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Greatness Of King Ambarisha – He Who Saw God In Everything

Rajarshi Ambarisha is a scion of the Ikshvaku dynasty. He is descended of a noble and illustrious lineage. The sterling virtues that he has are both congenital and cultivated. He is a mighty king exercising sovereignty over a vast empire. Shuka calls him a blessed soul. Shuka’s delineation of the profile of Ambarisha is sharp, suggestive and significant.

Ambarisha, though the master of the vast earth comprising seven continents and endowed with inexhaustible wealth and incomparable prowess, knew it all to be short-lived and dream-like, even though for ordinary men it was most difficult to attain and that it led only to spiritual blindness.

Being supremely devoted to Bhagavan Vasudeva and his pious devotees, he regarded the whole universe as nothing more than a mere clod of earth.

Here is an unmistakable clue to the subtle and inexorable workings of true devotion. Genuine devotion sees through the hollowness of temporal pomp and ignites the spark of extreme dispassion. Being a devotee par excellence, Ambarisha, though surrounded by a sea of opulence, stands immovable as a mighty rock of dispassion. Now, this incredible same-sightedness that looks equally upon a piece of gold and a lump of clay is possible only for a sthitaprajna who is ever poised in the non-dualistic state. So Ambarisha fully answers to the description of a jnani contained in the Bhagavad Gita: Enlightened men are those who see the same (Atman) in a learned and humble brahmana, a cow, an elephant, or even a dog or an outcaste.

A perfect jnani has inevitably to be a perfect bhakta. He is the worshipper of either the Impersonal Absolute or the Personal God. Ambarisha is a staunch devotee of Vishnu. All his faculties, physical and mental, are oriented, in their entirety, to the adoration of Achyuta. Shuka says: His mind ever clings to the lotus feet of Krishna, his speech in recounting the divine glories of Vaikuntha, his hands in cleaning the temple of Hari, his ears in hearing the stories about Achyuta, his eyes in seeing the beauteous murtis and temples of Mukunda, his physical frame in embracing His devotees, his nose in smelling the fragrance of tulsi leaves offered at the feet of Bhagavan, his feet in treading the holy tracts consecrated to Hari and his head in bowing at the lotus feet of Hrishikesha. By describing Ambarisha's total dedication to Bhagavan, Shuka demonstrates that true bhakti is nothing but a state of being in perpetual union with Bhagavan.