Greatness of discussing about devotees.
Sages like Narada and Shandilya specifically carved out the path of Bhakti.
Sages have designed the paths of Jnana, Karma, and Bhakti for the welfare of mankind.
The Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna remembers and sings the glory of Sage Narada.
He reveals the glories of Narada thus:
(1) The life of Sage Narada represents how a devotee should be.
(2) One should always remember the great qualities of a devotee.
By doing so, one automatically starts developing those very qualities, through constant contemplation.
(3) Remembering the qualities of devotees purifies one’s heart.
(4) The position of the pure devotee is so great that the Supreme Lord Himself praises the devotee.
Because of these great qualities of the devotee, the Supreme Lord becomes the devotee of His devotee.
(5) Following the demeanor of the devotee, the whole world benefits.
By recognizing the great qualities of a devotee, the world attains all goodness.
All inauspiciousness of the world then starts to recede.
The world can never be purified without remembering the pure devotee’s qualities or without discussing the devotee’s pastimes.
A pure devotee is a sage, a sage of the highest caliber.
Above all, the True Sages try to guide the erring mankind towards life Absolute.
The position of Sage Vashishta
The great Brahmarishi Vashishta is the mind-born son of the Creator of the material world, Sri Brahma.
Vashishta is the brother of the four Kumara brothers and sage Narada.
Devi Arundhati, the very epitome of chastity is sage Vashishta’s better half.
Sri Brahma had advised the sage to become the family priest of the Solar Dynasty.
But Sage Vashishta turned down the proposal.
Becoming a Priest to behold the Divine
According to the Shastra, the position of a family priest is like being in a material profession.
For Sadhakas or pursuers of Truth, Shastra does not recommend taking up this position.
For a Brahmana, attached to material wealth, position, and greed to feed on other’s weaknesses (especially in Kaliyuga), attracts such professions.
Sage Vashishta symbolized the perfect Brahman realized sage.
Nothing bound Vashishta for him to accept such a low position after all.
But his father persisted with the offer saying “The Epitome of Dharma, Morality and Modesty, the Supreme Lord, Sri Rama shall appear in the Solar dynasty.
You shall attain the highest position of becoming His spiritual master.”
Hearing this offer, sage Vashishta immediately accepted the position of the family priest of the Solar dynasty.
Nothing comes without a prize.
Sage Vashishta had to wait for an entire Yuga to pass before he could behold, the Lord of his heart Sri Rama.
Until such time, Sage Vashishta served as an ordinary family priest in the clan of the Raghus.
Sage Vashishta, accepted a lowly position, not commensurate to his Brahman realized position.
All this, to just have a glimpse of the Supreme Lord.
This is the quality of pure devotion.
Sage Vashishta guides the Ikshavaku Dynasty
In the initial stages, sage Vashishta becomes the family priest of the entire Solar dynasty.
However, a scuffle ensued between sage Vashishta and King Nimi of the same dynasty.
Because of the difference of opinion, the sage relinquished some areas of his contribution.
He built a small Ashrama near Ayodhyaji and started residing there.
The Solar dynasty was very big and hence Vashishta, instead of supervising the entire Solar dynasty, attended only to a specific line within the dynasty.
This was the special line of kings within the Ikshavaku clan.
Initiating the Ikshavaku clan into mantras
Whenever there was famine or flood under the rulership of the Ikshavaku clan, the sage would use his spiritual powers and restore normalcy within the region.
King Bhagiratha attempted to bring down the river Ganga from the heavens.
Sage Vashishta taught the means and processes by which Bhagiratha could please mother Ganga and bring her down to the plains.
Sage Vashishta motivated many childless kings within the clan.
He often initiated the kings into powerful mantras that could give them the heir apparent.
King Kaushika’s Ambition
Sage Vishwamitra was once a powerful king.
At that time people addressed him as Kaushika.
Once, he visited sage Vashishta’s Ashrama.
Sage Vashishta served King Kaushika (Vishwamitra) with the assistance of the divine cow Kamadhenu.
The cow, on her own made all arrangements to feed the king’s retinue as well as provide them with comforts that befitted a king’s regiment.
The king was awestruck at the capacity of the cow and developed a deep desire to own the cow.
He tried to influence the sage to part with the cow in exchange for a huge sum and many royal services.
However sage Vashishta did not show interest in parting with the divine cow.
Sage Vashishta treats Kaushika’s Arrogance
Finally, king Vishwamitra made up his mind to take away the cow forcibly from sage Vashishta.
