Rig Veda Book 8 Hymn 1 is dedicated to Indra and sings his glories while calling him to partake of the soma juice being prepared for his sake. The ast verse of the hymn mentions something like this:

33 Playoga's son Āsaṅga, by ten thousand, O Agni, hath surpassed the rest in giving. For me ten bright-hued oxen have come forward like lotus-stalks from out a lake upstanding. 34 What time her husband's perfect restoration to his lost strength and manhood was apparent, His consort Śaśvatī with joy addressed him, Now art thou well, my lord, and shalt be happy.

I am assuming that the first two sentences are talking about the man who has organised the yagnya but I want to know what is the story of Shasvati's husband being restored to his health by Indra?


1 Answer 1


Asanga was Yadava He was son of Playoga hence he was also called as "Playyogi" .Asnaga was rich king and also a Rajarshi . Shashwati was his wife and daughter of Sage Angirasa.

H.H Wilson in his Rig-Veda Samhita is providing following explanation.

The Rishi of the thirtieth and three following stanzas is Asanga ,the son of Playoga ,who having been change to women by the imprecation of the gods ,recovered his manhood by repentance and the favour of MEDHATITHI to whom he gave on that account abundant wealth and whom he addresses in praise of his donation. In the thirty-fourth stanza SHASHWATI congratulates her husband and is therefore the Rishi.

And this is Acharya Shree Ram Sharma is saying (in hindi) in his translation , which is same as above.

Shaunaka in his work called Brihad-Devata translated by Arthur Anthony Macdonell give us a brief description based on bhashya of Sayana.

The story of Asanga is relate by Sayana on RV. Viii .1.1 and 34. Asanga the son of king Playoga ,was , he relates ,owing to a curse of the gods turned into a women , but afterwards was by the favouur of the Medhyatithi , restored o manhood by te power of penance. He consequently bestowed much wealth on the seer (30-33) and was praised by his wife Sasvati ,daughter of Angiras .

Rig-Veda just gives us some glimpse of the story , but as it is not described in detail by the commentators so for the first part , I am here taking help of one book named Samlee's Daughter: A Novel - By Vivek Iyer , where this story is explained bit further and why the Asanga was cursed by the gods.

The story is this. Asanga , son of Rishi Playogi engaged in Vedic sacrifice not out of ritualistic feavor but from dispassaionate and therefore unbounded liberality. In consequence , on one occasion , he made the mistake of using improperly cut or improperly prepared , wood for sacrifice .Fotr this act ,more becoming a sluttish maidservant than a knower of vedas , he was condemned to lose his Bahminhood and turn into women.Later Rishi Playogi Beseeched the Lord to end the prohibition on the use of windfall wood , or such or such as partially consumed by insects , so that , in future , no innocent should suffer Asanga's fate.

The Brief story- :

Once from the mistake occurred by King Asanga in performing yajna i.e. offering wrongly cutted wood or fallen by wind ,(eaten by insects) in sacrifice gods cursed him to loose his manhood and he turned into women or impotant. Shashwati became depressed by her husbands condition and practice penance. Sage Medhyatithi restored his manhood and ASANGA and SHASHWATI praised the sage . SHASHWATI also congratulates ASANGA in the last Mantra. Asanga gave ten thousand horses and cows to Rishi Medhatithi for this as described in Mantra 33 .

NOTE -As your question is enquiring about the story of Indra restoring the vitality of Asanga and the sukta is about Indra. But the story part is just of 4 Mantras (30-34) and in those its said that , Rishi Medhatithi restored the Vitality and the couple thanks him by gifting the horses and cows , So the mentioning of Indra restoring it i not present in sukta. But the sukta sounds like gods restored it , the credit goes to Rishi.

  • Quite interesting! Funny that the men of Chandravansh keep getting cursed to become women like Sudyumna/Ila! Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 15:13
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal - Yes , still we need to look in Brahmanas whether the story is mentioned somewhere. Will try .:-) Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 16:35
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal - BTW on the side note , although you asked about the story of Indra restoring the vitality of Asanga , and the couple also praised the god , but its because of the Rishi Medhatithi's power of Tapas he was restored. And i did not mentioned this in answer because the translators did not mentioned Indra's name but giving the credit to Sage only. So will look further and if found , will update the answer accordingly. For now i am just putting note . Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 17:09
  • @Dr.VineetAggarwal bdw Sudyumna/Ila was Suryavanshi right?
    – YDS
    Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 17:20
  • @YDS actually he/she can be counted in both! As Sudyumna he is a Suryavanshi but as Ila she becomes a part of the Chandravansh. Commented Jul 9, 2018 at 19:04

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