“Rishi Vishvamitra – The King Who Became a Great Sage”
“Rishi Vishvamitra – The King Who Became a Great Sage
Rishi is a Sanskrit word for an accomplished and enlightened person to whom knowledge is revealed. Rishis or sages
who after intense meditation realized the supreme truth and eternal knowledge.
Maharishi Vishvamitra (महर्षि विश्वामित्र) is considered to be one of the most revered rishis of ancient India. As per the holy
Puranas, there have been only 24 Rishis who have understood the Gayatri Mantra. It is believed that Sage
Vishvamitra is supposed to be the first and Yajnavalkya the last. He is credited as the author of the majority
portion of the Mandala 3 of the Rig-Veda.
The name “Vishvamitra” literally means “friend of the world”. He is a famous figure in other Southeast Asian
cultures as well mainly because of his role in Ramayana. He is referred to by Vishwamitra, Viswamitra, Vishvamitra,
Vishvamitra, competently ruled the kingdom for many years, before he finally gave up everything and went on to
become a saint.
The Vishnu Purana and Harivamsha chapter 27 of the Mahabharata describes the birth of this great sage. As per
Vishnu Purana, Kaushika married a damsel of the Purukutsa dynasty. In due course of time, they had a son…
There were many more clashes between the two sages and at times, Brahma, the god of creation, had to interfere.
An anger Vashista takes out his Brahmadanda, a wooden stick filled with the power of Brahma. It spent all of Vishwamitra’s most powerful weapons, including his Brahmastra. He then tried to attack his marauder, but the Devas
interjected in time and stopped him from doing this. In this way, Vishwamitra was humiliated once again at the hands of Sage Vasishtha.
The above-mentioned incident deeply affected Vishwamitra’s life. He realized that spiritual power was greater than physical strength. He renounced his throne and began his journey to become a great sage. After undergoing intense meditation and severe Tapasya, he was given the title of Brahmarishi by Lord Brahma himself.
Vishvamitra is featured in many legends and different works of the Sanatana dharma. It is said that Sage Vishwamitra created parallel heaven, known as Trishanku Swarga, for King Trishanku. In Ramayana, Vishvamitra is the preceptor of Lord Rama and the seventh Avatar of Vishnu and his brother Lakshmana.
Menaka was born from the churning of the ocean by the Devas and the Asuras (Samudra Manthan). She was the most beautiful, talented, and intelligent apsaras. She went on to become one of the prime apsaras in Lord Indra’s court. (Apsaras and Gandharvas)
Vishvamitra’s severe penance and his rapid climb in the spiritual realm frightened Indra and even tried to create another heaven. Indra then decided to send Menaka down to Earth to lure the rishi and distract him from his mediation. She successfully breaks the meditation of Vishvamitra. However, she fell in love with him and a baby girl was born called Shakuntala. He was later growing in Sage Kanva’s ashram and falls in love with King Dushyanta and gives birth to a child called Bharata.
When Vishvamitra understood how he had been tricked by Indra, he flew into a rage. However, he loved Menaka deeply and also knew the true extent of her feelings for him. So he told her that she would be separated from him forever. Menaka was very proud of her youth and beauty.
Vishvamitra had faced numerous difficulties along his journey towards becoming a Brahmarishi. This made him mellow, freeing him up of his greed, jealousy, anger, and all other negative emotions. Once a Brahmin tried his level best to bother him and make him angry. But Vishvamitra continued to remain calm and smiling throughout; thus proving that he had gained complete control over his emotions and passions.
He continued his intense sadhana for many years until the day Lord Brahma appeared before him. Lord Brahma was pleased with his austerity and called him a Brahma Rishi. Rishi Vasishtha also appeared before Vishvamitra and
said, “Indeed you are a Brahma Rishi.”
After facing thousands of years of massive problems, Vishvamitra was finally conferred the title of Brahmarishi, by
both Lord Brahma and Rishi Vasishtha.
(Last Updated On: July 25, 2020)”