The senses are powerful and chase their respective sense objects relentlessly. Unless one learns to keep the senses under check, one turns to a life of sensuous enjoyment, not knowing that soon old age and disease will catch up and he will have to let go of these pleasures. The case of king Yayati typifies this truth with added force since he seeks youth for the sole purpose of indulgence and pleasure, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a lecture. Yayati is destined to marry two girls, both of them close friends. He first marries Devayani, daughter of Sukracharya, the preceptor of the Asuras. By a quirk of fate her friend Sharmishta, daughter of the Asura king, also becomes his wife.
When Sukracharya comes to know of this he curses Yayati to lose his youth and accept old age. Yayati pleads with the sage to avert the curse since he feels he has not enjoyed enough the pleasures of the world. The sage then says that if any one is willing to take over his old age, he could transfer it to him and receive youth for himself instead. Yayati checks with his five sons if any one of them would consent to this exchange of old age for youth. Except Puru, the others refuse, for they are under the mistaken notion that their fleeting youth is perpetual. Puru, the youngest son, is young in age but advanced in virtue. The king enjoys the ephemeral pleasures of the senses for a thousand years when he rules over the seven continents. But in due course he becomes averse to this sensual yielding that spells spiritual fall. He begins to realise that hankering for sense enjoyment does not decay even when one decays through old age. Then he decides to relinquish all worldly attachments and sense life and instead turn his mind inward in search of his inner self. He gives back his youth to Puru.