The reclusive Uttang Rishi stayed the forests for most of his life with little contact with the rest of the world. It was during one such long stay away from civilization that the war between the rift between the Pandavas and Kauravas ripened to enmity and ended in the calamitous war at Kurukshetra that resulted in the decimation of all the Kauravas. Always in penance the Rishi moved places. Pleased with his sincere devotion, Lord appeared and said, “I wish to grant you a boon, O most righteous sage! What would you ask of me?”
Uttang said, Oh Lord “I need nothing! The only thing that I, perhaps, may seek is that I may not lack for water wherever I am, since I travel in wild and inaccessible places.”
Lord replied “Granted!”
Once, Uttang Rishi was traveling through a desert and was afflicted by severe thirst and could not find any water to drink. He remembered the boon of LORD and besought some water.
Lord summons Indira and instructs him to take the nectar (Amrit) and fulfill the Rishi’s thirst permanently making him immortal. Indira was surprised with Lord’s command as the Nectar was meant for deva’s and not humans. However it was an instruction from the Lord that could not be ignored..
Indira changes his attire He dresses himself as an ugly looking chandala (one who deals with disposal of corpses) and arrives before the Rishi along with a stray dog. The Rishi is dismayed. He follows the Rishi and pleads him to take the divine water he is carrying from his deerskin container.
Uttang Rishi was aghast. How could he, a Rishi, take water from a chandala? Thrice the chandala offers water and thrice the Rishi refused. The Rishi declares that he would die of thirst rather than drink the water given by him and asks him to leave. The chandala disappears in fraction of a second leaving the Rishi in surprise.
He was pensive when Lord Krishna appeared before him.
Uttang Rishi complained:”Lord! You promised me water whenever I needed it. How could you send it in the hands of a chandala?”
Lord Krishna smiled and said, “O Sage! I asked Indra to give you divine nectar and make you immortal. Indra was hesitant saying that Amrit was not for normal human beings. I told that you were a realised soul and deserved immortality.
Indra felt that if you were truly a realised soul, you would know that all differentiation between people were only the creation of mortals and that all people were the same in the eyes of a realised soul and, thus, if you accepted the nectar from Indra in the guise of a chandala, you would deserve it. I agreed. You let me down…
Credits: Google Images and kmkvaradhan.wordpress.com minimally edited