6. Yayati: Mahabharata
Emperor Yayati, an ancestor of the Pandavas, achieved greatness in every way. He became predictably unhappy at the loss of youth brought about by the curse of Sukracharya. He desperately longed to get back the days of yore. Recent memories of pleasurable times haunted him. Yayati had five sons. One by one, he approached them to give him back his youth, albeit temporarily, in exchange of his old age. Each one of the sons turned down his proposal citing one excuse or the other, except Puru, the youngest. Puru happily complied with his father?s petition. Yayati embraced Puru, and on so doing, became a young man. An aged Puru ruled the empire with great success. Yayati spent years in pursuit of enjoyment of every kind. At long last, he realised the futility of earthly pleasures and the value of spiritual fulfilment. He thanked Puru and settled to trade back their real ages. Yayati also persuaded Puru to continue to rule the empire, while he himself retired to the forests, where he practised austerities. On death, Yayati found his way to heaven.