Narada (Sanskrit: नारद, Nārada) is a Vedic sage, famous in
Hindu traditions as a traveling musician and storyteller, who carries
news and enlightening wisdom. He appears in a number of Hindu
texts, notably the
Mahabharata and the Ramayana, as well as in the
mythologies of the Puranas.
In Indian texts,
Narada travels to distant worlds and realms
(Sanskrit: lokas). He is depicted carrying a khartal and tambura with
the name Mahathi and is generally regarded as one of the great masters
of the ancient musical instrument. This instrument is known by the
name "mahathi" which he uses to accompany his singing of hymns,
prayers and mantras. In the
Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism, he is
presented as a sage with devotion to Lord Vishnu.
Narada is described
as both wise and mischievous, in humorous tales. Vaishnav enthusiasts
depict him as a pure, elevated soul who glorifies
Vishnu through his
devotional songs, singing the names
Hari and Narayana, and therein
demonstrating bhakti yoga. The
Bhakti Sutra is attributed to
Part of a series on
Brahma (Dvaita, Acintyabhedabheda)
Other texts named after
Narada Purana and the
Nāradasmṛti (pre 6th century CE text), the latter called the
"juridical text par excellence" and represents the only Dharmaśāstra
text which deals solely with juridical matters and ignoring those of
righteous conduct and penance.
The name Narada, referring to many different persons, appears in many
mythical legends of Hinduism, as an earlier birth of
the Jataka tales of
Buddhism as well as names of medieval Buddhist
scholars, and in Jainism.
4 See also
6 External links
In the Mahabharata,
Narada was conversant with the
Vedas and the
Upanishads and was acquainted with history and Puranas. He had mastery
of the six Angas: pronunciation, grammar, prosody, terms, religious
rites and astronomy. All celestial beings worshiped him for his
knowledge - he is supposed to be well versed in all that occurred in
ancient Kalpas (time cycles) and is termed to be conversant with Nyaya
(logic) and the truth of moral science. He was a perfect master in
re-conciliatory texts and differentiating in applying general
principles to particular cases. He could swiftly interpret contraries
by references to differences in situation. He was eloquent, resolute,
intelligent and possessor of powerful memory. He knew the science of
morals, politics, skilled in drawing inference from evidence, and very
proficient in distinguishing inferior things from superior ones. He
was competent in judging the correctness and incorrectness of complex
syllogistic statements consisting of 5 proponents. He was capable of
arriving at definite conclusions about religion, wealth, pleasure and
salvation. For example, it is
Narada who requests the
to create a rule for sharing their wife Draupadi, so that they do not
end up fighting for her company. He possessed knowledge of this whole
universe, above it, below it and everything surrounding it. He was
capable of answering successively at
Vrihaspati himself, while
arguing. He was the master of the Sankhya and
Yoga systems of
philosophy, conversant with sciences of war and treaty and proficient
in drawing conclusions of judging things not within a direct
knowledge. He knew about the six sciences of treaty, war, military
campaigns, maintenance of posts against the enemy and strategies of
ambushes and reserves. He was a thorough master of every branch of
learning. He was fond of war and music and was incapable of being
repulsed by any science or any course of action.
Vishnu in his viraat swarupa form
Sage Sanathkumar teaches Bhuma vidya to Narada
Bhagavata Purana describes the story of Narada's spiritual
enlightenment: He was the primary source of information among Gods,
and is believed to be the first journalist on Earth. He claimed to
have 60 wives. In his previous birth
Narada was a
being) who had been cursed to be born on an earthly planet as a sudra
for singing glories to the demigods instead of the Supreme Lord.
He was born as the son of a maid-servant of some particularly saintly
priests (Brahmins). The priests, being pleased with both his and his
mother's service, blessed him by allowing him to eat some of their
food (prasad), previously offered to their lord, Vishnu.
Gradually he received further blessings from these sages and heard
them discussing many spiritual topics. After his mother died, he
decided to roam the forest in search of enlightenment in understanding
the 'Supreme Absolute Truth'.
Reaching a tranquil forest location, after quenching his thirst from a
nearby stream, he sat under a tree in meditation (yoga), concentrating
on the paramatma form of
Vishnu within his heart as he had been taught
by the priests he had served. After some time
Narada experienced a
Narayana (Vishnu) appeared before him, smiling, and
spoke "that despite having the blessing of seeing him at that very
Narada would not be able to see his (Vishnu's) divine form
again until he died". Narayan further explained that the reason he had
been given a chance to see his form was because his beauty and love
would be a source of inspiration and would fuel his dormant desire to
be with the lord again. After instructing
Narada in this manner,
Vishnu then disappeared from his sight. The boy awoke from his
meditation both thrilled and disappointed.
For the rest of his life
Narada focused on his devotion, meditation
upon and worship to Vishnu. After his death
Vishnu then blessed him
with the spiritual form of "Narada" as he eventually became known. In
Narada is considered a saktyavesa-avatara or
partial-manifestation (avatar) of God, empowered to perform miraculous
tasks on Vishnu's behalf.
Shiva Purana describes a unique story involving Narada. Once
Narada decided to perform penance in a serene himalayan cave. An
Kama (god of love) to disturb Narada's penance.
