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Yoga Vashisht

February 17, 2007



After listening to the request of Rishi Vishwamitra, Raja Dasrath went into state of shock. He could no speak for some moments. After gathering some courage, he started talking to Rishi Vishwamitra.

Raja Dasrath: Hey great Rishi! What did you say? Rama is a child as yet. He has not learnt the skill of using weapons. He is used to sleeping on the bed of flowers. He has not seen a battle field till now. He has not fought a battle. How do you expect Rama to fight demons Khur and Dushan? Can you imagine a lotus flower fighting a stone? Hey Rishi! Now I am an old man. I am father of four sons. Amongst them Rama is the eldest, and he is only sixteen years old. I love Rama more than my life. I cannot imagine being away from him even for a moment. If you take away Rama with you, it may not be possible for me to live any more. Rama is not dear to me only. He is loved extremely by his mothers, and his brothers Laxman, Shatraghun and Bharat. If Rama goes away with you, I am sure we all will die due to his separation. Now! If you intend to kill all of us, you may take away Rama with you. Hey Rishi! My love for Rama is much more than love for my wives, my kingdom or for my other three sons. But, if you desire I can accompany you along with best of the soldiers and my huge army to fight the demons. However! In case I have fight Ravana, brother of Kubera and son of Vishrava, I may not be able to fight him. It is not that only I am afraid of Ravana; but even Indira, king of gods, is afraid of him. In olden times, I was not afraid of any body in three worlds. I could concur humans, celestials, demons and the entire netherwold. But now I am old, and my physical strength has also reduced, therefore I am not in a position to face Ravana. At this moment Ravana is the most powerful demon. Nobody has the ability to fight him. Under these circumstances, how do you expect Rama to face these demons? One more thing. At the moment Rama is not well. He has stopped eating. He has lost his vitality and strength. He has forgotten to enjoy life as crown-prince. I am not aware what is bothering him.

Ravana was born to sage Vishrava. His mother was the Asura princess Kaikesi. Ravana was the eldest of Kaikesi's children, given the name Dashananda at birth. He was given the gift of protection, by his father sage Vishrava, which made him appear to have ten heads, simultaneously increasing his intelligence and strength ten times. His brothers were Kumbhakarna and Vibheeshana. Ravana had a half brother Kubera. Kubera was son Sage Visharva, through other wife. Ravana, through his mother, was related to the demons Maricha and Subahu. Kaikesi also produced a daughter, Chandranakha (the one with the beautiful nose), although later she was dubbed the infamous Soorpanakha. Kubera, half brother of Ravana, is said to have performed austerities for a thousand years; in reward Brahma, the Creator, gave him immortality and made him god of wealth, guardian of all the treasures of the earth.

Ravana was known for his virility. Ravana had three wives; and Mandodari was his fovorite. (Mandodari got her name from Mandore, present time Jodhpur. Her father Mayasura ruled Mandore). Mandodari was renowned for her wisdom and grace as well as beauty. In addition to his three wives, Ravana maintained a harem, populated with women whom he captured in his many conquests. Ravana forced himself upon any woman who rejected his advances. Two significant encounters occurred that would shape the course of the Ramayana.

The first was the molestation of the sage-woman Vedavati. Vedavati had been performing penance with the intention of winning Lord Vishnu for a husband. Ravana met her at her hermitage, her beauty enhanced by the austerities she had performed. She, however, rejected his advances. Ravana proceeded to forcibly take her, upon which she prophesied that she would return to the mortal world as the cause of his death. She then created a pyre and let herself be consumed in it. She was re-born as Sita, thus becoming Vishnu's (as Rama) wife, and the cause of Ravana's defeat.
The other was the molestation of the Apsara Rambha, who was betrothed to Kubera's son Nalakuvara. Since Kubera was half brother of Ravana, Rambha became daughter-in-law of Ravana too. Rambha pleaded with Ravana to let her go as she was almost like his daughter-in-law, as Nalakuvara was his nephew through his half brother Kubera. Ravana was enamored of her grace and beauty, and even this plea did not deter him. Kubera's son, Nalakuvara then cursed Ravana's heads to fall off, if ever he forced himself upon any woman. This curse is said to have kept Sita chaste, while she was in Ravana's captivity for nearly a year.


