To mistake the rope for a snake is the beginning of illusion. The attempt to run away from that snake, or to try to destroy it, is the beginning of activity. Fear, apprehension, anger, worry, stress, and tension originate from this ignorance. Shouting that 'there is a snake, there is a snake' is the way of spreading this illusion. 'The snake is poisonous, it can't be killed, it has two mouths', such and similar adjectives further reinforce and confuse the issue.
The rumour spreads like a wildfire and many even do not know why are they running! They also join in the shouting, 'there is a snake, there is a snake.' Some get busy in earning money, some in seeking name and fame, while others are terrified and become depressed and inactive. The modern day scientists try to analyze, dissect or kill the illusion, and claim to be the wisest of all.
The illusion of snake spreads from village, town, state and nation to all over the world. Everybody, almost everybody, takes the attitude of flight, fight, or fright. Adrenaline helps to sustain these acts. The 'samsara' (the world) is thus created. The tragedy is further compounded by the fact that it does not even cross the minds of the masses to think, ponder, and confirm for themselves the truth about the reality.
Then a wise man comes. He sees the sad plight of the people, sees the chaotic situation, and sees how the masses are exploiting one another by spreading the myth of this illusion. Silently this great soul, this sage, this great teacher, approaches the spot where the so-called snake has taken birth. He lifts the snake and shows the world, "Oh, my dear ones, look, carefully look, what I have discovered! This is no snake; this in fact is a rope. Do not be afraid. Come and test for yourself and be free from the age-old fright, flight and fight."
He climbs the rooftop at Dakshineswar, and turning towards Calcutta exhorts, "Come one, come all. Come my beloved ones for I have discovered the truth of the rope. You also come and confirm this great truth. I will show you the way."
But the impact of age-old illusion -repeating a lie hundred times makes it appear as truth- still prevents many from approaching the sage. The ignorance is so deep-rooted that doubt is raised about the authenticity of the claim, openly or covertly. "It may be all right for him to touch the snake; it may not bite him. But who can tell we shall be spared? It is better for us to run away rather than take a chance," people argue.
A few, however, heed the call of the wise man. They go near that great soul who has realized the truth and touched the reality of rope. Happiness, joy, contentment, and freedom are granted to these few: freedom from worries of 'samsara' (this illusory world). Their faith in the assurances of wise man is converted into self-knowledge. What a peaceful state of mind they must relish! The running and tiredness of thousands of years comes to a blissful end; and a calm repose is assured.
Some relax and their activities come to an end. They are lost in permanent bliss. A few, however, out of compassion, continue to act and spread the message, 'the rope is real, and the snake is an illusion; the Self is Real, and the world illusion'. These Jivan-mukta (free souls) roam on this earth with the message of truth. They spread the message by imparting the knowledge, or show the path to that knowledge, and help many others to realize the truth of the rope as it is, without any illusion of a snake therein.