Lopamudra and Agastya: exploring the relationship
A meaningful Relationship is at the core of human social life. Out of the various types of relations, the need to develop a fulfilling romantic relationship is most profound. A relationship that helps an individual achieve his / her purpose in life harmoniously under the guidance of Dharma is the most pious. As relationship experts and counsellor either look for a quick fix formula or a well-researched key to this harmonious relationship, here's a story from the Rigveda which gives an insight into the ancient alliances.
Welcome to the enlightened world of Lopamudra and Agastya, where the Creator depends on his creation to realise his goals. No one claims ultimate superiority but share a synergetic relation. Here, the Producer becomes a Yachak (seeker) to his creation. Though the creation owes its existence to the Creator, it simultaneously puts conditions that Creator is bound to fulfil.
Lopamudra the Brahmavadini ( the knower of supreme knowledge), the perfect beauty, gives purpose to her Creator. In this world, Creator doesn't dominate you but seeks you for worldly obligations.
Two prominent sources of lopamudra's life are Rigveda and Mahabharata. she is also known by other names of kaushitaki or Varaprada. According to Rigveda, Lopamudra and Agastya are mantra drashta ( seers) credited with few mantras. Her Rigvedic mantras dedicated to "Rati" (Goddess of love) symbolise her freedom to choose and an enabler who explores her sexuality like any other material desires and openly discusses it. The hymns dedicated to her in Rigveda indicate the significance of a householder's life and the incompleteness of ascetic practice ignoring domestic duties. She mentors and guides Rishi Agastya to balance ascetic and householders life since both the obligations are supreme and ignorance of householders duties is a sin. She helps Agastya attain immortality by balancing both responsibilities.
Lopamudra is an equilibrium in his ( Agastya) life as she guides him to balance his ascetic and householders duties alike. She is an essential element in the whole journey of Agastya to fulfil his worldly obligations, which is a prerequisite for liberation. In the Rigvedic context, she is a scholar who is fulfilling, demanding and an enabler.
According to another source, Lopamudra was created by Rishi Agastya as his ancestors demanded that he ( Agastya) marry and beget a son and help them liberate. Agastya then started creating a woman of rare beauty drawn from various natural sources (the eyes of the doe, the grace of the panther, the slenderness of the palm trees, the fragrance of the champak flower, the softness of the feather on a swan's neck). The name Lopamudra signifies the loss (lopa) that the animals and plants suffered by giving their distinctive beauties (mudra's) when Agastya created her. Therefore, the making of Lopamudra is metaphoric of the beauty in the universe and our dependence on them to bring out perfection in our life.
When the most beautiful and intelligent human being was to be created, the inspiration and contribution came from other organisms which coexist on this planet.
After Agastya had created Lopamudra, he gifted her to the king of Vidarbha, who was undergoing extreme penance desiring a child. King happily accepted Lopamudra. Once Lopamudra was of marriageable age, Rishi Agastya approached the king of Vidarbha and asked for Lopamudra' s hand in marriage. The king, anguished at the proposal of marrying his princess to a poor forest dweller double her age, was equally scared at the prospect of denying the request of a great Rishi. However, it was Lopamudra who requested her father to marry her to Agastya.
When Agastya wanted to beget a child with her, she put a condition of royal comfort before they procreate. The precondition of Lopamudra and fulfilment of the condition by Agastya symbolises the respect and importance of women's acceptance in domestic life. To honour her words and fulfil her desires considering it a husband's duty, he looked for riches with the three rich kings Srutarvan, Vradhnaswa, and Trasadasyu. The three kings kept their balance sheet in front of him and expressed their helplessness as they could not spare anything. But they advised Rishi Agastya to approach the king of Asura and seek wealth from him. Rishi met Illwala, the king of asuras and deceived him by killing Illwala's brother Vatapi following which Illwala surrendered and gave all his riches to rishi Agastya.
The making of Lopamudra and the fulfilment of Agastya's obligation points towards the limitations of our existence, interdependency and necessity of coexistence.
Agastya creates a woman - the most beautiful and intelligent by the contributions from the best of other organisms, indicating our dependency on ecology despite being the most evolved species on the globe. It directs us to appreciate the beauty of others apart from oneself
No one in this world is self-sufficient. Even the most scholarly person, the mantra drashta (Agastya), who had powers to create the most beautiful human being, depended on Lopamudra (his creation) to liberate his ancestors. He could bless the childless king with a child but could not accomplish his purpose independently.
The story also eulogises the duties of a person in grihastha ashram; the most powerful of the rishi went seeking for riches as his wife desired for it.
The approach of Agastya to ask for riches from the biggest of king Srutravan exposes us to the high principles the kings followed at that time.
Srutarvan shared the entire list of revenues and expenses with Agastya, who understood that there was nothing extra for the king to part away. The king utilised the total income for the welfare of his subjects. Agastya observed a similar situation with the other two kings.
Apart from being one of the famous Brahmavadini who strives for the highest philosophical knowledge, Lopamudra contributed to matriarchal theology. She has to her credit the composition of the Nadi Pancha Dasi mantra of Shakta tradition (here Shakti- women is the supreme reality). She is a representative of feminine divine power, which is a vital characteristic of the Hindu religion.