Crossing the Water
Author: Sri Ramakrishna
A farmer’s daughter duty was to carry fresh milk to customers in various villages had, one of whom was a priest. To reach his house, the milkmaid had to cross a good-sized stream. People crossed it by a sort of ferry raft, for a small fee.
One day the priest, who performed worship daily with the offering to God of fresh milk, finding it arrived very late, scolded the poor woman. “What can I do?” she said, “I start out early from my house, but I have to wait a long time for the boatman to come.”
Then the priest said (pretending to be serious), “What! People have even walked across the ocean by repeating the name of God, and you can’t cross this little river?” This milkmaid took him very seriously. From then on she brought the priest’s milk punctually every morning. He became curious about it and asked her how it was that she was never late anymore.
“I cross the river repeating the name of the Lord,” she replied, “just as you told me to do, without waiting for the ferry.” The priest didn’t believe her, and asked, “Can you show me this, how you cross the river on foot?” So they went together to the water and the milkmaid began to walk over it. Looking back, the woman saw that the priest had started to follow her and was floundering in the water.
“Sir!” she cried, “You are uttering the name of God, yet all the while you are holding up your clothes from getting wet. That is not trusting in God!”