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Brahmarshi Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
(viśvā-mitra) is one of the most venerated rishis or sages of ancient India. He is also credited as the author of most of Mandala 3 of the Rigveda, including Gayatri Mantra. The Puranas
Puranas
mention that only 24 rishis since antiquity have understood the whole meaning of—and thus wielded the whole power of—Gayatri Mantra. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is supposed to be the first, and Yajnavalkya
Yajnavalkya
the last. The story of Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is narrated in the Balakanda
Balakanda
of Valmiki Ramayana.[9] Mahabharata
Mahabharata
adds that Vishvamitra's relationship with Menaka
Menaka
resulted in a daughter, Shakuntala, whose story is narrated in Adi Parva
Adi Parva
of Mahabharata. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
was a king in ancient India, also called Kaushika (descendant of Kusha). Vishwamitra was originally the Chandravanshi (Somavanshi) King of Kanyakubja. He was a valiant warrior and the great-grandson of a great king named Kusha. Valmiki
Valmiki
Ramayana, prose 51 of Bala Kanda, starts with the story of Vishvamitra:

There was a king named Kusha (not to be confused with Kusha, son of Rama), a brainchild of Brahma
Brahma
and Kusha's son was the powerful and verily righteous Kushanabha. One who is highly renowned by the name Gaadhi was the son of Kushanabha and Gaadhi's son is this great-saint of great resplendence, Vishvamitra. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
ruled the earth and this great-resplendent king ruled the kingdom for many thousands of years.[10]

His story also appears in various Puranas; however, with variations from Ramayana. Vishnu Purana
Vishnu Purana
and Harivamsha
Harivamsha
chapter 27 (dynasty of Amaavasu) of Mahabharata
Mahabharata
narrates the birth of Vishvamitra. According to Vishnu
Vishnu
Purana,[11] Kushanabha married a damsel of Purukutsa dynasty (later called as Shatamarshana lineage - descendents of the Ikshvaku king Trasadasyu) and had a son by name Gaadhi, who had a daughter named Satyavati
Satyavati
(not to be confused with the Satyavati
Satyavati
of Mahabharata). Satyavati
Satyavati
was married to an old Brahmin
Brahmin
known as Ruchika who was foremost among the race of Bhrigu. Ruchika desired a son having the qualities of a Brahmin
Brahmin
and so he gave Satyavati
Satyavati
a sacrificial offering (charu) which he had prepared to achieve this objective. He also gave Satyavati's mother another charu to make her conceive a son with the character of a Kshatriya
Kshatriya
at her request. But Satyavati's mother privately asked Satyavati
Satyavati
to exchange her charu with her. This resulted in Satyavati's mother giving birth to Vishvamitra, son of a Kshatriya
Kshatriya
Gadhi with qualities of a Brahmin
Brahmin
and Satyavati
Satyavati
gave birth to Jamadagni, father of Parashurama, a Brahmin
Brahmin
with qualities of a Kshatriya.

Contents

1 Names 2 Conflict with Vashista

2.1 Alternative version

3 Tapasya

3.1 Alternative version

4 Rise to Brahmarishi 5 Gayatri mantra 6 Legends

6.1 Trisanku 6.2 Harishchandra/Ambarisha's sacrifice 6.3 In Ramayana

7 Gotras

7.1 Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
gotra 7.2 Kaushika gotra

8 Worship 9 In film & television 10 See also 11 References

Names[edit] Vishwamitra (Sanskrit: विश्वामित्र) is a Sanskrit word, meaning friend of the world. Other names for the sage include Kannada: ವಿಶ್ವಾಮಿತ್ರ; Malayalam: വിശ്വാമിത്രൻ; Telugu: విశ్వామిత్రుడు; Tamil: விசுவாமித்திரன் Vicuvāmittiraṉ; Thai: Swamit; Burmese: Bodaw; Javanese: Wiswamitra, Malay: Nila Purba.[citation needed] Conflict with Vashista[edit]

Coin of Dharaghosha, king of the Audumbaras, in the Indo-Greek
Indo-Greek
style, with depiction of Vishvamitra, circa 100 BCE.[12] Obv: Standing figure, probably of Vishvamitra, Kharoshthi
Kharoshthi
legend, around: Mahadevasa Dharaghoshasa/Odumbarisa "Great Lord King Dharaghosha/Prince of Audumabara", across: Viçvamitra "Vishvamitra". Rev: Trident battle-axe, tree with railing, Brahmi
Brahmi
legend identical in content to the obverse.[12]

