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Story of King Yayati - Enjoyment Cannot Quench Desires

King Yayati’s life from the Bhagavata illustrates the point that enjoyment cannot quench desires. King Yayati received his son Puru's youth to enjoy life but still he remained dissatisfied.

Story of King Yayati 

In his brim of youth Yayati was cursed to premature old age by his father-in-law Shukracharya. King Yayati was the son of Nahusha. Yayati married Devayani, the daughter of Shukra, but when he dishonestly married a second wife, Shukra cursed Yayati with old age.


The king asked the sage’s pardon and prayed for a remedy. The sage told him that he could have his youth back if someone else exchanged his youth for the king’s old age.

In order to continue to enjoy with Devayani, Yayati persuaded his fourth and youngest son, Puru, to exchange his own youth for Yayati’s old age.

The king exchanged his son’s youth for his old age and enjoyed sense pleasures for thousands of years.

If desires could be quenched by satisfying them, Yayati would have been a sated man by now.

Instead, he discovered a profound truth: Desire can never be quenched by enjoying sense objects. Like fire fed with ghee, it only flames up all the more.

But finally Yayati gave Puru back his youth and made him king.

Enjoyment Cannot Quench Desires

Most people think that they will see through worldly enjoyments, and that Vedanta could wait for their retired life, if at all. Unfortunately, things do not work out that way.

A mind given to sense enjoyment and brooding over worldly concerns cannot just turn to higher things concomitant with retirement. Nor does fulfillment of our desires help us get rid of them; they only increase all the more.

source - notes taken Prabuddha Bharata magazine may 2014 issue