In the story of Rishyashringa, that we have been looking at in the last few episodes, we clearly see the power of innocence and how essential it is to penetrate the deepest secrets of life. In order to bring rain to the famine struck kingdom of Anga, King Lomapada knew that he would have to bring Rishyashringa from the forest into his capital. Just Rishyashringa’s presence guaranteed rain. Rishyashringa had attained this state as a result of intense sadhana, the fruit of which was that even the laws of nature were willing to bend before him.
Rishyashringa was born from the womb of a deer. The word for deer is ‘mriga’ meaning to search, to discover, to attain. The deer drank his father’s semen. This has a very deep meaning implying that his father, a rishi, had attained a very high state, from which he begot a son. The meaning of his name is “that which goes forth and tears asunder”, implying sharp penetration into the world of higher knowledge. The young rishi knew all the hidden secrets and mysteries of life and death, but had no knowledge of the world. He had not even seen another human being, besides his father, let alone knowing the effect and touch of female energy. This innocence is very symbolic for it shows the student the kind of innocence that is needed to penetrate the deepest secrets of life.
Despite his absolute purity, Rishyashringa was incomplete, in the sense that he had no experience of female energy. Every person, whether male or female in body, has both energies and to hold spiritual heights after achieving them, one has to balance the two. Thus, Rishyashringa had to be exposed to female energy in order to become whole and for his spiritual development to be complete. Both the energies are not opposite to each other but are two aspects of reality and are needed to bring balance. We can say that Rishyashringa was ignorant of the feminine aspect of life, but ignorance is also a kind of conflict.
Feminine energy brings softness and tenderness in life. One of the most powerful aspects of feminine energy is personified and expressed through the mother. The deer who had given birth to Rishyashringa had abandoned him on birth and his father had raised him alone. So, he pursued all his spiritual attainment in the masculine dimension only. Thus, the complete absence of love became the only stumbling block in his all-round growth. Any spiritual height which is devoid of love cannot be sustained. Reality is a dance of the two energies - masculine and feminine. Rishyashringa, because of the lack of human connection and touch in his growing up years, knew only the active and aggressive side of life.
The feminine side of life is deeply concerned with loving and sharing. The coming of the courtesan in Rishyashringa’s life opened his heart to caring for another human being. The courtesan kept touching and hugging Rishyashringa, evoking in him different sensations and feelings, which he had never experienced before. As a consequence, he became awake to the desire and want of the body. But no matter how much the courtesan seduced him she could not condition or corrupt him in any way. Because of his intense sadhana, his energy remained pure and free, and the moment he stepped into the kingdom, immediately it rained ending the woes of famine in the kingdom.
The king married his daughter to the young rishi. With the marriage, all the sides of Rishyashringa developed and he blossomed into a great soul.