Arrival at Mithila | May 3, 2021 | Bala Kandam Episode 18

Highlights from this discourse:

Sri Rama and Lakshmana arrive at Mithila along with Sage Vishwamitra. While continuing his narration of Srimad Ramayana, Sri Swamiji also shares profound words of wisdom:

– We need to associate ourselves with Bhagavan in some way! To enable this is a reason for Bhagavan to take avatara on earth.

– Why do we dress up a child? For our own happiness. Similarly why do we worship Bhagavan? For our own upliftment!

– Lord Shiva is an extreme virakta – he adorns himself with what others discard and shun, lives in a cremation ground, and is covered in ashes. On the other hand Lord Vishnu is the epitome of opulence – he is bedecked in the most precious of jewels and silken clothes, the loveliest of flowers and fragrances. What do these two deities who are at each end of the spectrum show us? What is the philosophy they both show us? Read or listen to Sri Swamiji’s wonderful explanation below.

– Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s lesson on kainkaryam

– Why is Bharata the apt name of this land?

– A sample, long list of names of Mahans who lived in and around Tiruvannamalai

– Why Videha desha came to called so – King Nimi’s story

– The story and glory of the mighty Shiva dhanush – the Pinaka

– Lord Ganesha, the one who removes or creates obstacles! – the incident of Mahaperiyava and the temple elephant

– Sage Vishwamitra, Rama and Lakshmana enter into Mithila where a yagna is being performed for King Janaka

– King Janaka is enamored by Rama and Lakshmana

– How to express gratitude to someone? By speaking about the greatness of their Guru!

– Greatness of Guru bhakti

– Guru bhakti of Sri Mahaperiyava, Sri Gnanananda, Sri Yogi Ramsuratkumar, 

– The importance of perseverance and the example of Sage Vishwamitra’s charitram for this

– The great battle between Vishwamitra and Sage Vasishta

– Vishwamitra realizes that the strength of jnana is the true strength, not that of physical strength or even divine weapons.

Read the translated transcript of the entire discourse below.

Listen to this Bala Kandam Episode 18 discourse (Tamil with English subtitles) on Global Organisation for Divinity Facebook page:

Complete transcript of Sri Swamiji’s live online Srimad Ramayana discourse – Bala Kandam Episode #18

Bhagavan, who is Shriyapati, because of his absolute compassion, comes down to that earth which even the Devas are hesitant to step on, and takes many avatars and does many leelas. If there is no avatar of Bhagavan, there is no Bhagavata Dharma. Bhagavata Dharma has two foundations – shravanam and kirtanam. They both are like the pillars. If there were no such Bhagavan’s avatars, whose stories will we listen to and about who will we sing? Only because we have Bhagavan’s avatars, we are able to listen to His gunas, we are able to sing about His leelas. We are able to think about Bhagavan’s compassion. The basis of Bhagavata Dharma is Bhagavan’s avatars. Bhagavan made many avatars only to promote Bhagavata Dharma. Only if he promotes it that way… Only when Bhagavan takes an avatar and establishes His stories, people can listen to them and become pure. By thinking about Bhagavan, they will become pure. By singing His form, leelas (pastimes) or His gunas, they will become pure. That’s the reason why Bhagavan incarnated on earth.

Since He incarnated on earth, we have so many archavataras of Bhagavan today, we have so many temples today… And because we happened to have so many archavataras and temples today, we are somehow able to associate ourselves by going to those temples, and by doing kainkarya we are also able to purify ourselves, because of those archatavara sannidhis. We have to somehow associate ourselves with Bhagavan. By trying to poison Bhagavan, Poothana associated herself with Him. She too attained satgati (liberation). It was the same for Bakasura. The same way, even for a person who came to poison Bhagavan, attained satgati. So, what does Bhagavatam show us here? Associate yourself with Bhagavan in some way. Go and clean the temples. Go and sweep the temple floors. Go and make garlands in the temple. Go and do purappaadu (procession) for Bhagavan. Go and hold the torches for Bhagavan during the procession. Prostrate and pray! Using some way, find a way to purify yourself. Don’t think that Bhagavan wants all these! What are we doing here? For our own happiness, for our chitta shuddhi, for our own vairagya, for our jnana, we are doing all these.

Say there is a five or six month old baby in our home. We adorn that baby with gold chains, anklets, a gold ring and dress the child in a silk skirt and blouse. That baby doesn’t even know it is a skirt made of silk, nor does it know anything about gold or diamonds. We dress the baby with all these and clap and say, “See, how the baby looks!”, and we laugh happily. What is the gain from dressing the baby? We do it for our happiness. What do we gain from doing the same for Bhagavan? It’s for our happiness. See how our Prabhu (Bhagavan) looks like by adorning all these! You should not think Bhagavan doesn’t have these or that you did something for him. Who can give anything to Bhagavan!

I’ve been saying that Saivam and Vaishnavam are the two main religions. Saivam’s deity Parameshwara, who is Kailasapathy himself… How is he? In this world, there is a flower that no one likes – thumba poo or oomattham poo (Datura), or erukkam poo (crown flower). About thirty or forty years ago, there used to be a flower that bloomed in the month of December. That also never had any fragrant smell. That flower will be long, white or red in color. They used to sell hundreds of flowers for a price. Even that flower had a price, whereas thumbapoo or erukkam poo don’t have any value. These flowers that no one even comes near and which people find disgusting, Lord Shiva wears them happily on his head. Whatever people find even hesitant to think about is a skeleton and skull. “Don’t even talk about it.” Or else when we walk on the road and find a transformer, there would be a sign with two bones and a skull to indicate it is dangerous so that people will be scared to go near. Shiva is wearing a chain made of skulls. He has smeared himself with the ashes from cremation ground. Why? It is to show that he takes whatever people don’t like and doesn’t desire, he is taking them all himself. This itself is a sacrifice – kabala mala (chain made of skulls), thumba poo, erukkam poo, oomattham poo, ashes from cremation ground. If you ask, where is his house? – it’s a cremation ground… a place no one likes to live. deer skin… if you look at his hands, there is agni and an axe… he is like that…

Similarly, if you look at Vishnu, in Srimad Bhagavatam where it talks about Bhagavan incarnating… “tam adbhutam bAlakam ambujekShaNam chaturbhujam” He has such a beautiful crown, such a beautiful Vaijayanthi garland, such a beautiful srivatsa, such a beautiful conch, such a beautiful chakra, “Arha vaidUrya krIda kunDalam tvishat” – crown and earrings beautifully studded with gems. Perumal is wearing such enchanting diamonds and gems and shining brightly. He wears only pitambaram (silken yellow garment)! He wears only [the exquisite] Vaijayanti mala! Vishnu being the main deity of Vaishnava matam, is always wearing diamonds and gems, with silken garments, holding a conch and a chakra, with four hands – He is like that! He has taken the most exquisite flowers, and is wearing a lotus garland. He is wearing blue lotuses (nilOtpala) as a garland. He is wearing vrukshi pushpam as a garland. He is wearing tulsi as a garland. He is wearing champak flower as a garland. Similarly, he always wears a scent. He has all these fragrances. And is very well adorned.

