After committing a theft one night, the thief left all the stolen things in a bundle on the road. He had stolen many expensive items, but he did not take them with him. Early the next morning, the people who lived in the house found the bundle near their house. When they looked inside, they discovered that it contained their own stolen property.
Two villagers happened to pass by while they were examining the contents of the bundle and the owners told them what had happened. One villager said, “This bundle is so heavy! Although the thief was able to bring it out of the house, he knew that he would not be able to carry it home because his house is quite far. That is why he abandoned it here.”
The other villager said, “No, it is not that. Perhaps he heard some noise and got frightened. That is why he dropped the bundle and ran away.”
Now a third villager came and joined the discussion. He said, “You fools! It is not that he was weak or he became frightened, not at all. After stealing the items, the thief was going away. All of a sudden, he saw God in front of him. He was so thrilled when he saw the Beauty of God. Then God appealed to his conscience. God said, ‘What are you doing? Do you not know that stealing is very bad? If you behave like this, if you steal any more, I will punish you.’ Then God added, ‘My son, in due course I will make you very, very rich. Do not steal from anyone.’ So the thief listened to God and he left everything behind. He has faith that soon God will make him very, very rich. This is what actually happened.”
The three villagers, plus the people who lived in the house, wanted to resolve their difference of opinion. They said, “Let us go and see the wisest person of all, the village chief. Come!”
They all went to the village chief and told him their stories. Each one had his own version. The village chief happened to be very kind and generous. He reflected for a few moments and said to them, “I believe the one who said that God appeared before the thief.”
The other two villagers said, “In that case, if we leave the bundle here once again at the same place, then we, too, will be able to meet with God. God will appear again.”
The village chief said, “I am not sure whether God will appear or not. I feel the best thing is to take the bundle inside where it is safe and then pray to God that He will appear before you.”
One of the villagers vehemently disagreed. He said, “No! God will appear only at exactly the same place. That place is the luckiest place. God will appear only where we found the bundle.”
The village chief said, “I have no idea if God will come again or not. I only feel that this version has some truth in it, that God came and awakened his conscience and that is why he went away without the stolen goods.”
One of the people who lived in the house took the bundle into his room and began praying to God to appear before him. But, in spite of his fervent prayer, God did not appear. The two villager-friends said, “See, we told you that your room is not the right place. It has to be outside in the street where we found the bundle. Then only God will appear.”
The man was eager to see God, so he placed the bundle containing all his expensive things in its original place. Then he started praying to God to come and stand before him. His prayer was most sincere. Alas, after a few hours he fell asleep. His two villager-friends were watching him. They saw that he was lying down in front of the bundle fast asleep. So these two rogues came and took the bundle away. The poor fellow lost everything.
The man went to the village chief, but the chief said, “I told you that I was not sure whether God would appear at the same place or not. Why did you leave your valuable things outside your house? Everybody wants to see God, but again, God gave us common sense. If you do not use your common sense, you will get this kind of unfortunate experience time and again. God is inside a mad elephant, true, but why should you go and stand in front of a mad elephant? The mad elephant will simply destroy you. Similarly, if you do not use common sense in your aspiration, you will only get this kind of unfortunate result.”