The political context of Satyavatīs character based on the Mahābhārata

                                                                                  Sikha Sarkar Sikdar
 Assistant Professor
Department of Sanskrit
 Galsi Mahavidyalaya
Galsi, Purba Burdwan
Pin- 713406
 Email ID-
 Mob No-8597299700

Abstract – The   Mahābhārata is one of the two epics that appeared in Indian Literature between the vedic literature and the secular literature. This Mahābhārata is also known as ‘Bhāratasaṃhitārūpa’ Pañcamaveda. There is talk about- “महत्त्वाद् भारवत्त्वाच्च महाभारतमुच्यते” (महाभारत, आदिपर्व, 1.274). Although the Mahābhārata is the great story of the Great War of the Indians, less than one-third of the Mahābhārata are war stories and moral stories, more than two-thirds are Brahmanical additions and at the end there are immortal stories of such as Draupadī, Satyavatī, Gangā, Sāvitrī etc. of all these characters, Satyavatī – this is the female character I am trying to explain in the political context.

Keywords– Mahābhārata, Satyavatī, Bhīṣma, Polititician.

We all know that Maharṣi Kriṣṇadvaipāyaṇa Byāsadeva composed the Mahābhārata. However, there is disagreement among scholars about the date of the Mahābhārata. According to the scriptures, the Mahābhārata was written sometime between the 4th century BC and the 4th century AD. The composition of the Mahābhārata was completed three times, as evidenced by the Mahābhārata- 

चतुर्विंशतिसाहस्रीं चक्रे भारतसंहिताम्।

उपाख्यानैर्विना तावद्भारतं प्रोच्यते वुधैः।।

There is also much disagreement about the naming of the Mahābhārata. According to some scholars, the Mahābhārata should have been named ‘Joy’, because the Mahābhārata is a poetic history of the battle of Kurukṣetra. “जयो नामेतिहासोऽयं श्रोतव्यो विजिगीषुणा”- the statement in question is the proof of that. Can be heard again later-

यथा समुद्रो भगवान् यथा हिमवान् गिरिः।

                              ख्यातावुभौ रत्ननिधी तथा भारतमुच्यते।।”   महाभारत,1/56/27

It seems to me that the form which the epic takes on in connection with the kṣatriya story and the moral story has been given the name ‘Bhārata’. That is to say, I said at the outset that the Mahābhārata was composed in three stages, and if we look at it together, it can be estimated that Kriṣṇadvaipāyaṇa Vyāsadeva composed a war story called ‘Joy’ in 24000 verse and recited it to his four disciples. At the request of sages and Brāhmins, Vaiśampāyaṇa then narrated the story in the serpent sacrifice of Janamejaya. The war was then a memory of the distant past. But by combining the stories of human values with that popular war story, the whole poem was made a vehicle of public education. This time his name was ‘Bhārata’. That is the history of India. This Bhāratakāvya is a well-rounded story and it has been spreading among the people for centuries. In the last two to one centuries of the beginning of the Gupta period, its last, the present form, was built by the fierce Brāhmins of the Bhrigu dynasty. That was to say, the rest of the great period from the beginning and the ascension of the second Brāhmaṇa or Bhrigu Brāhmins. Then its name is Mahābhārata. But the Mahābhārata says about himself-

अर्थशास्त्रमिदं पुण्यं धर्मशास्त्रमिदं परम्।

                                           मोक्षशास्त्रमिदं प्रोक्तं व्यासेनामितवुद्धिना।।”    महाभारत,1/56/21

That is, the Mahābhārata calls itself Arthaśāstra, Dharmaśāstra and Mokṣaśāstra. Besides, Mahābhārata has also called itself Purāṇa, Saṃhitā, Veda, Ākhyāna, Itihāsa etc. The origin of the Mahābhārata can be seen in only one place. That is-“महत्त्वाद्भारवत्त्वाच्च महाभारतमुच्यते”. That is to say, the Mahābhārata is so named because of its greatness and greatness. However, there is disagreement among scholars on this type of etymology.

Anyway, at least I didn’t go down without explaining myself first. Discussing the character of a person, it can be seen and understood that it is in fact the instinct of the mind of that person, the sum of the tendencies of the mind. It can be seen that happiness and sorrow are both equal, elements in the formation of a person’s character. Both good and evil have an equal share in casting the character in a particular mold. As a result, it is seen that sadness has taught more than happiness. Discussing the famous characters of the world, it is seen that in most cases misery has taught them more than happiness; poverty has taught more to be wealth; praise and condemnation have done much to stimulate their inner knowledge. If we study our hearts slowly, we will see that our laughter-cry, happiness-sorrow, condemnation-praise etc. All arise on our minds from many blows in the outer world, from within ourselves. As a result, our current character is formed.

