Once upon a time there was a holy man who went from village to village with his disciples, preaching to the people. There was a magic in his speech. People were impressed by his words and reformed themselves. One day he was preaching to the people as usual when a man came and fell at his feet.
The man said, “Oh Holy man, I am a robber. I am tired of leading a robber’s life. Now I wish to live the life of a good man. Kindly tell me how I can turn a new leaf in my life.”
The holy man patted him on the back and said, “You are a pious man. Why did you take to robbing people? Pledge from today that you will never rob people again nor will you tell lies nor will you tyrannies anybody.”
Having taken the pledge and having promised to do as he had been told, the robber went away.
Several days passed. The holy man was delivering his sermon at some other place. The same robber came there and told the holy man that in spite of his best offers he could not reform himself. Robbing and looting had become his second nature.
Holy Man: Then what can I do?
Robber: Tell me some other way to mend myself.
Holy Man: I told you a method but you could not act upon it.
Robber: Excuse me, tell me some other method.
The holy man though for a while and said, “All right, you cannot give up robbing, never mind. There is another way-out. But this time you will have to act upon my advice.
“I will surely do that.”
“You can go about robbing people and doing whatever you like but in the evening come to me, wherever I am, and recount to me what you did during the day.”
“This I can do easily.” Saying this, the robber went his way. Several days passed after that incident but the robber never came. A disciple asked, “Guruji! That robber has no come again.
The holy man said, “He will never come now. It is easy to commit a crime but it is very difficult to make a public confession of it. That is why he has given up robbing and looting. The best and the only way to get rid of one’s mistakes is to make open confession of one’s mistakes. Public confession creates a sense of reproof and remorse because the conscience reprimands.”