Sage Narada – Tulabharam (Krishna, Satyabhama and Rukmini)

Tulabharam Shri Krishna

A tale of two wives of Shri Krishna

This is the beautiful story of Shri Krishna and his two wives Satyabhama and Rukmini, which underlines the importance of devotion. Sage Narada as usual, has played a role into this as well.

Satyabhama belonged to a royal lineage and was very proud of her origins. Rukmini was very humble, though she was the incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi. Her devotion was pure to Shri Krishna.

Sage Narada’s plan

One day, Sage Narada came to Satyabhama and said that though she is beautiful and charming, Shri Krishna loves Rukmini more. Baffled by this, she said to him that what she can do get the Lord’s undivided attention. Sage Narada placed his card carefully – he said to Satyabhama that she needs to hand over Shri Krishna to him as a slave. Later on, He would trade Shri Krishna with her with equal weight of gold. In this way Shri Krishna will remain to her as this would prove her devotion towards Shri Krishna.

Narada - The omnipresent sage
Narada – The omnipresent sage

Satyabhama plans to impress Krishna

She agreed and approached Krishna and told him about her unfortunate vow to Sage Narada. The lord patiently listened to her and very meekly nodded his head. Satyabhama then commanded one of the servants to bring out the large scales used to weigh grains and groceries.

She also sent the caretaker of the coffers to bring out all her jewels and gold to the grand court room. And gently leading Krishna, she went to the Courtroom. All the ministers stared at the scales that had been placed at the center of the court. Their mouths further fell when they saw box after box of gold being carried inside. Krishna was silent throughout the entire time.

She gives Shri Krishna to Narada

Then as per the wishes of Narada, She gave Shri Krishna to Narada. Now the interesting part starts. In order to win back the Lord, She had to provide jewellery equal to the weight if Shri Krishna. As decided, Narada gave this option to Satyabhama. Amidst loud sighs of relief, Satyabhama agreed to it.

She wants to win him back with riches and ornaments

She then placed Krishna on one plate of the Scales and with a smirk on her face started piling up the gold, jewels and gemstones on the other plate. She kept adding more and more of her wealth, but the pan with Krishna did not even budge. To top it all Narada kept giving her ominous warnings, “Remember devi, if you fail to supply me with sufficient wealth, Krishna will forever be a slave to me. I can even bid him out to anyone I want.” Satyabhama freaked out and swallowing her pride, begged the other wives of Krishna to give her their jewels so thet they could retain Krishna. Out of their devotion to their lord,, the wives removed every gold ornament on their body until they were wearing only the Mangalsutra. But the scale showed no signs of motion.

Tulabharam Shri Krishna
Tulabharam Shri Krishna

Shri Krishna teases Satyabhama

Krishna, the master, told her, “Look Satyabhama, because of your stupid vow, I have to be a slave to this rishi. Oh how I hate this”, he complained. Satyabhama was at a loss for words when Krishna continued, “Why don’t you ask Rukmini. She must be able to get us out of this predicament”, he suggested coyly.

Rukmini comes to rescue

Satyabhama was in such a state that all her ill will towards Rukmini flew out of the window. She rushed to Rukmini’s private chambers and poured out the dire state of matters. Rukmini, ever calm, didn’t panic and came out to help Satyabhama. On the way she passed the sacred Tulsi plant and plucking a single leaf of Tulsi [Sacred Basil], she continued her way to the place where Shri Krishna and Narada were.

She very quietly walked towards the balance and praying to Krishna, placed the single tulsi leaf on all the piled up wealth. Lo and Behold! The pan containing Krishna flew up and remained underbalanced. Shocked at this, Satyabhama looked to Krishna for explanation. He asked Satyabhama to remove the riches from the balance.

