One should not steal anything
Seventh rule is “One should not steal anything”. By uttering these words Sadguru Premanand Swami has explained that, one should not steal anything, be it wealth, remuneration for work or anything and one should abstain from all types of theft. In Shloka-17 of ‘Shikshapatri’ Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan has stated:
“One shall not commit theft, even for the sake of performing an act of Dharma. No article, even firewood, flowers etc., owned by others shall ever be taken wi thout thei r owner’s permission.”
Bhagwan Shree Hari has clearly directed that, one should not commit this sin even for the sake of religion because it does not help one earn Punya but on the contrary he commits sin of serious kind.
There was a goldsmith during the time of Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan. He used to make gold ornaments. Once this devotee offered a sliver glass to Shreeji Maharaj. But omniscient Shreeji Maharaj knew everything and therefore smiled and asked the goldsmith whether the silver which he used in that glass was his own. The goldsmith knew that Maharaj knows every thing and so he honestly acknowledged that, as he was goldsmith by his profession, he had taken out silver from his customers’ silver ornaments and that glass is made out of that silver. Maharaj said him, “Then it is a theft.” Goldsmith said, “Maharaj, but it is not for any selfish motive. It is for religion, for offering to Almighty Lord. So it is good.” Then Maharaj said to the goldsmith, “But not earn Punya. The owners of this silver will earn silver and you will accumulate your sins.”
Shreeji Maharaj said that, one should pluck flowers from the garden for offering them to the deities without the permission of the owner of the garden because it is a kind of theft. One should not take away anything without permission of its owner.
Verabhai of Upleta was a very well known thief in the region and theft was his profession. But when he met the saints, knew Shreeji Maharaj and performed Satsang then he became pious like a cow. Once Verabhai was passing from his farm. He took one Datan for Shreeji Maharaj but he got reminded that, without permission of any person one should not take even the firewood. He realized his mistake and repented a lot. He took Datan in his hand and went to the owner of the field. The farmer-owner of the farm know Verabhai and he felt greatly obliged and warmly welcomed him. Verabhai narrated him everything and begged his pardon and bowed down at the feet of the farmer.
Just think! Even a thief has realized the gravity of the sin of theft; but he realized it after performing Satsang with saints and Shree Hari. Now when one steals the things even for benevolent purpose then only he is considered to have committed a sin. Then how serious and grave would be his sin of theft if one commits it for his own pleasure or to fulfill his own desires and wishes!!!
Nowadays we read in the newspaper about the incidents of chain snatching. Why? Don’t these people get sufficient food to subsist themselves? Don’t they get clothes to wear? No. they have everything. But they cannot satisfy their own greed. And the result is such type of sins of theft being committed by them.
Real Satsangi is one, who does not steal anything lying on the road even if there is no one to notice it. There is famous incident of Ghela Koli of Kachchh in our Sampradaya. Husband and wife were suffering from scarcity of essential things like food and clothes. Yet, they did not look at the golden ornament lying on the road. They are real Satsangi.
- Shastri Abhayprakashdasji, Guru Swami Devprakashdasji (Naranghat)