Once upon a time, in Kosala, there lived a brāhmaṇa by name Devadatta. Since he was not having santānam, he decided to perform the putrakāmeṣṭhi yāgam on the banks of Tamasā Nadi. Several great ṛṣhis were invited for the yāgam, such as Suhotra, Yājñavalkya, Bṛhaspati, Paila and Gobhila to preside over various aspects of the yāgam . Gobhila, whose expertise was in reciting the Sāmaveda, however, repeatedly committed errors in the mantrās, due to his failure to control his breathing. Angered by this, Devadatta accused Gobhila of spoiling the performance of the yāgam and called him a mūrkha.
Angered by Devadatta’s allegation, Gobhila retorted that he had been called a mūrkha without any justification and that the errors were caused only because he could not control his breaths. He further went on to curse Devadatta that he would beget a mūrkha as his son. Devadatta, realising his folly, apologised to the ṛṣhi for his haste and lamenting that it would be better to not have a son rather than have a mūrkha son! Gobhila ṛṣhi, moved by Devadatta’s pleas, said “Though the son would be a mūrkha, he will go on to become a māhakavi due to the grace of Mother Śakti.”
Following the completion of the yāgam, Devadatta’s wife Rohiṇī delivered a baby in due course of time. The boy, who was named Vuthadhya, was stupid, by virtue of the curse and could learn nothing; soon everyone began to humiliate him calling him a mūrkha. Unable to put up with this, Vuthadhya left his father’s āśrama and repaired to the banks of the Ganga, where he practised a life of brahmacharyam and satyavratam. The only good thing that Vuthadhya knew was the importance of speaking the truth on all occassions. Even though he did not know to perform Veda-adhyayanam, Gāyatrī, japa, tapa, dhyānam, prāṇāyāma etc. he never left the practice of speaking the truth, leading to people giving him the appellation Satyavrata. He never did any good or harm to anyone; he remained docile and innocent, though dejected about his stupidity. He consoled himself that this must be due to the sins committed by him in his previous janmās. He spent fourteen years thus.
One day, while a vyādha was chasing a kanṭakaśreṇī mṛgam, it ran from the vyādha’s arrow to save its life, shouting ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’ , coming towards a bush near Satyavrata’s kuṭīr. Satyavrata was overcome by sympathy. Also, Satyavrata, on hearing the mṛgam' s cries, had begun mentally repeating, ‘I… I… I…’ in his mind. This, being the bījākṣara, whose recital brings the grace of Mother Śakti, Satyavrata immediately became enlightened. With the blessings of Goddess Sarasvatī, he became a mahākavi. When the vyādha asked as to the whereabouts of the mṛgam he was hunting, knowing fully well that Satyavrata would only say the truth, the enlightened Satyavrata spontaneously uttered the following śloka:
यः पश्यति न स ब्रूते यः ब्रूते स न पश्यति।
अहो व्याध! स्वकार्यार्थिन्! किं पृच्छसि पुनः पुनः॥
yaḥ paśyati na sa brūte yaḥ brūte sa na paśyati| aho vyādha! svakāryārthin! kiṁ pṛcchasi punaḥ punaḥ||
“That which sees does not speak. That which speaks does not see! Oh vyādha! Why do you keep questioning me?” (In other words, he said "I did not see the mṛgam with my mouth, please do not ask me repeatedly." )
Thus Satyavrata neither told the whereabouts of the mṛgam — thereby he did not become the reason for the killing of the mṛgam, nor he stopped the vyādha from having his meal, nor he spoke false.
Morals in the story:
- One must never deviate from path of truth. By practising satya-vāk-paripālanam firmly and with the Jñānam gained by the blessing of Sarasvatī devi, one can avoid speaking false even in difficult situations, like Satyavrata.
- Krodham even for a short while must be avoided, this is shown through Devadatta and Gobhila ṛṣhi's conversation.
Search Terms: Saraswathi, Porcupine