The story of Trishanku is a fascinating tale from Hindu mythology and is found in the ancient Indian texts, including the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Trishanku was a king who desired to go to heaven while still alive, a feat that was considered impossible.
According to the legend, King Trishanku ruled over the kingdom of Ayodhya, which was also the birthplace of Lord Rama, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu. Trishanku was ambitious and sought the help of his royal sage, Vashishta, to achieve his desire of ascending to heaven in his mortal body.
Vashishta, being a wise sage, tried to dissuade the king from pursuing this impossible goal, as going to heaven while alive was reserved for celestial beings or those who had achieved great spiritual enlightenment. However, Trishanku was adamant, and he pleaded with Vashishta to find a solution, but to no avail.
Disappointed, Trishanku requested Vashistha's sons to help him. They got angry, "How can you ask us something that our father has already denied? We curse you to become old." Trishanku immediately turned old."
King Trishanku was still determined to reach heaven in his mortal body despite the rejection from the gods. He then sought the aid of Sage Vishwamitra, who was known for his extraordinary spiritual powers. Vishwamitra was initially hesitant, just like Sage Vashishta, as the task was considered to be against the natural order of things. However, seeing Trishanku's earnestness and devotion, Vishwamitra eventually agreed to help him.
Using his immense yogic powers, Sage Vishwamitra initiated a grand ritual to send Trishanku to heaven. The king's physical body began to rise towards the celestial realms, but once again, the gods rejected his entry. Vishwamitra performed a big Yajna; he chanted mantras and made offerings to gods. But the gods did not want anyone to break a law and enter heaven alive; they did not accept the offerings. Vishwamitra was furious and said , "I will send you to heaven by my own powers. Rise Trishanku. " As he said this, Trishanku began to rise and reached the gates of heaven. The gods stopped him and said, "You can't come to heaven alive. Fall back to earth." Trishanku started falling back. Vishwamitra said, "Don't fall! Stay!" And Trishanjku hung between heaven and earth. Then Vishwamitra said, " I will create another heaven for Trishanku ." As Trishanku remained suspended between heaven and earth, the gods declared that he could neither stay in heaven nor return to earth.
Refusing to give up, Vishwamitra, with his unmatched spiritual abilities, created a new realm between heaven and earth specifically for Trishanku. This realm came to be known as "Trishanku's Heaven." In this unique space, Trishanku was able to enjoy the celestial pleasures and rule as a king, just as he had desired.
Indra, the king of gods tried to persuade Vishwamitra saying , "Don't do this unnatural thing. "By this time, Vishwamitra had cooled down. He agreed to stop but said, "I have to keep my promise. Trishanku will live with these stars." The gods agreed but declared that Trishanku would live in his heaven upside down.
While the version of the story involving Sage Vishwamitra is more widely known, it is essential to note that different retellings and variations of Hindu myths exist, and the details might differ slightly in different sources. The central theme, however, remains consistent, highlighting the consequences of defying the natural order and the significance of divine intervention in human affairs.
The story of Trishanku serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of excessive ambition and the importance of accepting one's limitations. It also emphasizes the idea of destiny and the balance between the material world and the spiritual realms. The tale has been retold through generations and continues to be a significant part of Hindu mythology and philosophical discussions.