Friday, June 17, 2011

PDE Ramayana: Vishvamitra

Reading Guide. Rama and his brothers are now young men, and a great sage named Vishvamitra comes to ask King Dasharatha a favor: he wants Rama and Lakshmana to help him do battle with evil rakshasas (demons) who are disturbing the sacrifices of Vishvamitra and the other priests.

Image. The illustration shows the sage Vishvamitra, dressed in the clothes of a forest ascetic, speaking with the king. This style of painting is called Kangra.

Source. Myths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Sister Nivedita (1914). [300 words] This portion comes from a different source: a prose version of the Ramayana by Sister Nivedita, a follower of Swami Vivekananda. You can read more about her at Wikipedia: Sister Nivedita.

Avatar | 4. Vishvamitra | Thataka

Now there was a certain great rishi named Vishvamitra, originally a kshatriya, who by the practice of unheard-of austerities had won from the gods the status of brahmarishi. He dwelt in the hermitage called Siddhashrama and came thence to ask a boon from Dasharatha. Two rakshasas, Maricha and Subahu, supported by the wicked Ravana, continually disturbed his sacrifices and polluted his sacred fire; none but Rama could overcome these devils.

Dasharatha welcomed Vishvamitra gladly and promised him any gift that he desired, but when he learned that his dear son Rama was required for so terrible and dangerous a service, he was cast down, and it seemed as though the light of his life went out. Yet he could not break his word, and it came to pass that Rama and Lakshmana went away with Vishvamitra for the ten days of his sacrificial rites. But though it was for so short a time, this was the beginning of their manhood and of love and strife. Vashishtha cheered Dasharatha's heart, assuring him of certain victory for Rama.

So, with his father's blessing, Rama set out with Vishvamitra and his brother Lakshmana. A cool breeze, delighted at the sight of Rama, fanned their faces, and flowers rained down upon them from the sky.

Vishvamitra led the way; the two brothers, carrying their bows and swords, wearing splendid jewels and gloves of lizard-skin upon their fingers, followed Vishvamitra like glorious flames, making him bright with the reflection of their own radiance.

Avatar | Vishvamitra | Thataka

Vishvamitra speaks with King Dasharatha
(you can see Rama and Lakshmana listening in)

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