Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna to know about the role of Guru or spiritual preceptor in the spiritual life and progress of a disciple. Sri Ramakrishna would emphasize the great contribution of Guru in one’s spiritual progress and explain the idea using a beautiful analogy. In a village there was a farmer who had a piece of agricultural land. It was the season for sowing seeds and beginning of agricultural activities. But, there was no rain and there was a terrible shortage of water. The farmer was exploring the ways and means of bringing water to his paddy field. Finally he decided to connect his field with the water source at quite a distance by digging a canal. He worked very hard and had covered almost the entire distance. However, there was still a small barrier left which had to be breached for the water to enter his field. At that time he gave up digging and allowed the water to soak the barrier completely. After some time it was washed away and the water flowed into his field. The farmer was overwhelmed with joy and was simply watching the flow of water. Sri Ramakrishna would say that the Guru also works the same way in his infinite compassion. He works hard to remove the mental blocks, doubts and many other spiritual obstacles in the mind of the disciple. He almost completes his job, yet he leaves a small barrier for the aspirant to remove by himself so that he might truly feel the joy of spiritual experience. For the outsiders or onlookers it would appear that the aspirant had struggled himself and realized the spiritual goal, but in reality the Guru had made an enormous contribution at the same time leaving some scope for self-effort by the disciple. Thus ultimately to reach the goal self-effort is no doubt very essential, but behind that is the unseen hand of Guru who had helped enormously in the spiritual progress of his disciple.