1. Who will win?
Once a grandfather and his grandson went to visit a zoo. They were looking at the various wild animals kept in cages in the zoo.
At one place there were two lions, kept in two separate cages. One of them was rather sober and non aggressive. When people came close to the cage or even risked extending a hand inside, the lion did not react. It seemed to be at peace with the people. On the other hand, the lion in the adjacent cage was very aggressive and ferocious. If anybody came closer to its cage, it will roar and swing its front legs towards them to scare them away.
The grandfather asked the grandson, “Suppose these two lions were left to fight with each other, which one do you think would win?”
The grandson said, “Maybe the second one that looks very ferocious. I am not sure, though.”
The grandfather said, “One cannot be sure. But I can definitely say that the one which is constantly fed well will win”.
[Amma: “The thoughts that rise up in our minds too are in similar; the more we feed our mind with evil thoughts, the more will they gain strength. Our mind will get filled with anger, egotism etc and they would win over good thoughts “.]
(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 3)
2. Impossible to fill
Once a king was enjoying solitude in his garden. He was roaming around leisurely, enjoying the beauties of nature. He was in a very happy mood that day. At that time, beggar somehow managed to sneak into the garden without the notice of the guards. He came in front of the kind and saluted him. The king was surprised to see stranger there, looking impoverished and in tattered clothes. “Who are you? What do you want from me. Tell me quickly and leave this place. Don’t disturb my peaceful mindset now”.
The beggar said, “I am a poor beggar, your excellency. I just want one thing from you. Please rescue me from my poverty by filling my begging bowl totally”. The king took pity on him. As he was in a good mood that day, he called his Minister in charge for his treasury and said, “Please fill this beggar’s begging bowl fully with gold coins, gems and precious stones”.
But very surprisingly, whatever amount of pearls, gems and gold coins that the minister put into the begging bowl did not fill it fully. Things disappeared into the bowl and it could never be filled to the brim. Soon, an awkward situation came where in the treasury became almost empty; there was no more gems and gold coins left in the king’s stock.
The king felt shocked and ashamed. He said to the beggar, “Please excuse me. I am unable to keep up my promise to you. I have given whatever I had in the treasury. I have no more wealth to drop into your begging bowl. Your begging bowl seems to be having magical powers. May I know what is the secret behind this bowl?”
The beggar smiled and said, “Don’t feel bad, O King. Actually this begging bowl is made of the skull of a human being. Because of it, it has the typical tendency of humans who never get satisfied with what they get and keep on wanting more and more always. It knows only one thing: “Not enough; want more”. However much you fill this begging bowl, it will never get filled up! It works exactly as the human mind”.
[Amma: “As long as desires exist, there is no peace of mind. When one desire is satiated, the mind gets some joy, but it is only short living. The next moment, the mind will want more “.]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
2. Nagging doubt
A boy and girl from neighboring houses were playing together. The boy had some money with him and the girl had some chocolates with her.
The boy said to the girl, “I will give you some coins; will you give me some chocolates in exchange?”
The girl agreed. The boy was cunning. He hid coins of higher denomination in his pocket and gave only low valued coins to her. The girl gave him chocolates.
After a while, both of them returned to their respective homes. As the girl had no idea about the relative worth of coins, she was content to have a few coins in her possession. She went to bed and slept off peacefully.
At home, the was thinking “This girl must have kept costly chocolates hidden and given to me only cheap and low quality chocolates. Just like I hid costly coins, she too would have hidden high quality chocolates.” He could not sleep because of these thoughts.
[Amma: “Mutual trust is the basis on which any relationship can stand – whether it is the relationship between husband and wife, between two friends or between business partners. Many times our own faults and limitations make us doubt others actions and motives; because of it, we fail to appreciate others love and affection and lose our mental peace and joy. “]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
3. The play of the mind
[Amma: “Children! Understand that human mind is a big mystery, but not Atman. Actually, it is mind that makes us think as if Atman is a mystery! Mind is full of confusions. It can confuse everything. Mind is falsehood. It is the mind that questions the truth of Atman. All your fears and doubts arise from the mind, which is the biggest liar!”]
Once there lived a great wrestler who could not be defeated by any other wrestler in his country. He lived as an undefeated champion for many years in his country. Naturally, it made him very proud, egoistic and arrogant. He believed none existed in the world who could challenge him and hope to win.
One day, a wrestler from another country visited his country. He challenged the native wrestler for a combat. It became a huge news. The native wrestler immediately agreed to the challenge. A day was fixed for the competition. The whole nation virtually became curious to know who would ultimately win the combat. It was a matter of prestige for the native wrestler.
The day of the competition arrived. An uncontrollably huge crowd had gathered in the venue to watch the combat. The native wrestler looked bigger and stronger in front of the challenger from the other country. The match began. The combat was really tough. The surcharged crowd soon got split into two groups — one cheering the native wrestler and the other shouting for the win of the challenger. As round after round proceeded, the competition was becoming tougher and tougher. If one of them had an upper hand in one round, the other one emerged stronger in the next round. Finally, the visiting wrestler defeated the native in the final round conclusively.
The crowd shouted in jubilation appreciating and cheering the visiting wrestler. The crowd also mocked and jeered at the loser for his humiliating defeat. The old champion gathered himself up, and got up. With a seep sense of shame, humiliation and defeat he departed the venue limping.
Even after moving farther away from the venue, the sound of people jeering him kept reverberating in his ears. Utter dejection and hatred welled up in his heart. His mind was in total turmoil. At this stage, he woke up from his sleep!
“Oh! Is it all just a dream?” — he was shocked. He rose up from his bed. Despite knowing that it was just a nightmare, his mind did not regain peace. It was full of worry and confusion. Like a caged lion, he walked to and fro in his bedroom, rewinding the happenings in the dream again and again.
He started feeling more and more that what he saw in his dream were indeed real. He wanted to take revenge on his opponent. ‘How shall I defeat my enemy?’ He kept thinking again and again. ‘Oh God! I have lost everything; my reputation has fallen to dust. How will I ever show my face outside hereafter? None will show any respect to me hereafter; How will I live hearing the mockery of people all the time? Isn’t it better to die, rather than to live in such a miserable way? I should definitely take a revenge of the rascal who defeated me in the competition…’ He kept on thinking like that. He pulled his hair in anger; he walked like a mad man here and there.
Very gradually it dawned to him that it was meaningless to succumb to such an emotional turmoil created by a dream. Slowly and steadily, he started to gather his wits; mind became calmer and calmer. Now it was very clear to him how foolish he was to to get worked up like this based on a dream. “Oh God! What happened to me! What a fool I have become! Just based on a figment of imagination of mind through a dream, I went through so much mental agony. something that never happened at all!” with this thought he went back to bed.
[Amma: “Children! Like this champion, we all too are immersed in a dream called waking stage. It is indeed a dream of longer duration enacted by our past experiences and thoughts. It is our mind that creates this ‘long dream’ too. In our present state, we believe this long dream too to be real. We are yet to wake up from this dream!”]
5. The play of the mind (2)
[Amma: “Mind has two powers called ‘Avaranam’ – the power to hide and ‘Vikshepam’ – the power to create. The mind first hides the true state of things. Then it creates an image contradictory to the true state of things. Tht’s why Amma calls the mind a great liar”.]
Once a person was walking through a forest. It was evening and the twilight was getting dimmer. He was finding it difficult to find his path. Suddenly, he felt something biting at his toe. He lifted up his leg to touch and feel what happened. He noticed a small pieced mark on the skin and a little blood oozing out from it. As he gazed a nearby bush there, he noticed a snake there. He was thoroughly shaken by fer.He believed that it was the snake that had bitten him. He started shouting: “Oh! Is there anybody around? Help me, help me! I have been bitten by a poisonous snake; please somebody take me to the nearest doctor!”
He kept on crying like this in full throat for a while. Soon he got tired; his head started spinning; he felt he was swooning. He sat down and continued to shout for help.
In a short while, a person came by the path with a lantern in his hand. He asked what happened. The person said, “I am afraid I have been bitten by a snake; I am dying; will you please take me immediately to a doctor?”
The person said, “Don’t worry; I will help you. Now tell me when and where the snake bit you”.
The person said, “When I came near this bush, a snake bit me at my toe; see, the snake is still there at the bush!”. The person came closer, lifted up his lantern to inspect the bush closely.
He then smiled and said, “You see, this is a thorny bush. See there in the light; what you saw as snake is just a piece of rope and not a snake. One of the thorns in the bush must have pieced your toe when you walked here. Now that things are clear, there is no need to panic. Just relax!”
The man looked at the rope. It was quite clear that it was not at all a snake! His palpitation and dizziness came to an end instantly and he felt relieved and relaxed!
[Amma: “This is how our mind cheats us. The mind first hid the rope — the truth. Then it created the snake on it. The rope (truth) — the atman, is hidden by your mind through its imagination by creating a non-existent snake, based on its past impressions. That’s how Atman is superimposed by the world of differences. Atman is obscured by our thoughts. When a satguru lights up the lamp of true knowledge, the delusion goes. You realize your atman by personal experience and attain peace.”]
6. The play of the maya
Once a poor young man was sitting at the bank of a river and idling away his time. Then, an elephant carrying a garland in its trunk came there. It was followed by a huge crowd. The elephant put the garland on the youth’s neck.
Since the king of the country died without an offspring, it was the practice of the country to select the next king by sending the royal elephant with garland and whosoever the elephant garlands would become the king.
Thus the youth became the king of the country all of a sudden. The king’s young daughter too was married off to the new king.
Thus the young king was thoroughly enjoying his new life to the full.
One day, the new king along with his queen got on to a royal horse and drove to the top of an adjacent hill for time pass. As they were about to reach the summit, there came a sudden storm and the wind started blowing very powerfully. The horse lost its balance and all the three fell down the slope of the hill. They rolled and rolled down hitting boulders and rocks. The king somehow managed to get hold of a tree branch while the horse and the queen rolled down further and died.
The king then carefully jumped down from the tree; when he landed and looked around, there was no hill, no horse or queen. What he saw was that he was lying on mud floor of a hut adjacent to his cot. He could only see the mud walls and a thatched roof. He understood that he was still a poor young fellow, lying in his own hut, waking up after a day dream. His heart was still pounding on account of the dream.
[Amma: “Everything that the young man experienced in his dream was real to him as long as he was immersed in the dream. We too are in the same state as this youth, in reality. We are dreaming that this world and all our worldly possessions and worldly experiences are real and we keep running behind them. This is the play of maya. We are caught in this dream world of Maya and only when we truly wake up from it, we can understand the unreality of all”. Then, successes and failures won’t affect us.”]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
Once there was a temple where once in a week many devotees gathered in large numbers and did japa, prayer and meditation without partaking food. A monkey saw this and thought “all these people undertake fast and pray to seek lord’s grace. Why shouldn’t I too do it?”
On the next session of fasting and prayer, the monkey arrived at the temple early in the morning. He sat under a tree, closed his eyes in order to meditate. Immediately a thought came in its mind: “I have never undertaken fast in my whole life. Suppose at the end of the day when I complete my fasting and meditation, what will happen if I feel so week that I won’t be able to stand up or walk? Should I die under this tree then? Is it not better to find a tree full of fruits and undertake my austerity under it? In such case I need not run around in search of food”.
