This particular story from the ancient Hindu literature tells us about the incident when the great sage Agastya Muni drank the whole ocean dry. Agastya Muni is revered as one of the greatest sages to have lived on earth. Agastya Muni is known to have performed many austerities and Yagya to benefit the Gods. Agastya Muni, along with many other sages, would perform many Yagyas and dedicate the blessings received from the Yagyas to the Gods. Thus, Agastya Muni was highly respected in all three worlds.Embed from Getty Images
This particular incident involving the ocean occurred when the King of all demons or asuras, Vritrasura, was killed by the gods. The demons or asuras were left without a leader. All the demons lived in constant fear of being attacked and killed by the gods. Hence, fearing their lives all, the demons decided to take cover inside the ocean. The ocean being a vast water body, provided a perfect cover, and prevented the demons from getting spotted by any god.
In the deep sea, all the demons spent most of their time planning and plotting against Lord Indra, as killing Lord Indra would leave the gods or devas without a leader. The demons concluded that the gods, including Lord Indra, were protected by the austerities and Yagya, performed on earth by the Sages and Seers. Thus, to weaken the gods, they needed to kill all the Sages and Rishi Munnis on earth and prevent any Yagyas from becoming successful.
Thus, in the midnight, the demons would emerge from the ocean to attack and kill the Sages, using darkness as their cover. The demons would hide inside the ocean at the break of the dawn. This made it difficult for the gods to prevent the demons from wreaking havoc on earth.
All the gods decided to ask Lord Vishnu for help and reached Vaikuntha. Lord Vishnu informed the gods that, as long as the demons were hiding under the ocean, they would not be able to spot the demons. Thus, the water in the ocean needs to be dried up. The gods could not think of any way to accomplish such an ardent task. Therefore, Lord Vishnu asked the gods to approach Agastya Muni for help, as there was no other person on earth more capable than Agastya Muni to handle this situation.
Following the suggestion from Lord Vishnu, all the gods reached Agastya Munni’s abode and requested him for help. Agastya Muni agreed to help the gods and drank the water from the whole of the ocean dry. The demons were astonished to see their cover blown, and the gods attacked the demons with all their force and managed to kill most of them. A handful of demons managed to escape to Patal Lok.
After having nullified the demons, the gods approached Agastya Muni again, and this time requested him to fill the ocean back with water. Still, Agastya Muni replied that the water he drank was all digested, and it would be impossible for him to fill the ocean back with water.
Hence the gods decided to visit Lord Brahma for help as he was the creator of the world. Lord Brahma informed the gods that in the coming times, there would be a King, by the name Bhagirath. This King would make it possible for Goddess Ganga to touch down on the earth. Only Goddess Ganga would be able to fill the ocean back with water. Until then, the oceans will remain dry.
This was the story of how Agastya Muni dried up the whole ocean. The information on how King Bhagirath convoked Goddess Ganga to earth is an interesting story in itself. A separate article dedicated under the title ‘ The story of King Bhagirath and Goddess Ganga’ clearly mentions all the incidents that allowed Goddess Ganga to descend on the earth, in her purest essence.