Biographies | Rishi
Read also Uttank-2
Two descriptions are found in Mahaabhaarat about Uttank. Both are similar in several ways, but at the same time they are different too. Both are given here - one is from Aadi Parv and the other one is from Ashwamedh Parv.
Uttank and His Guru Ved
Rishi Dhaumya had three well-known disciples - Upamanyu, Aaruni, and Ved. Uttank was the disciple of Ved. Ved completed his studies and wanted to lead domestic life. His Guru said - "Son, Serve your Guru for some more time, it will be good for you." Ved stayed back and served his Guru tolerating everything without a murmur. After a long time Guru was satisfied. As a result of this satisfaction he also got a good fortune and universal knowledge. This was Ved's trial. He then came back to his home and started leading his family life. While living in family, he had three disciples. He never told them to do any work because he himself suffered a lot in his Guru's house.
Once Ved had to go somewhere to do some Yagya for somebody. He asked Uttank to take care of his house as he himself did and went away. Now after a while Ved's house women said to Uttank - "This is the season when your Guru's wife can become pregnant, so go to her and do the needful." Uttank said - "It is not proper for me to do this just on asking women. My Guru has not ordered me to do anything which is improper." After a while when Ved had come back, he got very pleased with Uttank's behavior and asked him to ask anything he wished for. You have served my very well, and our friendship has increased as time has passed. I permit you to leave and go wherever you want. Be happy."
Uttank asked him to ask for something as Guru Dakshinaa. Ved was so pleased from him that he did not want anything from, but when Uttank insisted he sent him to his wife if she wanted anything. Uttank went to her and repeated his request. She said - "If you wish to bring me something, then bring me the earrings of King Paushya's wife. There is some auspicious day on fourth day from today, and I want to wear them on that day before the Braahman. If you will be able to bring them till then a good fortune will await you, and if not what good can you expect?"
As Uttank proceeded to bring them he saw an extraordinary bull and an extraordinary man. The man asked Uttank to eat the bulls dung. Uttank was hesitant to eat it, but the man ordered him to eat it without hesitation as his master also ate it before. So Uttank also ate his dung and drank his urine. Then he washed his mouth and went to King Paushya. When he arrived at his palace, he saw Paushya sitting in his court. King asked him what he could he do for him? Uttank said - "I have come here to ask for the pair of earrings which I wish to present to my Guru's wife." Paushya told him to go to his inner apartments and ask for them from his queen.
Uttank went to the inner apartments but he could not see the queen, so he came back and said to the King - "It is not proper to deceive me. The queen is not there." The King said - "Recollect if you are not impure with anything, because my wife is a chaste woman and cannot be seen by anyone who is impure of anything, nor she appears before anybody who is defiled." Uttank recollected that he did his oblations in standing position, maybe this was the reason but the King told him that it was not the reason. Then he sat down faced eastward, washed his face, hands and mouth, wiped his face twice etc, then he entered the apartments and this time he saw the queen.
Queen greeted him and asked him what could she do for him? He said to her - "I have come to beg you for your earrings, because I have to give them to my Guru's wife. [She wants them.]" She readily gave them to him and said - "These earrings are very much sought by Takshak, that is why you should take them with great care." "I will. He will not be able to overtake me. Do not worry." After taking them he went to King Paushya and thanked him. Paushya said - "Such charity is made once in a while, so I wish to perform a Shraaddh." Uttank agreed for this. When the food was brought for him, he saw that there was a hair in it; and it was cold also, so he thought it unclean. He cursed Paushya, "You have offered me unclean food that is why you become blind." Paushya said in his reply- "Because you have declared the clean food as unclean you will remain childless." At this Uttank said - "You should not curse me after offering me unclean food. Prove it that it is clean." Paushya looked at the food and found it unclean. It was prepared by a woman with loose hair. He asked Uttank's forgiveness, and prayed him that he should not become blind.
Uttank told him that his words could not be untrue, but he will not be blind for too long and requested to grant that his own Shaap should not affect him. Paushya said - "I cannot revoke my Shaap because I have still not come out of my anger, but you will not know this because Braahman's heart is very soft although his words are very sharp, while in Kshatriya's case it is otherwise. Now go your own way." At this Uttank said - "I showed you the uncleanliness of the food, and I am pacified by you. You said the unclean food as clean that is why did you cursed me, but since the food was already unclean, so your Shaap will not affect me." And Uttank went away from there.
On his way he saw a naked beggar who sometimes appeared and sometimes disappeared. Uttank was thirsty so he kept the earrings on ground and went to bring some water. In the meantime that beggar came and took away the earrings. He came back and followed the beggar and seized him but he instantly changed into Takshak and entered the hole and went away to his regions. Uttank tried to dig the hole with a stick but could not make progress faster, so Indra sent his Vajra to help him. His Vajra entered his stick and made the hole wider quickly. Uttank entered the hole and came to the regions of Naag. Then he prayed Naag, still he could not get the earrings.
When Uttank did not get the earrings even after praying Naag, he looked around and saw two women weaving a cloth on a loom with black and white threads (day and night). He saw a wheel of 12 spokes (year) turned by six boys (seasons), and a handsome man on a horse. He prayed them with Mantra. The man with horse said to him - "I am pleased with your prayer, tell me what can I do for you?" Uttank said - Let all these snakes be under my control." He said - "Blow into this horse." Uttank blew into the horse and a fire with smoke came out of his every pore and started burning the Naag Lok. Takshak immediately came out with earrings and handed over them to him.
After taking earrings from Takshak, Uttank thought, "Oh, This is the fourth day for my Guru Maa, how can I reach there being so far from that place?" That man guessed it and offered his horse to go to his destination; it took him to his Guru's house instantly.
Guru's wife welcomed him and said - "Since you are innocent, I will not give you Shaap. All your wishes should come true." Uttank waited for his Guru. When his Guru came he greeted him and said - "When I was bringing earrings, Takshak took them to his Lok, so I had to follow him to his Lok, there I saw two women weaving a cloth with black and white threads. And I saw a wheel with 12 spokes turning by 6 boys. I saw a man also with horse. Who were those and what were they doing? Besides when I was going I saw a man and a bull of extraordinary size. He asked me to eat bull's dung saying that "Your master has also eaten it before." Who were those people?"
Guru Jee said - "The two women were Dhaataa and Vidhaataa, the black and white threads were day and night. The wheel with 12 spokes driven by 6 boys was year with 12 months and six seasons The man was Parajanya (the deity of rain) and the horse was Agni. The bull was Airaavat, and the man with the bull was Indra and the dung you ate was Amrit, that is why you did not die in Naag Lok. Now you may go."
Uttank, angry with Takshak, headed towards Hastinaapur. In Hastinaapur, he waited upon King Janamejaya who was to return from Takshshilaa. When he had returned, he said to him - "How do you spend your time in childish things when other matters of more urgency demand your attention?" The King asked - "What is that, O Muni?"
Muni said - "Don't forget, that you father was bitten by Takshak, that is why you should take revenge from him. The time has come now. He did not allow even Kashyap (the son of Vaidya) who was coming to treat your father, to come to him. You do the Sarp Yagya to burn him. Give order for this Yagya immediately. By doing this you will oblige me also, as he has offended me also while I was doing my Guru's work." Hearing this King also got angry and he ordered for the Sarp Yagya.
Created by Sushma Gupta On 5/27/04
Modified on 04/16/13