Sermishtha was the daughter of Vrishaperva, king of the Daityas, and Devayani, the daughter of Sukra, regent of the planet Venus and the spiritual preceptor of the Daitya race. Devayani having incurred the displeasure of Sermishtha the latter threw the former into a well, where she was found by king Yayati, the son of Nahusha. Devayani, on returning to her father, excited his anger against Vrishaperva, who, to appease Sukra, consented to give his daughter to Devayani as her servant, with a thousand other female attendants. Devayani was married to Yayati. At the time of her marriage, Sukra obtained the king's promise that he would never associate with Sermishtha; but after some interval, the king meeting her, fell in love with, and espoused, her privately. The intrigue continued secret, until Yayati had two sons by Devayani and three by Sermishtha, when it was discovered by the former, and excited her resentment as well as that of her father. The violation of the king's promise was punished by premature decay, as denounced upon him by Sukra, with permission, however, to transfer his infirmities to anyone who would acccept them. Yayati appealed to his sons; of whom the youngest alone, Puru, consented to assume the burden. After a sufficient period, Yayati took his decrepitude back again, and left the sovereignty to Puru in reward of his filial piety.
All the sons of Yayati were the founders of distinguished families. The Pauravas were the descendants of Puru in whose line the Kaurava and the Pandava families were comprised.