Agastya is hailed as the Head of all Siddhas and one of the Sapta Rishis (7 Great Sages). He is considered the father of Tamil literature. He is regarded as the first master who has made several contributions, including yoga, martial arts, architecture, Nadi astrology, Siddha medicine, etc. which are applicable even in today’s modern world. According to Matsya Purana, Agastya was born along with his brother Vasishta to Varuna (God of rains) and Mitra (Rig Vedic deity) from a water pot. Hence, Agastya is called as Kumbha Yogi (Kumbha means water pot). Agastya is one of the most revered sages in various Puranas and the great epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana. He and his wife Lopamudra have authored hymns in the ancient text Rig Veda, and several other literature works.
Agastya, The Sage Who Travelled South
According to Shiva Purana, Shiva said: “O Sage Agastya, kindly go south and restore the balance of the earth.” These words were uttered by Shiva when all Devas (celestial beings) gathered in the North to attend the wedding of Shiva and Parvati. Sage Agastya and his wife Lopamudra arrived at the sacred spot of Papanasam at the guidance of Shiva, to balance the earth plane on the Southern end when all the gods, goddesses, demons and all heavenly beings gathered in the North to attend the wedding of Shiva with Parvati. Pleased by his devotion, after the marriage, Shiva gave darshan to Agastya in his wedded form. A temple has been constructed at the place where he meditated. Puranas also state that Agastya stayed in the south and did not return to Kailash (abode of Shiva).
Worldly Contributions of Sage Agastya
Here are some worldly contributions of the Head Siddha, Agastya:
- The revered Sage is praised as the master of music. Agastya is also one of the authors of Nadi astrology.
- Agastya is celebrated as one of the authors of the divine predictive science – Nadi Shastra/Nadi Astrology
- He has composed several ancient treatises in various areas of science from medicine, chemistry, pharmacy, astronomy, to surgery
- He is the first person to write on Tamil grammar as text called Agathiyam
- He is privileged as the father of the Tamil language and grammar, and the royal chaplain (Kula Guru) of the divine line of Pandya rulers
- Agastya is called the father of traditional Indian Siddha Medicine and has formulated medicines for many types of fevers, cancer, abdominal problems, brain and eye problems, bone issues, etc.
- He introduced the martial art Kalaripayattu, which is practiced in Kerala and Tamil Nadu until today
- Agastya has also contributed to Tamil literature, Siddha tradition of medicine, Nadi astrology, yoga, Kaya Kalpa (anti-aging therapy), martial arts, and architecture
- One of Agastya’s medicinal preparations, Boopathi Kuligai, was so powerful that it could even bring the dead back to life
- As per the Tamil text Pattuppattu, Sage Agastya is hailed as the Master of Isai (music)
- He has also authored around 96 books in several genres, namely Vaidya Sigamani, Chendhooram – 300, Mani-400, Shivajalam, Shaktijalam, etc.
- He authored the book ‘Agastimata,’ a pre-10th-century treatise on gems and diamonds, which has details on the origin, quality, testing, and the art of jewel-making
Sacred Texts Highlight Greatness of Sage Agastya
As per sacred texts, Lalita Sahasranama (1000 names of Goddess Lalita) was taught by Hayagriva (Vishnu’s horse-faced incarnation) to Sage Agastya. Padma Purana states Agastya as a sage of immense vitality, penance, and piety, and having glowing powers. Padma Purana also narrates an incident when Agastya drank up the entire ocean to reveal the Kalakeya demons hiding underneath to the Devas and save the universe. For this wise act, Brahma granted the boon to Agastya that his hermitage would be the most sacred place amongst all places that can wipe away any sin.
He is credited for authoring several Vedic hymns including ‘Aditya Hrudayam,’ a sacred hymn for Surya (Sun God), and Saraswati Stotram. In Ramayana, Rama praises Agastya as the one who can do things that even God finds impossible. It also mentions that Agastya taught Aditya Hrudayam to Rama. As per Brahmanda Purana, Agastya was taught the Lalita Sahasranamam by Hayagriva.
Guru Purnima is an ideal time to worship the revered Guru and Sage Agastya for gaining his wisdom, success, and enlightenment blessings.