King Ambareesha who belonged to the Solar dynasty was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Though he had so much of wealth, power, position and people at his command he never became proud of them all. On the contrary he ruled his kingdom rightly and justly as a sevak of the Lord. He conducted yagnas, performed austerities, undertook vows and pilgrimages, worshipped Lord Sri Hari and also was a very charitable person. Pleased with him, Lord Narayana gave him the “Sudarshan Chakra” – His own divine weapon as a gift. Under the grace of the Divine Disc the kingdom flourished and prospered.
Ambareesha and his wife undertook “Ekadashi Vratham” for a whole year. According to the rules of the Vratham, total fasting has to be observed on Ekadashi, whereas it is only one meal on 10th day (Dashami) and on the 12th day (Dwadashi). The king was concluding the Vratham in the month of Kartik, in Mathura, on the banks of the Yamuna river. After the fasting on Ekadashi day, on the next day of Dwadashi, Ambareesha had a holy dip in the river, worshipped the Lord, gave away gifts in charity and offered food to the sadhus and brahmanas. The king was then about to break his fast, when Sage Durvasa came there. Seeing the Rishi, the King received him and humbly requested him also to join for food. Durvasa agreed and went to have a bath in the river. For a long time he did not come. The auspicious time for breaking the fast was approaching. If there was delay in breaking the fast, the king would lose all the merit of the Ekadashi Vratham.
But after having invited a guest for food, it would be wrong to eat before the guest is served. Not knowing what to do, he consulted the sadhus over there. They told him to wait for the guest, but at the same time to sip a little water which is equivalent to breaking the fast so that the merit of breaking the fast at the right time would be honoured. As the king was sipping the water offered to the Lord, Durvasa came. He flew into a rage saying that the king had insulted and humiliated a guest by having something before serving the guest first. The king tried to explain the situation to him saying that he had just sipped a little water to keep up the rules of the Vratham. But Durvasa was in no mood to listen to him.
He plucked out a strand of his matted hair and flung it on the ground. It manifested into a horrible monster and rushed to devour the king. The king silently prayed to the Lord. Immediately Sudarshan Chakra came whirling forward and destroyed the demon instantaneously. After that the Chakra moved forward to attack the Sage. He was so terrified that he started running. Wherever he ran, the Chakra followed him. Not knowing what to do, in sheer desperation the Sage ran to all the three worlds, crossed all the seven oceans, begged all the devatas, but nobody could help him. He ran to Lord Brahma and next to Lord Shiva. Both of them expressed their utter helplessness in containing the might of Vishnu Chakra. Finally he approached Lord Vishnu in Vaikunta. Even there, Lord Vishnu expressed his helplessness saying that he was bound to the devotee by chords of devotion and therefore could not help him. It was only the Lord’s devotee, Ambareesha who could save him.
Durvasa ran back to Ambareesha and flung himself at the devotee’s feet pleading to be saved. Seeing the Sage fall at his feet, Ambareesha stepped back and prayed to Sudarshan Chakra to withdraw itself and calm down. On seeing the Chakra withdraw Durvasa was relieved. All this time, Ambareesha was waiting without having his food, so that he could first serve his guest and then have his food. The Sage was very happy and pleased to see the faith and devotion, committment and seva-bhav of King Ambareesha. He blessed him with all his heart and left the palace basking in the glorious thoughts of the Lord and His devotees.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]