Lord Krishna and Rukmini
Lord Krishna and Rukmini

Satyabhama understands the importance of devotion

Though sceptical, she agreed to what Krishna had to say. She removed all her riches save for Tulsi leaf, and yet, it weighed more than Krishna. She was stunned and humbled. Krishna jumped down from his high hanging pan and came to her, “Bhama, you gave all your riches to me, but there was no devotion in that offering. Just the feeling of possessiveness. When you made your offerings with such a thought in your mind, they lost their value and became mundane things. On the other hand Rukmini offered just a single tulasi leaf. But her intentions were noble. She made the offering with utmost love and devotion towards me. And that single leaf was sufficient to please me beyond expectations.

Sage Narada departs

Remember it is not the offering that matters, but the love and devotion with which you do it, that does.” Then leaving Satyabhama standing stunned in the court, Krishna returned to his chambers with his other wives. Turning to Narada, her eyes now shining bright with tears, Bhama said, “Devarishi, thank you for teaching me this hard learnt lesson today. I will never ever underestimate the power of devotion and love towards the lord.” Narada nodded and with his characteristic Narayana-Narayana, he was gone.

More stories about Lord Krishna

The love story of Nala and Damyanti

Nala and Damyanti

Maharaja Nala’s story is very similar to the story of Pandavas from Mahabharata. He was very fond of playing dice game and lost his kingdom while doing this.

Nala and Damyanti
Nala and Damyanti

Nala was the ruler of Nishada. He was a very capable king and his country prospered under his rule. Nala was a gifted charioteer. He was also very fond of playing dice, but not adept at it. However, despite being one of the most handsome men of his time, he was still unmarried. One day a brahmin came to his court. On learning of his bachelor status he suggested the name of Damayanti, the daughter of the King of Vidarbha. He painted such an impressive picture of the princess that Nala fell in love with her without seeing her. Damyanti was said to be very beautiful and it is said that even Gods wanted to marry her.

The Swan, Nala and Damyanti

 One day, Nala catches a swan. Swan begs for freedom and promises Nala that he will sing praises of Nala to Demyanti if he is freed. Nala accedes and  sends the swan to Damyanti, who sang praises for Nala before Damyanti. Thus, prior to the swayamvara, Damyanti was already in love with Nala.

Damyanti and Swan
Damyanti and Swan

Damyanti’s swayamvara

Damyanti father’s announces for a swayamvara. This was attended by Gods and humans alike.  Nala wins Damyanti’s hand in a swayamvara. A human trumped the gods, but how. There is an interesting story behind this. Among all gods, She chose Nala because of his shadow. The gods have no shadow. (An Indian hindi movie – RA.one climax is similar, starred by Shahrukh Khan and Arjun Rampal)

Damyanti Swayamvara
Damyanti Swayamvara

Duly, she chose Nala as her husband and everyone else was disappointed. The demon Kali, the personification of Kali yuga, also wanted to marry Damayanti. On his arrival, he is unaware that he is too late for the swayamvara. He runs into the gods and they tell him how she has chosen Nala in their place. Kali then angrily vows to cause the fall of Nala’s kingdom.

The revenge of Kali and separation of couple

Kali waits for twelve years to find  a weakness in Nala, and got his chance.  He guides him to play the game of dice with his brother, Pushkara and loses everything. He and his wife were deserted in exile, Still in the power of Kali, he deserted his wife, Damyanti. Damyanti finds refuge in the court of King Chedi.

Nala leaves Damyanti in forest
Nala leaves Damyanti in forest

Nala finds a serpent in the forest from a fire. This was a influential Naga, named Karakotaka. In return, he was rewarded a bite from the Naga. He later explains that this would change his appearance, which will help him ultimately. The Naga also provides a magical garment to Nala, wearing which make him assume his normal form.  Nala becomes Vahuka, who was a dwarf whose arms were short. He finds refuge at King of Ayodhya, named as Rituparana. Incidentally, King Rituaprna is a skilled dice player.

Search of Damyanti and Nala

Soon, Damyanti father’s finds her. Damyanti, not only good in look but sharp in brains, decides to find Nala with an innovative trick. She asks for her swayamvara to be conducted again. King Rituparna also comes, but he is accompanied by Vahuka, as he is good in riding chariots.

