Narad Muni as we all know is a devout disciple of Lord Vishnu.
One day he was deeply meditating in the forest. Seeing him meditating, Lord Indra grew worrisome as he thought that Narad Muni wanted to capture his throne and thus wanted to disrupt his meditation. He called Kamadeva and ordered him to incite lust within the muni thereby destroying his trance.
Kamadeva accepted his master’s orders and went to the cave where Narad Muni was meditating. As soon as he came in, the fallow cave sprang up to life.
Birds began to sing melodious songs, celestial nymphs began to dance and the whole atmosphere was filled up with a tantalizing aroma which could have made anyone fall down to their knees but Narad Muni didn’t give up his meditation. Finally after repeated failures, Kamadeva accepted his defeat and fell over the muni’s feet as an act of repentance.
Finally Narad Muni gave up his meditation, hugged Kamadeva and asked him to return to Indralok. He was filled with ego as he had conquered lust and with this same state of mind, he went to Kailash.
Upon reaching Lord Shiva’s abode, he told the whole story to Mahadeva listening to which he smiled over Narad’s arrogance but also cautioned him not to tell the story to Lord Vishnu in the same way as he told it to him.
Narad Muni bowed before Lord Shiva and went towards Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu.
He sang his usual praises “Narayana Narayana” and finally the great lord manifested himself infront of him. Narad bowed down in reverence and praised the all-mighty. After sometime, he couldn’t control himself and told about the incident. Lord Vishnu learned about Narad’s ego and smiled within. After narrating the whole incident, he once again praised the Lord and went away.
Lord Vishnu ordered Maya to destroy Narad’s ego as soon as possible. She bowed down before him and went to follow her master’s order.
She created a fake kingdom with her magical powers. The kingdom had the most handsome men and beautiful women that one could ever imagine. The king of that kingdom wanted to marry off her daughter and thus was in search of the perfect groom who could take care of her.
One day Narad came to know about this kingdom so he decided to go there and greet the king. As soon as he stepped in the court, the king honoured him. He offered him his seat and washed his legs.
Later on he asked him to search for a groom for his daughter. Narad accepted and asked him to present the princess before him so that he could check her palm lines and match her horoscope.
As soon as he saw the princess, he was mesmerized with her beauty. He forgot about his vow to celibacy and wanted to marry her at any cost. He asked the king to arrange for a swayamvar (an act in which the girl chooses her husband according to her own will) and to call princess from all over the world and thus departed towards Vaikuntha.
While on his way, he kept on thinking about the princess’ beauty. He was completely enchanted and spellbound. He thought that Lord Vishnu would help him in order to get her.
He praised the almighty and asked to transform him into the most handsome looking man to ever walk on the face of the planet. The great lord smiled and blessed the saint.
Next morning, he marched towards the kingdom full of pride and stood in the que where all the grooms were waiting for the beautiful princess.
Finally the princess came and walked slowly along the que analysing each and every prince with a wedding garland in her hand. Narad was quite sure that she would put the garland upon him and would become his wife but to his surprise she passed away.
The princess didn’t put the garland upon anyone and was heartbroken.
Suddenly Lord Vishnu appeared in the court and the princess immediately put the garland upon him thus accepting him as her groom.
Narad couldn’t understand what happened and stood in awe. The princes standing next to Narad mocked upon him and asked him to look at a mirror. He immediately went to the royal pool and looked upon himself in the water but couldn’t bear what he saw.
Instead of being the most handsome man. he had transformed into the most ugliest one. He looked like an ape with wrinkles all across all his face.
He decided to ask Lord Vishnu why did he do this with him and went to Vaikuntha. Upon reaching his abode he saw Lord Vishnu playing with goddess Lakshmi and his newly wed bride. This infuriated Narad to such an extent that he cursed the lord to endure the pain of separation from his wife and that he would have to search for her in all directions.
Later on Lord Vishnu incarnated as Lord Rama in Treta yuga and the demonic king Ravana abducted his wife Sita. Thus Lord Rama had to search for her in all directions and had to endure the pain of separation for one complete year.