Agastya is one of the ancient saptarishis, a revered Vedic sage, and the earliest Siddhar. He is also believed to be the author of Agastya Samhita. The word is also written as Agasti and Agathiyar (Tamil: அகத்தியர் Agathiyar; Telugu: అగస్త్య; Kannada: ಅಗಸ್ತ್ಯ; Malayalam: അഗസ്ത്യന് or അഗസ്ത്യമുനി Malay: Anggasta; Thai: Akkhot). Agathiyar(அகத்தியர்) in Thamizh means one who is focussed inward அகம் - அகத்து + இயர் = அகத்தியர் A-ga in Sanskrit means a mountain, and Asti means thrower.
He is considered as the Father of Tamil literature and compiled the first Tamil grammar called Agathiyam. Adhithya Hrudhayam was revealed by Agathiar. Rama was finding it difficult to defeat Ravana, Agathiyar coming to Rama's help gave him "Adhithya Hrudhayam" after which Rama defeated Ravana.
Agastya is also the Indian astronomical name of the star of Canopus, is said to be the 'cleanser of waters', since its rising coincides with the calming of the waters of the Indian Ocean.
When Vitrasura was not yet killed and Kalakeya was troubling the Devas, Indra requested Agni Deva and Varuna to kill the Asuras where ever they find them.
Although they killed many of the Asuras, many of them went hiding in the ocean. They assumed that the asuras hid as they were cowards and thus could no longer hurt or harm anyone and so returned to Indra without killing them.
Indra was angered at their action and questioned as to why they did not kill the asuras.
In their defense Varuna explained how the churning up the ocean could have killed the innocent animals in it and it would be against his Dharma.
And Agni explained his inability to kill them in the ocean.
Indra was enraged and cursed them. He told them that one of them disobeyed his order and the other tried teaching him Dharma, so he cursed them both to be born on earth, with cursing Agni that he would one day drink up the ocean in his birth.
Thus, they were born as sons of Mitra and Varuna from Urvashi.
A highly vily and valiant Danava named Kalakeya was in battle with Devas for many years and he kept another mighty Danava called Vritrasura as a shield in between him and Devas. With folded hands, Devas approached Brahma to get rid of Vritrasura as well as Kalakeya.
Brahma suggested that Vritrasura was invincible due to unprecedented boons given by Parameswara and the only way out was to approach Sage Dadheechi and beg him for his back-bone which could materialize a mighty ‘Vajrayudha’ which alone could destroy Vritrasura.
Devas prayed to Sage Dadheechi and keeping in view the holy task of killing Vritrasura, the Sage agreed to sacrifice his backbone and hence his life.
Devas approached Vishvakarma to create Vajrayudha. A fierce battle between Vritrasura backed by Kalakeya on the one hand and Indra armed with Vajrayudha as well as the full force of Devas followed. Vritrasura made such frightening screams that went shivers to Earth, the ‘Dishas’ (Directions), the Antariksha (Sky) and the Planets.
Indra utilised the newly made Vajrayudha and felled down the huge body of Vritrasura to the ground.
The demoralised ‘Asuras’ ran helter-skelter with a phenomenon called Vristrasura and finally took shelter in the deep Ocean.
Kalakeya too hid in the Ocean and over a period of time, reformulated the Danavas who resorted to nightwarfare and nocturnal killings of lakhs of human beings in sleep and once again threatened the balance of power between the Davanvas and Devas.
Indra and Devas approached Lord Vishnu and implored him to save them, the humanity as also the four kinds of ‘Srishti’viz. ‘Andajas’ or those born of Eggs, ‘Svedajas’ or those born of body sweat, ‘Jarayuja’ or those born of womb, and ‘Udbhuja’ or born of germination.
Lord Vishnu told the Devas that the most dangerous Asura Kalakeyi along with his huge numbers of Danavas who concealed themselves in the deep waters of the Ocean were gradually killing all kinds of species mentioned above in the nights and the only way of exposing the Danavas in very large numbers would be to completely dry up the Oceans by taking out the water; Vishnu further declared that the only Sage who was powerful enough to dry up the Oceans was Mahatma Agastya, the son of Mitravaruna.
