Vasishta was a great ascetic. He was the preceptor of great men like Sri Rama and Harischandra. He had conquered anger and desire. He was a great saint who humbled insolent men. As a preceptor he imparted knowledge and became a guide to thousands of aspirants.
Vasisht is one of the Saptarishis (Seven Great Sages Rishi) in the seventh, i.e the present Manvantara, Vashista’s mother was Apsara “Urvashi” and father was Mitra–Varuna and the he was law giver like minister of law of Dasharatha king. He had in his possession the divine cow Kamadhenu, and Nandini her child, who could grant anything to their owners. Arundhati is the name of the wife of Vashista.
Vashista one of 9 Prajapatis is credited as the chief author of Mandala 7 of the Rigveda. Vashista and his family are glorified in extolling their role in the Battle of the Ten Kings, making him the only mortal besides Bhava to have a Rigvedic hymn dedicated to him. Another treatise attributed by him is “Vashista Samhita” – a book on Vedic system of electional astrology.
Sage Vashista was Ram’s guru and the Rajpurohit of Ikshwaku dynasty. He was a peace-loving, selfless, intelligent and great Rishi. He had established Gurukula on the banks of the river beas, where he and his wife Arundhati were taking care of thousands of students.
Vashista was the Sadguru of his time, possessing 20 “kala’s” (divine arts) and had complete knowledge of the whole cosmos and the god. Many of his Shlokas are found in Vedas as well.
Vasistha summons Kamadhenu alias Sabala, the cow of abundance, to provide for a feast Vashista possessed a cow named Kamadhenu or Nandini who could instantly produce food enough for a whole army. The king Kaushika (later called Vishwamitra), who visited Vashista’s hermitage, was very impressed with the cow and tried to take it away from Vashista by force, but Kamadhenu/Nandini’s spiritual power was too great for him.
After being unable to conquer Kamadhenu/Nandini, Vishwamitra decided to acquire power himself through penance like Vashista. He gained much power and many divine weapons from Shiva. Once again he attempted to conquer Kamadhenu/Nandini. But even the divine weapons he acquired could not defeat the power of Kamadhenu/Nandini.
Vishwamitra finally decided to become a Brahmarishi himself, he renounced all his possessions and luxury and led the life of a simple forest ascetic.