Deep in the jungle, Narada broke a strong branch from a tree Taking a rock he began sharpening the end of the branch.
A year has past, he thought to himself. Four seasons I have sat outside this cave.
When the spear had been fashioned, Narada walked to the entrance of the cave.
"Mother Pig," he yelled into the cave.
There was no response.
Narada walked into the cave's dark mouth. Inside he saw a pig nursing five piglets.
"It's time to go," yelled Narada.
The pig and piglets ignored him.
Narada then began waving his wooden spear violently. The five piglets squealed, bolted upright and ran out the cave... but the mother remained.
"I will not go," said the pig. "Why did you send my family away? I loved them so very much. Why have you done this to me, you cruel man?"
"Leave this cave," pleaded Narada.
"No," said the pig. "Leave me alone. I've done no one any harm. I only want to live in this cave until I die."
"So be it," said Narada.
Narada quickly brought his spear down on the pig, piercing her through the belly. The pig yelled in pain. Blood leaked onto the floor.
"Why?" said the pig. "Why have you done this to me?" She squealed once more and went limp
Narada fell to his knees, tears streaming. He remembered how one year earlier he had stood outside the same cave speaking to Lord Vishnu...
"How can you expect humanity to ever find freedom from the wheel of birth and death?" he had said to Vishnu.
Vishnu had smiled. "God consciousness is so satisfying -- it is far more tempting than material reality."
"Yes," Narada had replied, "but when all people know is the taste of matter, how can you expect them to want anything more?"
Vishnu then had become quiet. Finally he had spoken: "Possibly this illusion of material reality is too strong. But I am not sure."
"Then why don't you test it out on yourself?" Narada had replied with a tinge of anger in his voice.
"Very well," Vishnu had said. "I will become a pig and start a family."
"What?" Narada replied in shock.
"I will live in this cave for one year as a pig," Vishnu repeated. "After one year, you shall come and get me. If I refuse to leave then you need to kill me."
"My Lord?" Narada had said in horror. "Please no..."
But it was too late. Vishnu had already transformed himself into a mother pig who violently discharged Narada from her cave.
One year later, Narada now cried over the corpse of that same mother pig. When his anguish had become so great he suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around, he saw Vishnu standing above him, radiant and smiling.
"Thank you, Narada," said Vishnu. "I was so happy being that mother pig that I forgot what I really am. Though painful and unwanted, thrusting that spear through my belly freed me from the illusion that I was content just being a pig."
"It hurt me so to do so," said Narada. "I didn't want to harm you."
"It hurts me also to bring suffering upon my children," said Vishnu. "But such is how it must be. As you say, my delusion is too strong."
Special thanks to John C.A. Manley of MetaphysicalSF.com for sharing this spiritual story with us!