One swami, Shiva is one way and another swami (Vishnu) is in a different way – what does this show us? Say, there is a sanyasi with a lot of vairagya. He wears either a kaupIna (loincloth) or ties a saffron color cloth around himself, holds a stick in his hand and a vessel for holding water. He will beg for food (bhiksha) from a few others and eat. Once he is old, he stops going for bhiksha. He just drinks milk and some fruits – whatever he could get. If you go to that sanyasi and tell him, “Swami, I would like to give you a gold chain.” Would he like it? Whoever is giving is a fool! He will look at you and laugh, saying “Why do I need this? Please take it and go.” He is a mumukshu (one who desires for liberation) – a moksha kaman. Pushing away this world thinking it is just an illusion and pushing away any desires, and always having brahmasakshatkara as his only goal – what would he get from this world? It need not be gold or diamond, even if you tell him, “I have bought a cot for you to lie down”, he will laugh at you. Even if you tell him that you have bought them a good mattress, he won’t like it. He will go and rest under the shade of a tree, or verandah outside a house or a temple. So, to someone who is such a truthful mumukshu and such a sanyasi who has a great virakti towards the world, you cannot give them anything but only prostrate before them.

Say, there is someone who is very rich in this world. He doesn’t even know his own wealth. If say, there is a wedding in his family, even if you send him a thousand rupees or one lakh cheque as a gift, would it even matter to him? Such a crorepati, and if he is the number one wealthiest person, if we go to his family wedding, we will be staying in a corner stuck like a lizard on a wall. What is the worth of the gift we will be giving to him? Similarly, Vishnu is like that, glowing! Shiva is symbolising virakti! What do they both show us? That none of you can give me anything. Shiva is like a sanyasi, so you can’t give him anything! Vishnu is Shriyapati, Lakshmipati, so you can’t give him anything either! Both of them say, “Prostrate before us! We don’t need anything else. There is nothing I need from you.” That is the philosophy they both show us, isn’t it?

So, to promote Bhagavata Dharma in this world is the reason for Bhagavan’s avatars. That’s why Bhagavan is an archatavara in many temples like Krishna, in many temples like Rama, in many temples like Narasimha… To each of these temples, if we go with such a humility, without any ego, if we do kainkarya (service)… holding a fire torch Bhagavan is also kainkaryam… lifting a palanquin for Bhagavan is also kainkaryam… all of these are kainkaryam, but you should not think that one is better than the other. If you think, doing pravachan (vAchika kainkaryam) is the best, or standing in the front is the best, then it is not a kainkaryam at all. Who will get the benefit of kainkaryam? The one who has a mind to sacrifice gets the benefit of kainkaryam. kainkaryam praptam means kainkaryam palan praptam (getting the benefit of kainkaryam).

In Tiruvannamalai, Yogi Ramasuratkumar called Justice Arunachalam when he was there, I am appointing you as this ashram’s administrator and spiritual successor. Justice Arunachalam replied, “More than that, I would like to be a scavenger in this ashram.” The very next instant Yogi Ramasuratkar said, “In what way did you think this spiritual successor is better than a scavenger? Everything is equal in this ashram.” Whatever kainkaryam each of us could do, we do that. There is no high or low. So, when I do a kainkaryam along with the thought of me or mine, it becomes a job not a kainkaryam. It is a job! Leaving ahankara (me) and mamakara (mine) aside, if we think, we got this opportunity, and it is our fortune, and thinking will we ever get it, and that Bhagavan has considered even me and has included me in His seva, only then it becomes a kainkaryam. Only then will we get the benefit of kainkaryam!

By taking so many avatars, through his compassion he placed his stories for us, made all the Bhagavatas to do nama sankirtana, blessed us all with archavatara murthis in temples – even thinking that is not enough, he has blessed us all with archavatar murthi in each of our homes! Such a great pure land!

To say about this country, all the avatars of Bhagavan has happened here. Starting from Matsya avatar till today, all the avatars of Bhagavan has happened here, in this country. All the holy rivers run only in this country. Even today, tall gopuras (temple towers) that almost touch the sky and awe-inspiring temples are in this country. Such beautiful sculptures are here. Beautiful murthys full of sannidhya are here. Itihasas like Ramayana and Mahabharata, philosophical scriptures like Vedas and Upanishads, works of several Mahans who came subsequently and their kirtans are all here in this country.

Till date, innumerable Mahans have been appearing in this country. This Bharatha Desha, prior to India’s independence, consisted of several kingdoms ruled by small kings. Yet, what we call India today, was known as Bharata khanda. This Bharatha Desha, prior to India’s independence, consisted of several kingdoms ruled by small kings. When we look at Asia, there are so many countries in it. Despite there being several countries, all the countries put together is known as Asia. Similarly, even though a king was ruling South India, another was ruling Maharashtra, some other king in Bengal, another in Uttar Pradesh, and a different one in Uttarkhand, yet, all these [kingdoms] put together was known as Bharata khanda.

In Bhagavatham, it is mentioned that on the other side of the Himalayas is Rushi khanda and on this side is Bharata khanda. In the fifth canto of Bhagavatham, the map of the world is described. Rivers that are flowing and other details. The map of the world was described then itself. If we look at it as a picture, we will understand. The khanda [region] on the other side of the Himalayas was known as Rushya and this side as Bharata khanda. Why did they name it as Bharata khanda? King Dushyanth’s son, who was such a courageous child. Due to him this country is known as Bharata khanda or Bharata desha. It is a good explanation and is true as well. But, the name India was given by foreigners who came to study the culture and traditions of this land. Any civilization starts near a river. As this civilization started next to Sindhu river, they gave the name Sindhia. Sindhia slowly transformed into India. If you take the Nalayira Divyaprabandham or Thevaram or Vedas or Itihasas or Puranas, nowhere is the name India mentioned. Only Bharata khanda and Bharata desha are mentioned. Therefore, due to the [Dushyantha’s] child, this land is known as Bharata khanda, Bharata desha. But if we analyze the true reason. The term Bharata means Brahma Jnani. bhA rUpe brahmaNi ratA: iti bhAratam.

