A bandit becomes a saint
Thousands of years ago, there was a bandit in a jungle who used to loot people passing through the jungle. Once, a few sages were going that way when the bandit stopped them and asked them to surrender whatever possessions they had.
A sage asked the bandit, ‘Why are you doing this? Don’t you know it is a sin to loot others’ wealth?’ ‘I know it is a sin. However, I am doing it to feed my family,’ the bandit replied.
‘But you are making a big mistake,’ said the saint. ‘As you are doing it through the act of looting, you have to carry all the burden of this sin.’ He then asked the bandit, ‘Your family may be sharing the loot, but will they also share your sin?’
‘Surely they will,’ said the bandit confidently. ‘When they share my loot, why shall they not share my sin?’
‘Please go and ask your family members,’ replied the saint. ‘If they are willing, please take all we have.’ The bandit went home and asked each member of his family if they were willing to share his sin.
However, all the members replied that since he was the one committing those sins, only he must bear their burden. They showed their unwillingness to be a party to his sins.
Shocked, the bandit realised his mistake and came back to the saints. He fell on their feet and sought their forgiveness. ‘Only God can forgive you,’ they said. ‘Please go and pray to God and He will forgive you and give you light.’
The bandit did penance and prayed for many years and sought light from God. Finally, he gained enlightenment and became one of the greatest saints of India. He later went on to write the most famous Indian epic, Ramayana—the story of Rama—and earned eternal fame.
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