Saint Blesses Thief

Saint And Thief

This is a story about the Ramana Mahrshi. In this story he is referred to as “Sri Bhagvan”:

For most of the day Sri Bhagavan used to sit on his sofa, which was adjacent to a window. Squirrels would occasionally come in through the window and run around near him. Sri Bhagavan would often respond to them by lovingly feeding them cashews or other foodstuffs with his own hand. One day Sri Bhagavan was feeding the squirrels when a devotee, who had been watching him, gave him a note in which was written: “The squirrels are very fortunate because they are getting the food from your own hands. Your grace is so much on them. We feel jealous of the squirrels and feel that we also should have been born as squirrels. Then it would have been very good for us.”

Sri Bhagavan couldn’t help laughing when he read this note. He told the man, “How do you know that the grace is not there on you also?” And then, to illustrate his point, he started to tell a long story.

One saint had the power of correct predictive speech. That is, whatever he said came true. In whatever town he went to, the local people would come to him to see him and to get his blessings. The saint, who was also full of compassion, removed the unhappiness of the people by blessing them. Because his words always came true, the blessings always bore fruit. That is why he was so popular.

During his wanderings he came to a town where, as usual, a lot of people flocked to him to get his blessings. Among the blessing seekers there was a thief. He went to see the saint in the evening and asked for his blessings. When the saint blessed him, the thief was very happy. He felt certain that because of these blessings, when he went out to steal at night, he would be successful. But it turned out otherwise. Whenever he went to break into a house, somebody or other from that house would wake up and he would have to run away. He tried in three or four places but he could not succeed anywhere.

Because of his failure, the thief got very angry with the saint. Early the next morning he went back to him and angrily said, ‘You are an impostor! You are giving false blessings to the people.’

The saint very peacefully asked the reason for his anger. In reply the thief narrated in detail how unsuccessful he had been during his attempts to steal the previous night. Having heard his story, the saint commented, ‘In that case, the blessings have borne fruit.’

‘How’ the thief asked with astonishment.

‘Brother, first tell me, being a thief, is it a good or a bad job?’

‘It is bad,’ the thief admitted, but then he defended himself by saying , ‘but what about the stomach that I have to feed?’

The saint continued with his explanation: ‘To be unsuccessful in bad work means that the blessings have indeed borne fruit. There are so many other ways of feeding the stomach. You should accept any one of them. To come to this conclusion it was necessary that you be unsuccessful in your thieving work.’

The thief understood and informed the saint that in future he would take up some other honest work. He prostrated before the saint and left.

Having narrated the above story, Sri Bhagavan asked the devotee, “Do you mean to say that if everything goes according to your desires, only then is it possible to say that the grace of a saint has worked?”

“I don’t understand,” replied the Devotee.

Sri Bhagavan explained in more detail: “The blessings of a saint perform the purificatory work of life. These blessings cannot increase impurity. One whose understanding is limited will ask for blessings so that he can fulfill certain desires, but if the desires are such that their fulfillment will make the seeker more impure rather than purer, the saint’s blessings will not enable him to fulfill the desires. In this way the seeker is saved from further impurities. In that case, are not the saint’s blessings a gift of compassion?” The devotee finally understood and was satisfied by these words.

Credit: This is based on an account we got via e-mail. Original source unknown.

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