Tag Archives: Narada

Hanuman: The Music Maestro!

Sage Narada was a great musician. And he also played the veena beautifully. He became proud of his talent and thought he was the best musician in all the three worlds.

One day, as Narada was moving across the skies singing the Lord’s glory, Hanuman and his mother Anjana Devi saw him. She pointed out to Hanuman and said, “there goes Narada who is the best exponent of music!” Narada heard this and became even more proud of his talent. Hanuman came to know of Narada’s pride. The Sage’s ego had to be destroyed. Hanuman jumped into the sky, caught hold of Narada’s feet and pleaded with him to bless him. Narada replied back saying that there was no blessing that Hanuman did not have, because all the devatas had bestowed upon him their grace and blessings as requested by his father Vayu, the wind God. However, when Hanuman insisted, Narada said that since no one had blessed him with the gift of music, he, Narada – the great musician, would bless him to be one of the best musicians.

Narada had no idea that Hanuman was already an accomplished musician. After showering his blessings, Narada decided to move ahead, but Hanuman would not leave him. He told Narada that since he had now been blessed with the gift of music, he would sing and Narada had to hear and judge him. Narada was reluctant. He thought he would be wasting his time listening to and judging a novice. But Hanuman would not let him go. Finally Narada agreed. He sat down comfortably, placed his divine veena on a rock in front of him and asked Hanuman to sing. Hanuman sat in front of Narada, closed his eyes, invoked the Lord and started singing. He sang so beautifully that all the devatas stationed themselves in the sky above him to hear his music!

Even Narada was overwhelmed with the flow of naada. The rock on which the veena was placed started to melt with Hanuman’s music. And the veena started to sink into the liquid rock. After some time, Narada who was listening with closed eyes asked Hanuman to stop so that he can now proceed further. The moment Hanuman stopped singing, the rock froze and became solid. Narada got up and tried to collect his veena, but it would not move – it had got stuck in the rock. Narada had already realized the glory of Hanuman’s music, but he was astonished to see that his music had even melted inert stones! Narada’s ego was crushed – he was totally humbled. He realized that he was after all not the best musician. Narada also realized that it is devotion that ultimately adds beauty and divinity to music. He pleaded with Hanuman to sing once again. This time when Hanuman sang, the rock melted, and Narada collected his veena. He acknowledged and praised Hanuman as the best musician in all the three worlds and with a pure heart devoid of ego and filled with devotion, he went his way singing the Lord’s glory.
Hanuman is Kavya – Nataka – Sangeeta – Naada – Paripoorna!! 

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Mahaprasad of Lord Jagannath

Sage Narada once visited Vaikunta to have darshan of his beloved Lord Narayana and His consort Lakshmi. Pleased with his devotion, Sri Lakshmi told him to ask whatever he wanted and she would fulfill it for him. Narada had seen Lakshmi serving food to Narayana and desired to have the food (prasad) served to Narayana. Lakshmi told him that was not possible because she had promised the Lord that food offered to Him would not be given to anyone. Narada insisted saying that she had promised to give him whatever he wanted. 

Goddess Lakshmi was in a dilemma. When she was serving food the next time, she narrated everything to the Lord and asked Him for a solution. The Lord understood the situation and told Lakshmi that He would relax the restriction just for one day and she could give the naivedya prasad to Narada. Lakshmi was very happy and she gave the prasad offered to Narayana to Narada. The moment Narada partook of the prasad, he went into an ecstatic mood. He totally forgot himself and started singing and dancing. He danced his way through all the fourteen worlds and finally reached Kailasa!

Lord Shiva was surprised to see Narada in this never before intense blissful state, and enquired of him the reason for his ecstasy. Narada replied, “It is all the glory of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu”. Sankara immediately asked Narada if he had brought some prasad for him. Narada said he hadn’t, but suddenly saw a small particle of the prasad still on one of his fingers. Very happily, he gave the grain of prasad to Lord Shiva and he joyously relished it. The moment Sankara partook of the prasad, he too got into an ecstatic mood and started dancing his tandava! 

