Sharmishtha

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Devayani standing besides Yayati, questions Sharmishtha.

In Hindu mythology, Sharmistha, also known as Sharmista or Sharmishtha, was the daughter of the great Daitya King Vrishparva. She was also a friend of Devayani for whom she later becomes a servant.

The Legend[edit]

Sharmista was the daughter of Vrisaparva, the Daitya king, for whom Shukracharya was an adviser. Once Sharmista and Devayani go to take bath in a nearby forest along with Sharmista's retinue. After bathing, Devayani confuses Sharmista's saree with her own and wears it. Sharmista returns and angrily scolds her for this, belittling her with the taunt that she is the daughter of Vrishparva's employee. This infuriates Devayani who tries to attack Sharmista. Sharmista takes her saree and throws naked Devayani in a well and leaves the forest with her retinue. Later Yayati, son of Nahusha, comes there for water and helps her to come up. She tells him that as he held her hand, he should be her husband. Though Yayati gets attracted to Devayani's beauty, he fears Shukracharya and tells her that he couldn't marry her without the permission of her father.

She comes back and stays away from capital and tells her father that she wouldn't come back to the capital till Sharmista becomes her servant. Shukracharya also leaves the capital to stay with his dearest daughter. This makes kingdom unstable without the brains and powers of Shukracharya. At last Sharmista decides go as a servant to Devayani to protect the kingdom. Devayani comes back to capital along with her father and enjoys the servitude of Sharmista.

Relationship with Yayati[edit]

Some days later Devayani goes to a picnic in the forest along with her Sharmista and other servants. There Yayati comes for hunting and they meet again. This time she brings him to her father and tells him that they would like to marry. Shukracharya gives his consent and tells Yayati that he should take care of Sharmista too as she was a princess but shouldn't have nuptial relation with her. Yayati marries Devayani and looks after her well.

After some time Sharmista comes to him and asks him to give her a son. He refuses and says that he couldn't face the wrath of Shukracharya. But she convinces him saying that it would be against Dharma if he rejects her request as she was desperate to have a kid. He reluctantly agrees and they start to have conjugal relation. Devayani gives birth to two sons Yadu and Turvasu while Sharmista gives birth to three sons Druhyu, Anu and Puru.

Eventually Devayani comes to know about her husband's relation with Sharmista and complaints to her father. Shukracharya curses Yayati with old age for giving pain to her daughter. But later he tells him that if one of his sons could take his old age and give him his youth back, he could escape from the curse for some time. Yayati asks his sons for their youth but everyone rejects except Puru. Yayati makes him his descendant, who gives rise to Kuru vamsha later.

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