A very beautiful story , that I came across & I wish to share it here
Ref: Mantra & the Goddess, SwaminiSri Lalitambika Devi

An old Indian tale tells of a thief whose life was transformed by the power of a mantra in which he didn't believe. Though born a brahmin,he fell in with a band of marauders. For years, he lived a life of remorseless debauchery, robbing men, women , and children alike.

One day, he dared to steal alms from a wandering saint. The saint felt compassion for the misguided man. He asked whether the thief thought that his family would be happy to share in the consequences of his actions as they were in the goods that he  brought back for them.
The man was shocked to find that his loved ones turned away at the question.

The saint then offered to initiate the thief with a mantra.
At this, the thief scoffed. " I cannot repeat a sacred sound,"he said,"because I don't believe in the sacred."

"It's alright," the saint responded. "Do you see that Mara tree?" The thief gazed at the tree with its dark foliage and graceful trunk. It was late in the afternoon, and the setting gun glinted through its branches, casting long shadows against the earth. The thief could see that the tree existed. It was no more mysterious or scared than he himself was. And it was beautiful.

"Simply repeat the name of that tree," said the saint."Mara."

This , the thief took to.As he continued on his way, he began to repeat Mara, Mara over and over again.

It's said that , in time, he sat so still and chanted the mantra for so long that an anthill grew up over him.Still, he remained unperturbed. Because he chanted steadfastly, the syllables manifested great power.

When he emerged from the anthill, the thief was glowing. He had realized that, though stealing might bring him wealth without work, other people's possessions would never satisfy him. In fact, no possessions could satisfy him. He devoted the rest of his life in service to all beings.

As he sank deeper and deeper into the space of the heart, he began to compose great hymns of joy and praise. In fact, he composed the Ramayana, the epic poem that tells the story of Lord Rama, his wife Sita, and their ever-faithful servant,Hanuman.

This thief-turned-sage was the poet-saint Valmiki. As he had repeated Mara, Mara, so Valmiki had begun to chant the name Rama Rama. So he had become enlightened, and a source of truth for all.


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