An incompetent thief
Posted on February 3, 2016
Prabhupada: One brahmana, he was very much poverty-stricken, so he could not find any things, valuable. Very poverty-stricken. So he knew one gang of thieves, so he went there. He met that chief, gang, "You can also take me as one of you. I can steal." So "All right, you may come." So they went to some house to plunder. All the assistants were plundering here and there, and he was also doing also. So as soon as he touches something, he remembered, "If I steal this gold, then such-and-such punishment will be assessed." He is a brahmana-pandit, he knows. "How can I steal?" He left over that. Then he touches something else, and he remembers...
Paramahamsa: [laughs] Not a very good crook.
Prabhupada: So he saw that the householder, they chewed some pan, and after chewing he has thrown, so he took that. "I don't see. Let's go."
Prabhupada: So when they gathered together, the leader: "What you have stolen? What you have got?" Somebody said, "We have so much..." And when he was asked, he said, "I have got this." [devotees laugh] So he became very angry: "So how can you stay with us, you cannot be a thief?" "Where I was searching I got so many opportunities, but after searching, the sastra says, ‘If you steal like that, you suffer like this. Kindly don't do that.' Therefore I thought there is no any injunction for this." So [laughing] the leader could understand. Then out of sympathy he said, "All right, you are poor man. You came to us, you cannot steal, so whatever we have got today you can take it." Then he said, "How can I take it? It is stolen property." And he went away, again the same poverty-stricken. He could not improve his position.
(May 13, 1976, Honolulu)