Everyone is a thief, What is the difference between an emperor and a thief

Alexander the Great arrested one thief, and was going to punish him. The thief pleaded, “Sir, you are punishing me, but what is the difference between you and me? I am a small thief, you are a great thief. You are occupying other’s kingdom by force; you have no right. Because you are strong, you are conquering country after country. I am also doing the same thing. So what is the difference?” Alexander considered, “Yes, I am nothing but a big thief. I am no better than you.”

Actually everyone is thief for we have stolen God’s property. We may be very honest but we are taking Krishna’s money for our sense gratification, and advertising as very moral. We don’t accept the real proprietor, and think, “I am the proprietor.” That is the fault. We construct a building, but from where do we get the stone, wood and earth? We cannot artificially produce, they are God’s. We simply give our labor. We work with our hands; they are not our hands but God’s, for when the power to use the hand is withdrawn by God, it becomes useless.

Krishna is not in want of money, for He is the original proprietor of everything. But still He asks us for charity for our interest. The sooner we return Krishna’s money to Krishna, the better situated we will be. For instance, if one earns a great deal of money but tries to avoid paying income tax, the government considers him to be a criminal. He cannot say, “I have earned this money. Why shall I pay tax to the government?” No, he must pay or risk punishment. Similarly, in the higher sense everything we have is Krishna’s or God’s, and it must be utilized in accordance with His desires.

Ref: Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.16.17

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