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Vishwaamitra Jee

Vishwaamitra was the son of King Gaadhi. King Gaadhi was in the lineage of Pururavaa. Pururavaa's son was Vijay -> Jahnu -> Pooru -> Balaak -> Ajak -> Kush -> Kushnaabh -> Gaadhi. Vishwaamitra's real name was Vishwarath. He had a sister named Satyavatee who was married to Rishi Richeek and their son was Jamadagni and Jamadagni and Renukaa's son was Parashuraam Jee. Thus he was the maternal uncle (Maamaa) of Rishi Jamadagni and maternal grandfather (Naanaa) of Parashuraam. How he became a Brahmarshi, it is a quite a story.

Background of His Being Brahmarshi
Once Satyavatee and her mother (Gaadhi's wife and Vishwaamitra's mother) requested Rishi Richeek to give them a son. Richeek cooked two Charu for both of them. But Satyavatee's mother thought that Richeek might have cooked better Charu for his wife, so she asked Satyavatee to give her own Charu. She gave her own Charu to her mother and took her Charu herself. When Richeek Rishi came to know about this he said to Satyavatee - "You did not do good by giving your own Charu to your mother." On asking "Why" he explained - "Because I made your Charu to give you a Rishi type son and her Charu to give her a king like son. But since you have eaten her Charu you will have a king like son who will punish the people and your mother will have a Brahm Vettaa (knower of Brahm) son." Satyavatee got very sad hearing this and she requested Muni to avert this consequence. So on Satyavatee's request he said, "OK, not your son but your grandson will be like this." So Satyavatee gave birth to Rishi Jamadagni, and her mother had Vishwaamitra who became a great Braahman even being a Kshatriya's son.

Vishwarath had several wives - Hemaavatee, Shalaavatee, Maadhavee, Renu etc. He had 100 sons - Madhuchchhandaa, Kati, Kratumaan, Hareet, Jaya, Yaagyavalkya, Paanini, Gaalav, Mudgal, Sankruti, Deval, Ashtak etc. Vishwaamitra had a daughter also from Menakaa. When Menakaa went to Swarg, she left the daughter in forest. Maharshi Kanv got her and brought her up. Her name was Shakuntalaa. 

Quarrel with Vashishth Jee
Vishwaamitra Jee was a Kshatriya, but then he became a Brahmarshi. How? it is a long story. Once Vishwaamitra as a king was wandering with his army to see the places, that he came to a forest where all kinds of animals were roaming around freely without any enmity. He was very surprised to see this. Nearby he saw an Aashram. That Aashram was of Vashishth Jee. He headed towards the Aashram. When Vashishth Jee saw Raajaa coming to his place he welcomed him and his whole army and said, "O King, Please be my guest". Vishwaamitra Jee thought "How a Rishi will manage to get even food for all of us. It is difficult even for Raajaa also." So first he refused but at last he agreed as Vashishth Jee insisted.

Now Vashishth Jee had a cow named Nandinee who was the daughter of Kaamdhenu cow. Vashishth Jee requested Nandinee and said, "Our Raajaa is our guest today so please arrange everything for him." So she arranged everything in just a few minutes. Vishwaamitra saw all this. It was a wonder of wonders for him. He thought that being a king he should have that cow, why this Rishi should need her? So he requested politely Vashishth Jee to give that cow to him as gift. And in return he would give 100,000 cows, jewels, 14,000 elephants, 8,000 gem studded chariots and many other things.

Vashishth Jee said, "Raajan, This cow is the gift of Kaamdhenu to me to fulfill my needs of my daily activities. This is the only thing I have." "But I am the King and I should have such things, what you would do of that?" "I am sorry, I have no power to gift you this." Vishwaamitra Jee said - "I am only requesting you but if you don't agree to it, you cannot stop me taking her fromhere." And then Vishwaamitra Jee ordered his soldiers to take that cow. They tied a rope in her neck and pulled her to take her to their kingdom. She cried and requested Vashishth Jee to protect her. Vashishth Jee shook his head in helplessness, then she asked his permission to protect herself. Vashishth Jee gave the permission. She roared "Humbhaa" and out of her each pore on her body came out many soldiers. Vishwaamitra's army could not fight with that Divine army. In a rage Vishwaamitra sent his 100 sons to attack Vashishth, but they were all burned only by one roar of Vashishth Jee.

