Once there lived a great king named Gadhi. He had a daughter named Satyawati. One day, a sage called Ruchik, the son of a great sage named Chyavan, came to ask for the princess’s hand in marriage as he had learned that it was so written in destiny. The king was taken aback. He didn’t want to marry his daughter to a sage as he had no son and he wanted his daughter to take over his throne after him! But he was also scared that Ruchik’s father might curse him. So he tries to lay down an impossible condition and told Ruchik that there was a tradition in their family that whoever wants to marry the princess must bring the king 1000 white horses with each one of them having 1 black ear. Ruchik agreed to this strange condition.

Ruchik prayed to Lord Varun, the god of water, to get the white horses with one black ear as demanded by the king. After a lot of penance, Varun appeared and gave Ruchik what he had asked for. Ruchik took the horses to the king, and thus, Ruchik married the princess and took her along to the forest to live with him.

Back at the palace, the king and queen were very worried because they thought that once the king would die, who would become the ruler? One day the king and queen went to the forest to see how their daughter was doing. To their surprise, their daughter was living quite happily in the forest. After ensuring their daughter was doing well, they had a discussion with Ruchik. They told Ruchik that they wanted a child who could rule the kingdom after the king dies. Ruchik understood and told them not to worry.

After the king and queen went back, Ruchik started deep meditation. In the evening, Ruchik gave his wife two Charus (a particular type of food). Ruchik understood that the king’s son should be a great aggressive warrior and his own son should be a great, calm, and spiritual sage. So he had prepared the two Charus so that these qualities pass on to the children as needed.

Satyawati and her mother saw the two Charus. The queen thought that Ruchik probably gave his wife the better Charu, so the queen told her daughter that they should switch their Charus so that the son of the queen will become a great king in the future, whereas the son of Satyawati has to stay in the forest and do intense meditation. So the queen and her daughter switched their charus and ate them.

Later, when Ruchik found out about this, he lost his temper and scolded his wife. Ruchik told Satyawati that he had added the qualities of an aggressive warrior king in his mother’s charu so that he could win over all the kings on Earth and the qualities of a great sage in her charu. Now, the son of the king i.e. your brother will be a great saint, whereas their own son will be a short-tempered and warrior Sage who will punish people who will deviate from the path of righteousness. When Satyawati repented, he delayed the impact for one generation and said, “Instead of our son, our grandson will be the aggressive warrior sage”.

The grandson of Ruchik and Satyawati grew up to be a fierce warrior sage. He was none other than Parashurama himself, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who is said to have eliminated all the Kshatriyas on Earth twenty-one times. The son of King Gadhi and his queen grew up to be a king who left worldly life and achieved the status of a Brahmarishi. He was none other than the great sage Vishwamitra, credited with the discovery of the  Gayatri Mantra, amongst other things. 

Lord Parshuram (Image by Raja Ravi Varma) Rishi Vishwamitra with Ram & Laxman emancipating Devi Ahilya from a curse. (Image by Raja Ravi Varma)

(Story Source: Shrimad Bhagavat Mahapurana)