Many sites claim that sage Durvasa was called a donkey by Sage Narada as his Knowledge was only book based.


  • Is it true that Sage Durvasa was called Donkey by sage Narada?
  • 5
    Shakti - is it necessary to explore obscure (and likely untrue) stories that disparage rishis? What does knowing the answer to this question accomplish- for you or anyone else? – user1195 Jul 14 '17 at 3:31

The story is described by the Advaita philosopher Vidyaranya in this excerpt from his Jivanmukti Viveka, in the context of describing different kinds of Shastra Vasana:

Addiction to many subjects of study is similarly of the nature of impure Vasana, inasmuch as it is not the last aim of existence. This is seen in the Kavasheya-Gita. A sage by name Durvasas came with a cart-load of Shastra-books to pay his respects to the god Mahadeva. In the learned assembly of that god, Narada aimed a joke at him in the parable of the ass carrying a load on his back; whereupon he was fired with such anger as led him to throw away all his books in the ocean. The god Mahadeva thereafter initiated him into the mystery of Self-knowledge; for, Self-knowledge never comes from the study of books, to him who has not acquired the faculty of intro-vision nor the favor of a competent teacher.

He says it comes from the Kavasheya Gita, a text I had never heard of before, but this web page says that it's a text "[a]scribed to Brahma Purana, but not found in it". Perhaps the Kavasheya Gita is only found in some manuscripts of the Brahma Purana. Also, this web page says that the Kavasheya Gita is quoted in a Nath text called the Goraksha Samhita. In any case, I assume the name "Kavasheya" is connected to Tura Kavasheya, the priest of Arjuna's great-grandson Janamejaya.

  • looks like interpolated story.. – Rakesh Joshi Jul 14 '17 at 5:08
  • @RakeshJoshi Well, without examining the Kavasheya Gita it's hard to reach that sort of a conclusion. By default we should accept a putative scriptural passage as valid. – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 14 '17 at 5:12
  • 2
    Any sanskrit book is not scripture. Further, kavasheya is not a famous one. But yes its individual's choice. – Rakesh Joshi Jul 14 '17 at 5:15
  • 4
    @RakeshJoshi Well, it's sounds pretty likely to be a scripture if it's cited by both Vidyaranya and by Gorakshanath. And it seems to be part of the Brahma Purana. – Keshav Srinivasan Jul 14 '17 at 6:00
  • Wow I can't believe that 1. Narada, an exalted devotee called Durvasa a donkey and 2. There existed books in those days of oral recitation. – Surya Jul 15 '17 at 5:59

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .