Prabhu Shriram along with Sita and Lakshman proceeded to dwell in the forest in order to fulfill the promise given to Queen Kaikayi. On the way to the forest He needed to cross the River Ganga. A boatman called Guhak was ferrying the people across the river. He was very happy to learn about Shriram’s arrival and rushed to meet Shriram. Guhak prostrated before Him and said, “Prabhu, I am blessed. What service may I render?”
Shriram said, “Guhak, we do not expect anything from you; only take us across riverGanga.” Guhak ferried them to the opposite bank of the river. Once they crossed the river the folowing conversation took place:
Shriram : Guhak, what shall I give you for ferrying us across?
Guhak : Prabhu, does one barber expect to be paid for trimming a fellow barber’s hair ?
Shriram : No.
Guhak : Prabhu, when one doctor gives medicine to another doctor, does he ask to be paid for the medicine?
Shriram : No.
Guhak : Both you and I are boatmen, then how can I charge you for ferrying you across the river ?
(Shriram was surprised to hear the justification given by Guhak.)
Shriram : Guhak, that you are a boatman, is a fact; but how did you take me for a boatman ?
Guhak : Prabhu, I ferry people across the river; but you ferry people who have the desire to travel from ignorance to enlightenment,hence are you not superior to me as a boatman?
Listening to his reasoning and love without expectation, Prabhu Shriram embraced him firmly. Happiness derived from being embraced by Shriram was like jiva (Embodied soul) meeting Shiva (God Principle). Guhak felt that he had accomplished the objective of life.
– Dr. Vasant Balaji Athavale (Year 1990)