A hermit was living in the heart of jungle, far from the trials and tribulations of normal life. He believed he would find enlightenment in solitude and renunciation. He had taken Agni (fire) for his chosen God and worshipped fire uninterruptedly, feeding a bonfire and singing praises continuously for several years. However, one day, he noticed that nothing in him had changed; he felt no closer to God or more awakened than at the beginning of the asceticism.
He decided to sacrifice everything in the hope that his God would finally appear and reveal the eternal secrets to him. His only valuable possession was a buffalo and yet he resolved to sacrifice it on the name of God Agni.
After taking a purification bath, he found that he didn’t have a blade of grass left with him. So, he tied up the animal and went up the mountain to search for it.
During his absence, some hunters found his buffalo and took it away with them. When the hermit returned, he saw that his only buffalo was missing, he discovered the hunters tracks and came to the realization that his buffalo had been stolen by those hunters who came there.
He was stunned and under the blanket of utter desperation and hopelessness, he said, “Oh, God of fire, I was wasting my time! How can I continue to worship your power, when you cannot look after what is yours? ”
So the man gave up worshipping, rituals and sacrifices and devoted himself to the pursuit of knowledge.

Moral and the Hidden Meaning: Don’t try to bribe God with meaningless rituals, blind practices and hollow sacrifices- either material things or living things- one must search for the ultimate liberation in oneself. Everything comes from God Himself, He is the ultimate creator, operator and the destroyer of all the universal things. It is sheer wastage of time and resources by sacrificing those things to God which in reality don’t belong to us at all.

Source: 110 Tales of Wisdom by Patrick levy (modified by

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