Naranath Bharanthan is one of the peculiar characters in Malayalam myths. Vararuchi, who was a famous astrologer mentioned in the Hindu mythology had 12 sons from a Parayi woman. They are known as Parayi petta panthiru kulam or the 12 sons born from a Parayi woman. One of them was Naranath who was considered an eccentric and locally called the Naranath Bhranthan. Bhranthan means the mad man in Malayalam. The place was later known as Naranath. His real name was not Naranath, but he was known by that. Vararuchi used to be one of the celebrated persons in King Vikrama’s Court.
You can see a huge statue of Naranath Bharanthan at Pattambi in Palakkad district. He is believed to have lived there. Naranath Bharanthan was brought up at a Namboothiri home called Naranath Mangalathu Mana. Later, to learn Vedas he was sent to Thiruvegappura. Rayiranellore Mountain was near to that. This mountain is also known as Branthachalam and was his abode most of the time. It is believed that he had a vision of Devi (Goddess) at Rayiranellore Mountain. Later at the people’s request, he enshrined the Devi there and started worshiping. Although he was a brilliant person, his strange mannerisms and acts made others think that he is mad.
He uses to roll huge stones up to the hilltop and later let the stones roll down from the top. There is no real narrative about his last days. He used to believe that life is silly and no one should take anything seriously. Life will move as per the time moves and no one can stop it. He was a person with excellent talent and self-beliefs. He was against all social evils and blind beliefs. In those days, people were not seen with such great ideas and revolutionary visions, so they thought that he is mad. To know his divine qualities and humorous attitude towards life, there are some popular stories about Naranath.
Life has become materialistic in last some decades. Earlier people were very happy with what they had and were living peacefully. Now all are busy making money and comforts but no one is happy. People are only bothered to make as much money they can make in their lifespan. Naranath’s point was very clear. Don’t take life seriously, just enjoy and don’t make it complicated. He was a great philosopher. Naranath Bhranthan was only interested in wandering and he used to beg for his food. He used to take rice, water and fire cooked for himself. There was no specific place for him to stay and make food. He was wanderlust and would keep travelling during the day. He would rest wherever he reached in the evening and continue his journey the next day.
Naranath Bhranthan & Kali
One day Naranath Bhranthan reached a crematorium during the sunset. He decided to stay there. He had rice and water with him. Then he took 2 fire logs from the pyre and made the food. By the time it was night and he started to sleep, suddenly he heard some noise. He saw some ladies were standing a bit away from him. It was a Friday and it was believed that Kali would visit graveyards with her friends on Friday nights. It was indeed Kali and her friends on their usual visit. They introduced themselves and told him that human beings are not allowed at that place when they dance. He was asked to go away from there.
But he didn’t budge! He told them back that if they wanted to dance, they better find another graveyard. Kali and friends tried their best to scare him away but they lost the plot. She knew that Naranath was not a normal person and told him that he could stay there. Kali was happy and granted Naranath Bhranthan a boon. He asked his time of death and she gave him a clear idea about his death. He then requested her whether she could add or lessen a day to his death. Kali told Naranath that she could not do that as it was the creator’s job! Finally, he asked a boon to shift his elephantiasis from left leg to right leg. She did that and left the place with friends.
This shows his silliness towards life and he was not bothered about his physical appearance.
Featured Photo by BIBURA