There is some soil…People from the agriculture department may analyze it and declare, “Plant wheat here, it will grow well here.” “Plant sugarcane in this soil. It will grow well.” “If you plant carrot here, it will grow well.” “In this soil, grapes will flourish.” In this manner they say. This implies that each soil has a potential. If we sow wheat in Tamil Nadu soil, it does not grow that well. It flourishes in Punjab. Here, rice grows well. Different crops thrive in different regions. Likewise, in this soil of Bharata desha irrespective of whether wheat, rice, pulses grow, innumerable Mahans grow. From that day to this day.

Let us take ourselves. During our period, Sri Ramana Maharshi lived. People who have had his darshan are still alive. He attained siddhi in 1950 only. It is about 72 years. If one had his darshan as a 5 year old, he will be around 77 years now. So there are people who have seen Sri Ramana, who are still alive. In a street, there may be many different jewellery shops next to each other, or several clothes shops next to each other. Like that, if Sri Ramana lived there, just a few streets away from there lived Seshadri Swami. He was a jivanmukta. Then if we turn a little towards another way, Yogi Ramsuratkumar was there. A little further away was Sri Gnananada. Some distance away was Sri Vithoba in Polur. A little away was Sri Poondi Swami. If we make a turn, then in Odukkathur Mutt, there was a Swami. If we travel some more, then there was a bhakta called Ammalu Amma. Further away was a Swami known as Padagacheri Swami. Then if we go to Kumbakonam, there lived Kumbakonam Swami. If we continue traveling like this… during our period, even today. I am there who has had darshan of Mahaperiyava. People who have had darshan of Sri Chandrashekara Bharati Swami are there. People who have had darshan of Sri Aurobindo are there. People who have had darshan of Swami Papa Ramdas are there. So many Mahatmas are spread across everywhere. People who have seen Swami Abhedananda are there. So many Jnanis! There was a swami known as Appan Swami. People who have had his darshan are still there. How many mahatmas! In this country, instead of saying there lived someone 100 years ago, that there was someone here or only there, there are so many mahatmas. Like one for each house. From that age till today, this land is filled with mahatmas. So the term Bharata for this land is appropriate. Jivan mukthas and rishis were born by this land. It is fascinating, isn’t it?

Just like how the term “Bharata” was given to a country, similarly “Vishala”. After seeing the Vishala pradesha, Rama and Lakshmana start walking further, along with Sage Vishwamitra. [Next] “What is the name of this place?” “It is known as Mithila.” What is the other name for the country of Mithila? Videha desha. It is only because Piratti (the consort of Perumal) resided in Videha desha, she got the name “Vaidehi.” How did the kingdom get the name Mithila or Videha? “Rama! In the Ikshvaku dynasty, when Ikshvaku got a child that child was named Nimi.

“Rama! Do you know what Nimi did?” He established a kingdom in the foothills of the Himalayas and made it his capital and ruled. He was a dharmatma. And a great tapasvi.” Sage Vasishta is the guru for that dynasty. Nimi wanted to perform a yaga. If one desires to do yaga, whom should he inform? To his kula guru. He (kula guru) has to guide and officiate it. He has to be the purohit (priest). The word ‘Purohit’ means one who does good for us. Rig Veda starts by saying – Agni is the first purohit. That is why without performing morning ablutions, one must not light fire. Agni is Bhagavan. Agni is devata. Agni is purohit. For all, Agni is important [including for devata worship]. In those days, when grandmothers cooked rice in a pot, ..they would sprinkle some rice in the fire. It is an offering (‘Ahuti’) to Agni. So Agni is the first purohit. Now here, sage Vasishta was officiating Purohit. So Nimi told him, “I want to perform a big yagna….” “You must come and officiate it.” Sage Vasishta said, “Indra is doing a Yagna in Indra loka and he has invited me to be the ritvik… I have already agreed to it.” “Since I have already agreed, I cannot avoid it. I will finish that first,..” “I will finish that first, then I will come and perform the yagna for you.” Saying this Sage Vasishta left for Indra loka. Now King Nimi thought, “The calculation on Earth is different from the calculation in Indra loka.” “So, it is unclear how many days that yagna in Indra loka will last.” “After how many days will he return to earth?” “Will I be alive until he returns? Even if I am alive, will I have the strength to conduct the yagna?” “Will my mind be unchanged? It is said ‘shubhasya shIgram’ (‘Good deeds should be performed immediately’).” So what he did was, he invited Sage Gautama, Ahalya’s husband, whose story we saw yesterday. Having Sage Gautam as the officiating priest, he started the yaga. As the yaga was progressing, Sage Vasishta returned from Devaloka. He said, “Having requested me to conduct the yaga,…” “….how can you now conduct it with Sage Gautama before I returned?” He got angry and cursed him thus – “May your body fall.” King Nimi’s body fell but he was still present with his subtle body. This is because the words of the curse were “may your body fall.” Nimi himself was a great tapasvi, so he did not take it lying down. He looked at Sage Vasishta and said “May your body burn to ashes!” Sage Vasishta’s… Sage Vasishta’s yoga agni was awakened from the kundalini and… … it burned his body to ashes. On seeing a Maha tapasvi like Sage Vasishta’s body burning, a devata called Mithra and a devata called Varuna gave their respective “amsa” (part).. …and brought back Sage Vasishta’s body to life. That day, Sage Vasishta took a vow. “From now on I will not curse anybody.”

Now, if we look at Sage Gautama, his yajamAnA was Nimi. Gautama had arranged this huge yagna and made all arrangements only for Nimi. Sage Gautama was angry that in a yagna that he was conducting, his yajamana was now without a body. He started chanting the mantras vehemently, observing a fast and strictly adhering to all the rules and performed rites. When we offer oblations, we typically cannot see the Devas. But here Sage Gautama invited each one, “Indra, please come!” “Brihaspathi, please come!” He made them stand in the yagashala. The other priests near him were scared and started trembling. Now, for him [Sage Gautama], his only goal was that his yajaman had to survive. He thought, “When I am officiating, how can the yajamana die like this?” So he called [the Devas] and said, “Give him back his body.” Indra brought the amrutha. King Nimi asks, “Will not this gross body experience fear?” It will experience disease, old age. Though I may consume the nectar for everlasting life without disease and old age, will I not get bored with this life? I will be eager to leave this world, and to go to other worlds such as Hiranyagarbha or Swarga or be born again.” What if I consume this nectar which prevents me from going to these worlds? This thought also scares me. So I don’t want this amrutha. I will remain in this subtle body. Indra then invites him to come to Swarga. “How long can I live in Swarga?” A few days (responds Indra). Then I do not want it. I will continue to live in this subtle body. One cannot live in this subtle body for long. Sage Gautama tells the Devas to do something. They all blessed him to become the presiding deity of the eyelids (which blinks constantly). Nimi is blessed thus. And from then on he is the deity for the eyelids for all species of living creatures. King Nimi is now the Adhi-Devata for this. Sage Gautama was still adamant. How can my yajamana go like this? So.. He sets forth to create another body, and similar to how Vena’s thighs were churned, he proceeds to churn Nimi’s body which was lying there. And the person who came out of this churning of the deha (body) is called Videha. As he is born without parents (without body contact), he is called Videha. The churning sound is called mithila and hence he is referred to as Mithilan. As he was born without parents, he is also named Janaka. That is why the rulers of this country are repeatedly named as Mithila or Janaka …or Videha, O Rama! Rama is intently listening to this.

