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Ambarisha and Durvasa

Ambarisha was a king and a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. He spent most of his time worshipping the Lord, and as a result of his fervent devotion, Sri Hari became very pleased with him and ordered his Sudarshana Chakra to guard Ambarisha as long as he lived.

One day, Ambarisha was observing the dvadashi vow, which involved fasting for three consecutive nights and breaking the fast on the fourth day. After completing the rituals connected with this vow and with the blessings of the holy men present there, Ambarisha was ready to break his fast. Just then, the famous sage Durvasa appeared.

Ambarisha welcomed Durvasa with due ceremony and invited him to have his meal there, and Durvasa agreed. King Ambarisha could not break his fast before feeding the sage, but Durvasa had gone for his bath in the Yamuna and was taking a long time. The auspicious moment for Ambarisha to break his fast was coming to an end, and he was worried about what to do.

Thinking of Sri Hari, he fulfilled his vow by taking a small sip of water, but he did not eat anything. Durvasa returned from his bath and was respectfully welcomed by Ambarisha. But, through his supernatural power, Durvasa understood that Ambarisha had broken his fast before offering him anything. Durvasa became wild with anger.

He tore out one of his matted locks, and out of that lock sprang a ferocious monster, which charged at Ambarisha. Ambarisha was not at all afraid. He didn’t move one bit. He stood there and continued to take the name of Sri Hari. Then suddenly the Sudarshana Chakra came and burnt the monster to ashes. After that, the Chakra went towards Durvasa.

Durvasa started running. He ran to the distant corners of the earth, to all the heavenly regions, and to all the lower regions. Wherever he went, the Sudarshana Chakra followed. In desperation, Durvasa approached Brahma for shelter. Brahma said, "I cannot help you. You have offended a devotee of Sri Hari." Durvasa then ran to Kailash and sought shelter at the feet of Mahadeva. There, Mahadeva told him, "I cannot help you either. Go to Vaikuntha. Nobody but Sri Hari can save you."

So Durvasa ran to Vaikuntha and took refuge with the king of Vaikuntha, Sri Hari himself. Sri Hari said, "I am subject to my devotee and am not free. Those who come to me and take refuge in me alone—how can I abandon them? True devotees are my heart—and I am the heart of the devotees. They know none but me, and I know none but them."

Sri Hari added, "Learning and austerities are of immense good for those who have not seen my form, but for those who have seen my form, there is nothing else to be done but to take my name and remember me always."

Finally, Sri Hari advised Durvasa to go back to Ambarisha and apologize to him. Durvasa did so, and Ambarisha forgave him. The sage realized his mistake and became a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. The story teaches us the importance of devotion to God and the power of a true devotee's dedication.

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