A man’s consciousness is everything.

As Vikramaaditya was walking fast toward cremation ground, Vaitaal spoke again – “Vikram, What is in a man which makes him different from other living beings and he is regarded the highest among brave people?” Vikram didn’t say a word, he continued to move on silently. Vaitaal continued – “OK, Then I tell you a story in this regard.

There was a king in Magadh Desh. His name was Shoorsen. He was a very good king. Many kings came in his court just only to see him. People said that his palace was more beautiful than Indra’s court.

Once he went for hunting and went far in search of the hunt. He was following a deer. He was a very good horse rider. He had come very far, his people were left far behind. He was alone. Suddenly his deer disappeared. Now he had the chance to look around. It was a very dense lonely forest. He started thinking that in which direction he should go, he couldn’t make out so he just started moving in one direction. But the day was getting over, and he was still in the forest. He was hungry and thirsty also. There were many wild animals around him, but he was not afraid of them, the problem was only of his hunger and thirst.

The night had fallen by now, he could not move more, so he loosened his horse, tied him with a tree and lay down on the ground. He kept his sword near him. He was worried, he was hungry, and he could not sleep. At about midnight he heard the sound of two lions fighting together for a lioness. He got up, picked his sword and started seeing their fight. A lioness was standing nearby. Suddenly the lioness ran away, so both lions also ran away after her, and the whole atmosphere became quiet again.

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The king again lay down and waited for the morning. But in the meantime he heard a sound and he again got up taking his sword. His pearl necklace and diamond and pearl studded sword were shining. He heard a voice – “Who are you?” The king got very happy to hear a man’s voice, so he very softly asked him – “First you tell me, who are you?” The man replied – “I am a traveler, but who are you? You look like a king. How have you come here?” “How did you know that I am a king?” “Your shining gems are telling this.”

Then Shoorsen introduced himself, that man also came near him and said to him – “I know the way, I can take you out of this forest. I have something to eat, you may satisfy yourself.” He gave a couple of Chapaatee and some vegetable to him. King ate them, they were like Amrit to him. The man said – “Now you take some rest. I will keep watch.” Then the man told him that his name was Gunaadhip and he was an orphan. His elder brother had brought him up. His sister-in-law had expelled him saying that he was a loafer. Now he was traveling on foot and was looking for a job. Shoorsen didn’t say anything, he slept comfortably.

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In the morning he made the traveler sit on his horse and they came to his capital after mid-day. He made a comfortable arrangement for Gunaadhip to stay. He appointed him as his counselor and made the arrangement of palace, servants and maids etc for him. Gunaadhip felt lucky.”

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After a little pause, Vaitaal continued – “One day, Gunaadhip went to the city and saw a beautiful woman taking bath in a pond. He fell in love with her, she also liked him. She asked him – “Do you like me?” “Yes” The woman whispered – “Then come tomorrow at this time.” He came back and told everything to the king. Shoorsen said – “I will also go with you tomorrow.” Gunaadhip came back to his palace, he could not sleep the whole night.

Next day both went to the same place, she was taking bath in the pond like yesterday. Seeing Gunaadhip coming she came to him and asked about Shoorsen. Gunaadhip told her that he was the king. Hearing this she said – “I will marry Shoorsen.” Shoorsen got stunned hearing this, even Gunaadhip couldn’t digest this. Both looked at each other. Then Gunaadhip said to the king – “O King, You marry her.” Shoorsen got silent for a moment then said – “No, Gunaadhip, You marry her.” But the woman refused to marry Gunaadhip. King asked her – “But you have already agreed yesterday?” “Yes” “Then why did you change your decision today?” “Because I want to live in a palace.”

Shoorsen said – “Don’t worry, you will live in palace because I have given him a palace to live.” Now she agreed to marry to Gunaadhip and they were married. Now tell, O Vikram, whose consciousness is purer? Gunaadhip’s, who got ready to give up that beautiful woman for whom he himself wanted to marry; or Shoorsen who was also attracted to the beauty of the woman but still left her for Gunaadhip?

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Vikram first kept silence. Vaitaal said – “Speak, Vikram. If you will not reply me in spite of knowing the answer, your head will split into pieces. He knew that he had to reply, so he said – “You asked me a question, that “what is in a man which makes man higher than other beings?” This is the answer of the same question. You remember you told that two lions were fighting for a lioness. This is the point where man differs from animals, and its reason is his consciousness. Only the consciousness makes him higher than other beings.”

As Vikram broke his silence, Vaitaal said laughing – “You are right Vikram.” and saying this he again ran away from the king’s shoulder. Although the king was attentive still the king took time to capture him, but he captured him almost immediately and started walking fast again towards the cremation ground.

After a while Vaitaal said – “Why are you so much in hurry? Trust me we will be there in time.” Vikram said – “Already two Prahar night has passed and I have to reach there before the end of the third Prahar.” Vaitaal said – “You will reach there Vikram, don’t worry, just listen to the story.” Vikram did not speak.

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Vaitaal said – There was a Tapaswee Muni in Avanteepur. His name was Shankhdhar. Once he saw a beautiful woman in his Aashram, and got attracted to her. The woman also blinked at Muni. But Muni remembered his Tapasyaa, so he gave her Shaap, “You become an old woman.” That woman became an old woman. She said crying, “Hey Muni, What was my fault? Why did you give me such Shaap?” Muni said “You came to break my Tapasyaa.”

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“Then why did you take my youth, why didn’t you control yourself?” Muni didn’t say anything and went away from there. Now tell me, was it appropriate for the Muni to give such a Shaap to that woman?

Vikram said – “Yes, It was appropriate. If that woman had not blinked at him then the Muni was at fault; but since she blinked at him, she was at fault. She had no right to blink at the Muni. If Muni was attracted only toward her beauty, then Muni was at fault, but in this case he was not at fault. That is why she was punished.”

This time Vaitaal didn’t run away, so Vikram continued moving.

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