This story from the life of Sage Agastya was told by Bhagwan Baba, during a discourse.
There was a farmer who was very pious and virtuous. He worked very hard all day to earn so that he could feed his family. Life was hard for him but he always discharged his duties with love and devotion. One day Rishi Agastya saw him and was pleased with his devotion to God. He wanted to give him something.
He told the farmer that he was pleased, so he would like to bless him with liberation from life. The farmer said, “No! No! Oh great sage, I work so hard all day long because I love my children so much. My children are very young. If I die who will look after them? I am not ready for liberation yet. Let me live for a few more years.”
Sage Agastya went away and came back after ten years. Rishi Agastya offered the same proposal to him. The farmer said, “My eldest son just got married a few months ago. I am eager to see the faces of my grandchildren. I want to experience the joy of becoming a grandfather. Spare me a few more years.”
Sage Agastya returned after another ten years. He looked around but the farmer was nowhere to be found. He saw a dog sitting at the door of the house. By his divine powers, Sage Agastya recognized that the dog was the farmer re-born. He asked the dog, “Are you ready for liberation? Now do you want to come with me to heaven?”
The dog said, “Oh great one! My grandchildren are novices. I had hidden a great treasure under the ground in the inner room of the house. I want to stay here and guard it till my grandchildren mature and I am able to share this secret with them. Please come after a few years.”
Sage Agastya shook his head in disdain and went away. He was back again after another ten years. The house looked totally different now. Some of the earlier residents and many new people were residing there. The dog was nowhere to be found. The Sage, by his spiritual powers, gauged that the farmer was no longer in the body of a dog. The dog had died and had been reborn; a snake. The sage looked at the snake, and was about to ask him the same question. Just then he realised that the snake was sitting over the same spot where the dog had said, the treasure was buried.
The sage decided that there was no use asking the snake the same question. But at the same time the sage wanted to redeem the soul of the man-dog-snake.
He called out to the people living in this house, and said, “Do you know that there is a huge treasure under the anthill behind your house?” All of them got together and broke down the anthill. When the snake resisted, they beat him to death!
They got the treasure and the snake realised that the same people for whom he had been guarding the treasure, had beaten and killed him! At that moment his attachment to his kin, snapped! That moment when he experienced Moh-kshyam, he got Moksham!
Attachments keep us entangled in worldly things and we are not able to get out of the cycle of birth and death. If we want Moksha, we have to cut the ties that bind.