Narayaniya (Narayaneeyam)

by Vishwa Adluri | 41,385 words

The English translation of the Narayaniya (Narayaneeyam), literally, “the work containing everything about Narayana”) which is a small text of 1006 verses occurring in the Shantiparva of the Mahabharata. The aim of the text is the glorification of the God Hari-Narayana, who is described as the God of gods (devadeva). Narayana is described as the g...

Chapter 14 - (Mahābhārata 12.334.1-17)

Vaiśaṃpāyana said:

1 Hearing these words uttered by Nara and Nārāyaṇa, Nārada, overflowing with devotion to the God, achieved one-pointed focus.

2 Having remained for a thousand years in the āśrama of Nara and Nārāyaṇa, having listened to the Effulgent God’s narrative and having seen the undecaying Hari, he departed to Himavat, where his own āśrama was.

3 Those celebrated ascetics, the Ṛṣis Nara and Nārāyaṇa, also performed the highest austerities in the same beautiful āśrama.

4 Having heard this narrative from the beginning, you also [Janamejaya], who are of unlimited prowess and the perpetuator of the Pāṇḍava dynasty, have become purified today.

5 Neither this nor the transcendent world is for him, best of kings, who through deed, thought, or word despises Viṣṇu the Imperishable.

6 The one who would despise the best of the gods, the God Nārāyaṇa Hari, his ancestors remain drowned forever in the underworld (naraka).

7 How can the Self of the world ever become despicable to anyone? Tiger among men, the Self itself is to be known as Viṣṇu—this is the axiom.[1]

8 Dear son, this glory of the Supreme Soul was narrated by him who is this guru of ours, the Ṛṣi [Vyāsa], son of Gandhavatī. And, sinless one, this was heard by me from him and told to you.

9 Know Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa to be Lord Nārāyaṇa. O tiger among men, who else indeed, could be the creator of the Mahābhārata? Who moreover could enunciate dharmas of various kinds but He the Lord?

10 Let it roll on, your great sacrifice, as resolved by you! You are the one who has declared your resolution to perform the aśvamedha sacrifice and who has listened to all of dharma as it truly is.

11 Verily having heard this great narrative, the king who is the son of Parikṣit, thereafter undertook all the rites for the sake of the completion of the sacrifice.

12 It was previously told by Nārada to my guru when the Ṛṣis, Pāṇḍavas, Kṛṣṇa, and Bhīṣma were listening, O king.

13–14 May Hari, who is the ultimate guru, the Lord of the world, the support of the earth, abode of tranquility and restraint, the guarantor of refuge and fearlessness to the focused one, the partaker of the share in the sacrifice and who is beyond the three attributes be the bestower of the final destination to you.

15 He, the invincible and very powerful One, the partaker of the share in the fruit of the iṣṭa and the pūrta [sacrifices],[2] and who takes up the fourfold and the fivefold forms,[3] lays down the path leading to the Self for the Ṛṣis who have done good deeds.

16 Do bow down you ascetics with single-pointed focus unto Him, who is the unborn Puruṣa, the Witness of the world, of sunlike brilliance and the refuge of all the lords. Even that one who is born in the waters offers obeisance unto Him, the Ṛṣi [Nārāyaṇa].[4]

17 He, verily, the womb of the world, subtle, ancient, unmoving, transcendent, and vast is always comprehended through [their] intellect as the state of immortality by the knowers of Sāṃkhya and Yoga who have restrained their self.

Footnotes and references:


Cf. Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.5.5–7, see especially verse 6: “one holds the Whole dear not out of love for the Whole; rather, it is out of love for oneself that one holds the Whole dear. You see, Maitreyī, it is one’s self (ātman) which one should see and hear, and on which one should reflect and concentrate. For when one has seen and heard one’s self, when one has reflected and concentrated on one’s self, one knows this whole world.”


Iṣṭa are those sacrifices undertaken to fulfill a wish, and pūrta, which are endowments to communities such as building wells, tanks, etc.


The fourfold form refers to the four vyūhas and the fivefold form refers to the universe consisting of the five great elements. Both these series have been extensively explained thus far in this text.


The commentator says that “the One born in the waters” is Nārāyaṇa, and the ṛṣi is Vāsudeva.

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