Vishwamitra became most worried. He
felt ashamed because he was no able to face a saint and a cow though Like a fangless he
had a large army snake and like a wingless bird, he felt sad. He was burning with the
desire to take revenge. He decided to earn Powerful weapons by performing tapas. He went
to the Himalayas and worshipped Ishwara with his austere tapas and earned in return
knowledge of archery and divine weapons.
Vishwamitra was insolent because of his position as king and overlord. After winning
the divine weapons, he was swollen with pride. It went to his head. He thought he would be
able to defeat Vasishta completely and destroy him. With this determination he came to the
hermitage of Vasishta. He began to rain arrows on the Ashram and destroy it. The other
saints and disciples ran helter-skelter. The animals and bird! of the Ashram were
terrified. There was wailing followed by destruction.
Vasishta came to know about the destruction caused by Vishwamitra. He comforted the
frightened disciples and advised them to take courage. He tool, his Brahmadanda - the
staff of a saint- and came out of his hermitage and confronted Vishwamitra and said,
"O you fool, why are you destroying the Ashrarn without any cause? Is it proper for a
king to destroy when he should protect?" Vishwamitra got ready to release his arrow
called Agneyastra, a powerful weapon. Then Vasishta put up his saint's staff (Brahmadanda)
before him and said, "Vishwamitra, show me your valour and strenght." Then
Vishwamitra released - his Agneyastra against Vasishta. The arrow sped roaring with fire
towards Vasishta but got reduced like a burnt-out faggot and fell at his feet like live
coals dropping into a tank.
What is a Brahmadanda?
It is the staff in the hands of an ascetic. The power and strength of Vasishta's tapas
was concentrated in the staff. In his anger Vishwamitra released one by one all his
powerful weapons. Roudra, Aindra, Pashupata followed each other to the incantation of
mantras or verses. But all of them were rendered powerless before Vasishta's Brahmadanda.
Vishwamitra was furious with anger. When he had used all his weapons in vain, he took out
the divinely endowed arrow called Brahmastra and fitted it in his bow. It frightened all
in the Ashram as well divine beings in heaven. Every one became concerned for Vasishta
Vishwamitra released it against Vasishta invoking the spiritual powers of mantras.
Vasishta stood undisturbed. I appeared like a bright flame at this moment; sparks of fire
emanated form his body. The staff in his hand look like the staff in the hands of Yama God
of Death. The Brahmastra sped like lightning towards Vasishta make frightening noise like
thunder. It pounced on Vasishta's Brahmadanda and was absorbed into it. The other saints
who saw this praised Vasishta's strength said, "Great man, your strength beyond our
guess. Control your I and become peaceful." Vasish, accepted their advice and became
There was no other weapon left with Vishwamitra. He had used all his weapons and had
been totally defeated by Vasishta. He felt repentant. He realised his mistake. He
understood the truth would always win. He felt, "I took the wrong path. It is
impossible suppress truth by force." He sighed and went away saying, "There is
no value for my power and strength. The real power. is that which comes from tapas.
Vishwamitra was a man determination, ambition and strength. He said to himself,
"All my diving weapon are rendered powerless. The power of Vasishta is great. Tapas,
truth are non-violence are matchless. I must become the equal of Vasishta." He gave
his kingdom to his son and went to forest to perform tapas. He started performing severe
tapas. People stopped calling him king and started calling him saint Vishwamitra. He
became famous as a Rishi.