In one encounter, Vishwamitra cursed the king Harishchandra
Harishchandra
to become a crane. Vashista
Vashista
accompanied him by becoming a bird himself. There were several such instances of violent encounter between the sages and at times, Brahma, god of creation, had to interfere.[13] Alternative version[edit] Vashista
Vashista
destroys Vishvamitra's entire army by the simple use of his great mystic and spiritual powers, breathing the Om syllable. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
then undertakes a tapasya for several years to please Shiva, who bestows upon him the knowledge of celestial weaponry. He proudly goes to Vashista's ashram again and uses all kinds of powerful weapons to destroy Vashista
Vashista
and his hermitage. He succeeded in the killings of Vasishtha's thousand sons but not in the former. An enraged Vashista
Vashista
brings out his brahmadanda, a wooden stick imbued with the power of Brahma. It consumes Vishvamitra's most powerful weapons, including the brahmastra. Vashista
Vashista
then attempts to attack Vishvamitra, but his anger is allayed by Devas. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is left humiliated while Vashista
Vashista
restores his hermitage.[14][15] Tapasya[edit]

Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
and Menaka, painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

This incident made a deep impression on the King. He realized that power obtained by penances was far greater than mere physical might. He renounced his kingdom and began his quest to become a greater rishi than Vashista. He took on the name Vishvamitra. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
faced many challenges in his life to become a Brahmarishi, before eventually giving up the greed to possess the cow.

Vishwamitra Archery Training

After many trials and undergoing many austerities, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
at last obtained the title of Brahmarishi from Vashista
Vashista
himself. During this time he had a daughter named Shakuntala(who appears in Mahabharata) with Menaka, an apsara in the court of Indra. Son of Shakuntala
Shakuntala
became a great emperor. He came to be known as Emperor Bharata, in whose name the land of India got its name Bharata. Alternative version[edit] Kaushika seeks to attain the same spiritual power as Vashista, to become his equal, a brahmarishi. He undertakes a fierce penance for one thousand years, after which Brahma
Brahma
names him a Rajarishi or royal sage. After another long penance of thousand years, Brahma
Brahma
names him a rishi, thus leaving his royal lineage permanently. And Brahma
Brahma
suggest him to take Bramharshi grade from his guru Vashista
Vashista
only as he only has the power to call you as Brahmarshi.

Birth of Shakuntala

At this point, Indra, the king of Swarga
Swarga
attempts to test the tapasvi by sending Menaka, an apsara to seduce him. Kaushik then lives with Menaka
Menaka
for 10 years. They have a baby girl Shakuntala. Kaushik becomes angry as Menaka
Menaka
had destroyed his years of meditation and thus he cursed her that she will not possess her beauty, of which she was proud, in next birth. Kaushika now goes to the banks of the river Kaushiki, which is the spirit of his own sister.

Menaka
Menaka
and Vishvamitra

After many thousands of years of penance, Brahma
Brahma
names him maharishi, but also tells him that he has not become a jitendriya yet, lacking control over his passions. This is brought to light to Kaushika when he angrily curses Rambha, an apsara sent by Indra
Indra
to seduce Kaushika again, to become a stone for 1000 years.

Menaka
Menaka
and Vishvamitra

The visvamitra is also known for his skatriya. Rise to Brahmarishi[edit] After cursing Rambha, Kaushika goes to the highest mountain of Himalayas
Himalayas
to perform an even more severe tapasya for over 1000 years. He ceases to eat, and reduces his breathing to a bare minimum. He is tested again by Indra, who comes as a poor Brahmin
Brahmin
begging for food just as Kaushika is ready to break a fast of many years by eating some rice. Kaushika instantly gives his food away to Indra
Indra
and resumes his meditation. Kaushika also finally masters his passions, refusing to be provoked by any of Indra's testing and seductive interferences. At the penultimate culmination of a multi-thousand year journey, Kaushika's yogic power is at a peak. At this point, Brahma, as the head of Devas led by Indra, names Kaushika a brahmarishi and names him Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
or Friend of All for his unlimited compassion. He then goes to meet Vashishta. It was customary that, if a sage was greeted by an equal or superior person, the sage would also greet the person. If the sage was greeted by an inferior person, the sage would simply bless them. Initially, when Vishwamitra greeted Vashista
Vashista
with the pride of being a new brahmarishi in heart, Vashishta simply blessed him. Suddenly all pride and desire left Vishwamitra's heart and he became a clean and clear brahmarishi. When Vishwamitra turned back to leave, Vashishta realised the change of heart and also greeted Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra is also embraced by Vashista
Vashista
and their enmity is instantly ended. Gayatri mantra[edit] Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is said to have found Gayatri Mantra. It is a verse from a sukta of Rigveda
Rigveda
( Mandala
Mandala
3.62.10). Gāyatrī is the name of the Vedic meter in which the verse is composed. Gayatri mantra is repeated and cited very widely in Vedic literature[16] and praised in several well-known classical Hindu texts such as Manusmriti
Manusmriti
("there is nothing greater than the Savitri (Gayatri) Mantra.", Manu II, 83),[17] Harivamsa[18] and Bhagavad Gita.[19][20] The mantra is an important part of the upanayana ceremony for young males in Hinduism
Hinduism
and has long been recited by dvija men as part of their daily rituals. Modern Hindu reform movements spread the practice of the mantra to include women and all castes and its recitation is now widespread.[21][22] Legends[edit] Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is featured in many legends and in different works of the Sanatana dharma. Trisanku[edit]

