Kacha and Devayani 

- December 5, 2020

By Srinidhi Murthy

In the days of yore, the war between the devas and asuras for control of the three worlds was an endless one. Whenever the devas managed to overpower the asuras in battles, they managed to revive themselves from the dead and attacked the abode of the gods again with new energy. This was thanks to the asura guru, Shukracharya, who possessed the knowledge of the Sanjivani Mantra. Unfortunately, despite being the guru of the devas and the wise Shukracharya himself, Brihaspati lacked this knowledge. The helpless devas turned to Brihaspati’s son, Kacha, and asked him to join the tutelage of Shukracharya to learn the Sanjivani Mantra from him without raising any suspicion.

Kacha was warmly welcomed by Shukracharya as he was the son of his guru after all. As learning was handed down by word of mouth, it was customary for the pupil to live with the family of his teacher till he completed his education. Thus, Kacha came to live with Shukracharya and his daughter Devayani. Over time, Kacha bonded with Devayani and soon, Devayani was determined to marry him as soon as his education was completed. This gave rise to a lot of jealousy and contempt on the part of the other asuras. It didn’t help matters that they were already suspicious of Kacha, fearing that he may learn the secrets of the Sanjivani Mantra by tricking Shukracharya.

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Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

One day, Kacha went to the forest for cattle-grazing. However, the cattle returned to Shukracharya’s abode in the evening without him. Devayani grew worried and terrible thoughts began to cross her mind. She went to her father Shukracharya and asked him to trace Kacha using his divine powers. Shukracharya soon realised that his asura students had killed Kacha in the forest. Using his gifts, he immediately brought him back to life to ease his distressed daughter. The asuras were terribly disappointed by this action of Shukracharya and killed Kacha again when they managed to catch him alone in the forest. Luckily for Kacha, Shukracharya revived him once again out of love for his daughter.

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

Realising that Shukracharya would always bring Kacha back from the dead, the asuras began to plot a way to kill Kacha that would make Shukracharya hesitate before bringing him back. This time around, the asuras killed Kacha and cremated his body. They then carefully collected his ashes, mixed it in the goblet of wine and presented the wine to Shukracharya who happily accepted it. With Kacha missing, a distraught Devayani went to her father in tears and begged him to revive Kacha once again. However, this time, when Shukracharya divined Kacha’s location, he realised he had been tricked and that Kacha was in his stomach. Shukracharya told Devayani that if he were to revive Kacha, only one of them would survive as Kacha would tear through his stomach when he came back to life. Devayani insisted that she wanted them both to be alive and could not live in a world without either of them. Shukracharya realized that it was time to fulfil Kacha’s objective. He passed on the secrets of the Sanjivani Mantra to the yet-to-be revived Kacha, and after Kacha emerged from his guru’s stomach, he used the secrets he had learnt to revive Shukracharya. Shukracharya was pleased with this noble act of Kacha and blessed him.

Illustration: Souren Roy | Script: Kamala Chandrakant

Having accomplished his mission, Kacha sought Shukracharya’s permission to leave. Devayani was dismayed to hear this and confessed her love for him, asking Kacha to marry her. Kacha pointed out that since he emerged from her father’s stomach, he was now the brother of Devayani and it would be incorrect for him to marry her.

Devayani’s disappointment on hearing these words from Kacha soon turned into rage. She cursed him,

“You used the one who was sinless in her devotion to you. You will never be able to use the Sanjivani Mantra.”

In return, an angry Kacha said that she had cursed him for no fault of his and hence, she would never marry a rishi’s son. Kacha also proclaimed that he would teach his fellow gods the mantra, even if he couldn’t use it himself. Thus, Kacha departed to Indra’s abode, his mission completed but his heartbroken, never to see Devayani again. 

Read the complete story of Kacha in our title ‘Kacha and Devayani’ on the ACK Comics app and Kindle. 

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