2020 has indeed been quite a year!  The Australian bushfires in January, the Covid-19 Pandemic since February, riots in the USA in June, world-wide Black Lives Matter demonstrations since July, and  controversies over the pandemic control measures.  There is no doubting that 2020 is a real watershed year for the world. What is going on here?

Climbing the Ladder of Life:

We know from world traditions and theosophical teachings that there is a spiritual hierarchy above the human condition that has a vital role in administering the life of humanity and the world. Called Gods, Goddesses, Demi-Gods, Angels, Archangels, Devas, Devis, Dhyan Chohans, Atua, etc.  As human beings, we are all on the pathway to a level of this exalted condition sooner or later depending upon our efforts in the here and now. As advised by theosophical author, G de Purucker:

“… Try to attune yourself to the Cosmic Life. That is the pathway, and it is difficult. But it can be done; and the great Masters of life, whom [in India] are called Mahatmans [meaning ‘Great Souls’], are just they who are succeeding in doing this. The gods have succeeded more than men have, and there are gods who are but one stage higher than men. The Christians call them, Angels.  There are gods still higher than these that I have just spoken of, and they are closer to the Heart of Being, and the Christians call these Archangels, and so on up the Ladder of Life… [Studies in Occultism, page 535]

These higher entities interact with Humanity to assist and guide us along the path to greater spiritual awareness. Sometimes this is a painful and difficult experience breaking old patterns of behaviour resulting from the spiritual hierarchy delivering ‘shocks’ to humanity to break patterns of behaviour which are detrimental to our further progress.

Looking at the world as it is now in the middle of a global health crisis you can believe in the ancient tales of Angels of Destiny, Vengeance, and Punishment; yet, at the same time these entities are called, Angels of Justice and Balance, known by many names in the traditions of the world.

In Christian Europe such an Archangel is called Raguel, Angel of Vengeance and Justice, in India they know him as Narada, he of the ‘Monkey Face’, the ‘Strife –Maker’.

The Archangel Raguel: Angel of Justice:

Let’s start closer to home with the Jewish and later Christian Angel of Justice, Raguel.  Interestingly, as we shall see later in reference to the Hindu Angel of Vengeance, Narada, Raguel’s name means, ‘Friend of God’ indicating that there is a compassionate purpose in the apparent acts of Vengeance by this Angel.

Raguel is almost always referred to as the archangel of justice, fairness, harmony, vengeance and redemption. He is also sometimes known as the archangel of speech. In the Book of Enoch cap. XXIII, Raguel is one of the seven angels whose role is to watch over humanity. His number is six, and his function is to take vengeance on the ‘world of the luminaries’ who have transgressed God’s laws. This can be interpreted to mean that, for a cause, he brings other angels to account.

Raguel’s duties have remained the same across Jewish and Christian traditions. Much like a sheriff or constable, Raguel’s purpose has always been to keep fallen angels and demons in check, delivering heinous judgment upon any that over-step their boundaries. He has been known to destroy wicked spirits, and cast fallen angels into Hell – called Gehenna in the Hebrew Old Testament and called Tartarus in the Greek New Testament.

Raguel is not mentioned in the canonical writings of the Bible. However, in 2 Enoch, which is generally considered a non-canonical book, the patriarch Enoch was carried as a mortal to and from Heaven by the angels Raguel and Sariel.

Possible historical references to a similar figure from other cultures can be found in Babylonian culture as “Rag” (some translations say Ragumu), and in Sumerian as “Rig” which means, ‘to talk’, or ‘speech’. Thus, these similar characters represented balance in those cultures as well.

So Raguel in Western tradition represents the Angel of Vengeance but, ‘vengeance’ with the purpose of setting the record right and improving the life of humanity through a kind of ‘Cosmic Tough-Love’.

Other Angels and Archangels of Vengeance:

According to Catholic doctrine, the twelve Angels of Vengeance were amongst the first formed at Creation, all angels being formed at one and the same time.

Only six of these Angels of Vengeance are known by name – Satanel, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, and Nathanel (Zathael). They seem to be interchangeable with the Angels of the Presence, and since twelve of these are known by name, six of them may be included in the Vengeances: Suriel, Jehoel, Zagzagel, Akatriel, Metatron, and Yefefiah.

In addition, in Jewish lore there are seven Angels of Punishment administered by five Archangels of Punishment. Gets a bit complicated doesn’t it!

What of the Indian God of Vengeance, Narada, and his role in the life of humanity?

Narada, in Indian Tradition or ‘Pesh-Hun’ in Tibet:

Of all the incomprehensible characters in the great Indian epic, the Mahabharata, and the The Puranas (ancient Hindu texts that tell stories of the creation of the world, legends of the gods, and explanations of how to perform religious rituals), Narada, son of Brahmâ in the Matsya Purana, the progeny of Kasyapa (a revered sage of Hinduism) and the daughter of Daksha (Hindu Lord of Creation and Population) in the Vishnu Purana, is the most mysterious.

