Durvasa - The Furious Sage




Rishi Durvasa is one of the famous sages from ancient India who was known for his anger and fiery nature. Durvasa means anyone who is difficult to live with. Durvasa was born from Lord Shiva’s anger. He was born to Rishi Atri and Anusuya. According to some scriptures once Brahma and Lord Shiva got into a heated argument. This enraged Shiva to the extent that it became difficult for Parvati to calm him down. She complained that it was becoming difficult to stay with Shiva because of his fiery nature. This is when Lord Shiva decided to dispose of his anger which was later consumed by Asusuya (wife of Rishi Atri). This is when Durvasa was born who consumed Shiva’s anger from his mother’s womb.


Durvasa was feared by humans and Gods as well. No one liked him much as he had a habit of cursing people frequently. Not only humans he even cursed Gods whenever he felt disrespected. The famous Sagar Manthan was also a result of Durvasa’s curse on Indra. Once Durvasa decided to visit Indra in Swargalok. Upon meeting him Durvasa gave Indra a gift of garland. Indra threw the garland away. This made Durvasa very angry. He then cursed Indra that he along with other Gods shall lose everything they have including their immortality.


In another tale Durvasa plans to kill king Ambrish who was a great devotee of Vishnu. To please Vishnu, Ambrish was observing a fast for a very long time. During this period Durvasa met him. Durvasa wanted to be fed and instructed Ambrish that after his bath in the Yamuna river he shall consume food offered to him by Ambrish. He instructed Ambrish to wait. However Ambrish had to break his fast during that particular time itself. He was advised by his priests that he should break his fast otherwise the whole worship would go waste. Considering all this Ambrish decided to end the fast without waiting for Durvasa to return from his bath. When Durvasa returned and heard about this, he felt disrespected and left from there fuming with anger. He wanted to punish Ambrish for this. He created a demon who would chase Ambrish and kill him. However when he sent the demon to kill Ambrish, the demon was killed by Vishnu’s Sudarshan chakra. The Sudarshan Chakra then started chasing Durvasa. Durvasa was scared to death. He decided to visit Vishnu to seek help. Lord Vishnu suggested him to seek forgiveness from Ambrish. Durvasa visited Ambrish again and apologized for his behavior. Ambrish forgave Durvasa and hence this saved his life.


In the tale of Ramayana, Durvasa is known to be the cause of Lakshman’s death. Once Durvasa visited Ayodhya to meet Lord Rama. When he went to his castle he saw Lakshmana guarding his door. Rama was in a meeting with Lord Yama (God of death). Yama had instructed that until the meeting finishes no one should enter their room and this was a very secret meeting. Anyone who comes inside during the meeting shall lose his life. Hence Rama decided to make brother Lakshmana stand in front of the door and guard it. When Lakshmana didn’t let Durvasa enter Rama’s room, Durvasa was furious and threatened Lakshmana that if he did not let him inside he shall curse entire Ayodhya to death. Lakshmana thought that it was better to sacrifice himself rather than getting entire Ayodhya in trouble. He entered the room and told Rama of the situation. Rama and Yama quickly finished their meeting after which Rama invited Durvasa inside. After Durvasa left, Rama knew that now Lakshmana had to bear the consequences of this as Yama had clearly instructed that anyone entering the room shall be killed. After consulting the priests Lakshmana was asked to leave the kingdom and isolate himself completely as that was considered equal to dying. This is when Lakshmana leaves Ayodhya and drowns himself in the river of Sarayu.


Durvasa has also been mentioned in Mahabharata several times. He was the one to grant multiple boons to Kunti, Draupadi, and Duryodhan. He had blessed Kunti and because of that she could invoke any of the Gods and have a child from them. This is how Karna and the 1st three Pandavas were born. Durvasa also blessed that Draupadi with a boon that she shall never face a dearth of clothes in her life. This is because once when Durvasa was bathing in a river, his clothes were carried away by river currents. When Draupadi who was nearby saw this, she helped Durvasa with her clothes. This gratified him and blessed her with a boon of endless clothes. This is how she was saved from the mockery when Dussashana tried to disrobe her in front of the royal court. Durvasa once visited Duryodhan. Duryodhan and his wicked uncle Shakuni were successful in pleasing the haughty saint with their service. Durvasa felt gratified and asked Duryodhana to wish for something. Duryodhan wanted Durvasa to curse his Pandav brothers. He asked Durvasa to visit Pandavas in the forest. He knew that by the time he reached them they shall not have any food left to offer Durvasa. This shall make him angry and then he would curse them. As expected when Durvasa reached Pandavas,all their food was over for the day. He told them that he shall have a bath in the river and then consume food. Meanwhile during his bath, Draupadi called Krishna for help. Krishna came forward and ate the remaining food that was stuck in the utensils. This fulfilled Durvasa’s hunger as well because when the Supreme Lord is content with food, even the other living beings are. Durvasa didn’t return after bathing and left from there itself.


There are many other stories of anger and wrath involving Durvasa. There is a dedicated temple for him as well in the state of Haryana. Art Credit: DeviantArt Follow us on

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