Trishanku's wish and Vishwamitra's competition
Sutaji once narrated the following tale to the assembled sages- In ancient times there lived a mighty king named Trishanku. He belonged to Suryavansha dynasty. One day, he asked sage Vashishtha whether there was any such Yagna by performing which, he would be entitled to go to heaven with his physical form. Sage Vashishtha laughed at his naive query and told him that there was no such Yagna by performing which a man could go to the heaven with his mortal body. But, Trishanku was not satisfied by Vashishtha's answer and so he went to ask the same question to Vashishtha's sons who were one hundred in number. But even they corroborated their father's statement. Trishanku got infuriated and threatened them that he would appoint somebody else as his royal priest to get the same yagna performed as they all lacked the required knowledge and competence. Vashishtha's sons also got angry and cursed him to become a 'chandala' (a low caste person). The next moment Trishanku indeed became a 'chandala' and was so much ashamed of himself that he decided to go to the forest after relinquishing his throne. He called his son -Harishchandra and narrated the whole tale of his misery. Before going to the forest he appointed Harishchandra as his successor.
One day, while wandering in the forest, Trishanku met sage Vishwamitra and narrated his miserable tale to him. Since Vishwamitra was a competitor of Vashishtha, he took it as a golden opportunity to prove his superiority to his adversary. So, he assured Trishanku that he had the requisite power to send anybody to heaven and said- ' I shall help you perform a grand yagna, which would allow you to attain to the heaven with your mortal body. But before that you will have to go on a pilgrimage so that you become pure once again.' Both Vishwamitra and Trishanku set out on a pilgrimage and reached 'Arbudachala' where they met sage Markandeya. After the pleasantries were over, Markandeya asked Vishwamitra about Trishanku, who was standing quietly. Vishwamitra revealed everything to Markandeya and said - I had taken a vow not to take rest until Trishanku got absolved of the evil influence of the curse given by Vashishtha's sons'. I have not achieved success in my objective till date, so I have decided to renounce the world.
Seeing Vishwamitra in such desperation, Markandeya consoled him and instructed him to go to Haatakeshwara where taking a holy dip in Patala Ganga would purify Trishanku and solve all his problems. Both Vishwamitra and Trishanku reached 'Haatakeshwara' and bathed in the holy Patala Ganga. To his pleasant surprise, Trishanku found that he had indeed become purified and all the lowly qualities had vanished within no time. Vishwamitra was delighted as the first condition for Trishanku's departure to Heaven had been met. He decided to go to Brahma loka to request Lord Brahma to be present at the Yagna which was to be performed for the success of Trishanku's departure to heaven. But before leaving, he instructed Trishanku to make all the necessary preparations before his return.
After reaching Brahma loka, Vishwamitra narrated the whole story to Lord Brahma and requested him to grace the Yagna by his presence. Lord Brahma told him that it was just impossible for any mortal to attain to heaven in his physical form but he added that if Trishanku performed the rituals diligently then he would certainly attain to heaven after his death. Vishwamitra did not like Brahma's words and challenged him that no power on earth could stop him from sending Trishanku to Heaven.
Vishwamitra commences new creation
Vishwamitra then instructed Trishanku to make preparation for the Yagna. After everything was ready, Vishwamitra initiated Trishanku into the rituals of Yagna. Trishanku made offerings in the sacrificial fire at the instruction of Vishwamitra. The deities readily accepted all the offerings that were made to them. This way, the yagna continued for twelve long years but still there was no sign of Vishwamitra's desire of sending Trishanku to heaven getting fulfilled. Trishanku became dejected and told him about his decision to renounce everything and spend rest of his life doing penance as chances of attaining to heaven appeared impossible. He was also sure that Vashishth's sons would make fun of him if he went back to his kingdom without achieving his objective. But, Vishwamitra consoled him and said--' No power on earth can stop you from going to heaven with your physical form. You just need to have some patience and your desire will be certainly fulfilled.'
Vishwamitra decided to please Lord Shiva as he was convinced that Shiva was the only deity who could help him achieve his goal. He eulogized Shiva by singing hymns of praise in his name. At last, Shiva appeared before him and expressed his desire of fulfilling any wish of Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra requested Shiva to bestow on him the power of creation just like Brahma had. Lord Shiva blessed him and disappeared. Now, Vishwamitra was eager to test his powers so he began creating different things. He created Sun, Moon, Stars, oceans, Rivers, so on and so forth. In a short time the whole world was filled by his creations resulting into chaos all over. As the result of his creations, every natural thing became double in number- one that had already been created by Brahma and the second created by Vishwamitra. Now there existed two suns, two moons, so on and so forth. Vishwamitra's amazing deeds had catastrophic fallout on the natural course of events.
Deities were scarred and rushed to seek the help of Lord Brahma. They told Brahma that if Vishwamitra was not stopped the whole world was doomed to destruction. Lord Brahma appeared before Vishwamitra and ordered to stop doing creations. Vishwamitra told him that he was ready to do that if Brahma helped Trishanku attain to heaven with his mortal body. Seeing no other option, Brahma accepted Vishwamitra's condition. This way, Vishwamitra was able to send Trishanku physically to heaven with the help of Lord Brahma. But Trishanku goes to the Heaven which was made by Vishwamitra, but not the original one. Thus the words given by Brahma Deva comes true and also the wishes of the Vishwamitra also come true.
Also read this story to under the full story of Trishanku.
OM NAMO NARAYANAYA