Agastya - 4

Agastya married Lopamudra

By his divine insight Agastya came to know that Lopamudra was the most suitable bride for him and he was sure, she could become a very good grihini. He went to the king of Vidarbha. The king received the sage performing all traditional rites and asked him for the reason of his visit. Sage Agastya said, " O great king, with the sole object of continuing the line of my family, I would like to marry Lopamudra. I request you to give her in marriageto me."The royal couple became terribly disappointed. They could not conceive of the idea of giving their daughter in marriage to a sage who lived in a forest. Lopamudra came to know the cause of her parents's worry. She went to them and asked them to give her in marriage to Agastya. Now the parents had no choice. Finally she became Agastya's wife.After the marriage Agastya asked Lopamudra to give up all her royal glory and dress up as the wife of a sage. Therefore Lopamudra had to abandon all her royal dresses and jewellery and put on dresses made up of plant fibre.She went to Gangadwara and he engaged himself in severe tapas. Lopamudra proved herself to be an ideal wife. She would help her husband in his routine and look after him with great love and care. Agastya felt proud of his wife. Incourse of time she became a tapasvini herself. One day Lopamudra went near Agastya and said,"Please bless me with a child" Agastya was happy to listen to his wife's request. He said,"Oblessed one,I am happy with the way you have been conducting yourself. Do you desire to have one thousand children, or one hundered having the strength of one thousand? Or would you prefer ten having the strength of one hundered or just one who has the strength of ten?""It is no use having one thousand wicked children, instead it is better to have one son who is good and lovable.Therefore bless me with a son who is equal to you in wisdom, goodness and scholarship". Agastya was very happy. He blessed her. A few months later Lopamudra became pregnant. Once again Agastya went to the forest for performing tapas. At the end of nine months Lopamudra gave birth to a baby boy. The child shone brilliantly and he was named Dridhadasyu. At the birth the child appeared to have mastered the vedas. Even at an early age Dridhadasyuwas capable of doing hard labour such as bringing big bundles of fuel from the forest. As a result, later the boy became famous as 'Idhmavaha'. In this way sage Agastya fulfilled his duty towards his pithrus and helped them go to heaven. The place where Agastya lived came to be called Agastyashram, aholy place even today.

Agastya searches the seabed and the end of Kaleyas

A band of daityas(demons) called Kaleyas used to live in the sea bed and they would come out of it at night, enter ashrams of holy men destroy everything they find there and run back and hide under the sea. Every morning one could see a number of tapasvis lying dead in their destroyed ashrams. No one would even guess who caused those terrible killings. A number of great sages were put to suffering on account of the Kaleyas. They did not even spare the ashrams of sages such as Vasishta, Bharadwaja, Chyavan and many others. Hundereds of brahmins were killed in their ashrams. In a few years brahmins as a group gradually became rare. These demon destroyed the ashram of the Pandavas as well. As a result of all these all good acts such as performing poojas, yajnas and yagas came to a stand still. All the devas were very much worried. They did not know what to do. They went to Vaikunta and told Lord Vishnu the sad tale of the earth and asked him,"Who is the cause of this unnecessary destruction? We cannot imagine who could of this unnecessary destruction? We cannot imagine who could these be?" In reply Lord Vishnu said,"My dear devas, a gang of demons by name Kaleyas live under the sea. They come out at night and destroy ashrams of sages and kill brahmins, when they finish their evil deeds they disappear into the bottom of the sea. If you have to destroy them you have to drain that sea and then kill them. There is only one who can do that job and that is Maharishi Agastya. He can drink the entire volume of water of that sea in one gulp. No one else can do this work. Therefore go him and request him to do the task for the good of the world. When the sea is drained it is easy to kill the rakshasas".

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