King Dashratha invites Rishyashringi
King Dasharatha accidentally Killed Shravana Kumara with the Shabda-Bhedi arrow.
His heart was heavy and therefore he wanted to rid himself of this son which was unforgivable.
So, he consulted Sage Vashishtha regarding the sin.
Sage Vashishtha advised King Dasharatha to perform Putra Kameshti Yajna.
The Sage believed that this will be atonement for the sin, as well as the proper means to obtain the new heir to the throne of Ayodhya Puri.
King Dasharatha invited the Sage Rishyashringi at the best of his preceptor Vashishtha, to conduct the Yajna.
The King of Anga, Romaharshana was a friend of King Dashratha.
The sage Rishyashringi was the son-in-law of King Romaharshana.
Romaharshana’s daughter was Shanta Devi, wife of Rishyashringi.
Plan to bring Rishyashringi to Kingdom of Anga
The story of how Rishyashringi became the son-in-law of King Romaharshana is interesting.
Once famine gripped the kingdom of King Romaharshana.
The King also did not have a son.
In the olden days, people believed that if kings had legal heirs to the throne, famine shall never attack such a kingdom.
Some sages came to the court of King Romaharshana and said that there is a way to solve the famine problem.
They spoke about a powerful sage named Vibhandaka, who lived in the forest.
His son, Rishyashringi was adept in the science of removing famines.
But at that time, Rishyashringi was serving his father in the forest.
Hence the sages advise King Romaharshana to somehow entice the young sage with the help of Vaishyas.
The plan was, the Vaishyas should first lure Rishyashringi and then somehow utilize his services for the Kingdom of Anga.
Rishyashringi comes to the Court of Anga
Therefore the King of Anga hired some Vaishyas.
They camped near the forest-dwelling of the young sage.
They would sing, dance, and have merry.
Sometimes, out of curiosity, Rishyashringi would approach and watch the beauty of the maidens.
He was a sage, trained to lead a life of austerity. Hence he was a complete novice in matters of women.
The Vaishyas lured Rishyashringi.
They would sometimes embrace him and dish out enticing gestures at him.
The rishi was completely enamored with the behavior of the society girls of yore.
The Vaishyas succeeded in their task and got Rishyashringi to the court of King Romaharshana.
Romaharshana then conceded his plan to the young sage and asked for his forgiveness, for the manner in which he led Rishyashringi to the court.
Rishyashringi was a sage of the highest order.
He forgave the king and readied himself to perform the Yajna, for the King of Anga.
The purpose of the Yajna was to end the famine and also secure an heir for the throne of Anga.
The King achieved both his goals and out of happiness, he gave his daughter in marriage to the young sage.
AgniDeva arrives with a cup of Sweet-Rice
The sages in the court of King Dasharatha thus narrated the story of Sage Rishyashringi.
They desired that king Dashratha should also summon sage Rishyashringi, by approaching his friend King Romaharshana.
The king of Ayodhya did exactly as the sages of his court advised him and got Rishyashringa to perform the Putrakameshti Yajna.
The sage conducted the Yajna successfully.
Towards the end of the sacrifice, a divine form of Agnideva emerged from the sacrificial altar and handed over a cup of sweet rice.
Agnideva advised the king to distribute the sweet rice among his three principal queens.
He blessed the King with the boon of illustrious sons and left.
The king divided the cup of sweet rice into three parts and gave it to his three queens.
The Story of the Apsara turned Hawk
As the queens were about to consume their part of the rise, suddenly a hawk came by and snatched away the portion of the rice, meant for Kaikeyi.
The hawk was actually a cursed Apsara.
The Apsara committed some mistakes during her performance in the court of Sri Brahma and hence had to undergo a curse.
Angered by the flaws in the art form, Sri Brahma cursed the Apsara into becoming a hawk.
When the Apsara wept for forgiveness in front of Brahmaji, the Creator relented.
Sri Brahma said “There is a way to relieve you from my curse.
Wait for the time when Agnideva offers some sweet rice to the three principal queens of Ayodhya Ji.
Your job is to snatch the portion offered to queen Kaikeyi and then drop it near a mountain named Anjani Parvat.
The moment you complete this task, you shall regain your original form and ascend to heaven.
When the hawk finished its task, it regained its original form, that of the Apsara, and ascended to heaven.
Meanwhile, Kaikeyi stood aghast.
The two queens Kausalya and Sumitra, lovingly approached queen kaikeyi and gave a portion of their sweet rice each, to queen Kaikeyi.
Sri Brahma and Mother Earth approach Sri Hari
At the time of the great Yajna at Ayodhya Puri, Mother earth was suffering immensely.
This was due to the atrocities hurled at her by Ravana, the demon King of Lanka.
Mother Earth, assumed a divine form and accompanied by Sri Brahma, both approached Lord Sri Hari.
The Supreme Lord consoled mother Earth and promised to incarnate shortly.
Meanwhile, the Lord turned to the Devatas and instructed them to be born as Vanaras ( a sub-human, monkey-like species) and abound the earth.
Manthara is the Apsara named Dundubhi
The Lord also instructed one of His devotee Apsara maiden named Dundubhi to be present as Manthara.
The plan of the Lord was to avert His own coronation and allow Manthara to somehow direct him towards the forest.
It was from there that the mission to hunt down Ravana would begin.
This was the major role that the Apsara named Dundubhi played, at the best and in the service of the Lord.
The Ananda Ramayana says that it was Manthara who took the form of Kubja, at the end of Dwapara Yuga.
Kubja was a servitor in the court of the demon king Kamsa.
Lord Sri Krishna, through his causeless mercy, finally liberated Kubja.
Sri Hari appears as the Son of Queen Kausalya
It was on the day of Chaitra-Shukla-Navami, Lord Narayana, Sri Hari, appeared, past noon.
He appeared in his effulgent four handed form, as Queen Kausalya was in the labour-room, expecting a baby to show up.
The Lord wore golden ornaments and bedecked with golden yellow garments, down His waist.
His dark bluish form glowed like the deep blue sapphire and the whole room was lit up, as if, by a million suns.
Queen Kausalya was in awe of the Lord.
Yet, she realized that she will not be able to enjoy the sweet relationship of mother and son, in this current form of the Lord.
Hence she requested the Lord to take up a baby-form so that she could identify her feelings with the baby, in the mode of motherly affection.
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