Once there lived a woodcutter in a village. He was very hardworking and had earned a good name in the village.
Every morning before he started his daily duties, he had the habit of stopping by a nearby temple and praying. He was a happy man, who did not have any complaints about life.
One day, he left to cut wood in the farther parts of the jungle and got lost.
He heard a wolf howling and hid behind a tree to observe the direction of the sounds. At a distance he could see the wolf had hurt his legs and was unable to move. In an effort to help the wolf, he stepped forward. However, he heard the roar of a lion and stepped back to hide again. He was curious about what would happen to the wolf now and found a spot to watch the lion and the wolf.
The lion had killed a deer and brought it to that part of the forest to eat. The hurt wolf was lying nearby. After eating its full, the lion left the remains and went away.
The wolf realized the lion has left and used its hind legs to move forward and eat the remains of the deer.
The woodcutter was surprised and wondered about the Divine. He thought to himself, it is the duty of God to feed the living beings, and he even ensured the hurt wolf got a proper meal. I am also a living being and I do pray to God as well. If I just sit by in one place, God will figure out a way to feed me as well.
Thinking so, the woodcutter returned home and sat down in a corner, waiting for God to send him food. Days passed and no one came, nor brought any food for him. Weeks passed and now his body was starting to become lean and weak. He felt it might be time to end his life and calls out to God to help answer his question and sleeps off.
God comes in his dream and asks him to narrate what he saw and what was his takeaway.
He narrates the whole incident and says, I too am sitting like the wolf – but you are not sending me food.
God smiles and says – You are a hardworking person, who works everyday to earn your meal. Your takeaway was supposed to be from the Lion – who just like you is hardworking and hunts everyday for its meal. After having its full, it shares the remaining with other living beings who are less fortunate.
The shocked woodcutter wakes up and realizes his mistake. No one had asked him to take the example of the wolf. His body parts were functioning well and he was fortunate to have been able to earn a living and live happily, however his own mistake had caused him pain. He was happy when he compared himself to the lion and thought the next step for him would have been to share what he had with those less fortunate than himself.
Very often, we too look at the wrong example & create our own takeaways that later lead to challenges in life.