There are many devatas and rishis who are wrongly depicted in movies and modern books. The roles of nArada, Yama, Indra, Chitragupta are the usually portrayed by comedians.
Laughing at any jokes, nay, even the mere act of watching these silently means you have accumulated sin.
In reality, we must forever be indebted to these devatas.
The etymology of the name nArada is — “nAram j~nAnam dadAti iti nAradaH” — bestower of wisdom and thus nArada. Most of the important literature that Hinduism rests on today has
a contribution from nArada. The first shloka of Ramayana starts with — tapaswAdhyAya niratam, tapsi vAkvidAm varam*, nAradam paripappracha vAlmikirmuni pungavam.
Observe that the first proper noun that occurs in Ramayana is that of nArada’s. Observe also the adjectives that are used for nArada- “ever engrossed in study of vedas and meditation”, “excellent among knowers of veda”, “eminent among sages”. Hindu literature gives a lot of importance to the mangalacharana shloka — no wonder then, that by taking the name of nArada in its first shloka
Ramayana has outlived all history books in the world and will be there for as long as the Sun and Moon. In the conversation that takes place, Valmiki asks nArada questions
and nArada preaches Valmiki the story of entire Ramayana. The first 100 shlokas of Ramayana which describe this condensed conversation are popularly called as Baala ramayana.
In one of the versions of how the robber Ratnakara got transformed into sage Valmiki, it is nArada who teaches “mara mara” to Valmiki.
It is nArada again who requests VedaVyAsa to compose BhAgawata purana. In the same BhAgawata, nArada describes his own story of a previous birth.
ucchiṣṭa-lepān anumodito dvijaiḥ
sakṛt sma bhuñje tad-apāsta-kilbiṣaḥ
evaṁ pravṛttasya viśuddha-cetasas
tad-dharma evātma-ruciḥ prajāyate
Highlighting the importance of good company and serving the wise rishis. nArada was a servant boy and served the rishis with a pure heart. The rishis blessed the boy with spiritual knowledge.
nArada was the guru of both prahlAda and dhruva. prahlAda is taught by nArada even while he in his mother’s womb. The child grows up to be a great bhagavadbhakta when he is born.
In the case of Dhurva, nArada first tests dhruva’s resolve and then gives the mantropadesha of Om Namo Bhagavate VAsudevAya.
on the instruction of Lord viSHnu, nArada also leads the ignorant and tAmasic souls to further ignorance . e.g nArada puts a doubt in Kamsa’s mind that any of the children born
to Devaki could be the cause of Kamsa’s death This makes kamsa develop further hatred for the lord and commit child killings. Many mistake this as a cruel act of nArada.
In reality, nArada has only brought out the true colors of kamsa.
The popular satyanArAyana kathA found in skanda purANa starts with nArada approaching viSHnu and asking for a simple solution for people on earth especially of kaliyuga.
In summary, devarishi nArada’s role in origins of Itihasas and Puranas, spread of namasankirtana, mentoring of other bhaktas is truly an act of benevolence upon
those who are on the path of spiritual progress.
The next time you or your well-wishers watch a movie and see any of our spiritual gurus being depicted in wrong light, just change the channel or lodge a protest if possible.
May nArada bless us all with sadbuddhi and take us on the right path. Jai Sriman Narayana.