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Return Only With Narayana – Story Of Sage Agastya And Sage Sutikshna

Sage Agastya angrily said: ‘Get away from my sight! Come here only when you can bring my Narayana!’ Hearing these words, the young boy Sutikshna, with a wrenching heart and eyes brimming with tears, bowed down and prostrated before his guru and left. His legs shook but his heart was resolute. He vowed: ‘Yes, I will follow my guru’s orders. Even if it takes many years, if I continue to breathe, I will return only with Narayana.’

Sutikshna was quite sharp just like his name. His guru loved him. But there was no end to his plays and mischiefs. Some days ago, his guru Sage Agastya set out on a pilgrimage. Before leaving, he called Sutikshna and giving him his puja box and the best salagrama stone, said: ‘Take these. Keep the puja box and the salagrama safely. Do the worship daily with care.’ However, Sutikshna did not take these words seriously.

One day, Sutikshna brought the pure water of the nearby lake and bathed the salagrama. The next day, however, he felt lethargic. He got an idea: ‘What if I take the puja box to the lake?’ There are flowers and the jamun tree. I could finish the bathing of the salagrama, archana, and food offering there itself.’ He did so. He took the puja box to the bank of the lake. It was summer. The jamun berries were ripe and glistening. They appeared almost as big as mangoes. The sons of rishis were pelting stones at the jamun tree and eating the berries. Sutikshna was just a boy and he forgot all about the puja and was interested in playing. He threw stones at the tree and joyfully ate the berries.

It was then that the sons of rishis noticed the huge bunch of jamun berries between two branches of the tree. They entered into a match about who will bring down that huge bunch of berries. All the boys started throwing stones at the bunch. But Sutikshna could not find a stone.

He was overpowered by the desire to eat the berries. He threw at the bunch of berries the salagrama stone given by his guru Sage Agastya. The berries fell straight into his stretched hands and he could eat unsoiled berries. But alas! The salagrama stone was stuck between the branches of the tree. Everybody knew that a snake was living in a tree hole near those branches. Nobody dared to climb the tree.

Sutikshna’s heart fluttered in fear at the thought that the salagrama stone was stuck in the tree. What would he tell his guru? His boyish mind came up with an idea. The jamun berry from that tree was almost the size of the salagrama stone. So, Sutikshna applied a sandal-paste mark to a jamun berry and kept it in the puja box.

As luck would have it, Sutikshna’s guru returned that very evening. The next morning, Sage Agastya opened his puja box and took what he thought was the salagrama stone and finding it to be soft, he looked at it carefully and angrily asked Sutikshna: ‘What is this?’ Sutikshna hesitantly replied: ‘Daily bathing might have made it soft.’ Terribly angered, Agastya drove out Sutikshna.

Thus driven out, Sutikshna performed austerities for a long time in the forest named Dandakaranya. Eventually, because of these austerities, Sutikshna became the Sage Sutikshna, worthy of worship. When Sri Ramachandra went into exile to the forest for fourteen years, Sutikshna not only had his darshan himself, but also took Sri Ramachandra to Sage Agastya so that he could also have the darshan. Thus, Sutikshna followed his guru’s instructions and returned only with Bhagavan Narayana.