Prudence of a Woodcutter




A woodcutter decided to journey to the great Sundarban forest to collect a big load of wood. A friend warned him that the Sundarban is filled with wild animals. “You should not fail to take a weapon with you,” his friend advised.

The woodcutter snorted, “I am an experienced woodsman. Your advice that I should take a weapon with me to the forest is like asking a man from Newcastle to bring a load of coal with him when he returns to his home city. The forest is filled with trees, and the trees possess hard and stout branches. If any beast comes to threaten me, I’ll saw off a branch and use it to frighten him off.”

And so, while the woodsman was in the midst of the Sundarban, a man-eating tiger gave him the opportunity to put into practice his boast. As the tiger bounded out of the underbrush, the woodsman flailed away at a branch of a tree with his saw. But he had hardly cut through the bark before the tiger seized him by the neck and killed him.


Yogis who hope to conquer their senses by the strength of their senses put themselves in exactly the same position as this unfortunate woodsman. While struggling to execute a posture or a breathing exercise, the yogi may at any moment be overwhelmed by an attack of six enemies: lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy.

On the other hand, a devotee subdues these dangerous enemies by turning them over to Krsna’s control. Lust becomes subservient to the transcendental Kamadeva, anger is used against atheists, greed is directed to hearing about Krsna, illusion is transformed into infatutation for serving Krsna, pride becomes absorbtion in one’s true identity (rather than the false identity of the body) and envy simply cannot remain, because a devotee is full of compassion to everyone.


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