“Narada Muni continued, ‘All the animals that you have killed and given unnecessary pain will kill you one after the other in your next life and in life after life.’” (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 24.251)
कदर्थिया तुमि यत मारिला जीवेरे
तारा तैछे तोमा मारिबे जन्म-जन्मान्तरे
kadarthiyā tumi yata mārilā jīvere
tārā taiche tomā māribe janma-janmāntare
A celebrated saint whose name appears throughout Vedic literature, Narada Muni has many accomplishments to his name. Not that he intentionally tried for notoriety and recognition. He is a pure devotee of the Supreme Lord, chanting the name of Narayana wherever He goes.
He is the tri-loka sanchari, which means that his mercy is not limited to the earthly realm. He can travel to other planets and he has an open invitation to meet with Lord Vishnu whenever he likes. Though his work is never complete, here are some of the most amazing things he has done, as far as is known through recorded history.
1. Initiated Valmiki
A person who unfortunately took a wrong turn in life, Ratnakara was a highway robber. The justification was the support of his family. This is the easy way out, to take what others have. Let them work and then confiscate the fruits of their labor. Many governments in the modern-day operate under this philosophy, sometimes described as legal plunder.
When Ratnakara went to steal from Narada Muni passing by, there was a problem. The devotee of Narayana barely has possessions. There is nothing physical of value to give. Instead, there were eye-opening questions. Why was this person stealing? Did the family understand that they were implicated in the sinful deeds? Were they prepared to share in the future consequences?
One thing led to another and Ratnakara surrendered to Narada, who gave the advice to chant the holy name of Rama. The robber was so accustomed to sin that he couldn’t pronounce the name properly. Never mind, as saying the Sanskrit word for “death” would produce the sound of Rama’s name all the same.
The chanting went on for so long that an anthill formed around the disciple, earning him the name of Valmiki. That person initiated by Narada Muni then went on to become a celebrated rishi and poet, composing the sacred Ramayana, which is still read today.
2. Cursed Shri Hari
As mentioned previously, Narada can visit the home of the Supreme Lord whenever he likes. One time he arrived with some pride, thinking that he had fully conquered kama, which is lust. In a playful pastime, Hari decided to teach Narada a valuable lesson.
A majestic city was created at which Narada arrived. Seeing a beautiful princess he immediately wanted her as his wife. There just happened to be a self-choice ceremony, or svayamvara, about to take place. Narada did what was natural to him; he asked Hari for help. The Supreme Lord gave consent, but in a mischievous way. He agreed to give Narada a face similar to His, so that the princess would make the proper choice.
Another meaning for the word Hari is monkey, and so Narada was astonished to later learn that he showed a monkey-face at the contest to the princess, who then rejected him. The winner, in fact, was Vishnu Himself, who had created the situation in the first place.
Narada was not too pleased upon learning the truth. In a fit of anger he cursed Hari to appear on earth and be separated from His beloved. No one can curse God, and yet Narada’s words held true. This was an amazing act since it showed just how close the devotee can be in their dealings with Vishnu. That supposed curse was one cause for the events later described in Valmiki’s Ramayana.
3. Encouraged Vyasadeva
The work does not stop at initiation. To accept the shelter of a bona fide spiritual master is really the beginning of the second life. The initiate becomes known as dvija, which is twice-born. They have to make the second life count through work along the spiritual path.
It is natural for the guru to check on the disciple, to see how they are progressing. One time Narada met Vyasadeva and learned that the great compiler of a wealth of Vedic literature was still unsatisfied. Narada advised him to compose a work focused only on the Supreme Lord and devotion to Him. No karma mixed in. Nothing related to sense gratification. The result was the Bhagavata Purana, which is known as the ripened fruit of Vedic literature.
4. Counseled Mrigari
In his travels Narada Muni meets a host of people, from all kinds of backgrounds. One time he came across a hunter who was half-killing animals. Known as Mrigari, or the enemy of the beasts, this person was just following tradition. They did not know better.
Narada asked that the animals be fully killed or the process itself stopped. Mrigari wondered how he would continue to live without the occupation of hunting. Narada told him not to worry about that, to instead set up camp near a river and chant the holy names in front of a tulasi plant.
From this simple process a complete transformation took place. The ari turned into a mitra to the animal community; from enemy to friend, extending the spiritual vision down to the level of ants.
Narada worked his magic without an extended philosophical discussion. No quoting this verse and that. No time-consuming lecture. The power of the goddess of devotion, who is so dear to Vishnu that she grants such devotion to others who honor her, helped to purify the heart of someone who was previously so cruel.
Killing in cruel way most,
Hunter of animals a host.
Changed when Narada met,
And insightful questions to get.
Either stop or kill fully,
Disarmed thus skillfully.
After chanting then at tulasi tree,
Amazing transformation to see.
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