After teaching his students from the Bhagavad Gita, the sage watched them perform their morning chores.
“Premal, why so sad?” He spoke to a young boy who was a recent arrival at the ashram.
“Sir, I love to hear you speak about the Gita, but I don't remember much afterward. The other boys easily talk of the holy teachings and I know nothing.” Premal looked dejectedly at the ground. “I feel I don't belong here,” he concluded.
The sage was thoughtful a moment. Then he said, “Premal, fetch me the coal basket.” The boy loved to serve, and eagerly returned with the basket that the students used to carry coal to the stove. Inside the basket was black with the dust of its daily burden.
“Fill the basket with water from the river and bring it back to me.” Seeing the boy’s look of confusion, he added, “Just do as I say.”
The boy dipped the basket into the river but all the water leaked out before he could return. “Do it again,” commanded the sage. Five times the boy filled the basket with water, and though he ran faster each time, the basket was always empty by the time he reached the sage.
Finally the boy said, “Teacher, you have given me an impossible task. It is useless to try to bring you water in this basket.”
“You say it is useless?” the sage looked at him inquiringly. “See inside the basket.”
The boy looked and saw the basket was now different. It was clean; the water had washed away all traces of the black dust.
The sage explained, “You may not remember or understand everything when we study the Bhagavad Gita. But even just listening, with patience and reverence, will gradually change your consciousness, until your heart is cleansed of mortal delusion and fears.”
The sage put his arm affectionately around the boy. “God is no scholar but a lover. If you seek Him sincerely, one day you will see how He has transformed you utterly.”