Parable of the Magnet



            “The inherent character of a magnet is to exercise attractive power which can be experienced by materials that are receptive and responsive to that power, such as a piece of iron or steel-alloy.


            “Place a magnet on a table and a bit of iron in the vicinity. The latter would move rapidly towards the magnet in a straight line and cling to it.  In due course, if the attachment persists, the iron itself could become a magnet on its own.  The quality that is induced in it to start with, could be retained by it also.


            “The jiva (by which term we mean the embodied soul) is in the nature of a piece of iron which, given the appropriate conditions, cannot but journey towards the Magnet which is the Primordial State (named ‘God’ in the bhakti-margam).  The consummation has to come about sooner or later.  When such a development cannot be avoided under the Law of Evolution, why should there be delay which results only in misery to the soul in the ultimate analysis?


            “Let us go back to the example we commenced from.  Suppose the aforesaid piece of iron, although in the field of influence of the magnet, happens to be embedded in earth that has built up into a hard crust around it.  It would be experiencing the pull of the magnet all right, but there would be no tangible evidence because it has been reduced to a state of immobility.  Sun and rain would weaken the hardened mud over a process of time and then the iron would be able to shake itself loose and embark on its destined journey to the magnet in one rapid movement.


            “The piece of iron is neither animate nor sentient and it has to wait for Time to liberate itself from the entrenchment and entanglement. But man is different in that he is having a discriminating mind which can aid the natural phenomenon of Liberation.  What is holding down the embodied soul, Sirs?  It is the burden of two layers of karmas – sanchita and prarabdha.  Investigating into the cause and manner of bondage, man has to initiate appropriate self-effort to reverse the knots of the past.  He should also be vigilant not to form further entanglements.  This is the strategy of applying plus-and-minus corrections to one’s thoughts and desires after prior-evaluation of their possible effects.  However intricate the knots be, they could be loosened in this method.  It is not different from solving a crossword puzzle.  You pore over the clues one by one and write down the answers that come to you.  Then you tarry there and see whether the adjoining clues ‘Across’ or ‘Down’ lend themselves to yield a word or two.  Sooner than you think, the blanks would be filled and you may pat yourself on your back (without spraining your wrist of course!).


            “The soul has been stagnating in the terrestrial field too long, generation after generation, but once the thrust towards Liberation arises, along with it would come the motive force for shaking off the shackles. ‘Shake your chains to earth like dew, which in sleep had fallen on you,’ said the Poet Shelley.


            “What I have said thus far is mainly by way of elucidation to some ardent seekers who have conveyed to me their considered finding that in their case the Guru’s Grace had been operating on them long before they came to attend our Programmes.  This is a perspicacious observation on their part and it reveals that the deserving quotient had been in them all along, working for the loosening of their karmic ties.


            “That practical Scripture Yoga Vaasishtam says unequivocally that an earnest aspirant realises the Self only through his own effort and the appearance of a Guru along the Path is only a matter of tradition.


            “The Guru, if he is a jnaani, is no different from Brahman which he has identified himself with and become one with. There is only one Magnet and it is always exercising its pull on you.  The instant you become conscious of this truth, you qualify yourself to be an active participant in the task of your own Liberation.”


 — Sage TGN


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