The history behind the birth of Nar Narayan Rishi is majestic. After completing the murti-pratishtha ceremony of Shree NarNarayan Dev in Amdavad, Lord Shree Sahajanand Swami held a sabha in the grand chowk. Sadguru Anandanand Muni requested Maharaj to recite the katha of Shree NarNarayan Dev.
Shreeji Maharaj said that the same account is found in the Purans when Sanat Kumar visited Dharmadev in his abode.
Sanat Kumar arrived at Vishnupur, the divine abode-dham of Dharmadev, from Badrikashram. The dham was beautiful, filled with peace, harmony and paradise. Untouched by maaya, Vishnupur was residence to Dharmadev and His wives.
Sanat Kumar entered a grand palace where Dharmadev was being served by His wives Ahimsa (non-violence), Bhakti (devotion), Daya (compassion) etc.
The form of Dharmadev was gloriously charming. Sanat Kumar said to Dharmadev that He had come from Badrikashram to meet him. Upon hearing this, Dharmadev immediately fell into samadhi – much to the amazement of Sanat Kumar. A little while after Dharmadev awoke.
Sanat Kumar asked Dharmadev "Great devtas such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv etc and even Vasudev himself worship you and meditate upon you. Dharmadev! How come you entered into a samadhi? Who were you seeing in the samadhi?"
To satisfy Sanat Kumar’s curiosity, Dharmadev replied "Just as you mentioned Badrikashram I entered samadhi. Badrikashram is the dham of my sons Shree NarNarayan in devta form. They are the forms of Lord Purushottam Himself. I was meditating upon their wonderful murtis."
Sanat Kumar was surprised to hear Dharmadev’s words "Shree NarNarayan Rishi is Lord? I was under the impression that just as Narad is a Rishi, Shree NarNarayan too are great sages. I did not know they are Bhagwan Himself."
"Sanat, Shree NarNarayan Dev are Purushottam incarnates. Let me tell you the history of their birth." And so Dharmadev explained how Shree Nar Narayan Dev were born.
When nothing but Purushottam Narayan existed, Lord decided to initiate the creation once again. First He looked towards Akshar through whom then Purush was motivated. Purush then joined with Maha Maya from who infinite Pradhan Purush were created. From the joining of each Pradhan Purush mahatt and the three ahamkars appeared. The 24 elements then emerged from the three ahamkars to then form the body of Virat Narayan, who then continued the process of creating universes.
Lord then looked towards Purusha and as a result from Purusha’s heart Dharmadev and Brahmvidya emerged. Bhagwan Purushottam instructed Dharmadev and his wife Brahmvidya to reside in each of the infinite universes, for whoever were to serve Dharma would attain happiness. Dharmadev requested to stay with Lord and not leave Him.
Bhagwan in turn replied "I will be wherever both of you are. For now, reside in each universe as well as in your own Vishnupur Dham. Later, I will take birth from you."
Dharmadev then re-emerged from Bhrama and then left to reside in Vishnupur. After many kalpas passing (millions of years) Dharmadev became upset from not seeing or meeting Lord. He and his wife came to earth on the banks of the river DevNadi and began to do tappashcarya (penance). The tapp was extremely severe. They ate very little, if anything at all and every second was spent in devotion to Bhagwan. They endured extreme heat and cold and were only motivated by the prospect of darshan of Lord.
After many milleniums passed Dharmadev experienced divine darshan of Lord in his heart. Soon after, both his and his wife’s body starting to emit vast amounts of tej (bright light). The tej was so powerful that it blinded the entire universe with its brightness. It spread beyond the earth to the heavens and beyond. Immediately, all the devtas such as Indra, Shiv, Bhrama, Vishnu, Sankarshan, Vasudev, Aniruddh etc. rushed to the banks of DevNadi – they realised that Bhagwan had taken birth.
They all prayed to Lord to withdraw all the brightness so that everyone could do darshan. Once the tej disappeared the huge gathering at the banks of the river DevNadi were overwhelmed to see Bhagwan in four forms. With delight the devtas named them Hari, Krshna, Nar and Narayan.
All those there began to do poojan of Bhagwan in chatruvyuha-svaroop (four forms). One by one all the devtas offered pooja to Hari, Krshna, Nar and Narayan. After the devas, devis such as Lakshmi, Parvati, Sarasvati etc came to offer pooja to Lord. Narayan stopped them. He did not allow the females to come close to the four of them. He told them that they had accepted akhand naishthik brahmacharya (celibacy) vratt.
