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The Golden Manuscript

Once a priest in the Kashi-Vishwanath temple had a dream. In his dream Lord Shiva appeared and said that he should invite all priests and scholars to the temple. The next morning the priest invited all the priests and scholars and told them about his dream of the previous night. Everyone considered the priest lucky for having seen the lord in his dreams. Soon all of them collectively propitiated the lord with rituals. After all the rituals were completed they were surprised to see a golden manuscript near the Shivalinga which was shining brightly.
The assembled scholars asked the priest to read what was written in the manuscript. It was written “This valuable manuscript should be handed over to a virtuous person. This manuscript is a present by the Lord to a person several virtues to his credit.”
The chief priest who had called all the scholars to the meeting had all the virtues to his credit, but he was very modest and thought that there were several virtuous people around and such people should get a fair chance in claiming the manuscript. Those assembled began listing to each other how virtuous they were and that they should be the recipient of the manuscript.
The priest on the other hand thought for a while and came up with a solution. He told those who had assembled that they should attend the service at the temple every Friday. The manuscript would be given to every visitor to hold. We will come to know the most virtuous person by divine will. Everyone agreed to this idea. On the first Friday morning each one was given the manuscript but as soon as they touched it, it turned into a manuscript made of slate. They were surprised and told the priest “It is miraculous how the golden manuscript remains golden in your hands but turns to slate when it comes to our hands!”
On subsequent fridays the same thing was repeated and the golden manuscript turned into slate.
Meanwhile, an old man was visiting Kashi and reached the temple. Seeing the serene atmosphere surrounding the place the man thought it was really a blessing to be in such a holy place. He went and bathed in the Ganges and arrived at the temple. Outside the temple he saw a leper shivering in the cold. He went near him and saw that he was hungry too. He gave him something to eat and presented him a shawl saying that it would help keep him warm in winter. Satisfied that he had helped the leper the man went inside the temple. Since it was friday the old man was also given the manuscript to hold. As soon as the man held the manuscript it did not turn into slate but shone brightly as before. The priest handed over the manuscript to him saying that he was the most virtuous and that he was worthy of the manuscript. The man humbly accepted it. The people who had earlier clamored for the manuscript understood that the most virtuous were those who gave without expecting any return.

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