There is a story in Mahabharata that says about some key events in the life of Vasistha. It is a conversation between a Gandharva and Arjuna.

In that conversation, it is clear that Vasistha contributed a biological son to the Ikshvaku family during Kalmashapada reign through the wife of Kalmashapada upon the request of Kalmashapada.

Recovering his power of reason, the king saluted that best of Rishis with joined palms and said, 'O illustrious one, I am the son of Sudasa and thy disciple, O best of Munis! O, tell me what is thy pleasure and what I am to do.' Vasishtha replied, saying, 'My desire hath already been accomplished. Return now to thy kingdom and rule thy subjects. And, O chief of men, never insult Brahmanas any more.' The monarch replied, 'O illustrious one, I shall never more insult superior Brahmanas. In obedience to thy command I shall always worship Brahmanas. But, O best of Brahmanas, I desire to obtain from thee that by which, O foremost of all that are conversant with the Vedas, I may be freed from the debt I owe to the race of Ikshvaku! O best of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku's race, a desirable son possessing beauty and accomplishments and good behaviour.'

"The Gandharva continued, 'Thus addressed, Vasishtha, that best of Brahmanas devoted to truth replied unto that mighty bowman of a monarch, saying, 'I will give you.' After some time, O prince of men, Vasishtha, accompanied by the monarch, went to the latter's capital known all over the earth by the name of Ayodhya. The citizens in great joy came out to receive the sinless and illustrious one, like the dwellers in heaven coming out to receive their chief. The monarch, accompanied by Vasishtha, re-entered his auspicious capital after a long time. The citizens of Ayodhya beheld their king accompanied by his priest, as if he were the rising sun. The monarch who was superior to everyone in beauty filled by his splendour the whole town of Ayodhya, like the autumnal moon filling by his splendour the whole firmament. And the excellent city itself, in consequence of its streets having been watered and swept, and of the rows of banners and pendants beautifying it all around, gladdened the monarch's heart. And, O prince of Kuru's race, the city filled as it was with joyous and healthy souls, in consequence of his presence, looked gay like Amaravati with the presence of the chief of the celestials. After the royal sage had entered his capital, the queen, at the king's command, approached Vasishtha. The great Rishi, making a covenant with her, united himself with her according to the high ordinance. And after a little while, when the queen conceived, that best of Rishis, receiving the reverential salutations of the king, went back to his asylum. The queen bore the embryo in her womb for a long time. When she saw that she did not bring forth anything, she tore open her womb by a piece of stone. It was then that at the twelfth year (of the conception) was born Asmaka, that bull amongst men, that royal sage who founded (the city of) Paudanya.'"

[Section 179, Chaitraratha Parva, Adi Parva, The Mahabharata]

Rama also belongs to Ikshvaku dynasty.

So, Is Vasishta an ancestor of Rama? It is not possible only if the aforementioned event happens after the Rama's departure from Earth.

Do Valmiki Ramayana or any other scripture describes Vasishta as an ancestor of Rama?

  • It seems they agree with you that Vasishta is Rama's ancestor. So Vasistha also taught Yoga to Rama via Valmiki.
    – Narasimham
    Oct 20, 2020 at 15:20
  • 2
    "Do Valmiki Ramayana or any other scripture describes Vasishta as an ancestor of Rama" - Kalmashapada was Rama' ancestor..but due to Niyoga practice i dont think any text describe Vashistha as Rama's ancestor..when Parashuram killed Kashtriyas then most of the Kashtriyas were born from Brahmanas via Niyoga but still continued their actual family tree without being Varna Shankra..even in Mahabaharat ancestor of Dhritrastra and Pandu is mentioned as Kuru though they were born from Vyasa (who was again descendant of Vashistha)..
    – YDS
    Oct 20, 2020 at 17:17
  • 1
    Do you want Ramaji’s ancestry from Asmaka? Vasishtha on being told by Kalmashapada asks for continuation of Ikshvaku race and not Vasishtha’s race. As per dharmashastras (Manu 9.52), the child will be considered as that of the King and not of Vasishtha. So answer to ‘Is Vasistha an (Biological) ancestor of Rama?’ is Yes. Answer to ‘Do Valmiki Ramayana or any other scripture describes Vasishta as an ancestor of Rama?’ is No because the child is for Ikshvaku race only. is this what you wanted? If yes then I’ll write answer else won’t write.
    – Adiyarkku
    Jul 3, 2021 at 17:46
  • 1
    @Archit Yeah, I want that only, I want to know whether Rama is a biological descendant of Vasista or not. If the incident is mentioned in any other scripture, it will be great.
    – hanugm
    Jul 4, 2021 at 4:10