Devas then approached Agastya Muni and prayed to him that in the past too, the Muni was kind enough to have averted crises for saving the very existence of the Universe in highly critical situations like when Nahusha occupied the chair of Indra on highly temporary basis and created embarrassment and havoc in the worlds and punished him subsequently; and when Vindhyachala grew up in height compared with Meru Mountain obstructing the passage of Surya and subdued Vindhya by asking him to bend in reverence and not allowing to stand up till date.
Devas made to instant request to Agastya Muni to drink up the water of the Ocean exposing Kalakeya and followers so that they were trapped and destroyed at once by Devas.
The dried up Ocean was refilled by another despatch of Ganga by a repeat performance by Bhagiratha.
So Agastya Muni drinking up the Oceans was against the Dharma of Varuna as it would kill innocent animals .
Then there is the story of Ram-Setu .
Where Rama and his army of Vanaras make a bridge across the Ocean to Lanka .
By using deep faith and technique , community and precision .
And if Rama's arrow even dries up a part as "Maru" or a desert , it is enriched in another way , with producing tasty roots and fruits which could breed great cattle !
So Rama's way is to respect nature , keep collateral damage minimum , and build ability and community with faith .
So there are always multiple pathways for resolving " perpetual moral dilemmas" .
There never has been , never will be "permanent solutions" .
If any human ever proclaims a "permanent solution" he is an absolute liar like every single revolutionary ever born in history .
There is never a silver bullet , a single point "solution" and when ever peoples have listened to such stories , they have led to massive suffering .
But such is human history as humans love delusionary fantasies , just like hit movies , simplistic Good versus Evil , when actually in reality there has never been such a thing . There are always complex shades of being .
And there are complex solutions , that need community building, precision and faith.
"Sri Rama was greatly pleased with the mighty army of Sugreeva. He asked Sugreeva to put it on the march. The vast army moved like an ocean overflowing its banks. At Sugreeva request, Sri Rama sat on the shoulders of Hanumantha, and Lakshmana sat on the shoulders of Angada. Bursting with enthusiasm to fight, the great army moved towards Lanka.
On the way the army crossed dense forests, rivers, pools and ponds. The forests were full of different kinds of trees like the thilak, the ashok and the neral. The Vanaras advanced, enjoying the fragrance of flowers and tasting the fruits which hung in bunches from the boughs. They brought down the beehives which they saw in clusters and drank honey. The Vanara army proceeded, killing wild animals and breaking the trees which obstructed their way and flinging rocks this way and that, making a tumultous progress.
In the course of their journey they reached Mahendragiri. They stood on the peak and looked round.
They saw the vast sea. They came to the sea. The sea, full of fish and whales, was in a tumult.
The waves dashed against the rocks on the shore. They saw the blue sky above and the blue sea beneath. As far as the eye could see it was all the sea, the sea, and blue.
The sight of the sea troubled Sri Rama. He grew dejected, wondering if they could cross the vast sheet of water stretching before them. He said to Sugreeva, Let us halt our forces here. This mass of water is boundless and is dangerous.
We have to think of a plan. Let the army camp here tonight.We shall ponder over how we can cross the ocean. So that night they camped there.
The roar of the sea grew louder as the night advanced. It began to roar with triumphant insolence.The sea turned turbulent as the winds lashed it. The noise of the waves dashing against the rocks was deafening. Terrifying creatures like whales and serpents were swimming in the sea. There was a certain beauty even in this terror. The moon light rested on the seafoam and the sea looked like the Ksheera Sagar the milky ocean.
Watching the arrogance of the sea Sri Rama said, Did you watch the sea, Lakshmana? Can we reach Lanka? Lakshmana replied, Brother, how surprising! You are apprehensive. You are the mighty hero who slew Tataki, Subahu, Kabandha, Khara and Dushana – all rakshasas. You have rushed forward undaunted, in the most unnerving situations. That becomes heroes like you. It does not become you to entertain any other kind of thoughts. Be not worried; let us consider how we can cross the sea.
The waves of the overflowing sea were dashing against the rocks. Then Vibheeshana said, Sri Rama,you belong to the dynasty of Sagara. You are, therefore, a kinsman of the king of the ocean.Offer a prayer to him, and he will help you. The suggestion appealed to Sri Rama. He lay down on Kusha grass spread on the shore, and meditated on the God of the Ocean. As he lay with his arm for his pillow, all the Vanaras assembled to see the great man. Lord, respond to the prayers of Sri Rama, so they appealed to the king of ocean.
