Maharishi Vishwamitra

Viswamitra is the author of the Gayatri Mantram.
Before being a sage, Vishwamitra was a king of lunar dynasty. His name was Kausika which means ‘of the river Kausi’. A Life changing event occured in his life and he became Rishi.
One day, the king found an Asram in the forest during hunting. Asram was of Rishi Vasistha, who was newly migrated in that forest. Viswamitra was surprised to see a new Maharishi on his territory. When he went to visit, Vasistha fed Viswamitra’s entire army. Viswamitra was curious about how Vasistha managed to do this. Then Vasistha showed him the holy cow, Nandini, who was the daughter of Kamadhenu-the wish granting cow that came out at the time of the churning of the Ocean.
Both the cow could grant wishes. The king and his army enjoyed the feast. The king was impressed by the cow’s powers and was convinced that the cow would be more useful to a king than a sage. But Vasistha refused to depart from Nandini. The King fought with Rishi Vasistha for Nandini, but the king was no match for Vasistha’s spiritual and Nandini’s magic. Vishwamitra was defeated. That defeat inspired him to do intense meditation with a desire to acquire the same brahman power and status as Vasistha. Viswamitra did worship for many years, till he became a Brahmarishi. It was then that Brahama gave him the title Viswamitra or friend of the world.
During tapsya Viswamitra was charmed by Menaka, a beautiful apsra of heaven, and they had a baby girl. Baby girl was raised by Kanva Maharishi, who named her Sakuntala. Sankutala married a great king Dushayanta and she was the mother of Bharta, the king who gave India her name of Bharta.

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