The great sage, Narada, is a son of Brahma. He was born from the mind of Brahma. He is renowned as the best among the celestial sages. He travels throughout the universe while playing his musical instrument, the vina, and preaching the message of God. Sometimes, he goes to heaven, sometimes, to the earth, and sometimes he goes to Vaikuntha.
Being a son of Brahma, it is his duty to follow the order of his father. But, Narada disobeyed his father’s order to enter household life and so he cursed by Brahma, that he would have to continuously travel and not remain at any one place. Narada gladly accepted this course and kept travelling all over the universe, in great happiness.
Once, while travelling in this way, Narada came to the asrama of Srila Vyasadeva at Badrikasrama. When he found Vyasa to be unhappy, he asked him about the cause. Vyasa then explained that, for the benefit of people in general, he had compiled many literatures, divided the one Veda into four, and also compiled the Puranas, Mahabharata and Upanisads. Still, he was not satisfied.
The great sage, Narada, then instructed Vyasa to write Srimad-Bhagavatam, wherein he should specifically describe the transcendental names, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna.
Lord Narayana had previously instructed Brahma regarding the four original verses of Srimad Bhagavatam. Brahma then instructed Narada, and now Narada instructed Vyasadeva. Thereafter, under the instruction of Narada, Vyasadeva compiled Srimad-Bhagavatam for the benefit of people in the age of Kali. By hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, one can attain not only the four objectives of life, but love for Krsna, as well.
It is learnt from the previous history of Narada that he was a great scholar in the art of music in the assembly of Gandharvas. When Brahma was performing a sacrifice, Narada, who at that time was known as Upabarhana Gandharva, began to sing in the assembly of demigods. Many other Gandharvas were also singing in that assembly, but Narada’s singing disturbed everyone. As a result, Brahma cursed Narada that he would take birth from the womb of a sudra woman.
While relating about his previous history, Narada described to Vyasa about the wonderful result of hearing the topics of the Supreme Lord in the association of saintly persons.
Narada said, “In my previous life, I was born as the son of a maidservant who was serving greatly respected saintly persons. When these saintly devolves remained at the ashrama where my mother was staying, during the four months of caturmasya, I received an opportunity to eat the remnants of their food, and hear the topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam from them. Soon, my restless mind became steady and I developed detachment from material enjoyment. When these devotees left that place, I felt separation from them.”
“Then, one day, as my mother was going out to milk the cow, by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, a snake bit her and she died. After performing the funeral rites, I set out towards the north, starting my pilgrim’s journey. After travelling through numerous territories – over mountains and across streams – over fields and through numerous towns and villages, I arrived at a densely dark forest. Sitting down beneath a tree, I began meditating upon the form of the Lord.”
“The merciful Lord then appeared upon the lotus of my heart, and when I saw Him, I felt overjoyed with ecstatic emotion. Suddenly, however, the form of the Lord disappeared and so I got up, with great disappointment. I then heard a voice from the sky, informing me that it was not possible for me to see the Supreme Lord in this life. It was by His mercy that I had obtained a glimpse of His eternal form.”
“After being instructed by the Lord, I wandered over the Earth, chanting His glories. At the proper time, I gave up my deplorable material body and instantaneously received a spiritual body, just befitting an associate of the Lord. In this way, I appeared as a son of Brahma.”
“O Vyasa! Now, you should compile Srimad Bhagavatam, which will be the essence of all Vedic literatures for it will specifically describe the transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Lord.”
After being instructed by Narada, Vyasadeva began to meditate upon the Supreme Lord. By the mercy of the Lord, he was able to realize the complete truth regarding the Supreme Lord, the living entities, and the Lord’s external energy, called maya, which is in the form of a shadow. Vyasadeva then compiled Srimad Bhagavatam, which consists of eighteen thousand verses and is divided into twelve cantos.
Thereafter, Narada continued wandering throughout the upper, middle and lower planetary systems of the universe, for the benefit of the fallen, conditioned souls. One day, Narada thought to take darsana of Sri Krsna at Dvaraka. Upon his arrival, Narada was astonished to see how the abode of Dvaraka was built and decorated with an unlimited quantity of jewels, diamonds, gold and silver.
Just to see how Krsna, the Lord of Dvaraka, was dealing with each of His sixteen thousand queens, Narada entered one of the palaces. There, he saw Krsna being served by His queen. Narada went to another palace and saw Krsna engaged in taking His meal. In this way, in each palace, Narada saw Krsna engaged in various transcendental pastimes.
Indeed, by seeing such an inconceivable display of opulence, Narada became highly astonished. He then offered his obeisances to Krsna, and after accepting His blessings, he left Dvaraka.