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Trishanku / त्रिशंकु

  • Trishanku was a king of the solar dynasty, ruler of Ayodhya, whose real name was Satyavrat. He was the son of Prathu and the father of Kuvalyashva.
  • Trishanku was so much in love with his body, that he wanted to perform a sacrifice in merit of which he could ascend to heaven in his body.
  • He took his idea to his family priest Vasishth, but the latter ridiculed it and so Trishanku presented it to the sons of Vasishth, who not only refused as it was something their father had already declared impossible, but cursed him to become an outcaste for his presumption.
  • Wandering in the forest in this ugly form, he came across the sage Vishvamitra, to whom he related the cause of his plight. Vishvamitra, commiserative of Trishanku's affliction, promised to perform the sacrifice and raise him to heaven in the present form.
  • Many prominent sages were invited to the sacrifice by Vishvamitra, and though they did not believe it would work, they attended for fear of his wrath.
  • The sons of Vasishth flatly refused and Vishvamitra cursed them to become Shudras. Bearing down all opposition, the sage began his sacrifice and Trishanku rose to heaven, but was extruded by Indra and the other gods, and Trishanku began to fall headlong back to earth.
  • Hearing his cries for help, Vishvamitra used his powers to stop his fall and he remained suspended in the firmament. As the gods refused to accept him, Vishvamitra created a new heaven for him with its stars and planets and proceeded to create a separate set of gods.
  • The gods were obliged to yield, and it was agreed that Trishanku would be immortal and shine among the new stars that had been called into being by Vishvamitra.