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A story about “Maya”

Once upon a time, Lord Vishnu was out for a walk, and along with him was Narada. While they were talking, Narada asked Vishnu to explain the concept of “Maya“. Vishnu replied that he would love to, but his throat was parched, and he would need a drink of water first. Towards the horizon, they spotted a small hamlet, and Vishnu asked Narada to get some water from there.

Narada took Vishnu’s leave, and went to the hamlet. At the well, he realized that he did not have a rope or a bucket to draw water. As he was poring over the problem, a young maiden came to him, and asked him whether he needed any help. Narada told her that he needed some water, and the maiden asked him to come to his house, where she could give him a small pot to carry the water too.

At her house, her father was getting ready to have lunch, and invited Narada to join him. Narada agreed, and they had a pleasant conversation over food. Narada understood that the man was a farmer, and owned most of the farmland around the hamlet. After the meal, the farmer asked Narada if he was willing to marry his daughter. She was the only family he had, and he thought that Narada would not only be a good groom for her, but would also be able to care for his farms.

Narada thought for a while. The maiden was beautiful, and seemed to like him too. Narada agreed, and they were married. The maiden’s father handed over the reins to Narada, and he took excellent care of the farms. Narada put in hard work, and the farms prospered. In time, they had three children, and life was good to them.

One year, the rains arrived earlier than usual, and started playing havoc with the farms. Very soon, the crop was lost. Yet, the rains continued unabated. The river near the hamlet was swelling, and broke its banks in the middle of one night. The hamlet was flooded, and almost everything was washed away. Narada had lost everything, but he still had his family with him. He and his wife carried their children on their shoulders, and climbed a hillock – the highest spot that they could find. Yet, the waters continued to rise. Soon, the waters reached them, and slowly, started engulfing them. As it reached their knees, Narada called out to Lord Vishnu for help.

Moments later, Vishnu appeared before him. “Narada,” he said, “I have been waiting for you for so long. My throat is parched and you were going to get me some water.”

In a flash, the waters receded. The hamlet disappeared, and so did the farms, the river and his family too. All that was left were the empty plains over which Lord Vishnu and Narada had been walking, seemingly a long time ago.

It was then that Narada realized that instead of trying to explain what “Maya” is, Lord Vishnu had given him a practical experience instead.

  1. June 28, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I’m not a very religious person, but I have huge respect for the ancestors to come up with these simple yet haunting and intriguing tales. “Maya will give you everything, yet leave you parched. What a beautiful thought.

  2. June 28, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Yes, I love these tales too. Everyone has something to take away from them depending upon their circumstances.

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