Sage Narad once asked Lord Vishnu, “What is the greatness of satsang?”
Pointing to a worm, Lord Vishnu said, “Ask that worm. He will answer your question.”
Naradji at first felt surprised as to why Lord Vishnu was saying so. But then taking it as the Lord’s command, he went to the worm. Upon reaching, he got puzzled as to whether he should ask that question or not.
After thinking for about a minute or so, Naradji ultimately asked the worm, “O worm, tell me what is the importance of satsang?”
The worm looked at Naradji and died!
Naradji got bewildered and ran to Lord Vishnu and said, “Lord, why did you send me to the worm and then get him killed?”
On this, Lord Vishnu said, “Just now a parrot has taken birth in the nearby house, go and ask him your question.”
Naradji, in obedience went to the parrot. He pondered there for about 5 minutes or so, thinking this parrot might also die. Ultimately he asked him, “Oh parrot, tell me, what is the importance of satsang?”
And just as he feared, the parrot also fell down and died!
Naradji felt pained. He returned to Lord Vishnu and said, “O Bhagwan! Please tell me the answer yourself.”
“Ask that newly born calf”, said Lord Vishnu.
Naradji was filled with worry. Yet he approached the baby calf and asked the same question.
The calf looked at the sage and dropped dead!
Naradji now felt very miserable because of the three deaths. “Bhagwan!…”, he said.
Lord Vishnu replied, “Narad, do not worry. Just now a prince has been born to the king of the same town. Go to him and ask your question and you will find the answer. Believe me, this would be your final visit.”
Naradji , accordingly, went to the King’s palace. With a fearful heart, he asked the newborn prince, “O little one! What are the fruits of doing Satsang?”
The prince laughed, “Don’t you understand the greatness of Satsang even now? O wise sage! When you first asked me, I was a worm. By your darshan, I was born as a parrot. Then you asked me again, and I was given the body of a calf. Then again, I had your darshan. Now I have been given the highest birth, as a human being. Just by the darshan of a great saint like yourself, I have gained so much.”
Naradji now fully understood the greatness of satsang. He bowed to the Lord and admitted, “O Prabhu! Your divine ways are certainly difficult to understand.”