Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Trishanku - Ancestor of Rama


Trishanku was a King in the Solar dynasty, the son of Prithu. His original name was Satyavrata. His son was Dhundumara. Satyavrata committed three sins, and hence he got the name Trishanku. First, while a prince, he misbehaved in the kingdom and was temporarily exiled. Next, he killed the milch cow of his perceptor Vasishta. His third sin was that he used the unsanctified meat of his kill as food.

He wished to ascend to heaven in his mortal body, and asked his perceptor Vasishta to do the needful rights. Vasishta refused, for it was against the laws of nature. He then approached the sons of Vasishta. They were angry that the King had asked them, deeming it an insult to their father, so the cursed the King to become afflicted with a debilitating disease.

The King had to leave his country and wander around like a beggar. While wandering thus, he met the sage Vishwamitra, and told him his story. Vishwamitra was a rival of Vasishta and was willing to perform the sacrifice that would let Trishanku ascend to heaven in his mortal body, just to spite Vasishta.

The ritual was begun. By the ascetic power of the sage, the King began to ascend to heaven. The Devas were alarmed at this unnatural happening. Indra, their king then caused Trishanku to fall down from heaven. Trishanku beseeched Vishwamitra to save him, and the sage uttered an incantation that arrested his fall.

Trishanku was now suspended in mid-air. The Gods then counselled Vishwamitra to give up the attempt, for it was against nature. A compromise was effected and the sage created a new heaven, just for Trishanku. The phrase 'Trishanku's Heaven' is used to describe an uncomfortable situation from then on. A full account of this story can be found here.

Last Modified At: Wed Nov 17 22:53:59 2004