The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said. 'The son of Satyavati having obtained this high boon from the great God, was one day employed in rubbing his sticks for making a fire. While thus engaged, the illustrious Rishi, O king, beheld the Apsara Ghritachi, who, in consequence of her energy, was then possessed of great beauty. Beholding the Apsara in those woods, the illustrious Rishi Vyasa, O Yudhishthira, became suddenly smitten with desire. The Apsara (Ghritachi), seeing the Rishi's heart troubled by desire, transformed herself into a she-parrot and came to that spot. Although he beheld the Apsara disguised in another form, the desire that had arisen in the Rishi's heart (without disappearing) spread itself over every part of his body. Summoning all his patience, the ascetic endeavoured to suppress that desire; with all his effort, however, Vyasa did not succeed in controlling his agitated mind. In consequence of the inevitability of what was to happen, the Rishi's heart was attracted by Ghritachi's fair form. He set himself more earnestly to the task of making a fire for suppressing his emotion, but in spite of all his efforts his vital seed came out. That best of regenerate ones, however, O king, continued to rub his stick without feeling any scruples for what had
happened. From the seed that fell, was born a son unto him, called Suka. In consequence of his circumstance attending his birth, he came to be called by name of Suka. Indeed, it was thus that great ascetic that foremost of Rishis and highest of Yogins, took birth from the two sticks (his father had for making fire). As in a sacrifice a blazing fire shed its effulgence all around when libations of clarified butter are poured upon it, after the same manner did Suka take his birth, blazing with effulgence in consequence of his own energy. Assuming the excellent form and complexion that were his sire, Suka, O son of Kuru, of cleansed Soul, shone like a smokeless fire. The foremost of rivers, viz., Ganga. O king, coming to the breast of Meru, in her own embodied form, bathed Suka (after his birth) with her waters. There fell from the welkin, O son of Kuru, an ascetic's stick and a dark deer-skin for the use, O monarch, of the high-souled Suka. The Gandharvas sang repeatedly and the diverse tribes of Apsaras danced; and celestial kettledrums of loud sound began to beat. The Gandharva Viswavasu, and Tumvuru and Varada, and those other Gandharvas called by the names of Haha, and Huhu, eulogised the birth of Suka. There the regents of the world with Sakra at their head came, as also the deities and the celestial and the regenerate Rishis. The Wind-god poured showers of celestial flowers upon the spot. The entire universe, mobile, and immobile, became, filled with joy. The high-souled Mahadeva of great effulgence, accompanied by the Goddess, and moved by affection, came there and soon after the birth of the Muni's son invested him with the sacred-thread. Sakra, the chief of the gods, gave him, from affection, a celestial Kamandalu of excellent form, and some celestial robes. Swans and Satapatras and cranes by thousands, and many parrots and Chasas, O Bharata, wheeled over his head. Endued with great splendour and intelligence, Suka, having obtained his birth from the two sticks, continued to live there, engaged the while in the attentive observance of many vows and fasts. As soon as Suka was born, the Vedas with all their mysteries and all their abstracts, came for dwelling in him, O king, even as they dwell in his sire. For all that, Suka selected Vrihaspati, who was conversant with all the Vedas together with their branches and commentaries, for his preceptor, remembering the universal practice. 1 Having studied all the Vedas together with all their mysteries and abstracts, as also all the histories and the science of government, O puissant monarch, the great ascetic returned home, after giving his preceptor the tuition fee. Adopting the vow of a Brahmacharin, he then commenced to practise the austerest penances concentrating all his attention thereon. In even his childhood, he became an object of respect with the gods and Rishis for his knowledge and penances. The mind of the great ascetic, O king, took no pleasure in the three modes of life with the domestic among them, keeping in view, as he did, the religion of Emancipation.'"
84:1 Although the Vedas came to Suka of their own accord, yet he was in deference to the universal custom, obliged to formally acquire them from a preceptor.
Next: Section CCCXXVI