Periyava visited the house of a very rich and distinguished man in a village in Tanjore district, all of a sudden. It was a surprise visit and so arrangements had not been made to welcome him.
Periyava did not wait for the members of the family to escort him around the house, but walked through the courtyard, the hall, the corridor and looked around everywhere. Hearing of Periyava’s visit, the head of the family came rushing back home.
One room in the house had been locked. Periyava told the gentleman to unlock the door and show him the room. The gentleman hesitated to do so and stood there, looking disconcerted. Periyava would not give up. He sat down outside the locked room.
The gentleman had no option but to open the locked room. Inside the locked room was their cook, who had been imprisoned on charges of theft. As soon as the door was opened, the man came running to Periyava and fell at his feet.
"I have done no wrong. These people are harassing me,” he said and wept pitiably. Periyava graciously sent for the goods the man was accused of stealing, to be brought from Sri Matha. Half a measure of rice, a little tamarind fruit, some chillies and so on. Was it for this that such a harsh punishment was given?
“Don’t do such a thing again.” Periyava told the distinguished man and left the house. The gentleman fell at Periyava’s feet and sobbed in remorse.