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Durable Link to this BlogTuesday, July 1, 2003

Sage Narada

Devarshi Narada or deified sage Narada (a.k.a Narad) is a very interesting character in Indian mythology. He is considered as one of the ten sons of Lord Brahma. Almost always, he is depicted as a messenger between the gods and the demons, and between gods and humans. He is a great rumor monger (kalahapriya), and very fond of carrying gossip and starting discords. We must go to the epic story of Mahabharat to learn the versatile qualities of Narada.

© K. L. Kamat
Narad-muni with "Tipri" in hands.
Narad-muni with "Tipri" in hands.

According to Vedavyasa, the author of Mahabharat, Narada is a great scholar. He is well versed in vedanta, always calm, unperturbed and soft-natured. He is respected by human beings, angels, and demons alike. He is an expert musician, and proficient in Samaveda. Narada will always find a way out for folks in difficult situations. An extremely articulated seer, he has mastered the art of speaking. He knows the precise use of the words. He travels constantly.

The character of Narada became a fascinating subject for poets, dramatists, and folk artists over the centuries. He is made to appear in family discords, differences of the courts, and in battlefields. He is the first broadcast system of the world!  Narada has averted so many disasters by conveying the appropriate news to the involved party just in time. He will rise to any occasion to help people in distress.

Narad prefers the company of pious and learned men, being himself a great intellectual. He is supposed to be the inventor of the Veena, the famous  Indian string instrument, of which he is the master-player.

In many legends of various puranas and Hindu epics, Narada has played a key role. A code (smriti) is also ascribed to Narada, which has relevance to modern times.

See Also:
• Our (now semi-retired) web-crawler was named Narad in honor of this sage.
• Sadhus & Swamis: The Holy Men of India
• Pictures and Tales from Indian Mythologies

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Jyotsna Kamat

Jyotsna Kamat Ph.D. lives in Bangalore.


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