1. Naranathu Branthan – Story 1
[Amma: Naranathu Branthan was an Avadhoota (Madman like sage) who lived in Kerala a few centuries ago. He was a self-realized yogi, whose behavior was known to be very weird. There are many stories associated with his life and Amma will narrate a few of them”.]
Once a spiritual aspirant wanted to become a disciple of Naranathu Branthan and follow him wherever he went. He approached Branthan and made this request. Branthan did not have any inclination to accept anyone as his disciple. Hence he rejected the request. But the sadak was very adamant. He kept on pleading Branthan to accept him as a disciple.
Finally Branthan said, “Fine; you can follow me. But there is a condition for it. You should do whatever I do.” The sadak agreed very enthusiastically.
Branthan started walking. He walked and walked. One day passed; the second day passed and yet Branthan would not stop walking! The Sadak could not just cope up with Branthan’s walk. He cried, “Guruji, I have no energy left; unless I eat something, I will die”. Branthan did not reply.
After a short while they came across a smithy shop. At that time they were melting Lead there. Branthan went inside, took a handful of molten lead in his hand and drank it. He called his disciple and said, “Come on, now drink this as much as you want and quench your hunger!”
The disciple gathered whatever little energy he had and ran away from the spot!
(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)
2. Naranathu Branthan – Story 2
[Amma: ‘Branthan’ means mad man. His behavior was beyond the comprehension of common men. Hence they called him mad. He accepted it without a protest. He never tried to change the opinion of the people nor tried to teach them spiritual wisdom. He never explained his behavior to people. In fact, he was least bothered about people and their opinions”.]
Branthan had the habit of cooking his food at cremation grounds using the fires of the pyre there. One night, he was cooking his food this way. At that time, a group of spirits, headed by a devata (celestial being) came there. They had the custom of dancing around the burning pyres. Those spirits would not opt to display their dance in front of human beings. Hence the devata ordered Branthan to go away. However, Branthan was adamant and he would not budge. Soon there was heated argument between him and the devata.
The Devata argued, “It is customary for us to dance around the pyre. We shall not swerve from our practice”.
Branthan said, “Like you being firm about your custom, I am also very firm about my custom of cooking my food in the pyre. I will not move from here. Why don’t you move to some other cremation ground to locate another pyre?”
Noticing his adamancy, the spirits thought that, being a human being, he could be scared by them and chased away. They took up very gory and scary forms and made thundering noise and threatening gestures towards Branthan. But Branthan laughed seeing their antics and was busy with cooking. So the head of the spirits stopped their antics and realized that Branthan was no ordinary human being, but a sage.
The devata saluted Branthan and said, “Sir, I accept my defeat; as told by you, we will go to some other cremation ground. However, having been impressed by your courage, I would like to offer a boon; Ask whatever you want”
Branthan said, “I need no boons; I have no needs nor desires; There is nothing that I need to accomplish. Just leave me alone so that I can concentrate on my cooking”.
But the devata was adamant. It wanted to offer something to Branthan.
Branthan said, “Fine. Tell me the date of my physical body dying in this world”. The devata told him the date and said, “This is not a boon at all. Ask something”.
Branthan said, “Okay. Just advance my date of death by a day, or postpone it by a day”.
“I don’t have that power to alter the date of your death; ask something else” said the devata.
Branthan took pity on the devata. He was suffering from elephantiasis and his left leg had been affected by it. He said, “Fine. Since you are so particular to offer a boon to me, you can change the elephantiasis from my left leg to right leg.” The devata did it. Branthan said, “Okay. I don’t need anything more. All of you leave from this place”. The spirits left the place immediately.
[Amma: ‘Branthan’s story clearly depicts the nature of a true Yogi who is totally surrendered to God. Even devatas and spirits are subservient to such a sage. Such a yogi never has fear; he has no curiosity or excitement; He is not worried about or disturbed about anything. While he is capable of changing the effects of prarabdha Karma himself, he is least inclined to do it and he accepts whatever pains and pleasures that come to him as per fate. He is beyond any vasanas and he he is able to laugh at anything and be a witness to all happenings”. You must also notice that Branthan did not express compassion too! We can’t say whether he was compassionate or not, because he is not concerned with the world or society, as he is immersed in a higher state of existence in unison with the ultimate”.]
