Vasishta 4

Nandini became furious at the king's ingratitude and arrogance. She gave a strong kick at the soldiers draggingher. They grew in the air and came down heavily on the ground dead.
Nandini(Shabale) came to the sage and said,"Kimaham parityakta Vasishtena Mahatmana"(Has great Vasishta abandonedme? What mistake have I made?")
In reply sage Vasishta said,"Mother, I have not given you up. The king is trying to grag you by force much against my will. You are omnipotentand you can protect yourself. Please go ahead."
No sooner did the sage give his consent than shabale began to act. She just mooed loudly. Presently lakhs of soldierscame out of her limbs and began to fight with the king's soldiers. In the early part of the battle, the king seemed to havethe upper hand, but finally his army totally routed. In order to save his life the king had to take to his heels.Vasishta would have destroyed everyone including the king, but out of kindness he showed mercy to the king and his men.When he reached the palace crestfallen, the king began to ponder over his humiliating defeat. He felt very sad athaving run away from the battle-field. He began to think about the ways and means of defeating Vasishta. He realisedthat Vasishta had terrible strength derived from the tapas. He resolved to wreak vengeance on Vasishta by acquiringequally great strength by performing tapas. He knew only Lord shiva was capable of granting him that strengthrequired to subdue Vasishta. Therefore he entrusted the kingdom to his son and retired to the slopes of the himalayas and began to perform tapas to please Lord Rudra. After years of severe taps to please he successded inpleasing weapons. The king, beaming with confidence, made for the ashram of sage Vasishta, with the sole intentionof taking revenge on him.

On reaching the ashram, he began to use the divine weappons, one by one on Vasishta, but Vasishta's Brahmadanda swallowed all the powerful weapons. The sage had invoked all the great power of his tapas and invested it on his Brahmadanda. This power rendered the divine weapons powerless. Now the king realised that his power was quiteinsufficient before the great power of Vasishta's tapas. This made him resolve to go to the slopes of the Himalayasagain to perform tapas to acquire power equal to that of Vasishta. Vasishta could have killed the king, but he did not do it.

During the course of his severe tapas, the king gave up desires, jealously, arrogance and other bad qualities andattained the status of a Brahmarshi like Vasishta. He successed in winning the world for himself and became the belovedof the three worlds and came to be called Visvamithra. He became so great that the invincible gayatri mantra was revealedto him and he became its drashtra, the composer.

In this way Vasishta's great qualities such as mercy and godness helped a human being acquire the status of a Brahmarshi.

Another great king of the lunar line fortunate enough to get the services of Vasishta as the royal priest was Thrayyaruni. He was also called Nibandha. He had a son by name Satyavratha. He was arrogant and rank bad. Becausehe was a member of a royal family he thought he could do anything. He anything that he was beyond the law of theland. he would kidnap the girls of marriageable age. When the king knew about his son's wicked acts, he punishedhim before Vasishta. As part of the punishment he was sent to the forest. Vasishta watched it in silence. The princeexpected the sage to speak for him. Vasishta's silence made him realise that the king punished him at the instanceof the royal priest. He was furious. In order to take revenge on the sage he killed a cow belonging to the sage'sashram and ate its flesh raw. In this way kidnapping girls of marriageable age, killing a cow and eating its fleshthese three sins entitled him to be called Trishanku - meaning on who committed three terrible sins.

As days rolled by Trishanku's anger against the sage increased. It was during this time that Thrayyaruni passedaway. There was a terrible famine in that land and people began to suffer for lack of food and water. In orderto save the people from the natural calamity, sage Vasishta took over the administration, when he became goodand cleansed of all his sins. But it was not to be. He continued to nurse his hatred towards Vasishta thinking thatthe sage sent him to the forest because of his wicked desire to have kingdom for himself.
The sinner king Trishanku approached the sage and said, "O holy one, I must go to heaven with this body. Pleasehelp me." Vasishta knew that it was a desire that ordinary mortals can never fulfill. Therefore he refused tocomply with the king's request. Thrishanku was angry. He went to the sage's sons and expressed his desire andsought their help. They flatly refused to help him. They did not want to do something which their father refused to do. The king was furious and he behaved badly. He used bad words about the sages. The sages were angry andcursed him saying "May you become a chandala" - meaning an untouchable. Satyavratha became a chandala. Later hesought the help of Visvamithra but could not succeed in reaching heaven. Visvamithra had to create a new heavenfor the king. Vasishta never bowed his head before adharma or despotic power. He always conducted himself withgreat propriety and dignity.

At this point it is appropriate to remember an incident in which Visvamithra was involved before he became a Brahmarshi.

Harishchandra, Trishanku's son was a great king. He was ruling over his kingdom with righteousness. He never swervedfrom the path of truth. He came to be called Satya Harishchandra. Vasishta was his royal priest.

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