Chapter 32 Vibhandaka and Rishyasringa
It is erroneous to believe that if a person is raised in total denial of sensual pleasures, it will be simple for them to live a life of chastity. The following anecdote serves as an example of how weakly ignorance may protect virtue. Although not in as much detail, it is also described in the Ramayana.
Vibhandaka, who was radiant like the Creator Brahma, resided in a forest with his son Rishyasringa. Except for his father, the latter had never encountered a mortal, male or female.
A terrible famine once ravaged the nation of Anga. Without rain, crops had wilted, and men had died from starvation. Every living creature was suffering. The country’s ruler, Romapada, went to the brahmanas for advice on how to prevent famine in his dominion.
Brahmanas’ response was: “The best of rulers is a young sage by the name of Rishyasringa who maintains absolute celibacy. He is welcome in our kingdom. Through his self-sacrifice, he has gained the ability to deliver rain and plenty everywhere he goes.”
The king and his courtiers spoke on how to get Rishyasringa out of the hermitage of the sage Vibhandaka. He gathered the most beautiful courtesans in the city and gave them the task of bringing Rishyasringa to Anga in line with their advise.
The damsels were caught in a difficult situation. They dreaded defying the king on the one hand. They also feared the sage’s anger, on the other hand. Finally, they decided to move through with the good deed of saving the famine-stricken land, trusting in providence to assist them.
Before being delivered to the hermitage, they were outfitted appropriately for their mission. The head of this group of courtesans created a stunning garden out of a large boat, complete with fake trees and creepers, and a mock ashrama in the middle.
The courtesans reached Vibhandaka’s hermitage with trembling hearts when she docked the boat in the river close to the hermitage. They were fortunate that the sage was not home. One of the lovely damsels decided that the time was right to approach the sage’s son.
Rishyasringa was so hailed by her: “Good day, great sage! Do you have enough fruits and roots? Are the rishis of the forest making satisfactory progress in their penances? Is your father’s fame ever increasing? How well are you understanding the Vedas on your own?” In those days, rishis would approach one another in this manner.
The young anchorite had never previously witnessed or heard such a lovely human figure.
Although he had never seen a woman before, the inherent craving for society, especially that of the other sex, started to work on his thoughts the instant he saw that lovely shape.
He believed she was a young sage just like himself, and a weird, uncontrollable delight suddenly erupted in his heart. He responded, focusing on his interlocutor, saying, “You appear to be a knowledgeable brahmacari. So who are you? I acclaim you. Where’s your hermitage, exactly? What kind of restrictions are you putting in place?” and he gave her the appropriate offerings.
He heard her say: “My ashrama is three yojanas away from this location. I brought some fruit for you. Although I am unfit to accept your prostration, I will nonetheless welcome and salute you in the manner that is customary among us.”
She gave him a loving embrace, fed him the treats she had brought, dressed him in fragrant garlands, and offered him beverages.
She gave him another embrace, explaining that that was how they would greet distinguished visitors. He found it to be a really pleasing method.
Soon after, the courtesan said goodbye to Rishyasringa and announced that it was time for her to offer the agnihotra sacrifice before quietly slipping out of the hermitage out of fear of the sage Vibhandaka’s return.
The hermitage had not been scrubbed, so when Vibhandaka came, he was astonished to find it so messy with delectable foods lying around. The bushes and creepers were dishevelled and draggled.
His son’s face lacked its customary lustre and appeared clouded and unsettled, as though by a storm of ardour. The hermitage had forgotten its routine, straightforward responsibilities.
Concerned, Vibhandaka asked his son: “Why, my dear kid, have you still not collected the precious firewood? Who harmed these lovely bushes and plants? The cow was milked, right? Has someone arrived to assist you yet? Who presented you with this odd garland? Why do you seem anxious?”
Rishyasringa’s response was straightforward and clever: “A beautiful-looking brahmacharin was present. His beauty, brightness, and voice’s tenderness are indescribable. By hearing his speech and observing his gaze, I have experienced an unfathomable sense of joy and love. I never felt delight like I did when he hugged me, which seemed to be his normal welcome. Not even while I was eating the nicest fruits, and after that, he told his father about the appearance, charm, and antics of his charming guest.”
Rishyasringa said, regretfully: “My longing to be in that brahmacharin’s company seems to burn through my entire being, and I would want to go in search of him and somehow bring him here. How am I supposed to convey to you his passion and brilliance? To watch him makes my heart flutter.”
