Jyeshta Shudi Dwitiya is Narada Jayanti. It falls on May 6 this year. For last several years nationalist minded people celebrate the day as Journalism Day, as Narada was the first reporter of the universe. Being portrayed in films and secular discourses as a negative character and also as a war monger, many raise eyebrows hearing about Narada Jayanti celebration. Fact is that Narada was a philosopher, law maker and a communicator par excellence. He communicated with a sacred mission. It was the triumph of truth and dharma. That is why the very first Hindi journal of Bharat, Udanta Martanda, was released on Narada Jayanti Day with Narada’s picture on cover. Narada is relevant even today not only for meaningful communication but also for good governance and people friendly administration:
Our forefathers have explained the word ‘Narada’ as “Naaram pramatma vishayakam jnaanam dadaaditi naarada”. It means one who imparts the extreme knowledge is known as ‘Narada’. ‘Nara’ can be interpreted in two ways – one is absolute knowledge and the other is about ‘man’ or mankind. This means Narada was the custodian of knowledge.
Narada’s presence and involvement in the making of two Itihaas are quite significant. Ramayana was written because of Narada. On a fine morning Narada appeared before Valmiki who was in search of a perfect man with 16 qualities. Narada narrated the story of Purushottama having 57 qualities. Yes, it was the story of Shri Ram, the incarnate of the best qualities – the Maryada Purushottama. Enthralled by the narration done by the master communicator, Valmiki went for his daily rituals to the Tamasa River along with Bhardwaj. The calm and serene atmosphere and the beautiful environment made Valmiki’s mind more creative. It was the moment when Valmiki witnessed a hunter shooting down one of the birds of the Krouncha pair—from the depth of his pain and despair Valmiki uttered “Ma Nishada’—do not do that Hey Hunter. Thus was born the first shloka. Immediately, after the utterance and its subsequent impact Valmiki asked his companion. ‘What is that I have uttered? What sort of things are these lines constructed with a rhythm and a particular pattern just like the notes of Veena? Is this out come of pain, a shloka? He returned to the hermitage to seek out Brahmadeva and to direct him to write about Rama in the style and pattern of the shlokas he had uttered. Thus was born Ramayana.
Another Narada Jayanti Story: A Beacon Light for the Media in Crisis
Narada was present at every critical juncture of the story line. He corrected the mode and mood of the story flow. He was instrumental in putting the things in order. He never allowed minds to go out of focus. Narada’s extraordinary skill in interpreting dharma and keeping the concerned characters well aware of the going are explicit in almost every Purana. In Mahabharata, his dialogue with Dharmaputra was the wonderful elucidation of the methodology of Governance and the Gita for administrators.
Another Narada Jayanti Story: Is the English Media
Narada entered the unique assembly of Maharaja Yudhisthira. Satisfied with the hospitality of Dharmaputra, Narada gave him the true knowledge of Purushartha, the four stages of dharma, artha, kama and moksha. The instruction was in the form of catechism, i.e. in the form of answers to pre-formulated questions. It was in a question-answer form and a true elaborate list of the duties of a ruler. He asked questions on the code of law and obligations of the Government. Those rules and regulations explained thousand years ago are more relevant today. These duties are morally and legally inevitable. But moreover obeying and living according to the principles elaborated Narada’s discourse was meant to lead a person to a higher stage of spirituality. It was not just a formula for material advancement or regulating mundane affairs.
Good Governance is matter of grave relevance today. Because matters are indeed grave. Each and every institution and system connected with the so-called democratic government had gone far away from the common people, on whose name the whole set had been formed. Truthfulness, sincerity, values haven’t got any position or role in the whole scheme of affairs. All are governed by selfishness, crookedness, one-upmanship. It is not proper to blame the foreigners for our faults.
The systems, structure and methodology formulated by English are being continued shamelessly in independent Bharat. We have failed miserably in understanding the true meaning of swadharma or swatantra. Freedom means swatantra. Tantra is according to one’s own identity or swa. Governance and systems according to the principles of others or para is paratantra. Seeing and experiencing the present day situations can we say that we are free? Each and every department is run by the rules, ideas and principles formulated by the alien force who once ruled over us—it still continues as if the same masters are at the helm of affairs. Even the nomenclatures were not changed. Who is the top civil servant of a District? We’ve changed ICS into IAS but the name is still Collector. What does that mean? Collector is one who collects something. English rulers had appointed faithful officers in each district to collect maximum revenue from that particular district. What does Commissioner mean? Working for someone on commission basis or an authority, who employs others on commission basis, is it? Same is the case of education, history, industry and economics. Everywhere the alien presence can be felt. Are we ready for an all out change? In this perspective, we have to revisit Narada. Narada formulated his questions or ideas specifically connected with suraj. And the interesting part is that Yudhisthira didn’t give answers one by one to every question. He gave his answer as a whole and in the end clarified that every step he took till then was according to the directions by Narada.
