Sermishtha was the daughter of Vrishaperva, king of the Daityas, and Devayani, the daughter of Sukra, regent of the planet Venus and the spiritual preceptor of the Daitya race. Devayani having incurred the displeasure of Sermishtha the latter threw the former into a well, where she was found by king Yayati, the son of Nahusha. Devayani, on returning to her father, excited his anger against Vrishaperva, who, to appease Sukra, consented to give his daughter to Devayani as her servant, with a thousand other female attendants. Devayani was married to Yayati. At the time of her marriage, Sukra obtained the king’s promise that he would never associate with Sermishtha; but after some interval, the king meeting her, fell in love with, and espoused, her privately. The intrigue continued secret, until Yayati had two sons by Devayani and three by Sermishtha, when it was discovered by the former, and excited her resentment as well as that of her father. The violation of the king’s promise was punished by premature decay, as denounced upon him by Sukra, with permission, however, to transfer his infirmities to anyone who would acccept them. Yayati appealed to his sons; of whom the youngest alone, Puru, consented to assume the burden. After a sufficient period, Yayati took his decrepitude back again, and left the sovereignty to Puru in reward of his filial piety.
All the sons of Yayati were the founders of distinguished families. The Pauravas were the descendants of Puru in whose line the Kaurava and the Pandava families were comprised.
Kalivatsala, or the darling of the age of iniquity, is the sovereign of Dhermanasa or the destruction of virtue, and he takes as his spiritual guide, Kukermapanchanana, the Siva of iniquity.
Satyacharya, a pious Brahman returned from Brindavan, who is treated by the king and his courtiers with great iniquity, holds the following conversation with his brethren in jail.
Satyacharya says: “How now, holy sirs, how fares it with you?”
The Brahmans in jail reply: “We once had lands in free gifts.”
Satyacharya asks, “What then?”
The Brahmans answer: “why, know you not the customs of the country? If the god of wealth owned lands here that yielded but a grain of corn, the king would send him in three days to beg alms, clad in tatters and with a platter in his hand. The characteristics of our sovereign are fondness for the intoxicating juice of bhang, esteem for the wicked, addiction to vice, and detestation of virtue.”
Satyacharya observes: “You are right, what chance is there for the good? The king is unwise, his associates are wicked, his chief councillor is a knave, and his minister, a scoundrel. Yet the people are many; why is not such misconduct resented?”
The Brahmans reply, “The manners of the people are equally depraved; they are valiant in oppression, skilful in falsehood, and persevering only in contempt for the pious.”