Three days passed but the Sea God did not appear. Everyone was surprised and also grieved. They exclaimed unhappily, Why does the Sea God not respond to the devout prayers of our master? Sri Rama was enraged. The legs and arms of the mild-looking Rama grew rigid, and his chest rose. His eyes grew red with rage. He frowned. He thought, I worshipped the Sea God with such devotion and yet he has not appeared. How arrogant he must be! Very well, I will not fail to teach him a lesson.
Then he said, Lakshmana, did you see how haughty the Sea God is? He did not respond to our prayer, he took no note of us. That means he has failed to be righteous. This, perhaps, is the way of the world.
If we conduct ourselves as good persons, people take us to be weaklings and cowards.
But if a wicked man is domineering people respect him. The King of the Sea has slighted me. I will teach him a lesson.
So saying he took up his Kodanda and twanged the bow. He said, Lakshmana, watch my prowess.
With a single arrow I will dry up the ocean. The fish and the other sea creatures which dwell in the sea will suffer untold torment and die. Snakes and whales will be charred to death. There will be no need to build a bridge. With a scaffolding of arrows I will cover the sea; every one can walk upon it as on the ground. The gods were frightened when they heard Sri Rama words. The Sun hid himself behind clouds out of fear. A meteor appeared in the sky. Fire appeared in the sea. A whirlwind broke out, as if the sea was trembling. The waves rose in mad fury and dashed against the rocks. The gods appealed, Sri Rama, do not be enraged.
That is when the king of the ocean appeared before him in full regalia, like the sun rising from behind Mount Meru, accompanied by Rivers Sindhu and Ganges and smaller minions. (If the lord of the sea was also frightened by the threatening posture of Rama, Valmiki doesn’t mention it).
The sea-lord said : “My dear Rama, Earth, wind, ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature, resorting to their eternal path . I am sorry, neither from desire nor ambition nor fear nor from affection, am I able to coagulate my waters inhabited by alligators. However, I shall make it possible to see that you are able to cross over. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me. As long as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not attack it”.
Rama said: “”All right, but this great arrow cannot go in vain. Where should I now land it?”
“Towards my northern side, there is a holy place. It is famous, just as you are famous, and known as Drumatulya,. Lot of terrible robbers, under their evil chief Abhiras, drink my water there. I cannot even bear those wicked people touch my water. Rama! Please dispatch your arrows right over there.”
Rama obliged; The place where the arrow, whose splendor was akin to that of a thunder bolt, dispatched by Rama turned into a desert, is now known as Maru.
Where the arrow landed with a terrible sound, a large fissure formed, sea water gushing out of it. Rama blessed it and the water dried up, and the place became a desert. By his blessings, then the desert of Maru became a place suitable for breeding cattle, a place “with little of disease, producing tasty fruits and roots, with a lot of clarified butter, a lot of milk and various kinds of sweet- smelling herbs”. Thus it became an auspicious and suitable move, bestowing these merits.”
Then the king of ocean pointed at Nala, a distinguished monkey, and recommended him as one capable of building a fine bridge, since he was the son of Vishwakarma, the architect and engineer of the world.
The Lord of ocean then returned, and the distinguished monkey came forward and told Rama that he was indeed the biological son (born of his loins) of the great architect of the world, Vishwakarma. “I am capable of constructing a bridge across the ocean with the help of these noble monkeys”, he said.
The part of the sea where Rama’s army of monkeys was invited to build a bridge by the lord of the sea was unfathomably deep.
The bridge was designed and constructed under the direction of this qualified (by birth) architect, Nala. Hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic monkeys were employed in the venture.
The construction materials included trees of various kinds and solid rocks, (not calcareous shells nor soft limestones). Huge logs came from trees plucked by their roots from the forest; elephant-sized rocks were wrenched out of great rocky mountains. Thus the bridge was built by a progressive construction plan that took five days for completion.
As the distance to the point of construction increased, the monkeys used machines (यन्त्रैः) for transporting the construction materials. Poles were used for measuring the height of the bridge (presumably for the purpose of leveling) and a hundred-yojana string was spun and strung up in a straight line to ensure that the bridge was made in perfect straight line. Reeds and logs were used to fasten the bridge together.
When completed, the bridge was 100 yojanas long and 10 yojanas wide, as stated in verse 22:74. This feat was achieved in a sea that was abode of alligators or crocodiles (मकरआलये)."