We’re at an important juncture wherein the feud between Sage Vasishtaachaarya and Vishwamitra is increasing by the minute. As we had witnessed earlier, Sage Vasishtaachaarya ensured that none of Vishwamitra’s “Astras” neither harmed him nor Nandini nor any of his family members at home. In turn, Vishwamitra decided that “Asthras” and other physical means are not the way to take on Sage Vasishtaachaarya, and the only means to do this is by “Tapo Bhalam”. Meanwhile, the Kalmaashapaada episode happened and we had witnessed that Sage Shakti (Son of Sage Vasishtaachaarya) had cursed him that Kalmaashapaada would transform into a Raakshasa who only consumes human flesh and meat. This curse actually backfired very badly on Sage Shakti and Sage Vasishtaachaarya, as Kalmaashapaada was smartly used by Vishwamitra to consume all of them! According to Vishwamitra’s suggestion, Kalmaashapaada comes to Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s ashram and starts swallowing all his sons including Sage Shakti!
This wasn’t expected by Sage Vasishtaachaarya, and he sank into a deep state of shock and distress! Within the wink of an eye, Sage Vasishtaachaarya had lost his entire family to the treacherous Kalmaashapaada and on the sidelines, Vishwamitra was laughing at the pitiable state of Sage Vasishtaachaarya. Vishwamitra has had his vengeance thus! For all that Sage Vasishtaachaarya had done to him, Vishwamitra ensured that he had given it tit for tat, back to him! Of course, Sage Vasishtaachaarya could have easily reacted and stopped Kalmaashapaada from his destructive spree. However, he did not do so. He respected his “Tapo-Bhalam” and remained calm and composed with all his senses under control! Moreover, he was the same person who had advised Vishwamitra that the most important characteristics of a Brahmana Rishi are “patience” and “perseverance”. Now if he himself reacts angrily or shows his grief in front of Vishwamitra, he would be mocked, isn’t it? Thinking thus, Sage Vasishtaachaarya stacked up all his frustration, grief, etc. deep within himself and slowly returned back to his ashram.
It was at this time, Adrishyanti, who is the wife of Sage Shaki was carrying. She was almost nine-months pregnant and was about to deliver a baby very soon. As Sage Vasishtaachaarya walked back slowly, Adrishyanti prayed to Sage Vasishtaachaarya that she should obtain a son who is as great as her husband and her father-in-law. As Sage Vasishtaachaarya saw Adrishyanti, he was amazed to listen to the sound of Vedas being chanted from near her stomach. Upon seeing this miraculous moment, Sage Vasishtaachaarya blessed Adrishyanti thus, “Oh Adrishyanti! Please do not worry! Things are happening for some good and benefit for the world! By sensing all that is going on around us at the moment, I’m sure that you’re going to be blessed with a son who is going to be an extremely great sage right from day one of his birth. He is going to bring about a lot of “Dharma” into this world and with him, the meanings of “Tapas” and “Brahmana-Tejas” are going to get a new definition altogether!”
This child was none other than Sage Paraashara. As per Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s “Anugraha”, this child was having the sole intention of attaining “Moksha” right from day one of its birth. Meanwhile, the news of Adrishyanti delivering a baby reached Vishwamitra, who was still fuming with anger. He was under the savage determination that the entire family lineage of Sage Vasishta should be destroyed completely. Nobody should be spared! With this intention, he again sends Kalmaashapaada to consume the baby as well. However, the time-limit of Kalmaashapaada comes to a close! Initially when Sage Shakti had cursed him, the curse was for a limited time period. Once Kalmaashapaada arrives at Sage Vasishtaachaarya’s ashram, by the time he wants to consume the little one, he once again transformed into the original “King Kalmaashapaada” form! Also with this, Sage Shakti and all the sons of Sage Vasishtaachaarya were relieved from Kalmaashapaada’s stomach. All of them came back to life again and Sage Shakti explains to his father thus, “Oh great Sage Vasishtaachaarya! He is none other than the great king Kalmaashapaada! Please do not think of him as our enemy. It was only because of my curse that he had been transformed into the Raakshasa form and was eating all human beings around. Now that his curse has come to an end, you’ve to shower your “Anugraha upon King Kalmaashapaada and give him a send-off!” Acknowledging Sage Shakti’s words, Sage Vasishtaachaarya gives his “Anugraha” and with this, all of them were happy. King Kalmaashapaada bid farewell to all of them and went back to his kingdom. Sage Vasishtaachaarya was also happy that he got back all his sons.
Thus, as time passed by, Sage Paraashara grew up and he decided to conduct a “Raaksha-Satra-Yaaga” to avenge his anger and frustration on the Raakshasas, who were responsible for all the torments and torture that his father and grandfather had to undergo! Kalmaashapaada was a Raakshasa when Sage Paraashara was born, isn’t it? This scene of Kalmaashapaada coming with utmost fury got impinged into the child’s memory forever, that, even after Kalmaashapaada transformed into his normal form, Sage Paraashara couldn’t accept it! Once the damage is done, it is done forever, isn’t it? Thus, Sage Paraashara decided that there should be no Raakshasas in this world, and with this intention, he started the great “Raakshasa-Satra-Yaaga”. So for today, we shall halt at this point, and we shall continue to witness what happened to this “Yaga” in the next episode! Is it going to be stopped, just like how King Janame-Jaya’s “Sarpa-Satra-Yaga” was? Stay tuned for updates! 🙂