(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)
3. Naranathu Branthan – Story 3 – Ambalapuzha temple
WHen the Ambalapuzha temple was built and the consecration ceremony was to be done, priests were invited for the installation of the main deity’s statue and do the related ceremonies. All of them were eminent scholars who could chant all the four Vedas by hear. In spite of their knowledge, they could not fix the statue firmly on the altar, however much they tried.
When the problem remained unsolved, the temple authorities made some astrological calculations in consultation with the priests. According to their calculations and predictions, a competent person to do the installation was sitting a few yards away from the temple compound.
When they went to the identified spot, they found a primitive and crazy-looking man siting there and chewing betel leaves, having just finished eating fried fish. He was none other than Naranathu Branthan.
They brought him to the place where the installation was taking place, in spite of the priests’ mocking at him and making rude remarks to the temple authorities. They held their noses and spat on the ground to express their disgust seeing Branthan.
They thought, “What made these people to bring this ugly and low caste man here? What is he going to do?” Suddenly all the priests vomited, but what came out of their mouth was fish! Then the crazy man, who ate fish spat on the ground and out came basil leaves. Everyone was wonderstruck. Taking some betel leaves, he chewed them and spat on the altar; he uttered a few words in a scolding tone, “Hey Krishna, sit there!”. The statue became firmly fixed thereon.
[Amma: “The name of the town Ambalapuzha originated from the word ‘tambulam’ (betel leaves, when chewed with arecanut and lime, which together are known in Sanskrit as tambulam). The town was previously knowns as Tambulapuzha. It was that illiterate layman’s spittle and his chiding of God that bore fruit and not the vedic chanting of priests. This was because the ‘crazy man’ was a Perfect Soul; whereas the priests were only after money. They did not have any spiritual power”.]
(From Awaken Children-Vol 2 )
4. Forbearance – (1)
[Amma: “The glory of the rishis and saints of our past is immeasurable. Without their compassion, the world have become a hell by now. It is their sacrifice and compassion that protect the world even today. IT is their patience and love that compensate and balance the evil effects of the selfish acts of the people of the world. We cannot fathom the depth of their compassion. Their compassion extends to those who intend to harm and eliminate them too”.]
A king brought his young son to get him admitted to a Gurukula. It was the practice in those days that whether one is a son of a king or the son of a poor man, children lived in the company of their Guru and learned Vedas, shatras, arts and also moral education. Children would not have contact with their parents during their period of stay at Gurukula.
When the king and the prince arrived, the place was calm and peaceful. There was nobody to be seen in the Gurukula. After searching for a while, the noticed a saint– the guru, sitting under a tree. He was in deep state of samadhi. The king and prince waited for some time for the saint to open his eyes. When he opened his eyes, the Guru noticed the king. He pleasantly welcomed the king and offered him a seat.
But the king was rather upset and angry that he was not properly accorded welcome at the Gurukula and that he had to search for the guru and also wait indefinitely till the guru finished his meditation. As a king, he was so much used to getting royal treatment wherever he went that he was angry about such a callous treatment meted out to him.
The guru asked respectfully, “Your majesty, may I know the purpose of your visit?”
The king bursted out. “Are you trying to mock at me? Instead of according me the proper royal welcome, you are asking me why I have come here! Where are all the students and disciples here? May I have the fortune of having a darshan of them?” he asked with sarcasm.
The guru expressed sorry and said, “This is a gurukula where we follow strict rules of discipline for the students; every student and disciple has a time schedule for study, work, worship, japa and other spiritual practices. As each of them follow their discipline, you could not see any of them outside. I too was immersed in meditation. That’s why we could not offer a formal reception to you”.
This explanation could not convince the king. “Do you intend to demean me?” he asked. Not knowing how to convince the king. The guru kept quiet. The king remembered that his purpose of coming there was to admit his son to this gurukula. This particular gurukula was most reputed in his kingdom for teaching knowledge and character to the students. Hence, the king controlled his anger and showing an external act of humility he sought forgiveness from the saint for his display of anger. He then requested the Saint to accept his son as his disciple.
The guru instantly agreed and the formalities of admission were completed. The king left his son behind and departed; yet the sense of anger and hurt was still simmering in his heart.
