When Arjuna asks Krishna how and why one is forcefully
drawn to commit sins even if one does not want to, Krishna
rightly points out that desire is the foremost enemy of man.
When desire is thwarted it morphs into anger. Desire and
anger thus go hand in hand and are born of Rajas. They also
nourish the Rajas in a person.
Just as fire devours the firewood and waits to consume
more, desire is never satiated. It craves for more and this is
The trajectory of Vishwamitra’s life from a righteous
Kshatriya ruler to that of a Brahma Rishi unfolds the
complexities in human nature that is constituted of the
gunas Satva, Rajas and Tamas. Ultimately, it is seen that one has to conquer desire and anger which are the twin enemies of man, pointed out Velukkudi Sri Krishnan in a discourse. Vishwamitra is impulsive by nature and gives in easily to emotions such as anger, sympathy and love. He is involved with Trisanku’s unlawful desire to go to the swarga loka with his human body. When Indra opposes this, he uses the entire merit of all his penance to create a second swarga loka for Trisanku. The celestial beings now seek a compromise with Vishwamitra to halt his creative process. But all this has taken a toll on the entire merit he had acquired through austere penance. So he has to engage in penance once again.
On another occasion, when he chanced to visit Vasishta’s
ashram, he is desirous to own the divine cow Sabala in
Vasishta’s possession. This leads to a long drawn out conflict with the sage and ultimately instils in him the determination to equal Vasishta’s status as a Brahma Rishi. The senses are powerful and if not restrained can rob us of our noble nature.