A Brahmarishi by caliber, Vashishta easily defeated King Kaushika.
The king stood defeated, in front of the sage’s power.
Kaushika started brooding envy against the sage.
Kaushika seeks revenge
The then king, Kaushika took up the path of Sadhana and penanced for a very long time to please Lord Shiva.
He attained many miraculous powers from Lord Shiva and also attained divine weapons from Him.
Then the king turned rishi went to combat sage Vashishta but proved to be no match to the Brahman realized sage Vashishta.
Kaushika attacks with renewed vigor
Kaushika, humiliated once again by Vashishta, retired to the forest undertook even more severe penances.
With those powers, he destroyed a hundred sons of sage Vashishta.
Yet sage Vashishta remained undisturbed and forgave the revenge-seeking rishi Vishwamitra.
However, Vishwamitra never relented and justified his own actions.
Sage Vashishta recognizes Kaushika as Brahmarishi Vishwamitra
One night Vishwamitra came silently to attack sage Vashishta.
At that time he overheard sage Vashishta talking to his wife.
“On this wonderful moonlit night, only great sages like Vishwamitra by their penance try to please the Lord.”
To have envied a being genuinely praising an enemy in private, is a shameful act”, thought Kaushika.
He immediately placed his weapons on the ground, went ahead, and prostrated sage Vashishta.
When Kaushika bowed in front of sage Vashishta, the great Vashishta greeted sage Kaushika thus:
“Please get up Brahmarishi Vishwamitra (Friend of the World).”
From that day onwards sage Vishwamitra (King Kaushika) became the friend of the entire universe.
He got the name of Vishwamitra.
The universe recognized Kaushika as Brahmarishi Vishwamitra.
In a single birth, sage Vishwamitra, by the dint of penance transformed himself from a Kshatriya to a Brahmana.
His Brahman realization attained completion following the blessings of Brahmarishi Vashishta.
Vishwamitra developed Great Insight
Kaushika bore the attack of the six vices presided by lust, anger, and greed.
The sage simply lost almost all of his attained powers through the channel of the six vices.
He had performed spanning many thousand years only to be defeated and humiliated.
Later, the sage analyzed the reasons for his failure in tackling the vices.
He then fixed those defects, by first humbly accepting the fact that he truly harbored these defects.
As a self-ordained duty, he strove to remove those defects from the root of his character.
Self-restraint is a great power
Sri Rama and Laxmana protected the Vishwamitra’s Yajna premises from the attacks of demons at Siddha Ashrama.
Earlier, Maricha and Subahu, the two demon brothers vandalized the arena for the Yajna.
They threw in pieces of flesh, feces, urine, and all unholy things into the purified sacrificial fire.
This nullified Sage Vishwamitra’s endeavor.
Although tormented by demons, sage Vishwamitra never got angry and thus throw away his spiritual wealth by cursing the demons.
He patiently waited for the opportune moment.
It was around this time, that Sri Rama appeared in Ayodhyaji with his other three expansions namely Lakshmana, Bharata, and Shatrughna.
The sage sought the help of King Dasharath.
With the help of his once opponent Sage Vashishta, he convinced the king to send his young sons Rama and Lakshmana with him.
To equip Sri Rama and Laxmana, sage Vishwamitra handed over the knowledge of many mystical weapons to the two brothers.
The demoness Taraka, the mother of Maricha and Subahu was first slain by the Lord.
Vishwamitra then conducted the Yajna peacefully under the auspices of the Two Lords.
The Lord serves Sage Vishwamitra
Sage Vishwamitra then led the two brothers to Mithilaji.
King Janaka of Mithila invited the great sage for the marriage ceremony, Swayamvara of his daughter Seetadevi.
It was under the auspices of the great sage that Lord Rama was reunited with His eternal consort Shrimati Seetadevi.
The Life of Sage Vishwamitra is the epitome of penance and service to mankind.
Thus, the great sage served the Supreme Being.
People recognize Vishwamitra as the original seer of the Gayatri mantra.
Sage Vishwamitra attained the unique position of spiritual master of the Lord of the Universe, Sri Rama.
The Lord would serve sage Vishwamitra by pressing his lotus feet with His lotus-like hands.
He would retire for the night, only after sage Vishwamitra went off to sleep.
Who on earth, possesses the caliber of even singing the glories of Sage Vashishta and Sage Vishwamitra?
Thanks for reading!