After I wrote this answer I came across this fact from the Mahabharata about Krishna.

Endued with great energy he then sat down on the bare earth. He had thought before this of everything that had been fore-shadowed by the words uttered by Gandhari in former days. He also recollected the words that Durvasas had spoken at the time his body was smeared by that Rishi with the remnant of the Payasa he had eaten (while a guest at Krishna’s house). The high-souled one, thinking of the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, as also of the previous slaughter of the Kurus, concluded that the hour (for his own departure from the world) had come.

Now I've read a story on various blogs how Durvasa came to dine at Dwaraka and he threw tantrums and made all sorts of scenes regarding the food, causing Krishna and Rukmini much trouble. Durvasa also breaks some things around Krishna's palace and upturns a bowl of hot Payasa on Krishna.

Krishna remains silent despite the hardship. Durvasa says that the Payasa was a sort of a kavach/armour due to which Krishna's entire body is impenetrable with the exception of the soles of his feet and that his death will be due to this vulnerability.

My question is, has this story been mentioned in any scriptures? Like in the Harivamsa or the Puranas. If Krishna explicitly remembered this act of Durvasa in Mahabharata then it must have happened.

Also I would like to know what were the words spoken by Durvasa that Krishna recalled?

1 Answer 1


Krishna tells the story to his son Pradyumna in this chapter of he Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata, while discussing how one should treat Brahmanas. Durvasa used to wander around asking who would invite him as a guest to their house, given that he's so irritable and prone to curse people at the smallest perceived slight. So Krishna decided to invite him to his house. Durvasa acted in a very capricious matter, and one day he burnt all the beds he was sleeping on and the girls who were serving him. He then asked Krishna for Payasa. Krishna served him Payasa, and then Durvasa told Krishna to smear the remnants of it on himself. Krishna did so, and then Durvasa smeared Payasa on Rukmini as well, and then he tied Rukmini to a chariot and hit Rukmini with a whip to make her pull the chariot. Krishna was silent through all of this, and Durvasa was so impressed by Krishna's behavior that he gave him a boon that he would not die through any of the parts of his body that the Payasa had touched. But he noted that the Payasa had not touched the soles of Krishna's feet.

