Devarshi Narad is one of the most ardent devotees of Shrivishnu. He is a well-known authority in the path of devotion. As per Hindu Dharma Devarshi Narad is the son of Deity Brahma. Sage Narad is one of the 7 mind-born sons of Deity Brahma. Based on the boon received from Deity Brahma, Sage Narad traveled in all the three regions of the universe namely space, Patal (Hell region) and the earth and directly conversed with the Deities, Saints, evolved souls, Deity Indra and other administrators and the human beings.
Sage Narad holds a stringed Indian musical instrument called Veena in one hand and another instrument called as Chiplya in the other hand. He constantly chants Narayan-Narayan for the entire day and travels all the time. Everyone used to get notified about His arrival through His chanting of ‘Narayan, Narayan …’ Through this chanting, He basically spread the importance of devotion.
Instituting the path of devotion through Kirtan (Devotional discourses) is attributed to Sage Narad. He is the one who revealed the simple path of devotion to the world and endowed the fragrance of devotion to the mankind. The credit of leading the great personalities like devotee Pralhad, child Dhruv, King Ambarish, Maharshi Valmiki to the path of devotion also goes to Him. Devarshi Narada who convinced the world about importance of devotion, is also well versed in Dharmashastras (Holy texts of Hindu Dharma). He has composed a Holy text called Narad Puran.
अहो देवर्षिर्धन्योऽयं यत्कीर्ति शाङ्र्गधन्वनः ।
गायन्माद्यन्निदं तन्त्र्या रमयत्यातुरं जगत् ॥
‘O People ! This Devarshi Narad is a great being. While playing His Veena, He gets engrossed in singing the praises of Shrivishnu and always bestows happiness upon the souls who are troubled by worldly sorrows.’ — Shrimadbhagvat (Chapter 1-6-39)
Naradmuni’s Holy company being instrumental in the transformation of Valya into Valmiki (Sage Valmiki) !
With just few minutes of satsang (Holy company) of Sage Narad, Valya got transformed into Valmiki ! Valya was a dacoit and used to kill and rob the people passing through the forest. Once Sage Narad met him and asked, ‘Are your family members (wife and children) for whom you are committing this sin, willing to take a share in this sin ?’ When Valya asked this question to his wife and children after going home, they refused to participate in the sin. We know what happened next. The question asked by Sage Narad changed the life of Valya completely. He thereafter performed spiritual practice round the clock and this rigorous spiritual practice later transformed him into Sage Valmiki who is revered by the entire universe. So much is the importance of satsang.
Limitless devotion of Devarshi Narad
Not because of ego, however, once Sage Narad, for no particular reason, felt that, ‘I am the only true devotee of Narayan (Shrivishnu) ! This is because I chant His Name day and night.’ Maharshi Narad was indeed a real devotee, however Shri Narayan deliberately took the name of Arjun to prevent Him from developing the ego. Sage Narad wanted to know the reason behind it. He then went to see Arjun and saw him sleeping. He thought that Arjun must be dreaming while asleep, let alone chanting the Name of God. However to His surprise, He heard the chanting of the Name, ‘Krushna Krushna’. After going closer to Arjun, He found that the sound of chanting was emerging from the hair of Arjun. However, Sage Narad too had the similar limitless devotion.
Devarshi Narad is a well-known authority in the path of devotion. The principles of devotion written by Him are known as the ‘Narad Bhaktistotrey’. Through these principles, He has elucidated the importance of the path of devotion, its nature and necessity, thereby neatly and in brief unfolding the mysteries of Navavidha Bhakti (Nine forms of devotion).