Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The curse of Nārad Muni

Nārad Muni is wondering the Himalayan mountains and begins to think about Lord Vishnu. He instantly falls into a deep meditative trance. Seeing the sage's state, Indra becomes apprehensive as he sees Nārad's trance as a threat to his own position as the chief of demigods in heaven. Indra asks Kamadeva to disturb Nārad's trance. He creates an illusion of frangrant flowers, delightful breezes and such. Heavenly damsels are called but all this has no affect on the sage. Kamadeva accepts defeat and falls at Nārad's feet addressing him with deep humility. He recalls all that happened to Lord Shiva and becomes puffed up with pride of his defeating of Kamadeva. Lord Shiva admonishes him and begs him not to repeat the story to Lord Hari.

Nārad visits Lord Vishnu at His abode, and unable to control his pride, retells his episode with Kamadeva, ignoring all that Lord Indra had advised. Lord Vishnu further fans Nārad's pride by telling him that his steadfast vow of celebacy is so strong that he can never be smitten. Nārad then departs Lord Vishnu's abode. Lord Hari tells Laksmi that he has a plan and sets his illusionary powers (maya) into operation. As Nārad departs Vaikuntha, Lord Vishnu creates a beautiful illusionary city with illusionary inhabitants. The city is ruled by king Silanidhi who has a beautiful daughter called Visvamohini. Nārad is intrigued with the city and decides to visit the king. Nārad sees the kings daughter and falls in love with her. The king explains that he wishes to marry his daughter off to a suitable man. Nārad devises a plot to get the princess to choose him.

Nārad approaches Lord Hari and asks him for the gift of great beauty. Lord Vishnu says that he will do only that which is benefitial to Nārad. The sgae is glad at heart and thinks that with Lord Vishnu's favour, the princess will surely choose him. In reality the Lord had made Nārad look hideous. The entire royal court is aware of Nārad's appearance, but says nothing. The princess is filled with rage as soon as she sees Nārad's ugly form and completely ignores him. He sees a reflection of his face and is consumed with rage. He instantly goes back to Vaikuntha and begins to speak to Lord Hari in ugly tones. He curses Lord Hari, "You made me look like a monkey; therefore You shall have monkeys for Your mates. And as You have greviously wronged me, so shall You suffer the pangs of separation from Your wife". Lord Hari accepts Nārad's curse and instantly withdraws his illusionary spell.

Nārad realises that there is no city and there is no Visvamohini, and is dismayed at what he has done. He begs the Lord to invalidate his curse. Lord Hari explains that it was His will and advises Nārad to chant his name to absolve himself of any sin. Nārad returns to his abode chanting the praises of Lord Ram.

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