By Manju Gupta
During the Vedic times there lived a princess in the Vidharbha region. She was named Lopamudra and she was not only beautiful, but equally adept in all the skills required of a princess and a warrior.
A rishi named Manya lived in the same period. In this region there was not enough fertile land to carry on farming, so the people approached Manya and persuaded him to carve out a path across the mountain range so that they could go down south and do farming. Manya realised their problem and carved out a path on the mountain and the people happily crossed over to the south. These people declared him as their leader and named him Agastya, where Ag means ‘mountain’ and syayati means to ‘make it bow’ as he made the mountain bow to him. His fame spread far and wide.
Once he decided to cross the Vindhyas and the people gathered around him to catch a glimpse of him. It also happened to be the time when a demon named Kalkeya was running amuck in the kingdom. So these people approached Agastya to destroy him as they were unable to catch him because he lived under the sea. So Sage Agastya dried up the sea and destroyed Kalkeya. Princess Lopamudra came to hear of his achievements and expressed the desire to marry him.
So they got married and Lopamudra tried to persuade him to take on the responsibilities of a householder, but Agastya was lost in his own world of spirituality. She stopped talking to him. He got worried and asked her, “What do you want? Tell me what you want me to do and I will go and do it.”
Lopamudra told him that since none of his ancestors led an idle life, then why was he spending his time in thinking and not doing anything? She added, “Take to the path of truth, show your manliness and earn wealth and property as every householder is expected to do.”
Rishi Agastya left home and went and destroyed the demon named Illwal and took all his wealth and gave it to Lopamudra. But she was not happy about it and said, “I don’t want wealth earned this way. You should earn it by working for it.”
So he asked, “How should I earn it then?”
Lopamudra told him, “Go and do farming and grow foodgrains.”
So he went and worked on the fields and grew all kinds of grains and became a very efficient and rich farmer, but Lopamudra was sill not happy. She told him to do something for the good of the country.
Agastya went and mediated between two demons named Indra and Marut whose internal bickering and fight was causing harm to the people. When the king named Khel heard of Agastya’s industrious nature and capability for hard work, he appointed Agastya as his court priest. Lopamudra earned fame for helping her husband rise high in life.