Agastya - 12

Devendra's confrontation with Agastya

Once Agastya began a twelve year long yagya. A number of sages took part in the fire sacrifice. These sages, could not perform yajnas in their ashram for twelve years and Indra did not get havis. He was angry and there was no rain. The earth dried and crops failed. But Agastya fed everyone sumptuously. The sages were surpurised to know how Agastya could feed while the earth was reeling under a severe famine. Some of them were worried about the successful conclusion of the yagna. Then Agastya said, "O revered sages do not get worry. If Devendra causes rain to fall on the earth it is well and good. If does not I will assume the role of Devendra and protect everyone on the earth."When Devendra heard about Agastya's resolve he got scared and he caused rain to coll the earth. This way sage Agastya did a lot for the welfare of the people on the earth. We get a lot of information about Agastya in our epics, history and other literature. We get the folling details about him from such books.
1. Agastya had a brother by name Suthekshna. He was a disciple of the sage as well.
2. Once there was a demoness by name Ajamukhi. Once when she saw Durvasa in a valley down the Himalayas, she fell in love with him and asked him to marry her. Durvasa married her and the couple got two sons by name Ilvala and Vatapi. They begged Durvasa to give them the strength of his tapas. This made Durvasa angry and he cursed them saying that they would be destroyed soon by sage Agastya.
3. When Sri Rama completed fourteen years of life in the forest, he was returning to Ayodhya. A number of sages came to see him and Agastya was one of them. He gave Sri Rama a special arrow. When he used it against a rakshasa, it would kill the demon, fly past to an ocean, get it cleansed of the blood, and come back to his quiver.
4. Once sage Agastya went to see a sage by name Apasthambha. When that sage asked Agastya who among the Trinity was greater,he replied saying:"The Trinity are different only in shape but all three from one invincible force. The question who is greater does not arise at all."
5.King Manibhadra belonged to the lunar line of kings. Kavika was his queen. They had a number of children. Seven of them learnt Mayavidya(Witchcraft). They created a huge serpent and came to the Rishyamooka range. They saw Agastya walking in front of them. They wanted to make fun of the sage. They twisted the snake into a coil and all the seven stood around talking the form of seven huge timber (Vatica robusta) trees blocking his path. Agastya came to know what was happening by his yogadrishti and said,"Fine, be here standing like trees for a long time." The repentant princes begged the sage for forgiveness. Agastya told them that Sri Rama would come that way and when he shot an arrow and topple all the seven at one go they would get relieved of the curse and they would get their original form. Accordingly they were relieved of the curse by Sri Rama. Agastya visited almost every famous sage living both in the north and in the south of this great land. Even today people praise the great miracles performed by him by the power of his tapas. He is described as a sad dwarfish sage in our Puranas. He was a great devotee of Lord Shankara and Lord Shanmukha. The Tamil literature refers to him as the originator of Tamil literature and the people of Tamil Nadu are proud to own him as their sage. There are reference to Agastya as the man who installed Shivalingas and built temples in a number of places. He installed Shiva lingas in a number of places in the present state of Karnataka. He was the first sage to come to the southern part of this great land. Therefore south is considered the direction of Agastya. It is believed that Agastya composed a book in Tamil which deals with music. He has also written a book on Tamil grammer and number of plays and other books in Tamil. Tolkapyam is considered to be the oldest book on Tamil grammer and it was writtenby Tolkapyar, one among the twelve disciples of Agastya. The Kamba Ramayana in Tamil has a number of references to Agastya. Today we see Agastya being workshipped in a number of temples in Tamil Nadu. The greatest Tamil writer Villiputturan says that it was sage Agastya who gave Tamil language to the world. Sage Agastya had given a number of disciples and scholars to the world. A number of Veda mantras were revealed to him and therefore he is considered one of the drishtaras of Veda mantras. Sri Lalita Sahastranama is great gift to us from Agastya. He was an expert in manthra shastra and tantra shastra and one of the greatest among sages.

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