He is referred to by the honourable title of Deva Rishi (Divine Rishi, being more advanced than a Demi-God) by Parasara (the author of the Vishnu Purana), and yet he is cursed by Daksha and even by Brahmâ (Creator and first God of the Hindu Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva).

There are contradictory statements about Narada in the ancient books of the Hindus. Thus he is shown as refusing positively tocreate(have progeny), and even as calling his father Brahmâ “a false teacher” for advising him to get married; nevertheless in contradiction, he is referred to as one of the Prajapati, or, “progenitors”!

Narada is closely connected with the secret cycles or Kalpas. He plays an important part in the evolution of the different ages from beginning to end. According to Indian tradition, he is the ruler of events during the various karmic cycles.

He is considered to be a Demi-God, or a, Dhyani Chohan (‘Lord of Meditation’, meaning, the kingdom of the entities immediately above the human kingdom) in theosophical terms following Tibetan tradition where he is called, Pesh-Hun, the Messenger, or the Greek word Angelos, the sole confidant and executor of the universal decrees of Karma throughout a cycle of human development. “Pesh-Hun” is the mysterious guiding intelligent power, which gives the impulse to, and regulates the impetus of cycles, kalpas, and universal events.

It is Narada who has charge of our national progress good or bad. It is he who brings on wars and puts an end to them. Pesh-Hun is credited with having calculated and recorded all the astronomical and cosmical cycles to come, and with having taught the Science of Astrology/Astronomy to the first astrologers and astronomers.

Narada is Karma’s visible adjuster on a general scale; the inspirer and the leader of the greatest heroes of this Manvantara. In the ancient Indian sacred writings, he is referred to by some very uncomplimentary names; such as “Kali-Karaka,” Strife-Maker, “Kapi-Yaktra,” Monkey-faced, and even “Pisuna,” the Spy, though elsewhere he is called Deva-Brahma.

He could be compared in the Western tradition to Hermes and Mercury as Messenger of the Gods. He is amongst the very first “Adversary” Gods that one meets with in old Puranic literature. He is one of the greatest Rishis and Yogis — Narada, in his role as the “Strife-Maker” could, in a way, be thought of an archetype of ‘Satan’ in the sense of an adversary in the Western understanding.

Narada is the leader of the Gandharvas, the celestial singers and musicians; esoterically, the reason for it is explained by the fact that the latter (the Gandharvas) are “the instructors of men in the secret sciences.” Perhaps also he is pictured as a musician as he may work through vibration and energetic frequencies.If we remember what is said of this class of Angels in Enoch and in the Bible, then the allegory is plain: their leader, Narada, while refusing to procreate, leads men to become eventually reborn as Gods.

Who or What is Narada?

So, what does all this traditional information mean about the identity of Narada and his work in the world? Narada as the Hindus call him, Pesh-Hun as the Tibetans call him, is an agent of karma in the world. He is an active agent of destiny from the spiritual hierarchy whose job is as the disturber of man’s ways in order that the mandates of divine justice shall be carried out, he is also the bringer of peace, and the restorer of harmony.

He is a Dhyan Chohan of the highest, or next to the highest class, or what the Christians would call an Archangel.

He is Prajapati, or the parent of offspring – maybe of mind-born children.

He is a Manu or an exalted being which appears at the beginning and end of human Root Races;

He is a Rishi or great spiritual teacher because of his duties in communicating secret teachings to the human spiritual instructors of mankind.

Narada: Agent of Karma:

So, what are the functions of Narada?

Agent of Karma: Typically, those of carrying out Karmic Destiny. What the ‘Lipikas’ , or Recorders of every thought and action have written down, Narada as an individual agent or as an individuality, as an Archangel, sees are carried out. He is the agent of karmic destiny. The consequence is that, just because destiny to us humans is often so unpleasant due to our own faults and failings in the past, Narada has been given very uncomplimentary titles by those who have seen his work in the world and in the world of men and who do not like it.

When Times are Good: When people do like it, when it is something that humans like, he is given very complimentary titles: the ‘Benefactor’, the ‘Kindly Helper’, the ‘Warrior for Mankind’, the bringer about of all the good things in destiny.

When Times are Bad: But when as an impartial, impersonal agent of karmic destiny he brings about trouble on the human race, then he is given very uncomplimentary names, as for instance he is called ‘Kali-Kara’, the ‘Strife-Producer’, because in the course of human destiny it is his work to bring about war and peace.

