Story-day is for cultural exploration, puraanas and parables and finding out about leading lights in spiritual philosophy.
Today, a parable, as given by Swami Sivananda-ji of Divine Life Society.
NO QUICK FIX.
A foolish man had a good cow which yielded plenty of milk. He was astonished that day after day he could get form the cow eight seers of milk in both morning and evening. Thinking that there must be some extra storage within this cow, he wondered how he might access even more from her. He was greedy and eager to have all of the milk at once.
One morning, he took a sharp razor and cut the cow's udder. He thought that by this method he could get the whole of the milk. What a tragedy! He got only profuse blood instead. Not a drop of milk extra was there from her udder and the cow bled to death.
Like this, a foolish and over-ambitious sadhaka finds that tapas (discipline/austerity) yields wonderful will-power and spiritual progress. However, the sadhaka becomes impatient, wishing for the fulfillment all at once, wanting the highest spiritual experience to simply 'drop in the lap'. Thus, one morning, the sadhaka decides to increase to asuuri tapas - the very extreme. Taking the 'sharp razor' of this austerity, the sadhaka cuts into the essence of tapasya, damaging the philosophy - and what is the return? No spiritual progress at all, but rather, downfall, disappointment and a twisted spirituality equal unto death.
Oh sadhaks, practice sattvika tapas; follow the 'golden mean'. Evolve step by step only as much as is right for you in each day. Slowly and steadily rise to the Supreme Bliss!