1. Value of money (1)
A very rich man used to go to the market from his house for shopping by walk always. Having noticed this for long, one of the shopkeepers asked him, “Why are you coming to the market walking? You can very well come by your car! I always see your sone coming to the market only by car!”
The rich man said, “When I was young, my father never earned enough money to provide me comforts. Whatever riches I have today have been earned by me by hard work. I know the value of money. As for my son, his father has earned enough to give a car to him. The son doesn’t know the value of money because he has not struggled to earn it. That’s why he comes in the car!”
2. Value of money (2)
Once a father and son lived together. The son was extremely lazy and he was simply living off his father’s income. Fed up with his attitude, one day the father said to his son very strictly, “Look, you can have your meals at this house hereafter only if you earn at least two Rupees a day and give it to me”.
The lazy son went around to meet the neighbours and his father’s friends to borrow two rupees from someone or other and paid his father before taking food daily.
The father soon came to know of it and gave strict instructions to his neighbors not to give any money to his son. Next day, the son could not get any money from them. He went to a hotel, offered his services to wash the utensils and collected two rupees as his labor charges. That was the first time in his life he ever labored to earn money.
He brought home two rupee note to his father and asked for his food. The father said, “Wait”. He went inside, brought a wick lamp and started burning the two rupee note. The son was shocked and angered to see what his father was doing and shouted, “Stop, stop! What are you doing ? Are you foolish to burn my hard earned money this way? Do you know how much I toiled to earn these two rupees?” Shouting like this, the son was about to hit his father.
The father said, “Now you understand the value of hard earned money? It is with the money that I had earned by toiling hard that you have been eating all along, sitting idle at home!”
[Amma: Only if we work hard to attain something, we will understand its value; otherwise, people will squander it or misuse it. Amma cannot give divine knowledge for free to anyone who is not willing to work for it.]
3. The learned parrot
Once a very learned sanyasi was walking through a dense forest along with his pet parrot. The parrot was very dear to him, as he had taught the parrot to chant many scriptures verbatim; it had taken many years of earnest effort to teach the parrot to such a capability.
In the forest, a ferocious tiger noticed him and came charging towards him. The sanyasi was very scared; he started running, but he was no match for the speed of the tiger chasing him.He did not know how to escape and thought his life would end very soon. Suddenly, most unexpectedly a forest dweller came on the way and he managed to chase away the tiger.
The sanyasi felt extremely grateful to the forest dweller for saving his life. He wanted to gift something valuable to the man, but being a begging mendicant, he had nothing to give. He thought for a while and decided to give as a present his dearest pet, the parrot, to the forest dweller. The hunter gracefully accepted it.
The sanyasi bid farewell to the hunter and left. After he reached his hut in his village, he suddenly remembered that he had totally forgotten to tell the hunter how valuable the parrot was since it can chant many shashtras. On a second thought, he felt that it was wrong on his part to have given the parrot to the forest dweller form who the parrot’s chanting abilities would be of no use. He decided that he should give some other valuables and coins in his possession to the hunter and retrieve his beloved parrot.
The next next day, the sanyasi went into the forest and fortunately he could meet him on the way. He eagerly inquired, “How is the parrot?” The forest dweller replied, “Oh! It was quite tasty; thank you!”
[Amma: There is no point in gifting something to one who does not know the value of it. A sadguru can easily give realization to a disciple but he will not give to a person who may not know the value of it]
4. The useless pride
Once a very rich man travelled in his car in a highway. He was carrying with him lots of jewels and so many costly and valuable items in the car.
When he was passing through a deserted place, a few highway robbers stopped his car enroute. They forced him to come out of the car at gun point.
One of the robbers took him away from his car, drew a circle on the ground using a stick and forced the rich man to stand inside the circle. He said, “Don’t ever dare to come out of the circle; if you put a step outside this circle, we will kill you”.
Then all of them surrounded his car, checked it thoroughly and took away all the jewelry and other valuables found in the car. Finally, they poured some petrol on the car and torched it.
Then they came back to the place where he was standing, in order to kill him. On seeing them, the rich man started laughing. “What is there to laugh, you fool?” they asked him angrily.
The rich man said gleefully, “I am not a fool; actually I fooled all of you. Did you not say that if I step out of the circle, you will kill me? When you were busy looting and burning my car, I stepped out of the circle so many times and none of you noticed it!”
