One day the Lord Vishnu was sitting in a deep cave within a far mountain meditating with his disciple. Upon the completion of the meditation the disciple was so moved that he prostrated himself at Vishnu’s feet and begged to be able to perform some service for his Lord in gratitude. Vishnu smiled and shook his head, ”It will be most difficult for you to repay me in actions for what I have just given you freely.”
”Please Lord,” the disciple said, ”allow me the grace of serving you.”
”Very well,” Vishnu relented, ”I would like a nice cool cup of water.” ”At once Lord,” the disciple said, and he ran down the mountain singing in joy.
After a while he came to a small house at the edge of a beautiful valley and knocked at the door. ”May I please have a cool cup of water for my Master,” he called. ”We are wandering sannyasins and have no home on this earth.”
A wondrous maiden answered his call, and looked at him with undisguised adoration. ”Ah,” she whispered, ”you must serve that holy saint upon the far mountain. Please, Good sir, enter my house and bestow your blessing therein.”
”Forgive my rudeness,” he answered, ”but I am in haste. I must return to my Master with his water immediately.”
”Surely, just your blessing won’t upset him. After all he is a great holy man, and as his disciple you are obligated to help those of us who are less fortunate. Please,” she repeated, ”just your blessing for my humble house. It is such an honor to have you here and to be enabled to serve the Lord through you.”
So the story goes, he relented, and entered the house and blessed all therein. And then it was time for dinner, and he was persuaded to stay and further the blessing by partaking of her food (thereby making it also holy), and since it was so late – and so far back to the mountain, and he might slip in the dark and spill the water – he was persuaded to sleep there that night and get an early start in the morning. But in the morning, the cows were in pain because there was no one to help her milk them, and if he could just help her this once (after all, cows are sacred to the Lord Krishna, and should not be in pain) it would be so wondrous.
And days became weeks, and still he remained. They were married, and had numerous children. He worked the land well and brought forth good harvests. He purchased more land and put it under cultivation, and soon his neighbors looked to him for advice and help, and he gave it freely. His family prospered. Temples were built through his effort, schools and hospitals replaced the jungle, and the valley became a jewel upon the earth. Harmony prevailed where only wilderness had been, and many flocked to the valley as news of its prosperity and peace spread throughout the land.
There was no poverty or disease there, and all men sang their praises to God as they worked. He watched his children grow and have their own children, and it was good. One day as an old man, as he stood upon a low hill facing the valley, he thought of all that had transpired since he had arrived: farms and happy prosperity as far as the eye could see. And he was pleased. Suddenly there was a great tidal wave, and as he watched, it flooded the whole valley, and in an instant all was gone. Wife, children, farms, schools, neighbors – all gone.
He stared, bewildered, at the holocaust that spread before him. And then he saw riding upon the face of the waters his Master, Vishnu, who looked at him and smiled sadly, and said, ”I’m still waiting for my water!”
This is the story of man. This is what has happened to everybody. We have completely forgotten why we are here, why we came in the first place, what to learn, what to earn, what to know, who we are and from whence and to where, what is our source and the cause of our journey into life, into body, in the world, and what we have attained up to now. And if a tidal wave comes – and it is going to come, it always comes; its name is death – all will be gone: children, family, name, fame, money, power, prestige.
All will be gone in a single moment and you will be left alone, utterly alone. All that you had done will be undone by the tidal wave. All that you had worked for will prove nothing but a dream, and your hands and your heart will be empty. And you will have to face the Lord, you will have to face existence. And the existence has been waiting for you; long, long it has been waiting for you to bring something for which you had been sent in the first place. But you have fallen asleep, and you are dreaming a thousand and one dreams. All that you have been doing up to now is nothing but a dream, because death comes and all is washed away.
Source: “The Secret of Secrets, Volume 2” - Osho--