In the previous episode, we witnessed the next important accord given by Sage Naarada – This time about Sage Rishyashringa. Sage Rishyashringa was the son of Sage Vibhaandaka and he got married to Shaanta Devi. Once, in the Anga Desha wherein he was residing, there was a huge drought and people started to struggle for food and water. At that point in time, the king of Anga Desha learnt that only if Sage Rishyashringa’s feet touch the soil of Anga Desha, will it rain again. Hence, upon the king’s request, Sage Rishyashringa was brought to Anga Desha and the moment his feet set on the soil, it started raining copiously and with this, the drought condition came to an end. Moreover, Sage Rishyashringa was the person who was approached by King Dasharata of the neighbouring Ayodhya for performing the “Putra-Kaameshti-Yaaga”. This, as all of us know, was aimed at obtaining children for King Dasharata and with this, four divine children (Incarnations of Bhagawan Vishnu Himself) were born – Bhagawan Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. Thus, Sage Rishyashringa was instrumental in ensuring that Bhagawan Rama incarnated at Ayodhya.
Now, as we understood the background story of Sage Vibhaandaka and Sage Rishyashringa, we shall go into detail about Sage Vibhaandaka’s “Charitra” a bit, and through this, Sage Naarada is trying to drive home an important point. Once upon a time, there was a great Sage by name Sage Rishaba. Even though he was a sage, he was extremely short-tempered. In other words, even if there was something that was slightly happening against his liking, he would get extremely angry and inflict curses on the person who is instrumental behind that action. We might wonder here that Sage Rishaba is a great Maharishi, but how can he get angry so badly like this? The fact here is that Sage Rishaba wanted to live in absolute peace and tranquillity amidst nature. Hence, even if there was a slightest noise somewhere around, he would get angry very quickly! Hence, in the forest where he lived and performed his penance, he had even gone to the extent of instructing the rivers that pass by, to flow silently without any sound! Even for the animals and the birds there – They also should remain silent without making any noise, if they’ve to live there!
It is in this same forest, Sage Vibhaandaka was living. Once upon a time, since Sage Vibhaandaka’s sperms somehow went inside a deer, the deer became pregnant and subsequently delivered a baby boy, who was none other than Sage Rishyashringa. Sage Rishyashringa, right from day one of his birth, did not know anything about human-to-human interactions, both in terms of conversations and physical interactions as well! He was extremely aloof and kept to himself and his “Tapas”. Of course, Sage Rishyashringa was an extremely great person in terms of deep penance, as we’ve witnessed earlier as well. If it is a human being that Sage Rishyashringa knew, it was none other than his father, Sage Vibhaandaka. Other than his dad, Sage Rishyashringa did not come in contact with any other human being in this world!
As Sage Rishyashringa grew up like this, it was at this time, King Lomapaada of Anga Desha wanted his help. King Lomapaada was a good friend of King Dasharata of the neighbouring Koshala Desha where Ayodhya is situated. As the drought condition was at its peak, King Lomapaada did not know how to handle it. However, long ago, King Lomapaada had heard that if Sage Rishyashringa comes to the country, rains would pour cats and dogs! Thus, King Lomapaada himself went to meet Sage Rishyashringa to invite him to Anga Desha – However, Sage Rishyashringa wasn’t interested to come anywhere. This is because, he did not know how to meet and interact with human beings at all! Subsequently, King Lomapaada realized that Sage Rishyashringa can be brought to the country with the help of sending some women to his residing place, because Sage Rishyashringa doesn’t even know what it is to interact with women! Thus, the idea clicked, and with this, Sage Rishyashringa agreed to visit Anga Desha. Thus, as we had witnessed earlier, Sage Rishyashringa sets foot on Anga Desha and immediately the rains started to pour down! Impressed by this, King Lomapaada decided to give his daughter, Shaanta Devi in marriage to Sage Rishyashringa.
Even today, there is a small temple dedicated to both Sage Rishyashringa and Shaanta Devi. There is a place by name “Shringibera-puram”, which was also the dwelling place for Guha – The hunter with whom Bhagawan Rama had made friendship, before going to the forest for fourteen years. It is in this place, on top of a cliff, this temple is located. Hence, next time when we visit Ayodhya and surrounding places, we should make it a point to visit Shringibera-puram. So for today, let us understand up to this point, wherein Sage Naarada is detailing the story of Sage Rishyashringa and Shaanta Devi, and in the next episode, we shall continue this discussion forward. Stay tuned! 🙂