Vishwamitra

Another story Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is known for is his creation of his own version of Svarga
Svarga
or heaven, called Trisanku Svarga. When a proud King Trisanku asked his guru Vashista
Vashista
to send him to heaven in his own body, guru responded that the body cannot ascend to heaven. King Trisanku then asked Vashista's hundred sons to send him to heaven. The sons, believing that Trisanku should not come to them after their father had refused, took outrage and cursed Trisanku to be a Chandala, or untouchable. Trisanku was transformed into a person with body smeared of ash, clothed in black and wearing iron jewelry. Unrecognizable to his subjects, he was driven out of the kingdom. In his exile, Trisanku came across the sage Vishvamitra, who agreed to help him. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
organized a great sacrifice and ritual propitiating the Devas, pleading that they accept Trisanku into heaven. Not one Deva responded. Angered, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
used his yogic powers and ordered Trisanku to rise to heaven. Miraculously, Trisanku rose into the sky until he reached heaven, where he was pushed back down by Indra. Enraged even more by this, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
commenced the creation of another Universe (including another Brahma) for Trisanku. He had only completed the Universe when Brihaspati
Brihaspati
ordered him to stop. Trisanku, however, did not fully transcend through Trisanku Svarga
Svarga
created for him. He remained fixed and upside-down in the sky and was transformed into a constellation, which is now known as Crux.[23] In the process of forming a new universe, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
used up all the tapas he had gained from his austerities. Therefore, after the Trisanku episode, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
had to start his prayers again to attain the status of a Brahmarshi and become an equal of Vashista. Harishchandra/Ambarisha's sacrifice[edit]

Rama
Rama
breaking the bow

While undertaking a penance, Kaushika helps a boy named Shunashepa
Shunashepa
who has been sold by his parents to be sacrificed at Harishchandra/Ambarisha's yagna to please Varuna. The king's son Rohit does not want to be the one sacrificed, as was originally promised to Varuna, so young Sunashepa is taken. A devastated and terrified Sunashepa falls at the feet of Kaushika, who is deep in meditation and begs for his help.[24] Kaushika teaches secret mantras to Sunashepa. The boy sings these mantras at the ceremony, is blessed by Indra
Indra
and Varuna
Varuna
and Ambarisha's ceremony is completed. In another version of the story, Sunahshepa is lost son of Vishvamitra. When Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
was Prince of Bharats(Kaushik) - and his name was Vishwarath then, he was abducted by the enemy king Shambar. There, Shambar's daughter, Ugra, falls in love with Vishvarath. Ugra convinces Prince Vishvarath to marry her. Looking at the good character of Vishvarath, Shambar also agrees for the marriage. Soon after the marriage, the Bharatas win the battle against Shambar. When theu found their Prince Vishvarath alive, they feel happy but they could not accept Ugra as their future queen as she is an Asura. To convert Ugra into an Aryan, Vishvarath creates Gayatri Mantra, but people still refuse to accept her. Soon she gives birth to a son, but to save the son from the angry people, the greatest female sage Lopamudra
Lopamudra
sends the child to a hidden place. To Lopamudra
Lopamudra
and Vishvarath's sadness, people kill Ugra. But the son is saved, without the knowledge of Vishvarath. This child grows young and he comes to sacrifice himself in the ceremony of Ambarisha(or King Harishchandra).[25] In Ramayana[edit]

Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
looks as Rama
Rama
breaks the bow, winning the hand of Sita
Sita
in marriage. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.

