Viswamithra suffered defeats at the hands of Vasishta, Harishchandra and his desires in the form of Menaka. These hadcut deep wounds in his heart. He began to reflect. He had desired Kamadhenu and as a result he had to leave his kingdomand go to the Himalayas for performing tapas. He had tried to send Trishanku to heaven, again suffered defeat. Harishchandrawon when he tried to test him. Finally he fell flat before Menaka. "What is all this! I am a slave to desire, angerand miserliness. At this rate when am I going to reach the goal of becoming a Brahmarshi? How am I going to achievethis goal?If I do not keep my senses under control I am not going to achieve anything in life." He made a final effortand began severe penance. At the start he was wavering as he could not concentrate, but slowly he could bring hissenses and mind under control. As days passed his tapas became more and more intense. Every cell in his body cameto be purified. His body appeared red as hot iron. His face gave out rays from reaching the exalted state. For days togetherhe spent in meditation.
He did not stir out of his ashram for years and concentrated all his energies towards achieving his goal. For daystogether, air was only his food. When the gods came to know about the sage's severe tapas they got frightened. Theyknew that Viswamithra was capable of doing anything.
In order to the disturb Viswamitra's tapas Devendra called one of the apsaras by name Rambha ans said to her,"Makinguse of your great beauty destroy Viswamitra's tapas." Rambha, who was afraid of Viswamitra's poers said,"O lord ofthe devas, I am afraid of even approaching viswamitra's, when that is the case, how can I destroy his concentration?"
Devendra encouraged her saying,"Aham Kandarpa Sahitah Sthasyami Tava Parshvatah" - Meaning" I will be by youalong with Manmatha". Rambha had no other go and she came to the place where Viswamitra was observing severe penance.Devendra and Manmatha created a lovely and serene atmosphere around the ashrama. Rambha began to dance in order toattract Viswamitra. Viswamitra's concentration was disturbed and when he opened his eyes, he saw Rambha dancing beforehim. From his great power of knowledge he came to know she was there to destroy his tapas. He was angry and cursed to become stone;but his concentration was gone. At that point he formly resolved," Come what may, I am not going to lose my concentration". He resumed his tapas all over again.
Now Viswamitra is deep in meditation. His body burned as a result of the excess heat created as a result of the tapas.His senses and limbs were getting purer and when became aware of it he began to feel supremely happy. At that momentDevendra appeared before him and said,"Viswamitra, now you have become Maharshi. In the near future you are going tobecome Brahmarshi. In order to become Brahmarshi you have to become brahmana. Agni is brahmana's reigning deity. Nowyou accept agnividya". At that moment the Lord of fire appeared before him and initiated him into agnividya. All the devascame and they entered his body. Viswamitra was happy that he became a brahmana but at the same time he was worriedthat he had not become a brahmarshi. At that moment Devendra said,"O great sage, do not worry. You still have a littleof hatred in you and now you have a golden chance for shedding away that hatred. Please look at that point. Viswamitra,Vasishta's one hundered sons are dead. Realising that Arundhati cannot bear the sorrow, Vasishta himself is undergoingthat. The Brahmarshi who has always been happy and contented, is now in deep sorrow. His body which has become pure as aresult of years od tapas, is going to be carried away by the waters of Saraswathi. Viswamitra, atleast for a moment,you take over his sorrow and suffer it yourself. Protect him from being carried away by the waters of the Saraswathi".
Visamithra was surprised and felt sad. He realised his mistake. "Should the all knowing Brahmarshi Vasishtasuffer? No, that should never happen. With great effort, I could not control and win over my desires and anger, I didnot succeed in subduing my pride. when such is the case, the great man who has acheived all these should not sufferNo, it does not matter if I suffer the worst, but Brahmarshi Vasishta should remain healthy and happy" Thinking so,Viswamitra with the help of his power to travel where he desired, he reached the spot where Vasishta was suffering.The sage was lying unconcious. He took over all his sorrow by his yogic powers. He shifted Vasishta's body to a safeplace.
After a few moments Vasishta regained consiousness. he saw no one in front of him. He understood everything and smiled saying "Everything Happens as God wills."