The twin form of Nara Narayana Deva at the Swaminarayan Temple Ahmedabad
|Affiliation||Avatar of Vishnu|
Nara-Narayana (Sanskrit: नर-नारायण; nara-nārāyaṇa) is a Hindu deity pair. Nara-Narayana is the twin-brother avatar of the God Vishnu on earth, working for the preservation of dharma or righteousness. In the concept of Nara-Narayana, the human soul Nara is the eternal companion of the Divine Narayana.
The Hindu epic Mahabharata identifies the God Krishna (an avatar of Vishnu) with Narayana and Arjuna - the chief hero of the epic - with Nara. The legend of Nara-Narayana is also told in the scripture Bhagavata Purana. Hindus believe that the pair dwells at Badrinath, where their most important temple stands.
The Nara-Narayana pair is frequently worshipped in temples of the Swaminarayan Faith. The followers of the sect believe that their founder Swaminarayan Bhagwan resides in the murti of Naranarayan Dev in Kalupur Mandir
Monier-Williams dictionary says Nara is "the primeval Man or eternal Spirit pervading the universe (always associated with Narayana, "son of the primeval man"; both are considered either as gods or sages and accordingly called देवौ, ऋषी, तापसौ. In epic poetry, they are the sons of Dharma by Murti or Ahimsa and emanations of Vishnu, Arjuna being identified with Nara, and Krishna with Narayana.- Mahabharata, Harivamsa and Purana". Narayana is Vishnu while Nara is Shesha
Nara-Narayana are depicted jointly or separately in images. When depicted separately, Nara is portrayed with two hands and wearing deer skin while Narayana is shown on the right in the usual form of Vishnu.
Sometimes, both of them are depicted identical to each other. They are depicted four-armed holding a mace, a discus, a conch and a lotus, resembling Vishnu.
In a previous life, the duo were born as the sages Nara and Narayana, and who performed great penances at the holy spot of Badrinath. Nara and Narayana were the Fourth Avatar of Lord Vishnu. The twins were sons of Dharma, the son of Brahma and his wife Murti (Daughter Of Daksha) or Ahimsa. They live at Badrika performing severe austerities and meditation for the welfare of the world. These two inseparable sages took avatars on earth for the welfare of mankind .Legend has it that once Lord Shiva tried to bring the fame of Nara and Narayana before the entire world. To do that, he hurled his own potent weapon Paashupathastra at the meditating rishis. The power of their meditation was so intense that the astra lost its power before them. Lord Shiva stated that this happened since the duo were jnanis of the first order constantly in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
Birth of Urvashi
The Bhagavata Purana tells the story of the birth of Urvashi from the sages Nara-Narayana. Once, sages Nara-Narayana were meditating in the holy shrine of Badrinath situated in the Himalayas. Their penances and austerities alarmed the gods, so Indra, the King of Devas, sent Kamadeva, Vasanta (spring) and apsaras (nymphs) to inspire them with passion and disturb their devotions. The sage Narayana took a flower and placed it on his thigh. Immediately there sprung from it a beautiful nymph whose charms far excelled those of the celestial nymphs, and made them return to heaven filled with shame and vexation. Narayana sent this nymph to Indra with them, and from her having been produced from the thigh (uru in Sanskrit) of the sage, she was called Urvashi.
Story of Dundadumya
As the legend goes Dundadumya was an asura and a great devotee of the Surya bhavan(or Surya Narayana).He performed severe tapas(penance) to Aditya (Surya Narayana) for eternity which the Lord denied and asked him to ask for anything else.The asura thought for long and asked the Lord to present him with a thousand strong armours like diamond covering his body like skin,each which can only be broken by an arrow shot by a person who performs austereis from his birth,he also asked that with one arrow only one armour can be broken and the person who broke it must die that very instant ,T
Lord granted him the boon.
The asura started to destroy and caused lot￼ of devastation. Goddess Bhumi pleaded Lord Vishnu to free her from the clutches of Dundadumya , the Lord assured the goddess that he would incarnate on earth to kill Dundadumya.
As lper his promise to Bhu Devi the Lord took birth as twins Nara-Narayana to Dharma and Mruthi. The duo, Nara-Narayana, started to perform austereis right from birth. Once they became young they set out to kill the asura Dundadumya.
