Our Puranas mentions of great sages and seers who, with their benevolent nature were helpful to mankind in many ways. Although they renounced their own comforts and prosperity of life and took happiness and sorrow in the same way, they were always kind to all the problems faced by mankind and utilised their powers of penance in the benefit of mankind. The story of Rishi Rishyashring mentioned in the Bal Kand of Ramayan also speaks of his kind heartedness and nobility through which he helped mankind.
Rishyshring was the son of the great sage Vibhandaka and the celestial dancer Urvasi. After Rishyashring was born, Urvasi left the infant in his father’s care and went back to the heavens. This made Vibhandaka hate women and he bought up Rishyashring by isolating the child from women. Because of this, Rishyashring never knew the existence of women. However, Rishyshring was very kind hearted in his nature and he loved each and every creature of the forest. The wild animals too never harmed him. He was such a sensitive heart that there was rain fell immediately in the area when he looked up at the sky.
Romapada, the king of Anga, was the brother–in-law of Maharaj Dasarath. It once happened that there were no rains for twelve years in the kingdom of Aga and the people suffered from draught and famine. When Rompada approached consulted his priests, they said that it was only Rishyashring who could create rainfall. However, they knew that Sage Vibhandaka never sent his son anywhere. Then Rompada thinks of an idea and sends beautiful dancers to dance in front of Rishyashring’s ashram. When they reach his ashram, the rishi is surprised to see beautiful women and wonders who they are. They start enthralling him with dance and music and slowly start leading him away from the forest. Seeing women for the first time, he follows them mesmerised with their beauty and following them enters the kingdom of Anga.
After a long time, Rishyashring suddenly comes to his senses and looks up at the sky wondering what the time was and where he was. As soon as he looks up at the sky, rainfall pours down and the country of Anga gets relieved from drought and famine. Romapada is immensely gratified by the noble gesture of the sage and offers his daughter Shanta’s hand for marriage with Rishyashring. Shanta was originally the daughter of Maharaj Dasarath and Kaushalya who was born before Shri Ram and his brothers and adopted by Romapada. After this Vibhandaka leaves his hatred for women and welcomes his daughter in law Shanta with happiness. In the later years, it is under the auspicious guidance of Rishyashring that Maharaj Dasarath performs the Putrakamesthi Yagna and bears the four sons Shri Ram, Bharat, Lakshman and Shatrughan.
The country of Anga is the present day Kollur near Shringeri which is named after Rishyashring. It is believed that Rishyashring along with Shanta lived his rest of his life meditating on Bhagwan Shiv. Even today, it is believed that the divine sage is present in his spiritual form and hence there is never scarcity of rains in this place.