Some of the questions or directions Narada put forward are:
“Oh Dharma Raj, are you thinking about dharma along with arthachintan (economics)? Is the arthachintan overshadowing your dharma chintan? Is the desire for material welfare putting a block on your way to achieve dharma? But along with that he asked whether your extreme involvement in Dharma made the treasury vacant. Does the indulgence in sensual activities affect your effort to accumulate wealth and attaining Dharmic Values?
He asked about social development and agriculture also. “Can you say that the farmers in your kingdom are satisfied and wealthy? Have you made perfect arrangements for irrigation? What about the seeds and food for farmers? Did you not allocate loans for farmers as and when the situation demanded? Needless to elaborate much on how these points are relevant today.
Another set of questions is about the ministers and officers. Have you not selected members of your ministry from persons with examplary nature, spotless character and social commitment? Are you remembering the old saying that one knowledgeable person is better than 100 fools? Are you not appointing apt persons for the jobs looking into or considering the level and demand of the field?
Several questions regarding social welfare, living standard of the citizens were also raised. Are you not looking after your citizens with the feelings and love of a caring father? Questions connected with security, war preparedness espionage, war strategy were also asked. Narada raised these issues not only to enlighten Kings and rulers but also to awaken the general public about their rights or what all they can expect from the Government. If we want to make some plan for good governance these questions raised by Narada can be taken as apt reference. It has got the strength and depth to show the way. Every point is relevant and it should be analysed minutely.
Narada was always active in his efforts of propagating dharma and people’s welfare. In our scriptures, he is equated as Bhagawan’s mind. That is why through all ages, among all people, in all philosophies, with all groups of society, Narada was welcomed and received, not only by Devatas, Danavas too respected him always. In Bhagawat Gita, Sri Krishna placed him on the highest pedestal and explained him as first or best among all devarishis.
In the fifth chapter of Mahabharata’s Sabhaparava, Narada has been explained as the knower of Upanishadas, adored by Devatas, specialist in Itihas and Puranas. Along with all these virtues he was a master communicator. Narada was considered to be the first reporter or journalist of the whole universe. He knew the crux of journalism. His mastery over journalism and expertise in communication was shown when he gave tips to Yudhishtira on governance. Some of the points we’ve seen. At another occasion he told Yudhisthira that the power of the common people is totally based on how they are informed. They should know how things are going on all over the world. So a responsible ruler should make necessary arrangements to make people aware of the facts.
All the qualities of a good journalist are in Narada. Some are:
- Understanding the situation in depth. Exactitude and comprehension are needed very much for a journalist.
- Ability to analyse the information.
- He should collect all supportive matters and study.
- The capacity to foresee the after effects.
- Most important quality is articulation.
Considering all the facts explained earlier he should communicate the news or information to the people in a proper way, using proper words.
In Adiparva of Mahabharata, Veda Vyasa gives a complete picture of Narada.
Artha nirvachane nityam
Prakrtya dharma kuahalo
Naana dharma visharada:
This is only one example of the 29 shlokas in which Vyasa elaborates the qualities of Narada. After understanding the situations thoroughly, taking all related factors into consideration Narada used to communicate without making any ambiguity. He is well versed in different aspects of the Dharma and also an expert in implementing it properly. He knows the different shades of the meaning of the word and also different words having same meaning. He never failed in using the exact word. Such was his command over language and his power of vocabulary.
A true journalist should present the news before the society with the comprehensive knowledge of the matter. For that purpose he should study sincerely without which communication would become irresponsible and dangerous. So many incidents can be elicited here as examples. The cut and paste capacity would play havoc in journalistic activities. Narada gave only authentic knowledge for he was in procession. This speciality of Narada was authenticated by none other than Ved Vyasa. Reporting should essentially be with a sacred purpose. In order to increase the rating, a reporter should not adopt any cheap immoral techniques. A journalist should not adopt dirty tricks with selfish and ulterior motives.
Shoot and Scoot. See how Mohan Bhagwatji’s speeches were reported in Silchar and Indore regarding Mother Teresa and also how irresponsibly the concerned persons kept mum even after they came to know about the whole speech.
Cut and Paste. Pan Cake intellectualism, as Richard Foreman had put it sharply, is a bane of journalism and it is playing havoc everywhere.
Stoop to Rate. Stooping to any level to increase the rating. For that matter positive news and information are put under carpet and nasty negative anti-national news are placed on the front page or in prime time.
A great writer and author of several standard texts including ‘Narada Smriti’ ‘Narada Bhakti Stotra’, Narada is known as a ‘Walking Monk’ who used to travel all three ‘lokas’ to communicate Narada was known as a person who used to cultivate disputes among gods and others with his communication skills. Without knowing the real purpose of those skills many called him war monger kalahapriya etc. But Narada used those occasions only to resolve the complex problems and also to restore dharma and peace.
J Nandakumar (The writer is Akhil Bharatiya Sah Prachar Pramukh of RSS)