by Swami Sivananda
(The Bania Saint of Ayodhya)
Paltu Das was a sincere devotee of great repute. Rajas, Maharajas, Nawabs and Brahmin Pundits came to his cottage in a wood to pay their respects. This inflamed the hearts of the Vairagis of the place. They conspired together and set fire to his hut. It was all burnt to ashes. They thought that Paltu Das had perished. They began to rejoice. But some pilgrims from Ayodhya saw him the same night in the temple of Jagannath at Puri. Paltu Das himself mentioned in a Doha.
Look at the mean nature of the Vairagis who call themselves devotees of Lord Rama! Application of broad tilaks on the forehead, wearing of half a dozen Tulasi Malas round the neck cannot make a man a devotee. These are all tricks to fill their stomachs. There is more jealousy amongst the present-day Sadhus than amongst householders. Householders work, earn money and do charity. They all evolve. It is only the so-called Sadhus who waste their time in idle, scandalous talks and mischief-mongering. They become Tamasic, as they have nothing to do. They do not practise regular meditation and study. They are not Sadhus in reality. They come under the category of beggars and loafers. They have simply put on coloured clothing. When the statistics is taken in the next census, these beggar Sadhus should not be reckoned as Sadhus. They should come under the heading "Beggars. " These people bring disgrace to the real Sadhus and Sannyasins. Those who are doing Tapas, meditation and who are recognised as such by a board of religious people or Sadhu Sangha can alone be considered as Sadhus and Mahatmas. Their numbers will be limited. It is a grave mistake if the public say that there are 74 lakhs of Sadhus in India at the present time.