Devahuti said: “I am very sick of the disturbance caused by my material senses, for because of this sense disturbance, my Lord, I have fallen into the abyss of ignorance” – Srimad Bhagavatam (3.25.7)
When a poor man declares there is no happiness in wealth and women, and this world is full of suffering, it doesn’t sound impressive. You may dismiss it as the ‘sour grapes philosophy’. But when men and women whose wealth and position far excels ours speak their realizations on happiness, you can’t help but render attentive hearing. And you can’t ignore their claims, for they have seen it all.
Devahuti was the daughter of an emperor who ruled the universe. She knew no inconveniences in her life. Her father provided her every need and luxury that moderns can’t even conceive of. Yet he knew the goal of life is not to live in comforts but to seek self-realization. Therefore when it was time for her marriage he considered a suitable match of one who would help his daughter transcend the process of birth and death. The Vedic scriptures declare that a person should not be a parent if he or she cannot ensure his dependent gets out of the cycle of birth and death, and reaches the Supreme abode of Lord Krishna. To fulfil this responsibility, Svyambhuva Manu, the father of Devahuti considered deeply and thought Kardama muni, a renounced sage to be a suitable match for his daughter.
Meanwhile Kardama muni had been contemplating marriage; he even asked Lord Vishnu to provide him a suitable wife. And soon, Svaymabhuva Manu offered his daughter in marriage to Kardama, and he gladly accepted.
Life changed overnight for the gentle Devahuti. Life in the forest with her ascetic husband was a far cry from the royal comforts she was used to while living in her father’s palace. But she persevered in her service to her husband; she attended to all his needs, and would eat only after he ate. And he would sometimes fast for days together, and Devahuti followed her husband in all his austerities. After years of a rigorous life of penance, Kardama Muni was satisfied with her dedication, and decided to please his wife. She wanted to have a child from him. But the years of toil had worn her out; gone was the beauty and grace of her pre marriage days, and to have a child both of them needed to invoke a different kind of energy. Then Kardama by his mystic powers created a huge palace and heavenly pleasures for his wife. They spent time travelling and enjoying on a mystic plane that was complete with all enjoyments of the heavenly beings. Soon she gave birth to nine daughters and then Kapila, a son who was the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead was born to her. After his birth, Kardama left for the forest again to perform more austerities. Meanwhile Kapila grew up and instructed his mother on the science of self-realization. The third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam contains her genuine, humble enquiries and Kapila’s instructions to his mother.
She had seen all the facets of life; luxuries, sufferings, and austerities and more. She reveals in her questions how life in this world is deeply entangling and then she seeks freedom from the suffering of repeated birth and death.
(For details one can read the third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, chapters 25 to 32)