A holy personage and celestial musician, always facilitating the good of the world; engaged in aiding the pious in times of challenge and in hastening the retribution of evil-doers. Traversing the three worlds, he spread the Path of Devotion to the Lord. Figuring in all major epics, he led many noble souls to salvation.
The word ‘Nara’ means knowledge useful to mankind and ‘Da’ means ‘a giver’. So ‘Narada’ means the one who gives useful knowledge to mankind and guides it in the right path.
Narada was a first-order musician. He always loved to sing songs praising the glory of the Almighty. It is said of Narada that he was the inventor of the musical instrument Veena. He played on his Veena, which was named “Mahati.” Among the ‘Devarshis’, Narada is one of the holiest.
He commanded the respect of all. It was his habit to travel and to go round preaching to people, uttering his words of wisdom and telling people stories carrying an ethical message. He was loved by all – be it Gods, Demons and human beings.
Vyasa has described Narada as follows in the Adiparva of the Mahabharata: “Narada is a great scholar. He is well versed in Vedanta; he is serene and tender hearted. He is respected by human beings, angels and demons alike. He has a lustrous personality, and is a veritable Brihaspati in intellectual powers. He has extraordinary proficiency in Samaveda and is an expert musician. He can set at naught any doubts and misgivings. He can always find devices on the spur of the moment for helping people out of difficulties. He can charm people with his pleasant speech. He knows the art of articulating each syllable and is also well versed in semantics. He knows the precise use of each word.”The name of Narada finds mention in the Vedas and Upanishads too. He is an authority in astronomy, music, etc. There is a treatise called “Naradasmriti” He is also the author of a book called ” Narada- shiksha” which lays down the principles of grammar and phonetics. The ‘Narada- purana’ is also attributed to him and he is author of ‘Pancharatra’. The best known among his works is ‘Narada Bhakti Sutra’. In that work he has presented in eighty – four aphorisms the concept and practice of Bhakti (Devotion). The unique greatness of the Path of Bhakti is lucidly set out in that work. Narada is indeed a pioneer among saints who strove for the welfare of mankind.