Ramayana Summary Ch.2

The Story of Viswamitra


Over the course of time, Dasaratha’s sons, Rama and Bharata, were born to Kausalya and Kaikeyi, respectively. Laksmana and Satrughna were born to Sumitra as twins. It is supposed that she got the twins because she had consumed the exquisite payasam (Sweet liquid) on two separate occasions.

The sons are typically thought of as pieces of Vishnu in the same proportion as the amount of payasam that their mothers drank, which may range anywhere from a little amount to a large amount. As a result, Rama was half Vishnu.

However, such computations are meaningless since it is mathematically impossible to measure the infinite using finite units. According to Sruti, even a little portion of the Supreme Being may stand on its own as an entire and complete being:

“What is whole is also what is entire; what has emerged from what is full is likewise complete.”
“Even if a part of the whole system is taken away, the integrity of the whole does not change.”

All of the education and experience that is required of princes was imparted to Dasaratha’s four sons. Both Rama and Laksmana, as well as Bharata and Satrughna, had an especially strong devotion to one another’s company. One possibility is that the distribution of the divine payasam among the king’s wives was the catalyst for the development of this unique friendship. Dasaratha was happy to see his four sons grow up to be strong, honest, brave, and loving young men who also had all the other traits of princes.

When the King was busy planning the weddings of his sons, his servants ran in to tell him that the famous Sage Viswamitra had come to meet him.

Everyone revered Viswamitra because he was considered the most powerful of all the rishis.
King Dasaratha was very surprised to see Viswamitra in Ayodhya. He quickly got up from his throne and moved a few steps forward to show the wise man the respect he deserved.

Viswamitra was a monarch who became a saint by subjecting himself to a life of severe asceticism. He had shown his spiritual abilities a very long time ago by beginning the process of creating another Brahma and a competing cosmos. He had gone as far as the formation of new constellations before he was persuaded to halt by the entreaties of the worried gods.

While Viswamitra was still king, he once led his army on an expedition, during which they happened across sage Vasishtha’s ashrama (hermitage). The rishi (sage) greeted his royal guest and his large group with warmth and gave them all such lavish hospitality that the King was left wondering where all the luxury in the woodland hermitage had come from.
When he asked him about it, Vasishtha called for his cow, Sabala, and told him that she was a source of food that would never run out.

King Viswamitra, wishing to convey his appreciation to the wise man, stated: “You have no choice but to hand over this cow to me since I can make better use of her than you.” “The King is legally entitled to possession of such powerful and wealthy assets.”
Now, as Vasishtha was unwilling to let go of the celestial cow, gave the King a lot of reasons why he shouldn’t go through with his request and begged him not to ask for the cow.
However, the King’s desire to get Sabala, the cow, increased in proportion to the degree to which he resisted giving it up.

When Viswamitra’s attempts to convince the sage to part with the cow by bribery or other means were unsuccessful, he grew enraged and ordered his soldiers to take the cow by force.

Sabala was confused as to why she was being treated brutally, and she had no desire to leave the sage or his ashrama even though she was being forced by the king’s men. She started crying as she tried to figure out how she could have possibly angered Vasishtha so much for him to just stand there and watch as she was being taken away. The cow was able to effortlessly throw off the soldiers’ pursuit, and she sought safety at the feet of the wise man.

The sage was moved by the pitiful cry of his beloved cow, who was like a younger sister to him, and he responded, “Bring out warriors to oppose Viswamitra’s men.” (Bring forth soldiers to fight Viswamitra’s men.)
This was accomplished almost immediately by Sabala, and the attackers were quickly put down. Viswamitra, overcome with fury, climbed into his chariot and drew his bow before raining arrows down on the warriors who had been called out by the cow. However, the soldiers’ strength could not be depleted, and the royal forces were ultimately defeated. Viswamitra’s sons decided to attack Vasishtha himself, but in the end, they were burnt to ashes.

Viswamitra was humiliated and defeated, so he gave his kingdom to one of his sons and went to the Himalayas to practice tapas and worship Lord Siva so he could get the strength to defeat Vasishtha. Viswamitra’s devotion was steadfast and unwavering. Lord Siva was delighted with Viswamitra’s devotion to asceticism and made an appearance in front of him. He inquired of the monarch as to the purpose of the performance of tapas.
Viswamitra responded by saying, “If you, Umapati, are happy with the results of my tapas, then please bless me with divine arrows and make me the master of all weapons.”

Siva replied, “So be it,” and then granted Viswamitra every weapon that was accessible to the Devas, Gandharvas, Rishis, Yakshas, and Demons.

Viswamitra’s pride was comparable to that of the ocean, and he believed that Vasishtha had already been defeated. He didn’t waste any time and headed directly for the wise man’s home. The students of Vasishtha and the animals that lived in his ashram fled in every direction when they caught a glimpse of the terrifying Viswamitra charging at them.

The hermitage that belonged to Vasishtha burned to the ground because Viswamitra was using a weapon that was made of fire.
Vasishtha was upset by how things turned out, but he was determined to stop the former king from being rude, so he went up to him calmly with his Brahmadanda, which is a holy stick.
Viswamitra unleashed all of the heavenly weapons he had obtained and fired them at the rishi, but they were extinguished as they neared the rishi’s staff and were consumed by it. Viswamitra’s fury drove him mad.
Only one more weapon remained in Viswamitra’s arsenal, and it was the one that was the most formidable of them all: the Brahmastra. When he threw it towards Vasishtha, the whole universe became enveloped in darkness, as if a massive eclipse were taking place, and even the immortals shook with horror. But the terrible astra’s essence was taken in by the rishi’s staff, making both the staff and the holy man shine with the beauty they had taken in.
Viswamitra just stood there in shock. He then admitted that he was wrong and said, “What use does the Kshatriyas’ superiority in the arts of war serve?” This Vasishtha, armed with nothing more than a stick, has rendered all of my weapons useless. It is true that Lord Siva has tricked me: “There is no other option for me but to follow in Vasishtha’s footsteps and become a Brahma Rishi.” After he said this, he left the battlefield and headed south to do more difficult tapas.
Viswamitra was subjected to dreadful asceticism for a considerable amount of time. Brahma, who was impressed by his steadfastness, walked up to him and introduced himself. Brahma left the scene after telling Viswamitra that he had become a rishi among the kings because of the tapas he had done.
Viswamitra was disheartened to learn that the results of all his penance would merely earn him the title of Raja Rishi. He wouldn’t be happy with anything less than the highest status of a Brahma Rishi, so he did even more extreme austerities to be on the same level as Vasishtha.


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