Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sage Rishyasringa – Part 2 of 3

Shantha called in the best courtesans from the kingdom. She told them all about Rishyasringa. 'Avoid sage Vibhandaka at all costs! He is dangerous! If he finds you with his son....He may curse you...' The courtesans nodded their head. Princess Shantha then asked the architects of the kingdom to built a huge ship. The ship was filled with beautiful plants, trees and flowers. In the middle was a ashrama to make it look like a hermitage.

At last the courtesans went afloat towards the forests near Anga. The courtesans got down and observed the Sage Rishyasringa and his father. They saw that they had a routine. In the afternoons, Sage Vibhandaka went into the deeper forests to meditate, whereas Rishyasringa stayed behind in the ashrama to tend the fire and clean the place.

The courtesans agreed that the afternoons was the best time to approach Rishyasringa.

The very next afternoon, after Vibhandaka had left the hermitage, one of the courtesan came forward and went into the ashrama. Rishyasringa looked at the woman and was amazed. He had never seen any human being other than his father. He always thought all of them were strict and stern like his father. But this person was ….beautiful.

Assuming that the woman was also a rishi like him, Rishyasringa came forward and welcomed the woman. He gave her some fruits from the hermitage and talked with her for long....She gave him some food that she had brought from the ship. Rishyasringa ate it and was delighted as it was very different....Not like the tasteless food he ate everyday....

The woman however remembered that she had to hurry back as Sage Vibhandaka would be back any minute.

She told Rishyasringa, 'I have to go back home, I have to do the agnihotra puja....'

Rishyasringa felt an urge to meet the person again, 'When...When will we meet again....' He asked innocently.

The courtesan laughed, 'Probably tomorrow....' She left immediately. Rishyasringa was deep in his thoughts and had not cleaned up the ashrama and had not even tended the fires.

Sage Vibhandaka came home and was surprised to find his ashrama untidy and his son looking like in a daze. Wondering what had happened, Sage Vibhandaka asked Rishyasringa, 'Son! What happened? You have not even done your work...Is something wrong...?' He asked anxiously.

Rishyasringa spoke in a daze, 'Father! A rishi came in today. But...But...But he was nothing like you and me....He had beautiful long hair...He smelt differently....a divine perfume....He had lots of flowers in his hair and he talked with me...Listening to him talk made me want to listen to him again and again...'

Hearing to the description given by Rishyasringa, Sage Vibhandaka knew that a women had been here. He became more and more angry and finally in a fit of anger told his son, 'Son! That was no sage! That was a demon! The demon was sent to take away all the powers of your meditation....Next time you see the the demon away....'

'But father....' Rishyasringa said a little desperately.

Sage Vibhandaka put his foot down. 'We are not discussing this any further....Do not let the demon come near you...'

Rishyasringa was crestfallen. But he could not understand the reactions of his father. He did not think the sage who had come meant him any harm...Why was his father behaving like this....

The next day Vibhandaka decided to go and see the woman himself to drive her away. He left the ashrama early in search of the woman. However what the sage did not know was that the courtesan was near the ashrama waiting for Vibhandaka to leave. As soon as Vibhandaka left, the courtesan came forward. Rishyasringa was thrilled on meeting the courtesan again. He almost jumped with joy and came forward to meet her.

However before the courtesan could say a word, Rishyasringa spoke in a whisper, 'Look we have to get out of here...My father told me you were a demon....I do not think he would like it if you keep coming here....Will you take me with you to your ashrama?'

The courtesan could not believe her ears! Rishyasringa was ready to come with her so soon...She nodded and they left the ashrama and made for the huge ashrama in the ship. Rishyasringa was thrilled on seeing the beautiful hermitage, which looked nothing like the wild place he lived in. He went inside the ashrama.

The courtesan's and Rishyasrringa set sail and soon they all reached the kingdom of Anga.

As soon as Rishyasringa reached the kingdom of Anga, the heavens opened up and the rains fell. The king and Shantha were thrilled. The people were happy! King Romapada came forward and offered Rishyasringa his daughter in marriage.
Sage Rishyashring looked at Princess Shantha and realized that she was even more beautiful than the courtesan. Talking with her he realized that she was extremely intelligent and strong. Sage Rishyashringa decided that he would be willing to live with her for the rest of his life...

Both of the them lived happily in the kingdom of Anga.

However Vibhandaka was very angry. He figured out that this must be the work of the king of Anga and set out towards that place.

However Romapada and Shantha were prepared for this. They knew that Vibhandaka would become very angry. As Vibhandaka came closer to the kingdom, he found a herd of healthy cows waiting for him as a gift from his son Rishyasringa! The sage was surprised. His anger cooled down a little. As he went even more forward, he found more such gifts awaiting him! As Vibhaandaka reached the capital of Anga, he had almost cooled down. He reached the palace gates and there found his son with his beautiful and intelligent daughter-in-law.

Wearing a crown in his head, Rishyashringa looked like the Lord of the Heavens. Vibhandhaka felt calm and peaceful looking at them.

Shantha and Rishyashringa came forward and fell at the sage's feet. The sage felt proud on looking at them and felt no anger. He blessed the couple and went back to the forests!

However the story of King Rishyasringa does not end here. He had one more work to finish before he retired again to the forests. He was in a way responsible for the birth of Rama, Lakshmana, Bharatha and Shatrugana...


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