Rivalry of Vasishtha and Viswamitra and their mutual curses to become birds

After emerging from his penance under water for twelve long years, the Guru of the King Harischandra, Sage Vasishtha, came to learn that Viswamitra tormented the King and his family to such unendurable limits as taking away their Kingdom, freedom of existence, and near extinction of their lives. It was due the enduring capacity of the King that even Deities like Indra, Dharma and Dikpalakaas complemented him and his family as felt by Vaishtha. Quite incensed by the deplorable acts of Viswamithra, he gave a Curse saying:
Tasmadduraatma Brahmadvida yajvinaamavatopakah macchhapahato moodhaha sa bakatvamavaapsyati
(Due to this reason, that evil-minded stupid who is a hater of Brahmanas and who seeks to spoil Yagnas being performed by them be cursed to become a stork!). But Viswamitra came to know of the curse and gave a return curse to Vasishtha to say:
Twamaadi bhavasvet
(You become a Partridge!).
By virtue of their mutual curses, both the Sages turned out to be birds and kept on quarrelling with each other screeching and shrieking and becoming a nuisance in the surroundings. Lord Brahma himself, as accompannied by Deities sought to bring about truce to the fighting Baka (Stork) and Aaadi (Partridge) but to no effect. Finally, Lord Brahma over-ruled the mutual curses of the Sages and restored their original forms.Vasishtha and Viswamitra felt ashamed of them; Brahma explaned to Vasishtha that the extreme actions taken by Sage Viswamitra against Harischandra and family were only to put them to test but not out of spite or jealousy; even Dharma Raja was an actor in the drama that was initiated by Maha Ganapati Himself! Harischandra and family as also the great illustrious Well-wisher Subjects of Ayodhya were amply rewarded at the end thus explained Lord Brahma.

Sri V.D.N.Rao and Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham

Kamakoti.org presents the Essence of Puranas in English, condensed by Sri. V.D.N.Rao, devotee of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. Compiled, Composed and Interpreted by V.D.N.Rao, Former General Manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India The author can be contacted at raovdn@yahoo.co.in