Chapter Four
Ambarīṣa Mahārāja Offended by Durvāsā Muni
This chapter describes the history of Mahārāja Nabhaga, of his son Nābhāga, and of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa.
The son of Manu was Nabhaga, and his son Nābhāga lived for many years in the gurukula. In Nābhāga’s absence, his brothers did not consider his share of the kingdom, but instead divided the property among themselves. When Nābhāga returned home, his brothers bestowed upon him their father as his share, but when Nābhāga went to his father and told him about the dealings of the brothers, his father informed him that this was cheating and advised him that for his livelihood he should go to the sacrificial arena and describe two mantras to be chanted there. Nābhāga executed the order of his father, and thus Aṅgirā and other great saintly persons gave him all the money collected in that sacrifice. To test Nābhāga, Lord Śiva challenged his claim to the wealth, but when Lord Śiva was satisfied by Nābhāga’s behavior, Lord Śiva offered him all the riches.
From Nābhāga was born Ambarīṣa, the most powerful and celebrated devotee. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was the emperor of the entire world, but he considered his opulence temporary. Indeed, knowing that such material opulence is the cause of downfall into conditional life, he was unattached to this opulence. He engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. This process is called yukta-vairāgya, or feasible renunciation, which is quite suitable for worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, as the emperor, was immensely opulent, he performed devotional service with great opulence, and therefore, despite his wealth, he had no attachment to his wife, children or kingdom. He constantly engaged his senses and mind in the service of the Lord. Therefore, to say nothing of enjoying material opulence, he never desired even liberation.
Once Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vṛndāvana, observing the vow of Dvādaśī. On Dvādaśī, the day after Ekādaśī, when he was about to break his Ekādaśī fast, the great mystic yogī Durvāsā appeared in his house and became his guest. King Ambarīṣa respectfully received Durvāsā Muni, and Durvāsā Muni, after accepting his invitation to eat there, went to bathe in the Yamunā River at noontime. Because he was absorbed in samādhi, he did not come back very soon. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, however, upon seeing that the time to break the fast was passing, drank a little water, in accordance with the advice of learned brāhmaṇas, just to observe the formality of breaking the fast. By mystic power, Durvāsā Muni could understand that this had happened, and he was very angry. When he returned he began to chastise Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, but he was not satisfied, and finally he created from his hair a demon appearing like the fire of death. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is always the protector of His devotee, and to protect Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, He sent His disc, the Sudarśana cakra, which immediately vanquished the fiery demon and then pursued Durvāsā, who was so envious of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. Durvāsā fled to Brahmaloka, Śivaloka and all the other higher planets, but he could not protect himself from the wrath of the Sudarśana cakra. Finally he went to the spiritual world and surrendered to Lord Nārāyaṇa, but Lord Nārāyaṇa could not excuse a person who had offended a Vaiṣṇava. To be excused from such an offense, one must submit to the Vaiṣṇava whom he has offended. There is no other way to be excused. Thus Lord Nārāyaṇa advised Durvāsā to return to Mahārāja Ambarīṣa and beg his pardon.
śrī-śuka uvāca
nābhāgo nabhagāpatyaṁ
yaṁ tataṁ bhrātaraḥ kavim
yaviṣṭhaṁ vyabhajan dāyaṁ
brahmacāriṇam āgatam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; nābhāgaḥNābhāga; nabhaga-apatyam—was the son of Mahārāja Nabhaga; yam—unto whom; tatam—the father; bhrātaraḥ—the elder brothers; kavim—the learned; yaviṣṭham—the youngest; vyabhajan—divided; dāyam—the property; brahmacāriṇam—having accepted the life of a brahmacārī perpetually (naiṣṭhika); āgatam—returned.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The son of Nabhaga named Nābhāga lived for a long time at the place of his spiritual master. Therefore, his brothers thought that he was not going to become a gṛhastha and would not return. Consequently, without providing a share for him, they divided the property of their father among themselves. When Nābhāga returned from the place of his spiritual master, they gave him their father as his share.
There are two kinds of brahmacārīs. One may return home, marry and become a householder, whereas the other, known as bṛhad-vrata, takes a vow to remain a brahmacārī perpetually. The bṛhad-vrata brahmacārī does not return from the place of the spiritual master; he stays there, and later he directly takes sannyāsa. Because Nābhāga did not return from the place of his spiritual master, his brothers thought that he had taken bṛhadvrata-brahmacarya. Therefore, they did not preserve his share, and when he returned they gave him their father as his share.
bhrātaro ’bhāṅkta kiṁ mahyaṁ
bhajāma pitaraṁ tava
tvāṁ mamāryās tatābhāṅkṣur
mā putraka tad ādṛthāḥ
bhrātaraḥ—O my brothers; abhāṅkta—have you given as the share of our father’s property; kim—what; mahyam—unto me; bhajāma—we allot; pitaram—the father himself; tava—as your share; tvām—you; mama—unto me; āryāḥ—my elder brothers; tata—O my father; abhāṅkṣuḥ—have given the share; —do not; putraka—O my dear son; tat—to this statement; ādṛthāḥ—give any importance.
Nābhāga inquired, “My dear brothers, what have you given to me as my share of our father’s property?” His elder brothers answered, “We have kept our father as your share.” But when Nābhāga went to his father and said, “My dear father, my elder brothers have given you as my share of property,” the father replied, “My dear son, do not rely upon their cheating words. I am not your property.”
ime aṅgirasaḥ satram
āsate ’dya sumedhasaḥ
ṣaṣṭhaṁ ṣaṣṭham upetyāhaḥ
kave muhyanti karmaṇi
ime—all these; aṅgirasaḥ—descendants of the dynasty of Aṅgirā; satram—sacrifice; āsate—are performing; adya—today; sumedhasaḥ—who are all very intelligent; ṣaṣṭham—sixth; ṣaṣṭham—sixth; upetya—after achieving; ahaḥ—day; kave—O best of learned men; muhyanti—become bewildered; karmaṇi—in discharging fruitive activities.
Nābhāga’s father said: All the descendants of Aṅgirā are now going to perform a great sacrifice, but although they are very intelligent, on every sixth day they will be bewildered in performing sacrifice and will make mistakes in their daily duties.
Nābhāga was very simple hearted. Therefore when he went to his father, the father, in compassion for his son, suggested that as a means of livelihood Nābhāga could go to the descendants of Aṅgirā and take advantage of their misgivings in performing yajña.
tāṁs tvaṁ śaṁsaya sūkte dve
vaiśvadeve mahātmanaḥ
te svar yanto dhanaṁ satra-
pariśeṣitam ātmanaḥ
dāsyanti te ’tha tān arccha
tathā sa kṛtavān yathā
tasmai dattvā yayuḥ svargaṁ
te satra-pariśeṣaṇam
tān—to all of them; tvam—yourself; śaṁsaya—describe; sūkte—Vedic hymns; dve—two; vaiśvadeve—in connection with Vaiśvadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mahātmanaḥ—to all of those great souls; te—they; svaḥ yantaḥ—while going to their respective destinations in the heavenly planets; dhanam—the wealth; satra-pariśeṣitam—which remains after the end of the yajña; ātmanaḥ—their own property; dāsyanti—will deliver; te—unto you; atha—therefore; tān—to them; arccha—go there; tathā—in that way (according to his father’s orders); saḥ—he (Nābhāga); kṛtavān—executed; yathā—as advised by his father; tasmai—unto him; dattvā—after giving; yayuḥ—went; svargam—to the heavenly planets; te—all of them; satra-pariśeṣaṇam—remnants of yajña.
Nābhāga’s father continued: “Go to those great souls and describe two Vedic hymns pertaining to Vaiśvadeva. When the great sages have completed the sacrifice and are going to the heavenly planets, they will give you the remnants of the money they have received from the sacrifice. Therefore, go there immediately.” Thus Nābhāga acted exactly according to the advice of his father, and the great sages of the Aṅgirā dynasty gave him all their wealth and then went to the heavenly planets.
taṁ kaścit svīkariṣyantaṁ
puruṣaḥ kṛṣṇa-darśanaḥ
uvācottarato ’bhyetya
mamedaṁ vāstukaṁ vasu
tam—unto Nābhāga; kaścit—someone; svīkariṣyantam—while accepting the riches given by the great sages; puruṣaḥ—a person; kṛṣṇa-darśanaḥ—black-looking; uvāca—said; uttarataḥ—from the north; abhyetya—coming; mama—my; idam—these; vāstukam—remnants of the sacrifice; vasu—all the riches.
Thereafter, while Nābhāga was accepting the riches, a black-looking person from the north came to him and said, “All the wealth from this sacrificial arena belongs to me.”
mamedam ṛṣibhir dattam
iti tarhi sma mānavaḥ
syān nau te pitari praśnaḥ
pṛṣṭavān pitaraṁ yathā
mama—my; idam—all these; ṛṣibhiḥ—by the great saintly persons; dattam—have been delivered; iti—thus; tarhi—therefore; sma—indeed; mānavaḥNābhāga; syāt—let there be; nau—of ourselves; te—your; pitari—unto the father; praśnaḥ—an inquiry; pṛṣṭavān—he also inquired; pitaram—from his father; yathā—as requested.
Nābhāga then said, “These riches belong to me. The great saintly persons have delivered them to me.” When Nābhāga said this, the black-looking person replied, “Let us go to your father and ask him to settle our disagreement.” In accordance with this, Nābhāga inquired from his father.
yajña-vāstu-gataṁ sarvam
ucchiṣṭam ṛṣayaḥ kvacit
cakrur hi bhāgaṁ rudrāya
sa devaḥ sarvam arhati
yajña-vāstu-gatam—things belonging to the sacrificial arena; sarvam—everything; ucchiṣṭam—remnants; ṛṣayaḥ—the great sages; kvacit—sometimes, in the Dakṣa-yajña; cakruḥ—did so; hi—indeed; bhāgam—share; rudrāya—unto Lord Śiva; saḥ—that; devaḥ—demigod; sarvam—everything; arhati—deserves.
The father of Nābhāga said: Whatever the great sages sacrificed in the arena of the Dakṣa-yajña, they offered to Lord Śiva as his share. Therefore, everything in the sacrificial arena certainly belongs to Lord Śiva.
nābhāgas taṁ praṇamyāha
taveśa kila vāstukam
ity āha me pitā brahmañ
chirasā tvāṁ prasādaye
nābhāgaḥNābhāga; tam—unto him (Lord Śiva); praṇamya—offering obeisances; āha—said; tava—yours; īśa—O lord; kila—certainly; vāstukam—everything in the arena of sacrifice; iti—thus; āha—said; me—my; pitā—father; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; śirasā—bowing my head; tvām—unto you; prasādaye—I am begging your mercy.