All the gods were now worried. The Lord’s dance can initiate an untimely deluge. At this point of time, Uma, Shiva’s consort came along and seeing Narada and Shiva in such a joyous state, asked them for the reason. When she heard that it was the greatness of the Mahaprasad of Lord Vishnu, she felt left out and became angry that she had been deprived of the prasad. 
All the gods now rushed to Vaikunta, and narrated what had happened in Kailasa and requested Lord Vishnu to calm down Sankara and pacify Uma. Lord Vishnu came riding on his Garuda vahana. On seeing the Lord, Sankara and Narada calmed down. But Parvati was still angry. Lord Vishnu consoled her and promised her a share of His prasad. Parvati, the Mother of the universe told Vishnu that not only she should get the prasad, but the Lord should make His prasad available to all living beings and they should equally be benefited by it. Only then she would be happy and satisfied. Vishnu promised her that in future when he takes up his abode in Nilachaladham (Puri),  Parvati will also be there as Devi Bimala in the same courtyard and the naivedyam offered to him will in turn be offered first to her. Only then it will become Mahaprasad and will be distributed to everyone alike, without any distinction. 

Mahaprasad at Puri

Even to this day, after the naivedyam is offered to Lord Jagannath, it is first taken to Devi Bimala’s shrine. After it is offered to her it becomes MAHAPRASAD. Sri Jagannath temple is famous for the Mahaprasad. Every day all the devotees who reach the temple partake of the Lord’s Mahaprasad. Even to this day, neither there is a shortage of the prasad nor is there too much extra on any day, irrespective of the number of devotees reaching the temple. That is the glory of Lord Jagannath’s Mahaprasad!

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Sankat Mochan Hanuman

Ravana, the King of Lanka was an erudite scholar, an accomplished musician, and a great astrologer. He had waged a war on the devatas and brought all the nine planets with him to Lanka. To show his might and power, he made the nine planets lie down face downwards, and used them as steps to ascend to his throne daily. When his son, Meghanatha was about to be born, he decided to put all the nine planets in their favourable houses and positions so that his son would become powerful and invincible. The devatas got worried and sought the help of Sage Narada. On their request, Narada came to Ravana’s assembly. He saw the planets lying face-down. Narada immediately glorified Ravana and told him that he should not be walking on their backs but should step on and walk on their chest — that would prove to the Gods, to the Navagrahas and to everyone around how mighty and powerful he, the King of Lanka was! Ravana got carried away by Narada’s words and turned all the planets around, face upwards, so that he could walk on their chest. As he very happily walked over them, Lord Shani’s (Saturn) gaze fell on him. It is said that if the gaze of Shani falls on anyone, the result would be endless trouble and misfortunes. Shani’s gaze had fallen on Ravana! His troubles were to start!! 

Narada walked away happily. Ravana however saw through the plan of the devatas. He was furious. He tied up and confined Shani in a remote dark room where nobody could find him. 
Shani who gives trouble (sankat) to everyone with a mere glance was confined and kept in the dark. He himself was now in “sankat”. Years passed by. When Hanuman came in search of Seeta and was moving around in Ravana’s palace, he heard a noise from one of the rooms. He opened the room and went in. He found Shani tied up there. Hanuman untied him and set him free. Shani’s gaze had fallen on Hanuman! Shani was happy, but he said that, since his gaze had fallen on Hanuman, he now would give trouble to Hanuman – that was his inherent nature. Hanuman asked him to wait till he searched for, met Seeta and went back and gave the news to Lord Rama. Shani waited….

