There was a young man who learnt that unless one accepts a qualified Guru before his death, he takes birth as an animal in his next life. This motivated him to seek out and accept initiation from a pure Guru. After initiation, the Guru instructed him to fetch some Ganges water for his daily worship. The Guru would then worship Lord Krsna with the holy water brought by the disciple. Although the Ganges was far away, he daily brought the water without complaint about the hot, cold, or rainy seasons.The rule of Vedic civilization is that water to be used for worship must be brought barefooted.
In this way, twelve years had passed, and the student still had not yet received any spiritual realizations from the service. He endured many difficult situations and austerities following the orders of his Guru, but he did not see any benefit from them. Therefore, one day, at the peak of the hot season in June, while returning with the Ganges water he thought, “I have served this Guru for so long but it has brought me no result. What am I doing here? There is nothing in this so-called spiritual life. It is just a waste of time. Let me go home and enjoy everything that I can get.” Following his mind, he put the water-filled jug under a banyan tree and got ready to run away from his Guru.
Meanwhile, the Guru was awaiting the water for worship. He was an authentic Guru and a serious devotee of Krsna, and the disciple also served him sincerely. Lord Krsna, seated in their hearts, then desired to take action. When the boy was about to run, Lord Krsna spoke to him through the water jug, saying, “O boy, why are you running away from your service? Take a minute and just listen to what I have to say.” The boy looked around and saw no one, only the clay jug. When he discovered that the jug had spoken, he was surprised. The boy then sat down and listened to what the clay jug had to say. The jug said, “I was once only clay lying on the bank of a pond. A potter came, dug me up and took me to his home. He then turned me into powder, mixed me with some water, and beat me till I was a lump of clay of the right texture to mold a jug. He then placed me on his wheel and spun me very fast. While I was rotating on the wheel he shaped me into a jug and placed me under the hot sun. When halfway dry, he then brought me in and beat me again, but this time he placed a support inside me to smooth my body. Then he again placed me under the hot sun till I was fully dry. Next he painted me with nice colors to make me look beautiful, then burnt me in a fire. After I was completely burnt, he removed me from the oven, cleaned me up, and placed me in his shop. While in the shop many people came and grabbed me by the throat and hit me, to insure that I was not cracked anywhere. After enduring these mishandlings and beatings for a long time, this great Guru reached the shop and purchased me. After so much trouble I obtained the good fortune to be filled with Ganges water for worship. Please do not leave me half of the way from worship; please take me to the Guru so I can be used in worship. After such great difficulties I have come to this stage of worship. Why do you want to leave me here halfway from my destination? Do not worry about the trouble you are experiencing near the Guru, because your difficulties are nowhere near what I have gone through to reach to this stage. The troubles experienced on the spiritual path make one become purified. Your sins are not yet completely burnt and that is why you are feeling discouraged in your spiritual service. Carry on with your service, and in due course you will receive perfection.”
Hearing this the boy was surprised and thought: “This water pot went through so much trouble to serve Krsna. My suffering is nothing next to his. Let me go and do my duty.” He thus brought the water to the Guru. The Guru blessed him with pure devotional service, making him a pure devotee, and at last he reached Krsna.
The essence of this history is that without service to Krsna no one can reach the kingdom of God.
[Sri Krsna Balaram Swamiji, KBS5139]