Thereupon, after offering obeisances to Lord Śiva, Nābhāga said: O worshipable lord, everything in this arena of sacrifice is yours. This is the assertion of my father. Now, with great respect, I bow my head before you, begging your mercy.
yat te pitāvadad dharmaṁ
tvaṁ ca satyaṁ prabhāṣase
dadāmi te mantra-dṛśo
jñānaṁ brahma sanātanam
yat—whatever; te—your; pitā—father; avadat—explained; dharmam—truth; tvam ca—you also; satyam—truth; prabhāṣase—are speaking; dadāmi—I shall give; te—unto you; mantra-dṛśaḥ—who know the science of mantra; jñānam—knowledge; brahma—transcendental; sanātanam—eternal.
Lord Śiva said: Whatever your father has said is the truth, and you also are speaking the same truth. Therefore, I, who know the Vedic mantras, shall explain transcendental knowledge to you.
gṛhāṇa draviṇaṁ dattaṁ
ity uktvāntarhito rudro
bhagavān dharma-vatsalaḥ
gṛhāṇa—please take now; draviṇam—all the wealth; dattam—is given (to you by me); mat-satra-pariśeṣitam—the remnants of the sacrifice executed on my behalf; iti uktvā—after speaking like this; antarhitaḥ—disappeared; rudraḥ—Lord Śiva; bhagavān—the most powerful demigod; dharma-vatsalaḥ—adherent to the principles of religion.
Lord Śiva said, “Now you may take all the wealth remaining from the sacrifice, for I give it to you.” After saying this, Lord Śiva, who is most adherent to the religious principles, disappeared from that place.
ya etat saṁsmaret prātaḥ
sāyaṁ ca susamāhitaḥ
kavir bhavati mantra-jño
gatiṁ caiva tathātmanaḥ
yaḥ—anyone who; etat—about this incident; saṁsmaret—may remember; prātaḥ—in the morning; sāyam ca—and in the evening; susamāhitaḥ—with great attention; kaviḥ—learned; bhavati—becomes; mantra-jñaḥ—well aware of all Vedic mantras; gatim—the destination; ca—also; eva—indeed; tathā ātmanaḥ—like that of the self-realized soul.
If one hears and chants or remembers this narration in the morning and evening with great attention, he certainly becomes learned, experienced in understanding the Vedic hymns, and expert in self-realization.
nābhāgād ambarīṣo ’bhūn
mahā-bhāgavataḥ kṛtī
nāspṛśad brahma-śāpo ’pi
yaṁ na pratihataḥ kvacit
nābhāgāt—from Nābhāga; ambarīṣaḥMahārāja Ambarīṣa; abhūt—took birth; mahā-bhāgavataḥ—the most exalted devotee; kṛtī—very celebrated; na aspṛśat—could not touch; brahma-śāpaḥ api—even the curse of a brāhmaṇa; yam—unto whom (Ambarīṣa Mahārāja); na—neither; pratihataḥ—failed; kvacit—at any time.
From Nābhāga, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa took birth. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was an exalted devotee, celebrated for his great merits. Although he was cursed by an infallible brāhmaṇa, the curse could not touch him.
bhagavañ chrotum icchāmi
rājarṣes tasya dhīmataḥ
na prābhūd yatra nirmukto
brahma-daṇḍo duratyayaḥ
śrī-rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit inquired; bhagavan—O great brāhmaṇa; śrotum icchāmi—I wish to hear (from you); rājarṣeḥ—of the great King Ambarīṣa; tasya—of him; dhīmataḥ—who was such a greatly sober personality; na—not; prābhūt—could act; yatra—upon whom (Mahārāja Ambarīṣa); nirmuktaḥ—being released; brahma-daṇḍaḥ—the curse of a brāhmaṇa; duratyayaḥ—which is insurmountable.
King Parīkṣit inquired: O great personality, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was certainly most exalted and meritorious in character. I wish to hear about him. How surprising it is that the curse of a brāhmaṇa, which is insurmountable, could not act upon him.
TEXTS 15–16
śrī-śuka uvāca
ambarīṣo mahā-bhāgaḥ
sapta-dvīpavatīṁ mahīm
avyayāṁ ca śriyaṁ labdhvā
vibhavaṁ cātulaṁ bhuvi
mene ’tidurlabhaṁ puṁsāṁ
sarvaṁ tat svapna-saṁstutam
vidvān vibhava-nirvāṇaṁ
tamo viśati yat pumān
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ambarīṣaḥ—King Ambarīṣa; mahā-bhāgaḥ—the greatly fortunate king; sapta-dvīpavatīm—consisting of seven islands; mahīm—the whole world; avyayām ca—and inexhaustible; śriyam—beauty; labdhvā—after achieving; vibhavam ca—and opulences; atulam—unlimited; bhuvi—in this earth; mene—he decided; ati-durlabham—which is rarely obtained; puṁsām—of many persons; sarvam—everything (he had obtained); tat—that which; svapna-saṁstutam—as if imagined in a dream; vidvān—completely understanding; vibhava-nirvāṇam—the annihilation of that opulence; tamaḥ—ignorance; viśati—fallen into; yat—because of which; pumān—a person.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the most fortunate personality, achieved the rule of the entire world, consisting of seven islands, and achieved inexhaustible, unlimited opulence and prosperity on earth. Although such a position is rarely obtained, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa did not care for it at all, for he knew very well that all such opulence is material. Like that which is imagined in a dream, such opulence will ultimately be destroyed. The King knew that any nondevotee who attains such opulence merges increasingly into material nature’s mode of darkness.
For a devotee material opulence is insignificant, whereas for a nondevotee material opulence is the cause of increasing bondage, for a devotee knows that anything material is temporary, whereas a nondevotee regards the temporary so-called happiness as everything and forgets the path of self-realization. Thus for the nondevotee material opulence is a disqualification for spiritual advancement.
vāsudeve bhagavati
tad-bhakteṣu ca sādhuṣu
prāpto bhāvaṁ paraṁ viśvaṁ
yenedaṁ loṣṭravat smṛtam
vāsudeve—unto the all-pervading Supreme Personality; bhagavati—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat-bhakteṣu—unto His devotees; ca—also; sādhuṣu—unto the saintly persons; prāptaḥ—one who has achieved; bhāvam—reverence and devotion; param—transcendental; viśvam—the whole material universe; yena—by which (spiritual consciousness); idam—this; loṣṭra-vat—as insignificant as a piece of stone; smṛtam—is accepted (by such devotees).
Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was a great devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, and of the saintly persons who are the Lord’s devotees. Because of this devotion, he thought of the entire universe as being as insignificant as a piece of stone.
TEXTS 18–20
sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor
vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane
karau harer mandira-mārjanādiṣu
śrutiṁ cakārācyuta-sat-kathodaye
mukunda-liṅgālaya-darśane dṛśau
tad-bhṛtya-gātra-sparśe ’ṅga-saṅgamam
ghrāṇaṁ ca tat-pāda-saroja-saurabhe
śrīmat-tulasyā rasanāṁ tad-arpite
pādau hareḥ kṣetra-padānusarpaṇe
śiro hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane
kāmaṁ ca dāsye na tu kāma-kāmyayā
yathottamaśloka-janāśrayā ratiḥ
saḥ—he (Mahārāja Ambarīṣa); vai—indeed; manaḥ—his mind; kṛṣṇa-pada-aravindayoḥ—(fixed) upon the two lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa; vacāṁsi—his words; vaikuṇṭha-guṇa-anuvarṇane—describing the glories of Kṛṣṇa; karau—his two hands; hareḥ mandira-mārjana-ādiṣu—in activities like cleansing the temple of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; śrutim—his ear; cakāra—engaged; acyuta—of or about Kṛṣṇa, who never falls down; sat-kathā-udaye—in hearing the transcendental narrations; mukunda-liṅga-ālaya-darśane—in seeing the Deity and temples and holy dhāmas of Mukunda; dṛśau—his two eyes; tat-bhṛtya—of the servants of Kṛṣṇa; gātra-sparśe—in touching the bodies; aṅga-saṅgamam—contact of his body; ghrāṇam ca—and his sense of smell; tat-pāda—of His lotus feet; saroja—of the lotus flower; saurabhe—in (smelling) the fragrance; śrīmat-tulasyāḥ—of the tulasī leaves; rasanām—his tongue; tat-arpite—in the prasāda offered to the Lord; pādau—his two legs; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; kṣetra—holy places like the temple or Vṛndāvana and Dvārakā; pada-anusarpaṇe—walking to those places; śiraḥ—the head; hṛṣīkeśa—of Kṛṣṇa, the master of the senses; pada-abhivandane—in offering obeisances to the lotus feet; kāmam ca—and his desires; dāsye—in being engaged as a servant; na—not; tu—indeed; kāma-kāmyayā—with a desire for sense gratification; yathā—as; uttamaśloka-jana-āśrayā—if one takes shelter of a devotee such as Prahlāda; ratiḥ—attachment.
Mahārāja Ambarīṣa always engaged his mind in meditating upon the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, his words in describing the glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord’s temple, and his ears in hearing the words spoken by Kṛṣṇa or about Kṛṣṇa. He engaged his eyes in seeing the Deity of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s temples and Kṛṣṇa’s places like Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, he engaged his sense of touch in touching the bodies of the Lord’s devotees, he engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasī offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the Lord’s prasāda. He engaged his legs in walking to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord, and all his desires in serving the Lord, twenty-four hours a day. Indeed, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa never desired anything for his own sense gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all material desires.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7.1) the Lord recommends, mayy āsakta-manāḥ pārtha yogaṁ yuñjan mad-āśrayaḥ. This indicates that one must execute devotional service under the guidance of a devotee or directly under the guidance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is not possible, however, to train oneself without guidance from the spiritual master. Therefore, according to the instructions of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the first business of a devotee is to accept a bona fide spiritual master who can train him to engage his various senses in rendering transcendental service to the Lord. The Lord also says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.1), asaṁśayaṁ samagraṁ māṁ yathā jñāsyasi tac chṛṇu. In other words, if one wants to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead in completeness, one must follow the prescriptions given by Kṛṣṇa by following in the footsteps of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. It is said, hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: [Cc. Madhya 19.170] bhakti means to engage the senses in the service of the master of the senses, Kṛṣṇa, who is called Hṛṣīkeśa or Acyuta. These words are used in these verses. Acyuta-sat-kathodaye, hṛṣīkeśa-padābhivandane. The words Acyuta and Hṛṣīkeśa are also used in Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is kṛṣṇa-kathā spoken directly by Kṛṣṇa, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also kṛṣṇa-kathā because everything described in the Bhāgavatam is in relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
evaṁ sadā karma-kalāpam ātmanaḥ
pare ’dhiyajñe bhagavaty adhokṣaje
sarvātma-bhāvaṁ vidadhan mahīm imāṁ
tan-niṣṭha-viprābhihitaḥ śaśāsa ha
evam—thus (living a devotional life); sadā—always; karma-kalāpam—the prescribed occupational duties as a kṣatriya king; ātmanaḥ—of himself, personally (the head of the state); pare—unto the supreme transcendence; adhiyajñe—unto the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer; bhagavati—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adhokṣaje—unto He who is beyond material sense perception; sarva-ātma-bhāvam—all different varieties of devotional service; vidadhat—executing, offering; mahīm—the planet earth; imām—this; tat-niṣṭha—who are faithful devotees of the Lord; vipra—by such brāhmaṇas; abhihitaḥ—directed; śaśāsa—ruled; ha—in the past.