Seeing this power of Tap, Vishwaamitra thought that his weapons were weaker in comparison to Vashishth's power so he went to Himaalaya to get more powerful weapons than his. He did Tapasyaa to please Shiv Jee. On his appearing, he asked for all the secret knowledge of archery and magical arrows of Yaksh, Raakshas, Maharshi, Gandharv. Shiv Jee granted him this Var and went away. Now with all this power he rushed to Vashishth's Aashram to take revenge from him. Vashishth Jee was busy in his worship. Vishwaamitra aimed many arrows at Vashishth Jee. Many Rishi who were worshipping there got frightened and ran away from that place.

Vashishth Jee opened his eyes and found Vishwaamitra standing with a fierce weapon. He called other Rishi back and took his Dand out on which his hand was resting and planted it just before him. Viswaamitra's all arrows and powers went useless before that Dand. He was very much ashamed. His whole Tapasyaa proved useless. At this he uttered, "Dhig-Balam, Dhig-Kshatriya, Brahm-Tejo-Balam Balam" means arms power is worse than useless before Brahm Tej power. Now Vishwaamitra Jee thought to be a Brahmarshi, so he went southwards with his queens and did tap for a thousand year to please Brahmaa Jee, the Creator. Brahmaa Jee appeared before him and appointed him as Raajarshi. But Vshwaamitra Jee was not satisfied with this, he wanted to be a Brahmarshi. So he continued his Tap. 

This time a new development took place. There was a king named Satyavrat in Ikshwaaku Vansh and Vashishth Jee was his Purohit. He wanted to go to Swarg with his mortal body. So he went to Vashishth Jee and requested him to send him to Swarg with this mortal body. Vashishth Jee refused saying that nobody could go to Swarg like this and refused to perform any sacrificial rites to attain such an impossible goal.

So he went southwards and found the hundred sons of Vashishth Jee. He requested them too but they said, "Whatever our father cannot do, we cannot do." "I will find someone else if you don't do this." At this reply they felt insulted and gave him Shaap, "You have turned out to be traitor to your Guru so be a Chaandaal" (the lowest cast people in Hindu society). Immediately he lost his color and beauty, he became black and his glory was gone and he became a Chaandaal. He went further South and found Vishwaamitra Jee. He requested Vishwaamitra Jee too. He got ready to send him to Swarg just to show his powers to Vashishth Jee, so Satyavrat came back to his kingdom.

In the meantime, there were no rains for some time. Vishwaamitra Jee had gone for Tap. Satyavrat took good care of his family, so he was very happy with Satyavrat. He assured him to do such rites which could take him to Swarg. He had another purpose in doing this - he could defeat Vashishth by doing this. So he sent his disciples all around with this message that "I am doing such a Yagya which will take Satyavrat to Swarg with this mortal body, you also come and join us." and if anyone refuses to do so then let me know about him. One Rishi Mahodaya and the 100 sons of Vashishth Jee refused to join in this Yagya, so Vishwaamitra Jee gave Shaap to Mahodaya to be ruined and to 100 sons of Vashishth to be burned. Immediately Vashishh's sons were burned.

Now the Yagya ceremonies were started. The Yagya continued for 12 long years. Trishanku got disappointed but Vishwaamitra asked him to keep patience. Then he offered Havishya (food for Devtaa offered in Yagya), but no Devtaa came to accept it. He said to Satyavrat, "Don't be disappointed,  I will send you to Swarg with the influence of my Tap." And slowly Satyavrat started rising in his mortal body.

Seeing King Satyavrat coming towards Swarg, Indra said, "You have no respect for your Guru, so you have no place in our world." and pushed him down. Now he started falling down. He cried, "O Vishwaamitra, save me." Vishwaamitra said, "Don't fear" and made him stay in mid-heavens. To finalize the act he created new Saptarshi and several constellations in southern sky and said, "I will create a new Indra and I will see that other heavens do not have any Indra at all."

