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.

Brhad-bhagavatamrta