Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sage Vishwamitra – Part 3 of 3


As Kaushika became more and more powerful, Indra again grew worried. He knew that he could not send Menaka again. Indra realized that Menaka was actually in love with Kaushika and secondly Menaka was prevented by Kaushika's curse to go back to him. Indra wondered what to do...What worked once, may work again...
He called Rambha, the queen of the apsaras. 'Rambha, you have to go to speak with Kaushika, will you...?'
Rambha shook her head, 'Indra do you think I am foolish?...You have already successfully broken his meditation once....He was so angry at that time...If I try to break his meditation again, he will curse me...There is no way I am risking that...'
Indra shook his head, 'Rambha, Menaka is only an apsara...You are the queen of apsaras...If Menaka can break his meditation...Can't you do the same?...' Indra spoke in taunting words. The words hurt Rambha. She was also feeling slightly jealous. If Menaka can do it, it would be embarrassing if I can't do it...Her jealousy clouded her judgment. Rambha nodded her head, 'I will do it Indra.'
Indra smiled as Rambha left for earth that day.
Just like Menaka, Ramha also transformed the wild and untamed Himalayas into a beautiful spring garden. She prepared beautiful fragrant garlands and danced before Kaushika.
Kaushika opened his eyes, when he had a sense of deja vu. The same thing had happened a long time ago. Even now sometimes, he had memories of Menaka, thought not with the same intensity as before...He remembered it all as if from someone else's life...He was through it now...
But this time instead of Menaka, there was some else before him. Kaushika took a deep breath and closed his eyes. He concentrated and used his powers of meditation to find out the reason behind Rambha's visit. He saw in his mind's eye, Indra's talk to Rambha and how Rambha had agreed to come...
Kaushika opened his eyes...as he saw Rambha dance, this time instead of falling in love, he became angry...This woman was acting under the orders of that foolish Indra...Kaushika opened his mouth and uttered a curse in anger, 'You foolish woman! I curse you...' Rambha stopped dancing looking at Kaushika with fear, 'I curse you that you will become a rock for ten thousand years...'
Rambha screamed. But before she could do anything, she turned into a huge rock then and there. [Rambha was freed from her curse by Sage Vasishta – Kaushika's rival]
Kaushika looked at huge rock which stood in the place where Rambha was dancing and immediately felt guilty. He had given out a harsh curse to a woman who was just following orders...All this was the doing of Indra...not this woman...Kaushika was again disappointed. He felt that all his years of meditation were a waste...He had still not mastered his temper...He was dejected...first he had broken his meditation by love and now by his anger...He was still not in control of his senses. He closed his eyes and he realized that he was getting angry with Indra for no reason.... Indra is not my enemy...neither is Rambha...I cannot control my senses...That is what is going against me...I have to master myself...Kaushika realized. I need to perform meditation to gain control over myself...
Thinking thus, Kaushika again started his meditation with renewed vigour. This time his intensity and focus was unmatched. Kaushika had given up eating, drinking and even breathing...He was so totally immersed in the Brahman that everything else stopped existing for him.
Indra was now totally worried. Kaushika was becoming more and more powerful and there was nothing he could do to stop the man...After hearing what happened to Rambha, no apsara was ready to even look at Kaushika, let alone go near him.
Indra thought and wondered what to do...he was looking at Kaushika who was breaking his fast after his long penance and meditation...Suddenly he had an idea...
Back on earth, Kaushika was about to take his meals, after his meditation, when he saw a poor, pathetic looking man come towards him. The man looked like he was learned man, who had seen bad days. He was stumbling forward and walking as if in a daze. Kaushika left his food and ran forward and caught the man. He made the man sit down and gave him some water from his kamandalam. The man gratefully accepted the water. The man drank the water and closed his eyes. His eyes then became clearer and spoke to Kaushika, 'Thank you kind sage! Thank you so much...You saved my life...' The man croaked. Kaushika smiled and patted the man. Finally the man spoke again, 'Sir, I am hungry! Would you please...' The man said pointing at the food before Kaushika. Without a second's notice, Kaushika nodded his head. 'Please take what you want...'
The man frowned, 'Don't you want any of it?'
Kaushika smiled and shook his head, 'Not as much as you want it...'
The man fumbled, 'I will go and clean myself and come...I like my food hot...' He said with relish looking at the food. Kaushika smiled. 'There is a river nearby friend! Go wash yourself! When you are fresh, you will find your food hot!'
The man went away towards the river. Kaushika closed his eyes and started his meditation...his hunger forgotten. He looked at the place where the food was kept and recited a mantra...No matter when the man would come, the food would be hot...
