There is a story about Narada in the Skanda Purana. Once, Narada was going through the forest, on his way to take a bath on an auspicious occasion, at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and Sarasvati at Prayaga. On the way, he happened to see a half-dead pig writhing in pain. This sight caused Narada to become afflicted with compassion.
As he walked a little further, he saw a half-dead hare tossing about in pain. A little further on, he saw a strongly built hunter standing beside a tree with a bow and arrow in his hands. Because of the sound of Narada’s walking, the deer began to flee and so the hunter became furious and wanted to chastise the great sage. Due to Narada’s influence, however, the hunter could not utter a word.
Narada then said to the hunter, “Why do you half-kill these innocent animals? Killing animals is sinful but half-killing them, and thus giving them unnecessary pain, is a great offense. Why do you do this?”
The hunter was surprised to hear Narada’s words. He replied, “According to my profession, I kill animals and maintain my family. I do not know what is sin and what is piety. My father had taught me to half-kill animals in this way, and when I see them writing in pain, I derive great pleasure.”
Narada then utilized his mystic power to show the sinful hunter what would be the result of his giving pain to others. The hunter could thus see all of the animals that he had tortured, coming to him after death and piercing him relentlessly with their horns, teeth and nails.
Being very frightened, the hunter begged Narada, “Tell me how I can become relieved of all these sinful reactions.”
Narada replied “If you stop killing animals from today onwards, and take to the path of devotional service to the Lord, you will become freed from all sinful reactions. First, you must break your bow.”
The hunter said, “If I do this, how will I and my family be maintained?”
Narada replied, “Do not worry about that. I will take responsibility for your maintenance. Who else is there at home? Go and bring them here. Break your bow and arrow right now and go to the river and take a bath. Thereafter, I will initiate you into the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. By rendering devotional service, you will gradually attain auspiciousness.”
The hunter and his wife went and bathed in the river and after that, received spiritual initiation from the great sage, Narada. They built a cottage in the forest, planted Tulasi in front of the cottage and began to constantly chant the holy name of Hari. After seeing this, Narada Muni proceeded on his journey.
As a result of faithfully chanting the holy names given by Narada, the hunter and his wife became ecstatic. They had no problem for food because the neighbors regularly supplied them all their necessities. Such is the influence of the association of a saintly person that the hunter no longer engaged in killing animals, but rather chanted the holy name of Krsna.
A few months passed in this way. Then, one day, Narada and his friend, Parvata, were passing by the cottage of the hunter. When the hunter and his wife saw their spiritual master. Narada, they quickly approached him, to offer their respectful obeisances. However, as they appraoched their spiritual master, they saw that there were many ants on the road. By the mercy of Narada, the couple had understood that the Supreme Lord is situated within the hearts of all living entities, including the ants.
For this reason, they were seen carefully sweeping the ants out of their path, with their cloths, while approaching their spiritual master. Thus it was practically seen that by the causeless mercy of Narada Muni, even a wicked and deceitlul hunter became purified. Great devotees of the Lord act just like a touchstone.