[Amma: Many of us live in this world like this rich man. Instead of escaping and running away to save his life when the robbers were busy, the rich man was priding himself in his foolish act of jumping in and out of the circle. When dire things are happening in our lives, we take pride and pleasure in our petty achievements, forgetting the great calamities we are to face in life]
5. The most beautiful girl on earth
Once a great artist drew the painting of an extremely beautiful girl. Whomsoever saw the painting fell in love with the girl, so lured by her exquisite beauty. Some of them asked the artist “By any chance this girl is your lover?” When the artist said no, each of them expressed their desire to marry the girl and all of them wanted the artist to reveal her whereabouts.
In fact each one of them was so madly got infatuated with the girl in the picture that each was very determined not to allow any other to try and woo the girl in any way!
They kept on pestering the artist to reveal her identity and location. The artist said, “I am sorry; she is not a real girl at all. I have never seen such a girl anywhere in my life. She has no specific language, religion or country. Whatever beauty I found inside my heart, I expressed it through this painting – her eyes, her nose, her face and all her limbs are only the expressions of my own imagination of the best of all beauties. Please don’t ever blindly believe existence of any such real girl in the world”.
But people refused to accept what he said. They said, “You are lying because you want to get married to that girl” they accused him. The artist said, “No. Even if you travel all over the world to locate her, you will not find her because she is the essense of all that is beautiful that I could conceive as an artist”.
Refusing to heed to the artist, the people started blindly believing that such a girl really existed. In order to possess her, they started fighting with each other. Soon it became a melee; burning with desire and rage, people started physically attacking each other and all of them got killed in the bitter fight.
[Amma: We too are like these people. We are in search of God as seen in pictures or as described in poetic mythological stories. In that search we also fight with each other and cause damage to ourselves.]
6. The lean elephant!
[Amma: It is our mind that makes one beautiful or ugly in our point of view. If we love someone, he/she will look beautiful, even if the looks are otherwise. If we don’t like someone, they would look ugly even if really beautiful]
Once a lady, sitting from her house peeped outside and saw someone roaming at the gate of the house. She said to her servant, “Someone as fat as an elephant is standing at our gate; go and find out who it is”.
The servant went and came back excitedly. He said, “Madam, it looks it is your eldest son who ran away from the house a few years ago!”
The lady got up immediately and rushed out. Seeing her son there, she hugged him and said, “Oh my son! Where have you been all these years? Why have you become so thin?”
Once it became known that she was indeed her son, how her outlook changed!
7. Initiating a change
[Amma: Any change for the improvement of the outer world has to come from the minds of the people. A change in an individual’s mind can trigger a change in the entire society.]
Once there was a village inside bordering a forest. At night, it was engulfed in darkness. A main road passed through the village into the forest which served as a thoroughfare to go to towns beyond the forest. As the village remained a secluded place, lots of robberies and murders took place. It was becoming very unsafe to travel through the road during nights.
A good hearted person living in the village felt pained to see such criminal activities taking place. He sent several petitions to the Government to provide electricity and street lights to the village, but nothing happened. Crimes continued to happen along the way in the village at nights. People in the village started living in perpetual fear and they were too afraid to venture out at nights.
Finally, the person decided to do whatever little part he could do: he kept a hurricane lamp outside his house at night so that there is atleast a little light on the street near his house. When the neighbor noticed it, he thought, “It is really nice to see this place lit at night; let me also keep a lamp outside my house at nights”. Soon it caught up with everyone in the village. Soon the whole thoroughfare passing through the village got illumined at night on account of lamps kept outside every house every night.
On account of it, robberies and murders happening there gradually came down.
Thus, on the initiative of one person to do a good for the society, a positive wave was created in the whole village. If one thinks ‘let others change before I change’ no progress will ever happen.
8. The power of words
[Amma: “Words have the power to change the nature of men”].
Once a Brahmin was teaching moral lessons to children in a temple. Te king of the country happened to visit the temple at that time. The Brahmin, who was fully immersed in teaching the lessons failed to notice the arrival of the king.
The king felt offended that the Brahmin failed to extend him the necessary reverencial welcome to the king; he came close to the Brahmin and started chiding him for his negligence. The Brahmin apologized and explained to the king that he did not to it intentionally bu missed noticing the arrival of the king due to his active engagement with the children. The king refused to accept such excuses; “What is such a great subject that you are teaching to the children without even noticing me?” he asked in a mocking tone.
