The so-called blind beggarThere was once a rogue who used to beg on a street corner near a temple. Every day, he would spread his mat and sit there begging, while hundreds of people came to the temple. Of course, they came not to realise God but to fulfil their countless desires. They thought that if they gave alms to the poor, God would be pleased with them and their desires would all be fulfilled. The rogue knew this, so every day he would sit there and beg. He kept his eyes tightly closed and he would call out to everyone who passed by, “I am blind, I cannot see. Please help me!”
On their way back from the temple, after they had prayed and meditated, people would say, “Poor, helpless fellow!” Then they would put money on the mat for him.
One day, a very, very kind-hearted man passed by and put lots of money on the mat. Then, after he had gone about thirty metres, he said to himself, “Perhaps I should have given him a little more money.” He turned and walked back so he could give the beggar even more money.
When the man returned to the spot, he was shocked to see that the so-called blind beggar had opened his eyes and had started counting his money! He obviously could see quite well! The man watched in disbelief as the beggar put the money into his pocket and again began to beg.
The man exclaimed, “Oh, so this is what is happening!” He had been so moved by this beggar that he had been ready even to ask others to give the fellow money. How pitifully the rogue had been crying, saying that he had nobody, he had nothing! How convincing was his performance! But then he had opened his eyes and started counting the money! He was not blind in the least!
The kind-hearted man was so disgusted. He said to himself, “He is such a bad fellow, but today I do not have the strength to do anything about it. Tomorrow I will teach him a lesson.” Then he went home and told the story to his son.
The son was a strong young man. The next day, he went to the temple and prayed and meditated. When he came out, he passed by the beggar and put a large amount of money on the mat. Then he started addressing everyone who walked by, saying, “Please, please give something to this beggar! He is helpless, absolutely helpless! Please, please, let us all be kind to him.”
The beggar’s eyes were completely closed. He was so happy because he knew that he was getting so much money.
The young man said to the beggar, “I am so happy that I have been able to help you. How I wish God would give you back your vision! I will pray to God to restore your vision.” Then he went about twenty or thirty metres away to hide. From what his father had told him, he knew what the beggar was going to do next.
Just as he had done before, the beggar opened his eyes and began counting his money. The strong young man ran up to him and cried out, “Rogue, rogue, rogue! You are not blind after all! Either I will beat you up or I will take away all your money!” He felt that it would not be good to beat the fellow near the temple, so he took all the money and ran away.
Now this so-called blind fellow started chasing the young man, shamelessly running with his eyes wide open! The young fellow ran directly to the zamindar’s place. The beggar knew that if he followed, he would be caught there. So he stopped chasing the young man and disappeared into the crowd.
When the young man told the zamindar what had happened, the zamindar sent his guards to chase the beggar. They caught the so-called blind beggar and brought him back to the zamindar.
The young man said to the zamindar, “Sir, I am not a thief and I am not a liar. What I have been telling you is true. This rogue has fooled countless people, including my father, so I wanted to punish him. He has been fooling people for such a long time, so he deserves some kind of punishment. Quite frankly, I do not need his money. I did this only to catch him and teach him a lesson.”
The zamindar was very, very pleased with the young man.
Now it was time for the punishment. The zamindar said to the beggar, “Tell me, are you going to give up this profession? If not, today you will be thrown into jail.”
The beggar said, “I am ready to give it up, right from today!”
“Very well,” the zamindar replied. Then he proceeded to divide up the money. Most of the beggar’s money, a very large amount, he gave to the young man. He said, “You deserve it! Today you have transformed this fellow. Nobody else could have done it. This rogue has been taking people’s money for such a long time. You caught him, so you deserve the money as a reward.”
Then the zamindar took the remaining money and gave it to the beggar on the condition that he would go out and get a job. The blind man, who was not really blind, would have to find work. On that condition the zamindar allowed him to go free.