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Legends of Narada Home -› Lesser Gods -› Narada -› Legends of Narada
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narada - the wandering seer
Narada figures in Mahabharata and Krishna stories as the seer who foretold the death of king Kansa at the hands of Krishna. In religious books and other legends there come numerous references to Narada, though these denote a time lag of centuries. Shankaracharya, the great Hindu philosopher of the eighth century A.D. explains this anomaly by stating that such perfected beings and gods, though freed from the bonds of ignorance and illusion, continue their appearances again and again for completion of their divine missions, assigned to them from age to age.

Narada and Ramayana:
Narada had a part to play in the composition of the Ramayana. Once sage Narada came to the hermitage of Valmiki and was received with warmth and the two hermits sat chatting with each other. Something had been worrying Valmiki for a long time. He wondered whether there was any man who tenaciously stuck to the path of righteousness even in the midst of the greatest odds, whether there was any man who could be pointed out as an ideal to the whole world.

Narada traverses in all the three worlds. Valmiki thought that Narada might find an answer to his questions. He asked Narada: "O great sage, you are all knowing. You have studied the Vedas. Can you tell me if there is any man in this world who is virtuous, pious, ever truthful and tenacious? Is there any one who wishes well or all living creatures and who is also a hero and a scholar? Such a man should be free from jealousy and be a man of invincible valor. He should be the most handsome among mankind. If there be such a man, please let me know."

Narada beamed with a smile and replied: "O yes. I understand you. You want to find out if there is a flawless perfect human being. It is no doubt difficult to come across such a man. But there is a man who has combined in himself all the virtues you have enumerated. He is Sri Rama the king of Ayodhya." Then Narada narrated the story of Sri Rama and went away. Sage Valmiki was thrilled to listen to the story of Sri Rama. He decided that Sri Rama was truly the greatest living being.

With the story of Sri Rama still fresh in his memory, Valmiki set out for the river Tamasa for his morning ablutions. Two birds were seen playing about on the banks of the river. A hunter shot down the male bird. The female bird wailed sorrowfully for the loss of her male. Sage Valmiki was greatly moved by the misery of the stricken bird.

Unable to restrain his sorrow, Valmiki cursed the hunter for his shameful deed. But no sooner did he utter the curse than it was converted into the form of a shloka - a verse. The sage was amazed.

He returned to the hermitage after his ablutions. Meanwhile Lord Brahma himself arrived there. Valmiki was astonished. Early morning was Narada's surprise visit; later, the death of the bird, and his utterance of a shloka; lastly it was Brahma's arrival. Lord Brahma said: "O sage, the shloka you have uttered is due to my inspiration. Your mind is now mature enough for writing poetry. Please write in poetic form the story of Sri Rama as narrated to you by Narada. Your poetry will be acclaimed all over the world as the 'Ramayana'. The first 'sarga' or canto of Ramayana written by Valmiki contains one hundred shlokas. These contain a concise account of the Ramayana narrated by Narada.

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