Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Vibhandaka’s Anger

Vibhandaka was the son of the great sage Kashyap and undertook penance to the highest level. The God of thunder and rain, Lord Indra felt uncomfortable and in his fear that his supremacy could be challenged, sent Urvashi a celestial danseuse, to disrupt the penance of Vibhandaka.

Urvashi, in the pretext of wanting a child approaches the rishi. The Rishi gives her a life giving potion that will help her bear a child and went back to his penance. Urvashi, not knowing what to do with the potion gives it to a deer. Rishyashringa is born that very night itself from the deer’s womb and hence his name and appearance. 

Vibhandaka felt cheated and tricked and decided to bring up his son in the forest without exposing him to any woman. One day when Vibhandaka had to leave the ashram to help some rishi, Romapada the King of Angadesha sent a few devadasis to bring Rishyashringa to his kingdom. But as Rishyashringa was given the responsibility of performing the Yagna in the absence of his father, Rishyashringa refused to accompany the devadasis. One of them then offered to continue the Yagna and not suspecting any foul play, the young Rishyashringa went with the Devadasis.On his return from his mission, Vibhandaka felt enraged. He saw the devadasis performing the Yagna, in place of his son!

Vibhandaka was not going to be duped by a woman for the second time in his life. Anger turned to wrath as he was about to curse the King and the people of Angadesha. A worried devadasi then advised Vibhandaka to control his anger till he reached Angadesha. She told him any curse on a place from somewhere else can prove to be a mistake. She took him to the kingdom hitherto ruled by Romapada.

On reaching the kingdom, Vibhandaka was informed that upon Rishyashringa’s arrival in the kingdom, there were rains in Angadesha after many years. The curse on Romapada by a Brahmin was annulled and the King had offered his daughter, Shanta in marriage to the young rishi. Romapada further informed Vibhandaka that his son Rishyashringa was the new King of Angadesha.

Anger instantly left Vibhandaka as he realised what damage he would have caused his son, had he not listened to the devadasi.

Two important aspects that are worth a mention from this episode are the humility of the truly learned Vibhandaka and the advice he received from the devadasi.

Vibhandaka controlled his anger and listened to a devadasi who by any standard was no match in intelligence to the highly knowledgeable Rishi. 

Wisdom lies in judging the advice rather than judging the person giving it.