Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Shuka - Son of Vyasa


Shuka was the son of the sage Vyasa. According to tradition, Vyasa, who compiled all the Vedas and composed the Mahabharata, taught them along with the Puranas to Shuka and other disciples.

When Vyasa realized that he was issueless and knew that the issueless cannot aspire to heaven and higher regions, he was wondering which deity he should pray to. According to Narada's advice, he prayed to Devi (Shakti) and obtained a boon that an illustrious son would be born to him.

Shuka was the son born as the result of this boon. One day Vyasa beheld an Apsara named Ghritachi. Impelled by desire for her, his semen emerged from his body. He was kindling the sacrificial fire with the Arani (a type of wood, sanctified for kindling the sacrificial fire) sticks, and his semen fell on the sticks. Shuka was born of the Aranis and hence has no mother. (In this respect, he is similar to Drona, who was born off the vitality of sage Bharadwaja on beholding the same Apsara). The Apsara had transformed herself into a parrot when she saw the Rishi, and that is why the child was named Shuka. (Sanskrit: Shuka=parrot). In many illustrations Shuka is depicted as having the face of a parrot, but I don't think any ancient text actually mentions this fact. (Indeed, he was not born off a parrot, but of the Aranis, so there is no reason for him to look like a parrot!)

Some incidents connecting the birth and life of Shuka are narrated here.

Last Modified At: Sat Nov 6 11:56:15 2004