There was a man named Sudhir, who was of good spiritual impressions. He used to attend satsang classes where he heard that the guru's grace was indispensable for god realisation. From that very moment Sudhir began to search for a guru to receive instructions and practise sadhana. He came across many sadhus and saints. But he found some fault or other with every one of them. He had a perverted intellect and a narrow-minded, faultfinding nature. So he could not find a guru. As long as one does not crush one's pride of intellect and learning and become like a child with intense faith, one cannot find a suitable guru.
One day, Sudhir was sitting in his house in a desperate mood. His wife. Sankalpa, asked him the cause of his sorrow. He replied that he could not find a guru who could show him the path to God. Sankalpa suggested that they should both go to the forest that night and sit by the wayside. The first man who happened to pass by, they should take as their guru. Sudhir agreed to this proposal.
The next evening Sudhir and Sankalpa went to the forest and sat by the side of the path. It so happened that a thief with some stolen ornaments was hurrying past that way. The couple at once caught hold of his feet and took him as their guru. They begged him to give them guru mantra.
The thief was very much astonished, but he was also frightened. So the couple told him their whole story. He was moved by their faith and told them the truth that he was a thief. Still the couple did not allow him to go away, but repeatedly pressed him to give them guru mantra. But the thief was worried that he would be caught if he tarried there any longer. So, in order to get away, he asked them to bend down, close their eyes and catch hold of their ears. He, further, ordered them to remain in that same posture until he again ordered them to stand. The couple obeyed him implicitly, remaining in that position throughout the night and the next day also. They did not take any food or water. Meanwhile, the thief was caught and put in jail. Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi were very much moved by Sudhir and Sankalpa's faith. Lakshmi became restless and prayed to the Lord to give them darshan. Lord Vishnu appeared before them. On seeing the Lord, the couple were pleased but still they did not open their eyes or stand up. When the Lord requested them to stand up, they replied that they could not do so without the permission of their guru.
Thereupon the Lord appeared before the ruler of the country in a dream and asked him to free the thief from jail. The ruler thought that the dream was false, but when it was repeated thrice he at once released the thief. The Lord appeared in the dream of the thief the same night and told him to go to the place where Sudhir and Sankalpa still remained in the same posture and release them.
The thief at once proceeded to the jungle and asked the couple to open their eyes and stand up. They did so and explained how the Lord had given them darshan. The thief too revealed to them his dream and the manner of his release.
A voice from heaven was heard: 'I am very much pleased with the intense faith you have in your guru. Do bhajan, japa and meditation regularly. I will give you darshan and liberate you from the cycle of births and deaths.'
From that day onwards the thief left his habit of stealing and he became a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Sudhir and Sankalpa commenced regular sadhana and bhajan and became liberated souls while living.
Thus, devotion and obedience to the guru can achieve anything. Guru bhakti is the supreme purifier and illuminator. It is devotion to the guru alone that makes the life of an aspirant blessed and fruitful.
There is no better purifier than the constant service of one's own guru. By constant contact, the disciple imbibes the virtues of his guru and is gradually moulded.