( Story told by Swami Vivekananda )
We are all like this in the world. A legend tells how once Narada said to Krishna, ‘Lord, show me Maya.’
A few days passed away, and Krishna asked Narada to make a trip with him towards a desert, and after walking for several miles, Krishna said, ‘Narada, I am thirsty; can you fetch some water for me?’
‘I will go at once, sir, and get you water.’
So Narada went. At a little distance there was a village; he entered the village in search of water and knocked at a door, which was opened by a most beautiful young girl. At the sight of her he immediately forgot that his Master was waiting for water, perhaps dying for the want of it. He forgot everything and began to talk with the girl. All that day, he was again at the house, talking to the girl. That talk ripened into love; he asked the father for the daughter, and they were married and lived there and had children.
Thus twelve years passed. His father-in-law died, he inherited his property. He lived, as he seemed to think, a very happy life with his wife and children, his fields and his cattle, and so forth. Then came a flood.
One night the river rose until it overflowed its banks and flooded the whole village. Houses fell, men and animals were swept away and drowned, and everything was floating in the rush of the stream. Narada had to escape. With one hand he held his wife, and with the other two of his children; another child was on his shoulders, and he was trying to ford this tremendous flood. After a few steps he found the current was too strong, and the child on his shoulders fell and was borne away. A cry of despair came from Narada. In trying to save that child, he lost his grasp upon one of the others, and it also was lost. At last his wife, whom he clasped with all his might, was torn away by the current, and he was thrown on the bank, weeping and wailing in bitter lamentation.
Behind him there came a gentle voice, ‘My child, where is the water? You went to fetch a pitcher of water, and I am waiting for you; you have been gone for quite half an hour.’
‘Half an hour!’ Narada exclaimed.
Twelve whole years had passed through his mind, and all these scenes had happened in half an hour! And this is Maya.
Source: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 2/Jnana-Yoga/Maya and Freedom