ShriRAMA after reining Ayodhya for 13000 years once visited Agastyashram . [ This is after killing Shambuka ] .
Agastyamuni who is born out of pitcher is known as Kumbhasambhava . Immediately rose from his seat on seeing LORD RAAMA and offered his prayers .And after prayers offered one beautiful MAALA [ garland ] which was clean and crystal clear and very pleasing to the mind – nirmala amalina malaa . With devotion Agastya muni says ”
HEY RAAM ! This garland has been given to me by KING SHWETA to be offered at your LOTUS feet .
Once while Agastya muni saw a dead body in the midst of the jungle . After sometime SAGE saw a very bright divine aircraft descending from the heavens .From the PLANE alighted a Luminous KINGLY personality . The KING in divine heavenly form descended from the PLANE and started eating the flesh of the dead body . Looking at the ghastly sight .. Sage AGASTYA asked OH divine King who are You ? why are you performing this dastardly act . what besieges you to eat a dead mans’ flesh . You do not seem to be a demon or demonic creature either .. and you are descending from heaven so you must have done only good deeds in previous birth as you have reached heaven .. then why this evil has befallen you ?
The KING said ” Oh salutation to you Oh Sage Agastya ! its my good fortune and end of bad karma that I have had a holy sight of divine person like yourselves .. Now my miseries have ended … ! Listen Oh pious Bramhin rishi … I am king Shweta .
I was doing tapasya [ penace ] in this region known as Dandakaranya . This region was ruled by a KIng named DANDA . it was once a beautiful KINGDOM full of palaces and streets . Once Danda was infatuated with the daughter if SHUKRACHARYA . For this Shukracharya the guru of demons cursed him and his kingdom to become a uninhabited dense Forest . [ ie king became daridra for having lusted guru’s daughter ] and this place came to be known as DANDAKARANYA .
KING Shweta had done many tapasya and conducted many vratas , yagnyas . BUT after completing the VRATAS NIYAMA YAGNYA etc ,, KING did not do nay bramhana BHOJANA .. so all his yagnyas became anannayagnya . Because the yagnyas he did get Swarga but there he could not eat any food for himself .. All sort of food abhorred him … He was dissatisfied even in HEAVEN among apasaras and all sorts of enjoyments but Hunger troubled him a lot and all the food available could not be eaten by him … SO unable to bear hunger He asked BRAMHA as to why this evil had befallen him . BRAMHA devaru said .. as he had not given for Bramhana bhojana and annadana after yagnyas …He will be dissatisfied even though he got heaven for his karma , he will not be able to eat heavenly food . SO king asked where to seek satisfaction from hunger .. He said his heavenly body still in the DANDAKARANYA and he has no option but to eat his own flesh there to find satisfaction ..
Unable to bear this bad situation .. KING shweta pleaded BRAMH deva to relieve him off his pain .. and give him some remedy for his FOLLY ..
BRAMHA ji took pity on him and said .. Oh KIng SHWETA .. take this garland .. and give it to SAGE AGASTYA to offer this LORD RAAMA .. THis will relieve you from this evil state .
saying so King Shweta offered with devotion a divine garland to Sage AGASTYA .. and the dead body disappeared .. and again KING Shweta went to heaven peacefully in the divine plane .
SAGE AGASTYA offered the GARLAND to LORD RAAMA narrating this incident.
note – why did BRAMHAji not ask KING shweta to offer garland directly to LORD RAAMA .. ?
ans – KIng’s problem was only to get relieved from the state of hunger .. Offering garland to RAAMA would have resulted in much more punya , which KING was not seeking .and was not eligible either … Thus BRAMHAJI asked KING to give garland to sage AGASTYA and it was Sage AGASTYA who offered GArland to RAAMA and became eligible for complete Punya arising out of such offering …
special point to be noted – OFFERING GARLAND TO LORD RESULTS IN OBTAINING ANNA FOOD [ this is a great secret ] ..
“devaay maalarpaNena analabho bhavatiti paramarahasyam ” – poojakalapalata grantham
Thus while narrating this story SUN set in the west and SO LORD RAAMA spent the night among the sages in the ashram .
NEXT day LORD RAAMA said ” punaste darshanam BHUYAAT ” .. to agastya muni that “We shall meet again .Oh Sage you are the one who cleanse the men off their sins and make them pure ” .. sage burst into tears and said ” Oh RAAM ! by constant remembrance of lotus feet I HAVE BECOME CLEANSED myself ! You are the very GOD Oh RAAM ! just by listening to your name , remembering your avataras and singing your praises , even those who have sinned with mahapatakas ie unpardonable sins also get purified cleansed and respected devout ”
LORD RAAMA with a soft smile looking at the SAGE boarded the PUSHPAK VIMANA and reached AYODHYA .. and then asked PUSHPAK to return whenever called for .. Having said that PUSHPAK automatically left for KUBERA’s place . on a autopilot mode .
THEN LORD SRIRAAMA invited BHARAT AND LAKSHMAN to his palace and decided to do a YAGNYA .. LAKSHMAN suggested ASHWAMEDHA YAGNYA ! .