Uparichara Vasu was a great king who was a contemporary of King Shantanu from the Mahabharata. He was of Puru lineage, but he conquered the Chedi kingdom. He was the father of Satyavati, along with others. He was very truthful and virtuous.
- Father: Kritaka
- Wives: Girika, Adrika
- Sons: Brihadratha, Pratyagraha, Kusamba (also called Manivahana), Mavella, Yadu, Matsya
- Daughter: Satyavati
King Kritaka was the great-grandson of Sudhanush, one of the sons of Kuru. The more well known son of Kuru was Jahnu who continued the Kuru line.
King Kritaka and his wife soon had one child whom they named Vasu.
Soon, Vasu inherited the throne from his father. After a while, King Vasu decided to give up his post of king and also gave up the use of weapons. He went to a secluded forest. Here, he did severe penance and performed austerities. Indra, the king of the devas, became concerned. He was afraid that Vasu might take his post as Indra.
So all the devas led by Indra went to Vasu. They succeeded in turning his heart away from asceticism. The devas promised him eternal friendship. Indra also gave Vasu a garland made from flowers of the Kalpavruksha and a flying Vimana made of crystals.
From that day onward, Vasu was commonly called “Uparichara” Vasu. Uparachira means the upward-going one. This name was given to him because of his Vimana.
With the blessings of Indra, King Uparichara Vasu decided to conquer Chedi, which was a pretty weak kingdom. The powerful Uparichara Vasu was easily able to conquer Chedi. Uparichara Vasu then established his capital at Suktivati in Chedi. This city was on the banks of Suktimati. Chedi became the center of his empire.
After Chedi, Uparichara Vasu continued to conquer more territory around Chedi. Uparichara’s fame continued to spread all throughout India. He started the annual Indra festival. Uparichara’s kingdom also flourished and was very prosperous.
Once a mountain range called Kolahala was maddened by lust and attacked the Suktimati river. The river sought protection from Uparichara. Uparichara kicked the mountain and chased it away. But, a boy and a girl had already been born from the union of the Kolahala mountain and the Suktimati river. The girl was named Girika and soon married Uparichara. The boy became the commander-in-chief of Uparichara’s army.
Birth of Children
In due time, Girika and Uparichara had 5 powerful sons. They were named Brihadratha, Kusamba, Mavella, Yadu, and Pratyagraha. When they grew up, these five were appointed governors in different regions of Uparichara’s empire.
Birth of Satyavati
One day, Girika and Uparichara were in the royal gardens. Suddenly, lustful desire struck both of them. But this was interrupted by the arrival of the Pitris (ancestors) of Uparichara.
“Vasu, we need you to slay deer. Out monthly remembrance ceremony is coming up and you need deer for that,” the Pitris said.
While wandering through the forest and looking for deer, Uparichara came across an alcove of Asoka trees. There was a sweet scent emanating from the trees. This fragrance reminded Uparichara of his lust for Girika. He couldn’t resist the desire. Because of this, his seed dropped. Not wanting to waste his seed, Uparichara wrapped it in a leaf and gave it to a hawk to deliver it back to his palace. But during the hawk flight, it was attacked by another hawk. This hawk thought that the seed was a piece of meat. In the midst of the fight, Uparichara’s seed dropped into the Yamuna river. A fish in the river ate this seed. This fish was actually Adrika, an Apsara who been cursed to turn into a fish.
As a consequence of swallowing the seed, the fish became pregnant. As soon as this happened, the spirit of Adrika left the body of the fish. Some time later, some fishermen found the fish. When they opened it up, he found two infants: a girl and a boy. The fishermen gave these infants to Uparichara. Uparichara gave the girl to Dusharaj, the chief of the fishermen. Dusharaj named the girl Satyavati. Uparichara decided to himself raise the boy. He was named Matysa, which means fish.
Retirement and Death
After a while of ruling as the king of a great empire, Uparichara decided to leave the post of king and end his life with meditation on God. He split his empire and gave each of his sons a portion. All of his sons soon founded great kingdoms and dynasties.
Uparichara then retired to the forest. He enlightened his soul about the knowledge of God. Shortly, Uparichara Vasu died a natural death.