘Uddhata’, ‘Anuddhata’ and ‘Svarita’ and finally ‘Ratantara Sama’ in seven tunes. Govila’s rendering was objected by Deva Dutta; he shouted on Govila and said: “you are rendering the Veda in bits and pieces as an ignorant and dumb person!” This insinuation in the open house angered Govila and he cursed as follows: “Your son will be ignorant and dumb too”! Deva Dutta regretted his remarks and begged of Govila’s pardon. Govila in turn excused Deva Dutta and lightened the curse to say: “Although your son will be initially stupid and dumb, later in life will be a Learned Sage by the grace of Maha Devi Sarasvati.

As Deva Dutta was blessed with a son in due course, he was named Utathya. But, he had indeed turned out to be a stupid and dumb boy attracting his parents’ frustration and disgust for him. One day, the boy disappeared as he was harassed too much and went into a dense forest without aim. He was surviving with fruits and sitting under a tree took a resolve that he would never tell a lie, come what might. In course of time, he built a hermitage with the help of villagers nearby and gradually came to be known as Muni Satyavrata as a person who always spoke truth.

One day, a hunter passed by and asked the so-called Muni whether a boar passed by; actually the boar which was wounded by the hunter’s arrows had indeed taken refuge in his own hermitage and while entering the abode it gave a very pitiable look as though it entreated him not to inform the hunter that the animal was hiding in his own hermitage. Satyavrata being a truth stating person was in a dilemma. Somehow, he did not tell the truth as he felt that the hunter had his selfish reason to catch and kill the boar whereas the boar deserved mercy since it was hurt and gave a frightened and mercy seeking look. So he replied the hunter saying ‘aim, aim and aim’, without meaning any thing.The hunter knew that the Muni had the name for telling the truth only and left away. Meanwhile, the boar left the place into the forest thus rescued. Ever since then he kept repeating the word ‘aim’, aim,’aim’ for everything.

Indeed the word was the first letter of the Seed Mantra of Devi Maha Sarasvathi viz. Om Aim Dheem Kleem! Maha Devi Sarasvathi was pleased with the continuous repetition of only one word of the ‘Moola Mantra’ untiringly and gradually he pronounced the word OM also by the grace of Maha Devi Herself! Eventually Satyavrata became a renowned Sage as per the blessing of the Sage Govila and a proud son of Deva Dutta and his virtuous wife. Apparently, there were many factors working in favour of Satyavrata to transform himself from an illiterate to a Sage: the immediate blessing was by Sarsawati Herself as he was persistent in his dedication to speak the truth always and reciting even one word of the Seed Mantra out of sheer ignorance though, the blessing of Sage Govil who diluted the curse into a favour, the forest life and sense of renunciation, the act of mercy shown to the hurt boar vis-à-vis the selfish hunter who might have hurt Satyavrata too but for his weighing the pros and cons in his cool judgment and finally, his own ‘Karma’ as ‘Prarabhda’ or ‘Sanchita’ actions of the past as carry forward were all the beneficient causes.


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