ONCE, Lakshmi and Narayana were seated in Vaikuntha, when Narayana suddenly stood up. Lakshmi had been stroking his feet. She said, "Lord, where are you going?" Narayana answered: "One of My devotees is in great danger. I must save him." With these words He went out. But He came back immediately. Lakshmi said, "Lord, why have You returned so soon?"

Narayana smiled and said: "The devotee was going along the road overwhelmed with love for Me. Some washermen were drying clothes on the grass and the devotee walked over the clothes. At this the washermen chased him and were going to beat him with their sticks.

So I ran out to protect him." "But why have You come back?" asked Lakshmi. Narayana laughed and said, "I saw the devotee himself picking up a brick to throw at them. So I came back." (99)