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Srimad Bhagavatam says,

Mahārāja Barhiṣat — henceforward known as Prācīnabarhi — was ordered by the supreme demigod Brahmā to marry the daughter of the ocean named Śatadruti. Her bodily features were completely beautiful, and she was very young. She was decorated with the proper garments, and when she came into the marriage arena and began circumambulating it, the fire-god Agni became so attracted to her that he desired her company, exactly as he had formerly desired to enjoy Śukī. [4.24.11]

In the commentary for this verse, Srila Prabhupada gives the gist of this story:

The words śukīm iva are also significant, for the fire-god Agni became attracted by the beauty of Śatadruti while she was circumambulating the bridegroom Prācīnabarhi, just as he had previously been attracted to the beauty of Śukī, the wife of Saptarṣi. When the fire-god had been present long ago at the assembly of Saptarṣi, he was attracted by the beauty of Śukī when she was circumambulating in the same way. Agni’s wife, named Svāhā, took the form of Śukī and enjoyed sex life with Agni.

Questions

  • It is mentioned herein that Śukī was the wife of Saptarṣi. Who is he?

  • What is the full narration of this story, and where is it mentioned?

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  • 3
    It seems the gods are very susceptible to lust like humans and animals. Aug 13 at 21:23
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    That's why there is equivalence between humans and gods. However where humans desire everyday for literally everything, gods lose their control once in a blue moon, say in a yug or mahayug or kalpa. Their indriya control is much stronger than us.
    – sbharti
    Aug 14 at 0:00
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    @learner Even Lord Brahma fell to lust once, being attracted by his own daughter—this is mentioned in both the upanishads and the puranas (check SB 3.12.28). However, this was the Brahma of a previous kalpa. We cannot equate all Brahmas as the same personality with the same desires (according to verse 30). Aug 14 at 19:16
  • @learner It may well be the case that some of these events are lilas. Brahma's incident is more likely to be a lila than Agni's (judging by the answer below). Let's just leave it at that. Aug 15 at 22:11
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This alternate translation by Motilal Banarsidass Publishers has a note/commentary for this shloka:

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So as seen in this note, most of the commentators refer this to Swaha assuming form of wives of Saptrisis and after enjoying with Agni she takes form of a bird (Suki / parrot) to escape from there. Swaha did this for 6 wives of Saptarṣis, she couldn't assume form of 7th i.e. Arundhati (Vashistha's wife). Thus, six faced Lord Kartikeya (Guha / Skanda) was born. This story is mentioned in Mahabharata: Vana Parva: Markandeya-Samasya Parva:

Markandeya continued, 'Then Agni, filled with great joy and delight, married Swaha in the guise of Siva [wife of Angiras (one of the Saptarṣis)], and that lady joyfully cohabiting with him, held the semen virile in her hands. And then she thought within herself that those who would observe her in that disguise in the forest, would cast an unmerited slur upon the conduct of those Brahmana ladies in connection with Agni. Therefore, to prevent this, she should assume the disguise of a bird, and in that state she should more easily get out of the forest.

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  • You should say which Saptarṣi is specifically Śukī's husband and perhaps add a couple more quotes from the chapter, enough to summarize the story. Then, I will accept your answer. By the way, isn't Kartikeya the son of Lord Shiva? Aug 15 at 22:18
  • Śukī is not actual person..it's Swaha who assumed form of wives of Saptrisis (all 6 except Vashishta)..and also of Śukī (parrot)..this is already mentioned in answer.. "By the way, isn't Kartikeya the son of Lord Shiva?" - yes.. but he is Agni's son too.. Agni swallowed Shiva's semen in a form of dove and then he transferred it to Swaha (when she was disguised as wives of Saptrisis) and then Swaha also threw it..that's why "Having sprung from the seed which had fallen off from Rudra he was named Skanda"..
    – YDS
    Aug 16 at 7:30

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