Narada: Preventing the Karmic Dam Bursting:

Being a Dhyani-Chohan, (the evolutionary stage above humans just as humans are an evolutionary stage above animals) he cannot come amongst us and work as a human being does, because he belongs to a much higher kingdom, among the very highest of the three Dhyan-Chohanic kingdoms.

He is an impersonal, impartial agent of destiny. His duty is to see that the world is protected, that karmic law, destiny, be carried out irrespective of consequences; for it is the only way to re-establish law, order, equilibrium, justice, and ultimate wisdom and peace.

Otherwise, Nature left to its own device’s would be piling up a vast accumulation of unexpended karma like a dam wall about to burst because too much water had piled up behind it. In time, such a burst dam of accumulated karma might flood the human race and utterly destroy it!

How Does Narada Work in the World?

Sometimes he overshadows men of the proper psychological, spiritual, intellectual, and even physical temperament and works through them.

Men of Destiny: These men and women then are called Men of Destiny. They may not in themselves be even good men, which is another reason why Narada is often spoken of in uncomplimentary terms; but they may also be good men.

But they are used as instruments and tools to carry out, to bring to pass, certain things that are lying in the womb of time and must come out, and there must be a guiding spiritual power to see that the performing of these events shall take place without the complete wrecking of mankind. This is Narada’s work: a protector of mankind and also an avenger.

Examples of the instruments of Narada’s work in the world, the Men of Destiny, are scattered through the pages of history.

Sometimes they are manifestly Evil Men:  Napoleon for instance, Julius Caesar, or Alexander the Great — three men who, if you judge them in the balance of ordinary human justice, are three evildoers because they were all upsetters, all destroyers of convention and of established things. But the world lived through them, and yet who were they? Average men, each one with a peculiar cast, psychological and other, which Narada could work through to bring about the karmic changes. In other words, Narada is a kind of Siva, Destroyer and Regenerator, but his destructions are always beneficial, he is always on the side of liberty, absolute justice to all irrespective of anything, and on the side of progress. They are notable historical instances of men of destiny, who were used almost as pawns precisely because of their weaknesses and distorted strength to bring about noble things despite these men themselves.

Sometimes they are workers for the Good: such as Winston Churchill who once told his bodyguard, after narrowly missing being killed in a London air-raid during World War II, that he had been told (presumably by some supernatural means) that he would not die until his work in the world was done. Winston Churchill clearly had many weaknesses as a military commander (the Gallipolli campaign for example) and he suffered from clinical depression (what he called his ‘Black Dog’) – but look at what he achieved for the world during WW II!

The Work of the Spiritual Hierarchy in the World:

According to the Ancient Wisdom, the world is ruled and governed by spiritual and highly intellectual powers. For instance, on our Earth (globe D of our planetary chain) not a thing takes place by chance.

Everything that takes place on this Earth, in the solar system, in the sun, or in the galaxy, takes place according to law; and it takes place according to law because the agents of law, the agents of karma, are there to hold it firm. Destiny is held firmly in the hands of the gods; or as the early Christians phrased it, the world is ruled by God Almighty through the hierarchy of Angels.

These Angels carry out the decrees of destiny, and we have remnants in Christian teaching today for instance when they speak of the Angel of Death or the Angel of Destiny or the Angel of Disease — or turning to the New Testament, the Four Angels (Horsemen) of the Apocalypse – War, Disease, Famine, and Death.

Narada: The Strife-Producer:

Now it is Narada who is in charge of these karmic productions of destiny. No wonder he is called ‘Kali-Kara’, the ‘Strife-Producer.’ He does not produce it out of nothing, out of a diabolic wish to injure mankind. He is simply the agent of karmic destiny bringing about, for instance, the breaking up of old crystallized moulds of mind or conditions of thought which are becoming a spiritual opiate for mankind.

Narada is not only the agent of karmic destiny but is mankind’s saviour, the bringer about of man’s evolutionary progress, the bringer about of change tending upwards to nobler things, and likewise paradoxically enough the bringer about or restorer of spiritual and intellectual stability. Because there can be no stability when an accumulated reservoir of karma is waiting and threatening to burst the karmic ‘dam’ and cause devastation, destruction indiscriminately.

Narada: Breaking the Shells of Crystallized Belief:

For example, suppose a religion had lost the inspiration of its Founder and become a jumble of theological dogmas administered by self-interested religious professionals? What does Narada do? Narada breaks that shell, releases the imprisoned spirit once again. Of course, there is lots of trouble. Narada in such instance works to release and restore to its pristine power and influence the imprisoned and perhaps forgotten spirit of the Founder.

It may be done quickly in a crash, in a disaster. Or it may be done through years and years and years of slow expansion and breaking of the old shell.

