Rishyasringa- The coveted yogi

Many young men would love to be in the shoes of Rishyasringa, I mean, the ‘padukas’, if he wore one!

Rishyasringa was the son of a maharishi named Vibhandaka, who lived by the side of a river in a quaint little ashram. Because he was brought up under the sole guardianship of his father, Rishyasringa had no contact with any other human being. His world was limited to what he was exposed to in the simple living at the ashram. Needless to say, he was naive and curious at the same time.

It so happened that a nearby kingdom called, Anga suffered from severe famine and the King of Anga, desperate to quench the thirst of his land, consulted many learned men and women to find a solution to the problem. It was suggested that only the visit of a pure ascetic soul like Rishyasringa could bring rains to the land. The king at once set to work.

He ordered female courtesans to visit Rishyasringa and lure him to Anga. So, accordingly well prepared, the beautiful ladies set out in search of the young man and safely anchored the boat and stepped into the ashram at a time when the father was not around.

When the girl addressed Rishyasringa in her sweet voice, the young ascetic was surprised to see such a beautiful creature.He obviously thought that the person was just another being like him and immediately took to her. She lavished him with attention and tasty gifts which she had brought with her. After some time, she took leave of the young boy who did not want to be parted from her sweet company.

When the sage arrived, he was shocked to see the ashram dirtied and his son, all gloomy and sad. When his son described the visitor, the sage advised him not to fall prey to the lure of the material world and to be on his guard, but of course, the young boy was eager to meet his sweet friend again.

A few days later, the visitor came again and this time coaxed the young ascetic to board her vehicle and travel to her country. The boy agreed readily and off they went.As soon as the lad stepped into the country of Anga, it rained heavily. The King pleased by this happy occurrence, gave his daughter in marriage to Rishyasringa and made him his heir. Rishyasringa enjoyed the attention and the lavish life at the palace, while his father was anxious for his lost son.

When the rishi came to know of the devious means by which his son has been lured away from the ashram, he set out in anger to punish the king. The king was wiser and had planted his courtiers all along the way so that they would sing paeans to young Rishyasringa as the rishi passed by them. Though the rishi was angry at the abduction of his son, he was pleased to hear such glory being sung for his beloved boy and when he reached the palace, he was even more delighted to see his son seated on the throne meant for kings in all glory.

This is the story of Rishyasringa, the ascetic who became the king.


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