With the current transits of Rahu and Mars in Gemini opposing Saturn and Ketu in Sagittarius, we are all going through a turbulent time.
One of the most effective ways of handling this energy is to read and contemplate on stories of the divine. When done with utmost innocence this becomes a therapeutic cure to the anxiety and dullness created by the planets.
Saturn and Ketu in Sagittarius calls for Spiritual awakening. And Lord Vishnu has the power to control Rahu and Ketu as we all know from the story of Samudra Manthan where the lord’s Sudarshan Chakra had cut through the demon Swarbanu who then became Rahu and Ketu.
Read the story of King Ambareesha and contemplate on how his devotion protected him.
Below is an excerpt from the Bhagavata Purana as translated by Ramesh Menon.
King Ambareesha and his devotion to Lord Vishnu
Ambareesha was lord of all the world, and its seven continents; incalculable was his wealth, inestimable his power and glory. Ambareesha was a fervent bhakta of the Lord Vishnu. He meditated regularly and deeply. He taught himself to think only of Krishna’s sacred feet.
The only company that pleased him was that of the Lord’s great bhaktas, and he sought such men out at the corners of his empire.
With bhakti and regular prayer, by performing his royal dharma with vairagya, detachment, Ambareesha worshipped Vishnu.
Vishnu was so pleased with Ambareesha’s devotion that he offered him his own Sudarshana Chakra, which protects the Lord’s great bhaktas and is a bane to any force that dares attack one.
The Dwadashi Vrata
Ambareesha’s queen was as devout as he was. To worship Krishna, they once kept the Dwadasi vrata together, fasting all day and breaking the fast only at night. In the month of Krittika, towards the end of the vow, they fasted for three days and nights; no food passed their lips.
The king and queen performed the Mahabhisheka–the ceremony of the sacred bath–with offerings of sandalwood paste, flowers, arghya, silks, gold and jewels.
Durvasa arrives at the Sacrifice
Ambareesha fed all the wise that had come to his abhisheka the most delicious fare and was about to break his own fast, when Durvasa arrived at the sacrifice.
Ambareesha said, ‘Swami, nothing would please us more than if you eat with us.’ Durvasa, known for his quick temper across the three worlds, accepted graciously and happily.
The sage went to the midnight-blue Yamuna to bathe before he sat down to partake of the ritual meal. Ambareesha waited for the Maharishi to return before he broke his own fast, which he must do before noon of the twelfth day of the fortnight of his vow. Only half a muhurta, a few minutes, remained before that time and there was no sign of Durvasa. The king was in a quandary. He asked some learned brahmanas, ‘If I eat before Durvasa returns, I will have insulted him and broken the ancient laws laid down about eating oneself before feeding such a holy one who has come here to be my guest and blessed my vrata. Yet, if I do not eat before the Dwadasi ends, I shall have ruined my vow. What shall I do to avoid sinning?’ The sages around him had no answer. Then the king himself found what he thought was a way out of his dilemma. He said, ‘I will just drink some water to beak my fast and eat only after I feed Durvasa Muni. The wise say that drinking water is both like eating, and not eating, too.’ Ambareesha prayed fervently to Krishna and sipped some water to break his fast. Then he waited for Durvasa to return from the river. Soon enough, after finishing his ablutions and rituals at the Yamuna, the Rishi came back. Ambareesha welcomed him. But Durvasa knew at once what had happened in his absence; he knew by the powers of his mind that the king had already broken his fast by drinking water. Durvasa’s face turned red and he cursed Ambareesha.
Durvasa curses Ambareesha
Beside himself, blazing in wrath, the sage pulled a strand of jata from his head. He breathed life into it with a dreadful mantra, and a spirit of fire, a kritya, sprang roaring from that lock of his matted hair. It flung its horrible head this way and that; curved sword in hand, it rushed at Ambareesha. In a wink, a flash, the Lord’s Sudarshana Chakra appeared out of nowhere and burnt up that demon. Occult terror now seized Durvasa Muni and he ran here and there in panic, for the Chakra of the Blue God, which protected his bhakta Ambareesha, pursued the sage for daring to attack the king of dharma.
Durvasa seeks the intervention of Lord Brahma and Lord Rudra
Durvasa came flying to Brahma’s sabha and fell sobbing at the Creator’s feet. Tears streaming down his face, the Rishi panted, ‘Pitama, save me from Vishnu’s Sudarshana Chakra!’