They made a plan that when one of them fought the other would undertake penance and use his power of penance to make the other one alive. The first one to fight Dundadumya was Narayana,while Nara started penance. When an armour broke Narayana fell dead.Nara used his power and made him Alive. It was a new birth to Narayana and he immediately started penance while Nara fought this time. This cycle continued and 999 armours broke The 1000th chance was of Nara. When the 999th armour was broken the asura Dundadumya got scared for life and prayed to Lord Surya to save him, Lord Surya out of pity turned him into a child and hid him.
Narayana knowing this promised that the one going to kill Dundadumya will be Nara in his next life.
The asura Dundadumya, in form of a child was bestowed many good qualities by Lord Surya. This child was offered to Kunti ,when she used the mantra given by rishi Durvasa on Surya, and became popular as Karna ,thus the natural by birth armour of Karna . Due to the company of Surya he got all the best qualities,and due his deeds in his last life he was always underestimated and ill treated.
As per the word of Narayana, he incarnated as Lord Krishna, while Nara was born as Arjun.
As Arjun will die if he breaks the armour of Karna (last life's boon),Indra ,father of Arjun , knowing the facts asked Karna his armour in disguise of a Brahmin , which Karna donated immediately without hesitation.
And in the war Kurukshetra Karna came before Arjun and Arjun killed Karna. Thus, Karna (Dundadumya) was killed by Arjun (Nara) in guidance of Krishna(Narayana) in the war of Kurukshetra.
According to the Bhagavata purana, "There in Badrikashram (Badrinath) the Personality of Godhead (Vishnu), in his incarnation as the sages Nara and Narayana, had been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all living entities." (3.4.22)
In Badrinath Temple's sanctorium, to the far right side of the stone image of Badri-Vishala (or Badri-Narayana), are the images of Nara and Narayana. Also, the Nara and Narayana peaks tower over Badrinath.
According to Bhandarkar, the gods Nara-Narayana must be very famous at the time of the composition of the Mahabharata, since in the opening stanzas of different books obeisance is made to these two gods. In Vanaparvan (12. 46, 47), Krishna says to Arjuna,"O invincible one, you are Nara and I am Hari Narayana, and we, the sages Nara-Narayana, have come to this world at the proper time.." In the same Parva, chapter 30 (verse 1); Shiva says to Arjuna "In former birth you were Nara and with Narayana as your companion, performed austerities for thousands of years at Badari".
In the Swaminarayan sect, Nara and Narayana, are called Nara-Narayana Deva. They are believed to reside at Badrikashram and to be the prime controllers of the destiny of all beings, depending on their karma. Nara-Narayana Deva are believed to have manifested at Narayana Ghat on the banks of river Sabarmati at Ahmedabad. Therefore, their images were installed by Swaminarayan at the first Swaminarayan temple, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad (India).
Members of this group interpret the events that took place at Badarikashram, the abode of Nara Narayana, that led to the incarnation of Swaminarayan. They believe that Narayana took birth as Swaminarayan due to a curse of sage Durvasa which he accepted at his own will. The curse led to Narayana taking the form of an avatar on Earth to destroy evil and establish ekantik-dharma, religion based on morality, knowledge, detachment and devotion. The Visvaksena Samhita, 11th part of the Brahma Purana, as well as the Skanda Purana give no direct reference to Narayana taking birth in the form of Swaminarayan. Although as per Hinduism philosophy no any holybook able to describe god characters and willingness, swaminarayn has all the characteristics of god as per Bhagavad Gita and vedic scholaras as well saints of that time.
|Part of a series on|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nara Narayana.|
- Vijnanananda 2004, p. 250
- According to Vamana Purana, Chapter 6 - Bhandarkar p.46
- The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine By Devdutt Pattanaik, Published 2000,Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 176 pages, ISBN 0-89281-807-7 p.66
- Tales from the Puranas By Mahesh Sharma, pp.60-62, Diamond Pocket Books (P) Ltd.,ISBN 81-288-1040-5
- Vijnanananda 2004, pp. 267–272
- Bhandarkar 1995, p. 46
- "History of Incarnation of Lord Shree Swaminarayan".
- Bhandarkar, Ramkrishna Gopal (1995). Vaisnavism Saivism and Minor Religious Systems. Asian Educational Services. p. 238. ISBN 81-206-0122-X.
- Vijnanananda, Swami (2004). The Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam: Books One Through Twelve Part 1. Kessinger Publishing. p. 624. ISBN 0-7661-8167-7.
- Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff - Murtis - NarNarayan Dev