Nala identified

Damayanti was waiting on her balcony listening to the hoof beats as the carriages passed her palace. She immediately recognised the pattern of the hoof beats of the chariot being driven by Nala. She sent a maid to inquire who had arrived in the chariot and was informed that it was King Rituparna and his chariot driver. She was also informed that the king had refused the hospitality of Vidarbh and was asking his chariot driver to prepare his meal. Damayanti then asked the maid to smuggle some item of food. The taste was identical to her husband’s cooking. Throwing all decorum to the winds she ran down to meet the chariot driver and was stunned to meet a dark, short and deformed man instead of a fair, tall and handsome Nala. She asked, “Why does a man want to send his dutiful wife back to her father’s home?” The man replied, “Because he has lost his kingdom and cannot support his wife in the manner she was accustomed to before their marriage.” He then put on the magic garments and was returned to his original form.

Nala gets his kingdom back

Rituparna congratulated Damayanti and told her that she had found her husband but he would lose not only his best horseman and best cook but also his best friend. Nala had a proposal for Rituparna. “I will stay with you for a while and teach you all that I know of horsemanship if you teach me all that you know of gambling.” He added that he was not interested in playing regularly but just one time in order to win his kingdom back. Nala and Damayanti moved to Rituparna’s kingdom. Soon Rituparna was an adept horseman and Nala an adept gambler.

Nala sent a challenge to his brother. He was willing to stake Damayanti if Pushkar staked the entire kingdom. Pushkar still felt that the victory was incomplete without his brother’s wife and readily accepted the challenge. This time Kali and Dwapar were not there to aid him and Nala had become an expert player. Pushkar lost everything back to Nala. Nala had half a mind to send Pushkar out in a loincloth, but he was a large-hearted man. He gave Pushkar a part of the kingdom and suggested that he mend his ways

Nala and Damyanti story appears in Mahabharata – (Vana Parva).

The legend of Narada muni or Sage Narada

Narada Muni

Narada muni is the person who is almost available everywhere in mythological texts. Who is he exactly and what is his role? He is the son of Lord Brahma and great devotee of Lord Vishnu.

Narada - The omnipresent sage
Narada – The omnipresent sage

Sage Narada had blessings that he could show up anywhere, anytime and anyplace. He used these blessings and appeared in all yugas (satya, treta and dwapara) from time to time to spread the good word and help the needy. He traversed distant worlds (or planets) but never went anywhere without a purpose. He used to make his purposeful entry by chanting the name of the lord Vishnu (Narayana) and playing a veena (a musical instrument).

It is said that he could not keep any secrets and thus fuelled a lot of controversies as he would reveal secrets a bad time or spreading gossip. Therefore he was often mistaken as a quarrel-monger and a talebearer. His deeds often brought a trouble and friction among gods, demons and men.

Narada had knowledge of all vedas and puranas and he strived for welfare of human being.

Deeds of Narada

Valmiki and Narada

Narada was behind the writing of the Ramayana by sage Valmiki. Apparently he told Valmiki about Lord Rama. Valmiki was looking for a person who was perfect. After Narada told him about Rama, Valmiki saw a hunter killing krounch birds. He wanted to curse the hunter, but a shloka came out of his mouth which became the first lines of the Ramayana.

Parahlada

Prahlada was taught by Narada when he was in his mother, Kudayu’s womb. Thus, he was a devotee of Lord Vishnu even before he was born. Later, Lord Vishnu took Narsingh avatar to kill prahalada’s father, Hiranyakashyap.

Monkeyfaced Sage

Once, Narada became proud and started boasting that he had conquered Kama. Lord Vishnu taught him a lesson. The whole story is available here.

Proud Narada
Proud Narada

Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Narada boasted that he was the most dedicated follower of lord. Vishnu asked him to carry a pot on his head and ensure that not a single drop is wasted. He obediently carried out the task. After this, Lord Vishnu asked what he was thinking when carrying the pot? He replied – of course, I was thinking that pot should be carried carefully. Lord Vishnu smiled and said, then how can you claim that you are the best devotee when you were not thinking about me? Narada learnt his lesson.

