basta eko vane kascid
vicinvan priyam atmanah
dadarsa kupe patitam
bastah—goat; ekah—one; vane—in a forest; kascit—some; vicinvan—searching for food; priyam—very dear; atmanah—for himself; dadarsa—saw by chance; kupe—within a well; patitam—fallen; sva-karma-vasa-gam—under the influence of the results of fruitive activities; ajam—a she-goat.
While wandering in the forest, eating to satisfy his senses, a he-goat by chance approached a well, in which he saw a she-goat standing helplessly, having fallen into it by the influence of the results of fruitive activities.
Here Maharaja Yayati compares himself to a he-goat and Devayani to a she-goat and describes the nature of man and woman. Like a he-goat, a man searches for sense gratification, wandering here and there, and a woman without the shelter of a man or husband is like a she-goat that has fallen into a well. Without being cared for by a man, a woman cannot be happy. Indeed, she is just like a she-goat that has fallen into a well and is struggling for existence. Therefore a woman must take shelter of her father, as Devayani did when under the care of Sukracarya, and then the father must give the daughter in charity to a suitable man, or a suitable man should help the woman by placing her under the care of a husband. This is shown vividly by the life of Devayani. When King Yayati delivered Devayani from the well, she felt great relief and requested Yayati to accept her as his wife. But when Maharaja Yayati accepted Devayani, he became too attached and had sex life not only with her but with others, like Sarmistha. Yet still he was dissatisfied. Therefore one should retire by force from such family life as Yayati’s. When one is fully convinced of the degrading nature of worldly family life, one should completely renounce this way of life, take sannyasa, and engage himself fully in the service of the Lord. Then one’s life will be successful.
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