Vishvamitra was very impressed with the power that spirituality holds and he wanted to reach the top of the spiritual ladder. He wanted to make sure that he received all the titles of a rishi. He told his wife one day that he wanted to become a Brahmarishi and they should start heading south. He also requested her to help him out in his penance. His wife very happily agreed and they started their journey towards the south. Vishvamitra started his meditation. His powers were very well-known to all the gods as they had to send Menaka and Rambha to break his penance and bring an obstacle in his journey towards becoming the ultimate sage. Vishvamitra and his wife gave birth to four righteous sons. His penance was so strong that Lord Brahma had to appear in front of him. When Brahma visited Vishvamitra, he awarded him with the title of Rajarishi.
Rajarishi, in terms of Hinduism and Hindu Vedic culture, is known as a royal saint. A Rajarishi is the one who does not need to give up on his kingdom or ruling and can still be called a sage. He does get to perform his duties as a Kshatriya. They have attained a stage of self-realization and self-actualisation like other sages. Vishvamitra was grateful to Brama for this title but still wanted to attain the highest rank of sages which is Brahmarishi. He did not take a break in his penance and started doing it with even more dedication. He went very far from all the distracting elements of his life.
It is very evident from his episode with Rambha that he was not going to budge from his penance and pay attention to any obstacle brought by the gods. He knew his destination and the path to get to it. He wanted to become a supreme sage and he was not going to let anything get in the way of that. After cursing Rambha to become a stone for a thousand years and the trick that she had played on him following Lord Indra’s orders, he went on to the highest mountain of Himalaya to perform meditation. This time he had an even harder and severe penance in his mind. He gave up on food and water. He even limited his breathing to the bare minimum required for survival.
One day, Vishvamitra came across a very poor brahmin who was begging for food to survive. Vishvamitra was ready to break his fast after many years of fasting. He was about to consume some rice when this brahmin came to him and requested food. Being a sage, Vishvamitra gave his food away without any hesitation. His mind was satisfied with doing good to someone. He resumed his meditation without eating. His dedication was so severe that not eating did not bother him even the slightest. He had reached a stage where even food did not matter to him and he had finally mastered control over all his passions. It can be rightly said that Vishvamitra had gained control and command over all his sensory organs and their demands. He had a stern mindset of not being influenced by any of Lord Indra’s tricks, challenges and attempts to lure him into a romantic engagement.
Kaushika or Vishvamitra had now reached a different level of yogic power with the culmination of many thousand years of journey of penance and meditation. His yogic, divine and spiritual powers were at the ultimate peak. It was time he was rewarded with what he truly deserved. The head of gods, Lord Brahma gave the title of Brahmarishi to Vishvamitra. He also called Vishvamitra a friend of all as his name suggests rightly. He was named this due to the fulfilling compassion that he had shown towards every person that came across him.
Vishvamitra, flattered and joyous with his newly received title went on to meet with rishi Vashistha. According to the known customary, if a sage was greeted by a superior or equal sage, they would greet each other but if the sage was greeted by an inferior sage then the sage would bless them for their journey and their life. When Vashistha met Vishvamitra, he blessed him. It was as if in an instance and the years of penance that all the pride, greed and desire left Brahmarishi Vishvamitra’s heart and he became and felt like a pure and pious Brahmarishi. When Vishvamitra was about to leave, Vashistha came to a realisation that the heart and intentions of Vishvamitra had changed completely and he had changed from who he was before. Vishvamitra embraced Vashishtha and their enmity came to an end.