In performing his prescribed duties as king, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa always offered the results of his royal activities to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is the enjoyer of everything and is beyond the perception of material senses. He certainly took advice from brāhmaṇas who were faithful devotees of the Lord, and thus he ruled the planet earth without difficulty.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29):
People are very much anxious to live in peace and prosperity in this material world, and here in Bhagavad-gītā the peace formula is given personally by the Supreme Personality of Godhead: everyone should understand that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the ultimate proprietor of all the planets and is therefore the enjoyer of all activities, political, social, cultural, religious, economic and so on. The Lord has given perfect advice in Bhagavad-gītā, and Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, as the ideal executive head, ruled the entire world as a Vaiṣṇava, taking advice from Vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇas. The śāstras enjoin that even though a brāhmaṇa may be well versed in the occupational brahminical duties and may be very learned in Vedic knowledge, he cannot give advice as a guru until he is a Vaiṣṇava.
ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro
avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād
vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ
Therefore, as indicated here by the words tan-niṣṭha-viprābhihitaḥ, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa took advice from brāhmaṇas who were pure devotees of the Lord, for ordinary brāhmaṇas who are merely learned scholars or experts in performing ritualistic ceremonies are not competent to give advice.
In modern times, there are legislative assemblies whose members are authorized to make laws for the welfare of the state, but according to this description of the kingdom of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the country or the world should be ruled by a chief executive whose advisors are all devotee brāhmaṇas. Such advisors or members of the legislative assembly should not be professional politicians, nor should they be selected by the ignorant public. Rather, they should be appointed by the king. When the king, the executive head of the state, is a devotee and he follows the instructions of devotee brāhmaṇas in ruling the country, everyone will be peaceful and prosperous. When the king and his advisors are perfect devotees, nothing can be wrong in the state. All the citizens should become devotees of the Lord, and then their good character will automatically follow.
yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā
sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ
harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā
manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ
“One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhāg. 5.18.12) Citizens under the guidance of a Kṛṣṇa conscious king will become devotees, and then there will be no need to enact new laws every day to reform the way of life in the state. If the citizens are trained to become devotees, they will automatically become peaceful and honest, and if they are guided by a devoted king advised by devotees, the state will not be in the material world but in the spiritual world. All the states of the world should therefore follow the ideal of the rule or administration of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, as described here.
īje ’śvamedhair adhiyajñam īśvaraṁ
tatair vasiṣṭhāsita-gautamādibhir
dhanvany abhisrotam asau sarasvatīm
īje—worshiped; aśvamedhaiḥ—by performing the horse sacrifice yajñas; adhiyajñam—to satisfy the master of all yajñas; īśvaram—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mahā-vibhūtyā—with great opulence; upacita-aṅga-dakṣiṇaiḥ—with all prescribed paraphernalia and contributions of dakṣiṇā to the brāhmaṇas; tataiḥ—executed; vasiṣṭha-asita-gautama-ādibhiḥ—by such brāhmaṇas as Vasiṣṭha, Asita and Gautama; dhanvani—in the desert; abhisrotam—inundated by the water of the river; asauMahārāja Ambarīṣa; sarasvatīm—on the bank of the Sarasvatī.
In desert countries where there flowed the River Sarasvatī, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa performed great sacrifices like the aśvamedha-yajña and thus satisfied the master of all yajñas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such sacrifices were performed with great opulence and suitable paraphernalia and with contributions of dakṣiṇā to the brāhmaṇas, who were supervised by great personalities like Vasiṣṭha, Asita and Gautama, representing the king, the performer of the sacrifices.
When one performs ritualistic sacrifices as prescribed in the Vedas, one needs expert brāhmaṇas known as yājñika-brāhmaṇas. In Kali-yuga, however, there is a scarcity of such brāhmaṇas. Therefore in Kali-yuga the sacrifice recommended in śāstra is saṅkīrtana-yajña (yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]). Instead of spending money unnecessarily on performing yajñas impossible to perform in this age of Kali because of the scarcity of yājñika-brāhmaṇas, one who is intelligent performs saṅkīrtana-yajña. Without properly performed yajñas to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there will be scarcity of rain (yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ [Bg. 3.14]). Therefore the performance of yajña is essential. Without yajña there will be a scarcity of rain, and because of this scarcity, no food grains will be produced, and there will be famines. It is the duty of the king, therefore, to perform different types of yajñas, such as the aśvamedha-yajña, to maintain the production of food grains. Annād bhavanti bhūtāni. Without food grains, both men and animals will starve. Therefore yajña is necessary for the state to perform because by yajña the people in general will be fed sumptuously. The brāhmaṇas and yājñika priests should be sufficiently paid for their expert service. This payment is called dakṣiṇā. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, as the head of the state, performed all these yajñas through great personalities like Vasiṣṭha, Gautama and Asita. Personally, however, he was engaged in devotional service, as mentioned before (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). The king or head of state must see that things go on well under proper guidance, and he must be an ideal devotee, as exemplified by Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. It is the duty of the king to see that food grains are produced even in desert countries, what to speak of elsewhere.
yasya kratuṣu gīrvāṇaiḥ
sadasyā ṛtvijo janāḥ
tulya-rūpāś cānimiṣā
vyadṛśyanta suvāsasaḥ
yasya—of whom (Mahārāja Ambarīṣa); kratuṣu—in sacrifices (performed by him); gīrvāṇaiḥ—with the demigods; sadasyāḥ—members for executing the sacrifice; ṛtvijaḥ—the priests; janāḥ—and other expert men; tulya-rūpāḥ—appearing exactly like; ca—and; animiṣāḥ—with unblinking eyes like those of the demigods; vyadṛśyanta—being seen; su-vāsasaḥ—well dressed with valuable garments.
In the sacrifice arranged by Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the members of the assembly and the priests [especially hotā, udgātā, brahmā and adhvaryu] were gorgeously dressed, and they all looked exactly like demigods. They eagerly saw to the proper performance of the yajña.
svargo na prārthito yasya
manujair amara-priyaḥ
śṛṇvadbhir upagāyadbhir
svargaḥ—life in the heavenly planets; na—not; prārthitaḥ—a subject for aspiration; yasya—of whom (Ambarīṣa Mahārāja); manujaiḥ—by the citizens; amara-priyaḥ—very dear even to the demigods; śṛṇvadbhiḥ—who were accustomed to hear; upagāyadbhiḥ—and accustomed to chant; uttamaśloka—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ceṣṭitam—about the glorious activities.
The citizens of the state of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa were accustomed to chanting and hearing about the glorious activities of the Personality of Godhead. Thus they never aspired to be elevated to the heavenly planets, which are extremely dear even to the demigods.
A pure devotee who has been trained in the practice of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord and His fame, qualities, form, paraphernalia and so on is never interested in elevation to the heavenly planets, even though such places are extremely dear even to the demigods.
nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve
na kutaścana bibhyati
api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ
“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, never fear any condition of life. The heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same to a devotee.” (Bhāg. 6.17.28) A devotee is always situated in the spiritual world. Therefore he does not desire anything. He is known as akāma, or desireless, because he has nothing to desire except to render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was a most exalted devotee of the Lord, he trained his subjects in such a way that the citizens in his state were not interested in anything material, including even the happiness of the heavenly planets.
saṁvardhayanti yat kāmāḥ
durlabhā nāpi siddhānāṁ
mukundaṁ hṛdi paśyataḥ
saṁvardhayanti—increase happiness; yat—because; kāmāḥ—such aspirations; svā-rājya—situated in his own constitutional position of rendering service to the Lord; paribhāvitāḥ—saturated with such aspirations; durlabhāḥ—very rarely obtained; na—not; api—also; siddhānām—of the great mystics; mukundamKṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hṛdi—within the core of the heart; paśyataḥ—persons always accustomed to seeing Him.
Those who are saturated with the transcendental happiness of rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead are uninterested even in the achievements of great mystics, for such achievements do not enhance the transcendental bliss felt by a devotee who always thinks of Kṛṣṇa within the core of his heart.
A pure devotee is uninterested not only in elevation to the higher planetary systems but even in the perfections of mystic yoga. Real perfection is devotional service. The happiness derived from merging in the impersonal Brahman and the happiness derived from the eight perfections of mystic yoga (aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti and so on) do not give any pleasure to the devotee. As stated by Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī:
kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate
durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate
viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate
yat kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ
(Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5)
When a devotee has achieved the position of rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord through the mercy of Lord Caitanya, he thinks the impersonal Brahman to be no better than hell, and he regards material happiness in the heavenly planets to be like a will-o’-the-wisp. As far as the perfection of mystic powers is concerned, a devotee compares it to a venomous snake with no teeth. A mystic yogī is especially concerned with controlling the senses, but because the senses of a devotee are engaged in the service of the Lord (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]) there is no need for separate control of the senses. For those who are materially engaged, control of the senses is required, but a devotee’s senses are all engaged in the service of the Lord, which means that they are already controlled. paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (Bg. 2.59). A devotee’s senses are not attracted by material enjoyment. And even though the material world is full of misery, the devotee considers this material world to be also spiritual because everything is engaged in the service of the Lord. The difference between the spiritual world and material world is the mentality of service. Nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate. When there is no mentality of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one’s activities are material.
