Why is King Yayati an Important Figure in Hinduism?
King Yayati is a Puranic King who is one of the ancestors of Pandavas and Yaduvanshis. All the Asians, in one or the other way, are descendants of King Yayati. He was the son of great Chandravanshi King Nahusha and his wife Ashokasundari, who is the daughter of Shiva and Parvati. Yayati is a very important figure in the history of India as ‘Krishna’, the most widely revered of all the Indian divinities- who is the 8th incarnation of the Hindu God Vishnu, took birth in his clan. Author Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar wrote a novel on King Yayati for which he was awarded Jnanpith Award, the country’s highest literary recognition. To understand it better, let’s explore from where King Yayati came: –
According to Puran, Swayambhu Manu was the first human created by Lord Brahma, who was given the responsibility of creation along with Shatroopa. Lord Brahma’s other son Marichi was the father of Kashyap and Kashyap’s son is Vivasvana (Sun God), then his son is Vivasvata Manu who was the father of Ikshvaku (and his clan was called Suryavansham or the Solar dynasty). Lord Rama was born in this dynasty. Lord Brahma’s one more son Atri was the father of Soma or Chandra (beginning of Chandravansham or the Lunar Dynasty). Soma’s son is Budha, then Budha’s son is Pururavas. Then came Ayus and his son is Nahusha, father of Yayati.
King Yayati’s lineage: –
- Lord Brahma
- Brahmarshi Atri
- Chandra Deva
Yayati had conquered the whole world hence was called Chakravarti Samrat or the Emperor of Emperors. Yayati’s five sons- Puru, Yadu, Turvasu, Anu, and Druhyu are the pioneers of all the different castes that exist in the Akhand Bharat. These five sons were called as Panchnand who established their dynasties after their names.
- Yadu – Yadav
- Turvasu – Yavan
- Druhyu – Bhoj
- Anu – Malechchh
- Puru – Paurav
Lord Krishna was born in the Yadav dynasty and Pandavas and Kauravas were born in the Paurav dynasty.
King Yayati Family Tree
Other Interesting Facts About King Yayati
What is the meaning of Yayati?
Yayati is a Sanskrit word that means wanderer or traveler, a person who doesn’t live or settle at one place but wanders from one place to another. There is a word in the Hindi language also, which has a similar meaning – Yayawar, which means nomadic people who travel from place to place rather than living in one place.
As per Hinduism, Yayati was a great Chandravanshi king whose life story conveys the age-old valuable message of self-control and the realization of the ultimate truth. He was one of the ancestors of the Pandavas and the Yaduvanshis.
What was Yayati famous for?
Yayati was an ancient Chandravanshi king who was one of the ancestors of the Pandavas. He had all the attributes of a good ruler and was famous for his devotion to the welfare of his subjects. He had never known defeat. According to Mahabharata’s Adi Parva, king Yayati performed 100 Rajsuyas, 100 Ashwamedhas, 100 Vajapeyas, 1000 Atiratras and 1000 Pundarikas. He donated mountains of gold and billions of cows to Brahmanas.
What is the story of Yayati?
Yayati was a great Chandravanshi king who was one of the ancestors of the Pandavas. He became prematurely old by the curse of sage Shukracharya, the Guru of Asuras and his father-in-law, for having wronged his wife Devayani (Shukracharya’s daughter). Then he was granted the concession of being able to transfer his old age to any of his willing sons. Yayati suddenly became an old man but was still haunted by his sensual desires. So, he called all his sons and expected to regain his youth by transferring his curse to any one of them. All of them except one, refused the offer. Only Puru, the last son from Sharmishtha, agrees to give his youth to his father. As a reward Yayati makes Puru his legitimate heir to the throne. Puru immediately turned old but he ruled the kingdom and Yayati enjoyed his youthful life for a long time. But after long years spent in futile efforts of quenching his thirst of desires, the truth dawned him and he returned his youth back to Puru. He then realized the futility of these materialistic pleasures and went to the forest to perform penance. In due course he attained heaven.
Who is the son of Yayati?
Yayati had five sons. Two from Devyani; Yadu and Turvasu and three from Sharmishtha; Druhyu, Anu and Puru.
Who is the father of Nahusha?
Ayus is the father of Nahusha and Ayus is the eldest son of Pururavas and Apsara Urvashi.
Who is son-in-law of Shukracharya?
King Yayati is the son-in-law of Shukracharya.
Who is the father of Yayati?
Nahusha is the father of Yayati.
Why did Yayati call his sons?
After becoming prematurely old because of the curse of Shukracharya, Yayati was still haunted by the desire for sensual enjoyment. He calls his sons to tell them that one of them must bear the burden of his curse of old age and give his youth in return as he had not had his feel of the joys of life. He said that he deserves this as he had lived a life of restraint denying himself even lawful pleasures.
What is Yayati complex?
Yayati complex is the behaviour wherein the sons sacrifice their pleasures for the fathers so as to gain father’s goodwill and appreciation. This could be termed as the Indian way of prioritising parents over the children when the interests of the two generations conflict with each other. In Indian culture obedience is considered a great virtue, especially in the children.
In king Yayati’s story, his son Puru sacrificed his youth and became old so that his father can quench his thirst for sensual desires for longer period of time. One more example of such sacrifice was the sacrifice made by Bhishma for his father.
Yayati mentioned in Ramayana
In the Ayodhya Kaand 21st Sarga, Rama is consoling his grieving and lamenting mother and seeking her permission and blessing for successful completion of the exile. He says, “As Yayati returned to heaven by the power of truth, give me your blessings so that I can return here after completion of exile.”
In 58th Sarga, also Yayati was mentioned when as per the orders of king Dasharatha, Sumantra delivers the parting messages from Rama and Lakshmana. Dasharatha and Kaushalya fainted after hearing about their son Rama’s departure from Chitrakuta. When Dasharatha regains his consciousness, he enquired about the whereabouts and every single detail about Rama, Lakshmana and Seeta and said that by hearing these things he shall also survive as king Yayati survived in the company of saints.