Brahma said “You threatened that Blue God’s bhakta. Who can save you now, O Durvasa?”
Abandoned by Brahma, Durvasa flashed away down to the earth again, to sacred Mount Kailasa where Rudra dwells.
Rudra replied “I cannot stop the Sudarshana Chakra, Durvasa. There is only one person who can help you, Vishnu himself. You must go to him.“
Lord Vishnu’s Compassion and Love for his devotees
Durvasa rushed to Lord Vishnu for help and The Lord said, ‘Dvija, I am never free for I am bound by my love for my bhaktas. Why, they are more important to me than even Sri Lakshmi or myself! Tell me, how can I ever abandon these holy ones who surrender their all to me, choosing me over their wives and children, their wealth and homes, the worlds they live in and those to come? Renouncing all these just to worship me. Why, Maharishi, the affection of these bhaktas of mine, their love for me in all beings, wins my own love as a faithful wife’s does her loyal husband. Do you know Durvasa that the truest of these bhaktas care only about serving me.These devotees are my very heart, don’t you know, and I am theirs! They know nothing but me, as I do nothing but them: we are each other’s sole concern.’
Vishnu spoke gently, with feeling. He paused a moment, then said, ‘I cannot help you myself for what you tried to do, the arrogance and enmity that you showed Ambareesha. But go to that king himself, against whom you summoned the kritya to kill him. Most learned and wise Muni, don’t you know that to use the black arts against a saint like Ambareesha is to use them against yourself?
Durvasa seeks forgiveness from Ambareesha
Durvasa came to Ambareesha and fell at his feet, crying, ‘Save me, O King!’ Ambareesha was taken aback, bashful that such a Rishi came and prostrated before him. In that feeling of shyness, he rose and began to chant a stotra in praise of the Sudarshana Chakra, which had flared after Durvasa and still hung fire, ready to consume the irascible sage.
Ambareesha’s prayer to the Sudarshan Chakra
Ambareesha sang to the Disk of time:
‘Tvam Agnirbhagavan Suryastvam Somojyotisham patih. Tvamaapastvam Kshitirvyoma Vayurmaashrendriyaani cha… ‘
You are the power in fire; you are the sun and the moon that are the lords of the planets. You are water, earth, sky and air, the subtle elements and the senses.
I ask for your blessing, O Sudarshana Chakra. The blessing I ask is that you spare the life of this holy Durvasa, for that will bring great fortune to me and all my clan. It shall be a great kindness to me if you do this, a wonderful mercy.
The fulgurant Chakra grew calm to hear Ambareesha’s hymn. It no longer flared at Durvasa, or threatened to make ashes of him. A tide of relief washed over the trembling sage.
Durvasa said “Ah, today I have seen the greatness of those that serve the Infinite One! O King, you are being kind to me who wanted to harm you. Nothing is impossible for bhaktas like you that have won Hari himself, the guardian of his devotees. There is nothing that the good and the generous cannot renounce. For there is nothing they cannot have, who have conquered desire by having Him, whose very name purifies a man and the touch of whose feet makes him a sage.”
Ambareesha had not yet broken his fast; he had been waiting for Durvasa to return. Now he prostrated before the Rishi, embraced him affectionately and served him the most sumptuous feast Durvasa had ever eaten.
Durvasa requested Ambareesha to give him permission to serve him with his own hands, Ambareesha happily agreed and broke his fast.
He that meditates upon this legend of Ambareesha will himself become a bhakta of the Lord Krishna, and will find moksha and eternal bliss one day!
What did you learn from this story? Lets discuss in the comments.
This is my learning
1. Rahu creates doubts and when we act in a headless manner (Ketu) on such doubts we run into trouble.
2. Devotion and Surrender to Lord Vishnu protects us no matter what!
3. The compassion of Lord Vishnu and the love for his devotees is something that brings tears to my eyes when I read them.
4. I also learnt the importance of being humble. Even when Ambareesha knew that he was protected by the Sudarshan Chakra he was so humble that he waited for Durvasa to come again to break his fast.
5. When you realise you have made a mistake, surrender and seek forgiveness. Durvasa was quick to judge and get angry, but the minute he realised that no one can help him he surrendered to Amabareesha and asked for forgiveness with utmost sincerity.