In the Indian epic
Indian epic
Ramayana, Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is the preceptor of Rama, prince of Ayodhya
Ayodhya
and seventh Avatar
Avatar
of Vishnu
Vishnu
and his brother Lakshmana. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
gives them the knowledge of the Devastras or celestial weaponry [bala and adi bala], trains them in advanced religion and guides them to kill powerful demons like Tataka, Maricha
Maricha
and Subahu. He also leads them to the Swayamvara
Swayamvara
ceremony for princess Sita, who becomes wife of Rama. Gotras[edit] Brahmins
Brahmins
belonging to Kaushika or Vishwamitra gotra are considered extremely oppressive and wrathful since they were descended from regal Kshatriya
Kshatriya
caste.[26][27] In the case of Viswamitra, we have two Pravaras,

Kaushika Visvamitra

Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
gotra[edit] People belonging to the Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
Gotra consider Brahmarishi Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
as their ancestor. This is one of the main gotra of Brahmins. Kaushika gotra[edit] See also: Kaushik Kausika was one of the names of Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
who was supposed to have lived in Mithila(presently in Nepal's Terai and India's Bihar) where his sister river Koshi still flows turbulently as she is said to be unmarried. Kaushika gotra is also one of the main gotras of Brahmins and also of some Kshatriyas. Worship[edit] Brahmarishi Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is worshipped in Sri Aabathsahayeswarar temple, Alangudi, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu. The temple is estimated to be 1000–2000 years old.[28] In film & television[edit]

Vishwamitra is shown in Tamil movie Rajarishi with Legendary Actor Sivaji Ganesan
Sivaji Ganesan
playing the role of the Sage. Vishvamitra
Vishvamitra
is shown in Telugu Movie Brahmashri Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra is shown in the show Siya Ke Ram
Siya Ke Ram
airing on Star Plus played by Manish Wadhwa.[29] The TV show Piya Albela is also based on the classic love story of Menaka
Menaka
and Vishwamitra depicted as a modern-day love story revolving around Naren and Pooja

See also[edit]

Hindu mythology
Hindu mythology
The first poetry on Vishwamitra in Hindi was written by Shahjad Singh Nikumbh who hails from royal family of Nikumbh rajputs

References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vishvamitra.

^ Indian Caste, Volume 1 By John Wilson ^ Bhishagratna, Kunjalal (1907). An English Translation of the Sushruta
Sushruta
Samhita, based on Original Sanskrit Text. Calcutta. pp. ii(introduction).  ^ Bibek Debroy (2016). Harivamsha. Penguin UK.  ^ History Of Ancient India
Ancient India
(a New Version) : From 7300 Bb To 4250 Bc,. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. 2006. p. 281.  ^ Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers: Farrukhabad ^ Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism
Hinduism
By Wendy Doniger ^ Jestice, Phyllis G. (2004). Holy People of the World: A Cross-cultural Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 899.  ^ Nijhawan, A. (2009). Excusing the female dancer, South Asian Popular Culture, 7(2), pp 99-112 ^ " Valmiki
Valmiki
Ramayana". Valmikiramayan.net. Retrieved 2013-03-26.  ^ A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History, and Literature. Trübner & Company. 1870. p. 341.  ^ "Viśwamitra". Mythfolklore.net. 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2013-03-26.  ^ a b Ancient India, from the earliest times to the first century, A.D by Rapson, E. J. p.154 [1] ^ Wilkins, W.J. (2003). Hindu Mythology. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld (P) Limited. pp. 380–2. ISBN 81-246-0234-4.  ^ Paramahamsa Prajnanananda. Life And Values. Sai Towers Publishing. p. 113.  ^ Torchlight Publishing. A Prince in Exile: The Journey Begins. Jaico Publishing House.  ^ Bloomfield 1906, p. 392b. ^ Dutt 2006, p. 51. ^ Vedas
Vedas
2003, p. 15–16. ^ Rahman 2005, p. 300. ^ Radhakrishnan 1994, p. 266. ^ Rinehart 2004, p. 127. ^ Lipner 1994, p. 53. ^ Crux
Crux
— Trishanku ^ Pargiter, F.E. (1972) [1922]. Ancient Indian Historical Tradition, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, p.92. ^ Munshi, K. M. (1933). Munshi Granthavali : 7. Ahmedabad: Gurjar Prakashan (for Bharatiya Vidhya Bhavan). ^ Pande Bechan Sharma (2007). About Me. Penguin Books India. p. 33. ISBN 9780143101802.  ^ John Garrett. A Classical Dictionary of India: Illustrative of the Mythology, Philosophy, Literature, Antiquities, Arts, Manners, Customs &c. of the Hindus. Higginbotham and Company. p. 328. Retrieved 4 April 2014.  ^ "Sage Viswamitra,Dinamalr".  ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tv/news/hindi/siya-ke-ram/updates/49816155.cms

