How Rishi Durvasa’s curse resulted in the ‘Greatest Show on Earth – The Kumbh Mela’!

Rishi Durvasa holds a special place in the many lores of Hindu mythology.

To begin with he was the ‘avatar’ of Lord Shiva born to Atri and Anasuya.

He was extremely feared for his short temper. He didn’t think twice before giving a shraap (curse) to anyone who didn’t please him.

Durvasa cursing Shakuntala

Durvasa cursing Shakuntala

Right from Ambaraisha to Shakuntala and even Lakshman ‘suffered’ due to his curse. (more on these stories later)

But the one person who was one of his earliest ‘victims’ and whose attempts to get back to what he had lost resulted in a series of events due to which millions of followers come together once in 12 years to wash away all their sins.

The individual I am talking about is Indra and it is the Kumbh Mela which resulted from curse Sage Durvasa had given Indra.

Let’s know more about this story today.

Vidyadhari giving the garland to Durvasa

Vidyadhari giving the garland to Durvasa

Once Durvasa was wandering on earth, when he came across a female Vidyadhari (a nymph of the air) who was wearing a beautiful garland of flowers. Seeing Durvasa being attracted to the garland the nymph respectfully gave it to the sage. When he came back from earth, the sage came across Indra riding his elephant, Airavata.

Indra riding on the Airavata

Indra riding on Airavata

Durvasa presented the garland to Indra, who not sure of what to do with the garland placed it on Airavata’s head. The elephant was irritated by the fragrance of the nectar in the flowers and threw the garland to the ground with its trunk and crushed it with his feet. Durvasa was enraged to see his gift treated so callously and immediately cursed Indra that he would be cast down from his position of dominion over the three worlds, just as the garland was cast down.

Indra immediately begged Durvasa’s forgiveness, but the sage refused to retract or even soften his curse, and went on his way.

Because of the curse, Indra and the Devas were diminished in strength and shorn of their lustre. Seizing this opportunity, the Asuras led by Bali waged war against the gods. The Devtas were routed and turned to Brahma for help.

Brahma in turn directed them to seek refuge with Vishnu. Vishnu in turn gave the idea for the Samudra Manthan.

Stay tuned; the story becomes very interesting from here 😉

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One thought on “How Rishi Durvasa’s curse resulted in the ‘Greatest Show on Earth – The Kumbh Mela’!

  1. Pingback: A to Z of Samudra Manthan | Mythnosis

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