Divine Brahma created the world long ago. Then in order to establish the rule of law he created seven sages who wereshining with the brightness of the sun. They were kindness incarnate. They knew all the shastras. They are Mareechi,Atri, Angirasa, Pulastya, Pulaha, Krathu and Vasishta. They were righteous. As they were born of the mind of Brahmathey were created Saptabrahmas, Manas Putras of Brahma and Ayonijas.
Among the immortals Vasishtais the most famous. He was the royal priest to the great emperors of this great land Bharathaand he helped them to rule righteously and bring about great progress in this land. Even the gods sought Vasishta'shelp and advice and this shows the greatness of this sage.
His qualities can be understood if we try to know the meaning of his holy name. Vasishta means great, a person who shone withunparalled brightness, one who has conquered desire, anger, miserliness, jealously and pride. Can there be any weaknessin such a person?
As soon as he was born the knowledge of all the vedas, shastras, music and other arts was revealed to him. The mostsecret and not easily obtainable knowledge of the Self was mastered by him and he became an ocean of knowledge. Hewas considered the most sacred and a person to be workshipped by one and all. Though he became proud. He led a verysimple life.
Though he did not have any assigned duty, as he was a Brahmarshi, he chose the world as his field of activitybecause he was interested in the welfare of the human beings on earth. He very much liked the lovely peaceful valleyin the Menu mountain ranges and got an ashram built in its sylvan surroundings.
The ashram was exquisitely beautiful and attracted everyone who happened to go to it. There were trees which bent theirbranches with flowers and fruits all the year round. It appeared as if the trees were competing with one another and grewtaller and taller and gave out more flowers and fruits than the other. Their tops seemed to touch the sky. The leaves andflowers dropped by these trees made a soft bed around the ashram. It appeared colourful. Thousands of creepers whichtwined round tall trees completely covered the trunks and made wonderful designs as they creeped up the trunnks. Thousandsof birds both big and small flew around freely singing sweetly. Gentle animals like the deer leaped about with confidencethat they were safe in the environs of the ashram. The entire place, Vasishta. It was the cynosure of all eyes.
A number of holy men made the ashram their home as they had decided to perform tapas and be blessed by great Vasishta.A number of small hermitages were built around the main structure in order to accomodate these holy men. They were engaged in chanting the holy vedas, discussing the nuances of all the shastras, performing poojas, fire sacrifices, tapas and giving charity to the needy. Besides helping themselves in becoming purer they were engaged in doing good to the world.
There was a divine cow by name Shabale in Vasishta's ashram. The cheif of the gods, Devendra had given the cow to Vasihsta taking into account Vasishta 's great qualities. As everyone felt happy at the sight of the cow it wasalso called Nandini, meaning, one who makes other happy. Shabale who was the daughter of the divine Kamadhenu, Surabhihad great strength, in fact, she was invincible. She would give Vasishta everything he needed in order to propagateand sustain righteousness in the world. Everyyaga or yagna(fire sacrifices of various types) was held in the ashramof ashram of Vasishta with her help. All the activities of the ashram were looked after and managed entirely byArundhathi, the wife of Vasishta and she was a great tapaswini. She had all the great qualities befitting the wifeof the great sage. Everyone in and around the ashram felt that they were living under the care of their own parents and this was made possible by the power of Vasishta's tapas, Arundhati's love and Shabale's bounty. Everyone inthe ashram was happy and contented.
Once sage Vasishta had to go to heaven on account of some work there. He also wanted to meet Devendra. At that timeheaven was under great danger from the asuras. Devendra was in mortal fear and therefore he was hiding in a secret place in disguise. Vasishta could see him in his microform. Devendra's fear doubled and he stood before the sageand implored, "O great Brahmarshi, please do not reveal the secret place I am hiding in and the form in which I live toanyone. You are merciful and all knowing and I need not tell you more. I am sure you will listen to my prayer and helpme in this sad plight. In return for this, I will initiate you a part of the Vedas.
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