There is a Bengali proverb that "You go to catch fish, but don't touch the water"

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Expressions researched:
"I'll catch the fish but will not touch the water" |"You go to catch fish, but don't touch the water" |"we should fish, but don't touch the water"

Notes from the compiler: VedaBase research query: "fish touch water"@20

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

We can take part in everything—politics, sociology or philanthropism, altruism, there are so many things they have discovered—provided by taking part in that department of activities we advance our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is a technique, that we should fish, but don't touch the water. If on the plea of fishing, you become fall down in the water and you are gone, washed away, then what is this?
Lecture on SB 1.16.5 -- Los Angeles, January 2, 1974:

Similarly, in this world they have invented so many things—philanthropism, altruism, nationalism, this "ism," that "ism," but without Kṛṣṇa. It is the same position. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness he's going to hell, however moral he may be, however pious he may be, so-called. If he does not know Kṛṣṇa, it has no meaning. Therefore, the first condition was that we are interested to hear about Mahārāja Parīkṣit's punishing the Kali provided it helps us to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise we have no interest. This should be the principle of devotees. We can take part in everything—politics, sociology or philanthropism, altruism, there are so many things they have discovered—provided by taking part in that department of activities we advance our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise reject. Don't take part. You'll be implicated. There, that, that philosophy, technique: dhari' mācha nā choṅya (?) pāni, that we should fish, but don't touch the water. If on the plea of fishing, you become fall down in the water and you are gone, washed away, then what is this?

So sometimes we say that you take part in politics. Our business is not to take part in politics for acquiring big post like president or secretary or attorney general. What you will do that? We have no meaning for this post. Because for a devotee what are these posts? Even the post of Lord Brahmā or Indra, the heavenly king, it has no meaning.

There is a Bengali proverb that "You go to catch fish, but don't touch the water." You see? If you are clever, if you have that rod to catch fish, take out the fish, but don't touch the water. Similarly, for our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we have to go in so many places. They are all materialistic, but we cannot become materialistic. We will take some service from a person for Kṛṣṇa's service. So we'll do some good to him, but we don't accept his quality.
Lecture on SB 2.9.2 -- Melbourne, April 4, 1972:

So a man claiming to be in the high position, he must be expert in everything. He must be expert in everything. So therefore a Vaiṣṇava is called dakṣa, expert. Expert. So our, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement being the highest, topmost quality, so in case we require to do the work, some lower quality, we cannot say that "I do not know." We must do it.

But we are not in touch with that quality. Prakṛteḥ... There is a verse, etad īśanam īśasya. Just like Kṛṣṇa comes as a human being in this material world, but He is not affected with any of the qualities of the material world. That is therefore called nirguṇa. Nirguṇa means the material qualities cannot touch you. Similarly, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa also, when he is in service of Kṛṣṇa, he is also nirguṇa. The material qualities cannot touch him. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). He immediately becomes transcendental to all the material qualities. But that does not mean I cannot act in the material quality. Kṛṣṇa is working just like ordinary prince. He was born of a king, in the royal family. But He has nothing to do. Na māṁ karmāṇi limpanti (BG 4.14). Kṛṣṇa is not affected. Dhari māccha nāce pāni. There is a Bengali proverb that "You go to catch fish, but don't touch the water." You see? If you are clever, if you have that rod to catch fish, take out the fish, but don't touch the water. Similarly, for our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we have to go in so many places. They are all materialistic, but we cannot become materialistic. We will take some service from a person for Kṛṣṇa's service. So we'll do some good to him, but we don't accept his quality. That should be our position.

But we have to become detached. Detached means... There is a Bengali proverb: dhari mach nacoi pane. Means that "I'll catch the fish but will not touch the water." That is, that intelligence required.
Lecture on SB 3.25.11 -- Bombay, November 11, 1974:

This is material world. And internal energy is the spiritual world. And marginal energy-we, the living entities. Marginal means we may remain in this material world or we may remain in the spiritual world, living entities. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā there are two kinds of living entities who are living in this material... Kṣara, they have fallen down. Fallen down in this... And attracted in this tree of saṁsāra, banyan tree. This is described in the Fifteenth Chapter of... So asaṅga-kuṭhāreṇa. We have to disassociate with this tree. Asaṅga-kuṭhāreṇa. By detachment. To cut this tree, it is very difficult. But we have to become detached. Detached means... There is a Bengali proverb: dhari mach nacoi pane.(?) Means that "I'll catch the fish but will not touch the water." That is, that intelligence required. You see in the beach... Here we do not see many, many. But in America we see on the beach, old men. They have got no business. They simply waste their time catching fish. Yes. But they are not very interested in this way, nacoi pane.(?) They also touch water also.

So we have go live in this material world in such a way that we shall do everything for Kṛṣṇa, but we'll have no attachment for this material world. We may have big, big buildings, big, big temples, but we should not be attached to this. But for Kṛṣṇa's sake we must have. Because it is Kṛṣṇa's property. That is our mission. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam (ISO 1). We have to teach people that "Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. Why you are occupying it unnecessarily?"