Pearls of Wisdom : Story of the wood cutter – Series of discourse by H.H. Shreemajjagadguru Shankaracharya Shree Shree Raghaveshwara Bharathi Mahaswamiji

Sri Samsthana

A wood cutter was employed by a timber merchant. Strong and sturdy the wood cutter started cutting down the trees with great enthusiasm. On the first day he cut down 18 trees. On the second day he put in more effort, yet could cut only 15 trees. On the third and fourth days he cut 12 and 10 trees respectively. Unable to figure out the reason for this reduction in output, he asked the  timber merchant,
“Why am I not getting my due rewards for the effort I am putting in?”

The merchant  asked him, “Have you sharpened your axe recently?”


The wood cutter did not remember when he sharpened his tool the last time.


Our story is similar to that of the wood cutter. Many of us are orators, musicians and dancers. If we do not  train and practice our skills regularly, our expertise and effectiveness dwindle day by day and we end up doing the same thing over and over again. If we wish to attain sustained success in our chosen fields, we have to continuously keep sharpening our skills and faculties. If not, we will continue to expend a lot of effort for little reward.

Translated by : Dr. Sharada Jayagovind

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