Chapter IX - The legend of the Sage Rṣyaśṛṅga
On his way out, the Counsellor Sumantra shared the following story to the King.
“Please listen to the folk legend that I have heard. I had heard of the sacrifice ritual that has been recommended to you by the priests as a legend. The all-knowing sage Sanatkumara had foretold the story to the other sages about the birth of four sons to you.”
“There would be a son of Kāśyapa by the name Vibhāṇḍaka. He would have a son by the name of Rṣyaśṛṅga. He would be reared in the forest. The eminent sage would remain confined to the forest in the service of his father. He would know nothing about the outside world. Because of his austerities he would gain notoriety and receive adulation. He would remain continually occupied tending to the sacrificial fire of his illustrious father.
“At this time there would arise a mighty and popular ruler called Romapāda in the kingdom of Aṅga. To his ill fate, there would be a terrible drought in the land. The drought would grip the King in grief. He would respectfully call upon the wise men to plead to them for counsel in atoning the curse. They would advise him to invite the learned Sage Rṣyaśṛṅga with the proper decorum and offer his daughter the princess S’āntā to him in marriage. Hearing the counsel, the King would be perplexed to think how to bring the Sage to his kingdom.
“After carefully thinking over, the king would dispatch his family priest and the administrators to invite the Sage. The latter would be distressed to hear the order and would decline to go. They were fearful of any potential curse from the elder hermit on them for their act of trying to detach the son from the service of the father. They would console the king that they would find alternate ways to accomplish the task such that they would not be directly involved.
“The Sage would eventually come to the kingdom allured by the courtesans. The rains would be restored and the daughter S’āntā would be given in marriage. Your son-in-law the sage Rṣyaśṛṅga would prepare rituals to help produce the sons for you. So, has been heard by me as originally spoken by the Sage Sanatkumar!”
King Daśaratha was happy to hear the story. “Please think of ways by which we can invite the sage to the kingdom!” – the King said.