Rishi Vishwamitra: Hey Raja Dasrath! Kindly remember your utterances. You promised that you will fulfill my request. Now you are going back on your promise. You are like a lion, yet you want to run away like a deer. I may remind you that in your entire clan of Raghuvansh, there has not been a single person who has not fulfilled his promise. However! If you wish not to keep your promise, it does not matter. I will go away. But this act of yours does not befit you. I will go back empty handed. Remember; a person goes empty handed only from that house, where there is nothing to give. May you prosper and rule your kingdom. I will see what is to be done next. I will face my problem, myself”.


February 15, 2007



When Rama came back from pilgrimage, his age was sixteen years. One day Rama went to meet his father Raja Dasrath, in his court. At that time Raja Dasrath was busy listening to the Court Guru, Rishi Vashisht. After Raja Dasrath got free, he told Rama “Rama! You should be going for hunting in the jungle. You are a prince; hence you should be perusing your princely pursuits”. On the advice of his father, Rama started going for hunting along with his brothers, friends and soldiers of his army. In a few days time, he got bored out of this activity of hunting animals. He started thinking and contemplating. He realized that sense objects of this world are of no use for spiritual evolution. Rama decided to give up all the pleasures supported by the sense organs of the body. He stopped eating, drinking, laughing, meeting his friends. This affected his health. He became thin and lean, lost all the charm and glow on his face. Thus his all the desires dropped one by one and he became devoid any wishes and needs. His friends and servants used to remind him that he has to take a bath. Then only he took a bath. Similarly for the activities of eating, offering prayers etc. he needed constant reminders and requests. This matter got reported to Raja Dasrath. Raja Dasrath got concerned and went to his son Rama. Rama on seeing his father approaching him, went forward and touched feet of his father and sought his blessings, but did not speak anything. Raja Dasrath Said “My son! What bothers you? Why are you so sad? “. Rama replied “Father! I have no problem”. Once again he went into silence. Raja Dasrath could not find anything from Rama, regarding his silence and sadness. He tried to consult his ministers and officials. After due consultations, they arrived at a solution. Let us get Rama married. But to arrive at decision, Raja Dasrath consulted Rishi Vashisht. Rishi Vashisht said “Hey Raja Dasrath! You need not worry. Rama is sad due to some thing which may be very vital. Ultimately everything will work out fine”.

NOTE: Vishwamitra belonged to a dynasty of kings. King Gadhi was his father. Vishwamitra was also called as Vishwaratha. He had several wives such as Haimavati, Shalavati, Drishadwati, Renu, Madhavi and so on. He had nine sons and their names were Madhuchchanda, Kati, Yajnyavalkya, Panina, Galava, Mudgala, Sankruti, Devala and Ashtaka. A nephew of his, by name Shunahshepha is also a famous figure in the Puranas.
For complete story of Vishwamitra go to

