Narada Muni went to meditate in a special grove which Shiva had blessed. And Shiva said, “This Tapovan, is this forest for tapasya, I am giving a special blessing, no one will be able to disturb a meditating Muni who sits in this Tapovan. Well, Narada sat in the Tapovan unknowingly and started to meditate. Indra became concerned, “Why is Narada meditating so strongly? I’m sending Agni, Varuna and Vayu down to disturb him.”
Agni, Vayu and Varuna went down and Varuna made it rain, and Narada didn’t respond. Vayu made the wind blow, and Narada did not respond. Agni lit the place on fire, Narada sat still in perfect stillness in meditation. All three of them went back to heaven and they said, “Indra, we can’t disturb his meditation, he’s meditating so strongly we don’t know how to stop him from meditating.”
Then Indra called Kamadeva, the God of Love, and said, “Kamadeva, you go down and break his meditation. Take Rathi, take the Apsaras with you, the celestial nymphs, the dancing girls, do whatever you have to do, make him stop meditating.”
Kamadeva went down and tried everything within his power. And he had all his girls, they were dancing and they were making spring sprung and the bees were buzzing and the birds were humming, and it was the atmosphere of Love and Narada didn’t stir one bit. Kamadeva admitted defeat. The God of Love went back to Indra and said, “I can’t break his meditation.”
At that, Narada woke up and said, “I have defeated all the Gods, I have even defeated the God of Love, I am beyond lust.” And he was so happy, and he went to Shiva in Kailash and Shiva said, “Narada, your shining radiantly why are you so happy today?” And Narada said, “Shiva, I defeated Kamadeva, he couldn’t break my meditation, I have conquered the God of Love.”
And Shiva said, “Narada, that’s very interesting, but if you have an experience like that don’t ever tell Vishnu.” Narada said, “Why wouldn’t I want to tell Vishnu, I mean I’m always saying Narayana, Narayana, he’ll be so happy to hear the news.” And Shiva said, “Well, you do as you like, but I suggest don’t tell Vishnu.”
And Narada took his leave from Shiva and he went right to Vaikuntha and he said, “Vishnu, I’ve just come from the greatest meditation.” And Vishnu smiled and said, “Really, you look radiant like you’ve achieved a tremendous victory. What kind of meditation did you have?” And Narada said, “I defeated the God of Love. I am free from Love, I am free from lust and desire.” And Vishnu said, “Oh, that’s fine, that’s very nice, wonderful, I applaud your attainment.”
Narada went off, and he was so full of happiness and joy and self-conceit that it was his power that allowed him to sit there and meditate without any disturbance. And it wasn’t because Shiva had blessed that grove, it was because of Narada’s attainment. And as Narada was traveling, he looked out and he saw this beautiful young princess dancing near the garden. And he looked down and he said, “Wow, there’s a beautiful young princess, I’m going to go see who she is.”
So he went down to the garden and he saw that it was the daughter of the King Shilanidhi. And he went in to see the king and the king said, “Oh, Narada Muni has come, please, my daughter is just about to choose her husband, please look at her palm and tell us what kind of husband she should choose. What will be her fate?”
He called the daughter, he said, “Please, sit here next to Narada Muni.” And Narad Muni looked at the palm of this princess and her name was Vishwamohini. And he took the hand of Vishwamohini and he looked in that palm and he saw that whoever marries this lady is going to be the king of the three worlds, he’s going to live as the Gods live. And suddenly Narada thought, “Well, I should marry this girl”. And he said, “Well, everything looks wonderful in her hand and she’s going to find the most beautiful, the most handsome prince, and they’re going to marry and be very happy.”
And Narada went straight to Vaikuntha and he said, “Vishnu, you got to do something for me, I have a favor for you, I want you to turn me into the most handsome prince and deck me out with many ornaments, and gold, and finery and silks and satins and make me as beautiful and as desirable as possible.” And Vishnu said, “Narada, why, I thought you had just conquered the God of Love.” And Narada said, “Oh, yes, I did conquer the God of Love but now I’m thinking that I should marry this princess.” And this is going to be her swayamvar, she is going to choose her husband, I want to have the most distinctive appearance.”
And Vishnu promised, “I’m going to give you the most distinctive appearance.” And he dressed him in the finest, and gave him a golden crown. And gave him all these ornaments, and made jewels and necklaces and garlands and he made him the most beautiful looking prince with the face of a monkey.
Narada went to the assembly of all the kings and princes and he walked in knowing that he was the most beautiful of all the princes, “Gee, the princess will certainly choose him”. And the princess took the garland of victory and she walked around the assembly of princes, and she looked at the face of everyone assembled there and passed by many people, and she came to Narada Muni and she started to laugh! There was this beautiful monkey dressed like a prince coming to win her hand, and she walked right past him and then she came to the last of the Kings assembled and she gave the garland to Vishnu.
Narada said, “Wait! You made a mistake, I’m the most beautiful man here, I’m the most handsome prince and I am deserving of this garland.” And everyone started to laugh. And Jaya and Vijaya (two servants of Vishnu that we met in the last scripture) came to Narada and they said, “Why are you so possessed with yourself, you are so filled with self-conceit, you don’t know what you look like? Come and look in this looking glass, and see what kind of distinctive appearance you have.”
And Narada went and looked in the looking glass and he saw he had the face of a monkey. And he got mad, he took some Ganga Jal in his hand and he said, “Vishnu, I asked you to make me beautiful so that I could get the heart of my beloved and win my beloved, and instead you turned me into a monkey. And now I’ve lost my beloved, I curse you Vishnu! You will lose your beloved, and endure the pains of separation from her. And in order to get her back you’re going to make friends with monkeys, and monkeys are going to be your helpers, and your saviors, and your devotees. And you think that it’s funny that I look like a monkey and I lost my beloved, here, is my curse!”
And Vishnu smiled when he received the curse. And said, “I accept your curse Narad, and I will incarnate as a human being and my Goddess Lakshmi will be my wife, and I will endure seperation from her. But all of this is to fulfill the curses against Jaya and Vijaya, who became in the first incarnation Madhu and Kaitabha. In their second incarnation they became Hiranyaksha and Hiranyakashyapu. That was the story of Prahalad that we told the other night, which was the story of holding. And then in their third incarnation they became Kumbhakarna and Ravana). And now I have to go down and save the earth from the atrocities of Ravana, so I accept your curse.”