Greatness Revealed

Ancients Speak
Suman K Sharma
Once, in times immemorial, a congregation of great sages decided to perform a maha-yagya for the good of the world.They all agreed that Bhrigu Rishi was the fittest of them all to preside over the rituals. He was Brahma’s manas-putra, he was a prajapati and he was the author of Bhrigu Samhita, the first ever treatise on astrology. His contribution to the writing of Manu-smriti was also well known.
Bhrigu Rishi, for all his learning and high status, was after all a man. He became arrogant by the signal honour accorded to him. “It is good that you have given me the responsibility of conducting this unique yagya,’ he said. ‘But before we begin, have you considered who among the deities is the most estimable to receive our oblations?’ The hoary rishi-munis mulled over the matter for quite a while. Then a voice rose from the august gathering. “Trimurti, of course. None else is greater than the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh,’ someone said.
‘Oh ho! I ask you to name the greatest and you give me three names. It appears I will have to find out on my own. Till then, my venerable brethren, you may proceed to make preparation.’ And fly off he did on his self-appointed mission.
His first port of call was BrahmLoka – the abode of Brahma. Striding up to the Old Man of the Universe, he said, ‘Father of all, you have grown old and senile. Look at Earth. Man, a pygmy among creatures, is wreaking havoc on the creation. And here you are, half-dreaming about the intricacies ofmaya and the role you have to play in it. It is time you gave up your job to someone elseof a more agile and alert mind.’
Brahma stared at his uppity son and was too upset at his conduct to say a word. But Bhrigu was still on his ego trip. He placed a curse on Brahma that the action-driven people of Kaliyuga would not worship such a pensive deity as Him. After that, he hurried to Mount Kailasha to the abode of Shiva-Parvati.
Mount Kailasha is not an easy place to be at any time. Its freezing cold is daunting and so is its rarefied air. Then Shiva can sometimes be tough with the unwelcome guests. Even Narada, that roving muni who thinks it is his business to be in one loka this moment and in another the next, seldom ventures to Shiva’s abode. So Bhrigu stood panting as Mahadeva glared at his audacity to disturb His quietude. The daring Brahmin chose to leave the place before anything worse could happen to him. With a hurt pride, however, Bhrigu put a curse on Shiva too that He would only be worshipped in the abstract form of a linga.
Vishnu was the last of the Trinity to be put to test by the erudite pundit. What with the affronts he had suffered to his dignity at the Brahma Loka and the Mount Kailash, Bhrigu Rishi arrived instantly at Vishnu’s abode and barged straight into the bed chamber in which the Deity lay in yognidra. Fretting and fuming, he kicked the Supreme Deity’s on His chest. Vishnu opened His eyes and commiserated with the Brahmin in His sweetest manner lest he should have been hurt in kicking Him.
Realising how wrong he was, Bhrigu Rishi humbly apologised for his misconduct. Back home, he told the fellow sages that oblations would be made to none other than VIshnu.
The great do not have to show off their greatness; it is only the supercilious who do not let go any opportunity to pull others down to their level. Often enough they succeed, but not always. Of those rare cases, Rahim has said:
{kek cMu dks pkfg;s @ NksVu dks mRikr
dk jghe gjh dks ?kV~;ks@tks Hk`xq us ekjh ykr
Clemency graces the great/As the lowly tend to wrong
If Bhrigu kicked, says Rahim, Hari didn’t become any less.
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