Sripad Durvasas (Durvasa Muni):
Once a quarrel arose between Brahma and Siva which was so violent the
other demigods became afraid, so much so that they ran off, frightened
to see Lord Siva seething in rage. Lord Siva's consort said to Siva: "durvasam
bhavati me." "Because of this, it has become impossible for me to live
happily with you." Knowing that it was his anger which had caused this,
Lord Siva decided to deposit his anger which had caused so much unhappiness
for his consort Parvati into the body of Anasurya, the wife of Atri Muni.
From this a child was born out of the same fiery, angry aspect, and was
called Durvasa, due to his nature of making life miserable for Lord Siva's
consort. (Brahmananda Purana, Chapter 44.)
There are many incidents in the Puranas and Mahabharat involving
the anger of Durvasa some are with Ambarisha Maharaja, Kunti and Indra,
to name a few. Even though Durvasa had this fiery nature, still he had
his part to play. He is also in the 'guru parampara' that the Madhwa line
lists, and he lived his life very austerely, travelling the three worlds
as a sannyasi. Everywhere that he travelled his 10,000 disciples travelled
with him, so there was always 10,001. The following preaching of Durvasa
Muni's is the essence of Sripad Madhwacarya's Dwaita philosophy which is
transcendentally echoed in the Aitareya Upanishad, Sripad Madhwacarya's
favourite Upanishad. Surely Durvasa Muni is a transcendentally unusual
This incident is taken from the Gopal Tapani Upanishad: "In his
eating habits Durvasa Muni completely fasted from everything except he
ate only Durva grass. Once he was asked by Srimati Radharani (Gandharvi):
'How is it that you eat only sacred Durva grass?'
"Durvasa Muni replied: "As sound is contained in the element
of ether, and although sound and ether are different, this ether does not
know I am spirit; How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Touch is
contained within the element of air, although touch and air are different.
Touch is contained within the air. This air does not know I am spirit.
How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? Form is contained within the
element of fire. Although form and fire are different, form is contained
in fire. This fire does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic
sense enjoyer? Taste is contained within the element of water, although
taste and water are different. Taste is contained within water. This water
does not know I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer?
Aroma is contained within the element of earth, although aroma and earth
are different. Aroma is contained within earth. This earth does not know
I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic sense enjoyer? It is the mind
that remains among the senses and accepts them. When spirit is everything,
how does one think? Where does one go? I am spirit. How can I be a materialistic
"Your beloved Krsna is the original creator of the two kinds
of bodies. On the tree of the body are two birds. One is an expansion of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is a witness. The other is an enjoyer.
They are an enjoyer and a non-enjoyer. The first enjoys and the second
is Krsna (Paramatma), the witness in the heart. In Him we do not find material
so-called knowledge and ignorance. This ignorance and real knowledge are
different. How can Krsna who is full of real knowledge, become a material
enjoyer. He who lusts after pleasure is lusty. He who does not lust after
pleasures is not lusty. Krsna, Who is free from birth and death, Who is
unchanging, Who cannot be cut, Who stays by the Yamuna, Who stays among
the surabhi cows, Who stays among the cowherd boys, Who stays in all the
Vedas, Who is glorified by all the Vedas, Who has entered all living entities
and Who controls all living entities, is Your consort."
"Gandharvi (Sri Radha) said: "Why has the Supreme Personality
of Godhead taken birth among us as a cowherd boy? O sage, how do you know
this about Krsna? What is His mantra? What is His abode?
Why has He taken birth in Devaki's womb. Who is His elder brother Balarama?
How is He worshipped? Why has the Supreme Personality of Godhead
Who is far above this world of matter descended to this earth?" etc, etc.
"Durvasa said: "In the beginning only Lord Narayana existed.
In Him the material worlds are woven as thread on a loom. From His lotus
navel the demigod Brahma was born. When Brahma performed severe austerities,
Lord Narayana granted him a boon. Brahma chose a question. Lord Narayana
granted his request. Brahma asked about incarnations and why Krsna, Govinda
was best. Lord Narayana then describes His creation and His holy dhamas,
etc."(Gopal Tapani Upanishad)
There is more but to include it here would make this chapter
even more lengthy. One should read Gopal Tapani Upanishad for the complete
reply of Durvasa but here we can at least see that he was of our parampara's
conclusion. Srimati Radharani received a boon from Durvasa Muni that whatever
she cooked would be better than nectar. (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Antya
The full story of Durvasa Muni's blessing Srimati Radharani is
told in a wonderful book by H.H. Narayana Maharaja entitled "Sri Vraja
Mandala Parikrama." The incident happened at Jawat. Some Gaudiya Vaisnavas
do not accept that the incident with Srimati Radharani was with the same
Durvasa, they see all the arguments and anger he displayed in other situations,
consequently and unfortunately they do not see where he fits in, always
and only stressing his angry attributes. In "Sri Vrndavana Dhama Ki Jaya"
the author also substantiates that the Durvasa Muni who is the plenary
incarnation of Lord Siva is the same who met with Srimati Radharani (Gandhavika).
