We talked about the timeline, which is already incredible and difficult to wrap our heads around. Considering that at the most an average human can only hope to live up to 70-80 years of age and only a handful live to their 100’s! Here we are talking about 100’s of years! We are talking about a person, Agastya who is continuously mentioned in all these different works or is being mentioned in them.
Then we come to the Puranas, one of the most delightful and popular works which came much later. In order to ensure that the great metaphysical truths were not lost to the great masses, the ancient teachers created stories that were both incredible and fascinating. Stories that prevailed through the sands of time, by the sheer magic that was inherent in them. Not many today know that they contain hidden truths as well.
We also know from these stories that Agastya was married to Lopamudra, also considered a great Rishiki, and that they had a son named Drydhashu.
I know there are references to River Cauvery as Agastya’s wife as well. So to avoid confusion, let me clarify. Lopamudra was Agastya’s wife. Legends say that she died and was reborn as Cauvery in the south when Agastya was living in the south. Agastya then married Cauvery. But, another argument is that Cauvery was just a river and Agastya contained her in his kamandalu because she was arrogant.
Coming back to the puranas, we find the Agastya Gita in Varaha Purana, Agastya Samhita in Skanda Purana. The Matsya Purana and Padma Purana list him as one of the Saptarishis.
It was also around this time that the great epics Ramayana and Mahabharata were written. It was around 400 CE. And we find Agastya’s presence here as well!
In the Ramayana, we hear about the ashram of Agastya and Lopamudra in the Dandakaranya on the slopes of Vindyas. Rama, who is himself considered an incarnation of God, praises him as one who can do the impossible. The stories of Agastya humbling the Vindhya as well as, balancing of the earth and the killing of the demons Vatapi and Ilvala are recounted again in the Ramayana. It is here that we hear about the powerful Aditya Hridayam stotram composed by Agastya.
In keeping with the many legends where Agastya is said to have helped the Gods themselves, the story goes that when Rama was fatigued while fighting the battle with Ravana, it was Agastya who recited the Aditya Hrudayam to give him power.
We now move on to the Vana Parva of the epic Mahabharata. Here again, is recounted the incredible powers of Agastya in terms of ingestion and digestion. The story of Agastya drinking the ocean and the humbling of the Vindyas, as well as the killing of the demon Vatapi, is narrated here. Here also, we find the story of the marriage of Lopamudra and Agastya.
After all, how can a figment of imagination or a made-up fictional character prevail through the ages?!