Two young ascetics were going on a pilgrimage in the hills. They were just a short distance away from their destination when they saw a beautiful young girl lying on the roadside. She had fallen down and hurt herself so badly that she had several bruises all over her face, hands and legs. She said, “Please help me, I was on my way to the temple when a horse cart knocked me over and I fell down. Now my legs and back hurt so badly that I cannot possibly walk up to the temple by myself.”
One of the ascetics lifted her up in his arms and carried her to the temple. Once they were there he said, “I have done whatever I could, you shall now have to fend for yourself or seek help from someone here.” Having said so, the ascetics set off on their way into the temple and then back.
Two days later, the second ascetic said to the first one, “I’ve wanted to tell you something for the last two days.”
“For the last two days? Why? I’ve been with you all through. What’s been stopping you?”
“I was wondering how to say it to you.”
“Go on, what could it be, that you hesitate so…?”
“That young girl you carried up to the temple … she was very pretty.”
“Yes. It is not right for a bharmachari to touch a woman. You held her so close to you. She was in your arms all the time when you were walking up the hill, carrying her. As a recluse, it was not the right thing to do. This kind of act titillates the senses.”
The ascetic laughed aloud and said, “I carried her only for a few minutes; then dropped her off. It seems, my friend, that you are still carrying her!”
Renunciation is not just donning an ochre robe and chanting mantras. It is the power of battling against evil forces and holding the mind in check!