Episode # 192 – The perennial fight between Sage Vasishtaachaarya & Sage Vishwamitra – Chitra-Rasa commences!!!

In the previous episode, we had gone back a bit to the “Chaitra-Rasa Parva” to witness the important narrative that was given by Chitra-Rasa to Arjuna and Co. who were on the verge of proceeding towards the Paanchaala Desha along with Sage Dhoumya. All these narratives are being given at a time when the Paandavas are sitting on the raft and are about to sail over to the other side. Chitra-Rasa explains in detail about how Tapati (Soorya Bhagawan’s daughter) got married to King Samvarna and how Sage Vasishtaachaarya recommended King Samvarna to Soorya-Bhagawan to give his daughter in marriage with him. Eventually after their successful marriage, Kuru was born to Tapati and King Samvarna and it is to his family lineage, the Paandavas and the Kauravas belonged to. As Arjuna listened to all this, he was very happy. However, he had one more question that was lingering in his mind – As Chitra-Rasa was narrating about the marriage between Tapati and King Samvarna, he had mentioned that Sage Vasishtaachaarya had played an important role in it, isn’t it? Arjuna was curious to understand the significance of Sage Vasishtaachaarya and how he had the unique ability to “stop” Soorya-Bhagawan, strike a conversation with him and recommend his daughter. If Soorya-Bhagawan should listen to the words of Sage Vasishtaachaarya and act accordingly, he should be a great sage, isn’t it? Thus, Arjuna wanted to know more about Sage Vasishtaachaarya. The narrative continues. 

Chitra-Rasa now continues with his explanation about Sage Vasishtaachaarya and his family background. Sage Vasishtaachaarya was a great “Brahma-Rishi” and he lived continuously for many “Yugas” put together. It is this same Sage Vasishtaachaarya who who was Bhagawan Rama’s Guru during the “Tretha Yuga”. It is the same Sage Vasishtaachaarya who adorned the courtroom of the great King Dasharata. Thus, Chaitra-Rasa explains how Sage Vasishtaachaarya married Arundati and he was having a good life. However, as Sage Vasishtaachaarya was living his saintly life thus, there was another person by name Vishwamitra, who wanted to obtain the “Brahma-Rishi” status like that of Sage Vasishtaachaarya. Vishwamitra was actually born as a “Kshatrya” with enormous anger within him. However, he had the desire to compete with Sage Vasishtaachaarya and obtain the title of “Brahma-Rishi” from the mouth of Sage Vasishtaachaarya. This was not going to be an easy task as he thought. Normally also, Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Vishwamitra never went along easily together. Both of them kept having enormous “wars of words” and occasional fights with each other. 

As Arjuna was listening to this, he immediately asks Chitra-Rasa thus, “Oh Chitra-Rasa! Why did Sage Vasishtachaarya and Vishwamitra perennially fight with each other? What was wrong with both of them? Isn’t it bad and dangerous if two great sages fought with each other? I’ve heard and seen Kshatryas fighting with each other, but that is their job! But I’ve never heard two Brahmana Rishis fighting with each other! Can you explain this in detail to me?” As Arjuna asked thus, Chitra-Rasa explains in detail, the reason that triggered an enormous fight between the two of them – One day, Vishwamitra was going on a hunting spree amidst a dense forest and all of a sudden, he started feeling extremely thirsty. He badly wanted some water to drink. As Vishwamitra was walking by, he found out an “Ashram” at a distance, which was Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s. Unable to control his thirst for water, Vishwamitra went near the ashram to check if he could get something to drink. At that moment, Vishwamitra spots a beautiful cow that was standing nearby the ashram. It was looking so divine and it captured the eye of Vishwamitra. This holy cow was none other than “Nandini” or often referred to as the “Kaama-Dhenu”. 

As Vishwamitra was gazing at the beauty of this cow, Sage Vasishtaachaarya arrives from inside the ashram. He sees Vishwamitra and his enormous army men who had camped in front of his ashram. Upon seeing Sage Vasishtaachaarya, Vishwamitra introduces himself and explains thus, “Oh great Sage! I’m Vishwamitra and these are my army men. We had come into this forest area for hunting, however, on our way back, we started feeling hungry and thirsty. We badly wanted some food to eat and some water to drink! So please, can you provide them to all of us? Will you be able to feed all of us at the same time?” Hearing thus, Sage Vasishtaachaarya pitied at them and immediately sent an eye-to-eye signal to his “Kaama-Dhenu” cow. In turn, the cow understood what was required, and it ensured that all the army men along with Vishwamitra were well fed with food and water. All their hunger and thirst went away in a moment and everybody was satisfied with the sumptuous and tasty food and water that was provided to all of them! 

Thus, the “Nandini” cow ensured that all of them were well-fed. With this, Vishwamitra was very happy. But the entire game starts now. It is to be remembered by readers at this point that Vishwamitra is not a sage as yet. He was a king and a “Kshatrya prince” at the time when this story happened. As Vishwamitra’s hunger came to a halt, his mind went in a perverted way! He immediately thought to himself thus, “Oh wow! This cow is so divine that it was able to feed hundreds of people adequately within a moment! What is the use of this cow being with a saint like Sage Vasishtaachaarya? If this cow was with a king like me, I can use this cow to feed hundreds and thousands of people in my kingdom, isn’t it? This would be a great service to the world! Hence, this cow should rightly belong to the king, and not to a sage who doesn’t have anything under his possession!” 

Thinking thus, Vishwamitra proposes to Sage Vasishtaachaarya that he wants to take away the “Nandini” cow along with him to his kingdom! So for today, let us understand upto this point, and we shall witness in the next episode whether Sage Vasishta is going to hand over the “Nandini” cow to Vishwamitra! Stay tuned for updates! 🙂 


Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at Bharatidhasan Institute of Management (BIM) Trichy, India A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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