Indian Mythology (by ApamNapat)

Narada's Advice to Vyasa

Devi Bhagavata

This incident is from [Devi:4.4-64].

The sage Vyasa, who composed the Mahabharata, had his ashrama on the banks of the river Saraswati. One day, while at the river bank, he saw a family of sparrows. The mother-sparrow and the father-sparrow were feeding their young one, and Vyasa was struck by the strong bond in their family. He thought to himself, "When a lowly sparrow has such a love for its young, it is no wonder that man, who is capable of a greater strength of emotion, is willing to do almost anything for his children. It has been said in all the scriptures that the life of a householder is the highest Dharma (truth/duty). The Puranas are firm that one without issue cannot attain the higher regions of his ancestors. Indeed, the gates of heaven are shut against those that are unfortunate to have no children."

His thoughts naturally led him to rue the fact that he was issueless. He knew that he must have a son, if he intended to ascend to heaven on death, but he did not know what could be done. (I am not clear if this incident occurred before this, for Pandu and Dhritharashtra are Vyasa's children.)

At this point, the divine sage Narada appeared before him. After worshiping the sage in the manner prescribed in the scriptures, Vyasa enquired the reason for Narada's sudden arrival. Narada said, "While I was wandering through the heavens, I senses that you are in some sort of a dilemma. I came here to enquire the reason for the confusion that has overcome you."

Vyasa then said, "O great one, I decided to perform a penance to obtain an issue, for you know that one without children cannot aspire to heaven. I was not sure which deity should be worshiped me for this purpose. I wish to know the force that is above all the others. This was the reason for my confusion."

Narada said, "This is the same question asked by Lord Brahma to Vishnu. The answer given by Vishnu is that Shakti, is the ultimate reality. She is the overlord of all the deities. She is the life force behind the universe. Without her Vishnu cannot do his duty of protection, nor Brahma of creation, nor Shiva of destruction. Worship her, and your worries will be over."

At this point, Narada also narrated the story of Hayagreeva, which is the topic of this story. Vyasa took the advice of Narada and retired to the Himalayas to perform a penance directed towards the Devi.

Last Modified At: Sat Nov 6 11:59:54 2004