Agastya

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Agastya (अगस्त्य) is a legendary Vedic sage or rishi. Skanda Purana gives details of journey of Sage Agastya and his wife Lopamudra from Kashi to south, minimizing size of Vindhya mountains, going to the mountain called Sri Shail, and climbing up Lohit mountain where they found Lord Kartikeya.

Sage Agastya

Some say that it was the sage Agastya who first brought and popularized the Vedic religion to south India. Agastya and his clan are also credited to have "authored" many mantras of the Rig Veda, the earliest and most revered Hindu scripture, in the sense of first having the mantras revealed in his mind by the Supreme Brahman. In some reckonings, Agastya is the greatest of the Seven Sages or Saptarshis. The word is also written as Agasti. A-ga means a mountain, Asti, thrower. Also a name of Lord Shiva. Agastya the Rishi, was born of both Gods, Mitra and Varuna, from Urvashi.

Agastya is also the Indian astronomical name of the star of Canopus, is said to be the 'cleanser of waters', since its rising (February) precedes the calming of the waters of Indian Ocean. Other reference is in Mahabharata in Sauptikaparva as the teacher of the teacher of Guru Drona, who gave Drona, the greatest of weapons, Brahmastra (used by both Arjuna and Ashwatthama at the end of the war).

Agastya journeyed to south

Skanda Purana says that the Vindhya mountains that separate north and south India from each other once showed a tendency to grow so high as to obstruct the usual trajectory of the sun. The need arose to subdue, by guile, the Vindhyas, and Agastya was chosen to do that.

Agastya journeyed from northern solstice to southern solstice, and on the way encountered the now impassable Vindhya mountains. He asked the mountain range to facilitate his passage across to the south. In reverence for so eminent a sage as Agastya, the Vindhya mountains bent low enough to enable the sage and his family to cross over and enter south India. The Vindhya range also promised not to increase in height until Agastya and his family returned to the northern solstice. Agastya settled permanently in the south, and the Vindhya range, true to its word, never grew further. Thus, Agastya accomplished by guile something that would have been impossible to accomplish by force. Ramayana covers this astronomical correction made by Rishi Agastya. It is from here that the science of Vastu Shastra originated.

Nahusha and Agastya

Nahusha (नहुष) or Nahush (नहुष) was son of Ayu, the eldest of Pururavas, and father of Yayati. This king is mentioned by Manu as having come into conflict with the Brahmans, and his story is repeated several times with variations in different parts of the Mahabharata as well as in the Puranas. According to Manu "By sacrifices, austere fervour, sacred study, self-restraint, and valour, Nahusha acquired the undisturbed sovereignty of the three worlds. Through want of virtuous humility the great king Nahusha was utterly ruined".

One version of the story says that he aspired to the possession of Indrani, wife of Indra, when that god had concealed himself for having killed a Brahman. A thousand great Rishis bore the car of Nahusha through the air, and on one occasion he touched with his foot the great Agastya, who carrying him. The sage in his anger cried out, "Fall, thy serpent," and Nahusha fell from his glorious car and became a serpent.

Agastya, at the supplication of Nahusha, put a limit to the curse; and according to one version, the doomed man was released from it by the instrumentality of Yudhisthira, when he threw off "his huge reptile form, became clothed in a celestial body, and ascended to heaven."

Mana and Agastya

Varahamihira mentions Mana (मान) and Hala (हाल) together in his Brihat Samhita the name of a people [1] But these are two different clan names the Mana and the Hala / Hala . The Mana are separately mentioned as a people in Markandeya Purana and so are the Hala and their country in the North. [2] Mana was also supposed to be the name of Agastya’s father; and consequently his family is called Mana. [3]

Agastya in Ramayana

Ramayana Kishkindha Kand Sarg 41 mentions about the directions to southward search party prepared by Sugriva under the leadership of Angad, in which several important Vanar were included - Neel, Hanuman, Jamvanta, Suhotra, Shararita, Shargulma, Gaja, Gavaksha etc. and told them about the impassable countries and difficult path and said ....

