CONCEIT IS TO DEVOTION WHAT CANKER IS TO BUDS
ONCE upon a time conceit entered into the heart of Narada, and he thought there was no greater devotee than himself. Reading his heart, the Lord said: “Narada, go to such and such a place. A great devotee of mine is living there. Cultivate his acquaintance; for he is truly devoted to Me.” Narada went there and found an agriculturist who rose early in the morning, pronounced the name of Hari (God) only once and, taking his plough, went out and tilled the ground all day long. At night he went to bed after pronouncing the name of Hari once more. Narada said to himself:
“How can this rustic be a lover of God? I see him busily engaged in wordly duties, and he has no signs of a pious man about hirn.” Then Narada went Backto the Lord and spoke what he thought of his new acquaintance. Thereupon the Lord said: “Narada, take this cup of oil and go round this city and come Backwith it.
But take care that you do not spill even a single drop of it.” Narada did as he was told, and on his
return the Lord asked him, “Well, Narada, how many times did you remember Me in the course of your walk round the city?” “Not once, my Lord,” said Narada, “and how could I, when I had to watch this cup brimming over with oil?” The Lord then said: “This one cup of oil did so divert your attention that even you did forget Me altogether. But look at that rustic, who, though carrying the heavy burden of a family, still remembers Me twice every day.” (89)