The great sage Vyasa was not satisfied even with such wonderful
writings meant for the good of humanity. He was somehow convinced that there was yet one more
work to be carried out by him for the benefit of humanity. A worried Vedavyasa
was once sitting on the banks of the river Saraswati. Narada came there.
|KALAHAPRIYA - LOVER OF QUARRELS
Narada knew what was worrying the sage Vyasa. He said: "Great sage, you
have done so much for the welfare of humanity. And yet you are not satisfied.
It is because none of your writings thoroughly describes the glory of Lord Narayana.
You have not adequately brought out the greatness of devotion. In the coming
Kaliyuga people will not live for as long a period as in the present era. For
them it will be a tough task to acquire spiritual knowledge. The
best way for them will be the Path of Bhakti or Devotion. You must write a book,
which will describe the glory of the Lord and the greatness of Bhakti. Only then
will you find peace."
"The company of good men generates Bhakti. O sage Vyasa, words fail to describe
the all-pervasive influence of good men and their devotion towards God. I
was once a very ordinary man. But today I am revered as Saint Narada. I owe this
entirely to the company of great men; to the devotion I have towards God."
Sage Vyasa was dumb-founded. Is it ever possible that this universally respected
'Devarshi' was once upon a time an ordinary man? A baffled Vyasa stared at Narada
in wonder. Narada could read his mind. So he explained: "O Vyasa, I
was once an GANDHARVA (angel). I was called UPABARHANA. I was an expert in music
and I was handsome to look at, too. Once Dakshabrahma decided to perform a sacrifice.
He arranged a big function. I sang devotional songs on that occasion. But I was
not concentrating; my attention was diverted towards the apsaras (heavenly damsels).
Dakshabrahma was upset by my behavior. He turned towards me and cursed me, 'you
lecherous gandharva! Let the devil take away your entire Knowledge and spiritual
splendor. You don't deserve to live in Heaven. May you be born as a little, despicable
human being on earth!'
"I came to my senses only after I had heard the dreadful curse. I begged
for his forgiveness. Daksha then said: 'do not lament, O Upabarhana. You will
be blessed by the company of good men.' O Vyasa, it was owing to that curse that
I was born to a slave woman.
Later, my mother started working as a maid in an ashram. I was a little boy then.
The rainy season came. Some sanyasins (sages) came to the ashram and stayed there.
They were learned men and great devotees of God. Every day they conducted prayer
meetings in which they sang the glory of Lord Narayana. Their preaching changed
my very behavior. I became increasingly attracted to their preaching as days
passed. Gradually I became more and more devoted to God. The sages began to like
me. They would offer me fruit and speak to me with much warmth. I carried out
devotedly whatever work they assigned to me."
"The rainy season came to an end. The sages prepared to leave for another
place. I felt very sad. The kind sages understood my feelings and consoled me.
'Do not worry. Have trust in God and be always eager to realize Him. Do not while
away your time on earth. This world is a creation of God and it finds its ultimate
fulfillment in Him. Not a straw moves without the will of God. Keep repeating
with whole-hearted devotion the mantra 'OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VASUDEVAYA' and you
will be blessed.' Having uttered this benediction, the sages went away. The departure
of the sages made me sad beyond words. I spent all my time thinking about God.
Days passed. One day my mother died bitten by a snake. I placed all my trust
in God and headed northwards. I had no particular destination. After a great
deal of wandering, I came to a beautiful uninhabited place. I took my bath and
drank the water from a nearby pond. I felt comforted. Body and mind became light.
I remembered the good words the holy men had preached in the ashram. I sat under
a people tree contemplating on God. Many years passed by. I lived on the fruits
and leaves of the forest. My mind was immersed in contemplation. As time passed,
I realized that God is present everywhere and in all objects."