The prince proved to be an excellent student. He was humble, had good conduct and character and also had devotion to God. The Guru was extremely happy with the boy and showered his love and care on him. The boy grew up to a youth in the Gurukula and he excelled not only in scriptural knowledge, but also in weaponry. His character remained impeccable.
The day of completion of his education came soon. With tear filled eyes, he stood before the guru with utter humility and said, “My respected master, I belong to you. I have nothing to claim as mine. In front of your greatness, I am nothing. There is nothing equivalent to the love, affection and care you took in grooming me. I want to give you something as my Guru dakshina (tuition fees). I am waiting to know your wish”.
The Guru touched the prince’s face with affection and said, “My son, your obedience, humility and devotion to me is the greatest Guru dakshina which you have already given to me. What else do I need?”
The prince insisted again and again. The guru said, “My child, Since I have no need at present, I will collect the Guru dakshina from you at the appropriate time of need. Don’t worry” and bid farewell to the prince.
The King was still nurturing the anger towards the saint and he was only waiting for his son to complete his schooling and return to the palace. Once the son came back, without his knowledge, the king sent his soldiers to the Gurukula and arranged to burn all the thatched huts, class rooms and residential places in the Gurukula. His soldiers also tortured the Saint and his disciples. Leaving them to lurch for food, clothing and shelter, the soldiers returned to the palace and reported the matter to the king. The king felt very happy that he had done the long nurtured revenge on the saint.
Days passed. The king decided to crown the prince as the future king and retire. Before taking up the throne, the prince wanted to visit his guru and take his blessings. He went to his gurukula and was shocked to see the condition of the place. There were no huts, no class rooms, no facilities.
He frantically searched for the guru and finally found him meditating under a tree. He waited till the guru opened his eyes and then fell at his feet; impatiently he asked, “My master! What has happened here?”
The guru said patiently, “Nothing my son; there was a forest fire and all the huts got burned. That’s all”.
But the prince was shrewd enough to find out that the damage could not have happened due to forest fire and he suspected something fishy. By that time, the other students and disciples gathered around the guru. He inquired them what happened and they told him the truth after a brief hesitation.
The prince was shocked beyond words. However the shock turned to anger and he roared, “Father, you coward! What a dastardly act you have done. I am going to finish you off.” He gripped his sword with his right hand and the horse’s rope by the left hand and swiftly mounted it.
Immediately the Guru jumped in front of his disciple and stopped the horse from charging forward. He tried to convince him to drop his anger. But the Prince could not be tamed; he wanted to take revenge on his father for having done such a horrible act of vengeance against his beloved Guru.
Having failed in his attempts to pacify the prince, the saint finally said, “Fine, my son! I will permit you to go. But before you leave, please give me my Guru dakshina”.
Immediately, the prince got down from the horse, saluted his Guru and said in a pleasant voice, “Oh! Thank you my master for conceding to my prayer at last . Please let me know what you want”.
The guru said, “My son; please drop your planned act of punishment to your father. This is the guru dakshina I want”.
The Prince was dumbstruck hearing this plea. He stood there stunned, looking at the radiant face of his great master. Tears rolled from his eyes. He slowly fell at the feet of his guru.
(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)
5. Forbearance – (2)
Once a saint was living the life of a traveling mendicant. One day he was resting under a tree. A ruffian came there and for no reason, without any provocation, he beat the saint with a stick in hand. It was a heavy beating at the shoulder of the saint. At the swiftness of the hit, the stick fell on the ground. The saint took it on his hands; fearing that he would hit him back with the same stick, the ruffian took to heels.
The saint too started running behind him with the stick in his hand.
Some people who witnessed the ruffian hitting the saint, came running to the scene and they caught hold of the ruffian.
The saint came near him and said to him, “Here is your stick; I came behind you only to return this to you!”
Hearing this, those who to the help of the saint to catch the ruffian were terribly surprised. One of them said, “What are you saying, Swami? W all saw this rascal hitting you with the stick for no reason at all; you should definitely thrash him — not once, but many times. He deserves the punishment”. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.
The saint smiled and said, “Why should I beat him? I cannot do it. It is true that he beat me with that stick and I believe it happened by God’s will only. Suppose, instead of this fellow hitting me, what would I do if a branch from the tree got broken and fell on me? SHould I hit back the tree? I take it that this is a punishment I am receiving at the present time, for some crime I must have done in some previous birth. It means that I am only receiving the fruit of my karma and this fellow is just an instrument for it. Hence there is no meaning in hitting him back. If I do so, it will only end up adding to my bad karmas, instead of cancelling out the past karmas”.
(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)
6. The story of Poonthanam – Krishna’s devotee
Poonthanam was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in Kerala some 4 centuries ago. His life was marked by several tragic happenings, but he lived a life totally dedicated to Krishna and accepting all the unfortunate happenings in his life as the divine play of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur.
He was extremely sattvic (full of pure qualities) and lived a righteous life. He was simple and humble. His only child, born after lots of yearning and prayer to Lord Krishna died an unfortunate death. How did it happen?
His house was full of relatives who had gathered for the function. Poonthanam was celebrating the third birthday of his son; the celebrations and ceremonies extended till mid night. Finally, they all retired to bed in a hurry. Suddenly at that time a powerful storm occurred. All the oil lamps in the house got extinguished in the wind. After the winds subsided, the lit all the lamps again.
Only then they noticed that Poonathanam’s child was missing. Everybody started searching for the child in panic in all nook and corners of the house but could not find him. Suddenly one of the relatives noticed a huge heap of sleeping mats dumped at a corner of the house.
Actually, Poonthanam’s boy was sleeping at that corner. When all the lights got extinguished, people who who woke up rolled their sleeping mats and threw them at the corner one after the other in the darkness. Thus it became a huge heap under which the child got caught and was suffocated to death. When the mats were removed, the dead body of Poonthanam’s child was underneath.
Think of the extreme shock and pain that the couple had to undergo. Poonthanam too cried. But soon he was able to gather himself and recover from the ill fate. How? The unwavering faith and surrender Poonthanam had on his beloved Lord Krishna elevated his mind spiritually and that mindset taught him to wriggle out of the sorrowful calamity. As a poet, he sang, “While little Krishna is dancing in our hearts, do we need little ones of our own?”
But Poonthanam’s wife could not easily recover herself from her shock. She thought her husband must be a lunatic and she hated him. Once when Poonthanam was travelling to Guruvayoor, he was attacked by robbers on the way. He had many such unfortunate things happening in his life. Yet, his devotion to his beloved Lord never changed.
[Amma: “When measured purely from worldly angle, Poonthanam’s life was a tragedy. But he was always in bliss. How was it possible? The answer lies in the above song. Once you establish God in the temple of your heart, then what remains is nothing but bliss. That bliss will be both inside as well as outside”.]
(From Arul Mozhigal-3 Tamil)
7. Form and formless God
[Amma: “Saguna (with form) and nirguna (without form) are not two different Realities. Ordinary people can reach Formless Being only through some kind of medium. For those who don’t know how to swim, a boat is necessary to cross the river, isn’t it? Mother is not saying you should stay in the boat for ever. After reaching the other side, you should get out”.]
Once there was a disciple, sitting at the banks of a river in the Himalayas, thinking “I see God in the form of my Guru but he says that he is not the body. Yet how can I believe him? How can one be with and without form at the same time? Doesn’t he talk to me and do all the other actions like ordinary people?”
While the disciple was brooding over the matter, a block of ice suddenly crashed into the river. As the disciple looked at it, a squirrel jumped onto the ice which floated across the river. Upon reaching the other bank, the squirrel got off and gingerly jumped away.
Seeing this, the disciple thought, “No doubt the ice is only water. But without it, the squirrel could not have crossed the river. THe formless water became ice and will eventually lose its form and river to its original formless nature as water, but the form serves a purpose. Likewise, Nirguna becomes Saguna for taking us across the Ocean of Samsara. Henceforth, I will look upon my Guru as the embodiment form of the formless Absolute”.
[Amma: “All forms have limitations. There is no tree which touches the sky, and there is no root which touches the netherworld. This means the names and forms are finite. We should go beyond all names and forms. Even though God is beyond all qualities and all-pervading, He will come in a form according to our sankalpa“.]
(From Awaken Children Vol-1)
8. What exist there is here
Once a group of devotees from Kerala planned to make a holy pilgrimage to Kashi in North India to bathe in the Holy river Ganga. When they asked an old, saintly devotee in their village whether he would like to come, he said, “I am too old to make this journey. Please take my walking stick and after dipping it in the Ganga, return to me”.
