The hero’s quest for the extraordinary – an ever-recurring theme in literature – reflects the urge of every heart at its noblest to discover the full possibilities of life. Anyone dissatisfied with the scant potential of mundane existence is naturally stimulated by the prospect of finding, even vicariously, a world of greater liberty. There should be some better place for the soul. Why should happiness be so elusive, and why should confusion and resentment always shroud the mind’s eye, making it unable to see clearly what is in front of it?
Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s Brhad-bhagavatamrta, written in Sanskrit nearly five hundred years ago, is a gemlike example of the quest genre, but different from the sort commonly encountered in fable and fiction. Narada and Gopa-kumara, the respective heroes of this book’s two parts, are searching for a key to fulfillment much subtler than wealth, influence, mundane love, the Fountain of Youth, or even the Holy Grail. Narada has vast experience of the cosmos; Gopa-kumara is illiterate and naive; yet they share the same vision of what is most valuable. What both want is not to conquer or exploit on any level, but to explore the mystery of selfless service. As Narada already knows, and Gopa-kumara will gradually learn, the superior mode of life they seek is personal and defined by the interplay of those who take part in it, rather than by material laws of nature.
In Volume One of Sri Brhad-Bhagavatamrta, the great sage Narada, a pure devotee of Krishna, travels from earth to heaven and the spiritual world in search of the greatest recipient of Krishna's mercy. As he proceeds on his journey, Narada meets many pure devotees of Krishna and gives evidence to show how that devotee has been favored by Krishna. Each devotee, embarrassed to hear himself praised, recommends that Narada visit another devotee.
Narada sees greater and greater manifestations of Krishna's mercy, until he finds those pure souls who embody the complete manifestation of Krishna's mercy--the exalted gopis of Vraja. Join Narada on his quest and discover his awe, love, and deepest appreciation as he grasps the gopis' position as Krishna's best devotees.