Ananda, the favorite disciple of Buddha, having been sent by the Lord on a mission, passed by a well near a village, and seeing Pakati, a girl of Matanga caste, he asked her for water to drink.
Pakati said: “O Brahman, I am too humble and mean to give thee water to drink, do not ask any services of me lest thy holiness be contaminated, for I am of low caste.”
And Ananda replied: “I ask not thee for caste but for water;” and the Matanga girl’s heart leaped joyfully and she gave Ananda to drink.
Ananda thanked her and went away; but she followed him at a distance.
Having heard that Ananda was a disciple of Gotama Sakyamuni, the girl repaired to the Blessed one and cried: “O Lord help me, and let me live in the place where Ananda thy disciple dwells, so that I may see him and minister unto him, for I love Ananda.”
And the Blessed One understood the emotions of her heart and he said: “Pakati, thy heart is full of love, but thou understandest not thine own sentiments. It is not Ananda that thou lovest, but his kindness. Accept, then, the kindness thou hast seen him practise unto thee, and in the humility of thy station practise it unto others.”
I do not know where I stand in this story, but I can see the Buddha telling me “Friend, thy heart is full of love, but thou understandest not thine own sentiments. It is not she that thou lovest, but her kindness.”
1. This parable from the life of Buddha is taken from The Gospel of Buddha by Paul Carus.
2. The names here are spelled to match with original Pali names, thus Pakati stands from Prakriti and Gotama for Gautama.
3. Though Pakati calls Ananda as a Brahman, it should be noted that he was a Buddhist monk (Bhikkhu) and not a Brahman.