Have you ever seen a snapshot of a child and wondered what happened to him later in life? Well, then, here is the rest of the story for one young boy. And although it may not be factual, it is true. In fact, it is the rest of the story for all of us.

Swami Kriyananda told us the tale of a boy who came to a saint and asked to become his disciple. The holy man said, “Come with me,” and took him down to the river Ganges. He proceeded to hold the boy’s head under the water, until the boy began kicking furiously. Still he held him under, until the lad was struggling with all his strength to break free. Finally he let him up.

Then he asked the boy, “What did you want just now, more than anything else?” The gasping boy replied, “AAir, AAAir!!!” The saint replied, “When you want God as much as you wanted air, come back, and I’ll accept you as my disciple.”

But here is what happened next, or at least I like to think so: The boy, whose name was Anand, left feeling angry at the saint, and a little ashamed at his own weakness. As the years passed and the incident faded to a dim memory, Anand still thought about God, but never seemed able to find any time to spare for Him. For you see, Anand had become so successful that he was the envy of the nation. He had a wonderful family, a fine reputation, and more wealth and more possessions than he could ever use.

Gods boatman India Paramhansa Yogananda on boat in the River Ganges

“God’s Boatman,” painting by Nayaswami Jyotish.

As happens for all of us, time passed, and now it was nearly two years since his wife had died. His children were grown and living abroad, and Anand’s life had settled into a routine that began to grow tiresome. One day, in a pensive mood, he started to think, “I have everything anyone could want, except happiness.” Then, remembering his youth, he thought, “I wonder what became of that saint who held my head in the Ganges?”

He discovered that the saint had become quite famous, due to a miraculous power: Although he was usually seen in the river, praying and giving counsel, he occasionally left the water and wandered through the region. At these times his simple dhoti always remained wet even under the blazing sun, as did his skin. And whenever a drop of that water fell upon some fortunate onlooker, that person received an instant healing.

Anand decided to visit him once again. When he arrived at the river he was astounded to see that the saint not only hadn’t aged at all, but was standing in exactly the same spot where he had first seen him some fifty years earlier.

Anand approached shyly, and said, “I came to you many years ago, but you probably don’t remember me.”

The saint began to weep, and softly replied, “Oh, my son, my very own, you’ve finally returned. I have waited for you all these years, praying that you would come back to me.”

Anand, now weeping too, said, “I realized finally that I do want God more than I want air. You can hold my head under the water for as long as you like, even if I die.”

The saint laughed and said, “What good would it do to kill your body? You would simply come back again. I want to help you destroy your ego. The Ganges, you see, is only a symbol of the energy in the inner spine. I’ll teach you techniques that will allow you to submerge yourself in those sacred waters. Then you will find a fulfillment that all those paltry possessions could never give.”

And so, this is the rest of the story for each of us. Somewhere, our master is waiting. When we begin to want God more than we want air, we will return to him, and he will immerse us in that true Ganges which will carry us into the ocean of bliss.

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

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  1. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish ji,
    Thank you for this beautiful blog 🙂
    How blessed and encouraging to know that our Beloved Master is waiting for us ?
    In Master’s love

    1. How Beautiful!!
      Hope our longing for God is consistent and not distracted by delusion.
      Thanks for sharing Ji!

  2. Thank you Baba. Been stuggling very much of late and blocking God as a result. I love getting your emails as they often bring me back.

  3. Thanks for sharing such a soul touching message

  4. Beautiful story. Inspires one to dive deep in meditation!

  5. This is Beautiful, How simply the essence unfolds.
    Very nicely explained-..Thank you so much. Jai Guru

  6. Your encouraging words are much appreciated. Thank you. An aside: I love the peace and deep abiding as evoked through your “God’s Boatman” painting . Are prints available for framing?

  7. Everyday, think of five things that you are grateful for.

  8. Powerful, Jyotish, thank you! See you in a couple weeks!

  9. A beautiful ending to this favorite story! Memorable and inspiring. Thank you so much!

  10. Thank you, Jyotish!
    This story really touched my heart!

  11. You story brought tears to my eyes, and I am letting them follow their path down my cheeks. The accompanying spinal “chill” is prove that the Ganges runs thru us all, and shall one day carry us to the sea….
    Blessings to you and Davi!

  12. Tearfully blissfull. Many thanks. Lots of gratitude.

  13. Beautifully said, Jyotish. I felt I lived your story along the way as I read. I had a wonderful meditation earlier this morning. I felt like I loved the whole of Ananda, all of Laurelwood, including Daiva and Gangamata, you and Devi, all the ministers, all the Masters and on and on — it just spread to encompass the world and beyond. I haven’t had such an experience in a long time. I think I still have some work to do on this planet, like the man in the story. Making the necessary changes to want God that badly is becoming more and more urgent. Somehow that fits with the loving way you presented this powerful lesson. Many blessings, janakidevi

  14. Thank you for this deeply instructive story and all of the work you do, and have done, on behalf of Amanda and humanity. 🙂

  15. What if we are already our own guru? The individual consciousness shapes their awareness the way a crafts(wo)man hones their skills. What if a set number of philosophers, warriors, ascetics., etc throughout our supposed world history were actually the same personality furthering their refinement? So, why would it be necessary for such an individual to search for answers in another, when answers to complex questions have always come so easily to them? Especially since being a child. Before ever even knowing who they were.., I’ve had Sri Yukteswar & Yogananda appear to me in a total of 3 dreams. I’m assuming it’s because of who I am rather than who’ve I been & that with or without the influence of the SRF or Ananda, I’m already on my way to ultimate liberation through reasoning & deduction alone. Of course empathetically speaking, when thoughts & feelings work in unison, there are concepts & realizations that the average seeker just can’t conceive of due to their lack of experience. Grow On.

  16. Thank u , thank u, Deviji, wonderful stoty and real awakening.

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