Quite often people either seriously or even for fun feign about illness, etc. Sri Ramakrishna would draw the attention of devotees to such behavior and warn about the lurking dangers in such practices. To illustrate the point he used to narrate a story.
Once a man was in a deep financial crisis and was feigning madness to escape the consequences of his liabilities. His family and friends were not aware of the real situation and hence took him to several doctors. But, no one could diagnose or cure his illness. The more he was treated for his ailment, the greater became his madness. At last a wise physician found out the truth and taking the man aside rebuked him saying, “My friend, what are you doing? Beware that in feigning madness you will really become mad.” Already he had developed some genuine signs of insanity. This sensible advice opened the eyes of the man. He realized his folly and gave up acting as a mad person.
The moral of the above story is that by constantly acting in a manner contrary to one’s nature i.e. pretending to be something which one is not there is a great danger of falling prey to such pretentions. Such practices are very dangerous and can ruin one’s life. In particular, spiritual aspirants should be very careful and should never indulge in such practices. Their spiritual practices should have a touch of reality and should be genuine and focused on their goal. Spiritual life is like walking on razor’s edge. One should be extremely alert if one has to avoid the pitfalls and dangers of life and reach the ultimate goal.