The entire story of Vishwamitra's ascension to Brahmarishi status is dotted with his conflicts with Devas especially Indra. Indra sent Menaka to disturb the rishi's penance and the Satyavrat episode also pitched Vishwamitra & the king of heavens against each other.

How is it then that the Brahmarishi sings verses in praise of Indra in the Rigved like the below verse (RV 3.32)?

8 Many are Indra's nobly wrought achievements, and none of all the Gods transgress his statutes. He beareth up this earth and heaven, and, doer of marvels, he begot the Sun and Morning.

9 Herein, O Guileless One, is thy true greatness, that soon as born thou drankest up the Soma. Days may not check the power of thee the Mighty, nor the nights, Indra, nor the months, nor autumns.

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    IMO These Vedic verses appeared in his mind during meditation much like the Gayatri. Thus he was only a medium of their exposition and not their originator.
    – Surya
    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:48
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    @Surya yes of course but given the kind of enmity he had with Indra, would he actually put down these verses even if he perceived them? Jul 26, 2017 at 11:42
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    I think Indra was just doing his duty. Indra is related to Indriya. We have to fight with external demons which subdue our Indriyas like how sometimes Demons subdue Devas. I think this is allegorical meaning of these stories (though i believe these stories are literally true). Also, see this view on Indra. Also, from Advaita perspective, Indra is also Supreme Brahman, as Vishwamitra conquered all Indriyas and praised leader of Indriyas i.e Indra. (or verses which could say this truth appeared to him like all other Vedic verses);
    – The Destroyer
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:39
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    @Dr.VineetAggarwal Also, one can't become Brahmarshi with any enmity. Indeed, he must have conquered all Rajas qualities to attain that status.
    – The Destroyer
    Jul 26, 2017 at 16:46
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    @TheDestroyer yes thats true.. the verses were probably written much later in his life when he had become a Brahma-rishi Jul 27, 2017 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


Vishwamitra & Indra were enemies?

Yes, but when?

Vishvamitra was a kshatriya king earlier. And later he did intense penance and acquired the titles of Rishi (Valmiki Ramayana 1.63.2).

And as described in your question here only Indra sent Menka. All this is the conspiracy of the gods to deprive me of my great austerities', Vishvamitra thought. (Valmiki Ramayan 1.63.10)

But later he perform rigid austerities. After consultations the gods and sages decided that this son of Kushika (Viswamitra) deserved the status of a Maharshi (Valmiki Ramayan 1.63.16). And Lord Bhrahma himself gave the title of Maharshi to Viswamitra (Valmiki Ramayana 1.63.18). Then, Viswamitra bowed to Brahma, the Grandsire of all the worlds with folded hands and said:

O Adorable one, if you have conferred the incomparable title of 'Maharshi' earned by my auspicious deeds, I feel I have conquered the senses.

Then Brahma said to him, 'You have not conquered the senses yet. O Tiger among ascetics, strive still.'

Then Viswamitra further does intense penance

O Best of Raghus dynasty (Rama) when the thousandyearold vow was over (Viswamitra) the great practitioner of vows began to partake cooked rice. At this moment Indra assumed the guise of a brahmin and asked him for the rice (he was going to eat). (Valmiki Ramayana)

This mighty, adorable ascetic having adopted a vow of silence decided to give all the cooked rice to the Brahmin. The brahmin finished all the rice. Viswamitra went without food but did not utter a single word to the brahmin. Thereafter the distinguished ascetic practised austerities for another period of thousand years, his breath suspended. (Valmiki Ramayana 1.65.7)

i.e. He concurred sense, no anger no enmity.

Thereupon devatas along with gandharvas, pannagas, uragas, and rakshasas, stood bewildered by his ascetic energy. Their own glory was dimmed in his lustre". Thereafter, with Brahma in the forefront, the gods spoke to Viswamitra in pleasing words: Welcome, O Brahmarshi. (Valmiki Ramayana 1.65.9/1.65.19)

Then Viswamitra replied

If brahminhood and long life have been acquired by me by your grace, Omkara, Vashatkara and the Vedas shall accept me as Brahmarshi. (I shall acquire the right to interpret the Vedas and to perform sacrifices.) (Valmiki Ramayana 1.65.22)

Virtuous Viswamitra also, having attained excellent brahminhood, worshipped Brahmrshi Vasishta who was the best of those who recite hymns. (Valmiki Ramayana 1.65.26)

And thats the point, after becoming Brahmrshi he even forgot his enmity with Vasishta (who was his greatest enemy, they fought a battle earlier, he went against Vasishta for Trishanku etc...). Similarly after becoming Brahmrshi he forgot his enmity with Indra and Devas.

Hope this answers your question...

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    Thanks for the attempt YDS but the answer is still a conjecture. The change of heart seems an unlikely reason because even after becoming a Brahmarishi, Vishwamitra still had a fight with Vasisth (rather a huge one) because of his harassment of the senior rishi's protege Harishchandra. I am looking for some scriptural reference where Indra and Vishwamitra probably became friends or helped each other. Dec 21, 2017 at 4:29
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    "after becoming a Brahmarishi, Vishwamitra still had a fight with Vasisth" - 1. can u pls cite a reference for this...2. was Vishwamitra a Brahmarishi at the time of Harishchandra?? 3. And one more think this time did Vishvamitra attack or defend...
    – YDS
    Dec 21, 2017 at 5:13
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    As regards your last point, a Brahmarishi when attacked would still maintain his composure but Vishwamitra didn't. When he had attacked Vasishth the senior rishi did not retaliate but only defended his Ashram but in the Harishchandra episode both of them were locked in a curse and counter curse battle. Check out this vivid account of them cursing each other to turn into birds and then fighting to kill each other: books.google.co.in/… It was only when Brahma intervened that the two stopped. Dec 21, 2017 at 6:08
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    Yes the Harishchandra episode most likely happened later because the discussion regarding Harishchandra happened between Vishwamitra and Vasishth when sitting at leisure which would not have happened before their enmity got over i.e. after he became a Brahmarishi - books.google.co.in/… Dec 21, 2017 at 6:11
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    Yes Harischandra was the son of Trishanku but we do not find Vasisth and Vishwamitra discussing anything peacefully before the latter became a Brahmarishi. I would like to have some direct reference that Indra and Vishwamitra became friends at some point of time to make these verses in my question make sense. Dec 21, 2017 at 9:27

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