Canto 9: LiberationChapter 4: Ambarīṣa Mahārāja Offended by Durvāsā Muni

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 9.4.21

evaḿ sadā karma-kalāpam ātmanaḥ

pare 'dhiyajñe bhagavaty adhokṣaje

sarvātma-bhāvaḿ vidadhan mahīm imāḿ

tan-niṣṭha-viprābhihitaḥ śaśāsa ha


evam — thus (living a devotional life); sadā — always; karma-kalāpam — the prescribed occupational duties as a kṣatriya king; ātmanaḥ — of himself, personally (the head of the state); pare — unto the supreme transcendence; adhiyajñe — unto the supreme proprietor, the supreme enjoyer; bhagavati — unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adhokṣaje — unto He who is beyond material sense perception; sarva-ātma-bhāvam — all different varieties of devotional service; vidadhat — executing, offering; mahīm — the planet earth; imām — this; tat-niṣṭha — who are faithful devotees of the Lord; vipra — by such brāhmaṇas; abhihitaḥ — directed; śaśāsa — ruled; hain the past.


In performing his prescribed duties as king, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa always offered the results of his royal activities to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who is the enjoyer of everything and is beyond the perception of material senses. He certainly took advice from brāhmaṇas who were faithful devotees of the Lord, and thus he ruled the planet earth without difficulty.


As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29):

bhoktāraḿ yajña-tapasāḿ


suhṛdaḿ sarva-bhūtānāḿ

jñātvā māḿ śāntim ṛcchati

People are very much anxious to live in peace and prosperity in this material world, and here in Bhagavad-gītā the peace formula is given personally by the Supreme Personality of Godhead: everyone should understand that Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the ultimate proprietor of all the planets and is therefore the enjoyer of all activities, political, social, cultural, religious, economic and so on. The Lord has given perfect advice in Bhagavad-gītā, and Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, as the ideal executive head, ruled the entire world as a Vaiṣṇava, taking advice from Vaiṣṇava brāhmaṇas. The śāstras enjoin that even though a brāhmaṇa may be well versed in the occupational brahminical duties and may be very learned in Vedic knowledge, he cannot give advice as a guru until he is a Vaiṣṇava.

ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro


avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād

vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ

Therefore, as indicated here by the words tan-niṣṭha-viprābhihitaḥ, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa took advice from brāhmaṇas who were pure devotees of the Lord, for ordinary brāhmaṇas who are merely learned scholars or experts in performing ritualistic ceremonies are not competent to give advice.

In modern times, there are legislative assemblies whose members are authorized to make laws for the welfare of the state, but according to this description of the kingdom of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, the country or the world should be ruled by a chief executive whose advisors are all devotee brāhmaṇas. Such advisors or members of the legislative assembly should not be professional politicians, nor should they be selected by the ignorant public. Rather, they should be appointed by the king. When the king, the executive head of the state, is a devotee and he follows the instructions of devotee brāhmaṇas in ruling the country, everyone will be peaceful and prosperous. When the king and his advisors are perfect devotees, nothing can be wrong in the state. All the citizens should become devotees of the Lord, and then their good character will automatically follow.

yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā

sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ

harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇā

manorathenāsati dhāvato bahiḥ

"One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy." (Bhāg. 5.18.12) Citizens under the guidance of a Kṛṣṇa conscious king will become devotees, and then there will be no need to enact new laws every day to reform the way of life in the state. If the citizens are trained to become devotees, they will automatically become peaceful and honest, and if they are guided by a devoted king advised by devotees, the state will not be in the material world but in the spiritual world. All the states of the world should therefore follow the ideal of the rule or administration of Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, as described here.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness