Ambrish and Durvasa


The tale of king Ambrish and Sage Durvasa is a stark warning  to all gurus who feel they are greater than God and can do as they please.  It is a wake up call to all gurus who feel they should be worshiped over and above God !  Tale of Ambrish and Durvasa is a warning and an example to all Gurus with overinflated egos.  

Durvasa muni expected his disciples to suffer any number of privations without complaint.  Unconcerned about anyone's discomfort or pain, Durvasa expected everyone to wait on him hand and foot.  He expected unflinching devotion and attention at all time.

The original tale of Emperor Ambrish and Durvasa muni is a simple one. 
One day, Emperor Ambrish was about to break the Ekadashi fast when Durvasa muni happened to come to his palace.  Seeing the muni, Emperor Ambrish welcomed him and with due respected requested him to preside over the ritual of breaking the Ekadashi fast.  Durvasa muni promptly accepted and went for a bath to cleanse and refresh himself from his travels.  Like so many inconsiderate gurus even now, Durvasa did not care about being late and expected everyone to wait for him.  King’s own priests were worried that the auspicious moment was passing away and the fast would not be broken within the time stipulated by scriptures. 

Caught in a spiritual dilemma, the king decided to break the fast by consuming water, but still waiting for the muni to return before eating any food.  Durvasa muni came at his own convenience and was shocked that the Emperor drunk water without him !  His own rudeness and timekeeping not withstanding, he became angry with Ambrish and resolved to destroy him !  In his outrage, befitting an egocentric guru, Durvasa released a demoness to devour Ambrish ! 

God is God.  His sense of right and wrong is more astute than ours.  Seeing Ambrish in danger, Lord Vishnu sent his Sudarshan chakra to guard Ambrish.  Durvasa muni felt he was being chased by the Sudarshan chakra all over the universe.  He fled from place to place for a year, yet no one offered him refuge from the blazing chakra.  The matter became complicated and it became a battle between Gurus vs Govinda.  Durvasa vs Vishnu, but the person who suffered in the middle was Ambrish !  While Durvasa sought help from all and sundry, Ambrish kept up his fast, waiting for Durvasa muni to return. 

Eventually Durvasa muni sought the help of Vishnu, pleading him to avert the anger of the chakra.  Vishnu bhagwan advised Durvasa muni to seek the refuge of the person he had wronged - Ambrish.  Shri Vishnu surmised that the chakra was protecting Ambrish and would continue to do so as long as he needed protection.  Durvasa was upbraided by God for taking his disciple for granted, for having been unduly late and being angry though he was in the wrong.  If Durvasa apologized and truly repented for having made Ambrish suffer, the chakra would stop pursuing him. 

Humbled by divine advise, Durvasa sought to appease Ambrish.  Ever the dutiful disciple, Ambrish fell at the feet of Durvasa muni and sought to appease him !  The chakra kept burning brightly and eventually, Durvasa realized his mistake.  He gave up his anger, his feeling of being slighted, his ego, his insistence of being placed over and above everyone and apologized to Ambrish for having made him wait for breaking his fast.  As soon as Durvasa gave up his vasana of being "always right", Sudarshan Chakra returned to Shri Vishnu.

Sudarshan means “good” or “clear view”.  Shri Hari's chakra is capable of cutting anyone and anything it chooses to destroy.  If it wanted, it could have killed Durvasa muni in the blink of an eye.  But, instead the chakra "chased" the muni, because it wanted to teach Durvasa a lesson.  The moment Durvasa learned his lesson, the chakra returned to Shri Vishnu.  Shri Hari only wants us to reform.  Like a good parent, God does not enjoy punishing us.  God always tries to help us improve ourselves.  If we are willing and able to reform, God sends us advise, opportunities and mentors to help us.  God only punishes people when people refuse to change, despite several opportunities.   

Sudarshan means “good” or “clear view”.  Gurus need to have a clear vision of where they are leading their disciples.  They need to rise above the cacophony of sycophants and remember that they are guides, not gods.  Guru is a guru thanks to the existence of his disciples.  Teaching people is a privilege and not a prerogative.  Guru should be humble, thankful for the opportunity to be able to teach and happy to have the chance to contribute to other people's success.

Sudarshan means “good” or “clear view” and this is important for Vaishnavs too.  We have to have a su =clear, darshan=view too.  Vaishnavs have to guard themselves against confusion and misinformation being given to them in the name of religion.  Whether we choose to see it or not, through God’s grace, Sudrashan is always there for us.   

There are two other articles in this relation to this -
Why do "we" gravitate towards Gurus
Dangers of being a Guru


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