The Talking Water Pot

“Our spiritual masters (asraya-jatiya guru-varga) are the abodes of love.They appear to us in different forms to bestow their mercy upon us. They are reflected in all objects and in every entity. Indeed, they are the special manifestations of Srila Gurudeva, he who imparts divya-jnana, transcendental knowledge.”

The Talking Water Pot

by Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja Acarya Thakura
(Spoken in Oriya, translated by Bhakta Pradosh Kumar Sahoo)


Once there was a guru living in an ashram on the bank of the Ganga with a few brahmacaris, celibate students, disciples. He was engaging them in varieties of devotional service, like cooking, serving prasadam, gardening, cleaning pots and taking care of the cows, etc.

I Am Not Feeling Any Happiness

One disciple, named Govardhan, whose nickname was Govara, had a daily service to go to the river with a big water pot and collect Ganga water for the ashram. He did the service very sincerely for the pleasure of his guru, but after some time, he thought, “Why is it that although I have been doing this service for so long I am not feeling any happiness? Maybe I should leave this ashram, go to the city, get married, and enjoy the rest of my life.”

You Remain Here and I Am Going

From his childhood he had lived in the ashram and performed seva, service. He had no idea of anything else, no experience of any big cities, he didn’t even know where they were. Day by day he was thinking very deeply about this. Finally one day, while sitting on the bank of the Gangä, he decided, “Why should I continue to supply Ganga water to this ashram? I am not getting any benefit. I won’t do it anymore. Today somehow or other I will leave. I have heard that all big cities like Käsi and Prayag are on the bank of the Ganga. If I follow the river bank then eventually I must reach one of them.” He filled up his water pot with Gangä water, put it down, and told the pot, “You remain here. I am going.”

Hey, Where Are You Going?

He looked around to make sure that no one was watching, and then began to slowly make his way towards the south. He had only gone a few yards when he suddenly heard a voice, “Hey, where are you going?”
Startled and frightened, he looked back, but he couldn’t see where the voice had come from. He looked all around, and seeing no one, he again started to walk. But suddenly the same voice called, “Hey, where are you going?”
He became more fearful, “Who is calling?”
He was surprised that he could not see anyone. Looking at all directions, he crouched down close to the ground and tried to flee as fast as he could, dodging here and there. But again the voice came, “Hey, Govara, where are you going? It’s me calling, your, your water pot. Come here!”

The Water Pot Started Chastising Him

Govara became stunned. He was amazed to find his water pot calling him in a human voice. With great eagerness he rushed back to speak to it. The water pot started chastising him: “Do you really think that leaving your guru-seva will give you peace and pleasure? The chief result of your service will be the fulfilment of life’s ultimate goal. Although I am made of dull matter, I can speak like a human being because my life is successful due to my giving service to a pure devotee of the Lord.”

A Pure Vaisnava Made the Water Pot Speak

Govara’s guru was a very powerful and pure Vaisnava, pure devotee of Lord Krishna. He was making the water pot speak. The water pot continued, “I originated from a muddy, contaminated place. One man collected me, took me to his house, and began to knead me by pressing heavily with his feet. He then formed me into this water pot shape, let me dry, and eventually burnt me in a fire. Finally, he picked me up and flicked me with his finger to see if I had the right sound, ‘ting.’

Guru-Seva is Not easy

I passed the test, so he took me to the market to sell. Fortunately I was purchased by this sadhu and engaged in his service. The result is that my life became successful and I am able to speak with you directly. You should not think that your guru-seva will be very easy, but if you engage in this seva then your life will be a success like mine, and you will get real pleasure and happiness. Otherwise, if you leave this service you will have to cry and cry. Instead of pleasure you will only get so much pain and anxiety.” Hearing this story from the water pot, Govara started trembling. Somehow he managed to carry the pot filled with water back to the ashram, where he fell flat before his spiritual master. His guru knew everything because he was a divya-drsta: he could see the past, present and the future.

His Guru Could Speak Through Anything

He asked Govara, “What happened to you?”
Govara spoke of his experience with the water pot and started crying when he revealed how he had planned to leave his guru’s service.
His guru pacified him and said, “Are baba! It was not the water pot speaking to you. It was I that spoke through it.”
That guru was a most powerful Vaisnava; he could speak through anything. He advised Govara that staying in the guru’s ashram and engaging in pure devotional service would gradually purify him, and in a similar way to the water pot, he could make his human birth a success.

 Sent in by Goloka Vrindavana dasa


4 Responses to The Talking Water Pot

  1. Murali Krsna Swami June 2, 2012 at 3:04 am #

    BhagGita 18.57-58

    In all activities just depend upon Me and work always under My protection. In such devotional service, be fully conscious of Me.

    When one acts in Krsna consciousness, he does not act as the master of the world. Just like a servant, one should act fully under the direction of the Supreme Lord. A servant has no individual independence. He acts only on the order of the master.

    A servant acting on behalf of the supreme master is unaffected by profit and loss. He simply discharges his duty faithfully in terms of the order of the Lord. Now, one may argue that Arjuna was acting under the personal direction of Krsna but when Krsna is not present how should one act?

    If one acts according to the direction of Krsna in this book, as well as under the guidance of the representative of Krsna, then the result will be the same….One should act according to the order of Krsna. This is a very important point. And that order of Krsna, comes through the bona fide spiritual master in disciplic succession.

    Therefore, the spiritual master’s order, should be taken as the prime duty of one’s life. If one gets a bona fide spiritual master and acts according to his direction, then one’s perfection of life in Krsna consciousness is guaranteed.

    If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If however, you do not work in such consciousness of me, but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.

    A person in full Krsna consciousness is not unduly anxious about executing the duties of his existence. The foolish cannot understand this great freedom from all anxiety.

    …Therefore, no one should be carried away by the false ego of the bodily concept of life. …One should note very carefully that one who is not active in Krsna consciousness is losing himself in the material whirlpool, in the ocean of birth and death.

    ….No conditioned soul actually knows what is to be done and what is not to be done, but a person who acts in Krsna consciousness is free to act because everything is prompted by Krsna from within and confirmed by the spiritual master without.

  2. Murali Krsna Swami June 2, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    Well,….it looks like the problem is not the ability of Sri Guru and Krsna to speak to us. Rather, we are just not very serious to listen to Them.

    What can we do but painfully realize that and then dash our heads on the lotus feet of Sri Nityananda Rama, Srila Gurudeva!

    Better first….., pick up our instructions and then beg for such mercy from Sri Guru and Gauranga! Like it is said, “God helps those who help themselves”, and “First deserve and then desire”.

    This is our test……


    • Murali Krsna Swami June 2, 2012 at 1:00 am #

      “I was very much eager to hear him.”

      Discussion with BTG Staff — December 24, 1969, Boston

      Srila Prabhupada: …Yes. When Guru Maharaja (Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) was speaking, at least my brain was puzzled. (laughter) Even he would speak in Bengali, it was very difficult to understand.

      He was speaking from a very, very high platform. But I wanted to hear him. That’s all. Even I did not understand it. That he appreciated, (laughs) that “This boy does not go away. He hears.”

      Actually that was my position. In the beginning I could not understand what he was speaking, but I wanted to hear him. That’s all. I was very much anxious to hear him. That he marked. And he was kindly pleased on me, that “He wants to hear. He does not go away.”

      That was my policy, that “let me hear. Even I do not understand, let me hear.” That’s all. Yes. Actually I did not understand in the beginning what he was speaking.

      So Bhaktisiddhanta’s writing is not very easy to understand. Yes. …But if you simply give aural reception to the vibration, that will make him advanced, not exactly that anyone has to understand it (in the beginning).

      Yes. Just like a man is sleeping and somebody is calling him. In his sleeping condition he does not understand. By calling, calling, calling, he gets up because that vibration is there. Not that in his sleeping condition he is understanding what is this sound is coming.

      So similarly, we should give reception to the transcendental vibrations made by Krsna and His bona fide representatives. That will make us awakened. Not that we understand everything (right away).

      I remember one day in the beginning at Bbsr, sitting after Srila Gurudeva’s class and, Gurudeva looked at me and said, “Murali Krsna, don’t try to figure it out!….Just accept it”.

  3. Puskaraksa das June 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Thank you Goloka Vrindavana Prabhu

    You’re doing a great service, by transcribing these classes and darshans of Guru Maharaja and broadcasting them, with the help of Nimai Pandit Ji.

    This is most helful and needed, especially when the original class was in Oriya!

    As a matter of fact, our Gurudeva is also a divya-drishta. He is tri-kala-jna, knows past, present and future and has the capacity to convey his messages, intructions and guidance through whatever recipient he may judge fit and convenient.

    Realizing that we are seen throughout our lives is a great realization! Then, being corrected and advised at every step, is Guru’s unalloyed mercy towards his disciple, so as to guide him out of material entenglement and gradually empower him to fulfill some higher mission and plan he has conceived for his disciple, along with Krishna and His entourage…

    For us to measure up to it, with the help and kind assistance of all other sincere servants in the line of our Gurdeva…

    Hare Krishna

    Yours in service
    Puskaraksa das

Dedicated to the Life and Teachings of Srila Gour Govinda Swami