The man, who was none other than Indra wantonly took a long time cleaning and washing himself. It would be impossible for anyone to keep up their fast while staring at food before them...I will take as long as possible...Kaushika will surely break his fast and then I will ask for food...But Indra had badly miscalculated this time. Kaushika had started totally mastering himself...He had no such yearning for the food.
Though Indra came after a long time, Kaushika not once even looked at the food. Indra to his surprise found that the mantras of the sage had even kept the food hot for him. Indra grudgingly realized that the sage had powers greater than his and that he could not stop him any more. Indra went home a dejected man, as Kaushika felt an enormous power flow though him...He felt like he was finally controlling himself...
However it was at this time that another problem came up. Kaushika had a friend – Trishanku. Trishanku was the king of the Ishkawaku dynasty [The same dynasty of Rama]. Kaushika and Trishanku were very good friends. Their friendship went back to the days when Kaushika was a king of a huge kingdom. After Kaushika had been defeated by Sage Vasishta when he wanted Nandini, the heavenly cow, he had given up his throne and gone away in a fit of anger. Unfortunately at that time a great famine struck Kaushika's kingdom. The people in the kingdom would have died from the drought. However Trishanku looked after Kaushika's family and his kingdom and made sure everyone had enough food to eat. Kaushika never forgot Trishanku's gesture and wanted to repay him back in some means.
Trishanku was extremely good looking and handsome. However as he was learning from his teachers about the facts of life and death, he learnt that after death every person had to shed his body and his soul would alone go to heaven. But this worried Trishaku. I will not be able to go to heavens in my good looking body?...That cannot be good...There has to be a way by which I can go to heaven in my own body...I will ask my teacher whether that can be possible...
So the very next day, Trishanku went to see Sage Vasishta, his teacher. 'Sir!' He bowed to Sage Vasishta, 'Sir! I have a request for you!' Sage Vasishta nodded his head and asked Trishanku to continue. Trishanku hesitatingly continued, 'Sir! Is it possible to go to heavens with the body that I have right now....Please...' He said. Sage Vasishta shook his head. 'No Son! That is not possible...Your soul is what you are...Not your body...Your body keeps changing with every birth you have...Whereas your soul belongs to the Brahman...that is the only thing which always lives forever, not your body...Do not have any attachments with physical things like your body or other material comforts...'
Trishanku was however not satisfied, 'Please sir! I think it can be done...can you...'
Sage Vasishta lost his patience, 'Enough! I have heard enough of your foolishness...I say it cannot be done...that means it cannot be done...And that is that' Sage Vasishta yelled at Trishanku. Trishanku knew that no amount of convincing could change the Sage's statement.
Trishanku sadly went away from Sage Vasishta's hermitage.
As he was walking, Trishanku came to another ashrama. Sage Vasishta had a hundred sons. All the hundred sons together had a ashrama. Trishnaku went inside the ashrama and talked to them. 'Look, I just want to know whether you would be interested in performing a yagna for me...by which I can go to heavens in my own body...'
However Trishanku should have known better. He should have known that Sage Vasishta's sons would not go against their father. The request of Trishanku angered Sage Vasishta's sons. 'You have come here to ask for our help, after our father refused to help you! How could you even think we would help you?...If we entertain you...it would amount to insulting our father....'
Another son yelled at Trishaku, 'You dare come to us! For this I curse you...you are so proud of your body are you not? You will not have a good looking body hence forth.' Trishanku opened his mouth to stop the curse. But the son continued, '...You will look ugly and deformed and nobody would even want to look at you....' The son released the curse. Trishanku trembled as he heard the curse. He felt his body change. He saw the sons of Trishanku come and jeer at him, looking at his face. Trishanku saw his own men look at him and turn their face away...Trishanku hid his face and ran to the river nearby. Trembling and shivering he looked inside the water and what he saw appalled him. In the reflection, there was a hideous looking man...! The curse of Sage Vasishta's son had deprived him of the one thing he was really proud about...Trishanku wailed in frustration as he thumped his hands on the rocks near the river....But no amount of wailing could bring back what he had lost.
Now Trishanku felt totally alone and lost. Stumbling and fumbling Trishanku walked in the dense forests. He totally abhorred looking at all people and avoided everyone at all costs! As he walked on and on he reached the ashrama of Kaushika.
