Thursday, April 18, 2013


                  SAGE   BRAHMADATTA
Kusha approaches Brahmadatta, At the centre of the page, a sage named Chuli is bening visited by Somada who asks him for a son. Pleased by her devotion to him, Chuli grants her wish, illustrated in the centre foreground. Her child Brahmadatta grows up to be King of Kampilya. King Kusha resolves that his daughters will be wed to this man and on the left hand side is shown offering his daughters to King Brahmadatta in marriage. Image taken from Ramayana, Bala Kanda. Originally published/produced in Udaipur, 1712. Image Code:RPL-027963. Photographer: BL/Robana. Collection: Robana Picture Library. 
Once there was a highly righteous kingly sage who is the brainchild of Brahma, whose ascesis is of higher order, who has never flouted the rules of rituals or his vows, and who revered the knowers of virtue by name Kusha.

That great-souled Kusha begot four selfsame and mighty sons, namely Kusumba, Kushanaabha, Asuurtarajasa, or also called Adhuurtarajasa, and Vasu through the princess of Vidarbha, which princess is of noble birth and an eligible wife of Kusha. With an aspiration that his sons shall uphold the principles of Kshatriya-s, Kusha spoke to them who are brilliant, highly enthusiastic, virtue abiding, and the advocators of truth saying, ‘establish your rulership, sons, and achieve righteousness abundantly.’

On hearing the words of Kusha those four sons that are the formidable ones in the world and the best men among people initiated to build four cities. Great-resplendent Kushamba built the city named Kaushambii for his part, and for his part the virtue-souled Kushanaabha built a city named Mahodaya. Oh, Rama, noble-minded Asuurtarajasa built a city named Dharmaaranya, and king Vasu built a city in the name of Girivraja.


The virtue-souled kingly saint Kushanaabha gave birth to a hundred daughters with unexcelled beauty through a celestial female called Ghritaachi. Those girls when attained youthfulness they are lovely and on an occasion they have gone to gardens and moved there about like one lightning with a hundred streaks during rainy season, and while those girls that are decorated with select ornaments are singing, dancing and playing musical instruments, they got into a fantastic felicity. On their coming to parklands those girls whose all limbs are pretty and whose looks are unparalleled on earth, they looked like stars amid clouds within the cloudy thickets of garden bushes.

On seeing them who are flourishing with all their aspects together with comeliness and ripeness, the all-pervading Air-god, Vayu, spoke this word to them. ’I have a desire for you all, hence leaving off the notions pertaining to human beings you all become my wives, thereby you too will acquire longevity like divinities. Teenage is always transitory, expressly in humans, but on marrying me you will achieve undiminished youthfulness and forever you can be youthful like immortal females.’ Thus Air-god said to those girls.

On hearing that proposal of Vayu, the Air-god whose strives are unimpeded, then those hundred girls spoke this sentence laughing off his proposal.  ‘We are aware that you inspirit all the living beings from inside, oh, the ablest divinity, we are also aware of your uniqueness. But, what for you are dishonouring all of us. We are the daughters of Kushanaabha, oh, best divinity, and we are all capable of displacing you from your realm, but oh, god, we are restraining ourselves in doing so only to conserve our ascetic values. That time shall never come, oh, god with sordid thinking, when we, at our liberty, may look up for our grooms overlooking our veracious father. Our father is indeed our lord and for us he is the ultimate god too. To whomever we are offered by our father in marriage he alone becomes our husband.’ So said hundred girls to Air-god.

On hearing their sentence of rejection, Vayu, the Air-god whose impact is powerful, very angrily entered into all of the limbs of those girls only to disfigure them. Those girls whom Air-god disfigured in that way have entered palace-chambers of the king, but they have entered diffidently, embarrassedly, and tearfully.

That king on seeing his dear and attractive daughters as disfigured and despondent girls he is highly perturbed and said this.

‘Oh, daughters, what all is this? Who disregarded probity? Who disfigured you all? Let it be said! Why you gesticulate saying nothing.’ asking thus that king sighed and quietened down waiting for a reply.