When the devotees reached Kashi and bathed in Ganga, they dipped the old man’s stick in the river. Unfortunately the stick slipped and got washed washed away by the river’s swift current.
On returning to the village, they informed the old saint that they had lost the stick.
“Did you lose it in the Ganges?” he asked. “Yes; in the Ganges” they replied.
“Then it is no problem” he said; going to the backyard of his house, the saint waded into the pond there and pulled out his stick!
[Amma: “For a knower of the Self, there is no good or bad, pure or impure. For him, there is Purity alone. As for as he is concerned, there is no difference between the Ganges water and the water in the pond. But for ordinary people, all these differences do exist”.]
(From Awaken Children Vol-1)
9. What God looks for
[Amma: “A true karma yogi is one who keeps his mind on God while being engaged in any work. We must have the mindset of accepting everything as God’s act. That is true bhakti. If one is engaged in puja, but the mind is wandering on all external matters, that puja can not be taken as bhakti yoga. At the same time, if a scavenger does his job of cleaning by chanting God’s name and believing his work as a service to God, it is truly bhakti yoga as well as karma yoga”.]
Once there lived a woman in a street, who was very devoted to Lord Krishna. Whatever works she did, she would dedicate it to God, saying “Krishnarpanamastu“. Whether she was sweeping her courtyard or bthing her child, she would not forget to say ‘Krishnarpanamastu‘.
There was a temple adjacent to her house. The priest in the temple did not like the woman always chanting Krishnarpanamastu. He could not bear her saying it while throwing the garbage. He used to scold her for her behavior but she did not react.
One day, the woman through a handful of cow dung away from her house and unfortunately, it fell inside the temple front yard. The priest heard her saying Krishnarpanamastu while the cow dung fell in the temple. He got very furious. He caught hold of the lady and dragged her into the temple; he made her cleanup the dung and wash the area. Then he gave a few beatings to the women and chased her away.
When the priest woke up from the bed the next day, he could not move his hand. He was shocked. He cried in pain and prayed to God to cure him. That night, God appeared in his dream and said, “I cherish the cow dung thrown by the woman more than the sweet pudding you offered to me; what you do in the temple for me is not puja, but whatever the woman does is indeed puja for me. I cannot bear the woman suffering under your ill treatment. Only if you fall at the feet of the woman and beg her parden, your hand will get alright”.
10. Nature of God
Once a king and his minister were discussing about Puranas. Referring to the Story of the Elephant King Gajendra, whose life was saved by Lord Vishnu from the clutches of a crocodile, the king asked the minister rather mockingly, “I don’t understand why Lord VIshnu has to come personally to save Gajendra. Was he not mighty enough to send some of his soldiers to save Gajendra? Rather, he could have dispatched just his Sudarshan Chakra right from his abode at Vaikuntham to kill the crocodile? Why all the fuss to rush personally to save an elephant just because he called out by name?”
The learned minister did not respond immediately. He waited for the right opportunity to explain it to the king.
Ther minister was very fond of the Little Prince (the son of the king) and he used to spend some time with the kid to play with him. The minister secretly got an idol of the prince made that looked exactly like the prince.
One day, the minister and the prince were playing at the Palace gardens. The king was standing at the balcony of his palace and he could notice the two playing at some visible distance away from him. There was a well in the Garden. As the two were playing, suddenly the king saw his little son standing at the brim of the well and then suddenly falling into it. He was utterly shocked. But the fact was that the minister had indeed arranged to keep the idol of the prince there and pushed it into the well, knowing well that the king was noticing it from a distance. The king was unaware that it was just the idol that was pushed into the well.
Gripped by anxiety and agony, the king got down swiftly from the Balcony and came running to the garden, shouting for help. When he arrived at the spot, he was surprised and relieved to see his little son there, holding hands with the minister.
“Oh! What happened here? I saw my son falling into the well and hence I came rushing” said the king.
The minister said smilingly, “Oh revered king, what is the need for you to personally come rushing here to save your son? Won’t it be enough if you call your security guards and send them to save your child from drowning?”
The king said, “What do you mean? How can I remain cool and issue order my soldiers to do something when my own son is drowning here?”
The minister said, “That is precisely what Lord Vishnu did when he heard the cries of the elephant Gajendra! For the lord, Gajendra was just like a son! Every living being is like His son and daughter! When any of them cry to Him for help, how can’t he help but to rush personally for saving him/ her! That is the nature of God”.
