NÂRADA – The Vedic Celestial Sage

After Brahmâ had created the seven sages (sapta-rishis) from his mind (mânasâ- putras), he created Rudra (a storm god) from his anger, Nârada from his lap, Daksha (a progenitor) from his right thumb, and Vîranî from his left.

The Purânas accounted for seven of his rebirths, including as a gandharva (celestial musician) named Uparbarhana, as emperor Drumilla’s son Nârada, then again as Brahmâ’s son Nârada (but ending that lifetime as a monkey), as the son of Daksha as Nârada, as a worm, and even as a woman sage and mother of sixty children.

The Purânas were not able to construct a consistent notion of which manvantaras (cosmic cycle) these births occurred in. But with so many lifetimes and so little need for consistency, Nârada made an appearance in more different stories than perhaps any other figure in Hindu mythology.

A few good examples would include Nârada’s frustrating Daksha-Prajâpati’s attempt at creation by coition (of course Daksha cursed Nârada to forever be a wanderer), Nârada telling Citrasena about S´iva’s desire to kill him so that Citrasena escaped death, Nârada telling Pârvatî about S´iva killing her son Vighneshvara who had prevented S´iva from entering the room where she was bathing, Nârada losing to Haritâs´va in a musical contest, Nârada telling Râma about a s´ûdra named Jambuka who was doing ascetic practices even though he did not have a right to because of his caste, Nârada telling Kamsa that he was the product of the rape of his mother, and many more.

NÂRADA - A celestial sage

Nârada’s treatment in the later Purânas fit into the pattern found there of projecting lust into the narrative of the great. Brahmâ cursed Nârada with sensuality, and Nârada cursed Brahmâ that his own lust would make him unworthy of worship. Nârada picked up a number of epithets that summarized his character: strife-maker (kali-kâraka), monkey-faced (kapi-vaktra), spy (pishuna).

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