BhrguVamsha and Kaka Bhushandi
Story of Gadhi (father of Vishwamitra) told to Vashishtha by Kaka Bhshandi.
What is Maya?
When Visvamitra grew up, Gadhi gave up the throne and retired to the forest. He achieved Brahminhood just as his father and several ancestors had done.
Ohh yes, Visvamitra was not unique in becoming a Brahmin having not born one. Many did. He was significantly unique in becoming Brhamarishi of level of Vashishtha.
Brahma actually selected Gadhi to attain the Brhamrishi pada as well.
Actually some of the other such Brahmarishis are mentioned in Puranas and listed and Sanjaya even told their life stories in Mahabharata:
Jahnu (an ancestor of Visvamitra and husband of Kaveri and father of Ganga), Suhotra and Gaya and father of Gadhi Kushastambha were all Bhrmarishis.
Indra is called Kaushika because of his association with Visvamitra family, the Amavasus!
Others included Mandhata, Sankrti, Kapi, Kapi’s son Purukutsa (Nana to Gadhi), Satya, Anrhavan,
Prthu, Asrtisena, Ajamidha (ancestor to Kauravas and most of Mahabharata warriors),
Bhaganya (he is member of Bhargava family and is the priest send by Drupada to Dhritrashtra in beginning of Udyoga Parva),
Anya, Kaksiva, Sijaya and many others, Rathitara, Runda, Vishnuvrdhha et all.
Ok, so we have many stories of Brahmarishis and only Visvamitra is popular. There are several reasons for that. Well, some of these guys were not even Kshatriyas and some were mixed castes with mother’s caste being higher than father’s.
If we look at the ancestors of Visvamitra: Jahnu, the husband of Kaveri and dad to Ganga became a Bhrahmrishi (and is one of rebirths of Agastya no less), his son Suhotra and his grandson Balkashva achieved the same position, his son Gaya and his nephew Kusastambha also did the same.
Kusastambha married daughter of Purukutsa whose father Kapi also like Purukutsa achieved the position of Brahmarishi. So Gadhi was born in a family with 6 generations of Brahmrishis and his Nana and nana’s father also were Brahmrishis. Gadhi was personally selected by Brahma for this position in Brahmand Purana (and others as well.).
So when Vishvamitra achieved this position, he was merely following family tradition. Everyone in his family did it and will continue to do that. Watch out for Galavayana.
These stories are not often told in the popular culture because then it will illustrate a known truth, that caste is ephemeral and that is what the samaaaj ke thekedaars do not want.
And I think Visvamitra is popular because of the many struggles with Vashishtha.
The Maya and Gadhi
Gadhi in Sanyasa went into deep austerities to understand the complex rebirth cycle. More he looked into it, more he was convinced of the effect; Maya has on the life and rebirth cycle itself.
He remembered Vishnu and Vishnu came to him. He requested Vishnu that he would like to meet and question Mayadevi himself. Vishnu granted the wish without setting any time limits on its fulfillment.
Gadhi then waited days, months and years for the meeting with Mayadevi but no response came yet.
Gadhi was not happy.
“Here apply apply no reply
Back home apply yesterday reply!”
One day thinking of his boon, Gadhi went and did his morning ablutions.
As he dipped into water, he felt a strange sensation and his spirit or mind disassociated itself form the body. He saw himself lying dead in his house. His relatives and disciples were mourning his passing while he floated around trying to console each and every one of them.
He participated in his own funeral as the people took the body with full honors to the cremation ground. As soon as the fire was lit and his body started turning to ashes, he felt he was being pulled from the cremation ground.
This is where the Puranas or this Purana atleast inform us that the soul does not leave the body till it turns to ashes.
Which also explains the story of Rice eaten by Brahmin in Dasarna country released Sukra’s soul again. See all is connected.
As soon as the body was burnt, Gadhi found himself in the womb of a Candala woman in north western part of India. He saw himself being reborn, marveling at stages of life infancy, adolescence, student, and then grahastha. A strong man and brilliant man. He experienced first love again and married and had many sons and daughters.
Soon Grahsta gave away to vanaprastha and Candala Gadhi constructed a hut and decided to live as a sanyasi. Now his sanchit Karma as Gadhi were so large that his prarabdha karma as a Chandala made him chiranjeevi.
Chandala Gadhi saw his children grow up and marry and age and die. But he did not die. He was left alone. He marveled at the trick of the nature and decided to leave the place. His longevity was scaring the Brahmins, a Chandala who is outliving all!!
Chandala Gadhi then travelled to a new place and happened to be outside the Kira Desha’s capital.
The King of Kira Desh had died and under old tradition, the large black royal elephant would make the selection. The people stood around the elephant in Marge groups, patiently waiting for elephant to make his choice or new king to reveal himself.
Many people tried but were all rejected by the elephant.
As the Chandala walked to the gathering hoping to beg some food, the elephant saw him and suddenly charged at him. Poor Gadhi could not move away and the elephant took him in his trunk and put him on his back. The elephant has made the selection.
