ivy O. Duce
There is a well-known story in India, many versions of which exist, which points up that the Avatar brings his close disciples through the planes under veil. It seems that Lord Krishna had a disciple named Narad who, after many years of service to Krishna, began to be discouraged because he could see no sign in himself of any spiritual advancement. He hungered for spiritual experiences, which he felt would indicate his spiritual progress, like many people today. He complained to Krishna that although he had lived with him all his life, he still was no better than any person who had never met the Master. Krishna assured him that by living a dedicated life with Krishna he was literally on the threshold of God's abode, and that some day he would come to know where he was spiritually.
Narad, however, persisted in feeling gloomy about the years passing by without his having acquired any knowledge. Finally after some years, the Lord Krishna told him that on a certain day he wanted Narad to go to a particular spot under a tree and just watch the ground. Narad did this, finding there only a large lump of fecal matter. He became more and more agitated over having to stand and stare at this. His feelings of unworthiness intensified. Finally a worm crept out of it, and as Narad gazed upon it, the worm keeled over dead on the spot.
Narad journeyed back to his Master and related the incident when asked what had happened. Narad's mind was full of protest that here he was, living with the God-Man and not even having the experience that he had lived a worthwhile life. Krishna ignored him for a while and then ordered him to go to another place in the woods, where he was to stare at a certain tree. On the prescribed day Narad did so and suddenly noticed a bright parrot on a branch. As soon as the bird caught his eye, it dropped dead. This frightened Narad, and he felt that since the very sight of him caused creatures to die, he was most unworthy. However, the deep impression of unworthiness now caused him to feel that living with the God-Man was his only recourse.
Krishna ignored Narad for some time, then one day told him to go to the house of a village patel (headman), where a little colt had been newly born. This prospect frightened Narad, but he felt that he had to obey the Lord Krishna. The patel was quite religious and received Narad reverentially. He finally asked Narad what had brought him to his dwelling, and Narad replied that he had heard about the newly born colt and would like to see it. This flattered the owner, who brought out the little colt with great pride. As soon as Narad's eyes fell upon the colt, it dropped dead. Narad was beside himself, although the owner did not connect him with the death of his little colt.
Some time later a neighboring King came to Krishna and begged him to visit and bless his newly born child. Krishna decided to send Narad as his representative, but Narad was terrified that his glance might kill the little prince. Krishna, who knew everything, offered comfort and encouragement to Narad and stated that although there had been three failures, the disciple should now go to the palace and visit the newly born child.
Since it was known that Narad was one of Krishna's favorite disciples, when he arrived in time for the naming ceremonies the king, with all due respect, conducted him to the cradle to bless the child. Narad stated that the child had Krishna's blessing, but steadily refused to really look at him.
The story goes that the child sat up in his cradle and thanked Narad for all he had done and asked, "Why now do you deny me your glance and darshan?"
Narad was stunned and asked what he was supposed to have done. The princeling said:
"When I was a worm I had your darshan, which enabled me to avoid many rebirths. I at once assumed the form of a parrot, and in that form I again was blessed with your darshan. This helped me to be born immediately in the form of a colt. While I was a colt, you again appeared before me, and that blessed meeting has hurried me here."
When Narad returned, Krishna with a smile asked him if now he believed that he had gained some spiritual status by serving him, whereupon Narad fell at Krishna's feet.
How a master works, pp. 722-724