Narada works in various ways always according to destiny and always in the kindest way that he can work, because he is a regenerator and a builder. Instead of the dogmas and spiritual formulae, people begin to think and to question. They want the spirit. They burst the shell; overthrow the forms. And we have a great religious revival or regeneration in a case like that.

But of course, it is a painful process. Millions of their followers don’t like it. It is only after Time, the magic agent, has softened the woes of adversity, of the bursting shell, and has brought even those who are hurt to see and to say: “Why, it is the very best thing to happen. Now we understand the Master’s teaching. Now religion has become a vital moving thing in my heart. It guides life. It is something to believe in and to live by.”

This was the work of Narada. But during that time, what did Narada do? He was a Kali-Kara, Strife-Producer, he had to break the shell.

Narada’s Work During the Covid Pandemic:

Similarly, we can perhaps see that there are many positives in the physical world resulting from the current Covid pandemic in addition to the obvious hardships. These would include:

  • The reduction in pollution of all kinds with the reduction in travel and economic activity;
  • The subsequent rebounding of life in the oceans and animal life in the wilds where human activity has been reduced;
  • a new appreciation for the helping professions such as teaching and the health professions in our cities.

But our focus in this article is with the causes of suffering in the world from the viewpoint of esoteric philosophy. So, from this perspective, further positives to be taken from the current state of the world may include:

Developing a sense of Empathy and Compassion through Suffering: Suffering is a necessary background to the development of empathy and compassion. When there are dramatic conditions in the world, by so much greater are our opportunities to show compassion and develop understanding.

Modifying our extreme sense of Individual Entitlement in the Western world: The current state of Pandemic encourages us to overcome the extreme individualism and sense of entitlement that has become rampant in the Western world, especially in the USA and Australia.  As the Ancient Wisdom tells us, at the higher levels of our being we are all in a state of Unity and eventually we must learn to forgo our individualism for the greater good of the One, or in our case, of the collective community. In our current situation, we have to work together to overcome the spread and control of the Covid virus. If we don’t, we’ll soon be forced to cooperate through lock-downs or risk increasing numbers of infected people. We have to learn about the practical aspects of Unity to truly respect others and cooperate with them for the sake of a better future for all of us.

The Spiritual Hierarchy has not abandoned us: Don’t think that we have ever been abandoned by the spiritual hierarchy of light. They are constantly at work guiding and assisting our efforts to make a better world – but it is up to us to reach up to them as they reach down to us to help.

Being Better People – Everyone of Us: We all have the opportunity to be better people no matter how outwardly humble may be our status in this world. We can add to the ‘reservoir of good karma’ which is all that the Masters of Wisdom can use to help us. What we are from day to day is therefore terrifically important. Perhaps lock-down gives us more time in our normally hectic modern lifestyle to consider some of the great questions of life and death and where we fit into the big picture of life’s meaning.

Spirituality is not just an Intellectual Exercise: This doesn’t have to be an intellectual exercise – attending lectures, seminars, ZOOM online meetings, etc. but living a sincere and good life is equally, if not much more, important. It is as though we are living in a fog of negative thought with the Sun of spiritual reality shining above the fog. Intellectual effort and living a good life can equally poke holes in this fog. As Plato said: ‘Living the Good Life is a Work of Art’.

Narada’s Work in the World:

Narada’s functions therefore are spiritual, intellectual as well as psychic.

The main point to grasp first is that our universe is governed by law and by order emanating from intelligent and spiritual sources and consequently that everything that happens in that universe is within that sway of law and under the sway of that order, and in consequence there is no chance, and therefore that whatever happens has been caused — karma.

The first thing this teaches us is to stop sitting in the judgment seat upon other men it teaches us to stop arrogating to ourselves the all-capacity to condemn others. Judge not that ye be not judged.

But keep it in mind that Narada works, call him an Angel of Destiny, an Archangel of Destiny, or a Dhyan-Chohan whose work in the world is just that, guiding mankind and the other kingdoms too, guiding mankind’s steps through tribulation and suffering from their own folly, towards freedom, wisdom, and love, with his immensely strong hand of the friend…upwards and onwards through suffering and pain, through joy and peace, through war and disturbance, through attainment and progress, upwards and onwards forever. – based on G de Purucker’s book, The Fountain Source of Occultism, pages: 689-695 with additional material and comments by Andrew Rooke.

Further Reading:

  • Gustav Davidson: A Dictionary of Angels: Including the Fallen Angels, 1967.
  • Raguel (Angel): Wikipedia.
  • Narada:  Theosophy, Vol.61 no.3, January 1973: pages: 75-78.
  • Narada by G. De Purucker  an address given in 1942 and published in 1974 as an appendix to the Fountain Source of Occultism.
  • Why is Life so Tough for so Many people? Part 2: Human Dimensions by Andrew Rooke. Theosophy Downunder, No. 137, September 2020.