He was probably the first spy in the history of world. He was extremely charming. He was from heaven . He was the son of sage Brahaspati-the sage of demigods or devas or suras from heaven. His name was Kacha. The story of Kacha comes in the Indian epic Mahabharata.
The story starts with the deva and asura war. The sage or teacher of asuras-sage Shukracharya did penance and was granted a boon by lord Shiva. He was granted mrit sanjivani vidya by lord shiva. With the help of mrit sanjivani vidya, sage Shukracharya could resurrect all the dead asuras everytime they got killed by the demigods whereas the demigods were being diminished everytime with each war with asuras. The king of demigods-Indra got depressed by it and went to his guru Brahaspati for advice. After thinking for some time, Brahaspati thought of an idea which was very unique and novel. The idea was to send his son Kacha on a secret mission to the ashram of Shukracharya as a disciple to get the secret of mrit sanjivani vidya so that devas or suras could also get resurrected after being killed. Now as per the plan, Kacha went to the ashram of sage shukracharya and shukracharya admitted him as his student. Other asura disciples of shukracharya did not like this idea of shukracharya of accepting a sura or deva as his disciple and shukracharya was very well aware of this fact and hence asked kacha not to leave the premises of ashram as he would be safer only inside the vicinity of ashram. It had been nearly one thousand year since kacha had come to ashram and shukracharya by now had become very fond of kacha because of his decency and intellect. But still he never disclosed the secret of mrit sanjivani vidya to him. Kacha many times tried to see him using mrit sanjivani vidya but shukracharya was more than just intelligent. He never used it in front of kacha. Once kacha saw him using it to bring one of the asuras back from death but seeing was not enough. Here comes the twist in the story. Shukracharya had a daughter named devayani who was extremely beautiful, graceful, young and charming like kacha. They had become good friends. She was the only friend kacha had had in that ashram. Kacha would bring her flowers from forest for her hair decoration though it was extremely risky to get out of the ashram. By now, devayani had fallen in love with kacha. They would spend time with each other. But it wasn’t sure till now what was in kacha’s mind. One day, when kacha was out in forest, asuras conspired against him and murdered him. In ashram, when devayani realised that it’s been a long time since kacha left the ashram, she tried finding him and finally found his dead body in the forest. She was devastated now to see her love dead and asked her father to bring kacha back from death. Shukracharya resurrected kacha with mrit sanjivani vidya both because of his daughter’s love for kacha and his own affection for his disciple. Kacha was alive now and asuras were furious but could not do anything. After few days, kacha again went outside the ashram to bring flowers for devayani and was again killed but this time they fed his body to a dog but again at his daughter’s plea, shukracharya brought him back from death-kacha tore apart the dog’s body and came out. Kacha , by now was sure that he would be resurrected everytime asuras would kill him. Being a man of such great wisdom, an idea stroke his mind. He went to the forest intentionally and was very well prepared to get slaughtered this time as well by the asuras. But asuras were no less intelligent, they made a plan which was lethal and perfect. Now kacha was in forest and asuras followed him. After reaching a point, he realised that he was shrouded by a bunch of asuras. Asuras killed him but this time they neither left his body nor did they feed it to the dog. They burnt his body and mixed his ashes with liquor in a big bottle and went to their guru shukracharya. They said they wanted to celebrate with their guru and asked him to drink the liquor. Shukracharya could not say no to his asura students and drank the whole bottle. When devayani told his father that kacha is missing again then shukracharya tried to locate him. But while doing so, he realised that kacha was in his stomach. Realising that, shukracharya looked at devayani. Devayani realised that in order to bring kacha back, shukracharya will have to die. Now here it can be seen that this was kacha’s flawless plan. If shukracharya will recite mantras for kacha then he himself will die because kacha would tear his body apart and will come out. And if he wants to live then he will have to teach the mrit sanjivani vidya to kacha so that he can resurrect shukracharya after coming out of his body. Shukracharya had no other choice than to resurrect kacha because he knew it that devayani won’t be able to survive without kacha. And devayani had already told shukracharya that she could survive neither without kacha nor without his father. There was only one way now. Shukracharya started the process of resurrecting kacha in a way that kacha could also listen to the mantras and process of using mrit sanjivani vidya. It is noticable and very commendable that being a man of such great honour and such a great personality, shukracharya never asked kacha that after resurrecting him , he will also have to resurrect shukracharya in return. He just started the process and after some time kacha tore shukracharya’s body apart and came out. Shukracharya was dead and devayani was weeping badly. Here it is also noticable that kacha could have just left the ashram because he now had the mrit sanjivani vidya. His mission was accomplished and with shukracharya dead, no one could ever resurrect the asuras. But he was after all a great person and a disciple of shukracharya. He used the mrit sanjivani vidya and resurrected shukracharya. Both the reasons of love in devayani’s life were alive now and she was in extreme ecstasy. After few days when kacha was about to leave the ashram, devayani went to him and proposed him for marriage. Kacha liked devayani. Maybe he loved her but that was not what he was there for. He was on a mission and he could not let the suras and his father down. He told her that since he came out of shukracharya’s stomach, he is like a brother to devayani now. He could not marry her. Devayani was dumbstruck to hear that and couldn’t say anything. But when kacha was leaving for heaven and leaving the ashram of shukracharya, she cursed him.
Furious, heartbroken, failed in love and betrayed devayani cursed him that he will never be able to use the mrit sanjivani vidya which he had come to the ashram for. Kacha politely replied that he will teach this vidya to other devas or suras who could use it for benefit of demigods. Saying so, he took the blessings from his guru shukracharya whom he respected very much and Shukracharya also blessed him because he also was a great man. He did not say anything bad to kacha and allowed him to leave. Kacha’s task was complete, his mission was accomplished, he had emerged victorious in his secret mission. He left for the heaven.
We can not say if he was right or wrong. From his father’s and demigods’ point of view, he was a successful spy or warrior; from Devayani’s point of view-a lover who betrayed her. But from his point of view? did he consider himself a successful spy or a failed lover? we do not know. He just came in the great epic Mahabharata and just left. He is never mentioned in any story or epic as far as I know. But he was great, he was no less than Indra or other heroes of our mythology, but less talked about. And this was his story-the famous story of Kacha and Devayani from the great Indian epic Mahabharata.
By- Shekhar Srivastava