Devotees would often come to Sri Ramakrishna and express their woes of suffering. They would plead their helplessness to get out of the pulls of the world and seek his help. Sri Ramakrishna would explain the phenomenon to them using a beautiful example. Once, a young fisherwoman came to sell fish in a town. By the time she finished her task she found it was dark and too late to return to her place which was quite far away. She sought shelter in a household where she saw a lot of women inside. The host was a very generous and nice lady. With great care and love she fed the young fisherwoman and took her to a room to rest for the night. In that room there was a huge stack of fragrant flowers. The host lady thought that the young fisherwoman would be happy to sleep comfortably in that room and enjoy the fragrance of the beautiful flowers. She bid goodbye and left the room. Just to make sure that her guest was comfortable she came back after some time only to find the young fisherwoman tossing restlessly on her bed. When she asked the guest, the latter informed her that she was very uncomfortable due to the smell of the flowers.
She asked the host to give her water in a small vessel and when it was brought she sprinkled the water liberally on her empty fish-basket. This immediately produced a strong smell of fish and the young lady kept the basket close to her nose and was soon fast asleep. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that even if we are exposed to spiritual atmosphere, yet because of our samaskars of several births, people find it very difficult to give up their old ways and are dragged again and again by worldly pulls. The only way for spiritual regeneration is constant and relentless practice coupled with Vairagya or dispassion as stated by Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita.