Shri Nathji was very fond of this particular parable, which he used frequently in his sermons:
Some ants were floating on the surface of the ocean. They were drowning. A small boat passed close by, and the ants pleaded with the boatman to take them on board. But the boat continued on its way and their cries went unheeded. A ship came their way and they cried out again, but the ship didn’t stop for them.
They had given up all hope of ever being saved, when a tiny flower petal came floating towards them. The ants climbed on to it and secured relief from the waters. Just then a storm began to ravage the ocean. The fierce waves of water attacked everything that existed in the ocean. The first to go was the ship. It perished in the storm. The boat was next. But the little petal danced on the surface of the waves and braved the storm successfully.
Safeenaye barge gul banaa legaa kaarvaan more naatvaan kaa
Hazaar maujon ki ho kashaakash magar ye dariyaa ke paar hogaa
The petal of a rose shall become a boat for the weak and helpless
And though the waves be fierce, it shall cross the river
That tiny little petal was faith in God. Even the worst storms in life can be weathered by man if he has with him faith in God. The things of the material world, from which man desires help, all perish one by one. The ants were glad they had not been taken on board the ship or the boat; otherwise they would have perished along with the two.
There comes a time in life when man understands the greatness of faith in God. He is then glad that he did not take refuge in the temporary, perishable shelters of the world!
Shri Nathji would frequently say:
Athaa-to-brahm-jigyaasaa–develop a desire for God! There is no point my placing delicious foods before you, if you have no hunger. There is milk in a mother’s breast. It is not meant for the mother. It is meant for her child–and especially the child who is hungry! I have come to give myself to you. I do not want anything from anyone. I want neither name, nor fame, nor followers!
Let me warn those mahatmas who want people to prostrate before them that they are straying from the path. Far better, if they look to their own salvation, instead. A mahatma who desires name or fame or who wishes to collect a large number of followers around himself is not a real mahatma! As for those mahatmas who have isolated themselves from the people, and are taking the joy of their own meditations–I would ask them to come out into the cities and let others benefit from their realisation!