Sinners are potential saints

Swami Vivekananda held Pavhari Baba of ghazipur in high esteem. He knew the yogi personally. While in Ghazipur, Swamiji heard that once a thief entered in to Baba’s hut to rob him of his few belongings. As the thief was about to leave the place with the stolen goods, the yogi woke up. This frightened the thief and he threw down everything and started running away. Pavhari Baba promptly picked up the things and followed the thief. Finally, after a hot chase, he caught the thief and begged him to accept the goods. “All these are yours, Narayana,” Baba told the thief, who stared at him in disbelief.

Years later during his wanderings in the Himalayas Swamiji one day noticed a sadhu of luminous appearance. After some conversation Swamiji became convinced that the sadhu was of a high order. But he was astonished when the latter said, “I was that thief who attempted to steal from the saint!” The monk continued his confession: “When Pavhari Baba handed me everything that belonged to him with a smile and addressed me as ‘Narayana’, I realized what a crime I had committed and how mean I was ! From that moment I gave up my eveil pursuit of material wealth and engaged myself in search of spiritual wealth.” His story deeply impressed Swamiji who later used to say: Sinners are potential saints.