One day Saudasa came to Vasishta and made obeisance to him and said,"O holy one which is the holiest thing in theworld worth being workshipped? Which is the thing by pronouncing the name of which man can acquire immortalVirtue?" He was eager to know about such a thing.
Vasishta made obeisance to a few cows around him and said," Gavah-cows" He said to the king that milk, ghee, curds,urine and dung that we get from cows had great value and they should be used by man. The sage explained Gavopanishadto the king. Finally he addded that we have to workship cows every day. Saudasa became wiser and more righteous.He decided to perform a great yajna with the help of Vasishta.
Before beginning the yajna, one day he went to the forest hunting. He saw two terrible demons there. He managed to kill one of them but the other escaped. The demon who escaped grieved at the death of his companion and vowedto take revenge on the king at the most appropiate time.
Later Saudasa began his proposed yagna. It was completed under the Brahmatwa of sage Vasishta. The king felt proud on having perfomed such a great yajna. This pride, later turned into arrogance. At the end of the yagna,he decided to entertain sage Vasishta who came to his palace for lunch. He got the best possible food cookedand served it to the sage.
The demon which vowed to take revenge on the king turned the food served to the sage into food prepared out ofhuman flesh. The queen served the food to the sage with great reverence. She did not know anything about the chance that the demon had broght about in the food.
Vasishta realised that he was served food prepared out of human flesh. He was furious. He said,"King Saudasa, youhave served me food prepared out of human flesh, haven't you? Let your food become the same. May you become a demon".
He cursed the king thus. The king who had become arrogant took a handful of water and was about to pronouncea curse on the sage. Queen Madayanthi intervened saying,"Your Majesty sage Vasishta is our royal priest. It isnot proper to curse him." Wisdom dawned on the king and he agreed. he had a handful of water. Instead of sprinklingit on the sage, he splashed it on his feet. As a result of the curse he had uttered, his feet turned black. Laterhe came to be called Kalmasha pada.
Then the king narrated the incident that happened in the forest before he began the yajna. The sage realisedwhat must have happened. He knew that the demon was responsible for the change of food served to him. He consoledthe king saying," O king, the effect of the curse will be there only for five years. It will be so in your case, butyou will not remember the unpleasant events of the past." So saying he left the palace.
There came about a great change in the king's behaviour. He become very cruel and rough. Once he was walking alonga narrow path in a forest. Vasishta's eldest son Shakti was walking from the opposite direction. There was a minorproblem as to who should give way to other. This turned into a quarrel. King Kalmashapada failed to give respectto a great sage. He beat him with a whip. Sage Shakti was angry." You behave like a demon and refuse to make a way for me." He accused the king.
"I am a great king, you should make way for me", so saying, the king lashed at the sage with his whip again. Thistime sage Shakti lost his cool and said," O wicked king, you behaved like a rakshasa and therefore be a rakshasa".
Visvamithra, who had an axe to grind against Vasishta was watching the scene from behind a tree. He had notbecome a Brahmarshi and on that count he was jeolous of Vasishta. He was happy to see sage Shakti beaten. Withthe idea od putting Vasishta to more troubles he created a demon called Kinkara and made him enter Kalmashapadas,body. This added fuel to fire.
One day a brahmin was having some pleasnt time with his wife. Kalmashapada, now a real demon saw the couple andkilled the brahmin. The wife was in great sorrow and she said,"When I was enjoing my time with my husband youkilled him and made me a widow. May you be dead when you come in contact with your wife." Thus she cursed Kalmashapada.
At that very moment a scholarly brahmin happened to appear in that place and asked Kalmashapada to appear inthat place and asked Kalmashapada to provide him Vegetarian food, he seved the brahmin food prepared from humanflesh.
When the brahmin came to knwo that he was served with human flesh he was furious. he cursed the king saying,"You have acted in the most righteous way, therefore become a cannibal." The poor king became the subject of curses andthey began to work. He became a terrible demon. On one of his wanderings he came near vasishta's Ashram and sawthe one thousand sons of the sage. They were known throughout the world as 'Shushruvamsa' meaning sarvajnas or allknowing. Kalmashapada knew that all his troubles came to him on account of Shakti, one of the sons of vasishta.Without any further he killed all the sons of Vasishta and swallowed them.
When the great sage came to know about the death of all his sons, his sorrow knew no bounds. The sage who diuadeda number of people including king Aja from commiting suicide, now decided to do the same to end his life.
In his attempt to kill himself he jumped from a tall mountain, he jumped into a huge fire, and then into a dep seastill he did not die. Then he tied himself with ropes and creepers and jumped into a river but all the ropes got untied and the waters of the rivers put the sage on its bank safe. As the river untied all the knots which ties Vasishta,the river came to be called Vipasaha(Beas). Then Vasishta jumped into a river in floods. Vasishta was unharmed. As aresult of the impact made by his jump into the river, it broke into a hundered small streams and came to be called Shatadru(Sutlej). All his efforts to commit suicide were in vain.
The greatly disturbed vasishta was wandering in the forest with Adrishyanthi, the wife of his son Shakti. He heardsomeone chanting Veda mantras in a faint voice. The sage was surprised. Then Adrishyanthi revealed to him that shehad a son in her womb for the past twelve years and he had was happy that his family line was not broken and he gaveup the idea of dying. On the other hand, he began up the idea of dying. On the other hand, he began to take upthe idea of dying. On the other hand, he began to take interest in life and named his grand son Parashara, meaningone who rekindled hope and saved him from death. The grandson became famous by that self evident name.
By this time twelve years were over and Kalmashapada was about to be freed from the curses.