There was a king by name Swetaki who was equal to Indra himself, in prowess and strength. No one on earth equalled him in sacrifices, charity, and intelligence.
Swetaki performed the five great sacrifices and many other sacrifices, his heart having always been set upon sacrifices, religious rites, and presenting gifts of all kinds to others.
Swetaki performed sacrifices for so many years that at one stage, the priests conducting the sacrifices had their eyes afflicted by the continued smoke. Having become very weak, they left the king, not willing to assist him in his sacrifices any more. The king managed to complete the sacrifices with the help of some other people.
After some time, the king wanted to perform another sacrifice which would take a hundred years. But he couldn’t get any priest to conduct this sacrifice, in spite of his beseeching them, offering them great wealth etc.
The king became angry. He went to the asylum where the Brahmins were sitting and told them, “If I were a sinful person or if haven't treated you properly, you would be justified in abandoning me. But I am not sinful and I have not been wanting in treating you with respect. I request you not to obstruct my sacrifice by refusing to help me. I seek your protection. But if you refuse to help me because of your hostility to me or due to some other motive, I will go to other priests and seek their help by conveying to them the purpose of my sacrifice and offering them a lot of wealth.”
The Brahmins told him, “O, king! Your sacrifices go on endlessly. By helping you in the sacrifices for such a long time, we have become fatigued. Give us leave. Go to Rudra. He will help you in conducting the sacrifice.”
Swetaki was angered by the Brahmins’ response. He went to the Kailasa mountain and began to meditate on Lord Siva. He performed rigorous penances for several months. Pleased by his austerity, Lord Siva appeared before him and offered to grant him any boon he would seek.
Swetaki said, “O god of gods, assist me in my sacrifice!'
Lord Siva said, “We do not ourselves assist at sacrifices. But since you have performed a rigorous penance, I will assist you in your sacrifice, on one condition. If you pour libations of butter into the fire for twelve years without intermission, while you lead the life of a Brahmachari, you will get what you want.”
Swetaki did what Lord Siva asked him to do for 12 years. After 12 years, he came back to Lord Siva.
Lord Siva told him, “I have been gratified by your deed. But the duty of assisting in sacrifices properly belongs to the Brahmins. Therefore, I will not myself assist you in your sacrifice. There is an exalted Brahmin called Durvasa, who is a portion of my own self. He will assist you in your sacrifice. You may make preparations for the sacrifice.”
The king returned to the capital and collected everything for the sacrifice. He then came back to Lord Siva and told him, “O lord! I have made all the preparations for the sacrifice. Please let me start the sacrifice tomorrow."
Siva summoned Durvasa and and asked him to assist Swetaka in the sacrifice.
The sacrifice was conducted by the king with the help of Durvasa.
After the sacrifice was successfully completed, the king presented huge gifts to the Brahmins who participated in the sacrifice. The king was praised by the Brahmins. He then returned to his palace. The citizens were also happy.
Since Swetaka spent so much of his life in conducting sacrifices, he was called Rajarishi (Royal Sage).
When the time came, Swetaka ascended to the Heaven.