Some features of the Mahābhārata come to light in this characterization. First of all it can be said realism; because in life, as in the Mahābhārata, there is no unmixed good or unmixed bad character. And secondly, every major character in the Mahābhārata is hesitant. In the female characters of the Mahābhārata, there are women with sages, philosophical women and prostitutes as well as prostitutes. The Mahābhārata sees women in a very realistic way and she knows the reality of society very well. The Mahābhārata knows that the reality of the world may be such, or the curiosity and attraction of the girl’s life may be such that she conceives before the lawful marriage at puberty. This also happened in the life of Satyavatī in the Mahābhārata. Satyavatī is one of the female characters in the Mahābhārata. According to the Mahābhārata anecdote, Satyavatī’s birth father was King Caidya Uparichar Basu of the Cedi country. However, he was raised in the house of the fisherman King Dāsa. This story is a little broad.

According to the Mahābhārata legend, King Uparicar Basu and his newly-wed wife Girikā were both waiting for reunion. Just then suddenly King Cedi had to go hunting for patriarchy on the orders of his father-men for the purpose of slaughtering deer. Since in the olden days, according to the mythological rules, it was customary for the patriarch to sacrifice the meat of wild animals and birds for the purpose of patriarchy, but the King’s mind did not go hunting. His long-awaited wife Girikā come to mind- “चकार मृगयां कामी गिरिकामेव संस्मरण्”. In this situation, the mind of the greedy king did not obey the restraint. When his semen erupted, the king held it in a letter, and in order to prevent the birth of a son from failing, he tied the semen in a letter to a hawk’s leg and sent it to his wife Girikā. But as a result of another hawk’s attack on the way, the eruption did not reach the Girikā and fell into the Yamunā. However, the funny thing was that the cursed Apsarā Madrikā was fishing in the river Yamunā at that time. And the fish got pregnant as a result of eating the energy of the Uparicar Basu. In the meantime, after a few days, the fishermen cast their nets in the river Yamunā and the pregnant fisherman was caught in their nets. And after the fish was bitten, a wife and a male child come out of its womb. However, when the fishermen informed the king of that country, Uparicar Basu, about the matter, he accepted the male child and said that it was his child. But he did not accept the girl child. In other words, the practice of neglecting the girl child has been going on since the mythological era and which is still in force today. Anyway the topic of my discussion though is not this, just came out of context. Then the fisher king Dāsa raised the girl child. In other words, Satyavatī was named Matsyagandhā because she grew up with fishermen.

One day evening Matsyagandhā waiting on the bank of the river Yamunā to cross the river. Since his father Dāsa was old and ill. At that time, Parāśara, the son of Śaktrimuni and Ādrisyānti and the grandson of Baśiṣtha, came up the other side by boat. Sage Parāśara lusted after this very beautiful and young woman, that is, the fragrance of fish-“दृष्ट्वैव तां धीमांश्चकमे चारुहासिनीम्।” It was as if he had found the light in the black form of the fish. Sage Parāśara prayed for reunion with Satyavatī in the hope of having a son without any vainness. Although Satyavatī was willing in her heart, she was ashamed to express her fear of getting pregnant. However, Parāśara allayed her fears and said that he himself would take his son with him and would not allow Satyavatī’s virginity to be ruined. Satyavatī also received an intended boon from sage Parāśara. As a result, the fishy smell of her body was removed and his body became beautifully fragrant. According to sage Parāśara, the two met and their son was named Kriṣṇadvaipāyaṇa Vedavyāsa.

Then one day an unimaginable event happened in the life of this beautiful and young Yojanāgandhā or Satyavatī. Suddenly one day the king of Hastināpur and a native of the Bhārata-Kurubaṃśa dynasty, Śāntanu, came to the banks of the Yamunā due to hunting and filled his nostrils with a fragrance. Finding the source of that fragrance, he was attracted to the woman he saw and proposed marriage to her. But Satyavatī did not agree directly to the proposal and decided to seek her father’s permission.

