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Saving Goshalak

Once, while moving from Siddharthpur to Kurmar village Mahavir was passing through a dense forest. All of a sudden Gaushalak saw a Tapas ascetic in an opening on one side of the trail. On closer observation he saw that the hermit was busy doing some strange penance. He was standing facing the sun with his head hanging down and arms straight up. Long strands of his hair were hanging on the ground like roots of some old banyan tree. Due to the heat of sun rays, small insects, falling from his unkempt hair were writhing, and out of compassion, he was picking them up and putting them back in his dense locks of hair.


Gaushalak could not control his laughter seeing this strange activity. Jokingly he said, "O abode of insects!
What do you think you are doing? You are gathering insects and considering this act to be a penance."


The hermit remained calm the first time. But when Gaushalak did not refrain from making biting remarks, the
hermit looked at him with his burning eyes and said, "O vicious person! My name is Vaisyayan Tapas and I
am the doom of ignorant fools like you." Instead of jolting him to sanity, this scornful comment drew an
insulting laughter from Gaushalak. The hermit now took a few steps back and angrily started emitting fire
from his mouth (this is a miraculous power called Tejoleshya, acquired through long and harsh penance).
Within no time, a ball of fire rushed towards Gaushalak, who retreated with fear and ran to Mahavir shouting
in panic, "Sire! Save me. This Tapas will burn me." Reaching Mahavir, Gaushalak fell at his feet.

Hearing the pathetic call of Gaushalak, Mahavir was moved. Turning back he saw the approaching fire ball.
From the compassionate heart of Shraman Mahavir flowed a spontaneous stream of cool pacifying energy.
When the nectar-glance of Mahavir fell on the fire-ball, it subsided. The angry hermit was astonished to see
his fire-ball extinguished. He recognized Mahavir as a much greater and more benevolent power than he,
and said, "Pardon me, O embodiment of benevolence! I did not know that this man was your disciple."
Gaushalak was saved from his imminent death.

Gaushalak was relieved. He asked, "Sire! What does this abode of insects say?" Mahavir replied, "He was just going to turn you to ashes with his fire-power. You were saved by me by my pacifying power. Do not disturb anyone in the future."