Monday, March 09, 2009


I had borrowed "Agastya", written by Prof. K.S.Narayanacharya in Kannada, from a cousin of mine. I wanted to read it out of sheer curiosity. I had not heard about this book from anyone. I had read an Amar Chitra Katha about Agastya long back. I had really liked it then. So probably that inspired me to start reading "Agastya".

Initially I thought that I might not complete the whole book coz it looked like there were lot of Sanskrit verses that probably I would not be able to follow. So I began reading it half heartedly. And then, I just could not keep the book down till I finished it. It took a couple of days for me to finish it. The book kept me so interested that I visualized the characters of the books and dreamt about them too for two days.:)

For those of you who do not know, Agastya was a renowned Hindu rishi (sage). He is known for the creation of some of the famous shlokas like Aditya Hrudayam ( Agastya taught this to Rama during his war with Ravana). Stopping the growth of the Vindya mountains, drinking the entire ocean were some of his famous feats.

During the time of Vishnusharma Agastya who is popularly known as Agastya, the demons had started torturing the sages and their families. There were no strong kings at that time to protect these sages. So from the time of Agastya's father, their ashram not only taught vedas but also self defence techniques like horse riding, use of weapons, organization of the army and so on. ( I absolutely did not know that all these were taught at the ashram.)

The main threat to peace was Ilvala, one of the demon kings of the dravidian region. He had a brother -Vathapi. Ilvala had become more powerful after learning "mritasanjeevani" from his guru, Shukracharya.

Lopamudra, princess of Vidharbha, married Agastya as per the wish of Agastya's father. She had to wait for a long time for Agastya as he was busy integrating the kingdoms in India against the rakshasas. He travelled all over India trying to induce confidence and strength among the kings.

At this time, Vindhya wanted to be as famous and taller than Himavanta ( Himalaya). So he started growing indefinitely. To stop this, Agastya requested Vindhya to give way to him to travel the southern India. He asked Vindhya to lie down till he came back. Assuming that Agastya would come back, Vindhya did as told. But Agastya never went back. he settled on the banks of Kaveri river.

One day, Ilvala invited Agastya for a lunch at his place. He transformed his brother into goat and used his flesh to serve Agastya for lunch. Ilvala had planned this so he could use his Mritasanjeevani technique. According to his plan, after Agastya would finish his lunch, he would chant a mantra and Vatapi would come out thus killing Agastya. Agastya knew Ilvala's plan. He first converted everything that was served into vegetarian. And as soon as he finished his lunch, he uttered " Vathapi jeerno bhava" that meant Vathapi should be digested completely. Hence Ilvala's magic did not work and Vathapi died. Agastya then killed Ilvala, thus putting an end to the reign of a powerful Asura ( demon).

After Ilvala's death, lot of rakshasa took refuge in the ocean. Hence Agastya drank the whole ocean so that they could be brought out and punished by the Devathas ( angels). Before Rama slayed Ravana in the battlefield, Agastya appeared there and taught "Aditya Hrudaya "stotra.

All those above stories take us into a different world, don't they? :) The beauty with which the respected author has narrated the tale of Agastya ensures that you are not bored at any point of time. In fact, when you finish the book, you would have learnt some new things about the Vedic Age. I am absolutely thankful that I got to read this epic.


Anonymous said...

I am an ardent follower of your blog. I dont know why !! Might be your thinking as expressed in blogs matches mine or might be you the books which you talk are also my favorite ones, might be you are a kannadiga, Might be you like music, whatever the reason is .....
Kindly write a blog every day. Your blogs makes my day

Madhooo said...

@Anonymous: Thank you for those encouraging and kind words.:) I have started blogging frequently now and I intend to be more regular.:)

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for your next one ..... Please Please Please write one every day.

~rAGU said...

Bookmarked;will read later. But I remembered reading some excerpts from Agasyta Samhita. He is supposed to have explained structure of heart etc. Also generation of hydrogen! Sounds like pseudo-science but there could be some truth. Should verify. Thanks for the post.

Madhooo said...

@Ragu: Is it? Thts new info to me. Thks for that.