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Story of a thief who becomes a gentleman: importance of good practices

Cat Thief- Funny picture

Mukunduru Swami

There was a thief in a village, wherever he went he stole something; big or small he had to steal something, otherwise there was no peace to his soul. Stealing was his profession. Everyone in his village knew about him, they would carefully look after their belongings whenever he was in sight. Still he would steal something, he was an intelligent thief.

A great swami once visited that village, people from surrounding villages used to come and gather around him, Swami would preach them morality and spirituality. Sometimes after the discourse, he villagers would notice their missing money, pens, watches or the slippers that were left outside. They were all sure that 'the thief' had stolen them.

Once the thief also visited the Swami and asked "Please teach me something."

"Go away, one should be pure to understand these, otherwise there won't be any use" said the Swami. But the thief was persistent. Finally the Swami said "At least if you give up stealing, I'll teach you."

"How can I stop stealing, it's my profession, I'll have to starve otherwise." said the thief.

They argued to and fro for a while, then the Swami said "You may steal, but you must not lie."

The thief agreed and promised touching the feet of Swami "I'll give up lying from now on."

The Swami preached him, when the thief was about to go the Swami reminded "Remember, you must keep your promise wherever you go."

The thief went away happily, he continued to steal from people, but if anybody asked him regarding their stolen item, he would remember the promise to Swami and tell the truth. As it happened, the villagers would directly go to this thief and get their stolen things back. The thief was left with nothing, ever since he had promised not to lie, his life had become difficult. The practice of speaking the truth was already firm in him, so he couldn't lie anymore. Without lying here was no way he could keep the stolen things.

The Thief seriously thought for a while and decided 'There is no way I can earn my living by stealing if I can't lie about it. The only way for me now is to work hard like everyone else and live.' 

Moral of the story: If we stubbornly practice at least one of the good practices, every other bad habit will go and the man becomes pure


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