Narayan studied in the U.S. and there came into contact with Marxism. After his return to India, he was quickly politically active there. He married the freedom fighter Prabhavati Devi. He was a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and in 1942 the non-violent resistance of the Quit India movement organized as Gandhi and most members of the Indian National Congress were imprisoned by the British.
Narayan is known for his role in the 1970s in the political game with Indira Gandhi.
He is also the title of " Narayan " by the band The Prodigy dedicated.