A scruffy figure was coming down a dusty road toward Nilkanth Varni. As the man came closer, Varni saw that he was in ragged, wet clothes and in his hand was a tattered bag that was giving off an atrocious stench.
Curious, Nilkanth Varni asked, “Brother, who are you? And what do you have in your bag?”
“I am a Koli,” the man answered. “Lakho is my name. This bag is filled with the fish I’ve caught today.”
“Brother,” Varni exclaimed. “Why have you killed so many fishes? When will you be freed from such sin?” Every word of Varni sent a chill down Lakha’s spine. Nilkanth asked further, “Brother! Won’t God ask you why you have killed so many of his creatures? What rights have you to kill living beings?”
Lakho did not realize that, indeed, it was God himself who was now asking him about his violent deeds. However, Lakha’s conscience was moved; a voice from within could not help but agree with the young Varni. Lakha’s guilt brought tears to his eyes. With folded hands he said, “In this dreadful drought I could not get any grains. So, I had to take to this work. It is no doubt a sin to kill living creatures. However, I had to do it out of necessity.”
Varni replied, “Lakha, don’t others get grains? They are not dying out of hunger. Similarly, if you decide to eat only grains, God will certainly provide for your needs and you will have no famine in your house.”
On Nilkanth Varni’s command, Lakho took the fish back to the waters they came from and miraculously, the fish came back to life. Lakha’s heart became unburdened and light. He became convinced that Nilkanth Varni was God. He fell at Varni’s feet and prayed, “O Brahmachariji! Today, you have given me back my humanity. Please stay in Vadgam tonight in my village. It is evening and the road ahead is deserted and full of wild animals. Besides, where the rivers Mahi and Sabarmati meet, the water is deep and impossible to cross.”
However, Nilkanth Varni was not afraid of hardship and so he resumed his journey after teaching the fisherman a valuable lesson: no one has the right to kill God’s creatures.