Thursday, March 1, 2007

Thirst for an ocean of water

The killing of Vritra

One of the formidable foes of the gods was a demon by name Vritra. (The story is very old and even the Rik Veda refers to it.) He continuously harassed the gods in the company of the Kalakeyas. (The Kalakeyas are the ones whom Ajuna annihilated later on). The gods lead by Indra went to Brahma for guidance. Brahma said. “You need to make a special weapon to kill Vritra, made of human bones. There is an ascetic by name Dadheeca whom you could approach for the purpose. He is one who will not hesitate even to give up his life for such a noble cause”.
Accordingly, the gods went to Dadheeca. The hermit did not think twice when he heard that his body would be of great use for the gods. He welcomed death gladly leaving his body for the benefit of the gods. Brahma created the special weapon, called Vajra, out of the bones of the dead sage, Dadheeca and gave it to Indra.

The king of gods fought a fierce war against the invading Vritra and killed him. The Kalakeyas lost their valiant leader as a result. So, they went under the ocean and built a city for them to hide.

The demons are the most powerful and the gods are weak at night. Using this loophole, the Kalakeyas continued harassing the gods at night. During the day they would hide in their city under the ocean water. There was no end to the suffering of gods even after Vritra’s death.
The gods went to Vishnu and informed him of the threat from the Kalakeyas. Vishnu was aware of the problem and knew the way, though difficult, to end their threat. Somehow, the ocean must be drained of all water. There was only one person who was capable of accomplishing such a near impossible task. He was the son of Varuna, the guardian deity of the West and of all oceans. His name was Agastya who had acquired unparalleled powers from penance.
The gods decided to request the sage to come to their rescue. Agastya agreed and went to the ocean. He went into deep meditation on Varuna and started drinking the ocean waters. It is said that in one breath he drank the entire ocean dry.

The demons were exposed when the water was gone. The gods attacked them with full force and killed most of them in a fierce battle. The remaining ones escaped to the world below, to Patala.

Having their task accomplished, the gods went to sage Agastya, again, requesting him to release the water back to the ocean. But, Agastya said. “Oh, that is now beyond me. I have digested all the water by now. You will have to try other means to fill the ocean again.We shall get to that story after learning about another one on Agastya in the next episode


Melissa said...

"Digested water?" A solution suggests itself, but I assume it was considered and rejected.

Kunjunny said...

That is a very 'naughty' remark! The mental picture we have of sage Agastya is that of a short person with a big belly. It is hilarious to imagine him 're-filling the ocean' after drinking it up.
(Digesting may not be proper English. I translated it literally)

Melissa said...

Digested works just fine, and thanks for the visual embellishment!