Sage Vishwamitra continues to name the kings in this dynasty. Udhavasu, Nandivardhan, Sukethu, Devarathan. A special mention is needed for Devarathan said Sage Vishwamitra. There exists an architect who assists the Asuras. His name is Mayan. What this Mayan did was…..he built… 3 cities for his children. One city… …was made of gold, the other made of silver. And the third city was made of iron. He gave the cities to his children and told them, All these three cities had flying capability like Pushpaka Vimana. It can fly anywhere. They asked Brahma about the time of its (cities’) destruction. After 1000 years, we brothers will meet for a short duration of 1 muhurta. During that time, these cities can be destroyed. The moment someone gets a thing that is going to last forever, the first thing that sprouts (in the mind) is conceit. The outcome of conceitedness is the urge to harm others. They take the gold, silver and iron cities for a ride … … and make a sudden landing onto small settlements of 100 or so houses. Their atrocity had no limits. The Devas were distraught. The Devas prayed to Lord Shiva.

The architect for Devas, Vishwakarma, had gifted Lord Shiva with a chariot made from parts of the sun, moon and earth. And he made a pinaka (bow) from the parts of all the mountains on earth. Lord Shiva used the chariot and pinaka to destroy the 3 cities and hence he is known as Tripurasamhara (Destroyer of 3 cities).

Arunagirinathar also mentions this incident in Thirupugazh. He sings, “muppuram eriseydha achivan urairatham, achadhu podiseydha athidhIrA!, aththuyar adhukodu subbiramani-padum appunam adhanidai ibamAgi, akkura magaludan achiru muruganai akkanam manamarul perumAle!” He destroyed the three cities. Thirupugazh also states, kaiththala niraikani appamoDu avalpori kappiya karimugan aDi pENi As Lord Ganesh loves to eat, Arunagirinathar starts with kaiththala niraikani appamoDu avalpori kappiya karimugan aDi pENi kaTridum aDiyavar buddhiyil uraibava karpagam enavinai kadidhEgum maththamum madhiyamum vaiththidum aranmagan marporu thiraL puya madhayAnai maththaLa vayiranai uththami pudhalvanai maTTavizh malar koDu panivEnE kaiththala niraikani – ‘kani’ not ‘kanigal’, so it’s singular. It should be a single fruit but large enough to cover the palm and the fruit must be loved by Lord Ganesha. He is referring to jackfruit. kaiththala niraikani appamoDu avalpori kappiya karimugan aDi pENi What he says is, as Lord Shiva left to destroy the three cities, it is mentioned that he did not take blessings of Lord Ganesha. This angered Lord Ganesha. So he broke the axle of Lord Shiva’s chariot wheel. Even to this day, near Tindivanam… Even to this day, near Tindivanam, on the way to Melmaruvathur is the place called Achirapakam. Denoting the place where the axle broke and fell. The eight Veerattanam is near this place. And we find the name Achirapakam for this place existing till today. Lord Ganesha creates obstacles to bless us or remove obstacles to bless us.

Once Mahaperiyava was sleeping at a Sivasthanam in Thenampakkam. It’s about 10.30 to 11 in the night. Normally he sleeps with a saffron cloth as a blanket and roll of 2 saffron cloths as a pillow. This is the time of utsavam at Kanchi Kamakshi Amman temple. Suddenly at this odd hour, there is a loud noise of fire crackers being burst. Mahaperiyava enquires on the reason for the fire crackers. They reply that it is for the procession of Goddess Kamakshi in Her Chariot, during the utsavam. Mahaperiyava stated that as Kamakshi is coming in procession… … we all should go for her darshan. But they reply that it’s already late and normally the firecrackers are burst near Kachapeshwarar temple. And it will take only 10 minutes from Kachapeshwarar temple for the Goddess to go back to her sannidhi. Even if we start walking now, we might not be able to make it in time for the darshan. But Mahaperiyava stood up, took his danda, went to the small Ganesha (exists even now in Thenampakkam) and murmured something to him and rolled a coconut. He then started walking and others followed suit. The attendants started discussing that they are going to get a good walk in the night and will only see a closed temple. But on reaching the Kachapeshwarar temple, they find the procession of Kamakshi in the chariot was still there. They were surprised to see this and went ahead to enquire. The temple elephant was creating a ruckus whenever they tried to pull the chariot. It remained quiet when the chariot was kept still. They did not know what to do and hence had kept the chariot stationery. Mahaperiyava smilingly walked, patted the elephant and called out to follow him. The elephant regally followed him. Mahaperiyava had murmured something to Lord Ganesha at Thenapakkam. So Lord Ganesha is the one who removes obstacles or creates obstacles.

Once when I went for his darshan, Mahaperiyava was standing near the sanctum of Lord Ganesha. There is a sanctum for Lord Ganesha near Sureshwaracharya’s sanctum inside. Mahaperiyava knocked on his head four times and turned over to me. He said, “If we knock on our heads four times before this divine Ganesha, he will ensure that all our work is completed without any obstacles.” This is still imprinted in my memory.

As Lord Shiva ignored Maha Ganapathy while leaving, in spite of being his father, the axle broke. Tripurasamhara (Destruction of three cities) happened. The bow that he took for Tripurasamhara is called Pinaka. That bow is made from the parts of all the mountains. They were puzzled on what to do with the bow. This bow was handed over to the sixth descendant of the dynasty of Videha in the city of Mithila.

Sage Vishwamitra narrates these stories to Rama. In this lineage, next came Brihadratha, Suvrathi, Dhrishtakethu, Harisvaha, Maru, Pradeepaka, Krithiratha, Devamit, Vishrutha, Mahadruthi, Krithiratha, Maharomo, Swarnaromo, Hrasvaromo came in this lineage, Rama. The king governing this kingdom now is Shuradhvaja / Kushadhvaja. He is the father of Sita, also called Janaka, and is the king of Mithila now.