Formerly, in my house, O son, dwelt the Brahmana Durvasa whose complexion was green and tawny. Clad in rags, he had a stick made of the Vilwa tree. His beard was long and he was exceedingly emaciated. He was taller in stature than the tallest man on earth. Wandering over all the worlds, viz., that which belongs to human beings and those that are for the deities and other superior beings, even this was the verse which he sang constantly among assemblies and in public squares. 'Who is there that would cause the Brahmana Durvasa to dwell in his house, doing the duties of hospitality towards him? He becomes enraged with every one if he finds even the slightest transgression? Hearing this regarding my disposition, who is there that will give me refuge? Indeed, he that would give me shelter as a guest should not do anything to anger me!' When I saw that no one ventured to give him shelter in his house. I invited him and caused him to take up his residence in my abode. On certain days he would eat the food sufficient for the needs of thousands of persons. On certain other days he would eat very little. On some days he would go out of my house and would not return. He would sometimes laugh without any ostensible reason and sometimes cry as causelessly. At that time there was nobody on earth that was equal to him in years. One day, entering the quarters assigned to him he burnt all the beds and coverlets and all the well-adorned damsels that were there for serving him. Doing this, he went out. Of highly praiseworthy vows, he met me shortly after this and addressing me, said, 'O Krishna, I wish to eat frumenty without delay!' Having understood his mind previously, I had set my servants to prepare every kind of food and drink. Indeed, many excellent viands had been kept ready. As soon as I was asked, I caused hot frumenty to be brought and offered to the ascetic. Having eaten some, he quickly said unto me, 'Do thou, O Krishna, take some of this frumenty and smear all thy limbs with it!' Without any scruple I did as directed. Indeed, with the remnant of that frumenty I smeared my body and head. The ascetic at that time saw thy mother of sweet face standing near. Laughing the while, he smeared her body also with that frumenty. The ascetic then caused thy mother, whose body was smeared over with frumenty, to be yoked unto a car without any delay. Ascending that car he set out of my house. Endued with great intelligence, that Brahmana blazed with effulgence like fire, and struck, in my presence, my Rukmini endued with youth, as if she were an animal destined to drag the cars of human beings. Beholding this, I did not feel the slightest grief born of malice or the desire to injure the Rishi. Indeed, having yoked Rukmini to the car, he went out, desirous of proceeding along the high road of the city. Seeing that extraordinary sight, some Dasarhas, filled with wrath, addressed one another and began to converse in this way, 'Who else is there on earth that would draw breath after having yoked Rukmini to a car! Verily, let the world be filled with Brahmanas only! Let no other orders take birth here. The poison of a virulent snake is exceedingly keen. Keener than poison is a Brahmana. There is no physician for a person that has been bitten or burnt by the virulent snake of a Brahmana, 'As the irresistible Durvasa proceeded on the car, Rukmini tottered on the road and frequently fell down. At this the regenerate Rishi became angry and began to urge Rukmini on by striking her with the whip. At last, filled with a towering passion, the Brahmana leapt down from the car, and fled towards the south, running on foot, over a pathless ground. Beholding that foremost of Brahmanas flying along the pathless ground, we followed him, although we were smeared with frumenty, exclaiming behind him, 'Be gratified with us, O holy one! Endued with great energy, the Brahmana, seeing me, said, 'O mighty-armed Krishna, thou hast subdued wrath by the strength of thy nature? O thou of excellent vows, I have not found the slightest fault in thee! O Govinda, I have been highly gratified with thee. Do thou solicit the fruition of such wishes as thou pleasest! Behold duly, O son, what the puissance is of myself when I become gratified with any one. As long as deities and human beings will continue to entertain a liking for food, so long will every one among them cherish the same liking for thee that they cherish for their food! As long, again, as there will be Righteousness in the several world, so long will the fame of thy achievements last! Indeed, thy distinction will last so long in the three worlds! O Janardana, agreeable thou shalt be to all persons! Whatever articles of thine have been broken or burnt or otherwise destroyed (by me), thou shalt see restored, O Janardana, to their former state or they will reappear even in a better form! As long, again, O thou of unfading glory, as thou wilt wish to live, so long wilt thou have no fear of death assailing thee through such parts of thy body as have been smeared with the frumenty I gave thee! O son, why didst thou not smear that frumenty on the soles of thy feet as well? By not doing it, thou have acted in a way that is not approved by me! Even these were the words that he said, well-pleased with me on that occasion. After he had ceased speaking, I saw that my body became endued with great beauty and splendour. Unto Rukmini also, the Rishi, well-pleased with her, said, 'O beautiful lady, thou shalt be the foremost one of thy sex in fame, and great glory and achievements will be thine. Decrepitude or disease or loss of complexion will never be thine! Every one will see thee engaged in waiting upon Krishna, possessed as thou already art with a fragrant odour which is always present in thee. Thou shalt become the foremost of all spouses, numbering sixteen thousand, O Kesava. At last, when the time comes for thy departure from the world, thou shalt attain to the inseparable companionship of Krishna hereafter!' Having said these words unto thy mother, the Rishi once more addressed me and uttering following words, left the spot. Indeed, the Rishi Durvasa, blazing like a fire, said, 'O Kesava, let thy understanding be always disposed even thus towards the Brahmana!' Verily after uttering these words, that Brahmana disappeared there and then before my eyes. After his disappearance I took to the observance of the vow of uttering certain Mantras silently without being heard by anybody. Verily, from that day I resolved to accomplish whatever behests I should receive from the Brahmanas. Having adopted this vow, O son, along with thy mother, both of us, with hearts filled with joy re-entered our palace, Entering our house I saw that everything which the Rishi had broken or burnt had reappeared and become new. Beholding those new articles, which had besides become more durable, I became filled with wonder. Verily, O son of Rukmini, from that day forth I have always worshipped the Brahmanas in my mind!

And it was to make Durvasa's words come true that Krishna chose to depart the Earth in the way he did, as described in this chapter of the Mausala Parva of the Mahabharata:

Conversant with the truth of every topic, Vasudeva, though he was the Supreme Deity, wished to die, for dispelling all doubts and establishing a certainty of results (in the matter of human existence), simply for upholding the three worlds and for making the words of Atri’s son true. Having restrained all his senses, speech, and mind, Krishna laid himself down in high Yoga.

  • Thankyou! I did not know this story was narrated in the Mahabharata.
    – Arya
    Commented Jul 16, 2017 at 16:37

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