As Kaushika was about to begin his morning prayers, he saw a hideously ugly looking man come and look at him. However Kaushika never saw any of that. The only thing which he did see was the king hearted man, who had looked after his family and kingdom, when he had left them. Kaushika ran forward and embraced Trishanku. Trishanku felt a little uneasy as he was among people after a long time. However Kaushika's love opened him up. Kaushika made sure Trishanku ate well and rested well. Only after this he asked the reason why Trishanku had come here...
Trishanku spoke in broken words, 'You...know how handsome and good looking I was....' Kaushika nodded his head and did not say anything. 'Sage Vasishta and his sons took all that away from me...All for what?' He said angrily, 'All because I wanted to go to heaven in my own body...' Trishanku spoke with blood shot eyes, 'I think it can be done. But those people refused to even listen to me...Vasishta's sons even cursed me and took away my good looks.' Trishanku was almost reduced to tears as he spoke with trembling tones.
Kaushika thought what the king told him and spoke quietly, 'I can make sure that I send you to heaven in your own form, Trishanku...' Trishanku looked at Kaushika with hope in his eyes. However Kaushika held up his hands, 'But listen to me. I can also change you to your previous good looking form ...But if I do that, I would lose quiet a lot of my penance energy. I doubt whether I would be able to send you to heavens with the remaining energy I have...What do you wish I do?' Kaushika asked Trishanku. Trishanku thought about the jeering faces of the sons of Sge Vasishta. He knew how they would feel when he went up to heavens in his own form...Their face would be something priceless to look at. He looked at Kaushika. 'Send me to heavens in the same form that I am right now..' Kaushika patted his friend. 'Don't worry friend! I will make all arrangements for your yagna..Take rest and take good care of yourself...' Saying this Kaushika walked away from there.
There was another reason Kaushika wanted to perform the yagna, which he did not tell Trishanku..Sage Vasishta had told Trishanku that nobody could be sent to heavens in their own body..To do something that even the great Sage Vasishta cannot do, would be something like a crowning achievement for him...Kaushika was gleefully thinking as he set about making his preparations for the yagna.
He invited the sages from all over the country to attend the yagna. All of them fearing the sage's curse attended the yagna. Predictably the only two exceptions were Sage Vasishta and his hundred sons. Sage Vasishta had politely refused to attend the yagna. His sons sent back an insulting message to Kaushika telling him that they would not attend the yagna.
When Kaushika got the reply of the sons of Sage Vasishta, he lost control of himself. He cursed the sons of Sage Vasishta, however that is another story....
Kaushika started the yagna, with great pomp and show. He said the mantras and used his powers and made sure Trishanku raised up to the heavens in his own form. Trishanku and everyone else was amazed to find that he was actually rising to the heavens in his own form! Trishanku was about to enter the heavens in his form, when Indra, the Lord of the Heavens, came and saw an impossible thing.... A man was coming inside his kingdom in his own form! Indra was stupefied...such a thing had never ever happened! Indra stared and looked at Trishanku. He looked down at the earth and saw Kaushika's yagna. He understood that Trishanku was being sent up by the powers of Kaushika's own penance powers. Indra already knew that it was impossible to fight Kaushika and defeat him...But he could however deal with Trishanku. Once Trishanku came to heavens, he was in Indra's realm. Indra caught hold of Trishanku's neck and angrily told him, 'You silly man! You think you can break the law of nature! No man can ever come up to the heavens in their own form...Why should I make any exception for you...Take your hideous form and get out of here...' Indra threw Trishanku down with all the force he had. Trishanku was unable to protect himself and fell down, plunging straight back to earth. 'Kaushika! Help me!' He yelled as he fell face down.
Kaushika sensed that something had gone wrong. With only a few minutes to protect Trishanku, Kaushika uttered a mantra by which he stopped the falling Trishanku.
Kaushika looked at Indra angrily, 'Indra, you are foolish and arrogant...you think you can match wits with me and win! Never!' You are arrogant thinking you are the ruler of the heavens and that you can do anything...But I have the power of the Brahman, just see what I can do...'
Holding Trishanku suspended in midair, Kaushika using the remaining powers of his meditation, set about creating...He created his own world, and a heavens there...where Trishanku could go and reside...
Now Indra was scared...Kaushika had surpassed him! Kaushika was now actually displaying the powers of Brahma, the Creator God which were much greater than Indra's own power. Kaushika was actually creating a parallel universe, with another Indra...Indra shivered and wondered what to do. He along with Brahma went to see Kaushika, 'Kaushika! Your powers are great! You have shown the control you have over the Brahman, but you are changing the laws of nature...That should not be done...' However Kaushika was past caring. He continued creating another heaven for Trishanku to live in..Brahma and Indra desperately talked with Kaushika asking him to drop the idea and keep the balance of nature. 

