Episode 71 – Sage Vishwaamithra narrates his own story to Rama and Lakshmana

rama-sita

In the previous episode we witnessed that the two children, Rama and Lakshmana convey their wish to Sage Vishwaamithra that they would follow him wherever he takes them along. Upon hearing this from them, Sage Vishwaamithra also agrees to their wish and they again start their journey from the “Siddhaashrama”. Today let us see where did they go further and the subsequent interesting narratives that took place all along their journey!

Thus, the three of them commence their journey from “Siddhaashramam”. For a moment, let us recall their journey in terms of the present day cities in India. The journey commenced from Ayodhya (A city in the present day Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) and proceeded eastwards all along the banks of the river Sarayu (This river exists even today), reach the place where the Sarayu river meets the Ganges and have so far reached the place called Buxar, via a place called Chappra, which is at the border between the two Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. This is where the “Siddhaashramam” is located and the three of them are currently at this spot.

From this Buxar, they proceed northwards now and walk their way towards Patna, in the banks of the river Ganges. (I’m sure, this place would be known to many of us, as Patna is the capital of the present day Indian state of Bihar). They proceed further northwards from Patna and reach the city of “Vishaala”. This Vishaala city in the present day is known as Hajipur, in the state of Bihar. Thus, through the city of Vishaala (Hajipur), they cross the entire state of Bihar and enter into the borders of the present day neighboring country of Nepal. About 60-70 kilometers inside the Nepal-India border, is a place called “Sita-Mari”, which is the birthplace of Goddess Sita Devi. These three didn’t go there, but they cross this place “Sita-Mari” and now proceed in the north-eastern direction to finally reach Mithilapuri, which is the capital city of King Janaka. Hence, it is to this Mithilapuri or Janakpuri that Sage Vishwaamithra is going to take the two children along!

Thus, the three of them commence their journey from Siddhaashrama:

“Uttharaamdishamuddishya prasthaathumupa chakkrame!”

Thus they are now walking towards the northern direction (Utthara Disha) and now they reach the banks of the river Ganges. They halt for that night in the riverbank. It is to be recalled that they had already halted along the banks of the rivers Sarayu and Shrona in their previous leg of their journey. Sage Vishwaamithra narrates stories to the two children wherever they halt. Now when they halt at the Ganges, Sage Vishwaamithra narrates how he was born and how he became a “Brahma-Rishi”. I shall narrate the story in brief for our understanding: The readers should carefully go through the family traditions here, as it might be a little confusing.

The “family tree” starts from Lord Brahma. Kusha was the son of Lord Brahma, Kushanaaba was the son of Kusha and Gaadhi was the son of Kushanaaba. It is only to this Gaadhi, that Sage Vishwaamithra was born! Gaadhi was already having a daughter by name Sathyavati. However, Gaadhi’s wife had a desire to be blessed with a son. (It is to be noted that Gaadhi is a “Kshathrya”. Thus, Sage Vishwaamithra is also a “Kshathrya” by birth, but he wanted to attain the status of a “Brahma-Rishi” later in his life and thus he became a Sage). Thus, Gaadhi’s daughter Sathyavati was given in marriage to the Brahmin Sage Richeeka. (On a lighter moment, we can note here that inter-caste marriage was already popular even in those days!)

As mentioned before, Gaadhi’s wife was having a desire to be blessed with a son. At the same time, the newly married Sathyavati also had a desire to be blessed with a son. Thus both these women approach Sage Richeeka (Husband of Sathyavati) for a solution. Sage Richeeka accordingly prepares two sets of “Charu” (In simpler terms, “Paayasam” or “Nectar”) – One for each! Thus he prepares one cup of “Charu” for his wife and one for his mother in law! The “Charu” that he prepared for his own wife, was intended to give birth to a Brahmin boy and the “Charu” that he prepared for his mother in law was intended to give birth to a Kshathrya prince. However, the mother in law, with her selfish attitude thinks for a moment that the cup of “Charu” that the Sage prepared for Sathyavati would be of a higher quality and order, and thus, without anybody’s knowledge, she quickly consumes the “Charu” that was meant for Sathyavati. Thus we can see here that, the consumption of the “Charu” by the two ladies was inter-changed!

Much later after this, Sathyavati realizes the issue and feels bad and ashamed! Hence she asks her husband (Sage Richeeka)’s forgiveness and asks for a corrective measure. Sage Richeeka refuses to budge to her request and conveys that the son who is to be born to Sathyavati is going to be a person who would be full of “Kshathrya Tejas” and will be an embodiment of anger! Upon hearing this, Sathyavati was stunned and starts crying! She falls on her husband’s feet and requests him to do something to prevent this unfortunate situation! Sage Richeeka thinks for a moment and says, “Oh my dear Sathyavati! This situation cannot be avoided completely, however, I can “postpone” this to the next generation”. This means that, this son with full of anger and ferocity would be born to the son of Sathyavati (The next generation). Thus, Sathyavati and Sage Richeeka were blessed with a son by name “Jamadagni”. Ideally, this Jamadagni should have been born with the anger and ferocity, but since Sage Richeeka “altered” the course a little bit, the son of this Jamadagni, “Jaamadagnya” or “Parasuraama” was born with this extreme “Kshathrya Tejas” and anger. Thus, we can see here that, Parasuraama shared a very close relationship with Sage Vishwaamithra! Thus, Parasurama was the grandson of Sage Richeeka and was supposed to be a Brahmin by birth. But he had all the characteristics of a “Kshathrya Prince” with lot of anger. It is thus due to this inter-change of the “Charu” during the birth!

So far, we’ve seen the story of Sage Richeeka and Sathyavati. Now let’s look into the story of Gaadhi and his wife. Gaadhi and his wife were blessed with a son, who was none other than Sage Vishwaamithra. Since Gaadhi’s wife had consumed the wrong “Charu”, although they were Kshathryas, they were blessed with a son who had an immense interest of being a great saint. It is thus, Sage Vishwaamithra although being a Kshathrya by birth, had the interest of becoming a “Brahma-Rishi” and after innumerable years of deep penance, he obtained this high status!

Thus, Sage Vishwaamithra narrates this story to the children and explained to them that this is how he was born! After this story narration, they proceed further northwards and as they progress, Sage Vishwaamithra narrates subsequent stories. What is the next story? Let’s wait till the next episode!

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