Monday, January 14, 2013


Sage   Viswamitra

Brahmarshi   Viswamitra

Sri Budha Kousika Rishi

Sri Budha Kousika Rishi wrote the Sri Rama Raksha Stotra. Who was he? For those who may know, the identity of Sri Budha Kousika Rishi may be very obvious. For many, it is not. The obvious answer is that he was a Sage – i.e., a rishi. He was extremely learned and talented. The Sri Ram Raksha Stotra is composed in the Anushtup Chanda, in the metre of a specific combination of numbers. The usual answer, however, is that Sri Budha Kousika Rishi was the great Brahmarishi Vishwamitra.

I have not found the correct answer, and I feel I should say so. Why do I hesitate to accept that Brahmarishi Vishwamitra could be the author? This is because Vishwamitra was already recognized as a Brahmarishi, many hundreds of years earlier, when he met Dasharath to ask him to allow Ram to accompany him. He was not recognized or mentioned as Kousika Rishi during and after his association with Ram. The identity of Sri Budha Kousika Rishi, the author of the Sri Rama Raksha Stotra, is a mystery.

It is said, in the Stotra, that Shiva appeared to Sri Budha Kousika Rishi, in his dream, and recited the entire Sri Rama Raksha Stotra to him. At dawn, the next day, Sri Budha Kousika Rishi, penned down the entire Sri Rama Raksha Stotra.

There could be four theories. The most recounted and repeated theory is that Sri Budha Kousika Rishi is nobody other than Brahmarishi Vishwamitra himself. I am very tempted to believe it. This theory is on the basis of the fact that he was the King Kousika, and later, the Kousika Rishi, before he was recognized as the Brahmarishi Vishwamitra.

The second theory is that the ‘Kousika’ gotra began with Brahmarishi Vishwamitra, since he was the King Kousika, and later the Kousika Rishi. Thus, a later Rishi, of the ‘Kousika’ gotra, and with the prefix, Budha, being the name of the Planet Mercury in Sanskrit, has written the Sri Rama Raksha Stotra, after the appearance of Shiva in his dreams.

The third theory is that there could have been an entirely different rishi, unconnected and unrelated to Brahmarishi Vishwamitra, or to the ‘Kousika’ gotra. He could have existed, in some other time period, and he could have written the Sri Rama Raksha Stotra. If this were to be true, then indeed, the identity and story of Sri Budha Kousika Rishi would be an absolute riddle.

The fourth theory is that a rishi named ‘Budha’, in Brahmarishi Vishwamitra’s ashrama, could have been recognized as a ‘Kousika Rishi’. He could have been known as such, because he was one of the rishis in the ashram of ‘Kousika’, i.e., Vishwamitra. This rishi could have been later recognized through his signature title in the stotra, as ‘Budha Kousika Rishi’. In an alternate aspect, the title 'Budha' could be a samasa, ie an intended recognition to the 'budhdhi' i.e., intelligence of 'Kousika'.

It is written, that, in ancient times, the sages in an ashram, the pupils of a teacher or guru in a gurukul ashram, or the descendants of an important sage, could also inherit the ‘gotra’ or clan name of the master. It is also known that certain important sages also gave rise to new clan lines, or ‘gotras’ that were named after them. This is true of the sages who had manifested as the sons born from Brahma, the Creator. In contemporary times, the ‘gotra’ is usually referred to for arranging marriages between two different clans. That, of course, is a different story.

The seven of the most important rishis of those times are (1) Gautama, (2) Bharadwaja, (3) Vishwamitra, (4) Jamadagni, (5) Vasishta, (6) Kashyapa, and (7) Atri. It is later mentioned that Kousika was a descendant of the great Brahmarishi Vishwamitra. Similarly, Kaundinya was a descendant of the great sage Vasishta, and Vatsa was descended from the great sage Jamadagni.

Why could the author be Brahmarishi Vishwamitra? First reason, of course, Viswamitra knew Ram. He knew him better than anyone else, perhaps better than his father, Dasharatha, or even his brother, Lakshmana. He knew Ram, before Sita or Hanuman became inseparable aspects of his life. He knew the abilities of Ram, and knew exactly about the aspect of the manifestation of Vishnu, and of the aspect that he had descended in a human avatar, solely for the purpose of the decimation of Ravana and the Rakshasas.

