The Thief Who Became a Saint

[responsivevoice_button voice=”US English Female” rate=”0.6″ pitch=”0.9″ volume=”0.8″ buttontext=”Read Out Loud!”]

The Thief Who Became a Saint

A clever Bandit prowled the dark forests of the Great Plains. Can the great Sage Narada change him for the better?

In the thick-dark forests of the Great Plains of India, prowled a clever Bandit – Ratnakara. The forest lay on a trade route and many wealthy merchants would fall prey to the clever Bandit’s traps. He would then take away all their possessions and leave them for good. Ratna was much feared by the people of the surrounding villages.

One day, the great Sage Narada happened to come across the forests where Ratna would wait for his prey. Sage Narada was strolling around, admiring the beauty of the jungle, when Ratna pounced on him and shouted “Hand over all you have, or else”

Sage Narada smilingly look at the scowling man and asked “My dear brother, all that I have are these rags I wear. If you want them, you may take them!”. Sage Narada’s fearlessness surprised Ratna. As the thief gazed into Sage Narada’s twinkling eyes, he felt insecure about his own valor. Ratna asked “How can you be so fearless, knowing that I can easily harm you?”

Sage Narada replied “What do I have to be scared about? You are the one committing the sins, you will suffer for it!” To this Ratna replied, “I am doing this to feed and support my old parents, wife and two children. They will die of hunger if I cant support them. They will share these sins with me.”

The wise Sage laughed and replied “No my dear, you alone are responsible for the sins you commit. Your family will not share the burden of your crimes! Go ask your people if they will be prepared to pay for your sins” Ratna could-not believe this “No way, my family knows that I am doing this for them. They will support me when the time comes” so saying, he went home to ask his beloved family.

Ratna’s parents told him, “Son, we brought you up until you are big enough to look after yourself. Now we are both old. It is your duty to look after us. Whatever will be the fruits of your actions, you yourself would reap.”

Disappointed, Ratna went to his wife and told her “Everyday in the jungle, I risk my life to shower you with all wealth, cloth and jewelry. Are you ready to suffer for the sins I am doing for our family?”

“What?!” exclaimed his wife. “It is your duty to look after me. Whatever will be the fruits of your actions, you yourself would reap. I will not go to hell and suffer for you.”

Hoping that his children would understand, Ratna went to them and spoke “My dear children, I live for you. I am supporting you with whatever you want. Are you prepared to suffer for sins I am doing for you?

“No way Father!” spoke his children. “It is your duty to look after us, you are our father. Whatever will be the fruits of your actions, you yourself would reap. We have whole life ahead of us, we cannot suffer for you!”

Understanding his follies, the heart-broken Bandit went in search of Sage Narada and asked for his forgiveness. Sage Narada could see that this bright man had the simple intelligence to realize, accept and correct his past mistakes. Sage Narada knew that future need-not always be determined by the past. So he went on to guide and help Ratna with the mindfulness and powerful cognitions to live a purposeful life.

Ratna sat down in the forest and meditated with closed eyes. His concentration was so deep that he remained in meditation for years. In fact, he sat there so long in meditation that an anthill grew all around and above him!

One day Sage Narada came across the forest and carefully cleared away the anthill. With a kind smile, he declared Ratnakar a sage, “As you are now reborn from a ‘Val-mika’ (ant-hill in Sanskrit), from now you’ll be known as Valmiki.”

Thus Valmiki, the author of the greatest Epic Ramayana was born. The Ramayana is one of the largest and most read ancient epics in world literature now!

Your past doesn’t define you. Your choices for the future defines you. It is never too late to decide what you want to be. Because you can be anything you want to be!

(This story has been edited to adapt to the taste of early readers)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *