The stories of Chyavana Muni and Sukanya, King Nabhaga, Pradyumna and Ila Devi

Vaivaswata Manu’s another son Saryati gave birth to Sukanya. The latter when she came of age visited a forest once along with her companions and playfully prierced into a bush while amused about what she thought were glowing worms. But they were actually the eyes of a Muni named Chyavana performing Tapas with eyes wide open and in the process got blinded. The girl got confused when blood oozed out from the bush and ran away. The blinded Muni realised that a young princess did the indiscretion and gave a Shaap that the entire military force of the King should suffer with stoppage of their excretions. Meanwhile Sukanya conveyed to the King of her playful rashness and of the Muni’s shaap. King Saryati along with Sukanya approached the Muni and prostrated  to him seeking unreserved pardon; the King offered the young Sukanya to wed the old Muni so that she could serve the Muni in his blindness. In course of time, Sukanya got used to family life serving the blind Muni in his daily puja and other chores. She excelled herself in her ‘Pativratya’ or undisputed devotion to her husband.

One day, the two Ashvini Kumars who were the Physicians of Devas passed by the Ashram of Chyavana Muni and were highly impressed with the selfless and ideal service being performed by Sukanya as an example of Pativratya. They cured the Muni’s blindness and the grateful Chyavana offered a boon to the Ashvini Kumars. The latter desired that they would like to have access to ‘Amrit’which was provided to Devas but was denied to them.Chyavana Muni made a request to Indra but he refused. The Muni took up this as an insult to him and performed an elaborate Yagna an favour of Brahma Deva and the latter who was pleased by the Muni’s Yagna instructed Ashvini Kumars to accord the same status to Devas and thus have access to the drink of Amrita eversince.

King Nabhaga was refused of material wealth: Vaivaswata’s another son King Nabhaga advised his youngest  son Junior Nabhaga to perform a sincere yagna in favour of the Planetary Heads since the junior Nabhaga received a raw deal by his elder brothers in the apportionment of the King’s wealth when the senior Nabhaga proceeded to Vanaprastha. The Planetary Heads-the Ashta Dikpalakas- were very pleased with the Yagna and granted enormous wealth. But when the wealth in the form of Bhumi, Rajya, gold, Dhanya, Dhana, and Vahanas was about to be accepted by the junior Nabhaga , a dark and short Swarupa with a frightful face and offensive tone objected to receive the wealth  so granted to him. Indeed that dark and dreadful person was Lord Shiva himself chiding the junior Nabhaga who preferred material wealth to Spiritual Prosperity!

King Pradyumna / Ila Devi: Vaivaswata Manu’s son  Vishshta performed a Yagna to secure a son under the supervision of Sage Mitra Varuna but due to a mistake of the ‘Hota’of the Yagna, a daughter was conceived to the Queen instead of a son. But the Mantrik powers of the Sage, the daughter was converted as a boy named Pradyumna. As the latter became a King eventually, he went on a hunting spree to a forest and entered a prohibited area in the forest despite warnings; that was a very private area where Shiva-Parvati spent time together and the warning was that who ever entered there would become a woman. As per Shiva’s instruction, the King became a woman and had to enter the Royal Palace surrepticiously. Pradyumna callled Sage Vasishtha for help and the latter performed Tapas to please Lord Shiva. The Bhagavan bestowed a dispensation to the King that he would be a male for half year and a female for another half when she would be called Ila. During the woman-hood, Budha the son of Chandra Deva met Ila and their wedding resulted in the birth of King Pururava who was the foremost King in the Chandra Vamsha to be described later.

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]