There is a history of two devotees who performed austerities. One of them was immature in devotional service and the other was mature in devotional service. The scriptural rule is, without performing austerities, devotional service does not bring quick results. The mature devotee began performing austerities sitting under a tamarind tree. The immature devotee saw him and followed his lead sitting under a banyan tree to perform his austerity. One day while they were performing austerities Narada Muni appeared before them. They both paid their obeisance to him and requested if he meets the Lord in His Kingdom, to please ask Him when they could see Him face to face. Narada Muni agreed to do so. After reaching the Lord, Narada related the devotees’ requests. The Lord replied, “Yes, they will see Me after they pass through as many births performing austerities as there are leaves on the trees they are sitting under.” When Narada Muni returned and told them what the Lord had said, the immature devotee was amazed and left, relinquishing his austerities. He thought, “I shall perform austerities later. Let me enjoy myself now. There is plenty of time left to see the Lord.” But the mature devotee began jumping with joy, thinking, the Lord has given him a guarantee to see Him. Seeing his joy, Narada Muni asked him why he was joyful. The devotee replied, “I have passed unlimited births as if they did not take place, but now I have assurance to see the Lord from you (my Guru) within a fixed number of births. Therefore, my joy has no bounds.” Although the tamarind tree had more leaves than the banyan tree, the mature devotee was very happy to hear he will meet the Lord after that many lives. Whereas the immature devotee lost hope of seeing the Lord, even though the amount of lifetimes he had to wait to see the Lord were many times less than that of the mature devotee.
[Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji, KBS5139]