Where in Mahabharata is found the story of Vashishta trying to commit suicide in Sutlej river? And Sutlej dividing itself into different channels to avoid that?

Does this story has a Vedic connection?


1 Answer 1


The story is told in this chapter of the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata. Vasishta, devastated by the death of his sons at the hands of the demon Kalmashapada (orchestrated by Vishwamitra), tried to tie himself up with cords and drown himself in a river, but the river cut the cords and threw him ashore:

Beholding his asylum bereft of his children, the Muni afflicted with great grief left it again. And in course of his wandering he saw, O Partha, a river swollen with the waters of the rainy season, sweeping away numberless trees and plants that had grown on its margin. Beholding this, O thou of Kuru's race, the distressed Muni thinking that he would certainly be drowned if he fell into the waters of that river, he tied himself strongly with several cords and flung himself, under the influence of grief, into the current of that mighty stream. But, O slayer of foes, that stream soon cut those cords and cast the Rishi ashore. And the Rishi rose from the bank, freed from the cords with which he had tied himself. And because his cords were thus broken off by the violence of the current, the Rishi called the stream by the name of Vipasa (the cord-breaker).

The Vipasa river is now called the Beas river, and it's a tributary of the Sutlej river.

By the way, Vasishta only got over his grief when he heard his unborn grandson Parashara, in the womb of his son Shakti's wife, chanting the Vedas. And no, as far as I know this story isn't mentioned in the Vedas.

  • Thanks @keshav isn't there mention of sutlej breaking into 100 channels. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 18:31
  • @Fiercelord No, there isn't. Commented Jan 8, 2018 at 18:36

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