Yayati: A Classic
Tale of Lust by Vishnu Sankaram Khandekar, a Marathi author;
is an episode from Mahabharata re-telling through the psychological mindset of
each characters, in each chapters.
Retrieving the memories, from his childhood and his vow to his mother, begins
the epic. Being the prince of Hastinapur, after the death of Nakush, Yayati
married a Brahmin girl Devyani. In the pride of being the daughter of Shukracharya
renowned sage and as revenge to the princess also her playmate Sarmista,
Devyani demanded Sarmista as her slave. In order to save her kingdom from the
anger of Shukracharya she accepted her slave hood.
Later in Hastinapur, being a lady of pride Devyani could not go together with
her 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 feel
lonely. Once for a devilish pleasure she made Yayati dressed as a sage and
asked him to meet Sarmista in Ashokavana. There he realized through her drawing that Sarmista was deeply in love
with him, Yayati .In the midst of an unsatisfied marriage life he made a
relationship with Sarmista through Gandarva vivaha.
Devyani gave birth to a son Yadhu. Soon after, Sarmista gave birth to Puru. In
sake of life Sarmista and Puru was forced to exile from the country for
When he returned, in his late teens, he agreed to trade his youth with his
father’s old age and Kaja, the sage gave Puru his youth back seeing this
selfless sacrifice of a son for his father.
Khandekar makes a contrast between
austerity 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 novel
provides an insight into Yayati’s choices, and how they affect his life and the
lives of those he loved and those who loved him.
English translation of ‘Yayati’ won the novelist a Jnanpeeth Award.
Yayati: A Classic