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DĪPAKARṆI(दीपकर्णि)

  • A character in Guṇāḍhya's Bṛhatkathā. Dīpakarṇi was a King. He had a wife named Śaktimatī. One day while she was sleeping in the garden she was bitten by a snake and she died. Distressed by her departure, Dīpakarṇi accepted Brahmacarya. He was deeply grieved because he had no son to succeed to his throne. One day Śiva appeared to him in a dream and told him thus:--“When you pass through the forest, you will come across a youth riding a lion. Take him to your palace; he will be your son.” Dīpakarṇi woke up happily. He had faith in his dream. One day he went to a distant forest for hunting. There he saw a very handsome boy riding on a lion. He was reminded of his dream when the boy dismounted and the lion walked away slowly to a nearby stream to drink water. At once Dīpakarṇi shot an arrow at the lion. Suddenly the lion gave up its animal shape and transformed itself into a man and spoke to the King as follows:-- I am a Yakṣa named Sāta and a friend of Vaiśravaṇa. Once when I went to bathe in the river Gaṅgā, I happened to see a Ṛṣi virgin and I fell in love with her. I married her according to the Gāndharva rules. The Ṛṣis who came to know of it turned us into a lion couple by their curse. When we fell at their feet and begged pardon, they gave her a blessing that a son would be born to her and that I would fall under your arrow. After that we were wandering about as a lion-couple and in due course she became pregnant. In the fullness of time she gave birth to this boy and then was liberated from the curse. I have been bringing him up by giving the milk of lionesses. Now, by being hit by your arrow, I am also released from the curse. From this time kindly receive this mighty youth as your own.” After saying this, the Yakṣa vanished. Dīpakarṇi returned to the palace, taking the boy with him. Since he was carried by Sāta, the boy was named “Sātavāhana”. When he grew up into a youth, Dīpakarṇi handed over the rule of the kingdom to him and entered into Vānaprastha. In course of time Sātavāhana became an emperor. [Kathāsaritsāgara, Kathāpīṭha lambaka, 6th Taraṅga.]. 
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