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 the omnipotent. 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.
The sooner we realize the better chance we shall have. Let's not waste our precious human birth like that foolish woodcutter. The one who attains a permanent place in spiritual world using this temporary and perishable body is really intelligent .