“I was teaching the children the importance of developing good conduct and character; unless I do it with full involvement and concentration, it will not be effective” said the Brahmin.
“Do you believe mere words can change the behavior of the people?”
“Sure, my venerable king; words do have the power to create change in one’s nature”
“I don’t believe it” said the king.
Just then, one of the students watching their conversation came forward suddenly and shouted at the king: “You get out from here”.
The king got extremely angry. He took out his sword and rising it, he said, “You young brat! How dare you talk to a king like this? I will behead you and your guru right now and destroy this place!”
The Brahmin said, “Excuse me, your excellency! You said a moment ago that you don’t believe that words can change the nature of people. But see what happened now! A couple of words uttered by a young boy has caused such a great mental agitation in you! You have even decided to kill us and destroy the place!”
[Amma: “Children, from this story, it is clear that words have the power to change the nature of people. When even ordinary words can make a change, think of the power of mantras embellished by Bijakshararas (seed syllables) given to us by great sages”].
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 -Tamil)
[Amma: “Man shamelessly take things from nature with utter greed. He never seems to be thankful for whatever he has received”].
Once a man was standing in a bus stop. Since the bus he was waiting to board broke down, there was lot of delay. As the man kept looking around idly, he noticed an ice-cream vendor nearby. During the long period of waiting, nobody seemed to buy any icecream from the vendor. Seeing his impoverished looks, the passenger took pity on the vendor and asked, “How much does a cup of ice-cream cost?”
“Five rupees” said the vendor. The man took out a five rupee coin from his pocket gave it to the vendor, and walked away without collecting the ice-cream, intentionally. The but too gor repaired by that time and he boarded the bus and went away.
A couple of days later too, the man came to the ice-cream vendor, asked for the ice-cream, gave another 5 rupees, and went away without collecting the ice-cream.
Within the next one year or so, the same thing happened several times.
One day the man came to the vendor once again. This time the vendor could not contain his curiosity. He asked, “Sir, may I know why you are giving me five rupees again and again but not collecting the ice-cream?”
The man said, “See, I have no liking for ice-cream. When I gave you five rupees for the first time, I was feeling that I should do some little help to you, since you were not doing any business for long, as I watched you from a distance from the bus stand. Actually, I was waiting in the bus stand that day to catch my bus to go to a job interview. Surprisingly, I got the job and I came and donated another five rupees for you”
“You were giving money a few more times too subsequently; why?” asked the vendor.
The man said, “At one time, I got a huge order for my company and I received a good incentive money for it. I came here the next day and gave money to you. Subsequently, I got a promotion quickly and I came here again. To day, i have come here to give your five rupees because I got promoted to Manager post today!”
The vendor said coolly, “Sir, it’s all fine. But I have to tell you something; since last week, the price of the ice-cream has been increased from five rupees to ten rupees”.
(Devi bhava satsang abroad 4/3/2015)
10. The cost of love
[Amma: “There is hardly any true love in worldly relationships; if people love each other, it is practically for selfish reasons”]
Once a little girl was hospitalized for treatment for a a serious ailment. She had to remain in the hospital bed for about a week and her parents took turns to be with her. The doctors and nurses took good care of the girl and they moved very nicely and affectionately with her.
Once she was cured and was about to be discharged, the girl said to her father, “Papa, I think we should express our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors and nurses; they were so kind, affectionate and caring towards me all these days!”
As she was talking like this, a nurse came in and handed over a bunch of papers to the father of the girl. The father looked at it and then smiled at the girl. The girl asked, “What is it, papa?”
The father said, “It is the bill I have to pay for all the love, affection and care that you were mentioning a while ago!”
11. Nature gives free
Once an old man was hospitalized due to breathing problem. He got treatment for a couple of days. When he was about to be discharged, the ward boy brought the hospital bills. As he looked into the details, he noticed that he was charged a couple of thousands of rupees for Oxygen. Looking at it, the man’s facial expression changed. He knelt down and started praying God.
“Why sir, any problem with money?” asked the ward boy.
“The old man uttered his prayer aloud: “Oh God! How magnanimous you are and what a thankless guy I have always been! Right from birth till this old age, I have been breathing the oxygen that you have given in the air so magnanimously without expecting anything in return from me! Please forgive this thankless guy!”
12. Father’s advice
Once an experienced shopkeeper was keen to put his son in charge of the shop and train his son well in the art of salesmanship.
