Narada Muni was well known for his devotion towards Lord Vishnu. He always used to chant “Narayana Narayana” He used to think that he is the greatest devotee of the Lord. Once he went to Vaikuntha, the abode of Lord Vishnu. During their conversation Narada intentionally asked – ” O Lord! You have so many devotees. I am curious to know who is your favorite one.” Narada was expecting that Lord Vishnu will honor him as his favorite devotee. To his shock Vishnu pointed to a poor farmer on the earth and said “That poor farmer is my favorite devotee.”
With mind full of curiosity Narada went to the farmer’s hut. The farmer was very poor and humble. He used to get up early in the morning and before getting up from his bed used to chant Lord’s name once. Then the whole day he used to work hard on his field with his other members. He used to return late in the night. Before going to the bed he again used to chant Lord’s name once. Narada was surprised to know that the farmer chanted Lord’s name just twice in a day. Narada thought to himself – “I chant the name of my Lord the whole day but still He this poor farmer who chants His name only twice in a day.”
Narada went back to Vishnu and asked – “O Lord! I visited the farmer and I am surprised to know that he is your favorite devotee. Do you know that he chants your name just twice in a day?”. The Lord Vishnu smiled at him and handed over a vessel completely filled with oil. Vishnu said – “Narada! Take this vessel and see me in the evening. Remember that you should always carry this vessel with you and not a drop of oil should spill from it.
“Narada did as the Lord has instructed. Throughout the day he was carrying the oil filled vessel with him taking care than not a single drop is spilling from it. He returned to Vaikuntha in the evening thinking about the whole incidence. As he arrived the Lord welcomed him saying “I was waiting for you”. He looked at the oil vessel and said – “Good! It seems you didn’t wasted a single drop of oil.” Taking a pause he continued – “Now tell me honestly how many times you uttered my name?”. Narada said – “O Lord! You had given me an oil filled vessel and warned me not to spill a single drop of oil. My total attention was on the oil vessel. How can I chant your name when I am busy taking care of the vessel.” Vishnu smilingly said – “You forgot me when you were busy in some mundane task. However, the poor farmer remembers me at least twice a day. He remains so busy earning his bread and butter but still chants my name twice without fail. Now you decide who is better devotee.” Narada thus understood his mistake.
I don’t happen to give time to many people nowadays… i try to remember them all everyday though.. Hope my devotion is not questioned, but understood……..