11. What God looks for (2)
Once there lived a poor laborer who was a deep devotee of Lord Krishna. It was his regular habit to visit the temple of Lord Krishna adjacent to his house every evening after his daily jobs were over. He would promptly present himself at the time of deeparadhana (vesper service) and would feel spiritually surcharged; he would not miss this habit.
One day, due to extra work, he was held up late at his workplace. When he rushed to the temple, the deeparadhana had been completed and the priest was coming out. The laborer felt very disappointed for having missed to see the deeparadhana. He stood there with a sunken face.
The priest noticed the man’s disappointment. He knew that he was a very regular visitor to the temple who was always present at deeparadhana time and watched it with rapture. The priest was deeply impressed by the devotion of the poor laborer.
He went close to him and said, “I am doing deeparadhana daily to the Lord. I will give all the punya (accrued merits) of doing this service for lord to you. Will you please give me the punya of your longing for God to me?”
The laborer happily agreed to this proposition.
On that night, Lord Krishna appeared in the laborer’s dream. He said, “To day, you have done a foolish thing. Why did you exchange the punya of your deep love on me to that priest for his act of doing deeparadhana? After all, he is doing it as a part of his job as a priest. His merits of doing this procedural service to me can never equal the love and devotion that comes from your pure heart.”
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
12. What God looks for (3)
Once there lived a Brahmin who was well versed in scriptures and he was a deep devotee of Divine Mother. Wherever he went, Devi too would go with him. Though others could not see Devi, the Brahmin would see her and even converse with her.
One day, he was undertaking a pilgrimage and Devi too was following him. At one place, the Brahmin happened to see whether Devi was coming behind him as usual, he was surprised to notice her missing. He started walking back in search of Devi. After going back some considerable distance he noticed that Devi was sitting in a platform inside the hut of an untouchable man. The untouchable was actually worshiping Devi by placing a sword and Trishul on the platform, deeply involved in his prayerful worship. Devi was patiently sitting in front of him as long as his worship was continuing and was blessing him by accepting his worship with a smiling face. Once the pooja ended, Devi came out of the hut to be with the brahmin.
The Brahmin said, “Mother, I know how stressful it would have been for you to sit so long in front of that untouchable low caste person who did some dubious worship without knowing any mantra or tantra. Please do not do such things again”.
Hearing this Devi smiled and said, “I have been with you all along and still you have not understood my nature. I always look at the heart of the devotee. I have no discrimination based on someone being higher or lower in social order. Whosoever calls me with total love and devotion, I would go there. I value pure, guileless love more than scriptural knowledge. I don’t want to follow you hereafter as you have not even grasped this basic nature of mine”, So saying Devi disappeared.
[Amma: “The moment egoism and differentiation rises up in a devotees’ heart, he gets distanced from God immediately.”]
13. Your responsibility
Once a person who lead a life of righteousness and accumulated punya (fruits of good karmas) in this world died and went to heaven on account of his goodness.
There one day he noticed a strange shop; the shop carried a board :”All goodness and wealth are available here for buying free of cost”. The God himself was the seller in the Shop. The man went inside the shop, bowed to God and said, “May I get happiness and peace for all the people of mankind from this shop?”
The God immediately gave him a bag full of seeds. The man said, “Well, I am afraid I have not asked for any seeds”.
God smiled and said, “My son, whatever you have asked for is available here, but only in seed form. It is up to you to put all efforts to grow them into trees and then pluck the fruits of happiness and peace from them!”
[Amma: “All of us in this world possess the seeds of goodness inside us, given by God. They are indeed in the form of ‘bija’, the seed . It is up to us to sow them, give water and nourishment and and take due care of them, they will grow big and flower one day. Then the fragrance will spread all around and the life will be blessed. “]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
14. The right person
Once there lived a Sadhu, who was a great devotee of God. He was extremely humble and lived a life immersed in the bliss of devotion to God. Lots of people came to him in search of peace; they became his disciples and devotees. He was extremely popular and revered in that locality.
One day a Pundit came to see him.
The pundit too was somewhat famous for his scholarship and his knowledge of the scriptures. He was a very proud man; he was extremely argumentative and he loved engaging others into arguments. He derived lots of joy in defeating them in intellectual arguments based on kis knowledge on scriptures.
