Ambarish And Durvasa
King Ambarish was an atmanivedi - a humble servant of the Lord.
Both he and his queen were performing great austerities. For
twelve months they had fasted on every ekadashi, not even drinking
water. Their fast would end on Kartik sud 12. On the morning
of the twelfth, Sage Durvasa and one hundred of his disciples
arrived at King Ambarish's palace. Ambarish was overjoyed. He
fell at their feet and welcomed them. He said, ''Today my ekadashi
fast ends, and on this day you have also graced my palace. Indeed,
I am very fortunate! Please dine here today.'' Durvasa replied,
''We'll first go to the river for a bath and then return.''
Durvasa and his disciples went
to the river. There is a saying, ''Buffaloes, Brahmins and spinnach,
have only to see water to be delighted!'' And so Durvasa and
his disciples bathed for a long time. But the sacred time for
ending the fast was near. The king's Brahmins advised him, ''The
muhurt is passing. It is best you eat and so end the fast.''
Ambarish said, ''I shall eat when Durvasa returns.'' The Brahmins
replied, ''But it is getting late. Only a few moments are left
now. If you eat afterwards you will not receive the fruits of
your fast.'' Ambarish was troubled. But Brahmins are very clever.
They found an easy answer. They said, ''Eat a sanctified tulsi
leaf. In this way it can be said you have ended your fast, and
yet it can also be said that you haven't eaten a meal!'' On
the Brahmins' advice Ambarish placed a tulsi leaf in his mouth.
Just then Durvasa and his disciples arrived. They discovered
that Ambarish had completed his fast in their absence. Durvasa
never needs to search for anger.
It's always with him as his constant companion. He shouted.
''Ambarish, you are known as a great devotee, yet you have no
idea of how to treat your guests! Why did you eat alone without
us!'' Ambarish touched Durvasa's feet in apology. He said, ''Only
to safeguard the muhurt have I placed a leaf of tulsi in my
mouth. The banquet is ready. Come, let us dine together.''
But would Durvasa listen? No!
He was the very incarnation of anger. Cursing Ambarish he cried,
''You shall have to suffer the fruits of insulting me.'' Saying
this he plucked a hair from his head and transformed it into
a demonness. He commanded her to beat Ambarish. Now, Ambarish
was truly a great devotee of the Lord. He stood with hands joined
in humility. The Lord placed his special weapon the Sudarshan
Chakra - in Ambarish's protection. The Sudarshan Chakra began
to spin. Its bright light burnt the demonness to ashes. It then
moved towards Durvasa to burn him as well. Durvasa saw this.
He became frightened and shouting ''traahi tobaa'', clenched
his fists and began to run for his dear life. The Chakra chased
Screaming ''Paahi maam! Paahi maam!'' Durvasa went to Lord Shiva
and asked that he be saved from the Sudarshan Chakra. Shiva
replied, ''I cannot turn the Chakra back. It belongs to Lord
Vishnu. Go to him.'' For a whole year Durvasa ran. He finally
went to Lord Vishnu crying. ''Paahi maam! Paahi maam! Save me!
Save me!'' He begged, ''Lord, I cannot suffer the light from
your Sudarshan Chakra anymore. I'm burning. Please call the
Chakra off.'' God said, ''Durvasa, once my Chakra has been thrown
at a person it never returns without killing him. I have no
solution.'' Durvasa began to weep.
God said to him, ''No good will be done by weeping. But yes,
there is one way of saving yourself.'' ''Lord! Quick tell me.''
''But will you be able to do it?'' ''Lord, if my life can be
saved anything and everything will be done!'' said Durvasa,
in a humble voice. God explained to Durvasa, ''You have insulted
my devotee, Ambarish. Humbly go to him and fall at his feet.
If he forgives you then the Chakra will return to Me.'' In a
time of great need we may even address a donkey as 'father!'
To live, Durvasa had no other option. And so after a year of
battering, Durvasa went to Ambarish. From the moment Durvasa
had run away, with the Chakra chasing him King Ambarish had
remained standing at the place he had been insulted. He had
not eaten or drunk anything. ''Paahi maam! Paahi maam!'' cried
He fell at King Ambarish's feet. Ambarish pulled his feet away
and raised Durvasa. He said, ''King of Sages, your falling at
my feet is not right.'' Durvasa replied, ''Ambarish, you are
a true devotee of the Lord. I have insulted you. Please forgive
me. Save me from the Sudarshan Chakra.'' King Ambarish prayed
to the Sudarshan Chakra and said, ''If the love and respect
I have for Durvasa at this moment are the same as they were
when he first came to my palace, then, Oh Sudarshan Chakra!
Please return to the Lord.'' The Sudarshan Chakra returned to
Lord Vishnu at once.
Durvasa was tremendously relieved. Then both he and Ambarish
together went to the banquet hall. The Lord cannot tolerate
an insult thrown upon a great devotee of His. So never take
fault with any devotee. Being humble before such a devotee pleases
<% end if%>