113. The Doll of Salt

There was a doll made of salt who wanted to measure the ocean's depth.
"Take me to the ocean!" the doll said to its owner. "Put me in the ocean, and I will measure how deep it is. Then I will be able to tell others about the depth of the ocean."
The ocean was far off, many hundreds of miles away. But the owner did as the doll asked: she took the doll to the ocean.
Then, when she put the doll into the ocean's water, the doll began to dissolve.
The doll disappeared.
The doll was the ocean.

Inspired byTales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Notes: This is story 118 in the book. The doll of salt was also a metaphor used by Ramana Marharshi, and here is a version from Germaine Hornsby (as told to her by Sandeep Chatterjee, who heard it at Gangotri in the Himalayas): A salt doll journeyed for thousand of miles and stopped at the edge of the sea. It was fascinated by this moving liquid mass, so unlike anything it had seen before. "What are you?" asked the salt doll. "Come in and see," replied the sea with a smile. So the salt doll waded in. The further it went, the more it dissolved till there was only a pinch of it left. Before the last bit dissolved the doll exclaimed in wonder, "Now I know what I am."

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