In Hindu mythology king Mandhata, the Ikshavaku king had three sons – Purukutsa, Ambarisa, and Muchukunda. All three became famous kings. Ambarisa was also a great and benevolent king. He was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Ambarisa was a truthful king. Being pleased with him, Lord Vishnu had given his sudarshan chakra to King Ambarisa. Once during Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Ambarisa performed Dwadasi Vrata with fasting at Vrindavan. It is required the king must start a fast on Ekadasi and break it at the start of Dwadasi (the twelfth day) And all the prajas (people) should be fed. As the time of breaking the fast was nearing, Indra conspired and sent Rishi Durvasa to break the fast of Ambarisa. Durvasa was honoured appropriately by ambarisa. Durvasa agreed to be the honoured guest and asked the king to wait until he finished his bath in the Jamuna River and returned. As the auspicious moment came when the king had to break his fast according to the rule of the vrata, Durvasa did not turn up knowingly. King Ambarisa took little water and waited for the sage Durvasa to offer him food.
Durvasa Was well known for his anger and short temper. He felt Ambarisa had violated the respect. Durvasa created Asura to kill Ambarisa. As Ambarisa was a great devotee of Vishnu Sudarshan chakra intervened and destroyed the demon. And then Sudarshan started chasing Durvasa himself. Durvasa went to Brahma and Shiva for protection. But they expressed their inability to save Durvasa. At last, Durvasa went to Vishnu himself, who said that he could do nothing as he was bound by the flawless devotion of Ambarisa and suggested to the sage to seek the pardon of the king. Durvasa went to seek the pardon of the king. Durvasa went to Ambarisa, who prayed to Vishnu to return his Chakra and save Durvasa. Thus Durvasa’s life was saved.
The name Ambarisa means Lord of the Sky. King Ambarisa was an ideal king. He was very kind and noble to his subjects with a sense of bonhomie. Though he was loaded with wealth and richness, he never cared for them. He was not addicted to worldly pleasures which are transitory in nature. He believed that those people who are lacking in knowledge and are non-believers of God are attracted to unwanted pleasures of life. Materialistic people get excited by cheap pleasures. These are the unthinking crowds of the world.
Ambarisa was a great and earnest devotee of Lord Vishnu. His mind was always thinking of the lotus feet of Narayana. Wherever he went and whatever he did. He felt the divine presence of God. Also, he was able to see the expressions of divinity. Ambarisa soon gave up all worldly desires in life. As he was always dedicated to Vishnu he was given the Sudarshan chakra as a boon.
In Ancient India there were many ideal kings. Ambarisa was one of them. He was well known for his morality and wisdom. He was a true Sanyasi, who renounced the world even while in Grihasthashrama. The great Hindi writer Munshi Prem Chand has rightly said-Sansar mein rahe, Sansar ka hokar na rahe. That means you live in this world, but keep a detachment from this world at the same time. Remain as detached as a camera. King Ambarisa was such a person who said-Matter can not give you happiness. Mere chanting of the name of the Lord can give you enough peace of abyss. Ambarisa was an example. We must emulate him. Such stories were there in India to provoke the individual to come to the right path and lead a moral and peaceful life. Maybe it is unceremonious. King Asoka was also saying this to get peace in Ihalok and Paralok.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur. He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.
He can be reached at [email protected]