An out of print ACK # 327
The sources of this story are the Purana & the Mahabharata. The period is considered as Treta Yuga according to old Indian literature & mythology - PBC.
In India, as elsewhere, the folk of the spirit world might woo or be wooed by impressionable mortals. A Gandharva related to Arjuna, the Pandava prince, by whom he was defeated in single combat, the "charming story", as he called it, of King Samvarana (the Lunar Dynasty) and the fairy-like Tapati, a daughter of the sun god, Surya.
Tapati was of all nymphs the most beautiful; she was "perfectly symmetrical" and "exquisitely attired"; she had "faultless features, and black, large eyes"; and, in contrast to an Apsara, she "was chaste and exceedingly well conducted". For a time the sun god considered that no husband could be found who was worthy of his daughter; and therefore "knew no peace of mind, always thinking of the person he should select". One day, however, King Samvarana worshipped the sun, and made offerings of flowers and sweet perfumes, and Surya resolved to bestow his daughter upon this ideal man.
It came to pass that Samvarana went a-hunting deer on the mountains. He rode swiftly in pursuit of a nimble-footed stag, leaving his companions behind, until his steed expired with exhaustion. Then he wandered about alone. In a secluded wood he beheld a maiden of exquisite beauty; he gazed at her steadfastly for a time, thinking she was a goddess or "the embodiment of the rays emanating from the sun". Her body was as radiant as fire and as spotless as the crescent moon; she stood motionless like to a golden statue. The flowers and the creepers round about partook of her beauty, and "seemed to be converted into gold". She was Tapati, daughter of the sun.
The king's eyes were captivated, his heart was wounded by the arrows of the love god Kama; he lost his peace of mind. At length he spoke and said: "Who art thou, O fair one? O maiden of sweet smiles, why dost thou linger in these lonely woods? I have never seen or heard of one so beautiful as thee. . . . The love god tortures me."
That lotus-eyed maiden made no answer; she vanished from sight like to lightning in the clouds.
The king hastened through the forest, lamenting for her: he searched in vain; he stood motionless in grief; he fell down on the earth and swooned.
Then, smiling sweetly, the maiden appeared again. In honeyed words she spoke, saying: "Arise, thou tiger among kings. It is not meet that thou shouldst lose thy reason in this manner."
Samvarana opened his eyes and beheld Tapati. Weak with emotion he spoke and said: "I am burning with love for thee, thou black-eyed beauty, O accept me. My life is ebbing away. . . . I have been bitten by Kama, who is even like a venomous snake. Have mercy on me. . . . O thou of handsome and faultless features, O thou of face like unto the lotus or the moon, O thou of voice sweet as that of singing Kinnaras, my life now depends on thee. Without thee, O timid one, I am unable to live. It behoveth thee not, O black-eyed maid, to cast me off; it behoveth thee to relieve me from this affliction by giving me thy love. At the first sight thou hast distracted my heart. My mind wandereth. Be merciful; I am thy obedient slave, thy adorer. O accept me. . . . O thou of lotus eyes, the flame of desire burneth within me. O extinguish that flame by throwing on it the water of thy love. . . . "
Tapati replied: "I am not mistress of mine own self. I am a maiden ruled by my father. If thou dost love me, demand me of him. My heart hath been robbed by thee."
Then, revealing her identity, Tapati ascended to heaven, and once again Samvarana fell upon the earth and swooned.
The ministers and followers of the king carne searching for him, and found him "lying forsaken on the ground like a rainbow dropped from the firmament". They sprinkled his face with cool and lotus-scented water. When he revived, the monarch sent away all his followers except one minister. For twelve days he worshipped the sun constantly on the mountain top. Then a great Rishi, whom he had sent for, came to him, and the Rishi ascended to the sun. Ere long he returned with Tapati, the sun god having declared that Samvarana would be a worthy husband for his daughter.
For twelve years the king lived with his fairy bride in the mountain forests, and a regent ruled over the kingdom.
But although the monarch enjoyed great bliss, living the life of a Celestial, the people of the kingdom suffered greatly. For twelve years no rain fell, "not even a drop of dew came from the skies, and no corn was grown". The people were afflicted with famine; men grew reckless, and deserted their wives and children; the capital became like to a city of the dead.
Then a great Rishi brought Samvarana back to his capital with his Celestial bride. And after that things became as they were before. Rain fell in abundance and corn was grown. "Revived by that foremost of monarchs of virtuous soul, the capital and the country became glad with exceeding joy." A son was born to the king, and his name was Kuru.
[From “Indian Myth and Legend” by Donald A. Mackenzie (1913), CHAPTER IV (Demons and Giants and Fairies)]
Legand about Tapti river
The Tapti is the one of few Indian rivers that flows westward and falls into the Arabian Sea, in the Gulf of Khambat, to be precise. Mostly river flows eastward and falls into the bay of Bengal.
According to the Puranas, ancient Hindu texts, the Tapti is the daughter of the Sun god, Surya, who created her to save himself from his own intense heat. Tapti is also known as Tapi (taken from the Sanskrit word taap, which means heat). In the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, it is mentioned that Tapti had married Sanvaran & the mother of Kuru, from whom the Kuru Dynasty started.
From Kuru was descended the Pandavas and the Kauravas, the principal protagonists of the Mahabharata, one of the two major epics of Indian Mythology, the other being the Ramayana, the epic about Rama, an incarnation of Vishnu sent to earth to destroy the terrible asura (demon), Ravana.
Note: In Hindu mythology, the Solar Dynasty (Surya-vanshi) & the Lunar Dynasty (Chandra-vanshi or Soma-vanshi) are two principal houses of the Kshatriya Varna, or ruling caste. The Solar Dynasty claims descent from the Sun (Surya), while the other principal house, Lunar Dynasty claims descent from the Moon (Soma).
About Tapati river read at : www.famous-india.com, Wikipedia
There were some posts related with both dynasty in this blog & some more will follow. That's why recommend to read about:
1. "The Origin of the Solar Dynasty" at www.suite101.com & Wikipedia.
2. "The Origin of the Lunar Dynasty (Chandravanshi)" at www.suite101.com & Wikipedia.
3. "The Kuru Dynasty " at Wikipedia, vahini.org
Soure of the dynasty tree: vahini.org
Many many thanks to “Apoorva Chandar” for providing Amar Chitra Katha.