One day, Narada, who utters Narayana-Narayana during every alternate breath, asked Lord Vishnu, ‘Who is your favorite devotee?’
Vishnu pointed to a farmer and told that he is his favorite devotee.
Narada got very upset that his lord didn’t mention him.
He went down to earth and followed the farmer to know what he was doing that made him a better devotee than him. He observed that the farmer uttered ‘Narayana’ just twice a day—first time after waking up and second time before sleeping. And rest of the day, he was busy, growing crops and taking care of his animals.
Narada came back to Vishnu and complained, ‘That farmer prays just twice a day. I chant your name throughout the day and night. I just can’t believe that I am not your favourite devotee.’
Vishnu replied, ‘Ahaan. Okay, do this task for me. Put this pot full of oil on your head. And take a walk around the world. Not a single drop should spill out.’
Narada concentrating very hard walked around the world without dropping the oil. He came back to Vishnu and proudly told him that the job was done.
Vishnu asked him, ‘How many times did you chant my name during the task?’
Narada was astounded when he realised that he never Narayana-Narayana during the whole activity. All his concentration was on the pot.
Vishnu said, ‘The farmer is also doing the work. He is focussed on it and he treats is as God. It doesn’t really matter whether he prays to me or how much time he allocates for me. He who considers his dharma and does it with devotion is as good as me.’