A king once got separated from his kinsmen while chasing a deer. He
wandered alone in the forest. As dusk fell, he knocked at the door of
a tiny cottage in the jungle. It was opened by a poor woodcutter who
gave the ’stranger’ a warm welcome. He offered him his own bed to
sleep along with some simple but tasty food.
In the morning, while taking leave of the wood cutter, the king
disclosed his real identity and asked him, what he could give in
return for his hospitality. The wood cutter being a simpleton
asked, “Can you give me a place where I can cut trees and sell them?”
The king took him far away to the edge of another jungle and
said, “This is yours from today. Do what you like with it.”
The wood cutter would cut trees and burn them to make coal, because
they were too heavy for him to carry to the market place. Several
months passed. The woodcutter was very happy.
When the monsoon season started, there was heavy rainfall and the
wood became wet. The ground was full of slush, so it was impossible
to burn the wood to make coal. He had no choice but to carry the wet
logs of wood to the market to sell it. When he showed the wood to the
buyer, the buyer offered a sum that was a hundred times more than he
was paying earlier.
The wood cutter was confused! Earlier he was supplying coal whereas
now it was wood and that too, wet wood! Where was the catch? The
buyer told him that the wood that he had brought was no ordinary
wood, it was real Sandalwood! The wood cutter realized what a fool he
had been. He had cut and burnt hundreds of Sandalwood trees to make
coal, little realizing the value of this precious wood. Had he known,
by now he could have been a very, very rich man.
We also need to understand the value of this precious human body
awarded to us by Supreme Lord. Without realizing its importance and
proper utility we are burning it at both ends in the fire of our
worldly desires. Most of our energies are burnt in doing futile
things that eventually have neither value nor meaning.
But, by the time we realize that we are wasting our lives, it is
perhaps too late. The whole life burnt in hoarding wealth, making
friends and getting material pleasures, brings us to a miserable
state at the end of life. At that time when nobody cares, we turn our
face towards God, but where is the energy to do any devotion
The sooner we realize the better chance we shall have. Let’s not
waste our precious human birth like that as foolish woodcutter.