The people were overjoyed and shouted ‘we have new King, we have new King’.
The old chandala was taken to the royal palace. There he was introduced to many young women who took over from the elephant and bathed and fed him. After wearing robes of the King, Chandala was crowned and took over the administration of the kingdom.
He was named King Galava.
Gradually, he accepted as his wives the wives of the former King and lived and ruled there as King Galava.
He ruled the state to the satisfaction of all for eight years. One day Galava Gadhi went out for a stroll dressed as an ordinary man like kings are wont to do.
Outside the gates of the Palace, he was walking around listening to the sounds of the city and murmur of the citizens. He went to a dharmashala where the traders had come from far and wide.
There he saw a group of Chandalas from his old country sitting and singing songs. As his grandchildren looked like him, the king in disguise seemed familiar to the chandala traders. He joined them and they referred to him as Kalanja, the name of one of his many grandsons.
The spies who were shadowing the king just in case he got into some trouble also saw the tableau. Soon, the word spread that the King was born a chandala.
There are always people and selfish groups who are always in lookout for furthering their own interests. They were put out when the Elephant had selected not one of their nominees but an outsider.
Now, they used the base nature of the populace and the innate casteism and supreracist feelings of the citizens to start isolating the King Galava inside and outside the Palace.
The brahmans seeing their plans working, started creating fire pits and asking people to atone for their crime of living under a chandala king by burning themselves alive.
The King came on the scene and stopped them. He said if they really feel violated by serving under a Chandala King then he himself would jump into the fire pit. As the tensions rose and atmosphere darkened, Galava jumped into the fire pit.
The fire-pit was very hot and Galava felt the heat on his face and opened his eyes and Gadhi found himself in the pond taking his bath and the sun was high in the sky and baking him.
This vivid centuries long dream happened in mere hour on this Earth. He could remember his lovely wives, his darling daughters, his little sons and his friends and his singing and drinking and all the activities so vividly, he was stunned.
“What the heck just happened! Who am I? What did I just dream? Was it true? Is it like the new srishti created by my son Visvaratha?”
Gadhi returned home and the life continued as usual. He still could not get his dream out of his mind. One day an old friend of his visited. The old friend was looking very thin as if he has been on a long fast and indulged in deep austerities.
Gadhi asked his friend, “Bhayya duble kyun ho gaye?”.
His friend said that “My father-in-law is from Kira desh and the Brahmins there asked all people to do rigorous fasting and tapa to atone for being ruled by a Chandala!!”.
Gadhi exclaimed “What the Heck! This is exactly what I dreamt!”
Then Gadhi and his friend hurried back to Kirapuri where they found the situation exactly as he remembered in his dream and people mourning the loss of King and he found his dream wives as well as the chandala dance and drama troupe and everything else.
The elephant saw him and rushed at him and lifted him and made him the KING! AGAIN!
Gadhi got down and addressing the entire people gathered there told of his dream. A young cowherd standing at the gates called out to Gadhi
“So you met her!!”
Gadhi realized the whole thing is the working of Maya.
He gave upadesh to the populace and they all ascended with him, Gadhi retired to a far away place and found a remote cave and does his penance there waiting for Vishnu.
Someone add him to the list of Chiranjeevis!!
An interesting part of this story is that Gadhi was born as avatar of Indra and was also born in same earth at different place and time as Gadhi the Chandala.
We are one and the whole of our Experience. We are one and whole of our milieu. We are at one location to all locations. Thus, in our image, our God are omnipresent. Our God are Sashvata, our God is diverse and is a part of flowing Ganga of attributes and merits and experiences and intellects.
The Three worlds or Triloki is Bhuta, Bhavya, Bhavishya. (Vayu Purana Part 2, Chapter 3, Verse 10-18).
THE Three Worlds are not Heaven, Earth and Patala.
The Vayu Purana clearly here describes the Triloki as the PAST, PRESENT and the FUTURE, the unknown country.
We are mortals who perceive the universe in three dimensions.
We do not really travel across time and can perceive it as a dimension in one point easily like the three main dimensions.
We tend to define the TIME the Fourth dimension in three entities or व्याहृति: Past, Present and Future.
Thus, any location can be described in three dimensions as (x,y,z) and point in time in reference to (Past, Present, Future.)
The triloki in Vayu Purana (and wherever vyAhRtis (व्याहृति) is used aka सव्याहृति (with vyAhRti)) it adds the concept of fourth dimension. The Time.
Bhoota, Bhavya, Bhavishya.
Gayatri mantra encapsulates it:
ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
The ones who transcend the lures of flesh, the wine, the king and the woman, they also transcend time the traya vyAhRti.
We do not take rebirths across Time but also other dimensions as well. Thus, Brahmarishi Gadhi and Chandala Gadhi are even sharing the same world.
That is the power of Mayadevi who creates the world.