अगस्ति [विन्ध्याख्यं अगं अस्यति; अस्-क्तिच् शकन्ध्वादि˚, Uṇ.4. 179, or अगं विन्ध्याचलं स्त्यायति _x001F_+स्तभ्नाति, स्त्यै-क; or अगः कुम्भः तत्र स्त्यानः संहतः इत्यगस्त्यः] 1 'Pitcher-born,' N. of a celebrated Ṛiṣi or sage. -2 N. of the star Canopus, of which Agastya is the regent. -3 N. of a plant (बकवृक्ष) Sesbana (or Ӕschynomene) Grandiflora [Mar. रुईमंदार]. [The sage Agastya is a very reputed personage in Hindu mythology. In the Ṛigveda he and Vasiṣṭha are said to be the off-springs of Mitra and Varuṇa, whose seed fell from them at the sight of the lovely nymph Urvaśī at a sacrificial session. Part of the seed fell into a jar and part into water; from the former arose Agastya, who is, therefore, called Kumbhayoni, Kumbhajanman, Ghaṭodbhava, Kalaśayoni &c; from the latter Vasiṣṭha. From his parentage Agastya is also called Maitrāvaruṇi, Aurvaśeya, and, as he was very small when he was born, he is also called Mānya. He is represented to have humbled the Vindhya mountains by making them prostrate themselves before him when they tried to rise higher and higher till they wellnigh occupied the sun's disc and obstructed his path. See Vindhya. (This fable is supposed by some, to typify the progress of the Āryas towards the south in their conquest and civilization of India, the humbling of the mountain standing meta-phorically for the removal of physical obstacles in their way). He is also known by the names of Pītābdhi, Samudra-chuluka &c.; from another fable according to which he drank up the ocean because it had offended him and because he wished to help Indra and the gods in their wars with a class of demons called Kāleyas who had hid themselves in the waters and
oppressed the three worlds in various ways. His wife was Lopāmudrā. She was also called Kauṣītakī and Varapradā. She bore him two sons, Dṛḍhāsya and Dṛḍhāsyu. In the Rāmāyaṇa Agastya plays a distinguished part. He dwelt in a hermitage on mount Kunjara to the south of the Vindhya and was chief of the hermits of the south. He kept under control the evil spirits who infested the south and a legend relates how he once ate up a Rākṣasa named Vātāpi, who had assumed the form of a ram, and destroyed by a flash of his eye the Rākṣasa's brother who attempted to avenge him. In the course of his wandering Rāma with his wife and brother came to the hermitge of Agastya who received him with the greatest kindness and became his friend, adviser and protector. He gave Rāma the bow of Viṣṇu and accompanied him to Ayodhyā when he was restored to his kingdom after his exile of 14 years. The superhuman power which the sage possessed, is also represented by another legend, according to which he turned king Nahuṣa into a serpent and afterwards restored him to his proper form. In the south he is usually regarded as the first teacher of science and literature to the primitive Dravidian tribes, and his era is placed by Dr. Caldwell in the 7th or 6th century B.C. The Purāṇas represent Agastya as the son of Pulastya (the sage from whom the Rākṣsas sprang) and Havirbhuvā the daughter of Kardama. Several 'hymn-seers' are mentioned in his family, such as his two sons, Indra-bāhu, Mayobhuva and Mahendra, also others who served to perpetuate the family. The sage is represented as a great philosopher, benevolent and kind-hearted, unsurpassed in the science of archery and to have taken a principal part in the colonization of the south; निर्जितासि मया भद्रे शत्रुहस्तादमर्षिणा । अगस्त्येन दुराधर्षा मुनिना दक्षिणेव _x001F_.दिक् ॥ Rām; अगस्त्याचरितामाशाम् R.4.44; cf. also; अगस्त्यो दक्षिणामाशामाश्रित्य नभसिः स्थितः । वरुणस्यात्मजो योगी विन्ध्यवातापिमर्दनः ॥ and R.6.61; Mv.7.14.] अगस्तितुल्या हि घृताब्धिशोषणे । Udbhaṭa.
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