There is a beautiful story in Mahavira’s life: Mahavira went to Vasali, one of the great cities in those days. In Vasali there was a great thief. He had only one young son whom he was training in his art. He said to him, “Listen, you are free to do everything, but don’t go close to that man Mahavira. I am a master thief, but I also avoid him, because that man is dangerous. Something magical surrounds him, and once you are caught in it there is no way out. So remember, go everywhere else, but avoid the campus where Mahavira is staying.”
The son was very obedient. He avoided Mahavira’s campus for many days, but the temptation was natural: here is a man who his father fears so much that just to be close to him seems to be dangerous. It is worth testing. So one day he went just a little closer to the campus – not inside the grove where Mahavira was staying with his ten thousand disciples, but outside the grove. And he heard only one sentence. Mahavira was saying that in paradise, the angels and the female angels are tremendously beautiful, but just one thing is wrong: their feet are pointing in the opposite direction. The angels are going one way, but their feet are going in the opposite direction.
Being afraid that his father might come to know, the boy escaped. But he thought, “There was no danger there, and Mahavira was just telling a fictitious story.” But that same night he and his father were both caught stealing. It was impossible to get any information from the father; hence, the king said, “Don’t bother about the father, concentrate on the son. There is a possibility that we may be able to find out all the information that we need.”
And the strategy was that he was given intoxicating drugs, so he slept for hours, completely unconscious. He was taken to the most beautiful room in the palace, and all the beautiful girls were serving him, bringing food, drinks. As he came back to consciousness, he thought, “My God, I am dead. I am in paradise. This is the paradise that fellow Mahavira was describing, and the girls are really beautiful. Everything is great.”
But then he looked at their feet, and immediately he understood that there was some conspiracy: “This is not paradise, because their feet are just like our feet.”
The women tried in every way to persuade him, “You are dead and you are in paradise.” And they were saying, “This is just the reception. Before you enter the permanent paradise, you have to tell everything about your life. This is the rule. Everything will be written, recorded, and then you will enter permanent paradise.”
They wanted him to confess all the sins that he and his father had been committing, all the thefts, murders, and things for which they had never been caught. But now he would simply smile.
He said, “Forget all about it; I have heard from Mahavira himself. Your feet have given me the clue that this is the palace of the king. And this is a strategy. Tell your king to try to befool somebody else. I am a disciple of Mahavira.”
They said, “Strange. When did you become a disciple of Mahavira?”
He said, “Just passing by I heard one sentence, and that one sentence has saved me today.”
And because there was no proof, finally they had to be released.