Vishwamitra Becomes Brahma Rishi

Vishwamitra continues intense tapas.

Published: 21st April 2019 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st April 2019 09:21 AM   |  A+A-

Vishwamitra continues intense tapas. After the sage decided to continue his austerities with even more intensity until he achieved the state of a Brahma Rishi, this time without getting tempted to anger or lust, he left that part of the Himalayas where he was engaged in austerities and moved towards the east. He took up an unparalleled vow of silence for one thousand years. 

For one thousand years, he remained still and even stiff like wood, not moving his body to communicate through signs. Even though he accosted many obstacles, he did not give expression to anger. After one thousand years, he sat up to eat food and break his fast. Indra, disguised as a Brahmana, appeared before him and asked him for his food. He gave all the food he had to the Brahmana and continued to maintain his silence. Even his breath was suspended after that. 

For another thousand years, he did not breathe. At that time, a grey smoke generated over his head owing to the heat of his austerity. The whole universe was getting disturbed by his intense tapas, and all the gods and other beings approached Brahmaji. They sought to prevent the possible destruction by asking him to grant the boon that Vishwamitra had been focusing on. 

Lord Brahmaji appeared before Vishwamitra and said that he was pleased with his austerity and called him a Brahma Rishi. He told Brahma that if the boon be so, may the syllable Om, the Vasat mantra used to invoke a deity in a yagna, and the Vedas come to him by themselves. May Vasishtha also call me a Brahma Rishi.

Vasishtha appeared before Vishwamitra and said, “Indeed you are a Brahma Rishi.” It is from this incident that we have the famous proverb of receiving the Brahma Rishi title from the mouth of Vasishtha to say some great person conferring a great title to us. In Tamil, it is commonly known as—Vasishtar Vayal Brahma Rishi Pattam. 

Satananda, the priest in king Janaka’s court, completed his narration of the greatness of the sage Vishwamitra and Janaka saluted Vishwamitra and said he was blessed that such a great sage had come to his court with Rama and Lakshmana to the bow sacrifice. Talking of the history of the bow, Janaka said that Nimi’s eldest son—King Devarata—was entrusted with the bow by the gods.

When Lord Shiva strung the bow to destroy Daksha’s sacrifice, the gods were also participating in it when Shiva was insulted without being given his share of the sacrifice. Lord Shiva said that all their heads would roll down if the bow parted with its arrow. The gods pacified him and he cooled down and handed over the bow to them. They gave it to Janaka’s ancestor Devarata.The author is Sevak, Chinmaya Mission, Tiruchi; email:;


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