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A Wise Old Monkey
A king used to maintain a group of monkeys for providing entertainment for his sons. The monkeys were very nicely fed with sumptuous delicacies everyday. The leader of the monkeys was well-versed in the scriptures of such wise personalities as Sukracrya, Brhaspati and Canayaka, and he used to teach the other monkeys these scriptures.
There was also a pack of sheep in the king’s palace and the little princes used to ride them for fun. One of those sheep was very fond of eating anything from the palace kitchen. The cooks in the kitchen had to beat the sheep quite often to prevent it from causing mischief.
The monkey leader thought that this kind of behaviour every now and then may result in something disastrous for the monkeys in the long run.
“The sheep are extremely gluttonous and the cooks, on the other hand, are very adept in beating the sheep with whatever they find at hand. In case the cooks any time start hitting the sheep hit a burning stick from the fire, then the furry body of the sheep would surely start burning. When such a burning sheep starts running around in frenzy and by chance enters into the nearby horse stable, then the hay inside will catch on fire and the entire stable along with it’s horses will be a blazing fire in no time. One ancient expert Salihotra, who is well versed in animal husbandry prescribes that burns on horse flesh can be healed by animal skin obtained from monkeys. Accordingly, the king will have the monkeys killed.”
Apprehending thus, the wise old monkey leader called along all the monkeys confidentially and told them, “In a place like this where the sheep and the cooks are in constant confrontation, we, the monkeys, are sure to meet with our destruction. So, let us take refuge in a forest somewhere before we are destroyed en masse.” But the arrogant young monkeys did not have any respect for the wise old monkey’s advice. They simply ridiculed the old monkey, saying, “You must be under some sort of delusion due to your advancing age, and so you are talking like a lunatic. We are not interested in leaving the place for forest life only to live on distasteful fruits; here we are being fed with nectarean varieties of foodstuffs by the princes themselves.”
Upon hearing the puffed-up monkeys retorting like this, the old monkey told them with tearful eyes, “O fools, you do not know the results of such pleasure. Don’t you know this will be ultimately destructive for you! So let me leave for the forest alone - I don’t want to see your deaths.” Saying thus, the monkey-leader started for the forest, leaving behind all the other monkeys.
Following this, one day that greedy sheep entered into the kitchen. The cook struck the beast with a burning firewood. Immediately the sheep started crying and ran straight into the nearby horse stable. As the sheep, with the fire all over it’s body, started rolling desperately over the hay-stack kept in the stable, the entire pavilion caught fire and many of the horses were burnt to death while the others just ran amock, resulting in a great consternation all over.
The king immediately summoned his veterinary surgeon for the treatment of the horses. The surgeon quoted Salihotra’s prescription that monkey’s tallow was essential for the quick healing of the burns suffered by the horses. So the king ordered that treatment should immediately be undertaken to save the horses, and accordingly he also issued his instructions to kill the monkeys to collect their tallow’s. The monkey leader got the news and was very much depressed.
This moral story as narrated by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, transpires that anyone who faithfully follows the instructions of his real spiritual master and engages himself in the devotional service to the Supreme Lord unflinchingly, will certainly attain ultimate welfare.
Those who contemplate that the ageing advisor (spiritual master) might be under delusion and may not know more than a common person knows, and thus follow evil companions, will certainly meet with a disastrous end in everything.