(A forest. The sage Narada is walking through, singing the praises of Lord Vishnu. The notorious robber and murderer, Ratnakar, suddenly attacks him.)
NARADA: Ratnakar, what are you doing? Don’t you see that I am singing to the Lord Vishnu? I am invoking him. I am chanting his name.
RATNAKAR: Vishnu? Who is Vishnu? There is only one person on earth and that is I, Ratnakar. I have killed hundreds of people, and I have cut off one thumb from each person. When I have one thousand thumbs, I shall make a garland of them and wear it around my neck. Nobody can save you from me.
NARADA: No? Don’t you know that I have spiritual power, occult power? I can easily free myself from you. So don’t threaten me.
RATNAKAR: Ha! Spiritual power, occult power! I shall kill you right now! (He is about to stab Narada with his dagger.)
NARADA: Wait a minute! What do you want? Do you want money?
NARADA: How much do you want?
RATNAKAR: Whatever you have.
NARADA: I can give you whatever I have, and again, with my occult power I can give you double what I have. Look, I have a hundred-rupee coin. Can you see?
NARADA: Now search me. Search all my garments. There is no money.
(Ratnakar searches him thoroughly.)
NARADA: Now just close your eyes.
(Ratnakar closes his eyes. From nowhere Narada takes another hundred rupees.)
NARADA: Look, Ratnakar, what I can give you.
RATNAKAR (amazed): Where did this money come from? I searched you thoroughly.
NARADA: Ratnakar, Ratnakar, no matter what amount you want I will be able to give it to you, and I will give you. But before that I want to ask you something.
NARADA: You know that what you are doing is absolutely wrong. You are acting like an animal, killing people and taking away their money. Now don’t you think that you will be held responsible for all this in your life after death? Don’t you know that you will be condemned to hell and punished severely? Why do you do this kind of thing? You alone, you and nobody else, will suffer for all these horrible deeds.
RATNAKAR: What do you mean, I alone? I do it because I still have a sense of responsibility. I have two old parents; I have a wife, a beautiful wife, and a beautiful son, I have to think of all of them. I am responsible for my parents, for they are invalids. I am responsible for my wife, who is helpless without me. And my son is only a little boy, so I have to think of him. It is for all of them that I do it.
NARADA: And do you think that they will also take responsibility for you when you get punishment in your after-life? When you die, you will be the one to be punished for this karma in the other world, Ratnakar.
RATNAKAR: If I am punished I am sure they will share my karma with me, since I am doing all this for them. I have no other way to make money. This is the only way I can support my family.
NARADA: All right, this may be the only way, but I tell you, these people will never take responsibility for you.
RATNAKAR: Why not? They should! It is only fair, if I am doing it for them. Today, if anything happens to me, my parents will perish. My wife and son will probably die, too. I am sure they will all be willing to share my punishment in the after-life since it is I who am maintaining them in this life.
NARADA: All right, Ratnakar. Let us see. You feel that your parents, your wife and your son will take responsibility for your undivine actions because you are feeding them, you are clothing them, you are taking care of them by doing all this. Go home and ask them. If they agree, then I shall give you any amount of money you want, and double the amount. I tell you, Ratnakar, they have a claim on your earnings but have nothing to do with your sins. This hard fact will give you a rude shock and then you will take to holy living. I want you to go home and see. I will wait here.
RATNAKAR: You are a holy man. You won’t break your promise?
NARADA: I won’t break my promise. I am doing this out of my compassion for you. I can easily leave this place with my occult force — as easily as I brought the money I showed you. Right now I can use my occult power and chase you away from here with my light.
RATNAKAR: Oh yes? Show me, show me!
(Narada opens his third eye, and immediately Ratnakar starts trembling.)
RATNAKAR: Stop, stop! The volcanic fire from your third eye is burning me to ashes. I am going. I am going to see my family and I will bring you the news. They will take responsibility for me.
NARADA: Go and see.