Hanuman discovered Seeta, went back and gave the news to Rama. Rama, Lakshmana, Sugreeva and the whole army of vanaras reached the tip of Bharat. They started building a bridge with rocks and trees to cross the ocean. At that time, Shani came and decided to trouble Hanuman. Hanuman said he was very busy and if Shani wanted to trouble him, he could sit on his head. Shani comfortably sat on Hanuman’s head. Hanuman on the other hand was busy helping the Vanaras build the bridge. He lifted huge rocks and boulders and carried them on his head. Shani who was sitting on Hanuman’s head directly started feeling the weight and burden of the rocks. When the pain caused by the heavy rocks on his head became unbearable, Shani came down. He now realized that no one could trouble Hanuman who is always chanting the Lord’s name and is ever engaged in service of the Lord. 

Lord Shani stopped troubling Hanuman and told him that he was very pleased with Hanuman’s devotion and service, and in future he will not trouble anyone who devotedly worships Hanuman on Saturday – the day attributed to Shanidev.
And Lord Shani further said that in future Hanuman will be worshipped as “Sankat Mochan Hanuman” – the Lord who removes (Mochan) our troubles (Sankat). Hanuman is the One who removed the “sankat” of Shani who causes “sankat” for everyone else!!

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Narada’s test of Devotion!

Sage Narada was a great devotee of Lord Narayana. He was constantly playing on his divine veena and singing the Lord’s name. He once went to Vaikunta and asked Lord Hari who was His greatest devotee. Narada was sure that the Lord would take his name as the greatest devotee. The Lord pointed out to a farmer in one of the remotest villages and said that he was His greatest devotee. The Sage was shocked. How could he who was constantly taking the Lord’s name day in and day out not be the greatest devotee of the Lord?

Narada looked at the Lord questioningly. The Lord told Narada that he can go down and see for himself. Narada went down and quietly, unnoticed by anyone stayed very close to the farmer’s humble and simple hut. Early in the morning the farmer woke up with the Lord’s name NARAYANA on his lips. Then he went about his daily usual routine, went to his field and worked under the scorching sun along with the others. He worked till late in the evening. At dusk, he returned back, had a wash, sat and spent some time with his wife and children and had his simple meal. Tired and exhausted, he fell off to sleep with NARAYANA on his lips. In a day, the farmer remembered the Lord only twice! Narada was puzzled. Anyway, he decided to spend another two days there and watch over the farmer. The routine was the same on all the days. Narada was quite annoyed with the Lord as to how He even considered this farmer who took the Lord’s name only TWICE a day as His greatest devotee. He went straight to Vaikunta and narrated all that had happened down below. 

The Lord smiled and told Narada that He will explain, but before that He wanted Narada to accomplish a piece of job for Him. Lord gave Narada a pot filled with oil up to the brim, asked him to balance it on his head, and told him to go around Vaikunta and come back without spilling even a drop. Narada wondered what this had to do with his question, but anyway since the Lord had told him, he agreed. Narada put down his veena, nervously picked up the pot of oil filled up to the brim, placed it on his head and started walking slowly. Carefully balancing the pot of oil on his head, Narada put his steps forward cautiously, and went round Vaikunta and came back. He was beaming with happiness for he had not spilt even a drop of oil during his travel. He had been able to carry out the Lord’s instructions…..!

The Lord then asked Narada how many times he remembered NARAYANA during his journey round Vaikunta. Narada was surprised and told the Lord that he had NOT remembered the Lord even ONCE. How could he remember the Lord when all his attention was in balancing the pot of oil on his head?

 
The Lord smiled and told Narada that all that was given to him was a small piece of job of going round Vaikunta with a pot full of oil on his head, and yet he had forgotten the Lord even during that short interval of time. And here was this farmer working day in and day out, shouldering all the responsibilities and problems of his family and work, and yet he never forgot to take the Lord’s name NARAYANA, ONCE in the morning and ONCE in the evening. Hence according to the Lord, the farmer’s devotion was superior to that of Narada’s. 

Narada immediately understood that this was Lord’s unique way of destroying his ego. Completely humbled, Narada prostrated to the Lord, sought His forgiveness, prayed to the Lord to grant him total and unconditional devotion, picked up his veena and with “NARAYANA” on his lips left Vaikunta with a sense of total happiness and inexplicable bliss.

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