DURVASA – A sage



Durvasa (hard to dwell) was known for his bad temper and his imperious ways. He was also said to be a partial (amsha) incarnation of (Siva.
Durvasa has three different birth myths, each accounting for his character. The first began in heaven. Siva had behaved so badly, abusing the devas (gods) and his wife Parvati, that she decided to leave him. So Siva discarded that por­tion of himself that was making life miserable for everyone—to be born as a sage. The rest of the story is told within the stories of (Silavati, the woman who stopped the sun from rising in order to reverse Durvasa’s curse, and Anasuya, the woman who gained a boon to have children from each of the Trimurtis. In the first version of Durvasa’s birth Anasuya’s third child was the son of (Siva—none other than Durvasa.
The second account of Durvasa’s birth involved Brahma driving (Siva from heaven because of his sins. Siva begged the help of the rishi (sage) Narayana. Siva was told to pierce the sage with his trident (shula). Three streams of blood from Narayana‘s arm worked as a blood sacrifice: one stream went to heaven, another into the skull carried by Siva, and the third became Durvasa. Brahma was pla­cated, and Siva, now pure because of the blood sacrifice, returned to heaven. In the third account Siva’s rage in a battle with demons came back to him as the arrow that killed the demons and returned to his lap. That arrow was then born as Durvasa.
Was it any wonder then that, in the later mythology, Durvasa served as a fierce teacher, ready to chastise or curse any who crossed him. He made Krishna and Rukmini pull his chariot like horses, beating them all the way. Then he gave Krishna partial invincibility in battle, leaving only his foot unprotected. And that of course turned out to be where the arrow that killed Krishna found its mark. Durvasa cursed kings and damsels, gave five magic mantras to Kunti so that she could have children by the gods, and spent lots of time in Indra’s heaven.

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