If anyone could describe Ram, in relative perspective to every aspect of his being, behaviour and of his very existence, and ascribe powers to these aspects, it could be none other than Brahmarishi Vishwamitra. But, if the great Brahmarishi did in fact write down the Sri Ram Raksha Stotra, why did he not sign it by the name of Vishwamitra? That indeed, is a mystery. The other contemporary sages, including the first seven, have signed their own names to the works ascribed to them.

Second, is because of the one line that almost gives away his identity – “Hridayam Jaamadagnyajit” – “The one who conquered the son of Jamadagni, please protect my heart”. Vishwamitra and Parashurama, the son of Jamadagni, never got along. They hated each other and were in perpetual mistrust of each other. None other than Brahmarishi Vishwamitra could be more pleased by the fact that Ram defeated Parashurama, and would therefore ascribe the aspect that such a conqueror could indeed protect the ‘heart’.

There are two disturbing lines that make me wonder, if Brahmarishi Vishwamitra may not be the Budha Kousika Rishi, the author of the Sri Ram Raksha Stotra. One is in praise to Vishwamitra, and would the great sage have given such value to himself? The other line is in attribution to the story line of another great hero in India’s mythology that may not have occurred in the Ramayana, but is to be found in the stories of Krishna, after the Kurukshetra war. Would the Brahmarishi have stretched the context to such an extent? Or, am I missing something here?

The line in praise to the great sage is – “Vishwamitra priya shrutee” – “Rama, who is dear to Vishwamitra, protect my ears”. This line makes me doubt, for that very brief moment, if the great Brahmarishi Vishwamitra would appreciate and write about himself? To those who know the story of Vishwamitra, it would be very tempting to say that the great sage would indeed write about himself and ascribe such affection to Ram. Here, I beg to differ. If he would indeed write about his affection to Ram, he could have written about the friendship in more lines, rather than limit it to only one half of the metre.

The other line that strengthens the doubt is – “Naabhim Jambavadaashraya” – “Rama, who gave refuge to Jambavan, protect my navel”. Again, there is this very brief doubt. The story of Jambavan, and his presence in the Ramayana, is much later to Sugreeva, Hanuman, Vaali, Angad and the other vanaras. Jambavan, is depicted, as a bear-man. Rama gives refuge to Jambavan, who swears allegiance in the war to come with Ravana. Rama did give refuge, but in those moments of the Ramayana, he gave support and courage to all those who approached him. It is much later, after the Kurukshetra war that Jambavan reappears in the story of Satyakam and Sri Krishna. The refuge sought by Jambavan from Sri Krishna is certainly more emphatic.

Was there an entirely unknown rishi, by the name, Budha Kousika Rishi? Why would Shiva come to him in his dreams and why would he be asked to write the Sri Rama Raksha Stotra? Who was this great rishi, who penned the Stotra with such precision in accurate metre. Not many realize that the Sri Ram Raksha Stotra is written in the same metre as the Ramayana. Was it indeed difficult in those times to write the Sri Ram Raksha Stotra in such precision? It may not have been, for the great sages composed several stotras during those times, and their authorship is included in the earlier couplets.

I am tempted to agree to the premise that the Brahmarishi Vishwamitra was indeed the author of the Sri Ram Raksha Stotra, after he received the instructions from Shiva. Why? It is not because of the precision of the composition, but it is in the affection, love, the entire surrender to Ram, by one who had already achieved perfection. The great sage, returned to urban areas, to the Royal Court, after nearly two hundred years of residing in the remote forests, to seek Ram, to take it upon him to train Ram, and to insist upon it, and to argue with Dasharath to allow it to happen.

The author, Budha Kousika Rishi, explains that he was commanded in his dream, “Aadhishtavan yathaa swapne”, to write the Ram Raksha Stotra, “Ram raksha mimaam haraha”, and he wrote it out in the morning, “Tathaa likhit vaana praataha”, as told to Budha Kousika by Shiva, “Prabhu-dho Budha Koushikah”. That indeed, is an author, who gave the Ram Raksha Stotra to millions of devotees of Ram, and caused them to be blessed, and will do so in the future.

At Rama’s paadukas
- Dr. Bharat Bhushan
Email -
27 October 2010

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aweosme Rendition of Rama Raksha stotram :