There was a doll made of salt, and it 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 away, many hundreds of miles. But the owner did as the doll asked, and he took the doll to the ocean.
But when he put the doll into the ocean's water, the doll began to dissolve.
The doll disappeared.
It was the ocean.
Inspired by: Tales 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."