Doesn’t Punyakoti (means ‘cow’ as well as a sacred soul who has gained great boons through his good deeds) rush to the cowshed remembering her calf? Vibhandaka is Punyakoti too! He is a mighty sage who had acquired great boons through his good deeds in his life filled with penance. Just like Punyakoti, his son was everything for him. Sage Vyasa has described him as ‘pingalanetra’ (a person whose eyes are a mixture of yellow and brown). Shine of those eyes came from the love for his child! Appearance of Sage Vibhandaka, covered with thick hair from head to toe and could frighten the onlooker easily! This description by Sage Vyasa reminds one of Punyakoti again! Hairy body like Punyakoti, and each hair was charged with love for the child! Within the hairy body was an endearing bosom filled with affection!
The mighty sage Vibhandaka was remembering his dear son, who in spite of growing tall, was a child as well as a scholar, an innocent and a liberated all at the same time. He entered the hermitage at dusk repeatedly reminiscing on his dear son and drenching his mind with tears rolling down from his mind’s eye.
A day is not like another. That is life. But that day in front of the eyes of Vibhandaka was unlike any other day! Calmness and tranquility are the basic requirements of a hermitage, even if nothing else is available there – without these it ceases to be hermitage! The divine tranquility which was naturally palpable in the floor, air, water or fire everyday was conspicuously missing today! Nothingness was ruling the roost swallowing the completeness of the hermitage! One could surmise the demise of bliss in the premises of hermitage and advent of dreary sadness!
Trace of indulgence at the place of penance!
Sage Vibhandaka noticed that son had not performed any rituals that were supposed to be performed at dusk. Essential items were not collected from the words, accompaniments were not washed and kept, cow had not been tied at the usual place fire ritual was performed; agnikarya has not been performed and to top it all, smiling face of the dear son is not to be seen at all!
If the reason for arriving home, the person for whom you return to your home, is absent or is as good as absent, won’t you feel why you should return home? House will feel empty even when everything else is there. Sage Vibhandaka searched the whole hermitage like a senile!
Finally when Vibhandaka discovered Rushyashrunga, – sitting in the corner, as an idol of dolour, fixing his stare in air, sighing over and over, discarding his real nature, mind roaming at something somewhere, silencing all his innocent banter – the happiness of finding his son didn’t last a minute! The rock called Vibhandaka melted at the sight unseen earlier!
Isn’t a smile of the son jewel of the father!?
Vibhandaka hugged the dear son in an affectionate embrace and inquired:
“My son, what is wrong with you today!? No sign of daily rituals; no cow; no agnihotra fire! Why did daily rituals come to a halt?
What happened to you today my son? Why did radiant the face looking dim? Where is your everyday happiness hiding? Why are you sighing? Why do you stare at the sky? Why is the forlorn look?
What happened to you? Tell me the truth, who visited you in my absence?”
Rushyashrunga started explaining the form which he had not seen earlier, in a language which he didn’t possess – Rushyashrunga started explaining things in his own language to dear father!