THE sage Mandavya who had acquired strength of mind and knowledge of the scriptures, spent his days in penance and the practice of truth. He lived in a hermitage in the forests on the outskirts of the city. One day while he was immersed in silent contemplation under the shade of a tree outside his hut of leaves, a band of robbers fled through the woods with officers of the king in hot pursuit. The fugitives entered the ashrama thinking that it would be a convenient place to hide themselves in. They placed their booty in a corner and hid themselves. The soldiers of the king came to the ashrama tracking their footsteps. The commander of the soldiers asked Mandavya, who was rapt in deep meditation in a tone of peremptory command: "Did you see the robbers pass by? Where did they go? Reply at once so that we may give chase and capture them." The sage, who was absorbed in yoga, remained silent. The commander repeated the question insolently. But the sage did not hear anything. In the meantime some of the attendants entered the ashrama and discovered the stolen goods lying there. They reported this to their commander. All of them went in and found the stolen goods and the robbers who were in hiding. The commander thought: "Now I know the reason why the brahmana pretended to be a silent sage. He is indeed the chief of these robbers. He has inspired this robbery." Then he ordered his soldiers to guard the place, went to the king and told him that the sage Mandavya had been caught with the stolen goods. The king was very angry at the audacity of the chief of the robbers who had put on the garb of a brahmana sage, the better to deceive the world. Without pausing to verify the facts, he ordered the wicked criminal, as he thought him, to be impaled. The commander returned to the hermitage, impaled Mandavya on a spear and handed over the stolen things to the king. The virtuous sage, though impaled on the spear, did not die. Since he was in yoga when he was impaled he remained alive by the power of yoga.