What is the story of Narada?

How many spiritual masters are there between Narada and Swami?


In the ancient Indian scripture Kaṭha Upaniṣad, Yama refers to the spiritual path as "the razor's edge," emphasizing its delicate and treacherous nature. Every step on this path is filled with potential pitfalls, requiring constant vigilance from the spiritual seeker. The story of Nārada, as narrated by Gosvāmī Tulasīdās, serves as an instructional tale, reflecting the challenges that spiritual aspirants may encounter. Nārada's journey sheds light on the importance of remaining alert and vigilant throughout the spiritual quest.

Nārada's Background:

Nārada is a revered figure in Indian religious literature, mentioned in various ancient texts such as the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Gita, Bhāgavata, Mahābhārata, and Rāmāyaṇa, as well as several Purāṇas. Known as a divine sage or "devarṣi," Nārada is often depicted with a vīṇā, a stringed musical instrument, symbolizing his devotion to God. His travels and teachings are widely recorded, as he spreads the message of devotion and helps people on their spiritual paths.

The Curse and Wanderings of Nārada:

According to the story, Prajāpati, the lord of creation, requested Nārada to educate his four sons. However, Nārada's teachings led all four sons to renounce the world and become monks, much to Prajāpati's dismay. Feeling threatened by Nārada's influence, Prajāpati cursed him to wander perpetually, preventing him from settling down and persuading others to embrace the monastic life. Consequently, Nārada became a wandering poet, journeying from place to place, extolling the glory of devotion to God and offering assistance to seekers far and wide.

Nārada's Encounter in the Himalayas:

During his travels, Nārada arrived in the Himalayan region, where he came across a picturesque spot near a cave with the holy Ganga river flowing nearby. Captivated by the serene environment, Nārada decided to meditate there. Immersed in deep contemplation, he remained in a state of samādhi for an extended period, unaware of the passage of time.

The Intrigue of the Gods:

News of Nārada's unusual stillness and concentration spread quickly, captivating celestial beings from various heavenly realms. Gandharvas, yakṣas, and devas were astounded to learn that the ever-wandering sage was sitting in one place, absorbed in profound meditation. This caused a stir among the gods, including Indra, the king of gods, who feared that Nārada's tapas (austerities) might threaten his position on the divine throne.

Indra's Attempt to Disrupt Nārada's Meditation:

Indra, driven by his insecurities, decided to obstruct Nārada's spiritual practice. He sent Kāmadeva, the god of love, along with his entourage of celestial nymphs, to distract Nārada and divert his attention from meditation. Kāmadeva deployed his love arrows and created an atmosphere filled with lustful desires, enchanting music, and sensual dances. However, to everyone's surprise, Nārada remained unperturbed. Despite the relentless attempts to incite desire and disrupt his focus, Nārada's deep immersion in meditation shielded him from succumbing.

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