What is the greatness of Pinaka? Vishwakarma created it and was handed over to this dynasty. But the kings in this dynasty never used this bow for any wars. They consider this bow as a blessing of Lord Shiva and worship it to this day. Another surprising fact of this bow is that to this day, nobody is able to figure out what this bow is made of. Many of the carpenters, sculptors, metallurgists, etc. have checked out this bow. At times, this bow shines like a rare gem. At times, it emits the seven colors of a rainbow. It displays varied hues. They are all astonished. Rama, all of them call this bow a wonder of the world. Hearing the glory of the bow, the architect of Asuras, Mayan, came to check it out. He too glorified the bow created by Vishwakarma and admitted that even he cannot create a bow like this one. Awestruck by its glory, he praised the bow and left.

To this day, the kings in this lineage perform daily puja to this bow as they would do puja to Lord Shiva. Sage Vishwamitra narrated the story of the bow to Rama and Lakshmana. As they are well versed in archery, when all the people in the world desire to have darshan of this bow, their interest to see the bow is also intensified. The sage further remarked that not only the bow, but even the box containing the bow is a wonder in itself. Rama and Lakshmana are awed. They ask, “You say this is a bow used by Lord Parameshwara Himself. You also say that it is worshipped by these kings.” Can the bow be used? Can it be lifted? they asked. The sage replied that it is difficult to lift for some. However some find it easy to lift.

“Why is it that some find it difficult and other find it easy to lift?” As it came from Lord Shiva, it is also Ashutoshi (easily pleased) like the Lord. And so it is easily approachable to one who is humble whereas it knocks the heads of those who are arrogant. At once Rama and Lakshmana wished to see the bow. As they listened, they entered the city of Mithila. In a beautiful place in Mithila the sacrificial arena is set for the yagna. Many rishis have come. They have come from various regions, the holy ones have come. Vedas are resounding all over, the smoke from yagna is everywhere. The rishis start to discuss the mantras, when they are alone. One rishi starts asking the other if he knows this mantra, another says “Tell this mantra”, “Yes this is the correct mantra” says one and at one place they do Vedantic debates. One asks, “Have you been to that yagna?” Did you notice how he did it as prescribed? Such discussions were happening all around. There were many tents, each one stayed here and there, and took a bath. In each rishi’s ashram, they have darbhasana, deer skins or huge samit or many bundles of darbha grass. Those are their wealth. They have them in abundance. There are groups of rishis everywhere.

Rama asks Vishwamitra Maharishi, “It is very crowded,” There are many people here, where do we stay? Vishwamitra says, let us go a little farther, Let us find a secluded place, but with a good water source, saying so, they go and stay near a bank of a river, which is not so crowded. Vishwamitra is well acquainted with all the rishis there, so they at once go to King Janaka and inform about the arrival of Vishwamitra along with two others.

On hearing the arrival of Vishwamitra, Janaka along with his purohit Sadananda, taking argya and padhya and along with everything that is required to welcome a Maharishi, who has come for the yagna, runs to their place of stay. He was extremely happy on seeing Vishwamitra. Just like how Dasaratha welcomed Vishwamitra earlier, with beautiful, decorative words, he too talks the same way. adya yagnya samriddhir mE saphalA daivatai: krtA adya yagnya phalam prAptam bhagavaddarshanAnmayA What I feel is, now that you have come, should I continue doing this yagnya? When we do a yagnya or any divine work, how would we know that they have been accepted by God or have pleased God? The arrival of a Mahatma, while we are doing, the darshan of a Mahatma is verily the indicator. “You are such a great mahan and you have come here. I think this yagnya is now fulfilled. I think I have obtained its fruits. I can complete this yagnya now. But, when a Mahan like you is here, what is the point in doing yagnya? But when consulted with others, they all say that only 12 days are left, and having come this far, it is better to complete it. I too feel it is correct. dhanyOsmi anugrihItOsmi yasya mE munipungava yagnyOpasadanam brahman prAptOsi munibhi: saha I’m blessed by your arrival, I’m obliged to you,” saying so he feels so happy. With that joy, Janaka, looking at Rama and Lakshmana, approaches them. He came to see Vishwamitra only. But while coming to see Vishwamitra, his attention turns towards Rama and Lakshmana who are with him. Seeing Rama and Lakshmana, what occurs in his mind is that he is still looking for a suitable groom for Sita isn’t it? So if we enquire who they are, can get my daughter married and may be can tell them about the bow we have.

Vishwamitra has brought them here. “punastam paripapracha prAnjali: prayatO nrpa: imou kumarou bhadram tE dEva tulya parAkramou puna: tam paripapracha, seeing Vishwamitra, and near him, saw the two children in their youth, appearing like kings, puna: tam paripapracha, started talking again. How? “prAnjali:” with folded hands. “prayatO”, with humility and modesty. nrupa imou kumArou, these two children. Saying so he was enchanted in the forms of Rama and Lakshmana. He is reminded of his daughter He feels in his heart that this will be a suitable match for his daughter, and as he gets such back to back thoughts while welcoming them, he loses balance and seeing Vishwamitra, he uttered, “bhadram tE” if it had been on any other occasion, Vishwamitra would have become angry, but he knew that it was because of seeing Rama and Lakshmana, that he was overwhelmed with joy and that has made his words stumble. Knowing this, Vishwamitra simply enjoys it and hence ignores the king’s inappropriate words. He is blessing Vishwamitra, “bhadram tE dEva tulya parAkramou.”

Who are they? It is astounding to see these purushas. padmapatra visAlAkshou, their eyes are like lotus. kadva dhUni dhanurdharou, their sword, their quivers, their arrows… there is a beauty in the way they carry them. They turn out to be ornaments for them. For Rama, is his bow, the Kothandam, a weapon? or an ornament? It is an ornament. In Krishna’s hands, the flute is an ornament more than a musical instrument. When each deity holds their respective weapons, each one becomes an ornament. So he says, “padma patra visAlAkshou khadga dhUni dhanur dharou” asvinou iva rUpEna samupasthita yauvanou It seems in Deva loka, there are Ashvini Kumaras, who are extremely beautiful, who are always seen together. Are they these two? yadruchayA gAm prAptou dEvalOkAdivAmarou| katham padmyAmiha prAptou kimartam kasya vA munE || You never informed us earlier. You neither informed us about your coming nor about bringing someone like them. yadrchaya gAm prAptou, Suddenly, that too, you have come on foot. Maybe are these two from Devaloka who have come down to earth? dEvalOkadivAmarou, it is like Devas coming down suddenly from the heavens, “katham padmyAm” Swami, how did you have the heart to bring these children on foot, “katham padmyAm iha prAptou” kimartam kasya vA munE, What is the reason for you to wander about to various places taking these children along? Is there any reason? Initially there was yagnya samrakshanam. Now it is over. Still, you are taking them along to various places, telling them stories. varAyudadharou, They have great weapons in their hands, “vIrou kasya putrou” Now he is coming to the subject. Whose children are these two? mahAmunE bhUshayantau imam dEsam, chandrasUryAvivAmbaram

