MEN may be divided into four classes: those bound by the fetters of the world, the seekers after liberation, the liberated and the ever-free.
Among the ever-free we may count sages like Narada. 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.
The liberated souls, such as the Sadhus and Mahatmas, are not entangled in the world, in ‘woman and gold.’ Their minds are free from worldliness. Besides they always meditate on the Lotus Feet of God.
Suppose a net has been cast into a lake to catch fish. Some fish are so clever that 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 straggle 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.