Rising After a Fall

Rising After a Fall

‘Arrgh! I am really frustrated with myself, VR!’ grumbled Maanav looking visibly annoyed.

‘Well, if you are the object of your frustration then it might be easier to resolve’, replied VR in an assuring voice.

‘Oh! If only! I had set out a goal for myself and each time I build some momentum towards it, I seem to distract myself into something counterproductive! I am my biggest obstacle! I wish I was like the characters in Ramayana who never made mistakes!’ sighed Maanav.

‘Well, Maanav, it is indeed true that there are plenty of inspirational characters in Ramayana but there are others who made several mistakes but still managed to find a way to succeed’.

‘Really? Can you tell me about any one of them?’ asked Maanav, his interest piqued.

‘The most famous example of such a personality was Rishi Vishwamitra, born as Kaushika. He was the son of King Gadi, a powerful emperor. Once, while returning from a successful military campaign, Kaushika stopped at Vashishta Rishi’s ashram to pay his respects. Rishi Vashishta had a magical wish-fulfilling cow Nandini that Kaushika became desperate to possess. When Vashishtha Rishi refused to part with it, he tried to take it by force but his entire army got defeated by the cow’s magical prowess.

Swearing revenge, he mastered all the divine weapons and used them against Vashishta who absorbed it all with his spiritual powers. Once again he swore to become a Brahma Rishi equal to Rishi Vashishta. Leaving his kingdom and his family, he did a lot of Tapasya but only managed to reach the status of Raja Rishi. Then an incident took place where he used up all his prowess to create an alternate heaven for King Trishanku.

Realizing that he might become a threat to the Devatas, Indra sent an apsara, Menaka, to distract him and Vishwamitra fell for it. He spent many years with her, even fathering a child, before realizing his folly. He once again started his tapasya from scratch. After many years he finally reached the status of an ordinary rishi’.

‘Phew! This guy’s perseverance is commendable!’ quipped Maanav.

‘Then Indra once again sent Apsara Rambha to distract him. While she did break his concentration, he did not fall for her but instead cursed her in anger, which again consumed his spiritual prowess. Undeterred, he began once again and this time continued his tapasya till he finally gained the status of Brahma Rishi!’

‘Wow! Now that I recall, isn’t he the same Rishi who takes Sri Ram and Lakshman to defeat those rakshasas?’ asked Manav.

‘Yes, he is the same great Vishwamitra Rishi’.

‘This is really inspiring! I felt like giving up after just one or two setbacks but he is the king of comebacks! That has really stirred me up. Thank you so much, VR!’

‘Happy to be of use, Maanav. Until we meet again, thank you for using the Ramayana Reboot!’

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Chinmaya Udghosh