Accepting the entreaties of Vashistha, Vishwamitra the king agreed to have a feast in the sage’s ashram. Vashistha had a cow called Sabala. It was a divine being and the moment she was instructed to arrange for the feast, she yielded sugarcanes and all its produce such as sugar, jaggery, sweet wines. There were sweetened milk, honey, ghee and curds in litres stored in beautiful vessels, a 1,000 silver plates, mountains of steamed rices in different varieties, pots of pulses boiled with condiments that had a fragrant aroma, and there were also many varieties of sweets and savouries.
Vishwamitra and his retinue had a feast to their fill. Now here the trouble began. Vishwamitra thanked sage Vashistha for the feast and said he would give a 1,000 cows and get Sabala in exchange as she was a jewel. Vishwamitra asserted his authority and said that the king was indeed the rightful owner of the jewel.
The sage refused right away and said he would not part with her for even a million cows, let alone a 1,000 that the king promised. Even if he was given many heaps of silver, he would not give her as she was the one who provided for all the fire sacrifices and offerings to the gods and the ancestors. More than anything, Sabala is a beloved delight for Vashistha and hence he refused to part with her for reasons spelt and not voiced.
The king in turn promised him elephants and horses decked in gold by the thousands and a crore cows, just as an exchange for Sabala. Vashistha again refused saying he cannot be without her. His last statement to the king was dramatic, “What is the use of talking so much? I will not give my Kamadhenu!”
Vishwamitra then attempted to use force and take Sabala. She ran to Vashistha only to know his mind. Her eyes were full of tears and she asked him, “What wrong have I done O noble sage, that you want me to go with these unthinking people?” Vashistha said he did not want her to go and neither has she done something wrong. “Vishwamitra is especially powerful, being a king and having an akshauhini-strong army.” Sabala who could understand the essence of the speech knew that he did not want her to go and was told to protect herself. The same wish-yielding cow waited for his command. The sage said, “Create an army for yourself and fight the king.”
Sabala created her warriors the Pahlavas, the Yavanas, the Sakas, the Kambojas and the Barbaras. There was a tremendous fight between the army of Vishwamitra and Sabala. Sabala is nothing but a powerful mind that has become so pure due to long years of penance, chanting and living a divine life. Such a mind is capable of producing the most astonishingly brilliant things in the world as Sabala did.
The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi;
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.chinmayamission.com