One day, the king monkeys called his subjects, the monkeys and started talking. Do you know about our ancestors? They were all so great. Sugreeva, even Lord Rama got into friendship with him. Lord Rama had to seek help from our ancestor Sugreeva. See how great we were. Then Bali, the monkey king Bali. Every one was scared of Ravana. Ravana was so powerful. He lifted Kailasa Parvata with his bare hands; that Ravana, Bali tied him with his tail and dragged him....

One day, the king monkeys called his subjects, the monkeys and started talking.

Do you know about our ancestors?

They were all so great.

Sugreeva, even Lord Rama got into friendship with him.

Lord Rama had to seek help from our ancestor Sugreeva.

See how great we were.

Then Bali, the monkey king Bali.

Every one was scared of Ravana.

Ravana was so powerful.

He lifted Kailasa Parvata with his bare hands; that Ravana, Bali tied him with his tail and dragged him all around.

Ravana had to accept defeat and beg for his mercy.

That was Bali.

Then of course Hanumanji, who crossed the ocean, thousands of miles, he just jumped across, and set Lanka on fire.

They were all so powerful.

But today, we are not getting any respect.

Men are just looking at us like animals. They laugh at us. They make faces at us whenever they see us.
When they want to insult someone among themselves, they call him monkey, and ridicule.

So, I went through the scriptures and realized this: The only difference between a man and an animal is that man observes Dharma and we just follow our natural instinct.

Do you know what is dharma?

They are spiritual practices.

Men do these.
They have self control.

They don’t do bad things.

They think and decide whether to do something or not.

This is what Dharma is.

So, if we also observe Dharma, we can become equal to men.

We will also get respect like men.

All the monkeys became very excited: yes, yes we will also observe Dharma and become like men.

Tell us how to observe Dharma.

The first essential of Dharma is self-control, self-restraint.

Men get this by doing fasting.

They stay without food even if they feel hungry.

This is what you have to start with.

This is Dharma.

Tomorrow is Ekadashi, a very auspicious day as per human calendar.

So all of us will stay without food for the whole day.

All the monkeys said - yes yes we will stay without food for the whole day and become powerful like men.

Next morning, they all went to the river, took bath and started fasting.

They made a resolve that they will stay without food for the whole day, 24 hours.

They all sat in a line and started meditating which also their king had told them to do.

But you know, monkeys can’t sit quiet.

After some time, their bodies started itching, they started scratching, some started yawning.

Lethargy and laziness started spreading all over their bodies, and hunger started.

After some time, some of them opened one eye and started looking at others; what is he doing, what is he doing?

One of the monkeys said: our fasting is going to be really successful.

We will also become powerful like men.

But hope the king would give us the tasty Jamun fruits from the palace garden tomorrow once the fasting is over.

We are doing such a great thing, he will definitely reward us.

Another monkey said: but by tomorrow we all will become so tired.

Will we have strength in our bodies to go to the garden?

Why don’t we do one thing?

We will go to the garden now and wait under the trees, and we will continue fasting.

All monkeys agreed and started rushing towards the garden.

They lined up under each tree.

Some time went by.

It was not even couple of hours into the fasting.

One of them said again: will we have strength to climb up the trees, tomorrow?

Yes, yes that is true, we will all climb the trees and sit on the branches.

We are not supposed to eat, that’s all.

That we will not do.

We will not eat till tomorrow morning.

All the monkeys were sitting on the branches of Jamun trees waiting for the fasting to be over.

The ripe fruits were falling from the trees and their tasty juice could be seen spreading on the ground.

The mouths of the monkeys started watering.

One of them said: don’t you see, the creator god has given us cheeks like pouches, so that we can store fruits in them.

We will pluck the fruits and keep in our cheeks so that even the effort of plucking fruits will not be there tomorrow.

You see, we are all going to be very tired.
All the monkeys briskly started plucking the ripe jamun fruits and filling their cheeks.

You know what could have happened in some time, I don’t have to tell you.

The king of the monkeys had rightly said: the difference between a man and an animal is that man has self-discipline, self-control, self-restraint.

You as children, should develop discipline and self-control.

You should not let go of it even for a day.

Don’t say: today is a holiday, let me sleep for some more time.

Don’t say: for today, just for today, let me watch TV till midnight.

Slowly slowly, this habit of breaking discipline will get into you, take hold of you.

One by one, you will get into the habit of breaking discipline, diluting discipline.

And without discipline what is man like?

A monkey.

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