135. Two Minutes of the Forbidden Fruit

There was a famous dacoit once who advised his son while initiating him into the ancestral profession, never for a moment to listen to stories of the Lord. "Do not stay to listen to any Purâna or any reading of the Bhagavatha", he exhorted the young aspirant. The son scrupulously observed this injunction for years and amassed a good fortune. One night however, while running with his loot on his shoulder through a side lane of the city to avoid the police, a peace of glass cut his sole; he sat for a while to pull it off and stop the flow of blood. He was then behind a house, where some one was reading and explaining the Bhagavatha to a small group of listeners. He listened perforce for a short two minutes. The spark fell on the heap of cotton. During that short period, he heard the pundit explaining the nature of God. He has no ears, no eyes, no limbs: he has a thousand forms; He is without form. "sarvatah pâni-pâdam", as the Gîtâ [B.G. 13:14] says. That description got fixed in his heart. He could not shake it off.

A few days later the police came to know of the depredations made by him as well as his associates and kinsmen. In order to know more about their activities they entered the area incognito; one constable as Kali and some others as the worshipers and priests. They shouted and yelled, cursed and terrified the dacoits and called upon them to come out of their homes and fall at the feet of Kali.

Many did so, but the son who had heard the Bhagavatha, albeit for two minutes, knew just enough to save his skin. He was not terrified at all. He challenged the constable who was acting the role of Kali and tore off his make-up and exposed the plot and instilled courage into hearts of the gang. Then, when the police left discomfited he argued within himself thus: "If two minutes of the forbidden fruit could help me so much, what can I not gain, if I devote myself entirely to the stories of the glories of God?" He left off the evil path and became a Sâdhaka.