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The Story of Rishi Andhaka In Bengali Ramayana

The story of Rishi Andhaka is found in the Krittibasi Ramayana, the Bengali adaptation of Valmiki Ramayana.

Rishi Andhaka was a revered sage, living a life of simplicity and devotion along with his wife in the forest. They had a son named Sindhu, who was their pride and joy, their only child, and their sole support as both Rishi Andhaka and his wife were blind. Sindhu was dutiful and devoted, ensuring that his parents' needs were met despite their disability.

One fateful day, King Dasharatha of Ayodhya, a renowned warrior and ruler, went on a hunting expedition. He was an excellent archer with unmatched skills, often relying on his ability to hit targets by sound alone. During his hunt, Dasharatha heard what he believed to be the sound of a deer drinking water. Without seeing the source, he shot his arrow in the direction of the sound. To his horror, he discovered that he had accidentally struck and killed Sindhu, who was collecting water for his parents.

The Curse of the Grieving Parents

Grief-stricken and remorseful, King Dasharatha carried Sindhu's body to Rishi Andhaka and his wife. He fell at their feet, confessing his tragic mistake and begging for forgiveness. However, the loss was too great for the grieving parents. Rishi Andhaka, in his profound sorrow and anger, cursed King Dasharatha, declaring that he too would die in separation from his children, just as they had lost their only son.

This curse was devastating, as King Dasharatha was childless at the time. However, the sage's curse carried a peculiar hope. Understanding the implications of the curse, King Dasharatha, who had long desired children, found a glimmer of solace in the prediction that he would eventually have children.

Divine Revelation

Rishi Andhaka, realizing the full extent of his curse and seeing King Dasharatha’s sincere repentance, used his divine insight. He saw a future where Bhagavan Vishnu himself would be born as Dasharatha’s sons. With his prophetic vision, Rishi Andhaka revealed to the King that he would not only have children but that these children would be exceptional.

And thus, it came to be that King Dasharatha was blessed with four sons, the incarnations of Vishnu: Rama, Bharata, Lakshmana, and Shatrughna. These sons would grow up to perform great deeds and uphold righteousness, fulfilling the divine prophecy seen by Rishi Andhaka.

The Loss of Sight

Rishi Andhaka’s blindness had its own tale of sorrow and penance. Once, the sage Trijata, who suffered from elephantiasis causing his legs to swell, visited Andhaka's ashram. Customarily, it was expected that one would touch the feet of visiting sages as a mark of respect. However, Andhaka, repulsed by the sight of Trijata’s swollen legs, closed his eyes and touched them instead. Trijata, perceiving the reluctance and disrespect in Andhaka's actions, blessed him to remain blind, stripping him of his sight. His wife, who followed suit in action, also lost her vision due to the same blessing.

Legacy of Rishi Andhaka

Despite the curse and personal hardships, Rishi Andhaka’s legacy continued through the divine intervention in King Dasharatha’s life. His story serves as a reminder of the intertwined destinies of mortals and the divine, illustrating the power of forgiveness, the consequence of actions, and the mysterious ways through which destiny unfolds.

King Dasharatha’s life was profoundly influenced by the sage’s curse, which ultimately led to the birth of Rama and his brothers, who would play crucial roles in the epic Ramayana. The tragic story of Sindhu’s death and the curse laid upon Dasharatha serve as pivotal moments leading to the grand narrative of righteousness and divine play in the world.