Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Story 40 – Story of Ambariksha – 7

After having been saved from the chakra by Ambariksha, Durvaasa proclaimed thus:

Great surprise indeed! I have seen today the importance and greatness of those who worship the ultimate reality of Lord. Those are people who console even them who come to affect/afflict them. I have understood that there is nothing impossible for such real devotees of the Lord. There also isn’t anything that cannot be renounced by these mahatmas. Their mind is ever immersed in the Lord alone – they don’t know anything apart from the ultimate reality of Lord. O King! I have been blessed by you who are an embodiment of compassion.

The King on the other side didn’t have his food yet because he was waiting for Durvaasa. He prostrated at the feet of Durvaasa and both of them had food together.


We are coming to the end of this beautiful story of Ambariksha. In the next day, we will learn from Bhagavatham itself as to what is the fruit of learning this particular story.

Mistakes are done by all ignorant people because everybody is not a mahatma or jeevan muktha like Ambariksha. It is the characteristic of a learned person to accept his mistakes and learn from them. We find Durvaasa, the great saint that he was, doing exactly the same. He learned from the incident that the devotees of the Lord are ever immersed in the Lord – they have neither hatred nor love. They are beyond all dual notions. Instead they know nothing apart from the ultimate reality of Lord. They see everything as an illusion of names-forms in the reality of Lord. As they see everything as the Lord, there is no differentiation between things. Similar is their state with the achievement of fruits of actions. If something good happens, they consider it the grace of the Lord. If something bad happens, they consider it as the will of the Lord. In fact this differentiation of good and bad is only for ignorant people whereas for real devotees of the Lord, everything is the Lord alone – for such a person, what is good and what is bad?

Such devotees are full of compassion because they are as innocent as a child and as learned as a jnaani. As a child doesn’t keep anything in mind and is ready to help anybody asking something from it, similarly the jeevan muktha doesn’t keep anything in mind and is ready to give whatever he is able to for the entire world. Therefore the Lord says in Gita that the existence of such mahatmas is for the welfare of the world. They do actions so that the world is benefitted out it – for them, there is no world at all as everything they see is the ultimate reality of Lord. Since they perform activities with this thought in mind, all their activities will be for the good of the world only.

In this story, the act of drinking water by Ambariksha was for the welfare of Durvaasas. It was only because of this act that Durvaasa was able to understand the effect of anger, the futility of siddhis, the power of bhakthas and that what is to be achieved in life is becoming a devotee of the Lord.

We find this enacted to perfection by Ambariksha. Ambariksha didn’t have his food but was waiting for Durvaasa though Durvaasa had tried to kill him. Also once Durvaasa came back to Ambariksha, Ambariksha prostrated at the feet of Durvaasa (as is the customary of any grihastha to prostrate at the feet of saints) and invited him for having food.

We have to thus always remember that real devotees of the Lord can achieve the impossible because the Lord himself is a servant to them. But for them, they don’t require anything as they have attained the ultimate reality of Lord (that by knowing which everything is known). They are ever satisfied and blissful. They also serve to teach the entire world as to how live in the world all the while being immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord.

We will see as to how Bhagavatham concludes this story in the next day.

Ambariksha continued his life always contemplating and being established in the ultimate reality of Lord. He considered everything ranging from brahma loka to a piece of sand as similar to Naraka when compared with the bliss rejoiced from contemplation of the ultimate reality of Lord. Finally, he handed over the kingdom to his children and took vanavaasa (going to forest) with his mind fixed on the Lord.

Whoever hears this story of Ambariksha will develop pure devotion towards the Lord and easily get brahma anubhava (ananda anubhava).


We come to the end of this story of Ambariksha. After having food together, Durvaasa went his way and Ambariksha was ever immersed in the ultimate reality of Lord. Ambariksha was not at all attached to anything all the while doing activities as an offering to the Lord with the knowledge that everything is an illusion in the Lord.