Vibhandaka understood what had happened when Rishyasringa had so haltingly conveyed longings and disturbances that he had previously been unfamiliar with. He stated: “Child, what you saw was not a brahmacharin but a wicked demon who wanted, as devils do, to deceive us and prevent our fasting and other forms of penance. They use a variety of tactics and ruses to achieve their goals. Do not allow them to approach you.”
Then, for the next three days, Vibhandaka sought fruitlessly in the jungle for the wretches responsible for this injury before giving up and returning confused.
The courtesan once more made a delicate approach to the spot where Rishyasringa was sat after Vibhandaka had left the ashram to bring roots and fruits. Rishyasringa leapt up as soon as he caught a glimpse of her and raced to welcome her in a gushing manner, like the water that has been trapped in a reservoir that has ruptured.
This time, Rishyasringa approached even earlier than usual and said, after giving the traditional greeting, “O brilliant brahmacharin, let us go to your hermitage before my father returns.”
She had hoped and worked hard for this, and it came true. Together, they stepped onto the boat that had been decorated to resemble a hermitage. The boat was readily released from its moorings and drifted down to the kingdom of Anga with its pleasant cargo as soon as the young sage had entered.
The young sage’s voyage was enjoyable and intriguing, as one might anticipate, and when he arrived in Anga, he undoubtedly understood more about the world and its customs than he had in the forest.
The arrival of Rishyasringa greatly thrilled Romapada, and he led his welcome visitor to the opulent interior rooms that had been created especially for him.
Rain started falling as soon as Rishyasringa stepped foot in the nation, just as the brahmanas had predicted. The villagers were happy since the rivers and lakes were full. Rishyasringa was given Shanta by Romapada as his bride. Even though everything went according to plan, the king remained troubled in his thoughts because he feared Vibhandaka may find his son and curse him.
In order to appease Vibhandaka, he lined the path he would travel with animals of all kinds and gave the cowherds in charge instructions to claim they were servants of Rishyasringa and had come to welcome and respect their master’s father and offer themselves at his service.
Vibhandaka, who was furious, reasoned that the king of Anga may be responsible since he couldn’t find his son anywhere in the hermitage. He marched to the king’s capital, as if to burn him in his wrath, crossing the intervening rivers and villages. But as he travelled, he spotted lovely livestock that belonged to his son and were graciously received by his son’s attendants, which caused his furious attitude to gradually subside as he neared the city.
He was welcomed with great respect when he arrived at the capital and escorted to the king’s palace, where he saw his son sitting in state like the king of the gods in heaven. He turned to see his wife, the princess Shanta, by his side, and was comforted and pleased by her magnificent beauty.
The king was blessed by Vibhandaka. He gave his kid the following instruction: “Make every effort to impress this monarch. Come hang out with me in the wilderness when a son is born.” Rishyasringa followed his father’s instructions.
Following the story, Lomasa said the following to Yudhishthira: “In the fullness of time, Shanta and Rishyasringa retired to the forest and spent their lives in sacrificial love and worship of God, much like Damayanti and Nala, Sita and Rama, Arundhati and Vasishtha, Lopamudra and Agastya, and Draupadi and you. The hermitage where Rishyasringa resided is this one. Take a bath in these waters to become cleansed.” There, the Pandavas took baths and engaged in acts of devotion.
Keep Mahabharat Book at Home and Read Daily – DO NOT FALL TO FAKE PROPAGANDA and Allow Enemies to Weaken our Dharma and Bharat
This historical epic Mahabharat is known as fifth Veda. It is a common misconception spread by mlecchas; muslims and christian missionaries, and secular Hindus that reading Mahabharat or keeping it at home will likely lead to arguments and fighting. All of this misinformation was spread by illiterate mlecchas and anti-Hindus, and it is completely incorrect. It is done to mentally weaken Hindus so that they avoid reading Mahabharat. Because Mahabharat invokes bravery, pride and sense of confidence in Hindus.
Keep a copy of Mahabharat at home and read it online at the HariBhakt website. Mahabharat is rightly called the fifth Veda for Kaliyuga people because it is a tool and guidance to invoke confidence and bravery in Sanatan Dharmi Hindus.
You can read complete Mahabharat by following Chapter links given below. You can check Glossary of Mahabharat here.