One of the most intriguing but less-discussed characters of the Pur\u0101\u1e47as is Satyabh\u0101m\u0101, the consort of \u015ar\u012b K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a. She was the daughter of Satr\u0101jit, an influential and wealthy Y\u0101dava. Satr\u0101jit was blessed by the Sun God with a unique gem called Syamantaka, which was blinding in its brilliance and extraordinary in its power. When the gem went missing, Satr\u0101jit falsely accused K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a of having stolen it. K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a, however, retrieved the gem and returned it to Satr\u0101jit to clear his name. Ashamed that he had accused K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a for committing a petty crime, which he was not guilty of, Satr\u0101jit offered K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a the gem and the hand of his beautiful daughter, Satyabh\u0101m\u0101, in marriage. Thus entered Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 in the narrative of the \u015ar\u012bmadbh\u0101gavata. \u091b\u093e\u092f\u093e\u092f\u093e\u0902 \u092a\u093e\u0930\u093f\u091c\u093e\u0924\u0938\u094d\u092f \u0939\u0947\u092e\u0938\u093f\u0902\u0939\u093e\u0938\u0928\u094b\u092a\u0930\u093f\u0964 \u0906\u0938\u0940\u0928\u092e\u092e\u094d\u092c\u0941\u0926\u0936\u094d\u092f\u093e\u092e\u092e\u093e\u092f\u0924\u093e\u0915\u094d\u0937\u092e\u0932\u0919\u094d\u0915\u0943\u0924\u092e\u094d\u0965 \u091a\u0928\u094d\u0926\u094d\u0930\u093e\u0928\u0928\u0902 \u091a\u0924\u0941\u0930\u094d\u092c\u093e\u0939\u0941\u0902 \u0936\u094d\u0930\u0940\u0935\u0924\u094d\u0938\u093e\u0919\u094d\u0915\u093f\u0924\u0935\u0915\u094d\u0937\u0938\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u0930\u0941\u0915\u094d\u092e\u093f\u0923\u0940\u0938\u0924\u094d\u092f\u092d\u093e\u092e\u093e\u092d\u094d\u092f\u093e\u0902 \u0938\u0939\u093f\u0924\u0902 \u0915\u0943\u0937\u094d\u0923\u092e\u093e\u0936\u094d\u0930\u092f\u0947\u0965 ch\u0101y\u0101y\u0101\u1e41 p\u0101rij\u0101tasya hemasi\u1e41h\u0101sanopari | \u0101s\u012bnamambuda\u015by\u0101mam\u0101yat\u0101k\u1e63amala\u1e45k\u1e5btam || candr\u0101nana\u1e41 caturb\u0101hu\u1e41 \u015br\u012bvats\u0101\u1e45kitavak\u1e63asam | rukmi\u1e47\u012bsatyabh\u0101m\u0101bhy\u0101\u1e41 sahita\u1e41 k\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47am\u0101\u015braye || I seek refuge in the elegantly clad K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a, who is dark as the rain-bearing clouds, has long eyes and moon-like countenance; is endowed with four arms; wears the \u015ar\u012bvatsa1 mark upon his bosom; and is seated upon a golden throne in the shade of (the divine) P\u0101rij\u0101ta tree along with Rukmi\u1e47\u012b and Satyabh\u0101m\u0101. - \u015ar\u012bvi\u1e63\u1e47usahasran\u0101ma-dhy\u0101na-\u015bloka 1 Pur\u0101\u1e47as state that the \u015ar\u012bvatsa mark is, in fact, a mark left by Sage Bh\u1e5bgu when he kicked the lord. According to the text, Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 was an avat\u0101ra of the Mother Earth (Bh\u016bmi-dev\u012b). However, the personality of Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 described in the \u015ar\u012bmadbh\u0101gavata does not exude the divinity as an aspect of the Supreme descended upon earth. Rather, it characterises a very human persona riddled with foibles and the struggles to overcome them. Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 is characterised to be the epitome of a modern woman who wielded a sword when she needed to fight. At times, she is seen harbouring jealously and learning of its cankerous nature upon introspection. She also experiences unbridled anger and the learning therefrom. In essence, she was as human as could be. The mortal life of this intriguing character epitomises the essential teaching of the Bh\u0101rat\u012bya tradition that the human sojourn is meant to be a journey across lifetimes (in most cases) to self-reflection and self-refinement. Satyabh\u0101m\u0101\u2019s sojourn too seems to have been spread across lifetimes, which is too unique for an avat\u0101ra. Here is an interesting account of Satyabh\u0101m\u0101\u2019s previous life, as described in the Sk\u0101nda-pur\u0101\u1e47a. Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 was once seated in the company of Lord K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a. She was supremely pleased with what life had given her. She said to lord K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a, \u201cLord, I have been supremely blessed to attain you for a husband, though I am human by birth2. It is beyond doubt that I have engaged in supremely meritorious deeds in my past to have earned this immense blessing. O\u2019 Lord! Tell me, who was I in my previous birth? Whose daughter was I? What was my character like that I have earned the great good fortune of being your wife?\u201d Asked thus by Satyabh\u0101m\u0101, lord K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a responded, \u201cListen, my love, as I elaborate your past life. 2 As can be seen, Satyabh\u0101m\u0101 identifies herself as the mortal daughter of Satr\u0101jit. For all practical purposes, she was a human too. Her avat\u0101rhood seems to simply exemplify the human life as a sojourn to self-refinement. There was a pious br\u0101hma\u1e47a by name, Deva\u015barm\u0101, who lived in the city of M\u0101y\u0101pura. He was a man of great scholarship and had mastered the Vedas and the auxiliaries, the Ved\u0101\u1e45gas. A noble daughter named Gu\u1e47avat\u012b was born to him in his later years. Deva\u015barm\u0101 gave the hand of his daughter in marriage to his disciple, Candra. As Deva\u015barm\u0101 was not blessed with a son, he treated Candra like his own son. Candra too honoured the br\u0101hma\u1e47a as he would his own father. One day, Deva\u015barm\u0101 and Candra went to the forest to collect sacred grass (Ku\u015ba), twigs, and logs of wood for sacrificial offerings. A great calamity struck them as they were slain by a r\u0101k\u1e63asa, who looked horrific and death personified. Shattered by the news of the death of both her husband and her father on the same day, Gu\u1e47avat\u012b lamented piteously. She sold all her belongings and performed the obsequies of her father and her husband, as per scriptural dictates. Impoverished and orphaned, Gu\u1e47avat\u012b continued to live in M\u0101y\u0101pura. She dedicated herself to the adherence of two vratas \u2013 ek\u0101da\u015b\u012b and K\u0101rtika with great devotion until her death3. Even when weakened by old age and illness, her dedication to her observances did not waver. 