Narada asked Lord Vishnu, "What is Maya?"
Vishnu ignored the question. "I'm thirsty," he said. "Bring me water."
Narada went to fetch water from the river. There he saw a beautiful woman from a nearby village. He fell in love at first sight! They married and had children: two boys and a girl.
Years passed happily.
One day, the river rose in a mighty flood.
Narada watched his beloved children drown, then his wife.
As he sat on the riverbank weeping, Vishnu approached.
"Where is the water?" he asked. "And why are you weeping?"
At that moment, Narada understood Maya.
Inspired by: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Notes: This is story 34 in the book. You can read more about the god Vishnu, his devoted follower Narada, and Maya (sometimes translated as "illusion" in English) at Wikipedia. This famous story always reminds me of the Star Trek: Next Generation episode, The Inner Light.