Aham Vedhmi Endreno Vishvamithrarai Pole
Below is the translation to Veda Paati's story, narrated in tamil, available in below platforms:
THIRUKOLUR PEN PILLAI RAGASIYAM - 20
Am I capable of understanding the truth and speaking it like Vishwamitra?
Udayavar Ramanuja queried expectantly, “My child, what is the next story you have for me? Is it yet another tale from the great Mahabharata? Or is it a story of the Azhwars? Do tell!”. Thirukolur Pen Pillai, not noticing the excitement in the venerable Ramanuja, dwelled in her melancholy. “Dear Swami, why should I remain in this beautiful Divya Desam? Am I like Vishwamitra? Am I capable of understanding the ultimate truth?”, she sighed.
There lived once a King called Kaushika. It was a practice in the days of the yore, that Kings with their troops would go hunting in forests as a sport. One day, King Kaushika too with his troops, went to the jungle for hunting. During his trip, he chanced upon the Ashram of the great Rishi Vasishta. King Kaushika decided to visit Vasishta and enquire his wellbeing. Vasishta was very hospitable towards his guests and quickly realized that they were exhausted from their hunting trip. Vasishta kindly offered King Kaushika and his troop, a good home made meal to energise them. Although the King first politely refused, he later agreed to join in the meal.
Vasishta had a cow named Sabalai. Sabalai magically created a whole meal platter. The food was very tasty and satisfying, and the King and his subjects enjoyed their meal heartily. The King felt that it would be nice to take Sabalai back to his palace.
However Vasishta flatly refused, saying that this celestial cow was a gift to him from the Devas and was not meant to be regifted. King Kaushika who was not happy with this, tried to physically abduct the cow from the Ashram. Sabalai was too strong for Kaushika and his crew and easily defeated them.
The defeated and embarrassed King returned to his palace. He immediately gave up his throne to his son and went back to the jungle to do Tapas, with the sole intent to defeat Vasishta. After a long period of tough penance, Lord Shiva appeared to Kaushika’s eyes and granted him all Astras or weapons. Upon receiving all the weapons, he rushed to Vasishta’s Ashram to fight with him. Vasishta had a Brahma Dandam which had the power to absorb all of Kaushika’s weapons in a jiffy. Kaushika thought that it is probably better to be a Brahma Rishi like Vasishta so that he could gain all powers. He decided to go back to doing Tapas to gain this status.
After several years of hardwork and Tapas, the Devas finally granted Kaushika the status of Brahma Rishi. Rishi Vasishta visited Kaushika to congratulate him, and a result gave him the title “Vishwamitra – The friend of all in the universe”.
Several years later, Vishwamitra went to King Dasaratha’s court asking for a favour. He was about to conduct a big Yagna for world peace, however some Rakshasas were preventing the smooth progress of the Yagna. He requested the King to send his beloved teenage sons, Rama and Lakshmana with him, to be vigilant of the evil Rakshasas during the Yagna. King Dasaratha was taken aback. Out of his affection for his children, he volunteered to himself fight with the Rakshasas rather than his young guileless sons.
Vishwamitra reassured King Dasaratha by saying “Aham Vedmi”, meaning “I know!”. He meant that he was fully aware of who Rama was actually, none other than Sriman Narayana Himself. “Aham Vedmi, Maharaja! I know fully well who Rama is, what his qualities are and how capable he is. He is the right fit for this duty! Trust me, King!”, said Vishwamitra confidently. Eventually the brothers followed Vishwamitra, and dutifully killed the Rakshasas, ensuring the smooth progress of the Yagna.
The little child of Thirukolur continued to tell the story of the great king Harichandra. Harichandra was a King in the lineage of Ishvaku clan, that is, he was a forefather of Rama. King Harichandra was famous for upholding truth. He would never lie for any reason. Vishwamitra was set on making Harichandra lie atleast once, and put him through several tests.
King Harichandra, due to these tests, lost his Kingdom, his status, his wife and family. However, he did not lose his truthfulness no matter how much he was put to test by Vishwamitra.
Vishwamitra finally realizing that Harichandra would never lie no matter how tough the situation, and was very pleased with him. He granted Harichandra back all that he had lost. He also ensured that Harichandra’s name and fame would reach all corners of the world! Vishwamitra however, felt guilty that he had separated Harichandra and his wife temporarily during his tests. To gain redemption, Vishwamitra later united Rama with Sita and wedded them.
“Swami, Vishwamitra could confidently announce – Aham Vedmi! Am I capable of uttering the same to my Vaithamanidhi Perumal? Why then should I remain here?”, bemoaned the little child of Thirukolur. Having heard about the great sage Vishwamitra, Ramanuja was left yearning to hear more from the little child.