A yagna was being conducted at Swarga Loka. Lord Indra had taken special care to invite all the Devatas, the Nava Grahas, the Sapta Rishis and others. It was a huge assembly. The sacred fire was lit and the Vedic rituals started.
Narada, the greatest among the devotees of the Lord, who always chanted the Lord’s name “Narayana, Narayana” arrived. Surprisingly he was given a seat which was lower than that of the others.
Being the ‘manas putra’ of Brahma, he questioned his father – Lord Brahma as to why he was being treated inferior to all the others. Brahma replied that though he had mastered all the Vedas and was a great devotee of Lord Hari, he had not been initiated into a mantra by a Guru. Narada was constantly singing and chanting the Lord’s name, but he had never approached a Guru and obtained Mantra Deeksha from him. Realizing this, he told the Assembly that he would go down to Earth (Bhoomi), and whoever he sees first at dawn, he would accept that person as his Guru and with the Guru mantra he would return soon.
The light at dawn had just begun to dissolve away the darkness of the night. Narada was waiting expectantly for the sight of the ‘one’ who would be his Guru, and whom does he see! An old fisherman with a net on his shoulder came walking along, and all the time he was busy weaving the net. Narada ran to him and fell at his feet and declared him to be his Guru. He requested the old firsherman to initiate him with the Guru mantra. The fisherman was shocked to see the great sage at his feet. He told the sage that he himself had never taken any mantra from a Guru and was incapable of giving him Guru mantra. Narada did not give up. He asked the old firsherman to speak whatever was in his mind at that moment.
The fisherman said “Hari Bol”. Accepting this as his Guru mantra Narada returned to the assembly of the Devas. Now, he was given a higher seat in front of the Assembly as he now had both a Guru and a Mantra! The assembly demanded to meet his Guru, upon which Narada returned to the old fisherman and requested the old man to come with him. But the old man said he was partially lame and hence could not undertake this long journey. On hearing this, Narada lifted the old man and carried him on his back to Deva loka.
Narada now presented his Guru to the entire assembly. Everyone was surprised and shocked to see an old lame fisherman who was being introduced as Narada’s Guru. In the presence of all, in utter surrender Narada fell flat at the feet of his Guru. All the Devatas in the assembly were surprised seeing Narada falling at the feet of an old fisherman. At that very moment the old fisherman revealed his true nature. He was none other than Lord Shiva Himself who had appeared to Narada in the form of an the old fisherman.
The Lord had taken up the form of the old fisherman to test whether Narada would keep up his words and take as his Guru whoever he first saw at the break of dawn, and Narada had indeed lived up to his words. Narada’s firm resolve and his eager longing for the Guru brought him to none other than Lord Shiva Himself who initiated him and gave him the mantra.
[PS: I request all to please forward and share these value based stories rich in our culture and tradition to elders, youth and children]
Devarishi Narada: A personality very familiar throughout the Puranas. He works everywhere as a friend, philosopher and guide, to all devotees....it is his job to propagate the Path of Love, and, therefore, he appears of his own accord to guide devotees of the Lord. - Swami Chinmayananda