Narada is considered as the messenger of Devas and the well wisher of the entire universe. Perhaps, he has been a medium by which the creators of various scriptures wished to transfer the valuable knowledge of the basic principles of the Mother Nature.
Establishing Narada as a communicator par-excellence is a success story that needs to be emulated in many ways. First, the British and then the naïve Indian scholars created innumerable distortions in the narrative of our history. Many great personalities who could be the role models for the youth of emerging India were presented as characters of ridicule. Shivaji and Maharana Pratap are still being portrayed as rebels and communalists in many texts suppressing the factual data about their patriotism and commitment to Hindutva. Either due to mis-understanding of the scriptures or with ulterior motives European indologists presented Saint Narada as trouble maker, habitual instigator and a person performing the role of a comedian. In reality Devarshi Narada is none of this kind. A deep and a holistic study reveals that Narada was perhaps the most effective communicator the human kind has seen so far. He was also the author of the basic tenets of good governance. Not only these, Narada was also the most learned person of his times who deciphered the philosophy of Vedas and Puranas regarding the relationships between the God and the devotees. He was also a scholar of music who invented Veena the string instrument. Narada’s principles and the stories of his life are much more relevant today than they were perhaps in the time when he lived.
It appears that Narada was not one person who lived in many yugas but perhaps Narada is a name of a professional position where the incumbent performed certain roles. This contention is supported by the fact that scriptures provide different stories of his birth and this character appears in all puranic literature belonging to more than five thousand years. It may be purely an academic issue whether Narada was one or many but more important is analyzing his philosophy and deeds in the current context. There can be many aspects but three seem to be more relevant, first, Narada as an efficient and socially conscious communicator and journalist, second, he being the philosopher and guide for the rulers for good governance and lastly as an interpreter of the basic theory of how to establish linkages with God by a devotee.
The widely circulated image of Narada is that he was the creator of quarrels and even wars between Devas and Danavas. An analysis of various anecdote reveal that though he appears to instigate conflict and enmity yet in final analysis he emerges as selfless communicator whose each act of communication is inspired by the ultimate good of the universe. By instigating Laxami, Parvati and Sarasvati to prove their superiority Narada ultimately resolves the ego conflict between Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Similarly, he gives shelter to the pregnant wife of the devil-king Hiranyakashyapu, so as to nurture Prahlada to destroy the evil and establish the truth. Surprisingly and pleasantly every anecdote of Narada’s life ends in overall public good. There is a lesson for the media persons who are the modern day role performers of societal communicators to always keep the welfare of the common masses in all their presentations. There can be no other selfless communicator other than Narada and thus he and he only can be a role model for the media persons of today engaged in any media, print, electronic or online.
These and many other questions need to be researched upon extensively and their application in the modern management of the affairs of the nation needs to be exploited.
That Narada is also the author of Bhakti Sutras is a fact that is not known to many. He had authored 84 verses wherein he has provided a complete key to practice Bhakti Yoga successfully and attain the status of total bliss: Sat, Chit and Ananda. The distinguishing feature of these verses is that unlike many ancient Sanskrit scriptures the verses are simple, lucid and with one meaning only. There is not hidden message and neither is there any scope of interpreting in between the lines. These verses can also be treated as the guiding principles of modern day journalism. In verses 75-77 Narada preaches that lengthy discussions are avoided as beyond a limit the dialogue fails to change the opinion and attitudes. This is very relevant for the unending but unproductive discussions on news channels today. In verses 16-19 Narada explains the path of worship as propounded by four great sages including his own but in the last verse he says do not take any of them at face value but experiment and decide by you. This has to be the intent of the all media content where the reader or the viewer should be given freedom to decide and nothing should be thrust.
Narada is considered as the messenger of Devas and the well wisher of the entire universe. Perhaps he has been a medium by which the creators of various scriptures wished to transfer the valuable knowledge of the basic principles of the Mother Nature to the human beings so that Danavas can evolve into Manavs and Manavas can evolve into Devas. Today, it is of utmost importance that Muni Narada is studied in depth and his philosophy be presented to the rest of the world for a better and harmonious human society.
(The writer is Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, Bhopal)