Once a man was chased by an elephant in a forest. Seeing no respite, he climbed a tree but he slipped, was about to fall before he could hold on to a branch. He looked up and found that the elephant is waiting to devour him and two rats, one black and one white, were slowly nibbling the branch he was hanging on to. He understood that very soon the branch would fall to the ground.
As the man looked down, he discovered that there were many snakes. Suddenly a drop of honey fell on his face. He pulled his tongue out and licked it. There was a honeycomb between the two branches he was holding. Due to disturbance caused by his holding and shaking the branch, bees were out to bite him. But at the same time honey was also oozing from the comb.
Forgetting the obvious (elephant, snakes, rats, and bees), he just adjusted his tongue to get drops of honey straight on his tongue. Now, he was happy indeed forgetting his precarious situation.
This analogy from the Mahabharata perfectly fits a common man. The man represents the common man or ourself. We are stuck in this precarious situation of this material world (samsara). Death (elephant) is chasing us continuously; it will not leave us without devouring. The black and white rats represent night and day respectively. They are slowly reducing our age. The hissing snakes represents the big obstacles in life. Honey-bees represent the day to day problems we face in our life. The sweet honey represents the pleasures’ of this world in its myriad forms.
If only we accept the lending hand of Krishna, we can save ourselves a lot of trouble but we are too attached to the drops of dripping honey.
The plight of man in this world is a wonder indeed!