viśvāmitra विश्वामित्र

Definition: m. (prob.)"friend of all", Name of a celebrated ṛṣi- or Sage (having the patronymic gāthina-, gādheya-, and jāhnava-;he was at first a functionary, together with vasiṣṭha-, of su-dās-, king of the tṛtsu-s;seeing vasiṣṭha- preferred by the king, he went over to the bharata-s, but could not prevent their being defeated by su-dās-, although he caused the waters of the rivers vipāś- and śutudrī- to retire and so give the bharata-s free passage ;he was born as a kṣatriya-, deriving his lineage from an ancestor of kuśika-, named purū-ravas-, of the lunar race of kings, and himself sovereign of kanyā-kubja- or Kanoj;his fame rests chiefly on his contests with the great Brahman vasiṣṭha-, and his success in elevating himself. though a kṣatriya-, to the rank of a BrahmanSee : the rāmāyaṇa-, which makes him a companion and counsellor of the young rāma-candra-, records [ ] how viśvāmitra-, on his accession to the throne, visited vasiṣṭha-'s hermitage, and seeing there the cow of plenty [probably typical of go-,"the earth"], offered him untold treasures in exchange for it, but being refused, prepared to take it by force;a long contest ensued between the king and the saint [symbolical of the struggles between the kṣatriya- and Brahmanical classes], which ended in the defeat of viśvāmitra-, whose vexation was such that, in order to become a Brahman and thus conquer his rival, he devoted himself to intense austerities [during which he was seduced by the nymph menakā- and had by her a daughter, śakuntalā-], gradually increasing the rigour of his mortification through thousands of years, till he successively earned the titles of rājarṣi-, ṛṣi-, maharṣi-, and finally brahmarṣi-;he is supposed to be the author of nearly the whole of ;moreover, a law-book, a dhanurveda-, and a medical work are attributed to him) etc.


Dictionary: Monier-Williams
Literary Sources: RV. iii , 33, Manu vii , 42, i , 51-65, RV. iii , and of ix , 67 , 1315 ; x , 137 , 5 ; 167, RV.
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