Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 1: Chapter 5: Verses 23-36
During the last Kalpa, in my previous existence, 0 sage, I was born of a maid-servant of Brahmanas well-versed in the Vedas. While yet a boy, I was told off to serve some Yogis (wandering ascetics) who wished to stop at one place during the rains. Though a mere child, I was free from all childish frolics, was quite tame and submissive, spoke little and remained aloof from playthings. Though viewing all alike, the sages were particularly kind to me, who did all kinds of service to them. With the willing consent of those Brahmanas I ate, once in twenty-four hours, whatever was left in their dishes after they had finished their meals, and was thereby cleansed of all sins.. Thus engaged in their service, I attained purity of mind, which conceived a liking for their religious creed (the creed of Devotion). There (in that society of godly men) by the grace of those saints, who were given to singing the Lord's praises, I would daily listen to the soul-ravishing stories of Sri Krsna. Even as I heard these stories with reverence, O dear Vyasa, step by step I developed an attraction for the Lord of delightful fame. When I developed an affinity for Him, 0 great sage, my mind got firmly established in that Lord of delightful glory; through such a mind I began to perceive the whole of this gross and subtle world as assumed in me, the Absolute by Maya. In this way, throughout the rains as well as in the coming autumn, I heard with rapt attention thrice everyday the holy praises of Sri Hari as they were sung by those high-souled sages; and forthwith sprouted in my heart that Devotion which eradicates the element of Rajas (passion) and Tamas (ignorance). To me, who was devoted to those sages, modest in bearing, sinless, full of faith, tame and submissive, though yet a child, those saints, compassionate as they were to the afflicted, graciously imparted, when about to depart, that most esoteric wisdom which has been directly revealed by the Lord Himself. Through that wisdom I came to know the glory of that Maya (deluding potency) of Lord Vasudeva, the Maker of this world, by knowing which men attain to His (supreme) Abode.
O sage, I have thus indicated to you how actions dedicated to the Lord, who is the Ruler of this universe as well as the supreme Brahma (the Absolute), serve as the cure for the threefold agony. O Vyasa of commendable vow, the same substance which contributes to a particular malady cannot ordinarily counteract the disease; but, when taken in a properly medicated form, it does cure the ailment. Similarly, all the activities of men ordinarily lead to transmigration; but the same, when offered to the Lord, lose their binding character. On duties (of an obligatory nature) that are performed in this world for the pleasure of the Lord depends the attainment of wisdom combined with Devotion. Those who perform their actions in obedience to the Lord's behests repeatedly utter and meditate on the praises and names of Sri Krsna (in the course of such actions).