Dharmadev fainted from disappointment after hearing thess words. After regaining consciousness he asked Narayan "Why have you accepted such a severe vratt of brahmacharya? You have only just manifested on this earth and you are already practising such tyag (renunciation)?"
Narayan said "O father Dharmadev, brahmacharya is the greatest of all vratts. I am most fond of brahmacharya vratt. We have no liking for materialistic pleasures of this world. We are completely detached. However, please be satisfied that only Myself (Narayan) and Nar and not Hari and Krshna, will continue with this vratt." Dharmadev was pleased to hear these words and the devis proceeded to offer pooja to Hari and Krshna.
After the poojan, aarti was offered to the Lords after which Hari, Krshna, Nar and Narayan went to DevNadi for bathing. The personal forms of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Godavari etc were disappointed. They felt that now Bhagwan will no longer bathe from them. The holy rivers therefore decided to enter the clouds above DevNadi and shower the four forms of God with their water. Offering their abhishek from the abhra (clouds) the Lord pronounced the river DevNadi as Sabhramati (modern day Sabarmati).
After returning from the bath in river Sabhramati, Lord accepted poojan once again. Lord Narayan then offered advice and guidance to all the devtas and people present. Narayan declared His and Nar’s desire to leave for Badrikashram where they would reside and perform tapp.
Narayan requested Dharmadev to return to Vishnupur; Lord Hari to join Lakshmiji in Vaikunth; Lord Krshna to go to Gaulok and the remaining devtas to their respective abodes (Vasudev to Svetdip etc.)
Accompanied by rishis such as Naradji, Lord NarNarayan then proceeded towards Badrikashram where, seated under a banyan tree, they would perform tappashcharya. After some time, due to the curse of Rishi Durvasa, the earth was destroyed once again (pralaya). Shree NarNarayan used this opportunity to return to Akshardham. After the passing of many manvantars, the earth was resurrected. This time a demon by the name of Sahasra-Kunchi or ‘Kunchi’ was extremely troublesome to the pious people. He was granted a boon that he would be near enough impossible to kill. His life was protected by 1000 shields (sahasra-kunchi). To destroy one shield would require the challenger to perform one thousand years of tapp and then enter into battle with Kunchi for a further thousand years. Under such circumstances, many feared Kunchi was immortal and undefeatable.
At the request of the bhaktas, Bhagwan decided to rid the world from the troubles of Kunchi. He decided to return to the earth as Nar Narayan once again. For this to happen, Dharmadev returned to earth with his wife Moorti to perform tappascharya. As before, the penance was severely austere.
Then, in Satyuga on the day of Fagan Sud Poonam (15) during the nakshatra of Uttara Falguni Lord Shree Nar Narayan was born.
They were born as batuk-brahmcharis, not as baby toddlers. The dual child form of Bhagwan was enchanting. The birth was rejoiced and celebrated by all of the many devtas. By the wish of Dharmadev, the devtas made a swing decorated with fragrant and colourful flowers. Lord NarNarayan sat on the swing whilst the devtas showered them with flowers. The birth was celebrated with splendour.
Lord Narayan then said "I have come to perform tapp on this earth in BharatKhand. Badrikashram is particularly dear to Me. I will now return there to continue with the tapp." And so Lord Nar and Narayan left for Badrikashram. This time their father Dharmadev and mother Moorti joined them in Badrikashram.
Whilst Nar performed tapp for 1000 years, Narayan would battle with Kunchi to destroy one of the shields. They would then alternate. This continued until Kunchi had only one shield left. He realised that his immortality was lost and so begged Surva Dev (the Sun) for protection. Surya Dev migrated Kunchi to Kunti’s womb, the mother of the Pandavas. Kunchi was born to Kunti as Karna who was abandoned at birth.
To complete the task that had been started, Lord NarNarayan too took re-birth. Narayan manifested as son of Vasudev-Devki Shree Krshna in Mathura whilst Nar was born to Kunti as Arjun. During the great war of Pandavs-Kauravs, Kunchi was killed by Nar avatar Arjun.
To this day, Lord Nar Narayan continues to perform tappascharya in Badrikashram for the welfare of Bharat Khand.
The birth place is now known as Narayan Ghaat, which is situated on the banks of River Sabarmati (formerly DevNadi) in the city of Ahmedabad.
On the auspicious day of Fuldolutsav (Uttara Falguni nakshatra in the month of Fagan) a swing decorated with flowers is made in which the Lord is placed and worshipped to commemorate the birth of Shree NarNarayan Dev – king of Bharatkhand.