Sri Ramakrishna would often extol the power of faith. To illustrate this point he used to tell a story.
Once the son of a certain man lay at the point of death and it appeared that none could save his life. However, a monk, who accidentally came to that place, said that there was a way out.
He said, “If you can get in a human skull the venom of a cobra mixed with a few drops of rainwater under the constellation of the star Swati, your son’s life can be saved.”
The father looked into the almanac and found that the constellation of Swati would be in ascendance the next day. He prayed intensely to the Lord saying that He should make the fulfilment of all the conditions possible and spare the life of his son. He set out the following evening and diligently searched in a cremation ground for a human skull. At last he found one under a tree.
He held it in his hands and prayed for rain. Suddenly, the shower came. A few drops of rain water were deposited in the upturned skull. The man said to himself, “Now I have the water in the skull under the right constellation.”
Then again he prayed earnestly to the Lord that the rest of the conditions may also be fulfilled.
In a short time he discovered, not far from where he was standing, a frog and a cobra springing to catch it. In a moment the toad jumped over the skull, followed by the cobra whose venom fell into the skull. With overwhelming gratitude the father cried out, “O Lord, by Thy grace even the impossible is made possible. Now I know that my son’s life will be saved.”
Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that if one has true faith and intense longing, one is sure to get all assistance by the grace of the Lord and reach one’s spiritual destination.