Yayati: Soon after, Sarmista gave birth to

Yayati: A ClassicTale of Lust  by Vishnu Sankaram Khandekar, a Marathi author;is an episode from Mahabharata re-telling through the psychological mindset ofeach characters, in each chapters. Retrieving the memories, from his childhood and his vow to his mother, beginsthe epic. Being the prince of Hastinapur, after the death of Nakush, Yayatimarried a Brahmin girl Devyani. In the pride of being the daughter of Shukracharyarenowned sage and as revenge to the princess also her playmate Sarmista,Devyani demanded Sarmista as her slave. In order to save her kingdom from theanger of Shukracharya she accepted her slave hood.Later in Hastinapur, being a lady of pride Devyani could not go together withher mother-in-law. To make Sarmista kneel she asked her to stay in Ashokavana,a faraway residence in Hastinapur for the guest sages in order to make her feellonely.

Once for a devilish pleasure she made Yayati dressed as a sage andasked him to meet Sarmista in Ashokavana. There he realized through her drawing that Sarmista was deeply in lovewith him, Yayati .In the midst of an unsatisfied marriage life he made arelationship with Sarmista through Gandarva vivaha.Devyani gave birth to a son Yadhu. Soon after, Sarmista gave birth to Puru.

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Insake of life Sarmista and Puru was forced to exile from the country foreighteen years.When he returned, in his late teens, he agreed to trade his youth with hisfather’s old age and Kaja, the sage gave Puru his youth back seeing thisselfless sacrifice of a son for his father. Khandekar makes a contrast betweenausterity and luxury; lust and sacrifice; pride and falls through each character.When Yayati be the person of lust; his friend yogi Kaja lived in austerity.

Sarmista and Devyani showed two human faces. “My lust for pleasure is unsatisfied…”Yayati claimed!! Khandekar’s novelprovides an insight into Yayati’s choices, and how they affect his life and thelives of those he loved and those who loved him.English translation of ‘Yayati’ won the novelist a Jnanpeeth Award.


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