Do we realize what a precious gift our human birth is? We have been given this human body in order to realize God within, but we waste our incredible reward by ignoring the Lord and living our life controlled by the mind and senses. The following excerpt from The Science of the Soul beautifully illustrates this condition.
Our body may be likened to a precious sandalwood forest, which we can exchange for millions of rupees (spiritual values) but we, in our ignorance, reduce it to charcoal in the fires of the five passions. The following anecdote aptly illustrates this point:
A poor man lived in a forest and eked out his living by making charcoal from scraps of wood and selling it. One time, as a reward for rescuing a king who had lost his way in the forest, the poor man was given a beautiful grove full of the most fragrant type of sandalwood trees. These trees were of a special quality from which very expensive and rare perfume was made. One of these trees, in its natural state and without any effort on the part of the old man, alone was worth more than the poor man could have earned during the rest of his life by producing and selling wood as charcoal.
Of course the poor man was very happy over this gift but did not realize what a great fortune was bestowed on him. So, in order to make a living, he resorted to making charcoal out of the sandalwood trees and selling it in the market for a pittance.
After a long time the king happened to pass that way again and noticed that the most valuable grove had been reduced to ashes, also that the old man was in the same poor condition as before. When the king inquired as to what had happened, the old man related that he had been earning his living by making charcoal from the trees. The king then asked him if he had any of the sandalwood left. The old man replied that he had nothing except a small piece, perhaps, one or two feet long. The king told him to go to the same bazar where he had been selling the charcoal and sell this piece of wood without first turning it into charcoal. There were some wealthy people in the bazar who noticed the excellent quality and rare fragrance of this piece of sandalwood. Recognizing its value, they all wanted to buy it. The result was that the old man earned hundreds of rupees out of that one small piece of sandalwood.
He returned to the king with the money, and the king said: “You have not appreciated the value of this wood. Had you appreciated it, you would have earned millions instead of the paltry sum you did by selling it as charcoal, and that too after going through the unnecessary labour of first making charcoal out of it.” On realizing his mistake, the old man asked the king for another such gift that he might make proper use of it. The king replied that such a gift is bestowed only once in a lifetime.
Maharaj Jagat Singh
Let us not be like the old man in the story. Let us value the precious gifts of the human body and initiation that the Master has bestowed on us and make the best use of these gifts each and every day. Let us not squander Nam, only to realize, much too late, how foolish we have been. Just like the sandalwood that was reduced to ashes, the time lost in not valuing the gift of Nam cannot be recovered.