The name of Ahalya brings the picture of a stone turned into a beautiful woman by Shri Ram. However destiny was different when she was born as the daughter of Brahma Ji. Ahalya’s story is of a woman who went through great difficulties because of her beauty, yet withstood them with faith.
Once Rishi Narad came visiting Brahma Ji and asked him to create the most beautiful and ideal woman on Earth. Brahma Ji created Ahalya as his daughter without any flaws in her. Brahma Ji feels proud of his creation but Goddess Saraswathi who was watching them said although Brahma ji has created her without any flaws, he cannot change her destiny and all including Gods are bound to it.
Captivated by Ahalya’s beauty, all the devas start luring her. Devraj Indr starts pressurising Brahma to give Ahalya in marriage to her and hence it becomes difficult to Brahma to select the correct suitor for her. Rishi Narad understands this problem and takes up the challenge of finding the perfect match for Ahalya. He knows that Rishi Gautam is the perfect match for the virtues of Ahalya. Rishi Narad went to the Ashram of Rishi Gautam who was living in a secluded forest away from the devas as he did not want anybody to disturb his penance. Listening to the description of the beauty and virtues of Ahalya through Rishi Narad, Rishi Gautam agrees to marry Ahalya by subduing the devas through his intellect.
Meanwhile, Devraj Indr demands Brahma for marriage with Ahalya. Being in a dilemma, Brahma puts up a competition to all saying that whoever would circle the Earth three times first, he would win Ahalya’ hand in marriage. All the devas including Devaraj rush to finish the race immediately. Rishi Gautam thinks for some time and then goes to the divine cow Kapila, who is the daughter of the divine cow Kamadhenu born from the Samudra Manthan. Kapila was about to deliver a calf at that time and Rishi Gautam immediately circled her three times and came back to Brahma. He then mentioned to Brahma that he had finished circling the Earth for three times.
Brahma is surprised that how he could do it so fast even before the powerful devas with their vehicles finished the race. Rishi Gautam mentions that all the Vedas and the Scriptures mention that circling a cow delivering a calf is as pious and equal to circling the Earth thrice and hence he did that circling Kapila in the heaven itself and hence has fulfilled the condition.
Brahma is mighty pleased with Rishi Gautam’s answer and declares him the suitor for Ahalya. When Devraj Indr comes to know about this, he is disappointed, but admits defeat and leaves Satyalok calmly. It was because of this disappointment and desire for her that he pursues Ahalya later in their ashram and becomes the reason for her becoming a stone.
But just like her virtues and faith in God, Ahalya is liberated from the curse by none other than Shri Ram, the incarnation of Bhagwan Vishnu and becomes even more pure and radiant with his touch. Thus, is the story of a couple who withstood destiny in all times and went on to become one of the revered couples of our Puranas.