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A monkey, tired of his own restless nature, decides to turn over a new leaf." I must do some sadhana [spiritual practices]," he thinks. "That is the only way I can calm myself down and uplift myself spiritually." He decides to spend a day fasting and meditating. Isn't that what the great yogis do? The monkey figured that abstaining from food would deplete the body of energy, thus making it naturally calmer and fitter for contemplation. He fixed the date of his fasting on Saturday. Having formulated this plan, he started swinging excitedly from branch to branch, tree to tree, like one gone berserk.

On Saturday, the monkey climbed down from the tree where he had been sleeping and sat down at the foot of the tree for a day of fasting and meditation. He assumed the lotus posture, closed his eyes, and soon became lost in heroic fantasies of fasting and becoming enlightened.

When he woke up, he beceme acutely aware of the hunger pangs in his stomach. He realized that fasting until daybreak was going to be tougher then he thought. "How am I going to hold out without food until then?" he wondered. Instinct was pushing him to climb the tree and enjoy the succulent mangoes dangling from its branches. However, he held himself back. After some time, he thought, "What if I become so weak by the end of the day that I am unable to climb up the tree to pluck the mangoes? The simian world would suffer a tragic loss if I died prematurely! It's in the interest of all that I continue my sadhana on the branch containing that huge cluster of mangoes"

Having thus determined, the monkey swiftly climbed up the tree and sat in one nook, eyeing the mangoes with wanton desire. Saliva dribbled down his furry cheeks as he contemplated the juicy fruit. When he realized what he was doing, the monkey dramatically turned his face aside end shut his eyes to temptation. In his mind's eye, however, he was feasting on fleshy pulp.

When the other monkeys saw him on his perch, they were deeply impressed by the sight of their brother meditating. "What supermonkey strength he must have," they thought, "to withstand the temptation of eating and scampering about." They gawked for only a few moments, and then darted up the tree and started plucking the mangoes. The 'meditating' monkey peeped anxiously through his half-closed eyes, wondering if they would strip the tree of on its fruit. Mercifully, they didn't.

As soon as they left, the monkey opened his eyes. He thought, "What if they take away all the fruit? I can't take that risk. Who knows, I may not even have the strength to reach out and pluck those mangoes. I may as well take the best ones now, so that I will have something nutritious with which to break my fast. Anyway, there's no rule that says that you can't keep food by your side while you fast. One should just not eat." Impressed by his own suave logic, the monkey dashed to where the mangoes were hanging and plucked more than a handful.

Feeling somewhat relieved that he had a sumptuous dinner awaiting him, the monkey closed his eyes, deeply inhaling the tropical aroma of the mangoes. He could sense the fleshy pulp in the plump fruit he held. He opened his eyes and looked longingly at the mangoes, their green skin flecked with yellowish-red streaks. Who could have imagined that a lump of pulp would hold such tantalizing pleasures?

"What if I become so drained of energy that I am unable to peel the mango or even put it into my mouth?" the monkey asked himself. "I could put the fruit inside my mouth now. Fasting means one should not swallow any food. There's nothing wrong with keeping the food in the mouth." The monkey promptly peeled the fruit and popped it into his mouth.

When mongo-flovoured saliva started welling up in his mouth, he swallowed it. Within moments, he started chewing the mango. He didn't stop with just one mango, but followed it up with many more. As he ate, he was dimly aware that he hod broken his fast but justified the feast with the thought, "What's the difference if the mango is inside the mouth or inside the stomach?"

Amma says it is difficult to overcome our vasanas [latent tendencies] or control our senses. We should stay away from situations that will tempt us to indulge in those vasanas. Otherwise, we would be like an alcoholic trying to overcome his or her addiction while holding a bottle of beer.

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