Narada Muni stories
Last month, when my husband and I went to Melbourne. It was our annual visit for the congregational retreat held at the end of April at New Nandagram, just before cold autumn weather sets in.
This year I chose to present a series of classes about Narada Muni and his pastimes.Throughout the Bhagavatam his name is mentioned, so to prepare would involve a lot of reading. I was happy to have an excuse to study the Srimad Bhagavatam, however, since I was unusually busy with other activites, reading and taking some quick notes was all I could manage from here. Then off to Melbourne.
I would have to rely upon the transcendental subject matter of the pastimes, to "come alive" when it was time to speak.
There were five classes.
1 The reality of happiness
When Vyasadeva saw the coming of Kali Yuga, he understood what was about to occur. All the finer qualities in man would deteriorate.
“By unseen forces in the course of time, people would become too much interested in matter, which is temporary”
For the benefit of those to come, he began to compile the Vedas, previously passed down by word of mouth. Although this was a great and noble act, when he had completed the work, he remained unsatisfied.
At that moment Narada, arrived. He looked at his disciple, Vyasa and enquired…
“Are you happy identifying the body and mind as the objects of self realization?”
Then Narada spoke, and Vyasadeva listened very carefully.
Any thoughtful person can understand, that we cannot really find depth of happiness, in contact with the temporary, changing elements of life as we know it. Vyasadeva had tried to help the world to find benefit and shelter, but he had not clearly defined nor described the eternal relationship of the soul with Krishna. This defect resulted in a type of compromised religious understanding.
Narada told him…
“People want worldly enjoyment. You have encouraged them in the name of religion. Now they will consider enjoyment as the goal of religion and hardly want to hear or accept any prohibitions.
However, true religion is not meant simply for our own pleasure.”
This conception of religion as being meant for our pleasure is very common in this time and age. Narada foresaw this predicament and advised Vyasa what he could do to rectify his error…
“Write the Srimad Bhagavatam. Broadcast the activities of Krishna, His incarnations and His devotees for the whole world’s sake. Hearing this subject matter will make them truly happy, for transcendental literature can bring about a revolution in the impious lives of misdirected society.”
Vyasadeva took these important instructions to heart.As soon as Narada departed, he wrote the Bhagavatam, at his mature stage of realization.
Srila Prabhupada tells us that the best way to remove all one’s miseries, is to dedicate oneself to hearing this transcendental subject matter.
Narada and Vyasa's conversation is full of profund meaning. Factually this conversation became the impetus for this great work. Narada pinpointed the cause of despondency for all of us.
2 The Solution of all problems
Narada spoke at length with Vyasa, telling him his own life’s story:
It was during his childhood that his spiritual attraction was awakened, and the flow of devotion began.
He was previously a singer, who became a bit of a “playboy” and once, surrounded by women, he was cursed by demigods to become a sudra.
Powerful spiritual company revived his faith in spiritual activities, and when his mother left the world, he took off on a quest for self- realization. Finally, he achieved the darsan of the Lord, who told Him that he would have to wait throughout his life before receiving such good fortune again.
At that point, Narada chose to simply travel and chant wherever he went. As a result, in his next birth he became the dearest son of Brahma. Due to his devotional tendencies, he also became known as the sage amongst the demigods.
Narada explains how simply hearing the Lord’s pastimes one can become one of the associates of the Lord. He also advises that the prime solution to all problems is dedicating one’s activities to the service of the Lord. This becomes the destroyer of the tree of work.
Srila Prabhupada translated this section of the Bhagavatam before he left India to preach in the West. Some of the verses are Bhagavatam classics, and his purports are rich with practical spiritual advice.