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The Sage Narada: Misrepresented Saint

narada,lord vishnu,mediocrity

Regarding sage Narada: Misrepresented sage

The divine sage narada is both an important as well as interesting personality. He is known to be son of creator brahma and the one created by him at the beginning of epochal ages by concentrating his mind(called manana in Sanskrit). He is generally represented as an ascetic, who carries his vina(a musical instrument similar to the lute) along with him. The puranas( traditional ancient Indian history), relate that he was a great exponent of vedas and his skills at the same were comparable with that of his creator brahma and sometimes surpassed that of brihaspati, the preceptor of gods, whose name is synonymous with learning and knowledge.

For all his qualifications and assets, narada is best known as the foremost devotee and servitor of lord Vishnu whose name he never ceased to chant even when threatened by some of the most vicious of anti-gods and demons. The ancient literature refer to narada as being spiritual guide and initiator to many wise kings and sages to whom he regularly cleared doubts with regards to conduct of different kinds of sacrifices, interpretation of several ancient texts and also imparted several hymns and guided them towards salvation.

Sage narada is known to have authored several works on worship rituals both vedic as well as tantric, on philosophy, logic(nyaya),law and justice, ethics, music, crime and punishment, etc. which were held in great regard by ancient sages and which were referenced and used extensively by ancient and medieval scholars. Sri sankara, of 8th century .C.E., expresses his gratitude to sage narada in his works.

The puranas say that narada travelled extensively. He travelled to all fourteen worlds that are known to exist according to puranas and did so very frequently. His objective was to see and verify if truth is upheld everywhere. As a clairvoyant saint he would know about the extent of tyranny unleashed by the wicked demonic forces in course of their persistent assault on truth and virtue. It was his duty to act as confidante and spiritual guide to gods by constantly reminding them of greatness of lord narayanan during their wars against evil demons.

There have been several interpretations about narada. As with the interpretations of every other thing and person go, these also very much reflect the nature and personality of the interpreter as well as that of social conditions that generally prevailed at the time of work. Among the currently available interpretations about narada many paint a picture of a double speaking comedian, who frequently indulged in intrigues and espionage that necessarily precipitated into destructive wars. Lord Narad’s divinity and discipline became completely ignored and his piety being interpreted as shameless lobbying.

This interpretation no doubt started gaining acceptability during late medieval ages. It was a period when ignorance, blind faith, conceit, sectarianism, filth, occult, black magic, superstitions and lies were propogated in the name of god. It was a period in which anarchy and confusion was created in the name of egalitarianism.

During that period of duplicity, pseudo-faith and pseudo-intellectualism dominated every sphere of life and culture in the name of religion. Start of bazaar hinduism meant that any temple however ancient and divine was not to escape celebrating festivals with pomp and show with philanthropy becoming a regular feature everywhere. Inasmuch as it came to be believed that a man’s piety and even divinity may have to be directly proportional to his philanthropic practices. The focus was not worship here but trying to get approval and support of big guilds, the influential among which exploited these functions to further their influence and trust. The name of almighty was conveniently used to explain and justify every otherwise suspicious and corrupt activities. As a corollary to such practices, no temple during late medieval ages maintained regular accounts, because it was becoming accepted that anything related to almighty should not be questioned. It is however noted that maintenance of accounts was some thing which was an inescapable activity with the managers of previous golden era under cholas and pallavas.

Inasmuch as lord narada’s name became synonymous with intrigue, sneaking and politicking, which are the tools adopted for manipulation and power mongering by those who are evil, corrupt,selfish,undeserving and mediocre. With almost all of his works destroyed forever, and now in a dark and non-descript setup he has alas become a divine poser boy and example for intrigue and espionage. Among those who share this fate of narada are none other than lord narayanan whose avatars were to serve as divine examples for corruption and a much more human and historic kautilya whose works were thoroughly twisted, changed and misinterpreted. The movies of the near past show narada as a divine comedian who through lowly double speaking escapes the wrath of powerful demons while conducting mean and hypothetical espionage for gods.
Published: 2008-07-07
Author: K Sethu Madhavan

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A management professional with eight years experience in telecommunications industry, I have written a lot of articles in subjects related to management and strategic information analysis.

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