The priest and the old lady

An old lady was a regular and faithful participant in the daily satsangs conducted by a priest. However, since she lived across the river from the priest’s ashram, she had to wait for a boat everyday to reach the ashram; always making her late for the satsang.

One day, the priest was explaining the importance of chanting the Name of the Lord and said, “Do you know that nothing is impossible for you if you chant God’s name?” He then said to his followers, “By chanting the God’s name, you can even walk over water!”

The old lady, who listened with devotion to his words, was truly thrilled. “What a valuable advice the holy man has given me,” she thought. “From tomorrow, I won’t have to wait for the boat to cross the river. I shall just repeat God’s name and walk across the river. In fact, I shall begin this practice tonight itself while returning home!”

When the satsang was over, the lady walked quietly to the river and chanting the God’s name, walked across effortlessly. She didn’t think it necessary to mention this to anyone. In her innocence, she imagined that everyone could walk on water with the power of the God’s Name, and that it was only she, who had been ignorant of Its power all this time!

The next day, when she reached the satsang quite early, the priest greeted her and expressed his surprise at her timely arrival. “It’s all by your grace, Sir,” said the lady with humility and devotion. As she always wished that he should visit her home, she invited him saying “Pray, do visit my humble abode with your devotees.”

“We shall be glad to come,” replied the priest. “We will go with you after today’s satsang.”

After the satsang, the lady led the priest and his disciples to the river. Without even pausing to look behind her, she walked across the waters, quite certain that the priest and his devotees would do the same.

Imagine her surprise when she heard the priest call out behind her, “O great devotee, kindly send a boat to fetch us across the river!”

“Why?” exclaimed the old lady, “It was your grace that taught me the power of the sacred Name with which I could walk across the waters! Why would you need a boat?”

“O mother,” said the priest in utter humility, “I gave you the Name, you had the faith to make it work. How I wish I had your faith!”

Moral: Mere bookish knowledge does not help!

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