AMBARISA – The king who could wield Vishnu’s Sudarshana

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Ambarisa was a great king, but his greatness was more due to bis devotion to Vishnu than to his power or wealth. He was so deeply devoted to Vishnu that Vishnu gave him a rare boon. By that boon the king 1oould summon Vishnu’s invincible weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra. However,very few knew of this privilege granted to him.

Once the king observed ,a certain spiritual discipline for a full year. At the end of the period, he fasted for three days. The third day was the Ekadasi or the Eleventh day of the lunar fortnight, an auspicious day. The king was to have food after offering it to the gods.

Just before he was to end his penance, the sage Durvasa reached his palace.. In fact, he had been instigated by Indra who wished to harass the king.

Durvasa was notorious for his short temper,. The king was as courteous with him as possible. “Wait for me,” said Durvasa. “I’ll be back after a bath in the river. then we will have food together,”

The king waited for long, but Durvasa did not return. Other sages and priests advised the · king to break his fast before the auspicious moment was past. The king took only a sip of water, no food, to abide by their advice.

The king had just done so when Durvasa was back. Durvasa was furious. “You have insuited me by breaking your fast without waiting fot me!’ he shouted. Not only that, he tore a lock of his mounting hair and dashed it to the ground. A terrible being, sprang up. It adv­anced towards the king to des­troy him.

There was no time to lose,  King Ambarisa remembered the Sudarshana. Out of his forehead emerged the luminous weapon. It beheaded the tarrible being and then flew towards Durvasa.

The angry sage was not pre­pared for such tum of events. He took to heels. He went toIndra’s abode and banged on his door. But Indra was too scared to open it. Durvasa ran to Brahma and then to Siva. Both said tat they won’t be able to protect him from the Sudarshana.

Durvasa ran to Vishnu. ”Frankly,”‘ said the Lord, “I can­not come to your rescue because I have granted the right to use the Sudarshana to Ambarisa. He alone can withdraw the weapon”

Durvasa was obliged to take refuge with the king. The king withdrew the Sudarshana and was as courteous to the sage as, ever.

After some years King Ambarisa handed over the king­dom to his sons and retired into the forest for Tapasya.

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