Their appearance is as if the sun and the moon had fallen down to the earth. These two are shining so brilliantly like the sun and the moon. Who are they? Asking this, he further says, parasparasya sadrshou pramANEngitacEshtitai: kAkapakshadharou vIrou “srOthumicAmi tatvata:” – They both resemble each other in their gait, facial features, mannerisms. They both look alike. I would like to know more about them. Who are they? He asks. At once, Vishwamitra says to Janaka “They are the sons of King Dasaratha.”They belong to Ayodhya. I did a yagnya. For the yagnya, I brought them with me. The yagnya got over. Many rishis had come for my yagnya. When the rishis were about to leave, they said, King Janaka is doing a yagnya in Mithila. We are all going there. You may join us too. That’s the reason I have brought these children along with me to this yagnya,” said Vishwamitra.

Janaka felt very happy and after offering arghya and padhya and doing pooja, he brought them to the yagnya. As Janaka was the yajaman (the one who performs the sacrifice), he at once left to take care of the rituals.

Then, Sadananda approached Vishwamitra and enquired. “While coming here, my father had an ashram. Did they visit that ashram? Did they see my mother? Did Rama bless my mother? Did Rama converse with my mother? And together with my father, did my mother worship Rama in the ways prescribed?” Satananda asks and feels extremely happy. He wishes to offer his gratitude to Vishwamitra. “You have bestowed a great favor. What would have happened if He had returned back to Ayodhya. Not sure if you came for the yaga of Janaka, but you certainly brought these children only to redeem my mother! My mother got sanctified. Did she converse with Rama? Did she offer pooja to Rama along with Gautama?” Hearing all these, he experienced horripilation and shed tears. He wanted to express his gratitude to Vishwamitra. And more importantly, he wanted to express his gratitude to Rama who liberated his mother.

How to show gratitude to Rama? I said in the beginning, what can be done to show our gratitude to them? They do not have any need. So, there is one way through which we can express our gratitude. How? One experiences true joy in hearing the glories, greatness, charithra of his Guru. There is nothing that can give greater joy than this. So to show his gratitude to Rama and Lakshmana, and also this will be a way to show his gratitude to Viswamithra as well. So he starts narrating the story of Vishwamitra. Why because for anyone when it’s their Guru, they feel such bhakti, such love, such respect and experience such joy. We can keep saying many incidents. What we can keep saying is, Mahaperiyava has told in many discourses, “There are two things that I will not even analyse with my mind if it’s right or wrong. One is whatever that is told in the Vedas and the other is what Sri Adi Shankara has told. I will not even analyse it on a lighter vein as to how has he told this, how can it be right?” Hence that by itself is Guru bhakti. Accepting it just like that.

In Kalavai, once the aradhana of his Guru was taking place, when it was happening, what Mahaperiyava did is, in the spur of a moment, unaware of himself, he took the padukas of the Periyava in Kalavai, and kept them on his head for long chanting, sathguro pAhimAm paramadayALo rakshamAm, sathguro pAhimAm paramadayALo rakshamAm and gently started dancing like doing pradakshina chanting Krishna Rama Govinda, like doing theertha Narayana pooja… like that.

A very surprising thing here is, with both Mahaperiyava’s prathyaksha Guru and his parama Guru, Mahaperiyava had not spent much time being with them, But he has had darshan of them. He hasn’t seen them directly. At times when I have been with Periyava during his Guru’s aradhana; it will happen around the period of Shivaratri. During those times what Mahaperiyava would do is, for the Vedic pandits who participate in the aradhana they would serve food in what is called as ‘pethi elai’ (a kind of special leaf) Serving food in a ‘pethi elai’ is equivalent to serving food in a golden plate. What we would do is, for this we would go around find these leaves, stitch them and give. During those times what I have observed is, around 15-20 days before this aradhana day of the Guru, Mahaperiyava will always be in the Guru dhyana. For Mahaperiyava celebrating such utsava or anything like this will not be a mere action, but he will be in such bhava. For about 15-20 days he will be totally absorbed in thoughts of his Guru, fully engrossed in talking about him, in deep contemplation of him. It would be so beautiful if one gets to relish such instances. Mahaperiyava hasn’t seen his Guru, but around 15-20 days before his Guru’s aradhana his body would shiver, he would have such great devotion mixed with fear.

In English there is a word called, ‘awe’, Once a devotee approached Yogi Ramsuratkumar Maharaj and said, “I always feel the strong desire to see you and at the same time I experience fear too when I see you,” when he said this, Yogi Ramsuratkumar Maharaj said, “In English there is a word called awe, do go and check its meaning. you would understand.” The meaning that was given for the word was, ‘love with respect’, love with fear’. The bhakti that a devotee has towards his Guru would bring him shreyas (goodness). and the fear one has in the Guru would correct the devotee and take him on the right path.

So like this Mahaperiyava, without even seeing his Guru physically, he had so much bhakti towards him. Such fear! When one sees him during these aradhana celebrations, while serving food to those who perform the aradhana, Mahaperiyava who had himself given up anna bhiksha, would sit there, and would place a handful of chips in their banana leaves. visualising his Guru sitting there and partaking the food. Even though he had given up anna bhiksha, on the day of aradhana alone he would accept the prasad of his Guru without a second thought. During his final days, Mahaperiyava was in the state of brahmanubhooti, Srimad Bhagavatam describes the state of sammadhi showing the example of how a turtle curls its head and legs inwards. Periyava was in a similar state of samadhi. It was not at all easy for the devotees to feed him even a grain, and if they try their best to give him something, like a fruit and try coaxing him to eat, he would simply not open his mouth. But if the devotee goes near his ears and say, “Sri Adi Shankara prasadam”, instantly he would happily open his mouth. Even in the state when Mahaperiyava was totally unaware of himself, in the state of samadhi, he had such Guru bhakti which is absolutely astounding.

Tapovan Gnanananda Swami was sitting, one afternoon a person wearing ochre robe came near him. Gnanananda Swami tried playing with this devotee. He asked him, “Has this ochre robe been blessed to you or have you simply purchased it?” The person replied by answering something. Sri Gnanananda Swami again asked, “So what do you do for your living?” The devotee replied saying, “Arulvakku!” (blessing predictions). For which Sri Gnanananda Swami replied playfully, “Is it arulvakku or porulvakku?” (giving blessings or collecting money) So as they both kept talking, this person said, “I have a Guru who has taught me everything.” Sri Gnanananda Swami casually appeared to mock at him and said, “Ah! You are a great person, and you have a guru too!” The minute he heard this, the man got really furious, “Say anything about me! But don’t you dare say anything about my Guru!” Hearing this Sri Gnanananda Swami was horripilated! He called this devotee, embraced him and said, “This would always protect you.”

