There was a village where people were extremely worried because there had been no rain for a long time. They were suffering from a severe drought. The farmers could not produce any crops in their fields, and everybody was suffering so much.
An ascetic happened to come to the village. He observed the plight of the villagers and said, “Why do you have to worry? Just bring some money and gifts and I will worship God. God will definitely listen to my prayers. Anything that you give me, I will accept, but it has to come from honest people. If you are dishonest, then do not bring me anything. I am a very pure person. I do not want to have anything to do with impure and insincere people. Only my sincere prayer will reach God. So if you are dishonest or insincere people, then do not bring me anything. Only honest people should bring gifts.”
Naturally everybody was of the opinion that he was honest. So the ascetic received a great deal of money and many gifts. He told the villagers that he would use some of the gifts to do a very, very special puja. The ascetic said, “I will have to pray for three days privately and secretly in my hut. Nobody should watch me. Then when I come out, it will be the signal that I have finished.”
All the villagers waited outside the ascetic’s hut for three days and three nights, but there was no speck of rain, not to speak of a torrential downpour. The villagers became furious and many started crying. They had given the ascetic so much money and so many gifts, but it had all come to nought.
Finally the ascetic emerged. He told the villagers, “Did I not tell you that it would work only if you were all sincere and honest? What can I do? I have prayed for three days. Obviously you are not honest. That is why my prayer was not granted. Even if I pray for ten days, nothing will happen because there are dishonest people who have given me gifts. I have never seen a village where people were so bad!”
When they heard this, the villagers cursed the ascetic. They wanted to retrieve their money and valuable things and they even went to the extent of thrashing him. They thought that perhaps he had hidden some of the money, but when they could not find it, they finally kicked him out of the village.