July 9, 2020
Presenter - manisar
A woodcutter used to go to the forest everyday for getting wood. Everyday he would chop some logs and sell them, that's how he earned his livelihood.
A monk sat by the road on his way to the forest. Sometimes, the woodcutter would give him alms.
One day when he dropped a few coins in the monk's bowl, the monk uttered - "I see you going to the forest everyday, and then coming back in the evening. I have a question - have you ever gone further and tried to see what's beyond this forest?" The woodcutter said - "No", and moved ahead, talking to himself - "Only when time permits, one can go, right? What can be there? There will be either another forest, or no forest. If there isn't any, it's of no use to me. If there is one, what more shall I get by going there." With this, he ignored what the monk said.
One day, all of a sudden he remembered the monk's words. This time he rather decided to go and see what's beyond. And when he went and saw, he was speechless! It was a sandal-forest. Wow! Normal wood doesn't earn you much. What to say about sandalwood! So, now he started selling sandalwood. His condition improved. He got a better house, better clothes. And the biggest thing - the daily routine of cutting wood was replaced by weekly one.
This continued for a few months, or years. One day, when he was going to get sandalwood, the monk shouted again - "Did you go a little further and see what's there?" The woodcutter again said "No", and walked away. And thought - "Is there any kind of wood even better than sandalwood? What is to be expected by going further? And finding time is even more difficult now. In a sense I was better earlier. I had a mud house and very few clothes. Now the concrete house of mine is in need of repair every other day. Then there is bank-account, fixed deposits, insurance policies, tax returns... so many chores and responsibilities. And the great monk is asking me to go further and see. Sure, will go, will definitely go when time permits." And thus he let another few years slide.
Then one fine day, his mind lit up and he remembered the monk's words and he thought "Let's check it out". And, Holy Jesus! When he went further, his jaw dropped - there was a silver mine there... untouched! Wood is wood in any case - be it walnut or sandalwood. Silver is in another league altogether! Now he really became affluent. Started selling silver. His house turned into a palace. Levis jeans and Nike shoes found their place in his apparel. Got maids and servants. And the biggest thing - his weekly routine of coming to that area turned into a monthly one.
Once again, one day he saw the monk on his way. And he thought - "How should I sneak out? If he sees me again, he is definitely going to ask if I had gone further. Now how to tell this reverent sage that I don't have time even to breathe, how to manage going further". But the monk was not going to let him off the hook. He caught him again and fired the question - "Did you see further?". The woodcutter, I mean no-longer-the-woodcutter replied - "No Sir, will go, will go.", and took a sigh of relief. He wasn't going anyway.
Days, months, years went by and one day he somehow managed to do what the monk said - he went further. And he was dumbfounded! Here, there were diamonds scattered on the ground. No effort required, just pick up the diamonds and walk away. No need of digging, carrying, melting, purifying or settling. And the earnings - spectacular! And the biggest thing - the monthly routine made way for a semi-annual one.
But... the stubborn monk! He would not let go. Today he got hold of him again and released the question - "Did you see what's next?". This time, our big shot came back - "Dear Sir, you really helped me a lot. You paved my way from rags to riches. But have mercy now! What can be there worthier than the diamonds? I've become extremely busy in life. So please enlighten me on what can be there further ahead." The monk said - "O dumb-ass! it's me. I'm the one that's further, even beyond diamonds. Have you ever wondered? I knew from the very first day that there is sandalwood beyond the forest you visited everyday, and that there is silver and diamonds up ahead, and nevertheless I just keep sitting here. Doesn't it indicate that I might have something even more valuable than the diamonds? Tell me, do you want it?" And the woodcutter fell to his feet. Spoke - "Please forgive me, your hints were clear, it was my idiocy that I was hell-bent on not moving ahead, and wasted so many years of my life. Now I'm at your disposal. Please pass me on the elixir that you have attained.
The monk said - "OK my son, enter the arena. Just keep in mind this one thing - this path of discovery of truth that you have chosen now will have its troubles and treasures exactly like what you saw so far in your life. Very luring, captivating pleasures will be there. Just like one needs to get over the difficulties, one has to get above the pleasures as well. 'तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा (Ten tyakten bhunjeetha)' - experiencing everything in a detached way you'll have to keep moving. All this training that you have had was for you to imbibe this idea deep inside you. And I'll keep asking - did you see further?"