Encyclopedia for Epics of Ancient India

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NARADA. [Source: Dowson's Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology] A Rishi to whom some hymns of the Rig-Veda are ascribed. He is one of the Prajapatis, and also one of the seven great Rishis. The various notices of him are somewhat inconsistent. The Rigveda describes him as "of the Kanwa family." Another authority states that he sprang from the forehead of Brahma, and the Vishnu Purana makes him a son of Kasyapa and one of Daksha's daughters.

The Mahabharata and some Puranas state that he frustrated the scheme which Daksha had formed for peopling the earth, and consequently incurred that patriarch's curse to enter again the womb of a woman and be born. Daksha, however, relented at the solicitation of Brahma, and consented that Narada should be born again of Brahma and one of Daksha's daughters; he was hence called Brahma and Deva-brahma.

In some respects he bears a resemblance to Orpheus. He is the inventor of the vina (lute), and was chief of the Gandharvas or heavenly musicians. He also went down to the infernal regions (Patala), and was delighted with what he saw there.

In later times he is connected with the legend of Krishna. He warned Kansa of the imminent incarnation of Vishnu, and he afterwards became the friend and associate of Krishna."

The Naradapancharatra relates that Brahma advised his son Narada to marry, but Narada censured his father as a false teacher, because devotion to Krishna was the only true means of felicity. Brahma then cursed Narada to lead a life of sensuality, in subjection to women, and Narada retorted the curse, condemning Brahma to lust after his own daughter, and to be an object unworthy of adoration.

Narada has the appellations, Kalikaraka, 'strife-maker;' Kapivaktra, 'monkey-faced;' Pisuna, 'messenger or spy.'

Narada was also one of the great writers upon law. His text-book, called "Naradiya Dharmasastra," has been translated into English by Dr. Jolly.

Modern Languages MLLL-4993. Indian Epics. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. The textual material made available at this website is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one. No claims are made regarding the status of images used at this website; if you own the copyright privileges to any of these images and believe your copyright privileges have been violated, please contact the webmaster. Page last updated: October 16, 2007 12:22 PM