Once a traveller going on his journey approached a hermitage near which there was a cemetery. He sought shelter there from the heat of the day. The Guru (Preceptor) of the hermitage was giving a talk to his disciples.
The traveller welcomed the opportunity to listen to a sacred discourse. At sunset the Guru and the disciples came out of the ashram. They saw a strange spectacle and the disciples asked their Guru what was happening. The Guru smilingly said that what they were seeing was a corpse which jackals and dogs were trying to carry off. They had dug up the body that was buried in the morning and were trying to make a meal of it. Just then a big jackal came there and conveyed some message to other jackals. Immediately all the jackals abandoned the body and retired into the jungle.
The disciples asked the Guru why jackals abandoned the body that had come their way. The Guru meditated for a time and then explained to the disciples the reason for the strange phenomenon. The Guru said, “the life-story of this corpse is a remarkable one. This man during his entire lifetime had not listened to the words of elders or the name of God. Even if he heard something, he never cared to follow them. He never did any good deed in his life. His eyes never turned towards anything holy. His hands were never used for anything sacred. He was greedy after other people’s wealth, but never once fed a hungry man in his life. His feet never went to a temple or any holy shrine. The elder jackal which came to the cemetery told the other animals that the dead body of such a person was unfit for consumption even by animals. The sins of the dead man would infect them also if they touched the body of such a sinner. The jackals abandoned the body on getting this warning.
The moral of this story is that we should not think that it does not matter what happens to the body after death. Even the body should be sanctified and for that purpose good deeds should be done during one’s lifetime. Every limb of the body should be devoted to sacred purposes. A body that has not been sanctified in this way will be despised even by jackals. Remember the preciousness of the human body that has been given to you. Use it for rendering service to others. See that every organ in the body is utilised for doing sacred acts.
Body is meant to perform good deeds. When you put this body to proper use, you will have a good mind. When you have a good mind, you can earn the love of God. This is my duty. I am born to serve” – it is with such an attitude that you should take up service.