Narada and Mahabharata:
|NARADA - THE WANDERING SEER
In the Mahabharata also, Narada intervenes at many points. Narada knew for certain
that the Pandavas were virtuous and Dharmaraja was truthful. For some time he
was staying at Indraprastha. It occurred to Narada that the young Dharmaraja
needed to be advised in matters relating to ethics and polity. He came to Indraprastha
and gave him a discourse.
He said, "O Yuddhistira, you must treat your subjects kindly as did your
elders. Do not swerve from the path laid down by them. You should have among
your minister men who are righteous, knowledgeable and experienced. Attend to
your household duties in time. Listen to good counsel before taking a decision.
Let your army and war machines are kept ever in readiness. Never let the guilty
go unpunished. Have compassion for women, children and the aged. Treat your servants
with kindness. Wages must be disbursed to servants and soldiers at the appointed
time without fail. Do not spend money extravagantly. Look after the peasants
by providing them with adequate facilities like tanks and canals. Let not the
rich exploit the poor. Do not entertain sycophants. Do not indulge in pleasures.
Only Dharma can preserve Dharma. Protect Dharma at all times."
Narada was by the side of the Pandavas and he entertained the Pandavas during
their stay in the forest. He requested Markandeya to narrate for the benefit
of Pandavas a number of instructive stories. He consoled Dharmaraja when he was
grief-stricken on account of Karna's death. He advised the Pandavas to get moral
instructions from Bhishma who was lying on his bed of arrows. He advised the
aged king Dhritarashtra to undergo penance when the latter was mourning his son's
death, and thus showed him the path of peace.
Narada played a main role in popularizing the story of Mahabharata. The Mahabharata
that we know of today contains a hundred thousand shlokas, whereas the Mahabharata
written by sage Vyasa contained three hundred thousand shlokas. Narada recited
it before the devatas (gods). Thus Narada had a role to play in all the three
great epics, namely the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Bhagavata. They are
also India's greatest contribution to world literature.
Narada and Parvata:
Narada had a nephew called Parvata. One day these two together went to the palace
of Ambarisha, the ruler of Ayodhya.
Ambarisha had a beautiful daughter by name Srimati. She was an embodiment of
all good qualities. Her beauty attracted Narada and his companion. Each of them
wanted to marry her. They secretly disclosed to Ambarisha their heart's desire.
Ambarisha was in a fix. How could he disobey the sages? He said to them: "O
revered sages, both of you desire the hand of my daughter. How am I to decide?
I shall arrange a Swayamvara. Whomsoever Srimati selects shall be her husband." Without
Parvata's knowledge, Narada went to Vaikunta to consult Mahavishnu. He narrated
to him all that had happened. He said to Lord Vishnu: "O Lord, have mercy
on me and do me a favor. At the time of the Swayamvara, please make Parvata look
like a monkey." The Lord smilingly assented.
Later, it was sage Parvata's turn to approach Lord Vishnu - without Narada's
present. He said to Vishnu: "O Lord, at the time of the Swayamvara, please
make Narada look like a bear." Vishnu said to himself, "Aha! Both are
naive, and there is little to choose between them!" But he smilingly assured
the sage that he would grant his request. The day of the Swayamvara came. Both
the sages arrived at the Swayamvara each congratulating himself on their cleverness.