Devayani and Kacha : Story of Mritsanjeevni
Devayani was the daughter of Daitya Guru Shukracharya and his wife Jayanti(daughter of Indra), whereas Kacha was the son of Brihaspati(Devguru). Both Brihaspati and Shukracharya studied under the same guru Angirasa. Shukracharya was more knowledgeable and fast learner than Brihaspati. But it so happened Brihaspati was chosen to be Guru of Deva’s and hence called Devguru, This was disappointing and hence infuriated Shukracharya so out of resentment he went to learn from rishi Gautham. He also performed penance to Lord Shiva and obtained the Mritsanjeevani mantra and later went on to become Guru of Asuras. He is also well known as Daityaguru Shukracharya.
Whenever Devas and Asuras battled each other in a war, Shukracharya would resuscitate Asuras with the help of Mritsanjeevani mantra. This was a huge hurdle for the Devas as they fought with no end in sight, so they went to Brihaspati for a solution. Brihaspati came up with a brilliant plan according to which he sent his son Kacha to Shukracharya to learn Mritsanjeevani mantra. Brihaspati also advises Kacha to first impress Devayani(Shukracharya’s daughter). Shukrachraya was very fond of his daughter Devayani. As the time progressed Devayani fell in love with Kacha.
Even though Shukrachraya was very well aware that Kacha was a son of Brihaspati, Shukracharya admitted him as his student. Asuras did not like Brihaspati’s son(Kacha) learning under Shukracharya. [In those days students had to serve Guru. They had to do all sort of daily work, only then if the teacher is pleased then he would teach him]. Kacha was a very hardworking and a bright student. It had been nearly one thousand years since Kacha had arrived in Shukracharya’s ashram. In meantime, Shukracharya grew fond of Kacha. Asuras learnt of the real purpose of Kacha’s visit. So they planned to kill him.
Asuras couldn’t carry out their plan with Shukracharya and Devayani around. So one day when Kacha went to the forest to herd cattle, Asuras followed him and they killed Kacha and cut the body into pieces and feed to wild animals. When it was dusk animals returned home but Kacha was nowhere to be found. Devayani grew anxious and sent someone to look for Kacha. Long hours of search were fruitless and they came back without any news on Kacha. Devayani went to her father crying for help. Using his spiritual powers it was not difficult for Shukracharya to find out what happened and how he was killed. Shukracharya used Mritsanjeevani mantra to revive Kacha.
Some more years passed but the hatred amongst Asuras for Kacha had not subsided and once again they were waiting for an opportunity to kill Kacha. Once Kacha went to a nearby river where Asuras were waiting to the right opportunity and pounded his body into a paste and mixed it in seawater. Again the same thing happened and to please his loving daughter Shukracharya brought Kacha back to life.
Knowing well that this was not the last time he will have to face this brutal behavior of Asuras, after few days Kacha intentionally went to the forest to be slaughtered by Asuras (Kacha was a man of great wisdom ). This time Asuras had come up with a full proof plan to again kill Kacha by burning his body and mixing his ashes in wine and serving it to Shukracharya. Again when Kacha was not found Devayani went to her father pleading him to search for Kacha. It didn’t take long for Shukracharya to realize that Kacha was in his stomach. Shukracharya ignored her plea for few days but since Devayani was adamant she went on hunger strike, which made Shukrachraya tell her how Kacha was in his stomach and if Shukracharya revives Kacha, he has to cut open Shukracharya ‘s body which would result in the death of Shukracharya. Now Devayani was in dilemma she said she wanted both Kacha and her father alive. Shukracharya taught Mritsanjeevani mantra to Kacha. Then Shukracharya chanted the mantra and Kacha came out tearing stomach of Shukracharya. Shukracharya died. However, Kacha chanted the mantra and revived Shukracharya back to life.
As it had been 1000 years Kacha asked permission from Shukracharya that he wish to return to heaven. For which Shukracharya agreed. At this time Devayani requested Kacha to marry her since she loved him. Kacha rejected the proposal saying that since he came out of Shukracharya’s body, Shukracharya was his father and Devayani became his sister. Hearing this, Devayani went into a rage and cursed Kacha that the mantra he had learnt from her father would not be effective if he chanted it. In turn, Kacha also cursed Devayani that no Brahmin will marry her.
Due to the curse, Kacha could not use mantra which he had learnt from Shukracharya hence Devas were still in the same plight. So Devas then went to Vishnu for help and to remediate there situation Vishnu gave all Devas immortality through Amrit derived from sagar manthan.