That which is not engaged in the service of the Lord is material, and nothing thus engaged should be given up. In the construction of a high skyscraper and the construction of a temple, there may be the same enthusiasm, but the endeavors are different, for one is material and the other spiritual. Spiritual activities should not be confused with material activities and given up. Nothing connected with Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is material. A devotee who considers all this is always situated in spiritual activities, and therefore he is no longer attracted by material activities (paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate).
sa itthaṁ bhakti-yogena
tapo-yuktena pārthivaḥ
sva-dharmeṇa hariṁ prīṇan
sarvān kāmān śanair jahau
saḥ—he (Ambarīṣa Mahārāja); ittham—in this way; bhakti-yogena—by performing transcendental loving service to the Lord; tapaḥ-yuktena—which is simultaneously the best process of austerity; pārthivaḥ—the King; sva-dharmeṇa—by his constitutional activities; harim—unto the Supreme Lord; prīṇan—satisfying; sarvān—all varieties of; kāmān—material desires; śanaiḥ—gradually; jahau—gave up.
The king of this planet, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, thus performed devotional service to the Lord and in this endeavor practiced severe austerity. Always satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his constitutional activities, he gradually gave up all material desires.
Severe austerities in the practice of devotional service are of many varieties. For example, in worshiping the Deity in the temple there are certainly laborious activities. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā śṛṅgāra-tan-mandira-mārjanādau . One must decorate the Deity, cleanse the temple, bring water from the Ganges and Yamunā, continue the routine work, perform ārati many times, prepare first-class food for the Deity, prepare dresses and so on. In this way, one must constantly be engaged in various activities, and the hard labor involved is certainly an austerity. Similarly, the hard labor involved in preaching, preparing literature, preaching to atheistic men and distributing literature door to door is of course an austerity (tapo-yuktena). Tapo divyaṁ putrakā. Such austerity is necessary. Yena sattvaṁ śuddhyet. By such austerity in devotional service, one is purified of material existence (kāmān śanair jahau). Indeed, such austerity leads one to the constitutional position of devotional service. In this way one can give up material desires, and as soon as one is freed from material desires, he is free from the repetition of birth and death, old age and disease.
gṛheṣu dāreṣu suteṣu bandhuṣu
ananta-kośeṣv akarod asan-matim
gṛheṣu—in the homes; dāreṣu—in wives; suteṣu—in children; bandhuṣu—in friends and relatives; dvipa-uttama—in the best of powerful elephants; syandana—in nice chariots; vāji—in first-class horses; vastuṣu—in all such things; akṣayya—whose value never decreases; ratna—in jewels; ābharaṇa—in ornaments; ambara-ādiṣu—in such dresses and ornaments; ananta-kośeṣu—in an inexhaustible treasury; akarot—accepted; asat-matim—no attachment.
Mahārāja Ambarīṣa gave up all attachment to household affairs, wives, children, friends and relatives, to the best of powerful elephants, to beautiful chariots, carts, horses and inexhaustible jewels, and to ornaments, garments and an inexhaustible treasury. He gave up attachment to all of them, regarding them as temporary and material.
Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ. Material possessions can be accepted as far as they can be used in devotional service. Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam. Ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ prātikūlyasya varjanam. In preaching, many things considered material are needed. A devotee should not have any attachment for such material involvements as house, wife, children, friends and cars. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, for example, had all such things, but he was not attached to them. This is the effect of bhakti-yoga. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra ca (Bhāg. 11.2.42). One who is advanced in devotional service has no attachment for material things for sense enjoyment, but for preaching, to spread the glories of the Lord, he accepts such things without attachment. Anāsaktasya viṣayān yathārham upayuñjataḥ. Everything can be used to the extent that it can be engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service.
tasmā adād dhariś cakraṁ
prīto bhaktābhirakṣaṇam
tasmai—unto him (Ambarīṣa Mahārāja); adāt—gave; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; cakram—His disc; pratyanīka-bhaya-āvaham—the Lord’s disc, which was extremely fearful to the enemies of the Lord and His devotees; ekānta-bhakti-bhāvena—because of his performing unalloyed devotional service; prītaḥ—the Lord being so pleased; bhakta-abhirakṣaṇam—for the protection of His devotees.
Being very pleased by the unalloyed devotion of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gave the King His disc, which is fearful to enemies and which always protects the devotee from enemies and adversities.
A devotee, being always engaged in the service of the Lord, may not be expert in self-defense, but because a devotee fully depends on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is always sure of protection by the Lord. Prahlāda Mahārāja said:
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaraṇyās
(Bhāg. 7.9.43)
A devotee is always merged in the ocean of the transcendental bliss of rendering service to the Lord. Therefore he is not at all afraid of any adverse situation in the material world. The Lord also promises, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O Arjuna, you may declare to the world that the devotees of the Lord are never vanquished.” (Bg. 9.31) For the protection of the devotees, Kṛṣṇa’s disc, the Sudarśana cakra, is always ready. This disc is extremely fearful to the nondevotees (pratyanīka-bhayāvaham). Therefore although Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was fully engaged in devotional service, his kingdom was free of all fear of adversity.
ārirādhayiṣuḥ kṛṣṇaṁ
mahiṣyā tulya-śīlayā
yuktaḥ sāṁvatsaraṁ vīro
dadhāra dvādaśī-vratam
ārirādhayiṣuḥ—aspiring to worship; kṛṣṇam—the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa; mahiṣyā—with his queen; tulya-śīlayā—who was equally as qualified as Mahārāja Ambarīṣa; yuktaḥ—together; sāṁvatsaram—for one year; vīraḥ—the King; dadhāra—accepted; dvādaśī-vratam—the vow for observing Ekādaśī and Dvādaśī.
To worship Lord Kṛṣṇa, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, along with his queen, who was equally qualified, observed the vow of Ekādaśī and Dvādaśī for one year.
To observe Ekādaśī-vrata and Dvādaśī-vrata means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those interested in advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness must observe Ekādaśī-vrata regularly. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa’s queen was equally as qualified as the King. Therefore it was possible for Mahārāja Ambarīṣa to engage his life in household affairs. In this regard, the word tulya-śīlayā is very significant. Unless a wife is equally as qualified as her husband, household affairs are very difficult to continue. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita advises that a person in such a situation should immediately give up household life and become a vānaprastha or sannyāsī:
mātā yasya gṛhe nāsti
bhāryā cāpriya-vādinī
araṇyaṁ tena gantavyaṁ
yathāraṇyaṁ tathā gṛham
A person who has no mother at home and whose wife is not agreeable with him should immediately go away to the forest. Because human life is meant for spiritual advancement only, one’s wife must be helpful in this endeavor. Otherwise there is no need of household life.
vratānte kārtike māsi
tri-rātraṁ samupoṣitaḥ
snātaḥ kadācit kālindyāṁ
hariṁ madhuvane ’rcayat
vrata-ante—at the end of observing the vow; kārtike—in the month of Kārtika (October–November); māsi—in that month; tri-rātram—for three nights; samupoṣitaḥ—after completely observing the fast; snātaḥ—after bathing; kadācit—once upon a time; kālindyām—on the bank of the Yamunā; harim—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; madhuvane—in that part of the Vṛndāvana area known as Madhuvana; arcayat—worshiped the Lord.
In the month of Kārtika, after observing that vow for one year, after observing a fast for three nights and after bathing in the Yamunā, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, in Madhuvana.
TEXTS 31–32
pūjayām āsa keśavam
brāhmaṇāṁś ca mahā-bhāgān
siddhārthān api bhaktitaḥ
mahā-abhiṣeka-vidhinā—by the regulative principles for bathing the Deity; sarva-upaskara-sampadā—by all the paraphernalia for worshiping the Deity; abhiṣicya—after bathing; ambara-ākalpaiḥ—with nice clothing and ornaments; gandha-mālya—with fragrant flower garlands; arhaṇa-ādibhiḥ—and with other paraphernalia to worship the Deity; tat-gata-antara-bhāvena—his mind saturated with devotional service; pūjayām āsa—he worshiped; keśavam—unto Kṛṣṇa; brāhmaṇān ca—and the brāhmaṇas; mahā-bhāgān—who were greatly fortunate; siddha-arthān—self-satisfied, without waiting for any worship; api—even; bhaktitaḥ—with great devotion.
Following the regulative principles of mahābhiṣeka, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa performed the bathing ceremony for the Deity of Lord Kṛṣṇa with all paraphernalia, and then he dressed the Deity with fine clothing, ornaments, fragrant flower garlands and other paraphernalia for worship of the Lord. With attention and devotion, he worshiped Kṛṣṇa and all the greatly fortunate brāhmaṇas who were free from material desires.
TEXTS 33–35
gavāṁ rukma-viṣāṇīnāṁ
rūpyāṅghrīṇāṁ suvāsasām
prāhiṇot sādhu-viprebhyo
gṛheṣu nyarbudāni ṣaṭ
bhojayitvā dvijān agre
svādv annaṁ guṇavattamam
labdha-kāmair anujñātaḥ
tasya tarhy atithiḥ sākṣād
durvāsā bhagavān abhūt
gavām—cows; rukma-viṣāṇīnām—whose horns were covered with gold plate; rūpya-aṅghrīṇām—whose hooves were covered with silver plate; su-vāsasām—very nicely decorated with garments; payaḥ-śīla—with full milk bags; vayaḥ—young; rūpa—beautiful; vatsa-upaskara-sampadām—with nice calves; prāhiṇot—gave in charity; sādhu-viprebhyaḥ—unto the brāhmaṇas and saintly persons; gṛheṣu—(who arrived) in his house; nyarbudāni—ten crores (one hundred million); ṣaṭ—six times; bhojayitvā—feeding them; dvijān agre—first the brāhmaṇas; svādu annam—very tasteful eatables; guṇavat-tamam—highly delicious; labdha-kāmaiḥ—by those brāhmaṇas, being fully satisfied; anujñātaḥ—by their permission; pāraṇāya—for completing the Dvādaśī; upacakrame—was just about to observe the final ceremony; tasya—of him (Ambarīṣa); tarhi—immediately; atithiḥ—unwanted or uncalled-for guest; sākṣāt—directly; durvāsāḥ—the great mystic Durvāsā; bhagavān—very powerful; abhūt—appeared on the scene as a guest.
Thereafter, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa satisfied all the guests who arrived at his house, especially the brāhmaṇas. He gave in charity sixty crores of cows whose horns were covered with gold plate and whose hooves were covered with silver plate. All the cows were well decorated with garments and had full milk bags. They were mild-natured, young and beautiful and were accompanied by their calves. After giving these cows, the King first sumptuously fed all the brāhmaṇas, and when they were fully satisfied, he was about to observe the end of Ekādaśī, with their permission, by breaking the fast. Exactly at that time, however, Durvāsā Muni, the great and powerful mystic, appeared on the scene as an uninvited guest.
tam ānarcātithiṁ bhūpaḥ
yayāce ’bhyavahārāya
pāda-mūlam upāgataḥ
tam—unto him (Durvāsā); ānarca—worshiped; atithim—although an uninvited guest; bhūpaḥ—the King (Ambarīṣa); pratyutthāna—by standing up; āsana—by offering a seat; arhaṇaiḥ—and by paraphernalia for worship; yayāce—requested; abhyavahārāya—for eating; pāda-mūlam—at the root of his feet; upāgataḥ—fell down.
