Once upon a time, in a lonely temple there lived a holy man called Dev Sharma. Many people used to visit him and present him with money and finely woven garments, which he sold and got very rich on the proceeds. And by nature, he trusted nobody. Night and day he kept the treasure purse under his armpit and would not part with it even for a second.

A swindler, who robbed other men of their money, noticed that the holy man always kept the treasure purse under his armpit. He said to himself, ‘How could I rob this holy man of his money! It’s difficult to make a hole through the walls of the temple or to get in over the high gates, so what I’ll do is, charm him with honeyed words so that he accepts me as his disciple. And when he has put confidence in me, some day he’ll fall into my clutches.’

When he had resolutely made up his mind, to carry out this plan, the swindler approached the holy man, stood before him with reverence and said, ‘Om Namaha Shivaya!’ With these words he threw himself humbly on the ground before the holy man and said, ‘Oh Guruji! I am fed up of this life. Please do guide me so that I follow the right path in this life and find happiness.’

When the holy man heard this, he said kindly, ‘My son, you are indeed blessed that you have come to me at this young age, surely I will guide you.’ When the swindler heard this, he fell on the ground before the holy man, touched his feet, and said, ‘Oh, Guruji, please do accept me as your disciple.’

‘My child! answered the holy man ‘I will, but on one condition, that you will never enter the temple at night, because a holy man is recommended to stay alone at night without company and meditate . We will keep to it, you and I.’

‘And so’, continued the holy man, ‘after taking the vow of initiation, you will have to sleep in a thatched hut at the gate of the temple.’

‘I shall willingly carry out your wishes’, said the swindler.

At bedtime, the holy man initiated the swindler according to the rituals and made him his disciple. The swindler massaged his hands and feet, waited upon him and made him happy but nonetheless the holy man did not part with his money bag even for a second. After some time, the swindler began to think, ‘He does not trust me at all! Shall I knife him in broad daylight, poison him or kill him like a wild animal?’

While he was thinking this over, the son of one of the holy man’s disciples, from a nearby village, came to give him a personal invitation and said, ‘Guruji,! Today the ceremony of the sacred thread takes place in our house. Please come and sanctify it with your presence.’ The holy man accepted the invitation willingly and started off accompanied by the swindler. On the way, they came to a river.

When the holy man saw the river, he folded his money bag in his robe and said, ‘ Oh my child! Look after this robe with the vigilance of a Yogi until I return.’

And he went into the bushes. The minute the holy man’s back was turned, the swindler vanished with the money bag. After the holy man had answered the call of nature, he slowly returned, thinking about his money. When he got back, he failed to find the swindler but saw only his robe, lying on the ground. He peered anxiously inside but could not find his purse. He began to cry out, ‘Alas! I have been robbed’.

And he fell on the ground in a swoon. After sometime he returned to his senses. He got up and began to shout ‘ Oh! Where are you, you rascal! Answer me!’

After he had shouted like this in a loud voice, he slowly trailed the swindler’s footsteps until, just before evening, he came to a village. He stayed there for the night and in the morning, returned to his temple.

❖ Do not be taken in by the sweet words of a swindler.

Wealth may sometimes prove a source of all troubles.

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