WIN THE HEART WITH FORGIVENESS.
A rich couple from Atpadi used to visit Shri Maharaj. The woman had with her a superbly beautiful idol of Balakrishna made of a valuable alloy. She used to worship it, and admiringly to display it to all sundry. Shri Maharaj repeatedly told her not to do so; but the woman ignored the advice. The consequence was as one might expect. One woman stole the idol. She wrapped it in an old rag and hid it in the ceiling of another room. It was her intention to take it with her at the time of leaving Gondavale. When the idol disappeared, the woman from Atpadi began to weep for it. The idol could not be found even after a great deal of searching. Eventually she informed Shri Maharaj. He said, “ I had already cautioned you about this. Anyway, do not feel sorry about what has happened. Imagine that Balkrishna is embodied in Shri Rama, and continue the practice of worship.” Where upon the woman said, “Maharaj, you are clairvoyant. You must know who has taken my Balkrishna. Please bring him back to me.” Shri Maharaj protested stating that he was not clairvoyant, but the woman was unhappy and went on a fast. Shri Maharaj tried to dissuade her, but the woman was adamant. After a couple of days the woman who had stolen the idol received a letter that her son was ill in her village. When he heard of this, Shri Maharaj said to her, “ I will provide a bullock-cart for you tomorrow morning. It is necessary that you go.” In the early morning, Shri Maharaj called Wamanrao Jnyaneshwari and told him, “The Mamlatdar of Dahiwadi will be arriving in the afternoon. He will stay in the sitting room. Please get the room cleaned and lock it.”
When it was time for the woman to leave, she went up to the room a couple of times. She was disappointed when she saw that it was locked. Shri Maharaj accompanied her to the bullock-cart and, finding her alone, said to her, “Even though it is an idol of God, it is nonetheless a theft. But let bygones be bygones. I will not reveal this to any one. But be careful to see that you do not commit such an act again.” The woman sincerely asked forgiveness from Shri Maharaj, and proceeded on her journey. Shri Maharaj returned and went to the room with Wamanrao. He opened the room, saying,”Let us see how the room has been cleaned”; and, looking at the ceiling, said,”What is this package?” On its being taken down, the idol of Balakrishna was found. Shri Maharaj called the owner, restored the idol to her, and told her to give up her fast. While returning it he only said, “It appears someone had inadvertently kept it there, with out any thought of stealing it.”