Narada and Lord Vishnu's challenge
Narada and Lord Vishnu’s challenge

Inspiration to Dhruva

Dhruva, son of king Uttanpada, was determined to carve out his own place after he was scolded by his stepmother, Suruchi. His mother, Sunita consoled him and asked him not to get distraught, but Dhruva was determined. Sage Narada was pleased with Dhruva and he given him a mantra “Om Namoh Bhagwate Vasudevay” to chant. Lord Vishnu, happy with Dhruva, awarded him a special place.

Dhruva, Narada and Lord Vishnu
Dhruva, Narada and Lord Vishnu

 

 

Clever Ganesha and Narada’s mango – Indian mythology

Ganesha, Kartikeya and Narada

Once, Narada took a mango to Lord Shiva and Parvati where the two sons of Lord were also present. He presented the mango to Parvati  and said that this mango is special and requested her  to accept the mango. Parvati intended to distribute the fruit between her two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya equally, but sage Narada intervened and said that this fruit cannot be cut into two and can be consumed by a single person only.

Narada suggested to have a competition between the two brothers, and the winner of the contest will be awarded the mango. Kartikeya enquired about the competition and after much thought, Narada suggested – ‘Whoever goes around the world three times first will win the mango’. Both brothers agreed to the condition put forth by Narada.

Mango by Sage Narada
Mango by Sage Narada

 

Hearing this, Kartikeya got on to the peacock and went to go around the world. Ganesha did not have a peacock or anything else he could ride so he thought for a while. He then went around Shiva and Parvathi three times and went to claim his prize saying. ‘ My Parents are the world for me. I have won the competition.

The competition between two brothers
The competition between two brothers – Kartikeya and Ganesha

Ganesha further said that Lord Shiva and Parvati are the first couple and whole universe is created with them. When he circled them three times, it was equivalent to circling the world three times. Thus he claimed his prize and started to eat the mango. When Kartikeya came back duly circling the earth three times, he found clever Ganesha eating the mango.

When he learnt that his elder brother had got the fruit by his fast thinking instead of running around, he accepted his defeat. On the other hand, Ganesha had won the contest by virtue of using his superior intellect and Kartikeya had to accept defeat in his favour.

The Monkey faced sage – Narada

Sage Narada – how he became monkey faced

Once Sage Narada observed a severe penance to please gods. As usual, Lord Indra became restless thinking that Narada had plans to take Indra’s kingdom. He requested  Kaam deva to go and obstruct Narada’s penance.

Duly Kaam reached there alongwith Rati and Spring and tried to break his penance. They were unsuccessful because of the fact that Lord Shiva once burned Kaam’s body and that place was had no effect of Kaam deva and his antics.

When Indra came to know that Kaam has failed, he was impressed and personally met Sage Narada and congratulated him. Narada became very happy and he started boasting that he had conquered Kaam.

Proud Narada
Proud Narada

He told this to Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma and advised by both gods to keep this to himself. But Narada was not satisfied. He wanted to give the news of his achievement to Lord Vishnu. So, he went to Lord Vishnu’s abode and boasted about his feat of defeating Kaam deva.

Lord Vishnu decided to teach him a lesson.

While returning from Lord Vishnu’s abode, he saw that a beautiful princess was looking for a groom and swayamvar was being organized. As advised by gods, Kaam deva entered Narada’s heart and he was completely in Kaam Deva’s control. Narada was fascinated by the beauty of the princess and he requested Lord Vishnu to make him beautiful like the lord himself.

Narada and Lord Vishnu
Narada and Lord Vishnu

Lord Vishnu made Narada’s whole body very beautiful except his face, which he made like a monkey. This caused amusement amongst the courtiers and the girl herself. When Sage Narada saw his reflection in the water, he realized what happened.

Out of rage, he cursed Lord Vishnu that he would suffer from separation of his wife and he will need help of monkeys. Lord Vishnu accepted this without hesitation. This curse became true in Vishnu’s incarnation as Lord Rama.

Meanwhile the illusionary powers were removed after which the sage realized his mistake and learn his lesson.