(Sanskrit: नर-नारायण; nara-nārāyaṇa) is a Hindu
deity. Nara-Narayana is the twin incarnation of 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 name "Nara-Narayana" can be broken into two Sanskrit
means human, and Narayana
refers to the deity of the name.
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".
They 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.
Krishna and Arjuna are often referred to as Nara-Narayana in the Mahabharata and are considered part incarnations of Narayana and Nara repectively, according to the Bhagavata Purana.
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 Fifth 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 and to punish the wicked ones. The sages defeated a demon called Sahasrakavacha ("one with a thousand armours").
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
(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
According to the Srimad Bhagavatam, "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." (Srimad Bhagavatam 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 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 Swaminarayan sect
In Swaminarayan Sampraday
sect, Nara and Narayana, called as Nara-Narayana Deva
, are again identified with Arjuna and Krishna as Swaminarayan
mentions in verse 110 of the Shikshapatri
. 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
. Therefore their images
were installed by Swaminarayan at the first Swaminarayan temple, Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Ahmedabad
). Followers of Swaminarayan believe that Narayana manifested himself as Swaminarayan.
- Vaisnavism Saivism and Minor Religious Systems By Ramkrishna Gopal Bhandarkar Published by Asian Educational Services. 1995, 238 pages, ISBN:812060122X
- The Sri Mad Devi Bhagavatam: Books One Through Twelve Part 1, Translated by Swami Vijnanananda, 2004 (First published 1923), Kessinger Publishing, 624 pages, ISBN:0766181677.
- Swaminarayan Temple Cardiff - Murtis - NarNarayan Dev