Episode 21: Story of Maharishi Narada’s previous birth

Nārada Maharishi continued, “I travelled northwards and after crossing many prosperous places, forests, ponds, gardens and mountains I finally reached a huge dense forest. I was extremely exhausted by then. Finding a pond nearby I bathed in it. I performed acamana (purificatory ritual), drank water from that pond and thus abated my tiredness. Sitting under a peepal tree in that isolated uninhabited forest, I began to contemplate upon the Supreme Lord, who illumines in the form of the Self (atma) within the heart.”

Swamiji explains: All of you please remember this. Whenever we are alone, we waste our time recollecting unnecessary past events, sorrows, useless transactions, insults that have been heaped upon us in the past etc. It is not right. Getting time exclusively for ourselves (ekanta) is a great fortune. Not everyone is blessed with such exclusive time for themselves. We may perhaps think, ‘what is so great about being alone? Jobless people, diseased persons, and every other person whom we see has this opportunity wherein they are alone and idle. But delve into their hearts and see what they are doing. Then you observe what Maharishi Nārada did with this opportunity. He focused upon the Supreme Lord who was seated within his heart in the form of the Self (atma).

Nārada Maharishi continued, “I contemplated in the following manner: ‘Who am I? What is this light which is illumining through me? What is it which is illuminating in the form of my Self? How will I know about my Self?’

As I progressed in this contemplation, my mind completely came under the control of bhakti (devotion). With this the desire to see God and to earn Him intensified deeply within me. Due to this intensified desire very soon tears welled up in my eyes and began to flow profusely like a stream.

‘Perhaps my birth is only for this purpose. Perhaps I was born only to have a vision of that Lord. I have to see Him somehow or the other. I have to see that illumination’. This was my line of thinking.

As I was thinking in this manner, Śrihari gradually emerged within my heart! I could see the Lord within my heart! This is the meaning of ‘atma-darshana’. With this my love and devotion towards him surged even further and I experienced horripilation throughout the body. I experienced unimaginable peace. I, who was soaked in an ocean of limitless bliss, experienced the non-dual (advaita) state!

That form of the Supreme Lord, which is very dear to the mind, which gives limitless peace and which drives away all forms of grief in totality, did not however come back to the mind. No matter how hard I tried, I could not experience Him again. I kept trying endlessly but it was of no avail.

With disturbed mind I stood up. Deciding that somehow or the other I have to see that Supreme form once again I again began my sadhana with absolute concentration. Yet it did not yield any result.

When the Supreme form could not be seen again, I was tormented. I was like a diseased person. When I could not see that divine light, that yoga, that Paramātma, I began to feel extremely helpless. I felt dejected and forlorn. I was angry with myself and at my incapacity to see Him.

In that way when I was sitting in this uninhabited forest persistently trying to see him, I heard a celestial voice from the sky, “In this birth you cannot see me again! Desires and other evil tendencies do not completely disappear with limited austerities!”

Swamiji explains: Many people wear suitable clothing and assuming that they have attained yoga, sit for meditation. ‘I am seeing the Supreme Lord’, they think. Do you think it is so simple? Desire, anger and other evil tendencies have solidified and got struck to you from many births. 10 minutes of meditation or an hour’s meditation cannot wash away this accumulated dirt from the mind. ‘Oh, I saw some light. I have seen God. I have had his darshan’- many declare in this manner. But remember that this dirt has still not gone away. It has not been reduced to ashes.

The celestial voice continued, “In such a situation having My vision is extremely difficult. Some dirt is still left behind. O sinless person! In order to cultivate feelings of deep love and devotion towards me, I blessed you once with my vision. That’s all! I have just given you the taste of it. Out of intense love towards me, a pure minded person gradually gives up all his desires. You too tread that path. I want you to give up your desires gradually.

For some time you served great saints. As a result your mind firmly stabilized upon me. After giving up this insignificant body of yours, you will be blessed with a little service towards me. You will attain a chance for offering tiny seva. This mind of yours which has totally fixed upon Me will however never waver. Even after the total destruction of the creation (pralaya kala), memory of this birth will remain ever fresh in your memory”.

Hearing these words of the Supreme Lord, I attained total peace of mind. I gave up trying to see Him. Accepting that He was always with me, I was happy. All my sorrows vanished.

‘Disappearance of all sorrows, destruction of desires -anger and other evil tendencies that have been coming down as a result of the deeds of many past births and attainment of resultant total peace’- I who had attained all these, bowed in deep reverence to that Supreme Lord.

From then on, giving up any form of inhibition, I began to sing the glories of that Divine Lord as well as His names. Without shyness, at every place I began to sing his glories loudly. I kept saying Narayana, Narayana, Narayana everywhere.

Om Namo Narayana

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