Note: I have tried to attempt a narrative in dialogue format rather than a post for a change. Only, the dialogues in this case are rather tricky, since they are between the all-knowing Narada and the all-pervasive Brahma unlike someone who knows and someone who is being told. One would think there is not much there is to ask and tell between them, since both know almost everything in the universe.
They do share a relationship of a father and son, but Narada chose a path of renunciation much against Brahma's wish and he is more closer to Vishnu than he is to Brahma ... and that has brought a slight tension to this entire endeavor. In any case, I fell in love with the format once I began, and had to go on ... I have tried to walk on this slippery path for a few posts, and hope that the narrative has not slipped and fallen any time. If you find any flaws in the construction, know that they are entirely mine. - S
"So this is the life you have chosen for yourself", Brahma came out of the quaint little hut on top of the mountain near Nimbagrama and stood next to Narada, who was gazing at the sunrise and the vast expanse of the valley in Vraja that seemed as if it spread right up to the horizon.
It was among the early epochs of the new world created by Brahma. Nine of the ten Prajapatis, the younger brothers of the Sanata Kumaras, were helping Brahma in his mission to populate the new world - the seven rishis Saptarshis, Dakhsa and Bhrigu - except of course the last one - Narada.
"Yes father, it is", Narada said with a slight tremor in his voice. He turned and faced the gentle old man who was not only his father, but the father of the entire known universe. Many eons had passed from the time Narada took birth, fully grown, from Brahma's mind. But as soon as he came into existence, he found his life's calling in not helping his father and brothers in creation, but to follow his elder brothers, the fours seers Sanata Kumaras, and learn the secrets of Life from them.
Even when the teaching was over, and after the great sages had departed, he decided to impart the knowledge he had gained to the people, and wandered the worlds to learn and to share the learnings in a true nomadic manner.
Brahma had come to visit his odd child after a very long time. He kept telling himself that this was because he had been busy with the act of creation - all the different animals and birds and people, but he knew and Narada knew that it was largely because he disapproved Narada's choice. Also, Brahma could never come to terms with the fact that his one son Daksha would curse his other son Narada.
This is what had happened: Daksha prajapati was true to his father's cause and was one of the most prolific prajapatis. He wanted his children also to continue with the cause of creation, and thus asked them to observe a strict penance that would grant them spiritual, as well as physical, strength. After attaining these, his children would be ready to get married and enjoy their lives living with their spouses.
But while Daksha's children were undergoing the penance, Narada went to the place and convinced them otherwise - that the married life will be a bondage and miserable, and that they should rather do the penance for Mukti (salvation) and escape from the sorrows of family life. This caused great confusion in their minds, and they became inclined towards Narada's reasoning - such was Narada's ability to convince them.
When Daksha heard about what had happened, he got wild with rage. He summoned Narada and gave him a severe tongue lashing, telling Narada that he had interfered with Dakshabrahma's rights and responsibilities as a parent and his desire for seeing his children grow up to lead happily married lives. Dakshabrahma cursed Narada that he would never marry, and would eternally remain a transient, a vagabond.
It is a different matter that Narada said that he was pleased with this. He taunted Daksha that he was happy with the life laid out for him. He claimed that being a vagabond would enable him to continue meeting new people and imparting his knowledge.
Brahma sighed. The world reeled under a peculiar burden - one that cannot even be shared, let alone reduced. Far somewhere in the valley a cheetah was nearing his pray, a full-grown gazelle.
"I hear you have been traveling a lot", he said after a while - "you seem to go from one loka to another in a day's time."
"Yes, Vishnu has bestowed the power of instant travel to me," said Narada with a smile - without mentioning anything about Daksha and his curse. "I can go to any place I desire at any time. I spend a lot of time here on the Earth, but I enjoy visiting the Swarga loka (the heaven) as well as the Mrityu-loka (the land of the Dead). Only a few years ago I was at Shiva's court in Mount Kailas".
"I heard something like that. It seems you offended Durvasa in the court? ... How did that happen? And more important than that, how did you manage to get away with it? Durvasa is particularly infamous for his foul temper and is quick to anger."
A mischivous, innocent and almost child-like smile spread across Narada's face. "I'll tell you all about it. But let us rest here, on these seats I have placed in front of my hut", he pointed back to the hut, and the two turned around.
(to be continued ...)
3 March 2009