3 Ek\u0101da\u015b\u012b-vrata refers to the fast held between the night of the tenth day of a fortnight (Da\u015bam\u012b) and the morning of the twelfth day of the fortnight (Dv\u0101da\u015b\u012b). The time is spent contemplating the Supreme. Contrary to the popular belief, this vrata is not ordained only to a devotee of Vi\u1e63\u1e47u. K\u0101rtika-vrata refers to the austerities observed during the Sanskrit month of K\u0101rtika (corresponding to the Gregorian months of October-November). Bathing in a sacred water body at dawn is one of the observed austerities. Once, the aged Gu\u1e47avat\u012b was racked by fever. Her limbs quivered due to fever, and she was too weak to walk. Yet, her mind was set on completing her K\u0101rtika-vrata. She made her way to the Ga\u1e45g\u0101 with great difficulty and entered the icy waters for a bath. She shivered uncontrollably, as her body, which was already ravaged by the fever, could not handle the cold. Just as she stood there shaking in the icy waters, a divine chariot descended before her eyes. Gu\u1e47avat\u012b ascended the chariot and attained Vaiku\u1e47\u1e6dha, O\u2019 Satyabh\u0101m\u0101. She attained me due to the merits earned by the dedicated observance of the K\u0101rtika-vrata. O\u2019 Satyabh\u0101m\u0101! When I descended upon earth as K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a, the devas followed me here as the Y\u0101davas. Further, \u092a\u093f\u0924\u093e \u0924\u0947 \u0926\u0947\u0935\u0936\u0930\u094d\u092e\u093e\u092d\u0942\u0924\u094d\u0938\u0924\u094d\u0930\u093e\u091c\u093f\u0926\u092d\u093f\u0927\u094b \u0939\u094d\u092f\u092f\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u092f\u0936\u094d\u091a\u0928\u094d\u0926\u094d\u0930\u0928\u093e\u092e\u093e \u0938\u094b\u093d\u0915\u094d\u0930\u0942\u0930\u0938\u094d\u0924\u094d\u0935\u0902 \u0938\u093e \u0917\u0941\u0923\u0935\u0924\u0940 \u0936\u0941\u092d\u093e\u0965 \u0915\u093e\u0930\u094d\u0924\u093f\u0915\u0935\u094d\u0930\u0924\u092a\u0941\u0923\u094d\u092f\u0947\u0928 \u092c\u0939\u0941 \u092e\u0924\u094d\u092a\u094d\u0930\u0940\u0924\u093f\u0926\u093e\u092f\u093f\u0928\u0940\u0964 pit\u0101 te deva\u015barm\u0101bh\u016btsatr\u0101jidabhidho hyayam | ya\u015bcandran\u0101m\u0101 so'kr\u016brastva\u1e41 s\u0101 gu\u1e47avat\u012b \u015bubh\u0101 || k\u0101rtikavratapu\u1e47yena bahu matpr\u012btid\u0101yin\u012b | Your father, Deva\u015barm\u0101 (in your previous birth), became him, who is named Satr\u0101jit. He, who was called Candra, is (now) Akr\u016bra. You were the noble Gu\u1e47avat\u012b, who gave me immense pleasure with the sacred K\u0101rtika-vrata observance!\u201d - Sk\u0101nda-pur\u0101\u1e47a Lord K\u1e5b\u1e63\u1e47a added, \u201cDear one, in your previous birth, you created a grove of Tulas\u012b plants at my doorway. As a result, the celestial P\u0101rij\u0101ta trees adorn your garden today.\u201d The lord assured her, \u0906\u091c\u0928\u094d\u092e\u092e\u0930\u0923\u093e\u0924\u094d\u092a\u0942\u0930\u094d\u0935\u0902 \u092f\u0924\u094d\u0915\u0943\u0924\u0902 \u0915\u093e\u0930\u094d\u0924\u093f\u0915\u0935\u094d\u0930\u0924\u092e\u094d\u0964 \u0915\u0926\u093e\u091a\u093f\u0926\u092a\u093f \u0924\u0947\u0928 \u0924\u094d\u0935\u0902 \u092e\u0926\u094d\u0935\u093f\u092f\u094b\u0917\u0902 \u0928 \u092f\u093e\u0938\u094d\u092f\u0938\u093f\u0965 \u0101janmamara\u1e47\u0101tp\u016brva\u1e41 yatk\u1e5bta\u1e41 k\u0101rtikavratam | kad\u0101cidapi tena tva\u1e41 madviyoga\u1e41 na y\u0101syas i|| \u201cYou adhered to the K\u0101rtika-vrata observance until the day death claimed you (in your previous life). As a result, You shall never be separated from me.\u201d - Sk\u0101nda-pur\u0101\u1e47a \u201cThis, O\u2019 Satyabh\u0101m\u0101, is an account of your previous life,\u201d concluded the lord.