A holy man once came to a small village. People heard about his extraordinary and saintly qualities and flocked to get his blessings and darshan (sight of a holy soul). It is believed that an encounter with a saint can endow not only spiritual credit but worldly gains too, so many were eager to get there.
Amongst the hordes of people rushing for benediction there was a thief too. He thought that maybe the vision of the holy man may bless him too and grant him more success in his particular line of work – thieving!
When he saw the holy man’s serene face and demeanor a feeling of peace descended upon him. He felt a sudden desire to get some upadesh or spiritual instruction from him.
“Please guide me, Oh wise soul, with some valuable instruction,” he said to the holy man, in an earnest tone. “I have heard you can transform destinies with a mere look from the corner of your eyes or a simple word of blessing..”
The holy man looked at the thief and smiled gently. He then said,
“Give up 3 vices – stealing, gambling and speaking lies.”
At this the thief said, “Oh saint, I cannot give up stealing and gambling as they are my livelihood. But since you are advising, I will take an oath not to speak untruth hereafter.”
The holy man replied,
“Yes, my son I am glad you are casting off at least one bad habit. May God bless you.”
The same night the thief decided to commit theft in the King’s palace. He climbed to the terrace in the late night when all was silent and the world slept. But he found another person on the terrace. He got startled. Was he another fellow thief he wondered. The person was the King himself but there was no way for the thief to realize this in the dark. The King asked the thief, “Who are you?” The thief, remembering the promise he had given the holy man, told him, he was a thief.
The King was surprised to receive such a straight forward and truthful reply. He felt intrigued. He told the thief, “I too am a thief. Come I will help you in the theft.” The thief felt mighty pleased at this sudden turn of events and felt the blessings of holy men are not to be taken lightly!
The King gave the keys of a safe to the thief and said “Go raid it while I keep watch here.”
The thief opened the safe. Three huge glittering diamonds winked back at him. Even in his wildest daydreams he had never imagined diamonds could be so big! However, he only took out 2 of them and left the 3rd one in the safe, and then returned hastily to where the King was keeping watch.
“Here,” he said excitedly “I have got these 2 diamonds…there were 3 there but since we can’t divide 3 between us I brought only 2 so you can have one and I the other..” He returned the keys and thanked his “accomplice” for his help. The King, further impressed by the thief’s sense of fair play, took his address telling him he would help him in his future endeavors also.
The thief felt very chuffed and grateful on his way home, with the diamond tucked in his pocket. The holy man’s blessings were showing up very fast indeed!
Next morning the King announced the theft and asked his chief Minister to investigate the crime. The Minister opened the safe and saw one diamond still lying there. His mind working fast he quickly pocketed it thinking he would announce to the king that all were stolen.
The King summoned the thief to his house and asked him to recount what had happened last night. The thief not recognizing the King recounted the tale truthfully, telling about the stranger who helped him and the 2 diamonds he had stolen. Keeping his oath in mind he recounted the events honestly.
The King was very happy to hear him speak the truth, even though that could implicate him. On the other hand his Minister had committed theft and spoken lies.
The King fired the Minister and employed the thief!
The thief was jubilant. His keeping of his promise to the holy man of giving up just one vice had yielded rich dividends. Now he didn’t need to gamble or steal for his livelihood (and not hear the recriminations of his wife about being a loser!) as now he was appointed in the King’s palace itself!
This is just a tale but it has deep meaning.
My takeaway from it was this:
1) One step in the right direction eventually leads to a good place. Or, in other words, one good thing leads to another.
2) The words of wise souls have hidden transformative power.
3) Truth is a great power or force and yields good results.
Do you agree?
What is your feeling or take away? Humorous or otherwise…