Hearing this Devtaa and Rishi got frightened and came to Vishwaamitra Jee and said - "Satyavrat cannot have a place in Swarg, he bears the Shaap of his Guru." "But my words cannot be untrue, so let those constellations be there permanently and amidst them Satyavrat will be there in his earthly body." Thus Satyavrat remained hanging between the Earth and the Heavens and thus got known as Trishanku (hanging in between). Vishwaamitra Jee was very happy to win Indra, Devtaa and Vashishth, but to his dismay his all powers were gone through his anger. So he went to Pushkar Jee to do Tapasyaa again.

Saving Shunahshep
This time, Ambareesh, the King of Ayodhyaa, decided to do a sacrificial rite to get a son and vowed to perform it with his son as a sacrifice, that if he will have a son, he will sacrifice him. He did have a son but he always postponed the sacrifice because he did not want to part with his son. Later that son ran away in the forest and stayed there for several years. Once he heard that his father was very ill, so he came home. He bought the middle son of Richeek, Devaraat (Richeek and Satyavatee's son, and Rishi Jamadagni's younger brother), for the sacrifice by paying 100,000 cows. Richeek had three sons. He did not want to give his eldest son, and his wife Satyavatee did not want to give her youngest son. The middle son, Shunehshep, was very sad with this whole affair but in order to obey his parents he agreed.

[Bhaagvat, 9/4] says that Shunah-Shep was Ajeegaart's son and was not saved by Vishwaamitra, rather Vishwaamitra himself was Hotaa in that Yagya - "In the 7th year, when he [Rohitaashwa] started towards his city, then he bought the middle son of Ajeegart - Shunah-Shep - and gave him to his father as Yagya animal. Then only his father got all right and he did the Purushmedh Yagya in which Vishwaamitra became Hotaa, Jamadagni became Adhwaryu, Vashishth Jee became Brahmaa and Ayaasya Muni became Udgaataa (for Saam Gaan). At that time pleased with Harishchandra Indra gave him a gold Chariot."

[V-Raamaayan, 1/18/62] says that this Yagya was performed by Raajaa Ambareesh (for his son), not by Harishchandra. And he went to Richeek Muni and brought his middle son, as he had  three sons. We know that Maharshi Jamadagni was his son, but which oes the other two sons? Their names are not found. If his middle son's name was Shunah-Shep then what was the name of his youngest son?

On their way, he met his Maamaa Vishwaamitra Jee in Pushkar Jee. He requested him to save his life, at the same time not to ruin Raajaa's Yagya too. Seeing his nephew, merely a boy, in trouble he pitied him and taught him some Mantra, and said, "When they tie you with the sacrificial alter you chant these Mantra with devotion, your life will be saved." So when he was tied to the sacrificial altar for the sacrifice, he started chanting those Mantra Vishwaamitra Jee taught him. Hearing those Mantra Indra was very pleased and spared his life, at the same time he spared the life of Ambareesh's son also. Thus Vishwaamitra saved Devaraat's life as well as Ambareesh's son's life. Since then Devaraat was called as Shunahshep. (he was Bhrigu Vanshee Ajeegart's son, he was his sister's son also).

Later Vishwaamitra Jee adopted him as his son and asked his all sons (100) to regard him as their eldest brother. His eldest son with his 48 younger brothers did not like it, so he gave them Shaap - "All of you become Mlechchh." so they became non-Hindu - Mlechchh. All others accepted him as their eldest brother. He blessed them and said - "He is also of your Gotra, so respect him and obey him." He started  several other Gotra also other than Kaushikee Gotra inside it.

As Brahmarshi
Thus he continued his Tap for another 1,000 years. Brahmaa Jee appeared before him and declared him as Rishi. But that was not the goal of Vishwaamitra. So he again started doing his Tap. Indra got scared of his Tap, so he sent Menakaa to disturb his Tap. So this time, he saw Menakaa (Apsaraa) and lived with her for 10 years. They had a daughter, Shakuntalaa. Then one day he thought "Why did I leave my Tap?" So he left Menakaa and again went for Tapasyaa. This time he overcame his habit of anger and did Tap in peace. At the end of the Tap, he prepared a meal for himself and sat to take it, that Indra came in disguise of a Braahman and asked for the food. He gave it to him and did Tap for another 1,000 years. This time Brahmaa Jee appeared again and declared him as Maharshi. That was also not his goal, so he again started his Tap. Indra again tried to disturb his Tap, but this time he did not get disturbed and Brahmaa Jee had to declare him as Brahmarshi.