But due to Shiva's presence in himalayas, Kama's acts were fruitless.
Narada under the influence of Shiva's illusion, thinking his penance
to be complete and proud of winning over Kama, goes to Shiva and
Brahma to brag about his achievement. Both of them warn him not to
mention this to
Hari (Vishnu). But
Narada swelling with pride, boasts
of his victory over
Kama befor Hari.
Hari through his illusive powers
creates a beautiful city in Narada's path with a king named Shilanidhi
ruling it. An enchanted Narada, enters Shilanidhi's palace and learns
about the swayamvara (choosing a husband) ceremony of his beautiful
daughter named Shrimathi.
Narada blesses her and takes leave but his
mind still lingers around the beauty of Shrimathi.
He heads to Vaikunta (Vishnu's abode) and requests
Hari to grant him
his own form (Hari's form) so that he can obtain Shrimathi as his
Hari obliges and
Narada obtains a body similar to that of Hari
but his face would be that of a monkey, for the word 'Hari' can also
mean monkey. Unaware of his monkey face,
Narada attends Shrimathi's
swayamvara. Shrimathi looks at Narada's form and gets disgusted and
unable to choose a suitable husband among the assembled princes, waits
at the centre of the assembly hall.
Vishnu appears there in the form
of a king and Shrimathi chooses him and vanishes along with him.
Narada over hears Shivas attendants speaking of his monkey face.
Narada looks at the mirror and angrily curses the two attendents to be
born as demons in the family of a Brahmin.
Narada leaves the city and sees his reflection in a stream and
realizes that his face has returned to normal. thinking this to be
Hari's trick, he goes to Vaikunta and censures
Hari in choicest of
abuses and curses him "since you humiliated me for the sake of a
woman, you shall assume human form and suffer separation from a woman,
and monkeys shall be your allies". Then on being freed of the illusion
Narada realizes his mistake and begs forgiveness.
Hari assures him
that it's no fault of his and advises him to worship Shiva in Kashi
and learn about Shiva's greatness from Brahma.
Narada temples are few,
most prominent being, Sri
Narada Muni Temple at Chigateri,
Main article: salakapurusa
In Jainism, there are a total of 9 Naradas in every cycle of Jain
Cosmology, current cycle's Naradas were Bhima, Mahabhima, Rudra,
Maharudra, Kala, Mahakala, Durmukha, Narakamukha and Adhomukha.
Narada Muni Temple. Chigateri
^ Christian Lee Novetzke (2003), Divining an Author: The Idea of
Authorship in an Indian Religious Tradition, History of Religions,
Vol. 42, No. 3, page 222
^ a b James G. Lochtefeld (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of
Hinduism: N-Z. The Rosen Publishing Group. p. 461.
^ Guy, Randor (31 July 2010). "Bhaktha Naradar 1942". The Hindu.
Retrieved 9 October 2011.
^ Bhag-P 1.5.1
Narada is addressed as 'Vina-panih', meaning "one who
carries a vina in his hand"
^ Lariviere 1989: ix
^ Devdutt Pattanaik (2000). The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of
the Eternal Feminine. Inner Traditions. p. 80.
^ Sarah Shaw (2006). THE JATAKAS: Birth Stories of Bodhisatta. Penguin
Books. p. 497. ISBN 978-81-8475-034-8.
^ Martin Ramstedt (2005).
Hinduism in Modern Indonesia. Routledge.
p. 50. ISBN 978-1-135-79052-3.
^ Helmuth von Glasenapp (1999). Jainism: An Indian Religion of
Salvation. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 273 with footnotes.
Vyasa Volume 1 Books 1, 2 and
3, Section XII
^ Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.72
^ Hindu Gods and Goddesses
^ Doniger 1999, p. 550.
Doniger, Wendy, ed. (1999), Encyclopedia of World Religions,
Merriam-Webster, ISBN 0-87779-044-2
Translation by Richard W. Lariviere (1989). The Nāradasmr̥ti.
University of Philadelphia.
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Avatars of Vishnu
1 The list of ten avatars varies regionally. The two
substitutions involve Balarama,
Buddha is considered the
avatar of Vishnu.
Krishna is almost always included; in exceptions, he
is considered the source of all avatars.
1st (Svayambhuva) Manvantara
2nd (Svarocisha) Manvantara
3rd (Uttama) Manvantara
4th (Tapasa) Manvantara
5th (Raivata) Manvantara
6th (Cakshusha) Manvantara
7th (Vaivasvata) Manvantara
Vyasa (Vedas, Vedanta)
Other Hindu sages
Supreme Personality of Godhead
Avataras of God
Achintya Bheda Abheda)
Sri Sampradaya (
Laxmi - Ramanuja)
Brahmā - Madhvacharya)
Rudra Sampradaya (
Rudra - Vishnuswami)
Nimbarka Sampradaya (Four Kumāras - Nimbarka)
Chaitanya Vaisnava sampradaya
Six Goswamis of Vrindavana
Vrindavana Dasa Thakura
Names of Godhead
List of names of Vishnu
List of titles and names of Krishna
Incense of India
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Rama in Jainism
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