* * *

On hearing that sentence of scholarly Kushanaabha those hundred girls touched his feet with their foreheads and spoke to him.

‘The all-pervasive Air-god desired to dishonour us, oh, king, resorting to improper approach and overlooking virtuous conduct. Our father is there and we are not independent, you be safe, hence oh, Air-god, you may request our father to know whether he gives us to you or not.’ Thus we have told the Air-god, but… Though we all have spoken to him thus, that Air-god who is bound by venality refused to take notice of our words and he has harmed us a lot.’ Thus those girls informed their father.

On listening their words that highly virtuous and highly resplendent king spoke to the hundred girls with unsurpassed virtue.

‘Forgiving is the duty of imperturbable and you have done it. Excellent. Oh, daughters, coursing through your unity my family’s prestige is also kept up. Forgiveness is an adornment to women, as a matter of fact, even for men, and this matter called ‘forgiving’ that which is there, it is an impracticable affair. That too, in respect of divinities. And the kind of forgiveness you all possess uniformly, that is further laudable. Grace is altruism, grace is ritualism, oh, my daughters, grace is glory, grace is virtue, and this universe is verily abiding in graciousness alone for grace itself is the truth, isn’t it!’ Thus king Kushanaabha said to his daughters and sent them away.

On leaving those girls, oh, Rama, that king whose valour matches that of gods and who is an expert in thinking strategies started to think with his ministers on the topics like, as to how his daughters are to be espoused to, to which country they are to be sent, at which time marriage shall happen, and to which matching bridegroom the marriage is to be proposed, and so on.

During that time a great-resplendent sage named Cuulii is there, who is propitious in his demeanour and who holds his semen upward, and who has achieved high ascetic practise strictly according to Vedic canons. While that sage is in the practise of asceticism a celestial female served him at the place of his ascesis, safety be with you oh, Rama, she is Somada by her name, the daughter of Urmila. Even she is obedient in his respect, and dedicating herself in ministering to him she stayed there righteously. After some time that sage Cuulii has become satisfied with her service. When her service is fructified, oh, Rama, that sage benevolently spoke to her saying, ‘I am perfectly pleased with your service, let good betide you, what cherish of yours I have to fulfil.’

Perceiving that the sage is contented that female celestial Soamda who is aware of making good sentences is highly delighted and spoke with her melodious voice to that pedantic sage.

‘Vedic splendour is flourishing in you when you have become one with Brahma, oh, supreme ascetic, I may please be endowed with a righteous son whose ascetic spirituality may embody the spirituality enunciated in Veda-s. I am unmarried and nobody’s wife, safe you be, and as I took shelter under your kindness it will be apt of you to endow me a son with your faculty of asceticism.’ So said Somada to sage Cuulii.

That Brahma-sage Cuulina benignantly bestowed her with a unique and Brahma-like son who is renowned as Brahmadatta, as well as his own brainchild.

King Brahmadatta endued with superb grandeur ruled from a city called Kaampilya as with Indra ruling the heaven. The most righteous king Kushanaabha then made up his mind, oh, Rama of Kakutstha, to espouse his hundred daughters to Brahmadatta.

Inviting Brahmadatta that great-resplendent lord of the land, namely the king Kushanaabha, married his hundred daughters to him, pleasing highly in his heart of hearts. As with the tradition of marriage king Brahmadatta who vies with lord of gods, namely Indra, in succession took the palm of each of the hundred girls into his palm.

By mere touch of hand of Brahmadatta alone, their misshape and desperation are evanished, and all of those hundred maidens beamed bright as they are retouched with utmost elegance.

On seeing his daughters getting release from the effect of Air-god, Kushanaabha became highly joyful, and he took great delight time and again as and when he looked at them. Later when the marriage is complete king Kushanaabha bade farewell to king Brahmadatta along with his wives, his own hundred daughters, and along with the groups of religious teachers.

