Vishwamitra- by Dr Vineet Agarwal
Brought up on a sumptuous diet of Amar Chitra Katha and grandmas stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata, the name Vishwamitra conjured up images of Menaka and Shakuntala and reminded me of sage Vashishta. The picture of a sage with a kamandalu, who was part of the epics but never a hero, Just another sage who had the ability to curse and cure and teach and guide his disciples. Then came Vineet Agarwals “Vishwamitra” and changed it all, putting Vishwamitra at the center of my imagination.
After reading this book, I have grown to admire Vishwamitra’s character as an exemplary example of grit, determination, ambition and perseverance that a mere “manav” is capable of. Dr Vineet has done a commendable job in providing a narrative that defines the sage as an achiever who reached for the stars, quite literally created a new solar system.
Though born a Kshatriya , he had the streak of the divine and spiritual thanks to the exchange of the potion that would beget worthy sons, between Satyavathi and queen Ratna of Kanyakubja. He is a feared warrior and discharges the duties of a King brilliantly, and is able to conquer and expand his kingdom. The story also reveals a certain arrogance of King Vishwarth (earlier name of Vishwamitra) which is visible in his urge to obtain Kamadhenu the holy cow from Sage Vashishta , and his ultimate defeat at the hands of Vashsihta which spurs him towards higher goals, and ultimately leads him to become a Bramharishi !
Vishwamitra’s journey towards becoming a Brahmarishi which starts with the single minded determination to exceed Vashishta’s powers takes him through severe penance, hardship, a torrid love affair with divine nymph Menaka and the revelation of the powerful Gayatri Mantra to the world! He also creates a parallel universe for Trishanku who seeks his blessing.
There are little stories and characters that walk in and out of the story, some of whom you may have heard before, some other you will see in a new light, I don’t want to reveal much because I recommend you beg borrow or buy the book and read it.
A warrior, a king, a powerful Brahmarishi and spiritual guru who revealed the Gayatri Mantra- this take of Vishwamitra by Vineet Agarwal is worth reading.
The author also has a blog- Decode Hindu Mythology- do follow- it’s refreshing.