Rivals turned Friends – Rishi Vashisht and Rishi Vishwamitr

The great Rishi Vashisht is the greatest sage who through his life set great ideals of Dharma throughout the three worlds. But it was not an easy journey for him to achieve the same and he went through great roller coasters of emotions. The most important aspect in Rishi Vashisht ‘s life was the rivalry of Rishi Vishwamitr, but how he overcame the same and made Vishwamitr his friend for life is a beautiful example of his patience and nobility and the importance of giving duty more importance than emotion.

During the time when Rishi Vishwamtir was trying to gain supremacy over Rishi Vashisht, their rivalry was world famous, Once an Ikshvaku king, Kalmashapad goes hunting in the forest. He got tired of hunting in the forest and goes towards Vashisht’s ashram. He sees Vashisht’s eldest son, Sage Shakti, walking in the opposite direction on the narrow path. The king orders Shakti to move aside. Shakti tells the king that Dharma is to give way to a Brahmin. Enraged, the king beats Shakti. Shakti curses the king to become a demon. Vishwamitra sees this and sends an evil rakshasa spirit to possess the king. Under the influence of the spirit, the king serves human flesh to a Brahmin, who curses him to become a man eating demon.

A possessed Kalmashapad goes and eats Shakti and his 99 brothers. Vashisht, through his divine powers, knows that Vishwamitr is the cause of this, but does not try to seek revenge. Unable to bear the separation of his dear son, Rishi Vashisht tries to end his life (though knowing it is a sin). He climbs Mount Meru and jumps down onto a rock, which turns into a soft cushion bed. Vashisht then tries to kill himself by fire, but the fire turns to ice. He then jumps into the ocean, but ocean washes him ashore with his waves. Vashishta binds himself with ropes and jumps into a raging river. The river frees him of his bonds and saves him getting the name of Vipasha.

Realizing that his efforts will not succeed, Rishi Vashisht returns back to his ashram. On his way back, he hears the chanting of Vedas from behind him. Turning back, he sees his son Shakti’s wife, Adrushyanti following him. She tells him that her son is chanting the Vedas from inside her womb. The love for his grandson makes Vashishta give up thoughts of ending his life. The boy is named Parasahr (father of Ved Vyas). One day, Kalmashapada in the form of demon comes and attacks Rishi Vashisht. But, the noble

sage with his powers lifts the curse. Vashishta then asked the king to rule justly and wisely, and grants a son to the childless king.
Seeing all this, Rishi Vishwamitr understands the nobility of Rishi Vasisht, in forgiving the king who had killed the sage’ son. He realizes that one can become a great person when one sheds anger and arrogance and does his Dharma truly. Since then, Rishi Vishwamitr leaves his rivalry for Rishi Vashisht and becomes his follower. Their bond goes so sterong that when Brahma ji appears to Rishi Vishwamitr to give the satautre of Brahmarshi, the rishi says that he would accept it only when it was given by Rishi Vashisht himself. Rishi Vashisht appears in front of Vishwamitr and bestows him the staure of a Brahmarshi , thus equaling Vishwamitr to him in all ways.