Next you will see Kunjar Parvat. Here Vishwakarmaa built a place for Agastya Muni. This place is one Yojan wide and 10 Yojan high. Here there is Bhogvati city where snakes live, that is why it is impossible for human beings to go there. Here lives the king of snakes - Vasuki Naga. Many terrific snakes guard him. This place is studded in numerous gem stones. Go in this place very carefully and search for Seetaa. This has been mentioned in shlokas 34 to 38 as under:
मधूनि पीत्वा जुष्टानि परम् गच्छत वानराः
तत्र नेत्र मनः कांतः कुंजरो नाम पर्वतः ॥४-४१-३४॥
अगस्त्य भवनम् यत्र निर्मितम् विश्वकर्मणा ।
तत्र योजन विस्तारम् उच्छ्रितम् दश योजनम् ॥४-४१-३५॥
शरणम् कांचनम् दिव्यम् नाना रत्न विभूषितम् ।
तत्र भोगवती नाम सर्पाणाम् आलयः पुरी ॥४-४१-३६॥


विशाल रथ्या दुर्धर्षा सर्वतः परिरक्षिता ।
रक्षिता पन्नगैः घोरैः तीष्क्ण दम्ष्ट्रैः महा विषैः ॥४-४१-३७॥


सर्प राजो महाघोरो यस्याम् वसति वासुकिः
निर्याय मार्गितव्या च सा च भोगवती पुरी ॥४-४१-३८॥

Ramayana in Aranya Kanda Sarga 15 mentions about Panchavati situated on Godavari River in Nasik district in Maharashtra. The biodiversity of the place is very beautifully described from shlokas 12-18 as under:

12, 13a. This River Godavari is also seen from here, surrounded by blooming trees, spread over with swans, and beautified with kaarandava, and chakravaaka birds, as that contemplated soul sage Agastya had said. [3-15-12]

यथा आख्यातम् अगस्त्येन मुनिना भावितात्मना । इयम् गोदावरी रम्या पुष्पितैः तरुभिर् वृता ॥३-१५-१२॥
हंस कारण्डव आकीर्णा चक्रवाक उपशोभिता । न अतिदूरे न च आसन्ने मृग यूथ निपीडिता ॥३-१५-१३॥

Kishkindha Kanda Sarga 41 mentions about the Mountain called Agastyamalai and it is in Western Ghats from which River Tamraparni emerges.

15b, 16a. "You shall see the eminent sage Agastya, whose resplendence is akin to that of the Sun, and who will be sitting on the top of that highly resplendent Mt. Malaya. [4-41-15b, 16a]

16b, 17a. "And when that great-souled Agastya complaisantly permits you, then you shall leave that mountain and cross over the great River Taamraparni, a highly cherished river of crocodiles. [4-41-16b, 17a]

तस्य आसीनम् नगस्य अग्रे मलयस्य महोजसम् ॥४-४१-१५॥ द्रक्ष्यथ आदित्य संकाशम् अगस्त्यम् ऋषि सत्तमम् ।

ततः तेन अभ्यनुज्ञाताः प्रसन्नेन महात्मना ॥४-४१-१६॥ ताम्रपर्णीम् ग्राह जुष्टाम् तरिष्यथ महानदीम् ।

Bala Kanda Sarga 25 mentions Sage Vishvamitra narrating the birth, marriage and curse of demoness Tataka.

10. But when Sunda is eliminated by sage Agastya's curse, she that Tataka wished to retaliate that eminent sage along with her son Mareecha. [1-25-10]
11, 12a. With desperation brewing in her she roaringly rushed towards the sage as though to eat him away, and on seeing her rushing along with her son Mareecha towards him, the godly saint Agastya firstly cursed Mareecha saying, 'you will attain demon-hood.' [1-25-11, 12a]
12b, 13. Highly infuriated sage Agastya even cursed Tataka saying, 'forthwith divested of this form of a beautiful female, oh, great yakshii, you shall become a man eater with your form distorted, face contorted, and shape monstrous. [1-25-12b, 13]
14. Frenzied by the curse and convulsed in fury she that Tataka is thus vandalising this auspicious province, in which sage Agastya once sauntered. [1-25-14]
सुन्दे तु निहते राम सा अगस्त्यम् ऋषि सत्तमम् ।
ताटका सह पुत्रेण प्रधर्षयितुम् इच्छति ॥१-२५-१०॥
भक्षार्थम् जात संरम्भा गर्जन्ती सा अभ्यधावत ।
आपतन्तीम् तु ताम् दृष्ट्वा अगस्त्यो भगवान् ऋषिः ॥१-२५-११॥
राक्षसत्वम् भजस्व इति मारीचम् व्याजहार सः ।
अगस्त्यः परम अमर्षः ताटकाम् अपि शप्तवान् ॥१-२५-१२॥
पुरुषादी महायक्षी विरूपा विकृत आनना ।
इदम् रूपम् विहायाशु दारुणम् रूपम् अस्तु ते ॥१-२५-१३॥
सैषा शाप कृताम् अर्षा ताटका क्रोध मूर्छिता ।
देशम् उत्सादयति एनम् अगस्त्या चरितम् शुभम् ॥१-२५-१४॥

