(SB 9.4.41)

ity apaù präçya räjarñiç

cintayan manasäcyutam

pratyacañöa kuru-çreñöha

dvijägamanam eva saù

Translation :

O best of the Kuru dynasty, after he drank some water, King Ambaréña, meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart, waited for the return of the great mystic Durväsä Muni.


(SB 9.4.42)

durväsä yamunä-külät

kåtävaçyaka ägataù

räjïäbhinanditas tasya

bubudhe ceñöitaà dhiyä


Translation :

After executing the ritualistic ceremonies to be performed at noon, Durväsä returned from the bank of the Yamunä. The King received him well, offering all respects, but Durväsä Muni, by his mystic power, could understand that King Ambaréña had drunk water without his permission.


(SB 9.4.43)

manyunä pracalad-gätro


bubhukñitaç ca sutaräà

kåtäïjalim abhäñata

Translation :

Still hungry, Durväsä Muni, his body trembling, his face curved and his eyebrows crooked in a frown, angrily spoke as follows to King Ambaréña, who stood before him with folded hands.


(SB 9.4.44)

aho asya nå-çaàsasya

çriyonmattasya paçyata

dharma-vyatikramaà viñëor



Translation :

Alas, just see the behaviour of this cruel man! He is not a devotee of Lord Viñëu. Being proud of his material opulence and his position, he considers himself God. Just see how he has transgressed the laws of religion.


Purport :

Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura has diverted the entire meaning of this verse as spoken by Durväsä Muni. Durväsä Muni used the word nå-çaàsasya to indicate that the King was cruel, but Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura interprets it to mean that the King’s character was glorified by all the local people. He says that the word nå means “by all the local people” and that çaàsasya means “of he (Ambaréña) whose character was glorified.” Similarly, one who is very rich becomes mad because of his wealth and is therefore called çriyä-unmattasya, but Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura interprets these words to mean that although Mahäräja Ambaréña was such an opulent king, he was not mad after money, for he had already surpassed the madness of material opulence. Similarly, the word éça-mäninaù is interpreted to mean that he was so respectful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead that he did not transgress the laws for observing Ekädaçé-päraëa, despite the thinking of Durväsä Muni, for he only took water. In this way, Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura has supported Ambaréña Mahäräja and all his activities.


(SB 9.4.45)

yo mäm atithim äyätam

ätithyena nimantrya ca

adattvä bhuktaväàs tasya

sadyas te darçaye phalam


Translation :

Mahäräja Ambaréña, you have invited me to eat as a guest, but instead of feeding me, you yourself have eaten first. Because of your misbehaviour, I shall show you something to punish you.


Purport :

A devotee cannot be defeated by a so-called mystic yogé. This will be proved by the failure of Durväsä Muni’s endeavour to chastise Mahäräja Ambaréña. Haräv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guëäù (SB 5.18.12). One who is not a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord has no good qualifications, however great a mystic, philosopher or fruitive worker he may be. Only a devotee emerges victorious in all circumstances, as will be shown in this incident involving the rivalry between Durväsä and Mahäräja Ambaréña.


Durväsä Muni- the Mystic Yogi:

Durväsä Muni is here playing the role of a great mystic yogi who does not have the power to control his anger. Of course, such great personalities under the divine Yoga Maya or Spiritual Potency of the Lord, sometimes behave in this way, especially for the purpose of demonstrating higher truths to humanity at large. After all Durväsä Muni is a partial expansion of Lord Shankar or Shiva and therefore, he is certainly a great celebrated personality. As we see in the Mahabharat, Bhagavatam; even such great great personalities as Maharaj Yudhishthir, Maharaj Ambarish; they are very anxious to offer all respects and humble obeisances to him. But Durväsä Muni in this particular form and personality that he has assumed, he is not playing a part of a Bhakta; he is playing a part of a mystic yogi.

One who has attained perfections through tapasya, through the practice of the eight fold yoga system and through accumulation of immense knowledge or gyan; he has attained powers which are not humanly conceivable. And Ambaréña of course, as we have been mentioning in previous classes, he is a great devotee. He is not concerned with any mystic powers. He is not concerned with anything except humbly performing with his duty for the pleasure of Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Kåñëa.


King’s Karmic Responsibilities:

So here, Ambarish Maharaj; which is explained, was fasting for one full year, on every Ekadashi. Not for his own sake but for the sake of purifying his kingdom and setting a proper example for all others. You see, it is explained that the king is in a very very responsible position. It is described that because he is leading the rest of the kingdom in their direction of life.

yad yad äcarati çreñöhas

tat tad evetaro janaù

sa yat pramäëaà kurute

lokas tad anuvartate

(Bhagavad Gita 3.21)

What great men do, common men will naturally follow. So therefore, whatever standards such a great king sets by his exemplary acts, the world will pursue. Therefore, one fourth of all the pious activities of the entire kingdom must be assumed by the king. And similarly, one fourth of all sinful activities accumulated by all residents within his kingdom have to be accepted by the king. So it’s a very responsible position. If one understands the karmic position of being a leader in the society, we will not be so anxious to aspire for such a position.

