Pulastya

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By Swami Harshananda

Pulastya

One of the problems we come across in Hindu mythological literature is the names of the ṛṣis or the sages. Whereas there can be several sages of the same name, living at different periods of time, the same sage can also have several names. One such enigma is that of the sage Pulastya.

The information gathered about him from various sources like the epics and the purāṇas may be summarised as follows:

He was one of the mānasaputras— mind-born sons—of the creator Brahmā. He was also one of the great sages in the group of Saptarsis (the Seven Sages).

He had several wives: Go, Havirbhuk, Ilabilā, Prīti, Sandhyā and Pratīcyā.

It is likely that some of these names may refer to the same woman.

Viśravas, the father of Rāvaṇa and his brothers, as also Kubera, was Pulastya’s son.

Once Rāvaṇa was imprisoned by Kārtavīryārjuna, a mighty king. Pulastya had to intercede on his behalf and get him released.

It was Pulastya who inspired the sage Parāśara to compose the famous Visnupurāna.

Once Parāśara started a sacrifice to destroy all the rākṣasas since one of them (Kalmāṣapāda) had killed his father Sakti, the son of Vasiṣṭha. But Pulastya successfully persuaded him to give it up.

Bhīṣma, the grandsire of the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas, learnt about the greatness of many places of pilgrimage, from the sage Pulastya.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

Pulastya One of the problems we come across in Hindu mythological literature is the names of the ṛṣis or the sages. Whereas there can be several sages of the same name, living at different periods of time, the same sage can also have several names. One such enigma is that of the sage Pulastya. The information gathered about him from various sources like the epics and the purāṇas may be summarised as follows: He was one of the mānasaputras— mind-born sons—of the creator Brahmā. He was also one of the great sages in the group of Saptarṣis (the Seven Sages). He had several wives: Go, Havirbhuk, Ilabilā, Prīti, Sandhyā and Pratīcyā. It is likely that some of these names may refer to the same woman. Viśravas, the father of Rāvaṇa and his brothers, as also Kubera, was Pulastya’s son. Once Rāvaṇa was imprisoned by Kārtavīryārjuna, a mighty king. Pulastya had to intercede on his behalf and get him released. It was Pulastya who inspired the sage Parāśara to compose the famous Visnupurāna. Once Parāśara started a sacrifice to destroy all the rākṣasas since one of them (Kalmāṣapāda) had killed his father Sakti, the son of Vasiṣṭha. But Pulastya success¬fully persuaded him to give it up. Bhīṣma, the grandsire of the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas, learnt about the greatness of many places of pilgrimage, from the sage Pulastya.