THE PUNDIT AND THE MILKMAID

There was a pundit who led a disciplined life, sticking to a prearranged timetable. He woke up from sleep in the early hours of the morning, recited Pranava and later, after ablutions, drank a cup of milk at 7 a.m. exactly.

Sometimes the milkmaid arrived late, for she lived on the other side of a river that flowed between the area in which she lived and the area in which the pundit lived. She had to catch a ferry to cross over the river with the milk. The ferryboat either started a little earlier or a little later. So, sometimes by the time she reached the Pundit's house it used to be very late.

One day the Pundit scolded her and said, "You are upsetting my disciplined life. Don't you know that I must have my cup of milk at 7 a.m.? Why do you depend on that boat to take you across? Just repeat the name of Rama. You will be able to walk across the river. Rama will see that you do not get drowned."

The maid being very simple and unsophisticated had faith in the words of the Pundit. Next day, the maid repeated the name of Rama and she just walked across the river. The Pundit questioned her: "How could you come on time?" The milkmaid replied: "Sir, I repeated the name of Rama as you instructed yesterday, and I could just walk across." The Pundit was flabbergasted. He did not believe. He just drank the milk and said: "Let's now go to the bank of the river. Let me see you walk across the river." The maid stepped into the river repeating the name of Rama; she could just walk across. The maid requested the Pundit to follow her. But the Pundit knew that he would not be able to walk across the river, because he did not have faith in what he himself had said - the power of the Name.