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In the Ramayana the role of Vishwamitra is great. King Dasharatha of Ikshwaku dynasty had
four sons-Rama, Lakshmana, Bharata and Shatrughna. His guru was
Vashishta. The princes grew up and learnt archery. They were the pet of the eyes of their
parents and the hope of the people.
One day Vishwamitra came to the palace of Dasharatha. The king welcomed him with great
respect and offered a high seat. After salutation the king asked, "May I know what
brought you to this place?"
Vishwamitra explained the purpose of his visit. "0 great king, two Rakshasas (Demons)
- Mareecha and Subahu - are obstructing my sacrificial rites. They are very wicked but
extremely brave. I can curse them and get rid of the menace. But according to the vow of
the rite I should not become angry. Send with me your son Rama who is wise and brave. Let
him kill the'Rakshasas.' In return I will teach Rama things which would make him famous in
all the three worlds."
Hearing this, Dasharatha became worried. How cans Rama, still a young boy, fight the
mighty 'Rakshasas'? He explained this to Vishwamitra and then said, "Great sage, I
shall accompany you with my army. I shall remove their menace."
Vishwamitra in a most reassuring tone said, "Have no doubt the valour of Rama."
Still Dasharatha felt uneasy.
Vishwamitra then became angry, and warned Dasharatha, "Having agreed to fulfil my
request, you are now backing out." Vashishta, the Guru of the king, advised him thus:
"Vishwamitra is the bravest among the brave and the wisest among the wise. He is a
master of all arms and weapons. In fact there is none else in the world that knows the art
of archery and warfare better than him. He alone can kill all the 'Rakshasas.' When he is
with Rama, what danger can there be for him? This is a good opportunity. Send Rama with
Vishwamitra." At last Dasharatha agreed. Rama, accompanied by Lakshmana, went with
They approached river Sarayu. On the banks of this river Vishwamitra taught two
mantras' namely Bala and Atibala, to Rama. These mantras' could give unmatched
bodily power and wisdom. Afterwards, they came to a forest. This forest was full of noise
made by wild beasts and insects. Their ademoness by name Tataka lived. Vishwamitra
asked Rama to kill her. Accordingly Rama killed Tataka who was pursuing him.
Early the next morning. Vishwamitra woke up Rama. He taught Rama the secrets of magical
arrows which could defeat all the gods and demons. He. also taught the
methods of withdrawing them.
Vishwamitra made all the preparations for the sacrificial rite. He instructed Rama in the
means and methods of defending the rite. The rite began and continued for five days
without hindrance. On the sixth day there started a deafening roar in the sky. Mareecha
and Subahu came in its wake with their followers. They began pouring blood into the sacred
fire. Rama killed Subahu, and Mareecha ran away. The rite was ended in peace. All the
sages were happy.
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