Rishi Vasishtha is one of the most revered sages of all time. After teaching the people around him many good lessons, he left the earth and is believed to be credited as the chief author of Mandala 7 of Rig Veda.
Brahmarishi Vasishtha is a prominent figure in both the Ramayana and Mahabharata period. His name has also been associated with one of the seven stars, a constellation in the northern sky. The name of the seven stars is given after the Seven Sages, known as Saptarishi.
Yoga Vasishtha is a syncretic medieval-era text that presents Vedanta and Yoga philosophies. It is written in a dialogue between Rishi Vashistha and Lord Rama about the nature of life, human suffering, choices as the nature of life, free will, human creative power, and spiritual liberation.
According to the Bhagavata Purana, Rishi Vasishtha is one of the mind-born (Manasputra) sons of Lord Brahma. He completely devoted himself to the goodness and welfare of the world. Vasishtha started his hermitage on the banks of river Saraswati and taught Vedas to hundreds of his disciples daily. This was the reason why he was called the Kulapati in those times.
He married Arundhati, who is well known for her virtues and devotion to her husband. A small star is close to Vasishtha in the Great Bear or Saptarshi Mandal, named after Arundhati. Among the Hindus, the bride is shown the star and worships the star after the wedding. It is a symbolic acceptance of the bride’s ideal of virtue and devotion.
Shakti – Vasishta’s Son
Shakti was the son of Rishi Vasishtha, who was a saint, too, just like his father. Once, a king passed him by in his chariot but didn’t move aside, even after seeing the saint. Out of anger, Shakti cursed him to become a demon. Later, the demon finally killed Shakti, as well as the other sons of Vasishtha. But forgiveness was in the veins of Vasishtha. He freed that demon (the king) of the curse Shakti had forced him into once. At last, the king realized and felt ashamed of what he did to Vasistha’s family.
The Arrival of Vishwamitra
In those days, there was a King named Kaushika (Vishwamitra). Once while returning from hunting, Vishvamitra was passing by Vasishtha’s ashram. He thought of taking some rest with all his army at his back. Vishwamitra saluted Vasishta with proper respect and diligence. Vasishta was also very glad to meet Vishwamitra. He also gratified the king and his army with fruits and other delicacies.
Kaushika wanted to leave as he couldn’t stay at Vasistha’s ashram because of the large army he had with him, and the food won’t suffice for all of them taken together since the people in the ashram had to be fed too. But Vasishtha didn’t allow the king to leave an empty stomach and supplied him with sufficient food and supper. The king was very much delighted at this. He was very much influenced and inspired by the ethics possessed by Vasishtha and the values he spread in the service of others.
Rishi Vasishtha fed the entire large army of Vishvamitra with the help of his magical cow, Nandini, who was gifted to Vasishtha by Lord Indra. She could produce lots of milk and sweets through magic. The king got very much amazed by this cow. He suddenly turned into a greedy man and demanded the cow to take with him to his kingdom from Vasistha.
Vasistha refused the demand of the King as this was a gift from the Devaraj, Indra. This led to a heated argument between the two. Finally, this turned into a big fight. Vasistha won because Nandini had magical powers through which she could defeat the entire army of Vishwamitra.
Satyavadi Raja Harischandra – Disciple of Vasishtha
Harischandra was the King of Ayodhya who was a disciple of Vasishtha. Once Vishvamitra challenged Vasishtha upon the fact if Harischandra would ever lie or not. Vasishtha firmly said that he would never lie, even if kept in the worst situation. But Vishvamitra wanted to enter into a forced controversy with Vasishtha, and he did. But at last, Vasishtha was right, that he would never lie, and hence Vishwamitra lost.
Brahmarshi Vishwamitra and Vasishtha
Vishwamitra was very much desperate to get recognition as a Brahmarshi. He wanted to become equal to Vasishtha and gain powers equal to his. He also requested Lord Brahma to grant him the powers of a Brahmarshi so that he could gain powers equal to his. But then, one day, he realized that his ego did not let him become powerful and good like Vasishtha.
He then fell in front of Vasishtha and pleaded for forgiveness for every bad thing he had done to Vasishtha these years. It was then that Vasishtha recognized him as a Brahmarshi and granted him the powers like the ones he had as a great saint of all times.
Rishi Vasishtha is known for all his good deeds and qualities in around every corner of the world.