(Last Updated on : 02/01/2009)
Narada better known as Narada Muni plays a prominent role in a number of Puranic texts and especially in the Bhagavata Purana
. He is a divine sage from the Hindu tradition. He is a great devotee of the Lord Vishnu
and sings hymns, prayers and mantras in his praise .He carries with him a musical instrument known as a vina. Narada has been described as a traveling monk and visits distant worlds or planets described as lokas .In Vaishnavism he is respected for his chanting and singing of the names Hari and Narayana as well as promoting the process of devotional service known as bhakti yoga
In Hindu philosophy since it is believed that his birth took place from the mind of Brahma
he is regarded as the Manasputra. Also known as Triloka Sanchari he is the only nomad who roams the three lokas of Swargaloka (heaven), Mrityuloka (earth) and Patalloka (nether-world) to find out about the life and welfare of people. He was the first to practise Natya Yoga. He is also known as Kalahapriya as he playfully causes quarrels amongst Gods (devas), Goddesses and people.Narada was a Gandharva in his previous birth and therefore becoming a rishi he comes under the category of devarishi.
The Bhagavata Purana describes an interesting story of Narada's spiritual enlightenment: In his previous birth Narada was a gandharva (angelic being) .He had been cursed to be born on earth due to an offense of some kind. Thus he was then born as the son of a maid-servant who was in the service of some particularly saintly priests (brahmins). The priests, being pleased with both him and his mother's service blessed him by allowing him to eat the remnants of their food (prasad) previously offered to their lord, Vishnu.
Gradually Narada received further and further blessings from these sages, and heard them talking about many spiritual topics. Then one day his mother died from a snake's bite, and taking this as an act of God (Vishnu), he decided to head for the forest in search of enlightenment in understanding the 'Supreme Absolute Truth'.While in the forest, Narada reached a tranquil spot, and after quenching his thirst from a nearby stream sat under a tree in meditation
(yoga), concentrating on the paramatma form of Vishnu within his heart as he had been taught of by the priests he had served. After some time Narada experienced a vision wherein Narayana (Vishnu) appeared before him, smiling, and spoke 'that despite having the blessing of seeing him at that very moment, 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 inspire Narada to once again become the Lord .After instructing Narada in this manner, Vishnu then disappeared from his sight. The boy awoke from his meditation and for the rest of his life Narada focused on his devotion, meditation and worshipped LordVishnu with full faith. After his death Vishnu then blessed him with the spiritual form of "Narada". In many Hindu scriptures Narada is considered a partial-manifestation (avatar) of God, empowered to perform miraculous tasks on Vishnu's behalf.