Bal Kanda 7 - Ahlalya’s Saviour
Deepak M R is a professional writer and trainer. He has a rich work experience of more than 25 years in varies fields that include training, education, and consulting.
He is author of the novel Abhimanyu - the warrior prince (Bloomsbury, 2021). He is also once of the contributing authors in the anthologies Unsung Valour and Aryaa and has written Kindle eBook Mahabharata Tales: Justice for Draupadi and other stories.
Gautama’s curse caused Ahalya to become invisible and she stayed in the ashrama unseen to the world. Indra with the help of the Gods had gained the testicles of a male sheep and became fertile again. While cursing Ahalya, Gautama had told her that the curse would be redeemed when Rama visited the ashrama.
Having narrated the story, Vishwamitra asked Rama to save Ahalya. Rama then saw Ahalya and touched her feet. Gautama arrived there and worshipped Rama along with the purified Ahalya. Rama along with Lakshmana and Vishwamitra proceeded to Mithila.
The sage Shatananda, the son of Gautama, who was performing the sacrifice, thanked Rama for freeing his mother and uniting her again with his father. King Janaka was also happy to see King Dasharatha’s valorous sons in his kingdom.
Shatananda then told Rama and Lakshmana the story of Vishwamitra. The sage Vishwamitra was the son of Gadhi and a great ruler. The king who was travelling across his kingdom reached the sage Vasishta’s ashrama, which was like Brahma Loka. The sage received the king and showed excellent hospitality.
Vasishta then summoned the holy cow Shabala and brought forth a variety of foods, honey, curd, and sweets. Vishwamitra and his army enjoyed the food. Vishwamitra then asked the sage to give him the cow of plenty. The sage said the cow sustained his life and was the source of his learning. He could not abandon the cow.
Vishwamitra offered 10 million cows, 800 golden chariots, and 14,000 bejewelled elephants in exchange for Shabala. But the sage refused to part with the cow that sustained his sacrifices. The angry Vishwamitra then dragged the cow away. The cow wept before the sage asking him why he was abandoning her.
The sage said he was helpless before the king’s army. The cow then asked the sage to use his energy through her. The sage’s power then ensured a huge army of Pahlavas was created and the army massacred Vishwamitra’s army. The furious Vishwamitra then destroyed the Pahlavas. The cow then created an army of Shakas and Yavanas.
Vishwamitra used his weapons to destroy the army. Vasishta then created an army of Kambojas, Yavanas, Shakas, Haritakas, and Kiratakas from the cow. Vishwamitra’s entire army was destroyed by the soldiers. Vishwamitra’s 100 sons then charged at Vasishta. The sage uttered the hunkara and reduced Vishamitra’s sons to ashes.
Only one son was left, and a devastated Vishwamitra tasked the son to rule the kingdom. Humiliated, Vishwamitra went to the Himalayas to meditate before Mahadeva. After performing austerities for many years, Shiva appeared before him. Vishwamitra then obtained the knowledge of all vedas and weapons from the Lord.
The arrogant Vishwamitra then burnt down Vasistha’s ashrama using his weapons. The angry Vasishta then used his powers to create celestial weapons. Vishwamitra hurled a range of weapons, including the aindra, varuna, pashupata, shoshana, kala pasha, danda, and even the Brahmastra. But Vasishta used his staff to absorb the energy from all the weapons.
Vishwamitra’s arrogance was quelled. He realised that all the power and weapons of a Kshatriya were nothing before the staff of a brahmana. He then decided to perform austerities to become a brahmana. After 1000 years of austerities, Brahma appeared before him and announced that he would be a rajarshi (a raja or king equivalent to a rishi or sage).
Vishwamitra was not satisfied and continued with his austerities. At that time, king Trishanku of the Ikshvaku clan came to Vishwamitra. Trishanku who had a desire to go to heaven in his physical body had approached his guru Vasishta who had refused. Chastened, he went to Vasishta’s sons asking for their help. The angry sons of Vasishta cursed him to be a chandala who stays in the cemetery with dead bodies.
…. to be continued