King Dāsa is a very intelligent man. But Satyavatī is more intelligent, prudent and a politician than him. Here I am talking about king Dāsa first and then Satyavatī. When king Śāntanu went to Dāsa to marry Satyavatī, he first told Śāntanu that even though he observed Matsyagandhā with food and clothes, he loved her like his own child and he was terribly aware of her future. He decided to marry Satyavatī or Matsyagandhā to king Śāntanu of Hastināpur in exchange for two conditions. The two conditions that Dāsa gave were extremely prudent and could not be stated by anyone other than a politician. The first of the two conditions is that the son who will be born in Satyavatī’s womb must inherit the throne. And the second is that the son should be anointed in the youthful kingdom during Śāntanu’s lifetime, so that no other peer can claim the inheritance of that throne-“नान्यः कश्चन पार्थिवः।” However, king Śāntanu did not agree to his proposal and returned. Because he has a son Debabrata or Bhīṣma whom he can never deprive of the throne.

Here, Satyavatī’s character as politician woman has become one of them. I mean, I’m going to talk about some of the fears here. They are- didn’t Satyavatī know anything about king Śāntanu’s conversation with her father. Satyavatī, on the other hand, met Parāśara, but not once did she feel the need to seek the advice of her foster father. However, she did not respond to Śāntanu’s offer and left all the responsibility to her father. And she knew that her birth father was a dynasty.  We know, princesses in those days had complete freedom to choose their own husbands. So why did she remain silent despite knowing everything? Or is that what she wanted in her mind or something else? In this regard, I think Satyavatī liked Bhīṣma, not Śāntanu. May be she could not say that out of shame and that is why she wanted to be obedient to her father’s words. Had it not been so, it would not have been possible for a small tenant Dāsa to place such a great condition on his lord king Śāntanu. On the contrary, he should rejoice at the thought that the king of the country has agreed to marry the daughter of a fisherman like him. On the other hand, Satyavatī also thought that even if Bhīṣma could not be found by the two conditions given by her father, she could at least keep him under her control for the rest of her life. She will also be able to manage all the states from behind. That is, Bhīṣma will have no right to the state or kingdom. Satyavatī’s marriage to Śāntanu was consummated on the condition of Dāsa-“योऽस्यां जनिष्यते पुत्रः नो राजा भविष्यन्ति।” Besides, Bhīṣma decided not to get married.

This unquenchable longing for Rājamātā became even brighter when she and Śāntanu’s eldest son Citrāngadā died shortly after the second son, Vicitravīrya, ascended the throne. In this situation, although Satyavatī once asked Bhīṣma to take over the throne, she knew that he would not agree to the offer. At this time Bhīṣma never acted like himself. Because Satyavatī controlled everything which she may have prayed for in her mind. In other words, we can say that the seeds of leadership of a skilled politician were sown from the mythical age and Satyavatī is such a witty female politician.

Once again we come to know the wisdom of Satyavatī when she thought of producing children in the wombs of Citrāngadā and Vicitravīrya’s wives with the help of her Kānīn son Vyāsadeva to re-establish the Kuru-Bhārata dynasty in Hastināpura. However, thinking of the society, thinking of the indomitable longing of his own heart, even though she once told Bhīṣma about her proposal. But she knew Bhīṣma would not agree to her proposal. If Bhīṣma was employed in child production, Satyavatī could not accept it. If she really wanted, Bhīṣma could not disobey her. Because she was the queen mother and the order of the queen mother is universal. Thus for the wisdom of Satyavatī, Pāṇdu ascended the throne among the unborn children of the wives of Vicitravīrya and Citrāngadā till the end. However, one year after the birth of the child, Satyavatī considered it a mistake. Otherwise, if anything happens, the kingdom will go to Bhīṣma. Then he will have no dominance. As a result, all his plans so for will fail.

The subject matter of this statement is entirely my personal opinion. Maybe I don’t agree with many. In conclusion, the semen of the epic these tiny heart-broken sorrows in the vast expanse of the body seemingly not caught, even read again. Satyavatī’s character is not the opposite in this regard. No matter how personable Satyavatī may be, no matter how strong she may be, after losing her husband in love, she lost her two sons in stages and her heart became overwhelmed. That’s when she wanted to hold on to Bhīṣma, whether it is from the mind or thinking about the society. The Mahābhārata says, “ मानुषाच्छ्रेष्ठतरं हि किञ्चित्।(महाभारत,12/288/20). That is, there is nothing better than man. Throughout so much of the Mahābhārata, the dry leaves of Māyāvāda and Vairāgya were blown away in a violent storm of realization. Only the eternal man remained-with his/her misery, ugliness, imperfection, conflict, ideas, the traumatic tension of his or her dreams and sorrows. In many characters, this Mahābhārata has proved this truth in the form of many events. 



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