He who has enjoyed eternal bliss in contemplation and realization of the ultimate reality of Lord will not seek anything else even the brahma loka which is considered the highest material plane. In brahma loka, there will all kinds of pleasures including the pleasure of living for a longer period of time than the short period of around 100 years in bhoo loka. But all these pleasures are bondages and seeds of sorrow for a person who knows and has experienced the bliss of the Lord. This is what Upanishads proclaim by asking “aaptha kaamasya kaa spriha” – what desire can arise in a person whose all desires have been fulfilled. All desires are fulfilled only through realization of the ultimate reality of Lord. As Manu mentions in the Manu smriti, if a person thinks that he can get rid of desires by gratifying them, it is like trying to extinguish fire by pouring ghee. The fire will not get extinguished but will be burning more. Similarly if a person tries to put an end to desire by gratifying them, he will only end up in the vicious circle of desires-enjoyment.

Desire can never be ended until the seeker realizes them to be seeds of sorrow, seeks the ultimate reality of Lord and finally realizes the eternal bliss inherent in the Lord. Until then, beings go on doing actions for enjoyment and enjoys to do more action. Put beautifully in Vidyaranya’s words in Panchadashi “kurvathe karma bhoogaaya, karma karthum cha bhunjathe” – man does action in order to enjoy; he then enjoys fruits in order to do more action. This vicious circle of actions propelled by desire and enjoying the fruits of those actions goes on and on until a person realizes them to be seeds of sorrow thereby seeking the eternal bliss in the ultimate reality of Lord.

For a person residing in the States (USA), pleasures in India is like hell. For Indra, the pleasure in bhoo loka (wherever it be) is like hell. This goes on and one until the Brahma Loka which is the highest material plane. This gradation ends only in eternal bliss or ananda achieved due to realization of one’s own nature of Lord. Thus for a person who is enjoying the ananda in the ultimate reality of Lord, all material pleasures (in all planes or lokas) are like hell because they are seeds of sorrow and are incomparable with eternal bliss.

Through mentioning of this, Bhagavatham is telling that eternal bliss is something which is infinite and blissful – compared to eternal bliss, all material pleasures are like hell or suffering. This is to instigate desire in the seeker to realize the ultimate reality of Lord thereby getting eternal bliss which is infinite and unlimited unlike temporary happiness achieved from worldly pleasures.

Ambariksha, though was a jeevan muktha , didn’t stay away from doing activities at the empirical level. It is a wrong notion to think that activities will not be performed by a person who has realized the ultimate reality of Lord. Such a person will be the best action-performer because of being unattached to the activities and doing those as an offering to the Lord. We thus find AMMA’s mission doing actions for tsunami and other things more than any other organization or individual in the world. This is more acknowledged from the fact that even Karunanidhi and the DMK accepted AMMA’s activities for the poor. This is to the extent that one of DMK’s ministers prayed for AMMA’s support and help for the party and the state for the poor and needy. This shows that a realized being or avatar or jeevan muktha will be able to do activities in the best possible way because it is as an offering to the Lord and as a mere witness to those activities.

Ambariksha didn’t even stay away from traditional values – this is shown by Bhagavatham mentioning that Ambariksha after handing over the kingdom to his children took to vaanavasa. Vaanaprastha is one of the ashramas that succeeds grihastha. Once a person has done whatever is to be done for his children and society, he should take refuge in a forest and contemplate completely on the ultimate reality of Lord. This is also important because in old age a person is more prone to thoughts which are potential for more births (so that the person is totally immersed in the ocean of samsaara unable to come out of it).

It is interesting and funny that the mention of a youth taking sanyaasa instigates lot of protest from today’s elders that they are deviating from tradition in not taking grihastha. But the same elders fail to keep up tradition by taking vaanaprastha instead always clinging to their kith and kin till the last moment of their life. Cannot but laugh on such foolish comments and advises of eldersJ.

It is not important for us to discuss or analyze the words of such elders but it is important to remember that we shouldn’t commit the same mistakes that they are committing by making these statements. We should always try to contemplate on the Lord and once old age comes, we should renounce everything, take to a secluded place & fully offer ourselves to the Lord so that we are ensured of very less or no more births.

This story of Ambariksha has ended – we will see a summary of the same in the next day.

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