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“I’m Not Stealing Bananas!”
Once a landlord had built a temple. He had no lack of wealth , so in order to attract more honour and prestige from the visitors of the temple he made elaborate arrangements to dress the deity and also ordered the offering of nice foodstuffs to the deity so that the prasadam could be distributed among his relatives for their appreciation.
The landlord appointed a priest who used to think thus : “The Deity has a lot of ornaments and so many dresses; I wonder if I could enjoy one of them . But there are sentries on guard everywhere so not a single object can be taken away ! I can’t even enjoy any of the best preparations from the offerings
because the entire amount of prasadam goes to the Lord’s relatives. I guess that I must remain satisfied with five rupees a month.”
One day the landlord brought some best quality amrtasagar and agnisvar bananas, and handing them over to the priest, he asked him, “O pujari! please offer these bananas to the Deity and then send the whole lot to my private apartment. Some of my friends are coming today and these bananas should be reserved for them only.”
Before the offering at midday, the landlord himself was anxious to check whether the bananas were really being offered to the Deity, but when he approached the altar he found that the door was bolted from the inside. In fact, the priest was pretending to offer the bananas to the Deity and while eating some of them, was thinking, “When could I have the chance to eat such a delicious variety of bananas in my life? Getting them now at my disposal, why should I miss this opportunity of enjoying them? I doubt that the landlord counted all the bananas, so I am sure he won’t detect the loss of a few bananas if I take them.”
While eating the bananas and thinking thus, the priest heard the landlord shouting from outside the temple, “Who is in the Deity room?” A thief’s mind remains ever anxious, so the priest, being extremely frightened replied while still chewing the bananas, “I didn’t steal the bananas!” Listening to the choked voice of the priest and his awkward reply, the landlord was sure that the priest was consuming the bananas.
Those who pretend to offer devotional service to the Lord while in their heart developing an urge for other motives, usually expose themselves without fail in front of real saintly persons and Vaishnavas. Whenever a person starts unexpectedly praising his own activities or makes an attempt to confirm his apparently good conduct just through criticising others, it may be very rightly assumed that the person concerned has other motives in mind. Even if the entire population of critics criticized a real saintly person or if selfishly-motivated persons start blaspheming him, he never makes an attempt to vindicate himself.
A truly devoted Vaishnava never make any protest against himself, but he never tolerates any criticism against other Vaishnavas or his spiritual master. It is believed that anyone who makes any attempt to vindicate himself must be factually a guilty persons and otherwise motivated for name and fame in the general society.