Narada Muni, The Supreme’s Right Hand Saint

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Narada Muni, The Supreme’s Right Hand Saint

Why is Narada Muni not able to stay in one place?

The story goes thus. Brahma was ordained by the Supreme to create and populate the world. It was described in earlier sloka that Brahma first created the Sanat Kumaras. When they refused to propagate, Brahma created Svayambhuva Manu and Shataroopa who are considered to be the first husband and wife in Hinduism.  They had two sons named Priyavrata and Uttānapāda and two daughters named Prasūti and Ākūti. To cut the story short, Prasuti married Daksha (in Sanskrit meaning ‘able, dexterous, or honest one’) Prajapati (a subsequent creation) who had 10,000 sons (even then sons were preferred!!) called the Haryasvas. Do not go by the figure 10,000. What is meant here is that he had many sons. Do not get confused, the detailed story of the Svayambuhava Manu and his clan comes later in Bhagawatha Purana

But Narada found a problem: there were no women around. So he convinced the Haryasvas to become Sanyasis. Learning about this, Daksha had 1000 more sons, giving them the same instruction, but Narada similarly convinced them to become Sanyasis. A frustrated Daksha got wild and cursed Narada saying: 

“You have made me lose my sons once, and now you have again done the same inauspicious thing. Therefore you are a rascal who does not know how to behave toward others. You may travel all over the universe, but I curse you to have no residence anywhere”. 

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Narada knew that his time had come to move forward and said: “Yes, what you have said is good. I accept this curse.” 

From then on Narada has been on the move, singing, dancing, learning new skills, meeting new people and gaining more knowledge and wisdom. A rolling stone gathers no moss, but a rolling stone can become sharper. That in a nutshell is Narada Muni. 

But in the process of Narada’s perceived mischief, Daksha learnt a lesson. He went on to have 24 daughters:  Sraddha (Faith), Bhakti (Worship), Dhriti (Steadiness), Thushti (Resignation), Pushti (Thriving), Medha (Intelligence), Kriya (Action, Devotion), Buddhika (Intellect), Lajja Gauri (Modesty), Vapu (Body), Santi (Expiation), Siddhika (Perfection), Kirtti (Fame), Khyati (Celebrity), Sati (Truth), Sambhuti (Fitness), Smriti (Memory), Priti (Affection), Kshama (Forgiveness), Sannati (Humility), Anasuya (without jealousy), Urjja (Energy), Swaha (Offering), Swadha (Oblation).

Actually, these are 24 qualities that a woman was (rather is) blessed with.

Narada is believed to be an inter-galactic traveller capable of going to different worlds, planets in seconds, to gather and convey news and gossips to Gods, devas, asuras and others. He is known to have first used the ‘disruptive technology’ by dismantling existing order to create a better and sane world. 

Probably, Narada Muni must not have been literally a space traveller. He had the capability to `travel’ through different shades of opinion without being attached or enamoured to anyone.

We shall come across Narada more as we journey through Srimad Bhagawatham.

The Bhagawata Purana describes the story of Narada’s spiritual enlightenment thus: In his previous birth Narada was a Gandharva (angelic being) who had to be reborn on earth because he sang glories to the demigods instead of the Supreme Lord. He was born as the son of a maid-servant who served saints. In the company of saints, the little boy gained spirituality and after his mother died, he decided to roam the forest in search of enlightenment in understanding the ‘Supreme Absolute Truth’. 

In the forest, he meditated on the supreme form of Vishnu as described by the saints. Narada experienced a vision of Vishwaroopa (Universal form) in a flash. For the rest of his life Narada meditated and worshipped Vishnu. After his demise, Vishnu blessed him with the spiritual form of “Narada” capable of travelling across worlds in the universe. In many Hindu scriptures Narada is considered a saktyavesa-avatara or partial-manifestation (avatar) of the Lord Himself. 

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Narada

The Bhagavad Gita explains the logic behind Narada’s elevation from that of being a son of a servant maid to a saint: “By simply hearing the narration of the pastimes of the Lord, one directly connects with the Supreme God, and also expels all accumulated sins of a mundane life. Thus, cleared of all sins, the listener gradually becomes liberated from all mundane associations and becomes attracted to the features of the Lord.” 

Narada also figure sin Jainism. There are nine Naradas in every cycle of Jain Cosmology. In the current cycles, the nine Naradas are: Bhima, Mahabhima, Rudra, Maharudra, Kala, Mahakala, Durmukha, Narakamukha and Adhomukha. 

Besides propagating Bhakti Yoga, Narada is said to have orated the maxims of the Naradasmiti (100 BC-400 CE), which has been described as “the juridical text par excellence” and deals solely with juridical matters, ignoring righteous conduct and penance. Narada also plays a prominent role in Ramayana, Bhagavata Purana and Mahabharata. 

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