He also states that Durvasa used to perform austerities on the bank of
the Yamuna opposite the Visrama Ghat.(Dhruva Maharaja dasa. 1988., page
Sripad Durvasas is one of the much miss understood characters of the
Vedic literary library. There are many examples of how Durvasas was used
by the Lord to emphasise a particular attribute of this unlimitedly faceted
philosophy. We see the same situation arising with Sri Narad Muni also,
sometimes he is seen as a trouble maker, and sometimes as spiritual master
of the universe. This is the difference between a pure soul and one who
is very much self interested, for one who has his own prestige, or cool
in mind, to be seen as rude or offencive harms one's profile, and so is
not paletable for the false ego. However for the great sage Durvasa Muni
he simply did as he was requested to do, so sometimes he is famous, and
sometimes infamous, he didn't mind being used as an example by the Lord,
so long that points could be made.
In the story of Durvasa Muni and Ambarisha Maharaja, Durvasa
Muni was chased by the Sudarsana Disc of Lord Visnu after offending the
Lord's pure devotee Ambarisha. Throughout the universe Durvasa was chased.
He tried, out of fear for his life, to approach various demigods and finally
Lord Visnu Himself, but due to the cause being that he had offended the
Lord's devotee, everyone told Durvasa that the only one who could help
him was the devotee he offended. After this, Durvasa approached Ambarisha
Maharaja and begged forgiveness, and only then did the Sudarsana Disc stop
following Durvasa Muni. What an example, what devotion, that he would go
along with the Lord's plan even if his life was threatened, and his reputation
Practically there are unlimited stories - the pastimes of Durvasa Muni
and his being made an example, and little tests of tolerance and humility
that he had to undergo. Even once he came to test Lord Sri Krsna and Rukmini
Devi in Dwaraka. This kind of drama can only be performed by one who is
very close to the Lord.
Lord Krsna, showing Himself to be the perfect householder, invited
the great muni in, sat him down, and washed his feet. However, the unpredictable
guest had a plan, and "accidentally on purpose" broke precious and beautiful
objects around his palace to see how far Krsna would go with his elevated
brahmin guest. "Oh, such a nice vase, oops." Smash! "Oh, such an opulent
couch. Rip! Oops, sorry." Like that, then he made many demands for food,
I want this and that like this with that, and Rukmini Devi personally served
their respected guest. Finally Durvasa called for some payasam, sweet pudding,
but when it arrived he said he was now full. Still Krsna and Rukmini tolerated
everything and continued their mood of treating Durvasa as a welcomed guest.
Durvasa then said to Krsna, "Here You take this, and instead of me eating
it, You take this 'payasam' and smear it all over Your body, everywhere.
Now do the same to Rukmini, starting with the face." Krsna did like this
in all humility. Now Durvasa said, "Give me one chariot." The chariot came.
"Now give me Your beautiful wife Rukmini." Lord Krsna ascended another
chariot and came up close behind Durvasa. Durvasa stopped his chariot and
enquired as to what Krsna was doing there, following him. Krsna, still
not wanting to offend his guest said, "I was just accompanying you to see
if you needed any assistance." Durvasa Muni then relented saying, "You,
Krsna and Rukmini, are the perfect householders. I give you all benedictions.
Rukmini, you will always be known as the principal Queen of Krsna. I offer
my respectful obeisances unto you both."
There is a similar story, "Sometimes the gopis would go to the
great sage Durvasa Muni and ask for his blessings to always have the association
of Lord Krsna. On one such journey to reach his ashram, the 'gopis' approached
Yamuna devi, and on the banks of her pure flowing waters, they addressed
her, "On the strength of Krsna being a strict 'brahmacari', kindly allow
us to cross." Upon hearing their words, Yamuna parted her waters and allowed
the 'gopis' to cross. Upon reaching Durvasa Muni's 'ashram', the 'gopis'
presented him with all the sumptuous foodstuffs they had brought with them
after offering due respects. Durvasa was very pleased with them and blessed
them all, but especially he gave his special blessings to Srimati Radharani,
saying that whatever she would cook would taste just like nectar. Not only
that, but anyone who had the great good fortune of tasting that cooking
would achieve a long and healthy life, free from all disease. To again
gain Yamuna Devi's mercy to cross her wide waters, Durvasa Muni advised
the 'gopis' to tell Yamuna devi that as true as Krsna is a 'brahmacari',
Durvasa is always fasting, living only on sacred Durva grass, and thus
on the strength of this she will give all the 'gopis' safe passage again.
On Radharani's return from Durvasa Muni's 'ashram' with all the other 'gopis',
Mother Yasoda (Krsna's mother) invited Radharani to come and cook for Krsna
daily, hearing of the boon she had received there from Durvasa."(Padmalocana
Prabhu, 1985. "Yamuna the Personification of Prema Bhakti", Page 20.).
Due to the incident mentioned earlier, with Ambarish Maharaj, Durvasa
has practically become infamous throughout the Vedic literatures as the
fiery mendicant, who cursed many and also gave many boons.
But above all things, he was a great Vaisnava follower of the
Lord. Because of his ill rupute in the Gaudiya line he is not included.
Although tracing back some of the firey mendicants life it is interesting
to see that Durvasa Muni took 'sannyasa' from Sanaka Kumara and received
many transcendental instructions from him. These same four Kumaras are
considered the originators of 'sannyasa' in the Madhwa line, though they
themselves are the heads of another Sampradaya named the Kumara or Sanaka
Adi Sampradaya which later became known as the Nimbarka Sampradaya. Nimbarka
was a Vaisnavacarya in the line of Sanaka Kumara. Actually all the Vaisnava
Sampradayas are directly the family of the Lord, His descendants, and as
stressed before, and which cannot be stressed enough, one can only approach
Krsna through the 'guru'. 'Guru' means 'guru parampara'.