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Story of Raja Ambarish

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Vasant Punjabi

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 987
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject: Story of Raja Ambarish Reply with quote

Jai Shri KRishna,

King Ambarisa was a greatly celebrated saintly monarch who lived
millions of years ago during the Age of Truth. He possessed many
elephants, chariots, horses, jewels, ornaments, garments, and an
inexhaustible treasury. Yet amazingly, he was not the least bit
attached to all these opulences - because he had completely given up
the desire to use temporary material things for flickering sense
enjoyment. So rather than abandon his opulences, he accepted
everything for serving Lord Krishna in devotion.

Yet despite his full absorption in the service of Krishna, King
Ambarisa did not neglect his worldly royal duties. Rather he acted as
an ideal God-conscious head of state and never issued a single order
for his own selfish enjoyment. He saw Krishna, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, as the ultimate enjoyer of all his endeavors - political,
social, economic, cultural and religious - and he always offered the
results of his activities to Krishna. A perfect devotee, the King
acted with full knowledge of Lord Krishna's words - and full faith in
them. And since King Ambarisa's subjects followed his example of
hearing and chanting about Krishna, everyone was naturally peaceful
and prosperous. Climatic conditions were ideal. Rain was plentiful,
and even desert areas flourished.

Just to satisfy Lord Krishna, King Ambarisa once observed a year-long
vow of austerity. After observing that vow for the prescribed year,
King Ambarisa fasted for three days and bathed in the River Yamuna.
Then, with great attention and care, he worshipped the Deity of
Krishna with fine incense, flowers, flaming lamps, and other items.
Finally, he gave gifts in charity to satisfy all the guests who
arrived at his palace. To the brahmanas he gave innumerable cows with
gold-plated horns and silver-plated hooves. Afterward the King
sumptuously fed all the brahmanas, and when they were fully satisfied,
he prepared himself to end his year of austerities by breaking his fast.

Just then the great and powerful mystic Durvasa Muni unexpectedly
appeared on the scene. After standing up to receive him, king Ambarisa
offered him a nice seat and humbly requested him to dine. Durvasa
gladly accepted, but he first wanted to bathe in the River Yamuna.
There he waded in the water and became absorbed in trance.

Meanwhile, only a few minutes remained before the auspicious time for
King Ambarisa to break his fast would elapse. The King became anxious.
On the one hand, he knew that if he didn't break his fast during the
prescribed period, the vow's effects would be lost. But, on the other
hand, he also knew he would commit a great offence if he ate before
Durvasa returned. To resolve this dilema King Ambarisa quickly
consulted his learned brahmana advisors and reached a decision: he
would break his fast by drinking a little water only--since drinking
water may be accepted as both eating and not eating.

After sipping some water, the King meditated on the Supreme
Personality of Godhead within his heart and awaited Durvasa Muni's
return. When Durvasa returned from the river he could understand by
his mystic powers that King Ambarisa had drunk water without his
permission. Hungry and trembling in anger, Durvasa Muni chastised the
King, who stood before him with folded hands.

"Alas, just see the behaviour of his cruel man--considering himself
God, he has transgressed the laws of religion! King Ambarisa, you have
invited me to eat as a guest, but instead of feeding me you yourself
have eaten first! Because of your misbehaviour, I shall create
something to punish you!"

Durvasa Muni suddenly with his face flushed and fiercely twisted,
uprooted a tuft of hair from his head and created a demon resembling
the blazing fire of devastation. That frightful creature carried a
trident in his hand and shook the surface of the earth with his
footsteps and now he was coming before the king to kill him! But King
Ambarisa remained supremely placid and did not move even slightly. He
was totally unafraid of death for he was simply absorbed in thinking
of Krishna in the core of his heart. The king didn't even consider
asking the Lord for protection. But Lord Krishna well knows how to
protect his devotees. Immediately He sent His personal weapon, the
Sudarsana disc, to rescue the king. And as a forest fire quickly burns
an angry snake to ashes, so the blazing Sudarsana disc did away with
the demon.

Upon seeing that his attempt to kill King Ambarisa had failed, and
that the Lord's Sudarsana disc was rapidly moving toward him, Durvasa
Muni became very frightened and fled. By his mystic powers he fled
everywhere--to the sky, to caves, to the ocean, even to the heavenly
planets--but wherever he went he felt the unbearably hot Sudarsana
disc following close behind him. Finally, by an inconceivable yogic
perfection he crossed beyond the covering of the material universe and
entered one of the planets in the self-effulgent spiritual sky. Still
feeling the Sudarsana disc's scorching heat, Durvasa Muni fell at the
lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Narayana.

As he spoke Durvasa once again trembled--this time in great fear: "O
infallible, unlimited Lord! O protector of the universe, I am a great
offender. Please give me protection."

However, Lord Narayana told him, "O brahmana, I cannot act
independently, for I am completely under the control of my pure
devotees. The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and
I am always in the core of My pure devotee's heart. "O brahmana," the
Lord continued, "Now let Me advise you what to do to escape danger.
Please listen closely. When employed against My devotee, one's
so-called prowess inevitably harms him who employs it--so by offending
King Ambarisa you have acted against your own best interest.
Therefore, you should immediately go to the king and beg his
forgiveness. Do not delay even a second! If you can pacify him, then
there will be peace for you."

Durvasa Muni still feeling very much harassed by the Sudarsana disc,
he immediately left Lord Narayana and retraced his flight back to
earth. Upon reaching King Ambarisa's palace, he quickly entered the
main hall, fell down, and clasped the king's lotus feet. When Durvasa
touched his feet, King Ambarisa out of deep compassion for the sage he
began praying to the great weapon of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The king's humble prayer pacified the Sudarsana disc. Deeply grateful,
Durvasa began to praise King Ambarisa. "My dear king, today I have
experienced the greatness of Lord Krishna's devotees - for although I
greatly offended you, out of mercy you have overlooked my offence and
prayed for my good fortune. O king, I am very much obliged to you."

While awaiting the return of Durvasa Muni, the king had not taken any
food, but had maintained himself simply by drinking water for one
whole year. Now the king still did not eat. Instead, he fell at
Durvasa's feet and fed him all varieties of delicious food. After
eating, Durvasa Muni was so satisfied that with great affection he
requested the king to eat also. "Please take your meal," said Durvasa.
"I am very pleased with you, my dear king. At first I thought of you
as an ordinary human being and accepted your hospitality, but now I
see that you are the most exalted devotee of the Lord. Therefore,
simply by seeing you, touching your feet, and talking with you, I have
been pleased and have become obliged to you. All the people of this
world will continuously chant the glories of your spotless character."

In this way Durvasa redeemed himself. True, his mystic perfection was
like a valuable jewel, but he had misjudged the position of Krishna's
devotee and had acted enviously. But in the end Durvasa came to realize the true
position of the Lord's devotees. Thus he became fortunate.
Vasant Punjabi.

"Shri Vallabh Shri Vithal Sukh-kari naa-me nishpap thai nur-nari,
------Nitya Lila nitya nautam shruti na pame par."----
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