He brought his reluctant son to the shop and gave him essential instructions and put him on the job straight away.
A customer came and asked “Do you have Colgate toothpaste?”
The son searched the shelves and could not find any Colgate paste. He said, “Sorry, I am afraid it is out of stock”. The customer then asked soap of specific brand which was also not available in the shop. When the son said so, the customer went away.
The father was watching all these from a distance. He came to his son and started coaching him: “Dear son, this is not the way to do business. You must never allow a customer to go away without buying anything. If Colgate toothpaste is not there, you should offer him some other branded paste, saying “this is a much better product; this has special ingredients to make your teeth sparkling white and so on. You should convince your customer with your impressive salesmanship to make him buy the alternative toothpaste. You got it?”
“Yes, papa. I think so…” said the son.
A customer came and asked for a roll of toilet tissue paper. The son looked around for it and could not find it in the shelves. In a voice brimming with enthusiasm and confidence, he said, “Why toilet paper, sir? I have got a much better product to offer to you. You see, we have this X brand of emery paper, a superb product that can meet your needs better!”
13. Limited Support
[Amma: “Only God could be a true companion under dire circumstances; help and succeor received from near and dear ones have limitations.”]
Once a clod of mud and a dry leaf were close friends. One day they went for a walk together. On the way, it started drizzling. The dry leaf said, “Don’t worry; I will protect you from rain”. So saying, it covered the clod of mud and saved it from dissolving in rain water.
After a while, the rain stopped and wind started blowing. Now the clod of mud climbed over the dry leaf and stood over it, thereby preventing it from getting blown away.
A little later, heavy raining started along with gusty winds. Now the clod of mud got dissolved in the downpour and the leaf got flown away. Neither could be of any help to each other.
(Tuesday Satsang 1/9/2015)
14. We are responsible
Once day, God went for a visit to Hell. The people in the hell complained to him: “O God, you are very partial. We have been living in this dirty and foul smelling hell for countless years. Those who are living in heaven too were living there for countless years with all joys and comforts. Is it not unfair? Should you not, at least for a brief period, do a mutual exchange?”
The God conceded to their request; he sent all those living in hell to heaven and vice versa.
After some days, God went to visit the hell once again. He could not believe his eyes. The hell was looking very clean, spic and span. There were lots of flowering plants around and the place was sweet smelling. People there were singing God’s name and glories; some of them were dancing. Wherever he could see, only joy was there.
God then went to see the heaven. Again what He could see was unbelievable. Many beautiful plants that had existed had withered or dried up totally. There were no flowers to see. Paths were strewn with dirt and litter. People had urinated and defecated indiscriminately all around. There was only foul smell everywhere. People there were seen fighting with each other or in rioting. In other words, the old heaven was now a hell.
[Amma: “Children, this is the reality. It is we who create our own heaven or hell”.]
(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)
15. The Mayor’s post
[Amma: “It is the nature of people to crave for others’ attention towards them. Egoistic people constantly need others’ attention on them. They could not live without it. Mind has such a madness. Those who are in its grip tend to act madly. As man grows, his mind and ego too grow and they become more subtle; their attempts to seek others’ attention too becomes subtle. Nobody wants to be an ordinary person; everyone wants others to acknowledge him as high and give respect. Amma will share a story she has heard:”]
Once a correspondent from a news magazine wanted to write a news report about the Mayor of a city. He wanted to know what the people of the city felt about him and his administration. He interviewed a cross-section of the residents of the city; he was surprised to hear only negative opinion about the Mayor from the people whom he interviewed. Everyone had some complaint or other about the mayor. Some said he was inefficient and lethargic. Some said he was very corrupt; some blamed him to be the root cause of all the ills of the city administration. A majority of them said that they had indeed made a mistake in voting in favor of him earlier.
Finally, the correspondent met the mayor. While interviewing him, he asked casually, “May I know the salary you receive for your post?” The mayor said, “I have no salary; this is a honorary post”.
The correspondent was surprised. He said, “At one end, you don’t get a penny for your services; at another end, as per my survey with the people of this city, a vast majority of them seem to be totally antagonistic towards you and your administration; I am sure you would definitely be aware of the mood of the people against you; may I know why you are still occupying the post?”
The mayor said, “Please don’t publish what I am telling you now. I may not get salary and I may not get people’s acknowledgement; yet I love the prestige and respect the post of the Mayor of the city carries. I love the importance and attention that I get by holding this high post”.