After standing up to receive Durvāsā Muni, King Ambarīṣa offered him a seat and paraphernalia of worship. Then, sitting at his feet, the King requested the great sage to eat.
pratinandya sa tāṁ yācñāṁ
kartum āvaśyakaṁ gataḥ
nimamajja bṛhad dhyāyan
kālindī-salile śubhe
pratinandya—gladly accepting; saḥ—Durvāsā Muni; tām—that; yācñām—request; kartum—to perform; āvaśyakam—the necessary ritualistic ceremonies; gataḥ—went; nimamajja—dipped his body in the water; bṛhat—the Supreme Brahman; dhyāyan—meditating on; kālindī—of the Yamunā; salile—in the water; śubhe—very auspicious.
Durvāsā Muni gladly accepted the request of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, but to perform the regulative ritualistic ceremonies he went to the River Yamunā. There he dipped into the water of the auspicious Yamunā and meditated upon the impersonal Brahman.
dvādaśyāṁ pāraṇaṁ prati
cintayām āsa dharma-jño
dvijais tad-dharma-saṅkaṭe
muhūrta-ardha-avaśiṣṭāyām—was remaining only for half a moment; dvādaśyām—when the Dvādaśī day; pāraṇam—the breaking of the fast; prati—to observe; cintayām āsa—began to think about; dharma-jñaḥ—one who knows the principles of religion; dvijaiḥ—by the brāhmaṇas; tat-dharma—concerning that religious principle; saṅkaṭe—in such a dangerous condition.
In the meantime, only a muhūrta of the Dvādaśī day was left on which to break the fast. Consequently, it was imperative that the fast be broken immediately. In this dangerous situation, the King consulted learned brāhmaṇas.
TEXTS 39–40
brāhmaṇātikrame doṣo
dvādaśyāṁ yad apāraṇe
yat kṛtvā sādhu me bhūyād
adharmo vā na māṁ spṛśet
ambhasā kevalenātha
kariṣye vrata-pāraṇam
āhur ab-bhakṣaṇaṁ viprā
hy aśitaṁ nāśitaṁ ca tat
brāhmaṇa-atikrame—in surpassing the rules of respect to the brāhmaṇas; doṣaḥ—there is a fault; dvādaśyām—on the Dvādaśī day; yat—because; apāraṇe—in not breaking the fast in due time; yat kṛtvā—after doing which action; sādhu—what is auspicious; me—unto me; bhūyāt—may so become; adharmaḥ—what is irreligious; —either; na—not; mām—unto me; spṛśet—may touch; ambhasā—by water; kevalena—only; atha—therefore; kariṣye—I shall execute; vrata-pāraṇam—the completion of the vow; āhuḥ—said; ap-bhakṣaṇam—drinking water; viprāḥ—O brāhmaṇas; hi—indeed; aśitam—eating; na aśitam ca—as well as not eating; tat—such an action.
The King said: “To transgress the laws of respectful behavior toward the brāhmaṇas is certainly a great offense. On the other hand, if one does not observe the breaking of the fast within the time of Dvādaśī, there is a flaw in one’s observance of the vow. Therefore, O brāhmaṇas, if you think that it will be auspicious and not irreligious, I shall break the fast by drinking water.” In this way, after consulting with the brāhmaṇas, the King reached this decision, for according to brahminical opinion, drinking water may be accepted as eating and also as not eating.
When Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, in his dilemma, consulted the brāhmaṇas about whether he should break the fast or wait for Durvāsā Muni, apparently they could not give a definite answer about what to do. A Vaiṣṇava, however, is the most intelligent personality. Therefore Mahārāja Ambarīṣa himself decided, in the presence of the brāhmaṇas, that he would drink a little water, for this would confirm that the fast was broken but would not transgress the laws for receiving a brāhmaṇa. In the Vedas it is said, apo ’śnāti tan naivāśitaṁ naivānaśitam. This Vedic injunction declares that the drinking of water may be accepted as eating or as not eating. Sometimes in our practical experience we see that some political leader adhering to satyāgraha will not eat but will drink water. Considering that drinking water would not be eating, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa decided to act in this way.
ity apaḥ prāśya rājarṣiś
cintayan manasācyutam
pratyacaṣṭa kuru-śreṣṭha
dvijāgamanam eva saḥ
iti—thus; apaḥ—water; prāśya—after drinking; rājarṣiḥ—the great King Ambarīṣa; cintayan—meditating upon; manasā—by the mind; acyutam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pratyacaṣṭa—began to wait; kuru-śreṣṭha—O best of the Kuru kings; dvija-āgamanam—the return of Durvāsā Muni, the great mystic brāhmaṇa; eva—indeed; saḥ—the King.
O best of the Kuru dynasty, after he drank some water, King Ambarīṣa, meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, waited for the return of the great mystic Durvāsā Muni.
durvāsā yamunā-kūlāt
kṛtāvaśyaka āgataḥ
rājñābhinanditas tasya
bubudhe ceṣṭitaṁ dhiyā
durvāsāḥ—the great sage; yamunā-kūlāt—from the bank of the River Yamunā; kṛta—had been performed; āvaśyakaḥ—he by whom the necessary ritualistic ceremonies; āgataḥ—returned; rājñā—by the King; abhinanditaḥ—being well received; tasya—his; bubudhe—could understand; ceṣṭitam—performance; dhiyā—by intelligence.
After executing the ritualistic ceremonies to be performed at noon, Durvāsā returned from the bank of the Yamunā. The King received him well, offering all respects, but Durvāsā Muni, by his mystic power, could understand that King Ambarīṣa had drunk water without his permission.
manyunā pracalad-gātro
bubhukṣitaś ca sutarāṁ
kṛtāñjalim abhāṣata
manyunā—agitated by great anger; pracalat-gātraḥ—his body trembling; bhru-kuṭī—by the eyebrows; kuṭila—curved; ānanaḥ—face; bubhukṣitaḥ ca—and hungry at the same time; sutarām—very much; kṛta-añjalim—to Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, who stood there with folded hands; abhāṣata—he addressed.
Still hungry, Durvāsā Muni, his body trembling, his face curved and his eyebrows crooked in a frown, angrily spoke as follows to King Ambarīṣa, who stood before him with folded hands.
aho asya nṛ-śaṁsasya
śriyonmattasya paśyata
dharma-vyatikramaṁ viṣṇor
aho—alas; asya—of this man; nṛ-śaṁsasya—who is so cruel; śriyā unmattasya—puffed up because of great opulence; paśyata—everyone just see; dharma-vyatikramam—the transgression of the regulative principles of religion; viṣṇoḥ abhaktasya—who is not a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu; īśa-māninaḥ—considering himself the Supreme Lord, independent of everything.
Alas, just see the behavior of this cruel man! He is not a devotee of Lord Viṣṇu. Being proud of his material opulence and his position, he considers himself God. Just see how he has transgressed the laws of religion.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has diverted the entire meaning of this verse as spoken by Durvāsā Muni. Durvāsā Muni used the word nṛ-śaṁsasya to indicate that the King was cruel, but Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura interprets it to mean that the King’s character was glorified by all the local people. He says that the word nṛ means “by all the local people” and that śaṁsasya means “of he (Ambarīṣa) whose character was glorified.” Similarly, one who is very rich becomes mad because of his wealth and is therefore called śriyā-unmattasya, but Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura interprets these words to mean that although Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was such an opulent king, he was not mad after money, for he had already surpassed the madness of material opulence. Similarly, the word īśa-māninaḥ is interpreted to mean that he was so respectful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he did not transgress the laws for observing Ekādaśī-pāraṇa, despite the thinking of Durvāsā Muni, for he only took water. In this way, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has supported Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and all his activities.
yo mām atithim āyātam
ātithyena nimantrya ca
adattvā bhuktavāṁs tasya
sadyas te darśaye phalam
yaḥ—this man who; mām—unto me; atithim—who, being an uninvited guest; āyātam—had come here; ātithyena—with the reception of a guest; nimantrya—after inviting me; ca—also; adattvā—without giving (food); bhuktavān—has himself eaten; tasya—of him; sadyaḥ—immediately; te—of you; darśaye—I shall show; phalam—the result.
Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, you have invited me to eat as a guest, but instead of feeding me, you yourself have eaten first. Because of your misbehavior, I shall show you something to punish you.
A devotee cannot be defeated by a so-called mystic yogī. This will be proved by the failure of Durvāsā Muni’s endeavor to chastise Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇāḥ (Bhāg. 5.18.12). One who is not a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord has no good qualifications, however great a mystic, philosopher or fruitive worker he may be. Only a devotee emerges victorious in all circumstances, as will be shown in this incident involving the rivalry between Durvāsā and Mahārāja Ambarīṣa.
evaṁ bruvāṇa utkṛtya
jaṭāṁ roṣa-pradīpitaḥ
tayā sa nirmame tasmai
kṛtyāṁ kālānalopamām
evam—thus; bruvāṇaḥ—speaking (Durvāsā Muni); utkṛtya—uprooting; jaṭām—a bunch of hair; roṣa-pradīpitaḥ—being reddish because he was very angry; tayā—by that bunch of hair from his head; saḥ—Durvāsā Muni; nirmame—created; tasmai—to punish Mahārāja Ambarīṣa; kṛtyām—a demon; kāla-anala-upamām—appearing just like the blazing fire of devastation.
As Durvāsā Muni said this, his face became red with anger. Uprooting a bunch of hair from his head, he created a demon resembling the blazing fire of devastation to punish Mahārāja Ambarīṣa.
tām āpatantīṁ jvalatīm
asi-hastāṁ padā bhuvam
vepayantīṁ samudvīkṣya
na cacāla padān nṛpaḥ
tām—that (demon); āpatantīm—coming forward to attack him; jvalatīm—blazing like fire; asi-hastām—with a trident in his hand; padā—with his footstep; bhuvam—the surface of the earth; vepayantīm—causing to tremble; samudvīkṣya—seeing him perfectly; na—not; cacāla—moved; padāt—from his place; nṛpaḥ—the King.
Taking a trident in his hand and making the surface of the earth tremble with his footsteps, that blazing creature came before Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. But the King, upon seeing him, was not at all disturbed and did not move even slightly from his position.
Nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati (Bhāg. 6.17.28). A pure devotee of Nārāyaṇa is never afraid of any material danger. There are many examples of devotees such as Prahlāda Mahārāja, who was tortured by his father but was not at all afraid, although he was only a five-year-old boy. Therefore, following the examples of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja and Prahlāda Mahārāja, a devotee should learn how to tolerate all such awkward positions in this world. Devotees are often tortured by nondevotees, yet the pure devotee, depending fully on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is never disturbed by such inimical activities.
prāg diṣṭaṁ bhṛtya-rakṣāyāṁ
puruṣeṇa mahātmanā
dadāha kṛtyāṁ tāṁ cakraṁ
kruddhāhim iva pāvakaḥ
prāk diṣṭam—as previously arranged; bhṛtya-rakṣāyām—for the protection of his servants; puruṣeṇa—by the Supreme Person; mahā-ātmanā—by the Supersoul; dadāha—burnt to ashes; kṛtyām—that created demon; tām—him; cakram—the disc; kruddha—angry; ahim—a serpent; iva—like; pāvakaḥ—fire.
As fire in the forest immediately burns to ashes an angry snake, so, by the previous order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His disc, the Sudarśana cakra, immediately burnt to ashes the created demon to protect the Lord’s devotee.
As a pure devotee, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, although in such danger, did not move an inch from his position, nor did he request the Supreme Personality of Godhead to give him protection. He was fixed in understanding, and it was certain that he was simply thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the core of his heart. A devotee is never fearful of his death, for he meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead always, not for any material profit, but as his duty. The Lord, however, knows how to protect His devotee. As indicated by the words prāg diṣṭam, the Lord knew everything. Therefore, before anything happened, He had already arranged for His cakra to protect Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. This protection is offered to a devotee even from the very beginning of his devotional service. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (Bg. 9.31). If one simply begins devotional service, he is immediately protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.66): ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi. Protection begins immediately. The Lord is so kind and merciful that He gives the devotee proper guidance and all protection, and thus the devotee very peacefully makes solid progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness without outward disturbances. A serpent may be very angry and ready to bite, but the furious snake is helpless when faced by a blazing fire in the forest. Although an enemy of a devotee may be very strong, he is compared to an angry serpent before the fire of devotional service.
tad-abhidravad udvīkṣya
sva-prayāsaṁ ca niṣphalam
durvāsā dudruve bhīto
dikṣu prāṇa-parīpsayā
tat—of that disc; abhidravat—moving toward him; udvīkṣya—after seeing; sva-prayāsam—his own attempt; ca—and; niṣphalam—having failed; durvāsāḥ—Durvāsā Muni; dudruve—began to run; bhītaḥ—full of fear; dikṣu—in every direction; prāṇa-parīpsayā—with a desire to save his life.
Upon seeing that his own attempt had failed and that the Sudarśana cakra was moving toward him, Durvāsā Muni became very frightened and began to run in all directions to save his life.
tam anvadhāvad bhagavad-rathāṅgaṁ
dāvāgnir uddhūta-śikho yathāhim
tathānuṣaktaṁ munir īkṣamāṇo
guhāṁ vivikṣuḥ prasasāra meroḥ
tam—unto Durvāsā; anvadhāvat—began to follow; bhagavat-ratha-aṅgam—the disc appearing from the wheel of the Lord’s chariot; dāva-agniḥ—like a forest fire; uddhūta—blazing high; śikhaḥ—having flames; yathā ahim—as it follows a snake; tathā—in the same way; anuṣaktam—as if touching Durvāsā Muni’s back; muniḥ—the sage; īkṣamāṇaḥ—seeing like that; guhām—a cave; vivikṣuḥ—wanted to enter; prasasāra—began to move quickly; meroḥ—of Meru Mountain.
As the blazing flames of a forest fire pursue a snake, the disc of the Supreme Personality of Godhead began following Durvāsā Muni. Durvāsā Muni saw that the disc was almost touching his back, and thus he ran very swiftly, desiring to enter a cave of Sumeru Mountain.
diśo nabhaḥ kṣmāṁ vivarān samudrān
lokān sapālāṁs tridivaṁ gataḥ saḥ
yato yato dhāvati tatra tatra
sudarśanaṁ duṣprasahaṁ dadarśa
diśaḥ—all directions; nabhaḥ—in the sky; kṣmām—on the surface of the earth; vivarān—within the holes; samudrān—within the seas; lokān—all places; sa-pālān—as well as their rulers; tridivam—the heavenly planets; gataḥ—gone; saḥ—Durvāsā Muni; yataḥ yataḥ—wheresoever; dhāvati—he went; tatra tatra—there, everywhere; sudarśanam—the disc of the Lord; duṣprasaham—extremely fearful; dadarśa—Durvāsā Muni saw.
Just to protect himself, Durvāsā Muni fled everywhere, in all directions—in the sky, on the surface of the earth, in caves, in the ocean, on different planets of the rulers of the three worlds, and even on the heavenly planets—but wherever he went he immediately saw following him the unbearable fire of the Sudarśana cakra.
alabdha-nāthaḥ sa sadā kutaścit
santrasta-citto ’raṇam eṣamāṇaḥ
devaṁ viriñcaṁ samagād vidhātas
trāhy ātma-yone ’jita-tejaso mām
alabdha-nāthaḥ—without getting the shelter of a protector; saḥ—Durvāsā Muni; sadā—always; kutaścit—somewhere; santrasta-cittaḥ—with a fearful heart; araṇam—a person who can give shelter; eṣamāṇaḥ—seeking; devam—at last to the chief demigod; viriñcam—Lord Brahmā; samagāt—approached; vidhātaḥ—O my lord; trāhi—kindly protect; ātma-yone—O Lord Brahmā; ajita-tejasaḥ—from the fire released by Ajita, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mām—unto me.
With a fearful heart, Durvāsā Muni went here and there seeking shelter, but when he could find no shelter, he finally approached Lord Brahmā and said, “O my lord, O Lord Brahmā, kindly protect me from the blazing Sudarśana cakra sent by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
TEXTS 53–54
sthānaṁ madīyaṁ saha-viśvam etat
krīḍāvasāne dvi-parārdha-saṁjñe
bhrū-bhaṅga-mātreṇa hi sandidhakṣoḥ
kālātmano yasya tirobhaviṣyati
ahaṁ bhavo dakṣa-bhṛgu-pradhānāḥ
sarve vayaṁ yan-niyamaṁ prapannā
mūrdhnyārpitaṁ loka-hitaṁ vahāmaḥ
śrī-brahmā uvāca—Lord Brahmā said; sthānam—the place where I am; madīyam—my residence, Brahmaloka; saha—with; viśvam—the whole universe; etat—this; krīḍā-avasāne—at the end of the period for the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dvi-parārdha-saṁjñe—the time known as the end of a dvi-parārdha; bhrū-bhaṅga-mātreṇa—simply by the flicking of the eyebrows; hi—indeed; sandidhakṣoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He desires to burn the whole universe; kāla-ātmanaḥ—of the form of destruction; yasya—of whom; tirobhaviṣyati—will be vanquished; aham—I; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; dakṣaPrajāpati Dakṣa; bhṛgu—the great saint Bhṛgu; pradhānāḥ—and others headed by them; prajā-īśa—the controllers of the prajās; bhūta-īśa—the controllers of the living entities; sura-īśa—the controllers of the demigods; mukhyāḥ—headed by them; sarve—all of them; vayam—we also; yat-niyamam—whose regulative principle; prapannāḥ—are surrendered; mūrdhnyā arpitam—bowing our heads; loka-hitam—for the benefit of all living entities; vahāmaḥ—carry out the orders ruling over the living entities.
Lord Brahmā said: At the end of the dvi-parārdha, when the pastimes of the Lord come to an end, Lord Viṣṇu, by a flick of His eyebrows, vanquishes the entire universe, including our places of residence. Such personalities as me and Lord Śiva, as well as Dakṣa, Bhṛgu and similar great saints of which they are the head, and also the rulers of the living entities, the rulers of human society and the rulers of the demigods—all of us surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, bowing our heads, to carry out His orders for the benefit of all living entities.
In Bhagavad-gītā (10.34) it is said, mṛtyuḥ sama-haraś cāham: when the Supreme Personality of Godhead approaches as death, or the supreme controller of time, He takes everything away. In other words, all opulence, prestige and everything we possess is given by the Supreme Lord for some purpose. It is the duty of the surrendered soul to execute the orders of the Supreme. No one can disregard Him. Under the circumstances, Lord Brahmā refused to give shelter to Durvāsā Muni from the powerful Sudarśana cakra sent by the Lord.
pratyākhyāto viriñcena
durvāsāḥ śaraṇaṁ yātaḥ
śarvaṁ kailāsa-vāsinam
pratyākhyātaḥ—being refused; viriñcena—by Lord Brahmā; viṣṇu-cakra-upatāpitaḥ—being scorched by the blazing fire of Lord Viṣṇu’s disc; durvāsāḥ—the great mystic named Durvāsā; śaraṇam—f or shelter; yātaḥ—went; śarvam—unto Lord Śiva; kailāsa-vāsinam—the resident of the place known as Kailāsa.
When Durvāsā, who was greatly afflicted by the blazing fire of the Sudarśana cakra, was thus refused by Lord Brahmā, he tried to take shelter of Lord Śiva, who always resides on his planet, known as Kailāsa.
śrī-śaṅkara uvāca
vayaṁ na tāta prabhavāma bhūmni
yasmin pare ’nye ’py aja-jīva-kośāḥ
bhavanti kāle na bhavanti hīdṛśāḥ
sahasraśo yatra vayaṁ bhramāmaḥ
śrī-śaṅkaraḥ uvāca—Lord Śiva said; vayam—we; na—not; tāta—O my dear son; prabhavāmaḥ—sufficiently able; bhūmni—unto the great Supreme Personality of Godhead; yasmin—in whom; pare—in the Transcendence; anye—others; api—even; aja—Lord Brahmā; jīva—living entities; kośāḥ—the universes; bhavanti—can become; kāle—in due course of time; na—not; bhavanti—can become; hi—indeed; īdṛśāḥ—like this; sahasraśaḥ—many thousands and millions; yatra—wherein; vayam—all of us; bhramāmaḥ—are rotating.
Lord Śiva said: My dear son, I, Lord Brahmā and the other demigods, who rotate within this universe under the misconception of our greatness, cannot exhibit any power to compete with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for innumerable universes and their inhabitants come into existence and are annihilated by the simple direction of the Lord.