Aranya Kanda/Aranya Kanda Sarga 11 mentions the Stories of Sages Mandakarani and Agastya - Rama comes across lake from which divine music is heard. Surprised at the musical notes from beneath the waters of the lake he enquires with the sage who is following, and that sage narrates the episode of Sage Mandakarni. Then Rama proceeds on wondering at that lake, and he visits all the hermitages about there and thus elapsed are ten years. Again Rama returns to the hermitage of Sage Suteekhsna, and after staying there for some time, takes leave of that sage and proceeds to see Sage Agastya. And on the way he visits the brother of Sage Agastya also. Rama, on the way narrates about the great deeds done by Sage Agastya in protecting humans from demons, and also depicts the propitious nature of Agastya’s hermitage.

In Mahabharata

Virata Parva, Mahabharata/ Book IV Chapter 20 mentions that Lopamudra wife of Agastya endued with youth and beauty, followed Agastya, renouncing all the objects of enjoyment unattainable by men.

लॊपामुथ्रा तदा भीरु वयॊ रूपसमन्विता
अगस्त्यम अन्वयाथ धित्वा कामान सर्वान अमानुषान (Mahabharata: IV.20.11)

अगस्तेश्वर महादेव

स्कन्द पुराण में पार्वती शंकर भगवान से महाकाल के ८४ शिवलिगों के बारे में पूछती हैं तो शिवजी ने कहा कि पहला लिंग अगस्तेश्वर का है. एक समय देवता राक्षसों से हार गये. इधर उधर भटकते उन्हे अगस्त्य मुनि के दर्शन हुये. अगस्त्य मुनि ने देवताओं का संकट जान कर राक्षसों को अपने तेज से जलाकर पृथ्वी पर पटक दिया. इस हत्या से अगस्त्य मुनि का मन उद्विग्न हो गया. उस समय वहां ब्रह्मा उपस्थित थे. अगस्त्य ने ब्रह्माजी से निवेदन किया कि दानवों की हत्या से मेरा तप क्षीण हो गया है. ब्रह्माजी ने समझाया कि आप महा-काल वन में वटयक्षिणी के उत्तर में तथा पिशाचेश्वर के दक्षिण में स्थित लिंग की आराधना करो. [4]

उत्तरे वट यक्षिण्या यतल्लिंगम्नुत्तमम् ।37।
पिशाचस्यापि तीर्थस्य भागे दक्षिणतः स्थितम
तं समाराध्यतः सर्वं पापं नाशमवाप्नुयात ।38।[5]

अगस्त्य मुनि ने उस्की पूजा की औए वे ब्रह्मह्त्या से मुक्त हो गये. शिवजी ने प्रसन्न होकर कहा कि यह लिंग तुम्हारे ही नाम से प्रसिद्ध होगा. मान्यता है कि अष्टमी और चतुर्दशी को जो इस लिंग की पूजा करता है उसके कई कुल तर जाते हैं. उन्हें नरक प्राप्त नहीं होता. [6]

Jat Gotras descended from Agastya

  • Agi (अगि) gotra of Jats started from a Jat named Aksha (अक्ष) in Shloka 53, who are also considered as descendants of rishi Agastya. (See - Mahabharata Shalya Parva)[7]
दरॊण शरवाः कपिस्कन्धः काञ्चनाक्षॊ जलं धमः
अक्षसंतर्जनॊ राजन कुनथीकस तमॊ ऽभरकृत |53 |
  • Agre (अग्रे) Agha (अघा) Agah (अगा) Aga (अगा) Agi (अगि) Agach (अगाच) gotra gets name from Agastya.

References

  1. Sanskrit English Dictionary ( M. Williams), p. 806
  2. ibid , p. 809 and p. 1293
  3. 251-ibid
  4. डॉ भंवर लाल द्विवेदी: अवंतिका माहात्म्य, २००४, पृ. १२२
  5. डॉ भंवर लाल द्विवेदी: अवंतिका माहात्म्य, २००४, पृ. १२२
  6. डॉ भंवर लाल द्विवेदी: अवंतिका माहात्म्य, २००४, पृ. १२२
  7. Dr Mahendra Singh Arya, Dharmpal Singh Dudee, Kishan Singh Faujdar & Vijendra Singh Narwar: Ādhunik Jat Itihasa (The modern history of Jats), Agra 1998 p. 220

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