Gauramukha maharshi is one of the great well-known maharshis. He was the obedient shishya of Semeeka maharshi (see Parikshit mahaaraja's story). After his education in Semeeka maharshi's ashram, he built up his own ashram to share the gnyaanam he got. The ashram was calm and peaceful. If Gauramukha maharshi's shishyas came to the forest to get some samidhas for yagnyam, then the trees used to bend and willingly, without experiencing pain, used to offer them their branches. If the shishyas while doing veda paarayana and by mistake pronounce some swara wrong, then the birds used to rectify them by saying it aloud with their sweet voices. The flowers there used to open only to be offered to God, just before the puja. All these were possible only because of the prashantata, the alhaada vaataavarnam and the tapas-shakti of the maharshi.
One day the king, Durjaya, came with his army to the forest. Gauramukha maharshi seeing the king gave aatithyam and requested the king to rest in his ashram for that night. Lord Raama and Lakshmana, during their visits to muni ashrams, used to always leave their weapons outside and enter the ashrams with the permission of the respective munis. However, Durjaya entered the calm and quiet ashram with his entire army. Gauramukha, who already conquered anger, was happy to welcome them. Since he had no apparent way of cooking food and showing a place to rest for such huge number of people, he went to the bank of the river, took a dip in it, became purified and prayed to Lord Vishnu. Due to his enormous concentration, Vishnu immediately appeared before him and gave him a Mani. With the help of the Mani, Gauramukha maharshi built a huge town for the army to rest and also provided good food for them. The next day as the king and army were leaving the place, the creation of the Mani vanished. Durjaya was amazed by the power of the mani and after reaching his kingdom sent his messengers to get the mani of Gauramukha maharshi for himself. Gauramukha maharshi sent the messengers back saying that the mani was not meant to be used for selfish reasons and must only be used for the good of the society. The king became angry knowing that his order was not carried out and sent his army to maharshi's ashram to get the mani by force.
Gauramukha maharshi prayed to the mani and a huge army came from the mani and destroyed the army. The unbeatable Vishnu chakram came from the mani and killed the king Durjaya. The whole army and Durjaya were killed in a nimisham! Thus the forest in which Gauramukha maharshi lived was henceforth known as 'Naimisaaranyam'. Naimisaaranyam, is a very pious place for the Indians. It is the abode of many Gods, rishis, munis and was the place where the great Suuta maharshi told Srimad Bhaagavatam to saunakaadi mahaamunis.
Morals in the story:
- All the wonders that happened in the story, the greatness of naimisaaranyam, can all be attributed to the tapas-shakti of Gauramukha maharshi. There is nothing that Bhagavannaama-smarana cannot achieve.
- One should never be proud of his power or strength and misuse the powers given to him. Durjaya in his ahankaar of being a king, destroyed himself and his army in a nimisham (The time taken for closing and opening the eyelid).