There are innumerable universes in the material world, and there are innumerable Lord Brahmās, Lord Śivas and other demigods. All of them rotate within this material world under the supreme direction of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore no one is able to compete with the strength of the Lord. Lord Śiva also refused to protect Durvāsā, for Lord Śiva also was under the rays of the Sudarśana cakra sent by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
TEXTS 57–59
ahaṁ sanat-kumāraś ca
nārado bhagavān ajaḥ
kapilo ’pāntaratamo
devalo dharma āsuriḥ
marīci-pramukhāś cānye
siddheśāḥ pāra-darśanāḥ
vidāma na vayaṁ sarve
yan-māyāṁ māyayāvṛtāḥ
tasya viśveśvarasyedaṁ
śastraṁ durviṣahaṁ hi naḥ
tam evaṁ śaraṇaṁ yāhi
haris te śaṁ vidhāsyati
aham—I; sanat-kumāraḥ ca—and the four Kumāras (Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanat-kumāra and Sananda); nāradaḥ—the heavenly sage Nārada; bhagavān ajaḥ—the supreme creature of the universe, Lord Brahmā; kapilaḥ—the son of Devahūti; apāntaratamaḥ—Vyāsadeva; devalaḥ—the great sage Devala; dharmaḥ—Yamarāja; āsuriḥ—the great saint Āsuri; marīci—the great saint Marīci; pramukhāḥ—headed by; ca—also; anye—others; siddha-īśāḥ—all of them perfect in their knowledge; pāra-darśanāḥ—they have seen the end of all knowledge; vidāmaḥ—can understand; na—not; vayam—all of us; sarve—totally; yat-māyām—the illusory energy of whom; māyayā—by that illusory energy; āvṛtāḥ—being covered; tasya—His; viśva-īśvarasya—of the Lord of the universe; idam—this; śastram—weapon (the disc); durviṣaham—even intolerable; hi—indeed; naḥ—of us; tam—to Him; evam—therefore; śaraṇam yāhi—go to take shelter; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; te—for you; śam—auspiciousness; vidhāsyati—certainly will perform.
Past, present and future are known to me [Lord Śiva], Sanat-kumāra, Nārada, the most revered Lord Brahmā, Kapila [the son of Devahūti], Apāntaratama [Lord Vyāsadeva], Devala, Yamarāja, Āsuri, Marīci and many saintly persons headed by him, as well as many others who have achieved perfection. Nonetheless, because we are covered by the illusory energy of the Lord, we cannot understand how expansive that illusory energy is. You should simply approach that Supreme Personality of Godhead to get relief, for this Sudarśana cakra is intolerable even to us. Go to Lord Viṣṇu. He will certainly be kind enough to bestow all good fortune upon you.
tato nirāśo durvāsāḥ
padaṁ bhagavato yayau
vaikuṇṭhākhyaṁ yad adhyāste
śrīnivāsaḥ śriyā saha
tataḥ—thereafter; nirāśaḥ—disappointed; durvāsāḥ—the great mystic Durvāsā; padam—to the place; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu; yayau—went; vaikuṇṭha-ākhyam—the place known as Vaikuṇṭha; yat—wherein; adhyāste—lives perpetually; śrīnivāsaḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; śriyā—with the goddess of fortune; saha—with.
Thereafter, being disappointed even in taking shelter of Lord Śiva, Durvāsā Muni went to Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, resides with His consort, the goddess of fortune.
sandahyamāno ’jita-śastra-vahninā
tat-pāda-mūle patitaḥ savepathuḥ
āhācyutānanta sad-īpsita prabho
kṛtāgasaṁ māvahi viśva-bhāvana
sandahyamānaḥ—being burned by the heat; ajita-śastra-vahninā—by the blazing fire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s weapon; tat-pāda-mūle—at His lotus feet; patitaḥ—falling down; sa-vepathuḥ—with trembling of the body; āha—said; acyuta—O my Lord, O infallible one; ananta—O You of unlimited prowess; sat-īpsita—O Lord desired by saintly persons; prabho—O Supreme; kṛta-āgasam—the greatest offender; —to me; avahi—give protection; viśva-bhāvana—O well-wisher of the whole universe.
Durvāsā Muni, the great mystic, scorched by the heat of the Sudarśana cakra, fell at the lotus feet of Nārāyaṇa. His body trembling, he spoke as follows: O infallible, unlimited Lord, protector of the entire universe, You are the only desirable objective for all devotees. I am a great offender, my Lord. Please give me protection.
ajānatā te paramānubhāvaṁ
kṛtaṁ mayāghaṁ bhavataḥ priyāṇām
vidhehi tasyāpacitiṁ vidhātar
mucyeta yan-nāmny udite nārako ’pi
ajānatā—without knowledge; te—of Your Lordship; parama-anubhāvam—the inconceivable prowess; kṛtam—has been committed; mayā—by me; agham—a great offense; bhavataḥ—of Your Lordship; priyāṇām—at the feet of the devotees; vidhehi—now kindly do the needful; tasya—of such an offense; apacitim—counteraction; vidhātaḥ—O supreme controller; mucyeta—can be delivered; yat—of whose; nāmni—when the name; udite—is awakened; nārakaḥ api—even a person fit for going to hell.
O my Lord, O supreme controller, without knowledge of Your unlimited prowess I have offended Your most dear devotee. Very kindly save me from the reaction of this offense. You can do everything, for even if a person is fit for going to hell, You can deliver him simply by awakening within his heart the holy name of Your Lordship.
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno
hy asvatantra iva dvija
sādhubhir grasta-hṛdayo
bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; aham—I; bhakta-parādhīnaḥ—am dependent on the will of My devotees; hi—indeed; asvatantraḥ—am not independent; iva—exactly like that; dvija—O brāhmaṇa; sādhubhiḥ—by pure devotees, completely free from all material desires; grasta-hṛdayaḥ—My heart is controlled; bhaktaiḥ—because they are devotees; bhakta-jana-priyaḥ—I am dependent not only on My devotee but also on My devotee’s devotee (the devotee’s devotee is extremely dear to Me).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said to the brāhmaṇa: I am completely under the control of My devotees. Indeed, I am not at all independent. Because My devotees are completely devoid of material desires, I sit only within the cores of their hearts. What to speak of My devotee, even those who are devotees of My devotee are very dear to Me.
All the great stalwart personalities in the universe, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, are fully under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is fully under the control of His devotee. Why is this? Because the devotee is anyābhilāṣitā-śūnya; in other words, he has no material desires in his heart. His only desire is to think always of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how to serve Him best. Because of this transcendental qualification, the Supreme Lord is extremely favorable to the devotees—indeed, not only the devotees, but also the devotees of the devotees. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: without being a devotee of a devotee, one cannot be released from material entanglement. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu identified Himself as gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ. Thus he instructed us to become not directly servants of Kṛṣṇa but servants of the servant of Kṛṣṇa. Devotees like Brahmā, Nārada, Vyāsadeva and Śukadeva Gosvāmī are directly servants of Kṛṣṇa, and one who becomes a servant of Nārada, Vyāsadeva and Śukadeva, like the six Gosvāmīs, is still more devoted. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura therefore says, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ: if one very sincerely serves the spiritual master, Kṛṣṇa certainly becomes favorable to such a devotee. Following the instructions of a devotee is more valuable than following the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly.
nāham ātmānam āśāse
mad-bhaktaiḥ sādhubhir vinā
śriyaṁ cātyantikīṁ brahman
yeṣāṁ gatir ahaṁ parā
na—not; aham—I; ātmānam—transcendental bliss; āśāse—desire; mat-bhaktaiḥ—with My devotees; sādhubhiḥ—with the saintly persons; vinā—without them; śriyam—all My six opulences; ca—also; ātyantikīm—the supreme; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; yeṣām—of whom; gatiḥ—destination; aham—I am; parā—the ultimate.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, without saintly persons for whom I am the only destination, I do not desire to enjoy My transcendental bliss and My supreme opulences.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, but to enjoy His transcendental bliss He requires the cooperation of His devotees. In Vṛndāvana, for example, although Lord Kṛṣṇa is full in Himself, He wants the cooperation of His devotees like the cowherd boys and the gopīs to increase His transcendental bliss. Such pure devotees, who can increase the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are certainly most dear to Him. Not only does the Supreme Personality of Godhead enjoy the company of His devotees, but because He is unlimited He wants to increase His devotees unlimitedly. Thus, He descends to the material world to induce the nondevotees and rebellious living entities to return home, back to Godhead. He requests them to surrender unto Him because, unlimited as He is, He wants to increase His devotees unlimitedly. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an attempt to increase the number of pure devotees of the Supreme Lord more and more. It is certain that a devotee who helps in this endeavor to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes indirectly a controller of the Supreme Lord. Although the Supreme Lord is full in six opulences, He does not feel transcendental bliss without His devotees. An example that may be cited in this regard is that if a very rich man does not have sons in a family he does not feel happiness. Indeed, sometimes a rich man adopts a son to complete his happiness. The science of transcendental bliss is known to the pure devotee. Therefore the pure devotee is always engaged in increasing the transcendental happiness of the Lord.
ye dārāgāra-putrāpta-
prāṇān vittam imaṁ param
hitvā māṁ śaraṇaṁ yātāḥ
kathaṁ tāṁs tyaktum utsahe
ye—those devotees of Mine who; dāra—wife; agāra—house; putra—children, sons; āpta—relatives, society; prāṇān—even life; vittam—wealth; imam—all these; param—elevation to the heavenly planets or becoming one by merging into Brahman; hitvā—giving up (all these ambitions and paraphernalia); mām—unto Me; śaraṇam—shelter; yātāḥ—having taken; katham—how; tān—such persons; tyaktum—to give them up; utsahe—I can be enthusiastic in that way (it is not possible).
Since pure devotees give up their homes, wives, children, relatives, riches and even their lives simply to serve Me, without any desire for material improvement in this life or in the next, how can I give up such devotees at any time?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by the words brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. Thus He is the well-wisher of the brāhmaṇas. Durvāsā Muni was certainly a very great brāhmaṇa, but because he was a nondevotee, he could not sacrifice everything in devotional service. Great mystic yogīs are actually self-interested. The proof is that when Durvāsā Muni created a demon to kill Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the King stayed fixed in his place, praying to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and depending solely and wholly on Him, whereas when Durvāsā Muni was chased by the Sudarśana cakra by the supreme will of the Lord, he was so perturbed that he fled all over the world and tried to take shelter in every nook and corner of the universe. At last, in fear of his life, he approached Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was so interested in his own body that he wanted to kill the body of a Vaiṣṇava. Therefore, he did not have very good intelligence, and how can an unintelligent person be delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The Lord certainly tries to give all protection to His devotees who have given up everything for the sake of serving Him.
