It would be natural to think that those who have resorted to penance, controlling their senses, will no longer be a slave to their senses. But the senses are not so easily conquered, said Kidambi Narayanan.

This is seen from the story of a sage, who for many years, stood under water, as he performed his penance, with his eyes shut, oblivious of his surroundings. When he emerged from the water, he saw all around him shoals of fish, swimming around with their families.

He, too, was then seized by a desire to have his own family. So he approached a king, who had 50 daughters of marriageable age, and asked the king to get one of them married to him.

But the king was hesitant, for the sage was an old man. The king then told the sage that he would ask all his daughters to present themselves before the sage. Whoever agreed to marry the sage would be married to him. The sage agreed, but made himself appear young and handsome as the girls appeared before him. The result was that they all agreed to marry him! So the king gave them all in marriage to the sage.

Some months later, the king decided to visit his daughters. He found that the sage had provided a separate mansion for each of his wives.

The king visited his eldest daughter first and asked her if she was happy. She said that the sage was a loving husband, but he was in her company throughout the day. Would this not make her sisters unhappy, for the sage was their husband too? The king then visited his second daughter, and she, too, said that the sage was with her throughout and never visited any of his other wives. The story was repeated in every daughter's house.

Finally it turned out that in order to be with all his wives all the time, the sage, using his powers, had made 50 replicas of himself, so that in each wife's house there was a replica of him!

Thus a sage, who had been immersed in penance for many years, became a slave to his senses. So to safeguard against temptation, we must not be complacent, but must keep our minds focused on Lord Narayana.

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