While Raja Dasrath was in consultation with Rishi Vashisht, Rishi Vishwamitra arrived at the court of Raja Dasrath, and told the guards at the door of the palace to announce his arrival to the king. On hearing name of Rishi Vishwamitra, king jumped up from his throne and started walking to the gate of his palace to greet the great Rishi. King was followed by Rishi Vashisht, his ministers and other officials. Rishi Vishwamitra had a great aura around his face; he had long tresses, a long bamboo in his hand; he was glowing like flames of fire. On seeing the Rishi, Raja Dasrath fell at the feet of Rishi Vishwamitra. King led Rishi to his court hall and made him sit at an appropriate place. King said “Hey Rishi Vishwamitra! I am really a lucky man. Now I will also be counted amongst pious men, by virtue of meeting you. You have done great favour to me and my entire kingdom, by coming here to me. You are a great person. You have two great qualities. You are a Khatriya (Royal race), yet you have all the qualities of Brahmanas (Priests). You are the only person who could become a Brahmana, from a Khatriya. No body has a power to do so. You are complete in yourself with all the qualities”. Thereafter the king performed all the rituals of honouring and worshiping the great visiting Rishi. This was followed by Rishi Vashisht offering his respects to Rishi Vishwamitra, and in turn Rishi Vishwamitra offered respects to Rishi Vashisht. Having completed all the formalities of welcoming the great Rishi, Raja Dasrath said.
Raja Dasrath: “Hey great Rishi! I am really very happy to see you in my court. This happiness cannot be described in words. This happiness is something like meeting a deceased loved one, once again. Kindly let me know the purpose of your visit here. I am capable of fulfilling any order that you may give me. God has given me everything, please ask for any thing that you may desire, without any hesitation”.
Rishi Vishwamitra: Hey Raja! You are a great king. You too have two qualities. One!You belong to Raghukul family. Two! You have Rishi Vashisht as your Guru, and you follow him meticulously. Now please listen to the purpose of my visit to your court. I propose to complete a ritual of ten nights awakening. But when I start this ritual, Rakshasas (Demons) named Khur and Dushan come and disturb me. They drop bones, flesh and blood in the sacred fire. The entire area becomes filthy and polluted. When I move to some other place to complete the ritual, they follow me there too. Therefore I need your help to kill them. You may laugh at me, that I have come to you for such a simple task. I am myself capable of eliminating them, by just one curse on them. But the curse is not possible without being angry. The very purpose of this Yagya (Ritual) is to forgive. Forgiveness is the greatest quality. Forgiveness and anger cannot coexist. Therefore I need your help. Hey King! I request you to allow your son Rama to accompany me, and kill these demons. Thereby my Yagya will be successful. You may feel that Rama is a child. But I know that Rama is a great warrior like Indira, the king of gods. Just as a small deer cannot stand in front of a lion, similarly these demons will not be a match for your son Rama. Thus by allowing Rama to accompany me, your esteem will increase, and my Yagna will also be concluded. I am confident that your son Rama is quite capable of achieving anything. There is nothing in these three worlds, which your son Rama cannot do. I will be personally responsible for his wellbeing and security. I and your Guru, Rishi Vashisht, who are aware of past present and future, know capabilities of your son Rama. No other person has the capability of knowing this. Hey Raja Dasrath! A job which is done at a proper (auspicious) time can be achieved with little effort; but a job which is done at improper (inauspicious) time cannot be completed even after putting in lot of effort. Khur and Dushan are ferocious demons. But they are nothing in front of Rama. Just as light of stars cannot be seen when sun is shining; or a snake cannot stand in front of an eagle; in the same way Khur and Dushan will not be able to stand in front of Rama.

When Raja Dasrath heard Rishi Vishwamitra, he became very restless, and fell silent.

NOTE ON YAGNA: In Hinduism, Yagya is a ritual of sacrifice derived from the practice of Vedic times. It is performed to please the gods or to attain certain wishes. An essential element is the sacrificial fire - the divine Agni - into which oblations are poured, as everything that is offered into the fire is believed to reach the gods.
There are 400 yagyas described in the Vedas. Of these, 21 are theoretically compulsory for the Twice-Born (Brahmin, Ksatriya and Vaisya). They are also called nityakarmas. The rest of the yagyas are optional, which are performed kamyakarma (for particular wishes and benefits).
Out of the 21 nityakarmas, only the Agnihotra and the Aupasana are to be performed twice daily, at dawn and dusk. The remaining ones have certain allotted frequencies over the course of the year. The more complicated the yagya, the less frequently it is performed. The most complex ones need to be performed only once in a lifetime.