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31 Narada: Part 2 - Durvasa sees his folly

"So you were telling me about your meeting with Durvasa", Brahma said after the two had settled down.

"Not exactly meeting, Father. This is what happened ..."

Once Lord Shiva had called all the gods and demigods in his court on Mount Kailasa. Great sages, brahmarshis (celestial sages) and gods attended it. Even Narada was present. While the court was in session, the great Rishi Durvasa entered and interrupted the august assembly with a great hustle, and ignoring proceedings and also the elders and very illustrious sages, went straight up to Lord Shiva. He proudly displayed his huge bundle of books and said, "Look, Lord Shiva, I have thoroughly studied and mastered all these books and I know them now by heart!"

He was expecting great praise for it was impossible for any human being to learn all the books by heart in one life. Instead, he heard Narada's loud voice from behind, "Hey you donkey, who is carrying this huge burden of whatever it is, why don't you go to a dhobighat instead (place near the river where clothes are washed)?"

Durvasa whirled around, and was so shocked at this uttrance that for a moment he could not fathom what had happened. The entire assembly was frozen with fear. Next moment, Durvasa thundered in wrath. "You pest, you wandering nomad, you who has no mother, you who has started more wars in this epoch than anyone else ... you dare call me names! That too in an assembly full of sages!" ... He was about to lift his staff and curse Narada for eternity, when Narada started laughing.

Puzzled, the people turned to Narada. Narada retorted, still laughing, "So now you remember that there is an assembly in progress, do you? ... And you say that you have mastered the books! ... You haven't even mastered your own passions. You ignored the whole assembly and went and sat by Lord Shiva. What good is your scholarship without patience and forgiveness? These books are nothing but the burden of a donkey".

The entire assembly approved of Narada's words and joined in the laughter. Shiva was very pleased with the words too. Durvasa realized his folly. He threw the books away and went back into penance.

" ... and so we continued at Shiva's court. I am just happy that Durvasa learnt something from the episode", Narada completed his story with a twinkle in his eyes.

"But that was a dangerous game you played, son", Brahma said, now that the tension between them seemed to have lightened. "You never know about Durvasa".

"But Father, that is my life's purpose - to enlighten people. To show them the truth. And to bring them down to reality if they think highly of themselves".

"Oh, like Vishnu did to you and made you into a monkey, is it?" Brahma said lightly, half smiling.

"Hah! Do not get me started with that one now ...", Narada retorted.

(to be continued ...)


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- Shreekant
04 March 2009

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