Somada, the celestial female and the mother of Brahmadatta, is gladdened to see her son Brahmadatta, for the worthwhile deed done by him in removing the blemish caused by the Air-god to the girls, or in bringing those worthwhile girls as her daughter-in-laws. She is further gladdened while her feet are traditionally and repeatedly touched by a hundred daughter-in-laws in succession, coupled with her own raising of each of the daughter-in-law to embrace for a hundred times. Thus Somada has gone on caressing each of her hundred daughter-in-laws, and in doing so she is gladdened to do so over and over again, she is gladdened. She thus praised Kushanaabha for giving his gemlike daughters as her daughter-in-laws and blessed the daughter-in-laws.

* * *

When Brahmadatta has married and left, oh, Raghava, king Kushanaabha he embarked on Vedic-ritual called putra kaameSTHi in order to beget a son because is sonless. During the performance of the ritual, supremely generous Kusha, the brainchild of Brahma and the father of Kushanaabha, spoke to the king Kushanaabha. ’Oh, son, there will be a highly virtuous and selfsame son of yours, known as Gaadhi, and through him you also will get everlasting renown in the world.’ Thus Kusha said to Kushanaabha. Saying so, oh, Rama, Kushanaabha’s father Kusa entered the sky and journeyed to the time-honoured abode of Brahma.

Then after some time that highly intellectual Kushanaabha begot a supremely righteous son known by the name Gaadhi.

RAMAYANA, 1.32-4

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Sage Rishyashringa

A sculpture of Sage Sri Rishyashringa in the temple at Kigga
Sringeri is hallowed for all times by the ancient legend of the sage Sri Rishyasringa. Sage Vibhandaka, by a curious combination of circumstances, became the father of a child, with a horn in the forehead, born of a deer. He found himself responsible for the proper upbringing of the child, whom he named as Rishyasringa. He thought that the easiest way to keep his son innocent of the worldly ways was to keep him in forest isolation. He succeeded to such an extent that when the boy matured into manhood, he had never set eyes on any human being other than his own father. He was even unaware of sexual distinction.
It so chanced that a neighbouring kingdom, which was then ruled by a king named Romapada, suffered from a severe drought. The king was advised by his ministers that there would be rains if sage Rishyasringa, blessed his kingdom with the touch of his holy feet. Romapada sent a number of fair damsels to the forest to bring the sage. They were however afraid of sage Vibhandaka, and so approached the hermitage when he was absent.
King Romapada, learning that the boy-sage had started from his hermitage, waited to receive him at the frontiers of his kingdom. The instant the holy sage stepped on the soil, the heavens opened up and poured-down life giving showers. The king, thankful for the favour conferred on him, showed his gratitude by offering the hand of his daughter, Santha, in marriage to the sage. Rishyasringa accepted her as his wife and remained in the king’s palace as an honoured guest for sometime.

Doll arrangement depicting the performance of Putrakameshti Yaga by
King Dasharatha officiated by Sage Rishyashringa
It was during this period that Dasaratha, King of Ayodhya, invited him to officiate in the yaga named Putrakameshti, by which he was blessed with four sons, Sri Rama and others. Sage Rishyasringa felt that his married life was not without its merits. It gave him an opportunity to usher into this world Sri Rama, the personification of Dharma.

The Linga

Yet he felt himself called back to his native forest with its holy atmosphere. He retired to the forest to spend the remainder of his life in divine contemplation. When he shuffled off his mortal coil, a lightning issued forth from his body and disappeared into the Linga he was worshipping as a symbol of formless Absolute.

The Shiva-Linga of Sage Rishyashringa at Kigga
This Linga can be seen even now in the temple at Kigga, a village about 7 Km from Sringeri. Unlike others, this Linga is invested with a horn on its head, to commemorate the merger of the sage Rishyasringa.
The Linga that was worshipped by the sage Vibhandaka and into which he himself disappeared in the end is on the summit of a hillock. This is situated in the centre of Sringeri. The Linga is known as Malahanikareshwara (destroyer of the impurities of the Jiva) and is worshipped even today.

Sculpture at the temple of Sri Malahanikareswhwara at Sringeri
depicting Sage Vibhandaka worshipping a Shiva Linga

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Rishyasringa travels to Ajodhya with Santa