Eastern Spirituality

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Narada (Sanskrit: Nārada, possibly derived from "năra", meaning man) is a Vedic sage who plays a prominent role in a number of Hindu texts, notably the Ramayana and the Bhagavata Purana. Narada is arguably ancient India's most travelled sage with the ability to visit distant worlds and realms (Sanskrit lokas). He is depicted carrying a Veena, with the name Mahathi and is generally regarded as one of the great masters of the ancient musical instrument. This instrument is known by the name "mahathi" which he uses to accompany his singing of hymns, prayers and mantras as an act of devotion to Lord Vishnu. Narada is described as both wise and mischievous, creating some of Vedic literature's more humorous tales. Vaishnav enthusiasts depict him as a pure, elevated soul who glorifies Vishnu through his devotional songs, singing the names Hari and Narayana, and therein demonstrating bhakti yoga. The Narada Bhakti Sutra is attributed to him.

Narada is also said to have orated the maxims of the Nāradasmṛti (100 BC – 400 CE), which has been called the "juridical text par excellence" and represents the only Dharmaśāstra text which deals solely with juridical matters and ignoring those of righteous conduct and penance.

Karnataka sangita pitamaha ,The great adi purandaradasaru is said to be the incarnation of the sage narada.

Tamil cultural proponents insist that sage Narada was invoked by legendary Carnatic musician, Thyagaraja, to produce his various compositions.

In the Mahabharata, Narada plays a critical role in many instances - his knowledge is used in critical situations to arrive at right conclusions. For example, it is Narada who requests the Pandava brothers to create a rule for sharing their wife Draupadi, so that they do not end up fighting for her company.

The Mahabharata explains Narada's qualifications and experience in vivid detail - He was conversant with the Vedas and the Upanishads and was acquainted with history and Puranas. He had thorough knowledge of the six Angas - Pronunciation, grammar, prosody, explanation of basic terms, description of religious rites and astronomy. All celestial beings worshiped him for his knowledge - he is supposed to be well versed in all that occurred in ancient Kalpas (time cycles) and is termed to be conversant with Nyaya (logic) and the truth of moral science. He was a perfect master in re-conciliatory texts and differentiating in applying general principles to particular cases. He could swiftly interpret contraries by references to differences in situation. He was eloquent, resolute, intelligent and possessor of powerful memory. He knew the science of morals, politics, skilled in drawing inference from evidence, and very proficient in distinguishing inferior things from superior ones. He was competent in judging the correctness and incorrectness of complex syllogistic statements consisting of 5 proponents. He was capable of arriving at definite conclusions about religion, wealth, pleasure and salvation. He possessed knowledge of this whole universe, above it, below it and everything surrounding it. He was capable of answering successively at Vrihaspati himself, while arguing. He was the master of the Sankhya and Yoga systems of philosophy, conversant with sciences of war and treaty and proficient in drawing conclusions of judging things not within a direct knowledge. He knew about the six sciences of treaty, war, military campaigns, maintenance of posts against the enemy and strategies of ambushes and reserves. He was a thorough master of every branch of learning. He was fond of war and music and was incapable of being repulsed by any science or any course of action.

Example via www.ramdass.org: Remembering God

Glossary Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z