Another point in this verse is that attachment to dārāgāra-putrāpta—home, wife, children, friendship, society and love—is not the way to achieve the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who is attached to hearth and home for material pleasure cannot become a pure devotee. Sometimes a pure devotee may have a habit or attraction for wife, children and home but at the same time want to serve the Supreme Lord to the best of his ability. For such a devotee, the Lord makes a special arrangement to take away the objects of his false attachment and thus free him from attachment to wife, home, children, friends and so on. This is special mercy bestowed upon the devotee to bring him back home, back to Godhead.
mayi nirbaddha-hṛdayāḥ
sādhavaḥ sama-darśanāḥ
vaśe kurvanti māṁ bhaktyā
sat-striyaḥ sat-patiṁ yathā
mayi—unto Me; nirbaddha-hṛdayāḥ—firmly attached in the core of the heart; sādhavaḥ—the pure devotees; sama-darśanāḥ—who are equal to everyone; vaśe—under control; kurvanti—they make; mām—unto Me; bhaktyā—by devotional service; sat-striyaḥ—chaste women; sat-patim—unto the gentle husband; yathā—as.
As chaste women bring their gentle husbands under control by service, the pure devotees, who are equal to everyone and completely attached to Me in the core of the heart, bring Me under their full control.
In this verse, the word sama-darśanāḥ is significant. The pure devotee is actually equal toward everyone, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.54): brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati/ samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. Universal brotherhood is possible when one is a pure devotee (paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]). A pure devotee is actually learned because he knows his constitutional position, he knows the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he knows the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Lord. Thus he has full spiritual knowledge and is automatically liberated (brahma-bhūtaḥ). He can therefore see everyone on the spiritual platform. He can comprehend the happiness and distress of all living entities. He understands that what is happiness to him is also happiness to others and that what is distress to him is distressing for others. Therefore he is sympathetic to everyone. As Prahlāda Mahārāja said:
(Bhāg. 7.9.43)
People suffer from material distress because they are not attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A pure devotee’s chief concern, therefore, is to raise the ignorant mass of people to the sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
mat-sevayā pratītaṁ te
necchanti sevayā pūrṇāḥ
kuto ’nyat kāla-viplutam
mat-sevayā—by being engaged fully in My transcendental loving service; pratītam—automatically achieved; te—such pure devotees are fully satisfied; sālokya-ādi-catuṣṭayam—the four different types of liberation (sālokya, sārūpya, sāmīpya and sārṣṭi, what to speak of sāyujya); na—not; icchanti—desire; sevayā—simply by devotional service; pūrṇāḥ—fully complete; kutaḥ—where is the question; anyat—other things; kāla-viplutam—which are finished in the course of time.
My devotees, who are always satisfied to be engaged in My loving service, are not interested even in the four principles of liberation [sālokya, sārūpya, sāmīpya and sārṣṭi], although these are automatically achieved by their service. What then is to be said of such perishable happiness as elevation to the higher planetary systems?
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura has estimated the value of liberation as follows:
muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjaliḥ sevate ’smān
dharmārtha-kāma-gatayaḥ samaya-pratīkṣāḥ
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura realized that if one develops his natural devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, mukti stands before him with folded hands to offer all kinds of service. In other words, the devotee is already liberated. There is no need for him to aspire for different types of liberation. The pure devotee automatically achieves liberation, even without desiring it.
sādhavo hṛdayaṁ mahyaṁ
sādhūnāṁ hṛdayaṁ tv aham
mad-anyat te na jānanti
nāhaṁ tebhyo manāg api
sādhavaḥ—the pure devotees; hṛdayam—in the core of the heart; mahyam—of Me; sādhūnām—of the pure devotees also; hṛdayam—in the core of the heart; tu—indeed; aham—I am; mat-anyat—anything else but me; te—they; na—not; jānanti—know; na—not; aham—I; tebhyaḥ—than them; manāk api—even by a little fraction.
The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.
Since Durvāsā Muni wanted to chastise Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, it is to be understood that he wanted to give pain to the heart of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the Lord says, sādhavo hṛdayaṁ mahyam: “The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart.” The Lord’s feelings are like those of a father, who feels pain when his child is in pain. Therefore, offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee are serious. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has very strongly recommended that one not commit any offense at the lotus feet of a devotee. Such offenses are compared to a mad elephant because when a mad elephant enters a garden it causes devastation. Therefore one should be extremely careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of a pure devotee. Actually Mahārāja Ambarīṣa was not at all at fault; Durvāsā Muni unnecessarily wanted to chastise him on flimsy grounds. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa wanted to complete the Ekādaśī-pāraṇa as part of devotional service to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore he drank a little water. But although Durvāsā Muni was a great mystic brāhmaṇa, he did not know what is what. That is the difference between a pure devotee and a so-called learned scholar of Vedic knowledge. The devotees, being always situated in the core of the Lord’s heart, surely get all instructions directly from the Lord, as confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (10.11):
teṣām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāvastho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā
“Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.” The devotee does not do anything not sanctioned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is said, vaiṣṇavera kriyā mudrā vijñeha bujhaya. Even the most learned or experienced person cannot understand the movements of a Vaiṣṇava, a pure devotee. No one, therefore, should criticize a pure Vaiṣṇava. A Vaiṣṇava knows his own business; whatever he does is precisely right because he is always guided by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
upāyaṁ kathayiṣyāmi
tava vipra śṛṇuṣva tat
ayaṁ hy ātmābhicāras te
yatas taṁ yāhi mā ciram
sādhuṣu prahitaṁ tejaḥ
prahartuḥ kurute ’śivam
upāyam—the means of protection in this dangerous position; kathayiṣyāmi—I shall speak to you; tava—of your deliverance from this danger; vipra—O brāhmaṇa; śṛṇuṣva—just hear from me; tat—what I say; ayam—this action taken by you; hi—indeed; ātma-abhicāraḥ—self-envy or envious of yourself (your mind has become your enemy); te—for you; yataḥ—because of whom; tam—to him (Mahārāja Ambarīṣa); yāhi—immediately go; ciram—do not wait even a moment; sādhuṣu—unto devotees; prahitam—applied; tejaḥ—power; prahartuḥ—of the executor; kurute—does; aśivam—inauspiciousness.
O brāhmaṇa, let Me now advise you for your own protection. Please hear from Me. By offending Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, you have acted with self-envy. Therefore you should go to him immediately, without a moment’s delay. One’s so-called prowess, when employed against the devotee, certainly harms he who employs it. Thus it is the subject, not the object, who is harmed.
A Vaiṣṇava is always an object of envy for nondevotees, even when the nondevotee happens to be his father. To give a practical example, Hiraṇyakaśipu was envious of Prahlāda Mahārāja, but this envy of the devotee was harmful to Hiraṇyakaśipu, not to Prahlāda. Every action taken by Hiraṇyakaśipu against his son Prahlāda Mahārāja was taken very seriously by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus when Hiraṇyakaśipu was on the verge of killing Prahlāda, the Lord personally appeared and killed Hiraṇyakaśipu. Service to a Vaiṣṇava gradually accumulates and becomes an asset for the devotee. Similarly, harmful activities directed against the devotee gradually become the ultimate cause of the performer’s falldown. Even such a great brāhmaṇa and mystic yogī as Durvāsā was in a most dangerous situation because of his offense at the lotus feet of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, a pure devotee.
tapo vidyā ca viprāṇāṁ
niḥśreyasa-kare ubhe
te eva durvinītasya
kalpete kartur anyathā
tapaḥ—austerities; vidyā—knowledge; ca—also; viprāṇām—of the brāhmaṇas; niḥśreyasa—of what is certainly very auspicious for upliftment; kare—are causes; ubhe—both of them; te—such austerity and knowledge; eva—indeed; durvinītasya—when such a person is an upstart; kalpete—become; kartuḥ—of the performer; anyathā—just the opposite.
For a brāhmaṇa, austerity and learning are certainly auspicious, but when acquired by a person who is not gentle, such austerity and learning are most dangerous.
It is said that a jewel is very valuable, but when it is on the hood of a serpent, it is dangerous despite its value. Similarly, when a materialistic nondevotee achieves great success in learning and austerity, that success is dangerous for all of society. So-called learned scientists, for example, invented atomic weapons that are dangerous for all humanity. It is therefore said, maṇinā bhūṣitaḥ sarpaḥ kim asau na bhayaṅkaraḥ. A serpent with a jewel on its hood is as dangerous as a serpent without such a jewel. Durvāsā Muni was a very learned brāhmaṇa equipped with mystic power, but because he was not a gentleman, he did not know how to use his power. He was therefore extremely dangerous. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is never inclined toward a dangerous person who uses his mystic power for some personal design. By the laws of nature, therefore, such misuse of power is ultimately dangerous not for society but for the person who misuses it.
brahmaṁs tad gaccha bhadraṁ te
nābhāga-tanayaṁ nṛpam
kṣamāpaya mahā-bhāgaṁ
tataḥ śāntir bhaviṣyati
brahman—O brāhmaṇa; tat—therefore; gaccha—you go; bhadram—all auspiciousness; te—unto you; nābhāga-tanayam—to the son of Mahārāja Nābhāga; nṛpam—the King (Ambarīṣa); kṣamāpaya—just try to pacify him; mahā-bhāgam—a great personality, a pure devotee; tataḥ—thereafter; śāntiḥ—peace; bhaviṣyati—there will be.
O best of the brāhmaṇas, you should therefore go immediately to King Ambarīṣa, the son of Mahārāja Nābhāga. I wish you all good fortune. If you can satisfy Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, then there will be peace for you.
In this regard, Madhva Muni quotes from the Garuḍa Purāṇa:
aṁśo naivāmbarīṣake
naivanyasya cakrasyāpi
tathāpi harir īśvaraḥ
teṣāṁ yaśasa ādirāṭ
brahmādayaś ca tat-kīrtiṁ
vyañjayām āsur uttamām
mohanāya ca daityānāṁ
brahmāde nindanāya ca
anyārthaṁ ca svayaṁ viṣṇur
brahmādyāś ca nirāśiṣaḥ
mānuṣeṣūttamātvāc ca
teṣāṁ bhaktyādibhir guṇaiḥ
brahmāder viṣṇv-adhīnatva-
jñāpanāya ca kevalam
durvāsāś ca svayaṁ rudras
tathāpy anyāyām uktavān
tasyāpy anugrahārthāya
darpa-nāśārtham eva ca
The lesson to be derived from this narration concerning Mahārāja Ambarīṣa and Durvāsā Muni is that all the demigods, including Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, are under the control of Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore, when a Vaiṣṇava is offended, the offender is punished by Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. No one can protect such a person, even Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Fourth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Ambarīṣa Mahārāja Offended by Durvāsā Muni.”

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