Today Politicians simply for great name, fame and lots of side benefits and lots of money, very anxious to, by hook or crook assume the position of a political leader; a President, a Prime Minister, or a King but they do not understand the grave grave karmic responsibility that they have. But Ambarish Maharaj, he was thoroughly responsible and therefore, he wanted to show all of the people of his kingdom, the proper life to live. Performing sacrifice for the pleasure of Vishnu is the goal and duty of every human being.

yajïärthät karmaëo ‘nyatra

loko ‘yaà karma-bandhanaù

tad-arthaà karma kaunteya

mukta-saìgaù samäcara

(Bhagavad Gita 3.9)


Compassion of Great Souls for the Other Living Entities:

“Work done as a sacrifice for Vishnu must be performed, otherwise whatever you do is only a cause of bondage and eminent suffering.” Therefore his performance of his very very strict Ekadashi fast, for a whole year on each Ekadashi, he would not even touch the water; and not only that but he went to a holy place, Madhuvan, in the Vrindavan forest to perform this fast for that year. He showed all the citizens of his kingdom by his example how important it is to go to a holy place, the holy place of Kåñëa’s Lila. He showed everyone in the kingdom that he was doing it all with the blessings of the Brahmins and the Vaishnavas. He would not do anything independently. It is not that Ambarish Maharaj just left for Vrindavan and didn’t tell anyone, thinking, “Oh! I am a very great soul. Just see.”

Now with the blessings of the Brahmins, with the blessings of Guru, with the blessings of the Vaishnavas, he went to this holy place to perform tapasya. And what was that tapasya for? It wasn’t simply for one’s own purifications but it was for the enlightenment and betterment of all living beings. Just like our own Guru Maharaj, His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad; he also went to Vrindavan to perform great great tapasya. Living in a very simple holy place at Sri Radha Damodhar and just eating very simple prasad, taking that Yamuna, living very very simple, humble life; very quiet and secluded. Always immersed in his Bhajan but his purpose was not simply for his own Kåñëa Consciousness. But his purpose was to prepare himself to lead the world in Kåñëa Consciousness.

So Ambarish Maharaj went to Vraj Dham for the same purpose because he understood that by performing this act, whatever pious activities the king performs, the whole kingdom shares that as well and whatever sins the king performs, the whole kingdom has to suffer. So therefore, he wanted the entire world to be Kåñëa Conscious. Such a compassionate and great souls but it is described that this was the last fast of the year. That is the very end of his vow and according to the regulations of the shastras. If he did not break his vow, by breaking the fast, by a certain time the Ekadashi parana that is usually between the time of sunrise and about one, one and a half hours after; you must break your fast. Otherwise the credit of the fast is nullified. So of course, it is not the courtesy of a host to take anything before a guest; what to speak of such a respected guest as Durväsä Muni. So Ambarish Maharaj is very sensitive to this.


Durväsä Muni in the Role of an Insensitive Man:

Actually in this case, Durväsä Muni was playing the part of a very very insensitive man. He obviously knew that Ambarish Maharaj was fasting. With his mystic powers, he was able to know that he drank one little drop of Carnamrita while he was sitting in the Yamuna, a long distance away. So he had such mystic power, he must have understood Ambarish Maharaj’s fast, his motivation. But just at that time when Ambarish Maharaj was supposed to be taking his breakfast, Durväsä Muni was delaying, spending long long time in Yamuna, taking bath. So Ambarish Maharaj with the permission of the great devotees of the Lord, he took one single drop of Carnamrita or water which has been used to wash the Lotus feet of the deity of Kåñëa. And Durväsä Muni, feeling what had happened within his mind became very angry. And here, we find that he is coming back to the place of Ambarish Maharaj and in a fit of great anger, he is blaspheming the king with harsh words. He is calling him a pretender. Alas, he is calling him a cruel man. He is not a devotee of Vishnu. He is calling him proud materially attached to position. Ambarish Maharaj, who is the most humble servant of all living beings, he is saying that he considers himself to be God. Just see how he has transgressed the laws of religion. Basically, he is saying that Ambarish Maharaj is so uncontrolled, it is outrageous desire for sense gratification and he cannot even control his senses, for a few minutes to serve a respectful guest.


Positive View Point of the Great Souls- A Rare Quality:

But it is very very significant what Srila Prabhupada is explaining in the purport – how the great souls see everything with a positive vision? Here, he is casting the most horrible insults upon this flawless purest personality. When Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur, he is saying that what Durväsä Muni is saying can be taken in another way. If you just change the grammatical perception of these verses, he is actually chanting the glories of Ambarish Maharaj. And here, he is taking the same words and explaining how each one means, how wonderful and glorious is the devotion of Maharaj Ambarish. This is how the great souls, they learnt to see the good in everyone and in everything. They learnt to see the positive even in the most negative situation. This is a rare quality and we find it again and again and again within the scriptures; how the great acharyas, even the demons when they insult the Lord, they are able to simply hear those words in another way and see how this demon is actually, positively glorifying the Lord of my life. And therefore, they are teaching us by their example, how see every situation the opportunity to glorify God. This is the nature of mature devotee, who has unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He doesn’t see any condition of life as negative. He sees every situation as God arranged opportunity to further increase the glorification of the Lord’s name and glories. He sees even the most negative situation possible as the perfect perfect arrangement to increase one’s service to the Lord.

If you see something in a negative mind then you become discouraged and lose faith and what value is that? Human life is meant for devotional service. Therefore, the devotees of the Lord, the sincere devotees, they are always trying to see how every situation of life is arranged by Kåñëa. It may be a challenge but it is for the purpose of increasing my facility to render service and glorify the Lord and his devotees.


Every Situation- an Opportunity to Serve the Lord:

Just like Srila Prabhupad, when he was in his last days, he had not eaten any prasad long long time,  practically he had no more weight in his body and he was very old and his physical frame appeared that he was very inconceivable, how his life air was continuing to flow through such a sickly bodily condition. But when he heard of great challenges for preaching in Europe, although he was sitting in Bombay, all doctors said, “You cannot move, you cannot go anywhere.” He said, “Take me to London.” And devotees said, “But Prabhupada, this is impossible. All doctors are forbidding you to move. We cannot imagine you. We cannot even stand up; we will have to carry you. Whenever you have to respond to the call of nature, how can you be travelling like this? This is completely impossible.” Prabhupada was not very concerned with the doctors’ orders. Prabhupada said, he just raised hands together and said, “A Vaishnav is always welcoming the opportunity for a good fight.” He said, “Better I die in the battlefield fighting for Kåñëa, than simply sitting like this”. So although he was in the most treacherous and impossible situation, Srila Prabhupada was simply seeing how it is the possible opportunity to render service and of course by doing so he further glorified the Lord more than ever. Everyone will think- how wonderful is this devotee! How wonderful is this devotee of the Lord!

In this way, he further glorifies Kåñëa- this is how Kåñëa is. This is the glory of Kåñëa’s devotees. Kåñëa’s devotees are so absolutely unrelentlessly surrendered to his service, just imagine how great Kåñëa must be? If this is how much love the devotees have for Kåñëa, how much worthy of love Kåñëa must be? Nobody is willing to perform such great austerities for any personality in this world. So therefore, when we see the intensity, the condition of the love of the devotees for Kåñëa; the world thinks that Kåñëa must be the Supreme lovable object. He must be the Supreme object of all affection. Let me also learn what is this Kåñëa? Who is this Kåñëa? Who is this person; that these great souls are performing such inconceivable acts of devotion for with great pleasure? So the devotees of the Lord, whatever condition they are in or whatever condition they are exposed to; they see it as a positive opportunity to glorify Kåñëa. There is nothing negative. Negativity is due to Maya or ignorance.


Demoniac Situation turned into a Preaching Movement:

Even the great reversals, we should never lose heart. The great souls are never bewildered by any condition of life because they only see one thing; the opportunity for service. Even at one time, we were discussing with a shlok yesterday, at the beginning of Hare Kåñëa movement, Prabhupada took the opportunity and he was very much disturbed of how the demons were abusing his dear son and devotee. But Prabhupada wrote his first essay on this basis, ‘Who Is Crazy?’ and this essay was distributed far and wide. And this essay factually made thousands of people Kåñëa Conscious. So see how Prabhupada took advantage of the most apparent negative situation and turned it into the most positive condition of preaching. ‘Who Is Crazy?’ – He begins that the materialist says that the devotees are crazy and the devotees say the materialist is crazy. So who is crazy? And then he explains that craziness means to think that someone who you are not. Are you this body or are you not his body? Then, he very very logically explains how you are not his body. Therefore, anyone in this bodily conception of life is factually crazy.

And then, he explains how to attain real sanity by becoming God Conscious or Kåñëa Conscious. So here, a very very abusive and irrational and very negative attack by a very demoniac plot. Srila Prabhupada saw the positive opportunity to glorify Kåñëa and the result was an essay that converted the hearts of thousands and even while in the hospital, a very very wonderful soul was saved from the clutches of the illusion of Maya. So how is this possible? This is only possible because the devotees of the Lord, they have a spiritual vision in all circumstances of life. They see everything as Kåñëa’s arrangement for me to glorify him. And here, Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur, he is demonstrating that even the apparent greatest insults to the Lord and his devotee, he is not seeing it is such, he is seeing it as an opportunity for glorification.