1 Answer 1


1. Is Vasistha an (Biological) ancestor of Rama?

Short answer - Yes

The story is found in the Srimad Bhagavatam, which in short is as under (I’m starting from Sarvakama of the Ikshvaku dynasty instead of giving the list before):

Sarvakāma had a son named Sudāsa, whose son, known as Saudāsa, was the husband of Damayantī. Saudāsa is sometimes known as Mitrasaha or Kalmāṣapāda. Because of his own misdeed, Mitrasaha was sonless and was cursed by Vasiṣṭha to become a man-eater [Rākṣasa] (ŚB 9.9.18)

After twelve years, when King Saudāsa was released from the curse by Vasiṣṭha, he wanted to have sexual intercourse with his wife. But the Queen reminded him about the curse by the brāhmaṇī, and thus he was checked from sexual intercourse. After being thus instructed, the King gave up the future happiness of sexual intercourse and by destiny remained sonless. Later, with the King’s permission, the great saint Vasiṣṭha begot a child in the womb of Madayantī. Madayantī bore the child within the womb for seven years and did not give birth. Therefore Vasiṣṭha struck her abdomen with a stone, and then the child was born. Consequently, the child was known as Aśmaka [“the child born of a stone”]. (ŚB 9.9.37-39)

From the above verses, it can be seen that there was a king named Kalmāṣapāda who, due to a curse, was prevented from having children normally. As a result he had to approach Rishi Vasishtha. Rishi Vasishtha gives his seed to the queen, wherefrom a child by the name Asmaka is born. This Aśmaka is therefore the biological son of Vasishtha.

The remaining dynasty of Ikshvaku proceeds from Asmaka down to Shri Rama as given in the 9th skandha of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Aśmaka —> Balika (ŚB 9.9.40) —> Daśaratha (ŚB 9.9.41) —> Aiḍaviḍi (ŚB 9.9.41) —> Viśvasaha (ŚB 9.9.41) —> Dīrghabāhu (ŚB 9.10.1) —> Raghu (ŚB 9.10.1) —> Aja (ŚB 9.10.1) —> Daśaratha (9.10.1) —> Shri Rama (ŚB 9.10.2)

It is clear that Vasishtha being the biological father of Aśmaka, the direct ancestor of Shri Rama, is a biological ancestor of Shri Rama.

Answer to Is Vasistha an (Biological) ancestor of Rama? - Yes

2. Do Valmiki Ramayana or any other scriptures describe Vasishta as an ancestor of Rama?

Short answer - No

No scripture describes Vasishtha as an ancestor of Shri Rama. The reason can be explained from the rules of Dharma, from the Manusmriti.

The Manusmriti says that unless there’s an agreement between the husband of the woman (King Kalmashapada) and the provider of the seed (Rishi Vasishtha), the son belongs to the husband of the woman.

Quoting the relevant portion from the Manusmriti:

If between the owner of the soil and the owner of the seed, there has been no compact regarding the produce, then the chops belong clearly to the owner of the soil;—the receptacle being more important than the seed.—(Manu 9.52)

If however the seed is given for the purpose of sowing, after the acceptance of a compact,—in that case both, the owner of the soil and the owner of the seed, are considered to be sharers of the produce.—(Manu 9.53)

Bālambhaṭṭī has the following explanation of the verbal construction:—‘Kṣeṭriṇām bījinām,’ ‘from among field-owners and seed-owners,’ if either party has not agreed to the understanding regarding the lending of the ‘field,’ then the child born belongs to the ‘field-owner;’ and the reason for this lies in the fact that ‘the receptacle is more potent than the seed.’ It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 350), which adds the following explanation:—‘In a case where the owner of the field lends his field to the owner of the seed, after entering into an agreement with him to the effect that the child born shall belong to both,—the child is held to belong to both the parties.’ (Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha to both verses)

From the question itself it is certain that King Kalmashapada requests Vasishtha to lend his seed for the continuation of the Ikshvaku race only.

O best of men, it behoveth thee to grant me, for the perpetuation of Ikshvaku's race, a desirable son

There is no agreement between the king and Vasishtha that the son, Aśmaka shall be son of both. Hence in accordance with the rules of Dharma, the son Aśmaka shall he considered as of the Ikshvaku dynasty only and so all his descendants.

Therefore Vasishtha will not be called the ancestor of Shri Rama in any scripture, despite the fact that he is biologically his ancestor.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .