Sri Ramakrishna used to narrate a beautiful parable to explain the true nature of this world. Once, there lived a man who had a great teacher. The man knew that the teacher had miraculous powers. He begged his teacher to teach him a mantra by which he could tame ghosts. The teacher obliged him. One day at his command a ghost appeared. It said, “Tell me what you want me to do. The moment you are not able to give me any work, I shall break your neck.” The man was full of desires and he started commanding the ghost to fulfill his desires. But, the ghost accomplished everything in no time. Finally, the man could not find anything more for the ghost to do. It started threatening the man saying that it would break his neck. The man desperately ran to his teacher and told him that he was in great danger. He explained his trouble to his teacher and sought his help and protection. The teacher gave a beautiful solution. He told the man to ask the ghost to straighten the curly tail of a dog. The ghost devoted itself day and night to the task of straightening the curly tail of a dog. But, it found it impossible to do so. With great difficulty it would straighten it, but the very next second the tail would become curly once again.

Sri Ramakrishna would say that the world is like the curly tail of a dog and it can never be made perfect. He would say that when we engage ourselves in philanthropic services, we should bear in mind clearly that no benefit worth the name is going to accrue to the objective world. All such services should be aimed with the idea of self-purification leading to individual evolution and ultimate emancipation.

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