Finally after a lot of requesting, Kaushika accepted. But he told Indra and Brahma, 'The world I have created for Trishanku would be for him and he can stay there only...That will be his heaven...The only concession I can give Indra is that Trishanku would rule only his own heaven, he would not be able to rule outside his heaven, on the earth or anywhere else.'
Indra said feeling a little disgruntled, 'Please... the only way to make sure that he rules only within his sphere, is to keep him upside down in the same form in which he was suspended by you...'
Kaushika realized that it was the only way to keep the balance of nature and reluctantly agreed to the condition. Thus Kaushika was able to create an alternate universe for his friend Trishanku, when he was refused the permission to go to heavens in his body form.
However after Kaushika had created the alternate universe for Trishanku he found that he had again depleted all his powers. He however had no regrets this time. He set about continuing his meditation and penance again. He gained much of his penance powers. Lord Brahma came and called him as 'Rajarishi'!
However that did not satisfy Kaushika. He again started his meditation and this time Lord Brahma came and conferred the title of 'Maharishi' on him. However Kaushika was still not satisfied. He performed some more meditation and penance and then went to ashrama of Sage Vasishta.
Sage Vasishta looked at Kaushika and said, 'Kaushika! I do not think you are great because of your powers...You are nothing more than a scoundrel..a scoundrel who wanted to steal my Nandini...'
Kaushika felt a change come over him when he heard the words of Sage Vasishta. He did not even react, not did he get angry. He was thinking about his silly little battle for Nandini. It all seemed so irrelevant now...He actually laughed. Kaushika at last felt completely in control of himself.
Sage Vasishta now looked at Kaushika with respect, 'Now you are totally in control of yourself, Kaushika! You are a Brahmarishi! Someone whom I would be proud to call my friend!'
Kaushika smiled. He knew that he and Sage Vasishta had now become best friends. It was at this time that Lord Brahma appeared there. 'Kaushika, you have been a good friend and you have helped all the people who have come to you...For this henceforth you will be called as 'Vishwamitra' – the friend of the universe. You are Brahmarishi Vishwamitra henceforth...'
Brahmarishi Vishwamitra smiled as he felt waves of peace pass through him. 

10 comments:

  1. Excellent efforts for keeping up Hindu Mythology

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great , I really liked the way you tell the story, However Can you tell what happened to Trishanku? And the Heaven Created by Vishvamitra? are there any other stories about that? Thank-You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear sir,
      There is a story about Trishanku. I will post it as soon as possible.However I do not know any story about the heaven created by Vishwamitra. If I come to know about it, I will post that also.

      Delete
  3. Thank you for shearing your knowledge.... :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is really good and I like the story very much

    ReplyDelete
  5. When Kaushika got the reply of the sons of Sage Vasishta, he lost control of himself. He cursed the sons of Sage Vasishta, however that is another story....

    Please post the story

    ReplyDelete
  6. This story cleared my mind and showed me where I should focus in life. Please continue your work. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. i feel you should attempt to compile these stories as a book...this blog is very obscure and your story telling is really goood

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really gr8 story which i can tell my son

    ReplyDelete