Vasiṣṭha

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By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Vasistha, VasiSTha, Vasishtha


Vasiṣṭha is one of the most well- known sages, mentioned several times even in the Rgveda.[1] According to one version, he was one of the mānasaputras or mind-born sons of the creator Brahmā. According to another version, he was born in a kumbha[2] as the son of the deity Varuṇa. Agastya, another great sage, was his twin.

Arundhatī, also known as Akṣamālā and Urjā, was his wife. The sage Sakti was his son. Sages Parāśara and Vyāsa were his grandson and great-grandson respectively. He was the rājaguru, royal preceptor, to the kings of the Ikṣvāku race. There are several legends eulogizing his greatness. The king Viśvaratha, son of Gādhi, tried his best to take away by force the divine cow Nandinī from Vasiṣṭha but failed miserably. After several rounds of tapas, he too became a brahmarṣi[3] later on known as Viśvāmitra. Vasiṣṭha was one among the Saptarṣis[4] and also a gotrapravartaka.[5]


References

  1. Rgveda 7.33.14
  2. Kumbha means pot.
  3. Brahmarṣi means a sage of the highest order.
  4. Saptarṣis means the seven divine sages.
  5. Gotrapravartaka means the person who started a gotra or lineage.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore