People began to flock to Ramanashram in
large numbers. Everyone who went there was not necessarily good. Once in 1924, a band of
thieves came to the Ashram in the guise of disciples. All the valuable things in the
Ashram were looted. One of them thrashed even the Maharshi. But Ramanas disciples
caught him. They asked for permission to punish the thief. Ramana did not give his
consent. His reply was: 'The snakebites, the scorpion stings, the bull buffs. Are we right
in crushing them because they do so? We should try to keep away from them.Even so, the
thieves think that it is their nature to commit theft. But to pardon them is our Dharma
(sacred duty). True humanity lies not in returning violence for violence, but in
forgiveness. Let us set the man free."
Then, he turned to the thief who hadbeaten him and said, "If you are not
satisfied, you give me another blow." There were tears of repentance in the thieve's
eyes.Ramana advised him and sent him away. To ask for forgiveness when one has erred, and
to forgive one, who has asked for forgive- ness, are acts of great value in Ramana
Maharshi's view. When the thieves left, Ramana Maharshi observed jokingly: "They have
worshipped me also."