Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Rishyashringa - Deer born Sage


Rishyashringa is the son of Vibhandaka, who is the son of the sage Kashyapa. When Vibhandaka was washing his mouth in the river, he beheld the celestial nymph Urvashi and his seminal fluid came out. A female red deer that had come to drink water in the river, became pregnant with his child. This deer was in reality a divine nymph, who had been cursed to be a deer for a while. When she gave birth to Rishyashringa, she was freed from the curse. The child was born with a horn on the crown of his head. His birth-place is believed to be Shringeri in Karnataka.

His father wanted him to be pure of mind, so he was brought up in isolation in a forest hermitage, not knowing that women existed. He used to think that all the people in the world were exactly like him, and devoted his time to the study of scriptures under his father.

When there was famine in the kingdom of Anga, its king Romapada was advised that rain will not fall unless Rishyashringa set foot on his kingdom. The king then caused the young sage to be brought to his kingdom (without the knowledge of his father Vibhandaka), with the help of his courtesans. He also gave his daughter Shanta in marriage to the Rishi. With the arrival of the sage, Indra was pleased and sent bountiful rains to end the drought.

The legend of Rishyashringa is narrated by Sumantra, the charioteer to King Dasharatha in [Rama:1.9-10]. He tells the King that it has been foretold that the Ashwamedha sacrifice being contemplated by him shall be performed by Rishyashringa. Accordingly, the King appoints the sage to perform the sacrifice, by means of which he obtains four children: Rama, Bharata, Laxmana and Shatrughna.

The birth of Rishyashringa is given in more detail in [Maha:3.100].

Last Modified At: Tue Oct 19 20:38:29 2004