Rishi Durvasa

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In Hinduism, Durvasa (दुर्वास) is an ancient sage, son of Atri and Anasuya. He is supposed to be an incaranation of Shiva. He is supposed to be the only rishi whose penance goes up whenever he curses somebody. He is known for his short temper. Maledictions or curses he gave in his rage (known as Shapa) ruined many lives. Hence, wherever he went, he received great reverence from humans and Gods alike. For example, in Abigyāna Shakuntala, written by Kalidasa, he curses the maiden Shakuntala that her lover will forget her. It became true.

Meeting with Ambarish

The confrontation of sage Durvasa with Ambarisha is a very famous story in Shrimad Bhagavatam. Ambarish was a great devotee of Vishnu and adhered firmly to the truth. He performed a Yagnya with such great devotional fervour that Lord Narayan was pleased to bless him with Sudarshana Chakra (Sudarshana meaning "good vision") and which manifested as a wheel of prosperity, peace and security to his kingdom. Once, Ambarisha performed the Dvadasi Vratha, which required that the king must start a fast on Ekadashi and break it at the start of Dvadasi and feed all the people. As the moment of breaking the fast was drawing near, the mighty sage Durvasa arrived and was received with all honours by Ambarish. Durvasa agreed to the king's request to be his honoured guest, and asked the king to wait until he finished his bath in the river and returned. As the auspicious moment approached when the king had to break his fast to fulfill the vow of the vratha, Durvasa did not turn up. On the advice of the sage Vasishtha, the king broke his fast by taking a Tulasi leaf with water, and waited for the arrival of sage Durvasa to offer him food.

Durvasa felt that Ambarisha had violated the respect due to a guest by breaking his fast before the guest had taken his meal, and in his rage created a demon to kill Ambarisha, out of a strand of his hair. Lord Narayan’s Sudarshana intervened, destroyed the demon and started chasing Durvasa himself. Durvasa went to Brahma and Shiva for protection. Both pleaded their inability to save him. He went to Lord Narayan himself, who said that he could do nothing as he was bound by the blemishless devotion of Ambarisha and suggested that the sage should seek the king's pardon. Durvasa went to Ambarisha, who prayed to Lord Vishnu to recall the Sudarsana and save Durvasa.

Durvasa in Mahābhārata

In Mahābhārata, during the exile of the Pandavas, Durvasa turns up with several disciples at the place where the Pandavas were staying. During this period, the Pandavas obtained their food by means of the Akshaya Patra, which would become exhausted for the day once Draupadi finished her meal. When Durvasa arrived there was no food left to serve him, and the Pandavas were very anxious as to what would be their fate if they failed to feed such a venerable sage. While Durvasa and his disciples were away at the banks of the river bathing, Draupadi prayed to Lord Krishna for help. As always, they were once again saved by Him, who visited them, and partook of the lone grain of rice that remained in the Akshaya Patra and announced that He was satisfied by the meal. This satiated the hunger of Durvasa and all his disciples too, as the satisfaction of Lord Krishna meant the satiation of the hunger of the whole Universe. The sage and his disciples then left, blessing the Pandavas.

But on the other hand he was also famous for his boons if he grew happy with someone. An example in this context would be the boon he gave to Kunti, wife of Pandu and mother of the mighty Pandavas which enabled her to call or invoke any god of her choice. It was by the use of this mantra which Durvasa gave her that she was able to call the following gods:

* Surya -- he blessed her with a son named Karna.
* Yama -- he blessed her with a son named Yudhisthira, eldest of the Pandavas.
* Vayu -- he blessed her with a son named Bhima, the mightiest of all Pandavas.
* Indra -- he blessed her with a son named Arjuna, the great archer and
* Ashwini Gods -- they blessed Madri (Pandu's second wife) with twins named Nakula and Sahadeva.



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Indian mythological stories have interesting explanations and also contain stuff for spiritual knowledge.