Naranath Bhranthan

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Advaita, bhakti
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Naranath Bhranthan (The Insane From Naranam):
Naranath Bhranthan was one among the twelve children of Vararuchi. It is believed that he lived in a village called Naranam, near the River Bharathapuzha. Throughout his life he wandered like an insane man. His ugly dress, long beard, inconsistent behavior, careless and wandering life style would have presented to him the name Naranath Bhranthan meaning the insane from Naranam. Not only that he did not get any recognition in his lifetime, but he got brick bats too. Only after his death that people could realize his high ideals and philosophic vision of life.
One day a man from his village inquired him why people call him Bhranthan - an insane. He replied "I know me very well. So I am accepting whatever they call me, as it doesn't change who I am. But many around me, who are more insane than me are not admitting that. That is the only difference between others and me."


Human life:

Naranath Bhranthan's most favorite pastime was rolling a big stone to the top of the nearby hill. The stone was so big and the hill so steep that, when he push up the stone one foot up, the stone will come two feet down. But he will not stop his effort. Actually it was a terrible sight for anybody to watch. He will try again and again. In this effort, sometimes he also will roll down along with the stone. Some other times the stone will roll down over him. His cloth will get torn off and blood will begin to come out from the lacerations all over his body. But he will continue his efforts without showing any pain. After several hours of effort, by the end of the day, he will succeed in his task and will be able to take the stone up to the top of the hill.

People will be watching curiously at what he is going to do with the big stone at the top of the hill. But to the surprise of all, without waiting for a moment to enjoy the fruit of his hard labor, he will kick down the stone and start laughing loudly clapping his hands.

There are several philosophical interpretations about what Naranath Bhranthan was trying to say to his fellow beings through this gesture. Some people say that, this is his way of ridiculing, the human nature of working very hard from dawn until dusk for today thinking that they could enjoy tomorrow, which may never arrive. All this time they are unaware of the looming death (stone rolling down the hill) which is the only certainty in anyone's life. He may be also trying to say how hard it is to climb up in life, while how easy it is to go down and perish.


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