FoodYoga Tales

Origin Of Chyawanprash

In the Vana Parva of the Mahabharata, there is a story of Sukanya. Once a king Sharyati went out on a hunting expedition to the forests. He took his daughter Sukanya along.

King, his daughter and their attendants camped at the ashram of the powerful Rishi Chyavana.Sukanya went plucking flowers from the bushes in the forest along with her attendants. Wandering in the woods, she noticed two streaks of light, glowing from an anthill. 

Out of curiosity, she took a twig and poked the anthill. She was expecting glowworms to fly out; instead it stunned her to see blood oozing from the cavities.This was the place where Chyavana was sitting for his penance. He was so absorbed that white ants built up their nests all over his body.

The hurt and upset rishi stood up. He demanded to know who had disturbed his concentration.Sukanya’s attendants informed the King & he went up to the livid Rishi and apologized to him. Sukanya felt guilty for what she had done and decided to marry the Rishi.The sage then forgave both & accepted her as his wife. Sukanya served the rishi very faithfully. 

One day the Ashwini twins visited Chyavana’s hermitage. They were physicians of heavens, who knew the secret of eternal youth.  They observed that the rishi was old and gaunt. His wife in contrast, was young and charming. They began to convince Sukanya, to reject old and ugly Chyavana and accept one of them as her husband, Sukanya refused, late they proposed to restore the youth of Chyavana, Sukanya agreed. Ashwin twins prepared a special herbal paste to consume as medicine.

After using it Chyawan became young again. As part of the plan, all three men turned out with identical youthful look. Each of them requested Sukanya to be his bride, but she identified Chyavan and selected him alone. The Ashwins were pleased with Sukanya’s devotion and blessed her. Sukanya asked them to teach her husband the process of making the medicinal paste to restore health of all humans. Ashwinikumars granted her wish.

This paste was then called Chyawanprash.