Test of Harishchandra
One day both Vashishth and Vishwaamitra were sitting in Indra's court. Indra asked, "Do you find anybody who stick to truth at this time, on Earth?" Vashishth Jee said, "Raajaa Harishchandra is like that." Vishwaamitra said, "No, he is not." Argument grew hot and ended up in testing Harishchandra for his truthfulness by Vishwaamitra Jee. He vowed, "If I don't prove Vashishth wrong, I will not call myself Vishwaamitra."

Now the testing began. At one time Harishchandra had to do a Yagya, in which he had to donate a large quantity of gold. Vishwaamitra Jee went there to have that donation. Raajaa asked, "How much gold do you want?" Vishwaamitra said - "When a tall person standing on an elephant throws a cowrie (shell), I need so much large heap of gold." Harishchandra readily said, "I will gladly give you this much donation. I have it in my treasury." Vishwaamitra did not expect this reply, this was his first defeat, so he said, "Let it be in your treasury for now, when I will need it, I will come to take it."Raajaa said, "As you wish."

Now Vishwaamitra Jee created many wild animals who were troubling public, so Raajaa with his wife Chandramatee [somewhere her name is given Shaivyaa] and son Rohitaashwa went for their hunting. He set his camp in the forest. Vishwaamitra Jee sent two beautiful girls in his camp. They talked to him some non-sense and Raajaa sent them back with beatings. Vishwaamitra said to Harishchandra, "You have insulted my daughters, so either you give me money or marry these low-caste girls and give the remaining money within 48 days." Raajaa did not want to marry those girls so he gave his kingdom including his treasury and went to Kaashee (Benaaras or Vaaraanasee) with his family. He sold his wife and son to a rich person and himself to a Shoodra and gave all that money he got to Muni as Dakshinaa.

Now the buyer of Raajaa was Vishwaamitra's disciple Nakshatrak. He made him in charge of a cremation ground. Once so happened that Raajaa Harishchandra's son went to garden to pluck flowers for worship, there he died of a snake-bite. Now Shaivyaa didn't have even so much money that she could buy a new cloth for his Kafan (cloth to wrap a dead body), so she  wrapped his body in her half Saree (a cloth worn by Indian women) in mid-night and brought it to the same cremation ground where her husband King Harishchandra was working.

At first Harishchandra did not recognize her. As usual he asked her for the prescribed fee for his cremation which was supposed to go to his master. Although she told her plight that she had no money to buy even his Kafan (the cloth used to cover the dead body), so she had to wrap her son's body in her half Saaree and she had only the other half part of her Saaree on her body, did he want to make her without clothes? but he did not listen to it. So she went in the town to get some money to pay for his fee. As she tried to steal some money, she was caught by Raajaa's people for stealing that money and Raajaa ordered for her execution. Now again this was the duty of Harishchandra to execute her, so as he took out his sword to kill her. As he lifted his hand to kill her, Brahmaa, Vishnu, Mahesh all three appeared before him and held his hand. They said that they were testing him for his truthfulness. He was truly a truth speaker, so he was given back everything - his wife, his son, his kingdom, everything.

Vishwaamitra in Raamaayan
When Raam, Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughn were there in Tretaa Yug, then Vashishth Jee was their Guru. Vishwaamitra Jee asked Raam and Lakshman from Dasharath Jee to guard his Yagya from Maareech, Subaahu and Taadkaa demons. Shree Raam killed Taadkaa and Subaahu at that time but he spared Maareech. Raam killed him when he was in exile for 14 years. (he appeared as a golden deer and Seetaa Jee sent Shree Raam to kill it). After the completion of his Yagya, Vishwaamitra took them to attend Raajaa Janak's daughter Seetaa's Swayamvar in Janak Puree. On the way he asked Raam to give Mukti to Ahalyaa, who was lying in the form of a stone, by touching that stone with His foot. So He did. Then they all came to Mithilaa for Seetaa's Swayamvar and got all four brothers married to Seetaa and her three sisters.


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 02/21/13