NARADA – A celestial sage

NARADAAfter Brahma had created the seven sages (sapta-rishis) from his mind (manasa- putras), he created Rudra (a storm god) from his anger, Narada from his lap, Dak­sha (a progenitor) from his right thumb, and Virani from his left. The Puranas accounted for seven of his rebirths, including as a gandharva (celestial musician) named Upar Barhana, as emperor Drumilla’s son Narada, then again as Brahma’s son Narada (but ending that lifetime as a monkey), as the son of Daksha as Narada, as a worm, and even as a woman sage and mother of sixty children. The Puranas 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, Narada made an appearance in more different stories than perhaps any other figure in Hindu mythology.
A few good examples would include Narada’s frustrating Daksha-Prajapati‘s attempt at creation by coition (of course Daksha cursed Narada to forever be a wanderer), Narada telling Citrasena about Siva‘s desire to kill him so that Cit­rasena escaped death, Narada telling Parvati about Siva killing her son Vighneshwara who had prevented Siva from entering the room where she was bathing, Narada losing to Haritasva in a musical contest, Narada telling Rama about a sudra named Jambuka who was doing ascetic practices even though he did not have a right to because of his caste, Narada telling Kamsa that he was the product of the rape of his mother, and many more.
Narada’s treatment in the later Puranas fit into the pattern found there of projecting lust into the narrative of the great. Brahma cursed Narada with sen­suality, and Narada cursed Brahma that his own lust would make him unworthy of worship. Narada picked up a number of epithets that summarized his charac­ter: strife-maker (kali-karaka), monkey-faced (kapi-vaktra), spy (pishuna).

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