See Everything through the Eyes of Great Souls:

So we must very very carefully try to follow in the footsteps “mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù” of these great souls and we must learn Acharya Bhashanam. We must see through the eyes of Acharya. We should not try to see through our own vision because our vision is tainted by material contaminations, conditionings and so much false ego. Therefore, we tend to see everything out of its perspective. We should never see through these eyes of this world. That is why it is not recommended for the devotees to be reading mundane books, mundane newspapers beyond what is absolutely required for the information needed for one’s devotional service. Because by associating one’s mind, we learn to see things through the eyes of materialistic people- who are constantly accepting and rejecting, hankering and lamenting, who are being dictated by the mind and senses. Therefore we must always learn to see through the eyes of the scriptures and to see through the eyes of those personalities who are embodiments of the conclusion of the scriptures, which means the great devotees of the Lord.

oà ajïäna-timirändhasya jïänäïjana-çaläkayä

cakñur unmélitaà yena tasmai çré-gurave namaù

I was born in the darkness of ignorance but by the mercy of my Guru Maharaj, with the torch light of knowledge, he has given light into my life. The spiritual master and the great Sadhus, they teach us to see everything, to respond to every condition of life, in the light of Kåñëa Consciousness. So by humbly enquiring from the great souls and by following in their footsteps, we can at all times, in all circumstances further deepen our own Kåñëa Consciousness and offer the greatest service to the Lord and to all humanity.

Thank you very much.


Is there any questions?

Devotee: Maharaj, we say that oà ajïäna-timirändhasya… (Inaudible)

Maharaj: We must see through our ears, not through our eyes. This is what Srila Prabhupada used to constantly tell us. Do not see through your eyes, but see through your ears. You must see everything according to how we hear from Kåñëa, from the Shastras and from the great souls. So the feeling is an advanced stage of realization. In the beginning we must simply practise on the basis of faith. Just like you are a doctor, if someone has a severe disease and you give a medicine, does he immediately feel relief? 30 seconds after he takes the tablet, does he feel relief?  But does that mean that the process of purification is not taking place? So therefore, you see by following the instructions of the injunctions of the Shastra and the Guru and Sadhu. We are factually in the process of purification. When we become sufficiently pure then we can feel the ecstasy of Love of God. Until then, we simply have to keep ourselves in that protective state, being under the divine grace of Guru and Kåñëa with faith.

As we surrender, Kåñëa reveals himself. The light of knowledge is revealed to us as we surrender from within and without. We should not be so concerned with how we feel. We should be concerned with following the truth, whether we feel or we do not feel. And through the connection to the truth we become purified. And then the natural feelings of the eternal soul are allowed to manifest and pervade our entire consciousness. That is what is desired. Sadhana Bhakti means- we may not necessarily feel because we still have so many attachments and contaminations but what we follow on the basis of our intelligence, although it is an austerity. And as a doctor you must preach to every patient this way. Sometimes the medicine makes you feel worst but in the end it gives you good health. So similarly by accepting the vision of the spiritual master, sometimes in our contaminated diseased state, we feel even worse. But that is just the part of the natural process of purification. Therefore, with our good intelligence, we must have faith in the words of scriptures, faith in the words of Guru and faith in the words of the Sadhus and then gradually we become purified and then gradually what you are calling feeling; the emotional feelings, the mental feelings, they disappear. And the true ecstasy, the feeling of the soul is revealed.

Is there any other questions?

Devotee: (inaudible)

Maharaj: That is why you need a Guru. But a Guru, he is under the higher supervision of higher powers. You must take the blessings of the great souls before you can do something like that. But those who are on the advanced stages of Kåñëa Consciousness, they are taking the directions from the great souls within their hearts. Srila Prabhupada was always taking direction at every step with his spiritual master Srila Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati Thakur within his heart. And therefore, his activities were ordained and sanctioned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was not tempting the Lord but rather he was giving his life for the glorification of the Lord. You see tempting the Lord is different, it is unnecessary. Just like, Lord Jesus was asked by a saint, “Jump off this mountain and see if God saves you” but what is the value of jumping off the mountain? It’s simply to test God. There was no real, practical reason for doing so. Save and accept, just to see if God will save me. Prabhupada was not like that, he was thinking, “Come death or Come life, I am in your hands my Lord, but there are conditioned souls out there, that beat me. I need your mercy and I am your messenger.” They had a compassionate mission. They had a specific goal – the service of the Lord. And with faith and confidence and with the blessings of higher powers, they pursue that. They were doing it to please the Lord by giving his mercies to those are desperately crying for that mercy. They were not doing it just to show how great they were, or to just see whether Kåñëa saves me. That is the difference! Are there any other questions? So thank you very much.

Hare Kåñëa!

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.