The story of Rishyashringa

The rishi Vibhandak was performing tapas near a waterfall. One day while bathing in the river he saw the beautiful celestial nymph Urvashi having a bath. This excited the rishi and he lost his semen in the water. This was immediately drunk by a doe that had come to the river to drink water. The female deer was actually a celestial being that the lord Brahma had sent to the earth as a deer to give birth to a rishi’s son. She gave birth to a boy with an antler on his head and thus he was named Rishyashringa. The deer left the child on the bank of the river and his father the rishi Vibhandak brought him up in his ashram. As a young child Rishyashringa engaged himself in deep tapas and acquired great yogic powers. As he had never seen any other human except his father he remained a celibate.

The king of the kingdom of Anga was Lomapada. This king did not fulfil a promise he had given to help some Brahmins. The Brahmins then refused to take part in the king’s yagnas. Lomapada then put some allegations on the leaders of the Brahmins. All this displeased Lord Indra who refused to send rain to Lomapada’s kingdom. When it had not rained for three years a terrible famine struck the kingdom. The king called a group of learned Brahmins to get counsel on the remedy. One of the senior Brahmins suggested that if the great rishi Rishyashringa was brought to his kingdom then Indra would be compelled to send rain.

The king called some of his clever ministers and asked them to devise a plan to bring Rishyashringa to his kingdom. One of the ministers told the king to call a group of courtesans who were very well versed in their art and give them the task of enticing Rishyashringa and bringing him to their kingdom. As the young rishi did not k now what a woman was; it would be very easy to seduce and hypnotise him. The courtesans were summoned and given the brief. All the courtesans started trembling in fear. On the one side was the king’s command and on the other the possibility of a powerful celibate rishi cursing them. So the courtesans told the king that it would not be possible to carry out his orders. Then one old courtesan said she would work her charms on the rishi but the king had to first fulfil all that she needed to do her job.