Story of King Saudasa who is cursed by the Sage Vasishtha

Lineage of King Bhagiratha

Bhagiratha had a son named Sruta (श्रुत), whose son was Nabha (नाभ). Nabha had a son named Sindhudvipa (सिन्धुद्वीप), from Sindhudvipa came Ayutayu (अयुतायु), and from Ayutayu came Rituparna (ऋतूपर्ण), son of Rituparna was Sarvakama (सर्वकाम)

Sarvakama had a son named Sudasa (सुदास), whose son, known as Saudasa (सौदास). Saudasa is sometimes known as Mitrasaha (मित्रसह) or Kalmasapada (कल्माषपाद). Saudasa was cursed by Brahmin Lady that he will die sonless and Rishi Vasiṣṭha cursed Saudasa to become a Rakṣasa

King Saudasa and the curse of Sage Vasishtha

Once Saudasa (सौदास) went to live in the forest, where he killed a Rakshasa but released his brother. Rakshasa’s brother, however decided to take revenge. They entered the kingdom and became the cook at the King’s house. One day when King Saudasa invited Rishi Vasishtha for dinner, the Rakshasa cook served him human flesh.

While examining the food given to him, Rishi Vasishtha understood that it is unfit to eat. He got angry at this and immediately cursed Saudasa to become a Rakshasa. When Vasishtha understood that the human flesh had been served by the Rakshasa, not by the King, he changed his cursed to twelve years and after that King will get his original form.

Meanwhile, King Saudasa took water and was preparing to curse Vasishtha, but his wife, Madayanti stopped him from doing so. King Saudasa drop the water at his own feet and soon his feet turn into black, because of which he was known as Kalmasapada (कल्माषपाद).

King Saudasa and the curse of Brahmani

When King Saudasa was turned into a Rakshasa, he saw a brahmana couple engaged in sexual intercourse in the forest. He killed the brahman-man, seeing brahmani cursed the King Saudasa “You will also die the moment, you will do sexual intercourse” ( तवापि मृत्युराधानादकृतप्रज्ञ दर्शित: – SB 9.9.35 )

Birth of Asmaka (अश्मक)

After twelve years, when King Saudasa was released from the curse by Vasishtha, he wanted to have sexual intercourse with his wife. But the Queen reminded him about the curse by the Brahmani. Later with the King’s permission, the rishi Vasishtha begot a child in the womb of Madayanti.

Madayanti bore the child within the womb for seven years and but the child was not born. Finally Vasishtha struck her abdomen with a stone and then the child was born. therefore the child was known as Asmaka [“the child born of a stone”]

जघ्नेऽश्मनोदरं तस्या: सोऽश्मकस्तेन कथ्यते – SB 9.9.39

the child born of a stone (अश्मन), is called as Asmaka (अश्मक)


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