Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Ekata included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Ekata

General information.

An ancient sage. He was the son of the Maharṣi Gautama. He had two brothers, Dvita and Trita.

How Ekata became a wolf by a curse.

There is a story of how Ekata and Dvita duped Trita in the Mahābhārata. When Gautama died Trita became the chief of the three. Dvita and Ekata did not like this. Once all the three were passing by a forest with a herd of cows for a yāga. Trita was walking ahead and the other two were following him with the cows. At a strategic point on the way the brothers carried away the cows by a separate route without the knowledge of Trita. When Trita came to know of the loss he was greatly distressed. On reaching the shores of the river Sarasvatī, he was frightened by a wolf and running to escape from the animal fell into a dilapidated well. He performed a yāga from where he lay. Assuming a creeper inside the well to be Somalatā, Trita recited the Ṛks and the devas responded to his prayer. Devas like Bṛhaspati graciously appeared before him and asked him to demand a boon from them. Trita replied that his desire was to worship the gods standing on the waves of the river Sarasvatī. Accordingly the river was made to flow that way and standing on the waves Trita worshipped the gods. After that he went home and cursed his brothers and made Ekata and Dvita into wolves.

Other details.

i) Ekata was a sage much banked on by the people of western Bhārata. (Śloka 31, Chapter 208, Śānti Parva).

ii) Ekata attended a yajña conducted by Uparicaravasu (Chapter 336, Śānti Parva).

iii) Ekata accompanied by Dvita and Trita once went to Śvetadvīpa to visit Nārāyaṇa. (Śloka 12, Chapter 39, Śānti Parva).

iv) Ekata and his two brothers were among the sages who visited Bhīṣma while he was lying on his bed of arrows. (Śloka 7, Chapter 26, Anuśāsana Parva, Mahābhārata)

v) All these three sages lived on the west coast as Ṛtviks of Varuṇa. (Chapter 15, Anuśāsana Parva, Mahābhārata).

vi) Sūkta 150 in Maṇḍala 1 of Ṛgveda contains the eulogistic songs of Trita, one among the trio. (See under Trita).

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