Satyavati: Origin; Boon of sweet fragrance; Mother of Veda Vyasa (Mahabharata)
Satyavati was born to a woman named named Adrika, who was from the fishermen community, and King Uparichara, the ruler of the kingdom of Chedi. Uparichara was already married and so when Satyavati was born, he gave her away to the chief of the local fishermen community to be raised.
When Satyavati was older, she met a Rishi named Parashara. Parashara aggressively pursued Satyavati and as a result of their short-lived affair, Krishna Dwaipayana was born. (Dwaipayana would grow up to be Veda Vyasa)
From Parashara, Satyavati also received a boon which made her smell sweet all the time, washing off the scent of fish, which otherwise clung to her body.
A few years later, Satyavati met King Shantanu and they fell in love. Unfortunately for the young lovers, when Shantanu asked her adoptive father for her hand in marriage, he refused. The chief of fishermen demanded that Shantanu had to promise to make Satyavati’s son heir. However, Shantanu already had a son and heir–his first born, Bhishma, his son with his first wife Ganga. Shantanu told the chief that he could not make that promise since he already had an heir. Satyavati’s father refused to make any concessions regarding his demands.
A dejected Shantanu returned to his palace and continued to pine for Satyavati. When Bhishma learnt the reasons for his father’s sadness, he immediately went to Satyavati’s father.
Bhishma convinced Satyavati’s father that he would make sure that Satyavati’s son would be made king. When the chief was still not convinced, Bhishma took a vow of Brahmacharya and promised to never marry or have kids.
Because of Bhishma’s selfless act, his father was able to marry the woman he loved. Shantanu and Satyavati lived happily together for many years and they had two sons–Chitrangada and Vichitravirya.
Satyavati was an intelligent woman. The Kuru lineage faced many challenges over the years and Satyavati was instrumental in finding solutions and making sure the dynasty prospered.
For a more detailed story, listen to the story on the Stories Of India Retold Podcast–Available on all major podcast apps. (Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible, iHeartRadio, PlayerFM, and others!)
-the origin and stories of her ancestors
-the circumstances of her birth
-her affair and the time she fell in love
-how she received the boon
-her son–Veda Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana
-what she did to save the Puru lineage from extinction.
The Mahabharata 1: Complete and Unabridged; translated by Bibek Debroy. (2015). Penguin Random House India. (Original work published 2010)
Raja Ravi Varna, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Ramnadayandatta Shastri Pandey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons