The Narada Purana (abridged)

2010 | 18,115 words

The Narada Purana (Nārada Purāṇa) is one of the major eighteen Mahapuranas, a genre of Hindu religious texts. It deals with the places of pilgrimages and features a dialogue between the sage Narada, and Sanatkumara. During the course of the dialogue between the two, Narada explains to Sanatkumara the major places of piligrimages, their location, ...

But nothing can be accomplished without faith. Vishnu spurns prayers and offerings that are made by the faithless. Faith and devotion are like a mother. Just as a mother is the refuges of all living beings, faith and devotion are the refuges of those who are devoted to Vishnu. This is what Vishnu told Markandeya.

Sanathkumara interrupted Narada. “Who was Markandeya?” he asked, “And what did Vishnu tell him?”

Narada related the stories of Mrikandu and Markandeya.

There was a sage named Mrikandu. A tirtha is a sacred place of pilgrimage and the place named shalagrama was the most wonderful of all tirthas. Mrikandu prayed for many years there. He regarded all other living beings as no different from his own self.

Indra and the other gods got scared at Mrikandu’s tapasya. They themselves went and began to pray to Vishnu on the shores of the great ocean. “Lord,” they prayed, “please deliver us from Mrikandu’s tapasya. He will please you with his meditation and heaven alone knows what boon he will then demand. He may dislodge us from heaven and start to oppress us.”

Vishnu was moved by the prayers of the gods and appeared before them. He held a conch-shell (shankha), a bladed-discus (chakra) and a mace (gada) in his hands. His eyes were like the petals of lotus flowers and his body shone with the radiance of a millions suns. His clothes wear yellow of hue and he was bedecked with jewellery.

When the gods expressed their fears, Vishnu calmed them down. “Be at peace,” he said. “I know Mrikandu. He is a righteous and good individual, I am sure that he has no intention of oppressing you. Only sinners peform meditation so as to obtain boons that can be used to oppress other people. I shall go to Mrikandu and find out what he wants.”

Having blessed the gods, Vishnu went to pay Mrikandu a visit. The sage was delighted to see Vishnu. He fell at Vishnu’s feet and did obeisance.

“I am pleased at your tapasya,” Vishnu told Mrikandu. “Crave the boon that you desire.”

“I want no boon,” replied Mrikandu. “You have appeared before me, you whom the gods themselves find it difficult to see. What more can I want? I have no more desires.”

“That cannot be,” retorted Vishnu. “Let it not be said that Vishnu appeared before a devotee and did not grant hima boon. I’ll tell you what we can do. I will myself be born as your son. Any line in which I am born is forever blessed. And that is what is going to happen to your line as well.”

Vishnu then blessed Mrikandu and departed.

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