In this discovery of Vedic India posts, I had previously written on the Period, Astrology and evidence to prove that Vedic Period goes back to 14500-10,000 BC.

Speaking of history, history will be incomplete without talking about the characters and the great historic personalities of Vedic India. Today onward for next few weeks the journey will be on two famous sages who shaped India or Sapt Sindhu during the Satya yuga and after that. Those two sages are Vishwamitra and Vasishta. Vasishtha is famously known as the Guru for Lord Rama and his brothers. That said, not much is known to us apart from this.

Vasishtha is believed to be born from the imagination of Lord Brahma. All the 7 Rishis or Sapt Rishis were created by the thought process of Lord Brahma. After having done this, Brahma saw the need for more Rishis and he decided to create Sage Vasishtha and Narada. So, technically like Sita, Vasishtha was also an unknown kid. He had no parents which means no caste and no gotra.

Relationship of Vasishtha & Arundhati

Born out of Brahma’s thoughts, Vasishtha had to struggle a lot in his childhood. Cutting the story short, Vasishtha got married to Arundhati. Remember the newly wedded couples are made to see Arundhati Star. Yes, that’s Arundhati the wife of Sage Vasishtha.

This is because Arundhati in a true sense is Saha Dharmacharani of Vasishtha. Read it as ‘Saha’ ‘Dharma’ ‘Charini’, Saha means equal, Dharma means Duty and Charini means Follower. Arundhati was as educated & as talented as Vasishtha.

Arundhati (Hinduism) - Wikipedia
Arundhati and Vasishtha. Also seen is Gowmata Nandini – Source: Wikipedia

Once a boy had come to ashram wanting to be a disciple of Vasishtha. But Vasishtha had gone to the Himalayas on a knowledge trip. Not willing to deny him, Arundhati offers to teach him. The boy agrees. After coming back Vasishtha sees the child and gets very impressed. The reason behind showing Arundhati Nakshatram is asking the couple to be equal in all aspects and lead a life.

The incident that ignites a fire between Vishwamitra and Vasishtha

Vishwamitra was not a sage, he was a Kshatriya. As per the gunas, he goes on to become the King. Incidentally, Vasishtha had his Ashram in the kingdom of Vishwamitra. Vasishtha was a Brahmin and a teacher. He was called as Kulapati – a title given to him as he had taught 10,000 students. Vasishtha got hugely popular because of his teaching. His school was ranked as the top school, many sages used to come and deliver lectures there frequently.

Indra – The king of Deva Loka has a Kamadhenu. Kamadhenu, as we all know, is a cow with a power to fulfil any wishes. She has a daughter named Nandini. Indra impressed with the knowledge and good work by Vasishtha gifts him Nandini. Vasishtha is elated and blessed with the gift. He promises to use Nandini for ashram purposes only. Vasishtha knew the power of Nandini and took whatever he can to help Ashram. Vasishtha is a pious person and never used Nandini’s powers for his benefits.

The entry of Vishwamitra and his fight for Nandini 

Once King Vishwamitra had embarked on an army expedition. After a long journey, they come to the ashram of Vasishtha which was located at the borders of his kingdom. Vishwamitra and his soldiers were very thirsty and hungry. Not wanting to trouble Vasishta, Viswamitra just asks for water to quench the thirst of his soldiers. Vasishtha invites them into the Ashram and offers them water. After quenching the thirst of his soldiers, Vishwamitra asks permission to leave. Vasishtha insists them to have food and stay overnight. Vishwamitra, not wanting to trouble Vasishtha he refuses to stay. But Vasishtha insists saying that he is their king and a guest to the Ashram and he must serve him.

Vishwamitra obliges and stays back. Using the divine powers of Nandini, Vasishtha arranges a sumptuous dinner to Vishwamitra and his soldiers. They eat and take rest for the night.  Next morning, as they get ready to leave, Vasishtha comes and insists them to have breakfast and leave. Vishwamitra obliges and again with the power of Nandini, he is served with milk, fruits and sweets for breakfast. Vishwamitra is once again shocked. He decides to ask Vasishtha the power behind all this.

Powers of Nandini makes Vishwamitra greedy

Vasishtha without any hesitation talks about Nandini. Vishwamitra goes into thinking mode. He wants Nandini so that he can also enjoy the riches. Vishwamitra opens up and asks for Nandini. Vasishta is surprised by this and politely declines that Nandini is a gift from Indra and can’t be parted with. Vishwamitra offers 10,000 cows to Vasishtha’s ashram in return for Nandini. Vasishtha still declines to part with Nandini. Irritated Vishwamitra directs his soldiers to tie Nandini and take it forcibly. Nandini is helplessly crying and asks Vasishtha ‘Why are you letting me go?’

Vasishtha says ‘I cannot go against my King. That will be a Raja droham. Pained Nandini asks ‘Can I protect myself?’ Yes, you can say Vasishtha. That’s it. Nandini roars and hundreds of soldiers come out of Nandini’s mouth. Battle starts and Nandini army wins the battle. Vishwamitra gets defeated and goes back empty-handed. This defeat breaks Vishwamitra. He understands that a learned Brahmin is more powerful than any King. That is when he decides to become as powerful as Vasishtha and teach him a lesson. This sows the seed of jealousy that goes a long way and destroys many kingdoms and Kings.

Next post we will discuss more on this Vishwamitra-Vasishtha rivalry and how it re-shaped and redefined Indian history.