v t e

Rishis

Saptarshi

1st (Svayambhuva) Manvantara

Marichi Atri Angiras Pulaha Kratu Pulastya Vasistha

2nd (Svarocisha) Manvantara

Urja Stambha Prana Dattoli Rishabha Nischara Arvarivat

3rd (Uttama) Manvantara

Kaukundihi Kurundi Dalaya Sankha Pravahita Mita Sammita

4th (Tapasa) Manvantara

Jyotirdhama Prithu Kavya Chaitra Agni Vanaka Pivara

5th (Raivata) Manvantara

Hirannyaroma Vedasri Urddhabahu Vedabahu Sudhaman Parjanya Mahamuni

6th (Cakshusha) Manvantara

Sumedhas Virajas Havishmat Uttama Madhu Abhinaman Sahishnnu

7th (Vaivasvata) Manvantara

Kashyapa Atri Vasistha Vishvamitra Gautama Jamadagni Bharadwaja

Other

Four Kumaras Agastya Agnivesa Aruni Ashtavakra Astika Atharvan Atreya Aupamanyava Aurava Avatsara Bhrigu Bhringi Brahmarshi Chyavana Dattatreya Dadhichi Devala Dirghatamas Durvasa Garga Gritsamada Jahnu Jaimini
Jaimini
(Mimansa) Kambhoja Kambu Swayambhuva Kanada (Vaisheshika) Kanvas Kanwa Kapila
Kapila
(Samkhya) Kindama Kutsa Mandavya Markandeya Nachiketa Narada Parashara Rajarshi Raikva Renukacharya Rishyasringa Sakayanya Sandipani Sankriti Satyakama Jabala Shukra Shuka Upamanyu Vaisampayana Valmiki Vartantu Vibhandak Rishi Vyasa
Vyasa
(Vedas, Vedanta) Yajnavalkya

Other Hindu sages Portal

v t e

Ramayana
Ramayana
by Valmiki

Ikshvaku
Ikshvaku
dynasty

Dasharatha Kausalya Sumitra Kaikeyi Shanta Rama Bharata Lakshmana Shatrughna Sita Urmila Mandavi Shrutakirti Lava Kusha (genealogy)

Vanara

Hanuman Sugriva Vali Tara Rumā Angada Nala Nila Kesari Anjana Makardhwaja

Rakshasa

Ravana Vibhishana Kumbhakarna Indrajit Akshayakumara Atikaya Kabandha Khara Dushan Mandodari Maricha Mayasura Narantaka-Devantaka Prahasta Sarama Subahu Sulochana Sumali Surpanakha Tataka Trijata Trishira Viradha

Sages

Agastya Ahalya Arundhati Bharadwaja Kambhoja Parashurama Vasistha Vishvamitra Rishyasringa

Other characters and concepts

Lakshmana
Lakshmana
rekha Jambavan Janaka Kushadhwaja Jatayu Manthara Ashwapati Maya Sita Sampati Shabari Shravan Vedavati

Places

Ayodhya Mithila Dandakaranya Kishkindha Lanka

Seven Books (Kandas)

Bala Ayodhya Aranya Kishkindha Sundara Yuddha Uttara

Versions, adaptations, and inspired works

Adbhuta Ramayana Adhyathmaramayanam Adhyatma Ramayana Ananda Ramayana Bhaṭṭikāvya Hikayat Seri Rama Kakawin Ramayana Kamba Ramayanam Krittivasi Ramayan Maharadia Lawana Phra Lak Phra Ram Ramlila Ramayan (TV series) Raghunatha Ramayana Ramakien Ramcharitmanas Reamker Saptakanda Ramayana Sri Ramayana
Ramayana
Darshanam Vilanka Ramayana Yama Zatdaw

v t e

Rigveda

Mandalas

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Deities

Devas

Agni Indra Soma Ushas

Visvedevas Maruts Ashvins Tvastar Rbhus Pushan Rudra Asuras

Mitra Varuna Aryaman Apam Napat

Demons

Vritra Dasas Danu Danavas

Rivers

Sapta Sindhu Nadistuti Sarasvati Sindhu Sarayu Rasā

Rishis

Saptarishi

Gritsamada Vishvamitra Vamadeva Atri Angiras Bharadvaja Vasishta

.