Sri Ramakrishna often used to emphasize that total and complete faith is absolutely essential for progress in spiritual life. To highlight the power of faith, he narrated the following story.
A young boy, Jatila, was studying in a school. To reach the school, he had to walk through a dense forest area and the journey often frightened him and he confided this to his mother. She told him that there was no reason for him to be frightened since he could always call on Madhusudan, who would come to his rescue immediately. The boy asked his mother who this Madhusudan was. She simply told him that Madhusudan was his elder brother. The mother by this had meant Bhagwan Sri Krishna, who is also addressed by the name Madhusudan. Soon after this, one day when he was passing through the forest area, Jatila was gripped by fear and he cried out, “O brother Madhusudan !”. But, there was no response and Jatila began to weep aloud, “Where are you brother Madhusudan? Come and save me. I am terribly afraid”. The prayer was straight from the heart and the boy had such intense faith in his mother’s words that he had no doubt about either the existence of Madhusudan or his coming to his aid. Then God could no longer stay away. He appeared before the boy and said, “I have come. Don’t be frightened.” So saying, He took the boy’s hand, led him out of the woods and showed him the way to school. Further, He assured the boy that He would respond whenever Jatila would call him.
When Jatila returned home that evening and narrated what had happened, his mother was amazed. Although she had been worshipping Lord Krishna for a long time, never had she imagined that the Lord would appear in flesh and blood before anyone.
This small story powerfully conveys what true faith can achieve.