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Story of Vashisht Rishi and Vasus

Vasus are the eight attendant deities of Indra, the king of Devas. There is a story in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata in which the Vasus are cursed by Vashisht Rishi (Sage Vasishta).

One day the Vasus were roaming on the earth along with their wives. They visited many places and finally arrived at the forest in which the ashram of Vashisht Rishi was located.

One of the Vasus was Prabhasa. His wife happened to see sage Vashisht’s cow grazing. She was struck by the beauty of the cow and asked her husband to get it.

Prabhasa was not ready to steal the cow of the sage but when his wife kept pushing the matter, he relented. He along with his brothers stole the cow.

On discovering the theft, the enraged sage cursed the eight immortal Vasus to be born as mortals.

The eight Vasus were born as the sons of Ganga and King Shantanu. Seven got relief from the curse when they were drowned by Ganga in the river. But Prabhasa was not so lucky, for his sin he had to live a long life on earth as Bhishma.