Greatness of Vidyābhyāsam
Devatas and daityas always have fights among themselves. The daitya's Guru is Śukrācārya. He knew the vidya of mṛtasanjīvanī, which he obtained through a long tapas for Parameśvara. Using this vidya, Śukrācārya used to bring back the dead daityas to life and save them. However the Devatas neither knew the vidya nor had amṛtam, because this story happened before the Kṣhīra sāgara mathanam. The Devatas asked their Guru, Bṛhaspati, for help. Bṛhaspati asked his son, Kaca, to become a śiṣhya of Śukrācārya, do Guru seva with utmost care, learn all the śāstras etc. and the mṛtasanjīvanī vidya from Sukrācārya. Kaca immediately followed the instructions of his father and reached the āśram of Śukrācārya.
He did sāṣhṭāṅga namaskāram to Śukrācārya and said "O Gurudeva! I am from the Āṅgīrasa gotram and the son of Bṛhaspati, the Guru of the Devatas. People call me by the name Kaca. I came to you as a vidyārthi". Śukrācārya happily agreed to have the son of the great Bṛhaspati as his śiṣhya. Everday Kaca used to wake up before the Sun, and do Sandhyāvandanādi āhnikas, after his kāla-kṛtyas. He used to be very obdient to his Guru and learn his vidyas with utmost concentration and respect. He never let any attractions, diviations to enter his mind and always concentrated on Guru seva and his vidyābhyāsam.
Śukrācārya had a very beautiful daughter by name Devayānī. She was very young and had a lot of prema for Kaca. She tried to express herself many times to Kaca, but Kaca never had anything in his mind except his vidyābhyāsam. Also since Devayānī was the daughter of his Guru, who is equal to his father, he had sodarī-bhāvam on Devayānī. Slowly Kaca, due to his unparalleled efforts and vinayam became the favourite śiṣhya of Śukrācārya. This could not be tolerated by the daityas who were burning with īrṣha. Also they were afraid that Kaca would soon learn Mṛtasanjīvanī vidya from Śukrācārya and later it would be difficult for them to face the Devatas.
Once Kaca went to the forest as his Guru's gopālaka. As the Sun was setting the power of daityas increased. They attacked Kaca and killed him. Devayāni was waiting for Kaca in the āśram. She told her father, "everyday by the time for sāyam-sandhyāvandanam, Kaca returns home. Somehow he did not return today. O father! please see if he is ok." Śukrācārya with his divya-dṛṣhṭi saw what happened to Kaca and immediately brought him back to life. The daityas īrṣha increased with this and this time they planned to kill Kaca in such a way that it will be difficult for Śukrācārya to save him. They killed Kaca, burnt him and mixed his ashes in surāpānam and served it to their Guru. Śukrācārya drank the surāpānam. Seeing Kaca not returning home, again Devayāni asked her father. Śukrācārya was shocked to know what mistake he committed unknowingly. He thought "a man who is under the influence of surā-pānam will loose all his distinction of good and bad, does not think and can do any great pāpa-kāryam". Once the pāpa-karyam is done, for normal humans, it is impossible to undo it. Śukrācārya thought that if he was not under the influence of surāpānam, he could have easily identified, with his tapobalam, that Kaca's ashes were mixed in his surāpānam. So he made a firm rule that surāpānam, in what ever small quantītes, is mahāpāpam and it must never be drunk.
He used his Mṛtasanjīvanī vidya and brought back Kaca to life. However Kaca remained in Śukrācārya's stomach in a sūkṣhma rūpam. Śukrācārya then taught Kaca Mṛtasanjīvanī vidya and asked him to come out of him, by tearing his stomach. Kaca came out of Śukrācārya and then used the Mṛtasanjīvanī vidya to bring back the life of his Guru. Kaca, after the completion of his vidyābhyāsam, took the anujña of Śukrācārya and was planning to leave. Devayāni then told Kaca "Please do not leave me and go. Marry me". Kaca said "you are like a sister to me, since a Guru is equal to one's father". Devayāni got angry with Kaca and said "Since you rejected my love and pained me, your vidya will not be of any use to you". Kaca was not sad because he knew though his Vidya will not be directly useful to him, he can spread his vidya to others and thereby become useful to the society. Vidya dhanam is the only dhanam that can never be destroyed and robbed. The more and more it is given to others, the more and more it grows…
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA