KING Gadhinandana went deep into the forest and began to perform penance. He meditated for 1,000 years till Shiva appeared before him. Lord Shiva asked what he wanted. The king told the God that he was angry with Sage Vashishtha, who did not obey his commands as everybody else did. He added, “I want to become as powerful as Sage Vashishtha and possess the Brahmastra as the sage does.”
Shiva granted him his wish.
King Gadhinandana collected his army and decided to attack the sage. He reached the sage’s hermitage and asked his army to launch the attack. The soldiers aimed their arrows at the sage but all of them would fall before hitting Vashishtha. In frustration, the king aimed the Brahmastra at the sage, but even that could not reach the sage as it dropped before hitting him.
The king realised that the sage possessed some supernatural powers and went and fell at the sage’s feet to beg for mercy. The sage told him, “You are a warrior and cannot be more than that.”
The king asked, “Why is this so? What is wrong in being a warrior? I want to be a Brahmarishi like you.”
So King Gadhinandana went deep into the forest to do penance. Brahma appeared before him after some time and asked, “You have suffered for long. Henceforth you shall be a sage and called Vishwamitra.”
The king somehow was not convinced and asked, “Will I be as powerful as Sage Vashishtha?”
Brahma replied, “You shall be a rajrishi, a kingly sage but cannot be a Brahmarishi like Vashishtha.”
The king could not say anything and had to be satisfied by being less powerful than Sage Vashishtha.