The king loves his queen, and on her birthday, presents her with a beautiful necklace. She treasures the gift, and is always aware of it around her neck.
As time passes, the gift becomes routine, and one day, is forgotten on the terrace.
An eagle carries it to her nest, by the side of a lake. The necklace hangs a little out of the nest, and its image is seen in the clear waters below.
A kingdom-wide hunt is launched for the missing necklace. A traveler is resting by the lake, when he sees the image of the necklace.
The water is clear, and it seems as though the necklace is lying in the water. He rushes in to pick it up. This muddies the waters, and the image is no longer seen. He waits for the water to clear, and rushes in again, but all in vain.
Approaching the palace, he says that he has found the necklace, and the police can go and get it themselves.
The police party makes the same mistake. They can see the necklace, but any action to retrieve it makes it vanish.
A local wise man guides them that what they are pursuing is an image.
He points to the necklace hanging in the nest, from where it is then retrieved.
My teacher used this analogy to illustrate the story of human life. We were given a great gift by the Lord at birth, and we have lost it.
Periodically, we rush towards some image, but our restlessness only creates confusion.
Our gift lies not in transitory images, but inside us. By His grace, the gift and the image will become one:
As the reflection of an object blends in the water,
Kabeer, just so virtue dispels doubt, and the soul is absorbed in the Lord.