ONCE upon a time a wood-cutter went into a forest to chop wood. There suddenly he met a brahmachari. The holy man said to him, "My good man, go forward." On returning home the woodcutter asked himself, "Why did the brahmachari tell me to go forward?" Some time passed. One day he remembered the brahmachari's words. He said to himself, "Today I shall go deeper into the forest." Going deep into the forest, he discovered innumerable sandal-wood trees. He was very happy and returned with cart-loads. of sandal-wood. He sold them in the market and became very rich.

A few days later he again remembered the words of the holy man to go forward. He went deeper into the forest and discovered a silver-mine near a river. This was even beyond his dreams. He dug out silver from the mine and sold it in the market.

He got so much money that he didnít even know how much he had.

A few days more passed. One day he thought: "The brahmachari didnít ask me to stop at the silver-mine; he told me to go forward." This time he went to the other side of the river and found a gold-mine. Then he exclaimed: "Ah, just see! This is why he asked me to go forward!"

Again, a few days afterwards, he went still deeper into the forest and found heaps of diamonds and other precious gems. He took these also and became as rich as the god of wealth himself.

Whatever you may do, you will find better and better things if only you go forward. You may feel a little ecstasy as the result of japa, but donít conclude from this that you have achieved everything in spiritual life. Work is by no means the goal of life. Go forward and then you will be able to perform unselfish work. (171)