The pundit did not like the popularity of the Sadhu, who, according to his judgement, would not even have rudimentary knowledge of scriptures. He wanted to establish his superiority there.
He spoke the Sadhu: “Swamy, I will be glad to have a debate with you on the matter of God”. The sadhu said with folded hands, “O revered Pundit, I have the least knowledge about scriptures. You are a great scholar, I cannot even stand before you and talk on the matters of spirituality. What do I know? I know nothing.”
The Pundit felt proud and happy. He said: “If you are not inclined to debate with me, will you give me a letter stating that you have accepted defeat from me on the matters of God?”
“Definitely” said the Sadhu. He got a letter prepared as wished by the pundit, signed it and gave it.
The Pundit went to attend a large Conference of scholars and spiritual seekers where various matters of scriptures were being expounded. There were seminars, panel discussions and debating sessions. The pundit spoke in a session and said, “Perhaps you people are already aware of my extensive knowledge in our holy scriptures. In fact very recently I met this Sadhu in such and such place. I don’t know why, so many people throng to him and show lots of reverence to him. When I met him, this sadhu really got scared of me! He gave me a letter stating that he has accepted defeat from me on the matters of knowledge about God! Here is the letter signed by him!’
He circulated the letter amid his audience. People went through the letter and started talking very excitedly amid themselves. Some of them laughed.
“Why are you feeling so excited? Why do you laugh?” asked the pundit.
Some of them got up and said, “Sir, we are indeed extremely glad to see this letter. All along, we have been searching for the right person to guide us on spiritual matters. We are glad that we came to know who it is, today”.
“Good. You have understood that it is me. Right?” said the pundit.
“No Sir; Not you. We meant the Sadhu who gave you the letter. Even though we have been studying and discussing scriptures, we also know that God cannot be found through scriptures. We know that knowing God by real personal experience is what really matters, and for such a realized person, scriptures are not really of any value. Humility is the hallmark of such a person. At last, we have now understood that the Sadhu must be the true knower of God! We are all eager to go and meet him and get his blessings!” said the people in the gathering.
(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)
15. For the fun of it
Once a prince was playing hide and seek with his friends in the garden adjacent to his palace. At one point of time, the prince was the catcher. He kept his eyes closed and all his friends ran away to hide themselves in different places. The Prince started looking around for them. One by one, he caught a few of the boys from their hiding places. But a couple of them could not be easily located. The prince was frantically running around here and there to find out where they were hiding.
Watching this, one of the guards said, “Your majesty. You are a Prince and if you can’t find your friends, it is enough if you just issue an order loudly and they will have to come out of their hiding places. Why should you waste your time running in search of them like this?”
The prince said, “What you say is true. But there won’t be any fun in the game if I do so!”
[Amma: “When God takes an avatar, he accepts the nature of human beings and comes in such a form to earth. It is his lila (divine play) to be among the human beings. He tends to demonstrate knowledge and ignorance, power and weakness in this divine play. We can observe that these avatars too undergo pains and pleasures, problems and resistances in their lives like ordinary human beings. Only then they could mingle easily with others and relate with them. Once they have opted to play this game, they should change the rules in between, should they?”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)
16. The hands
Once in a village, there was a prominent statue of a famous saint. The statue was sculpted in such a way showing the saint extending both the hands. An inscription at the base of the statue read “Come into my hands”.
As years passed, both the hands of the statue got broken. The villagers felt bad about it. Even though the hands were broken, the inscription below the statue was still prominent and clear. Some villagers felt that the old statue should be removed and a new one of the saint with extended hands must be installed again there. Some other people said, “There is no need to discard this statue. It is enough we we repaired it to attach two hands.”
An old villager came there and intervened in the arguments. He said, “There is no need either to change the statue or fix new hands.”
If we don’t do it, then the inscription saying ‘Come into my hands’ looks meaningless and awkward” said some people.
The old man said, “That’s okay. It is enough if we add another sentence under it like this: “I have no other hands except yours. My hands are nothing but your hands”.
[Amma: “God has no separate hands other than ours. He acts only through us. Hence we should bring God in our hands; in our legs; in our tongues and in our hearts. This way we must transform ourselves to God.”]
(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol.2)