Once Ramakrish Paramahansa was walking with some of his disciples on the shores of a river. Suddenly, he saw a scorpion floating on the water, desperately struggling to survive. Ramakrish’s heart melted. He ran into the water and lifted the little creature. The scared scorpion stung him.
Shaking his hand in pain, Ramakrish dropped the scorpion. It fell back into the river and once again began to struggle desperately. Ramakrish lifted it again and ran towards the shore to put it down, but the scorpion stung him again. The third time, Ramakrish found a twig floating in the water and used it to carefully move the scorpion to the shore safely.
All this time, Ramakrish’s disciples were watching his actions. One of them spoke: “O Master! Why did you lift the scorpion the second time? Even after it stung you, causing so much pain?”
Ramakrish replied “It is the ture of the scorpion to sting when scared or in pain. This one was struggling, and was in pain. But it is my ture to help it. Should I give up my ture just because it was acting according to its ture?”
Another time, Ramakrish taught that men could be divided into four classes: those bound by the fetters of the world, those who seek liberation, those who are liberated and those who are ever free.
“Among the ever free, we may count sages like rada. They live in the world for the good of others, to teach men spiritual truths. Those in bondage are sunk in worldliness and are forgetful of God. Not even by mistake do they think of God. The seekers after liberation want to free themselves from attachment to the world. Some of them succeed and others do not.
Suppose a net has been cast into a lake to catch fish. Some fish are so clever they are never caught in the net. They are like the ever free.
But most of the fish are entangled in the net. Some of them try to free themselves from it, and they are like those who seek liberation. But not all the fish that struggle succeed.
A very few do jump out of the net, making a big splash in the water. Then the fishermen shout, ‘Look! There goes a big one!’
But most of the fish caught in the net cannot escape, nor do they make any effort to get out. On the contrary, they burrow into the mud with the net in their mouths and lie there quietly, thinking, ‘We need not fear any more; we are quite safe here.’
But the poor things do not know that the fishermen will drag them out with the net. These are like the men bound to the world.”
— the harbinger