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Story on Vishnumaya

From: psrinivasan99 (
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 02:09:57 PST

Story on Vishnumaya
Once Sri Narada Rishi, the great devotee of 
Narayana, went to Dvaraka to see Lord Krishna. 
After talking for some time, they went out for a 
walk. During the course of the walk, they spoke 
about a lot of topics. At this juncture, Narada said to 
Vasudeva, "Narayana, Krishna, Govinda, 
Mahavishnoh, great sages speak of your shakthi 
called Vishnumaya, by which the whole universe is 
deluded into thinking of "I and mine" and by the 
operation of which there is forgetfulness of You. 
May I know, Vasudeva, what that Vishnumaya is, if 
you are pleased to reveal that to me, your servant's 
servant." Recalling to His mind a similar request 
made by the sage Markandeya to Himself in the 
form of Nara-Narayana, Govinda said "Sure, you 
are my dear devotee. My devotees' desires will 
never be unfulfilled. I will fulfill your desire." 
Satisified with the reply of Madhusudhana, Narada 
continued the walk.

Having walked a long distance, they almost came to 
a suburb of Dvaraka. At this juncture, Lord Krishna 
felt thirsty. He told Narada, "Dear Narada, I feel 
quite thirsty. We have come a long way from our 
home. We cannot go back home to quench my 
thirst. Can you do Me a favour?". Narada replied, 
"Prabho, your wish is my order. Command me, 
your servant, what I should do". Narayana replied, 
"At a short distance from here, there is a village. 
Please go to that village and fetch water for Me. Till 
that time, I will be sitting beneath that tree. Don't 
miss Me."

Glad to be of service to Vishnu, which is the only 
business of the soul, Narada rushed to the said 
village. On reaching the first house, he knocked the 
door, anxious to quickly procure water for Govinda, 
whose feet-washings constitute the perennial 
Ganga. The door was opened by a young girl whose 
beauty stupefied the mind of Narada, stopping for a 
moment his incessant chant of "Narayana, 
Narayana". Forgetting both Krishna and His thirst - 
the very purpose of his coming there - he enquired 
the girl "Dear, who are you? Who is your father? I 
would consider myself most fortunate if I can marry 
you." The girl replied, "My father is inside. You can 
talk to him." Narada went inside and spoke to the 
girl's father, "Respected Sir, you may know me to 
be Narada, Narayana's servant. Attracted by the 
beauty and modesty of your daughter, I propose to 
marry her. I would consider it Hari's grace if you 
consent to it." The father readily agreed to the 

A few days later, the wedding happened. Time, the 
power of Vishnu that crushes into oblivion those 
turned away from Hari's feet, rolled on. Narada 
begot several children in this period of 12 years and 
considered his life most happy. But how can 
anything other than the service of Padmanabha be 

One day the clouds turned very grey foreboding 
terrible rains. Soon it started raining heavily with 
powerful thunderclaps accompanied by a furious 
wind. In a few hours, the whole village where 
Narada lived was flooded and many people started 
moving out of the village. To save himself and his 
family, Narada too made preparations for exiting 
the village. He took a small set of necessary 
household articles, clutched the hands of his wife 
and elder children, took his younger ones on his 
shoulders and slowly waded through the waters. 
With powerful rains and thunder from above, 
whirling water below and furious winds in all 
directions, Narada could not understand where he 
was going. The whirling pull of the waters was so 
high that the bag of household articles that Narada 
was clutching in his hands slipped away from him. 
Narada began to lament the loss of his cherished 
items, just like a householder attached to his wealth. 
While thus lamenting, a powerful whirlpool 
snatched away one of his sons. Weeping to the 
extreme and bemoaning the loss of his beloved son, 
Narada said "O Narayana, what is this that is 
happening to me. Please look at your sorrow-
stricken servant. How can he live without his son?" 
Soon the powerful waves of the waters snatched or 
drowned all his children one by one. Suffering to 
the extreme, unable to bear the heavy loss, Narada 
clung to his wife and pathetically cried, "Govinda, 
why should I live anymore. Why does not Death 
snatch me? Why don't you protect me? Do you lack 
either mercy or power? If you don't protect me any 
further, you will lose your good name as the 
`Protector of the Devotees' ". Narada now held his 
wife's hands very tightly as she was his only 
remaining meaning in life. But, as if to smear salt 
on a wound, a powerful whirlpool snatched away 
his dearest wife from his hands. Losing everything 
without exception, suffering to the extreme and 
losing all meaning in life, Narada cried out at the 
top of his voice, "O Narayana, is this what you do 
to your servants, you merciless rogue."

As if the heavens heard this cry, a very powerful 
flash of lightning lighted the sky blinding the eyes 
of Narada for a few seconds. When he opened his 
eyes, what he saw stupefied him. Neither the rains 
nor the thunder, neither the floods nor the storm, 
could Narada see. Instead Narada saw a four-
handed beauty sitting beneath a tree, as if anxiously 
waiting for something. Distressed by the horrible 
events and surprised by the enigmatic vision of 
Vishnu, Narada found himself thoroughly confused 
and disoriented. 

Trying to get this clear, Narada approached the 
Presence which spoke in a sonorous voice.

"Dear Narada, I was thirsty and asked you to get 
some water for Me. I have been waiting for almost 
half an hour. Have you brought Me the water?", 
said the `rogue' with a mischievous smile playing 
on His lips.

In a flash, Narada understood everything; and like a 
mad man, he rushed to the Lord, clasped the feet of 
the Lord extremely tight and cried bitterly like a 
child. Bathing the feet of the Lord with his tears, he 
could not come to normalcy for a long time. Then 
he regained himself and said, "Today, Narayana, 
You have revealed to me Your Vishnumaya shakti. 
I, your servant, have been thoroughly confounded 
by your Vishnumaya with the false notion of I, 
mine, my family, my wife, my child, my wealth etc. 
Taking this impermanent world as the source of 
happiness, I wandered about in the dense darkness 
of household life, totally forgetting your lotus feet. 
In the end, I underwent extreme sorrow as the fruit 
of my self-centred household life and the 
consequent forgetfulness of You. This much is clear 
to me, Lord, that those who serve Your lotus feet 
are immune to Vishnumaya, while those who are 
turned away from Your service are repeatedly going 
round and round in this Samsara chakra. Let me ask 
this one boon from you, Govinda: may I have 
unabating love for your lotus feet and let me never 
again be affected by Vishnumaya."

Granting his request gladly, Hari thought of the 
experiences that Narada endured in Vishnumaya. 
Pitying him for his pains, Krishna caressed Narada 
with supreme affection, while Narada found himself 
transported to the highest realms of Supreme Love.

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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