He had such devotion towards his Guru. Whenever someone asked Sri Gnanananda Swami about his Guru who was in Kashmir, Gnanananda Swami, the minute he would start talking about his Guru, he wouldn’t have uttered more than 2 or 3 words, and he would be horripilated, his throat would get choked and he wouldn’t be able to say another word. He had such Guru bhakti. He is a jnani, one who is in the state of jivan mukti, but when it comes to their Guru, their Guru bhakti is so great.

Likewise Yogi Ramsuratkumar, would often climb the mountain of Thiruvannamalai, and visit the place where Papa Ramdas (Yogi Ramsuratkumar’s Guru) attained his final realization. That place would be covered full of thorny bushes and stones. He would roll himself there. He would revel in bliss, saying, “My Guru’s place, My Guru’s place…” So many people have witnessed this. Such was his Guru bhakti.

Swami Vivekananda was asked to write the life story of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who is indeed the right person to do it. Swami Vivekananda says, “I can write my master’s story based on how I see it through my heart, but the world may not accept it.” “The world cannot appreciate or understand it and I do not wish to compromise. So may someone else write it.” Hence Saradananda wrote it.

So now, how [could Sadananda] to convey immense gratitude to Vishwamitra? By telling his charitram. And moreover gratitude to Sri Rama? Vishwamitra had already conveyed the story of his lineage to Sri Rama and that he is the son of Gadhi. Now Vishwamitra’s story has to be told, if one had to give a title to Vishwamitra’s life story , it would be ‘Perseverance would ultimately bear fruit’.

Ramakrishna Paramahamsa would say, “When the cow gives birth to the calf, be near and see it.” After it’s birth, the calf would be lying down it would slowly get up but then would fall down immediately, it would again get up but then would fall down. This would happen as many as 100 times, and then it would finally stand.

A spiritual aspirant, a mumukshu who does sadhana, during the course of his sadhana would slip and fall, but has to climb up again, he would fall but then has to rise up again. If you fall down, get up again. If you fall down once, get up the second time. If you fall down 100 times, get up the 101st time. If you fall 1000 times, get up 1001st time. Don’t ever give up the efforts. Why? Because until you attain in one of the births, births will keep chasing you. When we get an opportunity, shouldn’t we not make full use of it? If we do not make use of the human birth, what will we do when we take birth as an animal?

One who got a human birth will not get an animal birth. We cannot say it for certain. We see that Jadabharathar himself was born as a deer. Even after being blessed with good satsang and Guru Krupa, if you do not fully utilise it in this life, then In which birth will you make use of? Can you do Atma Vichara in a nation which is always at war? Can you go and do Atma Vichara in a nation which is always struck by drought and famine? If there is a nation where a king ordains that everyone should work and not spend time in japa or dhyana and you are born there, will you be able to do Atma Vichara? Bharatha Desam is divine till date Having been born here, we need to do intense sadhana to escape the cycle of birth and death.

[Sage] Visvamitra is a great inspiration for us to do severe sadhana. Vishwamitra was the son of Gaadhi. When he travelled, Ramayana describes, the retinue that ensued him. 2887 chariots used to follow him. 21,870 horses, followed him. 65,610 horses went along with him. And, 1,09,350 soldiers went with him. Vishwamitra was always surrounded by them and used to travel everywhere with them. When traveling with such a big retinue, once he came to the place where [Sage] Vasishta lived.

vasiShTasya Ashramapadam brahmalokam ivAparam
dadarsha jayatAm shreSTO vishwAmitro mahAbala: vasiShTasya Ashramapadam brahmalokam ivAparam’
‘dadarsha jayatAm shreSTO vishwAmitro mahAbala:’

He came to Vasishta’s ashram [Sage] Vashishta welcomed Vishwamitra, as he was a king. Vishwamitra prostrated unto [Sage] Vasishta. [Sage] Vasishta then prepared a seat and requested the king to sit. After being seated, both of them talked for a long time. Vishwamitra looked around the ashram How was the ashram? It resembled brahma loka. It was astonishing. There was such brilliance [tejas] and had a divine presence [sannidhya]. Lot of cows were present Many students [vidhyarthis] were seated and doing Veda Parayanam. They were doing Brahma Vicharam. Some fire related rituals were taking place. It was a beautiful ambience. Sage Vasishta welcomed Vishwamithra. He then started speaking to him, “How is the kingdom? How is your health? Are there periodic rains? Are people abiding to dharma?” He inquired all that is pertaining to a king. Vishwamitra, in turn asked [Sage] Vasishta, “Is Agni Hotram happening without hindrance? Is all your activities related to yagna taking place? Is there anything I need to do?” They talked for a while and when he [Vishvamitra] was about to leave [Sage] Vashishta told him, “We have been talking for a while. I was happy to see you and you were also happy to see me. How can you leave without eating any food? I want to serve you food before you depart. Not just for you, I would like to serve food for your retinue as well.

Atityam kartum icChAmi balasyAsya mahAbala’
‘tava chaivAprameyasya yathArham sampratIcha mE’ Atityam kartum icChAmi balasyAsya mahAbala’
‘tava chaivAprameyasya yathArham sampratIcha mE’ “I will provide food for everyone who has accompanied you.” “How can he do that?”, wondered Vishvamitra. As Vishvamithra gently denied again and again, [Sage] Vashishta kept insisting. evam bruvantam rAjAnAm vasiSTha: punareva hi ‘
‘nyamantrayata dharmAtmA puna: puna udAradhI:’ evam bruvantam rAjAnAm vasiSTha: punareva hi
‘nyamantrayata dharmAtmA puna: puna udAradhI:

Since, he kept insisting Finally, Vishwamithra relented. Immediately, [Sage] Vashishta called Kamadhenu. Kamadhenu came and served to all soldiers, an elaborate meal that included all the six flavors and panchabhakshyam [five types of dishes] was served. The food kept on coming incessantly from Kamadhenu.

