Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 1: Chapter 6: Verses 1-16
Suta says : O Saunaka, having thus heard the story of the Devarsi's birth and spiritual endeavours, Maharsi Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, again enquired of him as follows : Vyasa said : When the ascetics who instructed you in spiritual wisdom had departed, what did you do, since you happened to be a mere child at that time ? In what manner, O son of Brahma (the self-born), did you spend the rest of your life ? And how did you cast off your mortal coil when the time came? Foremost of heavenly beings, how did time, which obliterates everything, fail to obscure the memory of your existence in the preceding Kalpa?
Narada replied : When the ascetics who instructed me in spiritual wisdom had left, I proceeded to do this (what follows), tender of age as I was. I was the only issue of my mother, who was an ignorant woman and a servant-maid to boot. She had bound herself with ties of affection to me, her son, who solely depended on her. Much as she liked to supply my wants and to provide against my future, she failed to do so, dependent as she was. The world is indeed subject to the control of its Ruler (God) even as a puppet is controlled by the wire-puller. Out of regard for her I continued in that locality of the Brahmanas. Being only five years of age, I had no idea then of the four quarters or even of space and time. Once during the night she left her house to milk a cow. While on her way she trod on a snake which, as fate would have it, bit the helpless woman (and this brought about her untimely end). I took it as a boon from the Lord, who is solicitous for the welfare of His devotees, and then set out in a northerly direction. In that journey I passed through prosperous lands, cities, villages, temporary habitats of cowherds, mines, hamlets, stray habitations by the side of mountains and rivers, enclosures containing plantations, groves and gardens, mountains charming with minerals of various colours, trees with boughs broken by elephants, lakes containing delightful water, lotus-ponds frequented by gods and rendered vocal by birds of diverse notes and adorned by bees hovering about (from one lotus-bed to another). Having journeyed across these all alone, I came in sight of an extensive and formidable forest dense with rushes, bamboos, reeds, Kusa grass and hollow bamboos and which presented a dreadful appearance, infested as it was with serpents, owls and jackals. Wearied in mind and body and overcome with thirst and hunger, 1 bathed in the pool of a river, drank of its water, rinsed my mouth with it and felt refreshed. In that forest, uninhabited by man, I sat down at the foot of a Peepul tree and contemplated with a collected mind on the Lord residing in my heart,as I had heard of Him (from the lips of my preceptors).