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Ahilya

Other names : Ahielya, Ahelya, Aahilya, Ahalya

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hilya is said to have been created by Lord Brahma himself. One day, Brahma imagined the most beautiful woman ever, and lo, Ahilya was created. As she possessed unmatched beauty and extraordinary grace, she was called Ahilya.

 

Even the Gods in the heaven were dazzled by her beauty, and fell in love with her. One by one, they approached Brahma and asked for her hand, but Brahma rejected all of them. Brahma decided to call on his mortal son Gautama. He put Ahilya in his care and asked him to look after her till he returned.

Ahilya is said to have been created by Lord Brahma himself. One day, Brahma imagined the most beautiful woman ever, and lo, Ahilya was created. As she possessed unmatched beauty and extraordinary grace, she was called Ahilya.

Brahma went away and Gautama continued to look after Ahilya in a completely respectful manner. When Brahma returned, he found Ahilya to be just as pure and innocent as when he had left her there. Pleased by the ethical behavior of Gautama, he formally gave Ahilya’s hand in marriage to Gautama, and she became his wife. Gautama and Ahilya had a brilliant son called Shatanand, who grew up to become the royal priest at King Janak’s palace.

 

But the Gods in heaven had not given up. Indra was ever waiting for his chance to get close to Ahilya. One day he imitated the crowing of a cock at midnight near Gautama’s ashram. The Rishi thought that daybreak was near, and as was his daily pre-dawn routine, he set off for his morning bath in the River Ganga.

But the Gods in heaven had not given up. Indra was ever waiting for his chance to get close to Ahilya. One day he imitated the crowing of a cock at midnight near Gautama’s ashram. The Rishi thought that daybreak was near, and as was his daily pre-dawn routine, he set off for his morning bath in the River Ganga.

Meanwhile Indra took on the form of Gautama, and crept into Ahilya’s bed. Ahilya was surprised and asked him, “O Rishi, why are you intent on this impure consummation at this holy hour of Brahma-mahurat?!” It was then that Indra confessed to the deception, and walked out of the hut. Meanwhile Gautama, the genuine one, was returning to the house after his morning ablutions. He spotted Indra creeping out of his hut like a thief. He cried aloud, cursing him “May you become impotent!”

 

Meanwhile Ahilya was trembling from this strange encounter. Gautama angrily cursed her too and said, “May you turn to stone!”

 

Ahilya begged to be released from this awful curse. Gautama Rishi relented and told her that in the Tretayuga (one of the four Aeons (yugas) the earth goes through each (except the last) lasting for millions of years before creation is destroyed by the great Pralaya (deluge), and then, after a time, commences the cycle again), Rama will be born on earth as Vishnu’s incarnation. “He will come to the forest to this spot. When a speck of dust from his holy feet touches you, you will be freed from this curse.” Then Gautama Rishis went away from there. Ahilya remained there, turned to stone, and the ashram soon became a desolate place.

Tretayuga  – one of the four Aeons (yugas) the earth goes through each (except the last) lasting for millions of years before creation is destroyed by the great Pralaya (deluge), and then, after a time, commences the cycle again

In Tretayuga, (one of the four periods the earth goes through each extending for millions of years before creation is destroyed by the great Pralaya (deluge) and started again) Rama appeared as Vishnu’s incarnation. He went to help Vishwamitra to conduct his yagna (fire sacrifice), and attacked the rakshasas Tadaka, Subahu and Mareech, who were harassing him.

 

Along with Rama and Lakshman, Vishwamitra set off for Janakpuri to attend the Swayamvar ceremony of Sita. On the way, they passed by the deserted hermitage of Gautama Rishi, where the stone form of Ahilya stood amidst the desolation. Vishwamitra asked Rama to touch the stone form with his foot, and Rama did so. The stone form transformed at once into the flesh and blood human form of the lovely Ahilya.

 

Filled with gratitude at her release from the curse, Ahilya sang endless praises of Rama, and then disappeared to go and reunite with Gautama in the heavens. As she had been blessed and sanctified by the touch of Rama’s feet, Gautama accepted Ahilya as his wife again.

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