Sugarcane and jaggery was served to the elephants. Horse gram seeds were served to the horses. Food kept on emerging from Kamadhenu and everyone was awe-struck! Everyone finished eating and there was still some remnants. As, Vishwamitra looked at Kamadhenu, he now wanted to own her. He tried talking to [Sage] Vashishta. He said, “I will give you one lakh cows. Please give me Kamadhenu.” [Sage] Vashishta turned down the request. Vashishta said, “All my rituals are dependent on Kamadhenu. So, I cannot give.” Then, he [Vishvamitra] said, “I will give 14,000 elephants. Not just that, I will also give gold chains for tying them. The elephants will have gold chains even around their neck. I will also give goads [angusa] made out of gold for controlling the elephants. I will also give 800 chariots and four horses for every chariot.” In addition, I will give 11,000 of the best horses and also one crore cows. I will give all this. You please give me Kamadhenu”

Vashishta replied, “One who is intelligent and one who can discern will only want to posess one thing. At any given time, the person will not want anything to affect his yashas [honor]. He will not want any ill-fame [apavAda] An honorable man [mAni] considers kIrti [fame or honor] as his wealth and wishes to preserve it. He will not want anything in exchange for his kIrti [honor]. Like, that in exchange for Kamadhenu, I desire nothing”
‘na parityAgam arhEyam mat sakhAsArindhama’
‘shAshvati saphalA mahyam kIrti: AtmavatO yadA’ na parityAgam arhEyam mat sakhAsArindhama’
‘shAshvati saphalA mahyam kIrti: AtmavatO yadA’

Just like how one wouldn’t like to part with his honor, I do not wish to part with Kamadhenu”, said [Sage] Vasishta. Vishwamithra earlier tried to convince [Sage] Vashishta by promising to give so many different things. Then, he said, “Everything in the kingdom belongs to the king. The king can take possession of it. He can declare a rule to his subjects and take possession.” He started to threaten [Sage] Vashishta. Next he says, according to the government, when a treasure is found at someone’s home, it does not belong to the home owner but to the government. Similarly, if the king needs a rare article, he can take it. So, why do you need Kamadhenu? Only I need it. I can take it. There is another code there as well. It is said that any exceptional article should only be with the king. That is the law. No matter what was said, Vasishta refused to give away Kamadhenu. He offered to donate; tried to convince him; threatened him; Since nothing worked, in the end, he pulled Kamadhenu by force. When he pulled Kamadhenu, Vasishta is still sitting calm. Kamadhenu goes to Vasishta and weeps.

In a split second, she breaks loose from the one holding her and asks Vasishta crying, “How could you let me down? I was counting on you all along. Is it right to let me down like this? He is pulling me and you are just merely witnessing that. How fair is it? What mistake did I make? Are you just abandoning me as an unwanted thing?” As she cried so, Vasishta says “He is the king and he has come with such a big army. He is the realm too. He comes in the lineage of great ascetics. What can I do? I am not able to do much.”

na balaM kSatriyasyAhur brAhmaNo balavattaraH aprameyabalaM tubhyaM na tvayA balavattaraH

Kamadhenu responds “You are not aware of your strength. Think again. Supplicate me. Then watch what happens.” When he heard this, Vasishta composed himself. He uttered for soldiers to arise. Suddenly, troops, chariots, horses, elephants, young soldiers appeared from Kamadhenu’s body and destroyed all the opponents. As the numbers of soldiers decreased, Vasishta stood up and uttered “Hhmm hhmm GO GO GO” and more came out of Kamadhenu’s body. They all destroyed everything and in the end only Vishwamitra remained by himself. As he stood alone, he lost even his son who came along. Chariots were gone; horses were gone; soldiers were gone; elephants were gone; He alone survived.

Valmiki describes how that atmosphere is. It looks just like when a tsunami strikes and after 10 minutes, the sea is so calm like nothing had happened. A war just happened, with Vasishta roaring in one end and Vishwamitra roaring in the other; many soldiers emerged out of Kamadhenu; and now all that had ceased and calmness prevailed. A snake came hissing at someone. While it came hissing, he extracted its tooth with a knack. Even if it hissed, it now became a joke. Without its venomous tooth, it is of no use. Vishwamitra’s fury became futile then. Next, a snake is on the ground and An eagle is circling in on the snake. As the snake slithers scared, looking at the shadow of the eagle for safety, if a hunter comes and snaps its wings, the eagle falls down and howls in pain untended. Such was the state of Vishwamitra. Valmiki describes in so many ways. Like that of the Sun seized by Rahu. He (Vishwamitra) observed all this and called his son.

sa putram ekaM rAjyAya pAlayeti niyujya ca

“You take care of the kingdom, until I come back.”

pRthivIM kSatradharmeNa vanam evAnvapadyata

He left right away and went to the forest. By adhering to strict fasting, he started penance fiercely towards Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva appeared in person and asked what he wanted. He named all kinds of weapons and asked that he be given all that. Parameshwara gave all the weapons that existed in the world to Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra does not come back now with the army of horses and elephants. He comes back with all kinds of divine weapons that were obtained from Parameshwara. Vishwamitra is coming back with the rage that he was disgraced by Vasishta, with that anger but this time due to his penance towards Parameshwara, he came in a tapasvi’s frame, with resolve, full of radiance and with the knowledge of weaponry. As soon as the children who were studying heard that Vishwamitra was coming back, they all ran away; the rithwiks who were there for performing Yaga, also ran away; all the cows ran away; deers ran away; everything ran away and Vasishta was standing alone. On the other end, Vishwamitra was standing alone.

As Vasishta and Vishwamitra stood by themselves, Vishwamitra started launching all the weapons that he obtained from Parameshwara in mantra form, one after the other. What did Vasishta do? He just took the yogadhanda and kept it upfront. All the weapons that came, crashed into it and returned worthlessly. Vishwamitra is witnessing this and devas are all trembling.

Valmiki describes that Vasishta looks like a mass of fire. He looked luminous with anger that was flared up like blazing fire. As he launched the weapons one after the other that had no counter-measures, he (Vasishta) just stood up the brahmadhanda and everything was reduced to nothing, in front of the brahmadhanda. At last, Vishwamitra takes out the Brahmastra. The entire universe is shaking. When Brahmastra leaves, Vishwamitra thinks that this would be the end of Vasista and that the whole region would be ruined. All Vasishta did was to extend the brahmadhanda and even the Brahmastra was reduced to nothing.

Back then, he came with his entire army and was disgraced. Now he comes with penance. He brings various different kinds of weapons. Yet, he is standing there, heads down in shame, empty. Last time around, he gave up everything, including his kingdom to his son, and left to do penance. Why? So that, he can get numerous weapons made of mantras, and wage war. Now he says, “The strength of the mantras is the true strength. The strength of penance is the true strength. The strength of wisdom is the true strength. The strength of weapons or the bodily strength cannot scale up to it. Last time, I went to learn the mantras associated with the weapons. But this time, I am going to do penance to become a Brahma Rishi.” So saying, Vishwamitra, started walking towards the forest to start doing penance.

Janakikanthasmaranam Jai jai Ram Ram!
Sathgurunath Maharajki Jai!

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare |
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare ||

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