He got up immediately, searched for a tree with fruits, located one and then sat under it to resume its meditation. After a short while, the monkey thought, “What will happen if, at the end of fasting, I become too weak to even climb this tree? Will it not be better if I climb on it right now and sit in a branch to do my meditation?”
He immediately climbed on to the tree, sat in a branch and closed his eyes. Now another thought came into his mind, “What if I feel too weak even to pluck a fruit? Is it not better to keep a fruit in my hand and meditate?” He did so immediately and again closed his eyes.
Now he started feeling very hungry. “I have never eaten such big and ripe fruits in the recent past. Why not eat the fruit right now and do the fasting and meditation on some other day?”
The next moment he was munching the fruit and relishing it thoroughly!
[Amma: “Most of us are like this monkey. Our mind will keep on generating reasons after reasons for postponing things that we ought to do for our wellbeing. We must use our intellect and acquire a firm determination to work on our aspirations keeping our goals clear. ‘Whatever hurdles I come across, I will not lose my heart and proceed firmly and strive my best to reach my goal’ — if one has such a firm resolution, he is sure to reap success in his endeavors.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
8. Better sleep!
Once a father took his young son to a local Shiva Temple for spending the night there on Maha Shivaratri. Lots of people had gathered there and were engaged in archana, japa and so on. But there were also many people who were dozing off due to tiredness and aging.
Noticing this, the son commented, “What is the point if they come to temple on Maha Shivaratri and sleep like this instead of keeping awake the whole night? What sort of bhakti is this?”
The father said curtly, “It is better to doze off like this than to find fault with others and criticize them.”
[Amma: “Because of our own weaknesses and lack of shraddha, we tend to find fault with others. My children should not forget this reality. It also shows how our mind is always roaming out instead of turning inward. Those who find fault with others can never see their own weaknesses nor take efforts to correct them.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
9. Who is in control?
Once, in a fair, a horseman was offering horse ride for little children as an entertainment and making a living out of it.
A small boy came there to watch it. He was very much attracted to seeing children joyfully riding at the horse back with the horseman sitting with them and holding them safely.
The poor boy had no money to pay to the horseman and hence he had no means to have his share of fun. While he was standing there and watching it, the horseman tied the horse to a post and left the place for a while to have his lunch.
The curious boy wanted to make use of this opportunity to try and have a free ride on the horse on his own. He went to the post, untied the horse and managed to climb over the horse back.
The horse did not quite like it. It started jumping around and ran here and there, trying to unsettle the boy and throw him to the ground. The boy panicked but somehow managed to grip the horse’s neck and did not fall down. The horse kept running. Watching this boy riding the horse, one of his friends shouted: “Hey! How did you manage to control the horse and make it run?”
The boy shouted back: “I simply don’t know. You better ask the horse!”
[Amma: “This is precisely our state of affairs. The horse in this story is our mind. Instead keeping our mind in our control, we are actually in the control of our mind!”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
10. Hasty judgement
Once a mother came back from office. She noticed her seven year old daughter standing with one apple each in her hands. The mother affectionately asked her, “Will you give me one, my baby?”
The daughter looked at her mother’s face for a while; then she looked at both the apples in her hand. Then she bit the apple on her right hand; hastily she bit the other apple in her left hand.
The mother was very disappointed. She felt her daughter was too selfish and had no mindset to share her apple even with her mother. She found it difficult to control the expression of disappointment on her face.
The next moment, the girl extended her right hand and offered the apple to her mother saying, “Ma, this one is sweeter than the other; take this!”
Even for a mother, the discernment to grasp her daughter’s guileless love was missing, though for a brief time.
[Amma: “From this story we can understand to what extent we can err in judging others. However much we have knowledge and experience, we must be very careful in not hastily judging others or finding fault with others.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
11. When reality dawns
Once there were two neighboring countries which were at enmity with each other. The enmity was due to the dispute about the ownership of a huge lake that lay at their common border. While the enmity continued, both the countrymen however made use of the lake for the purpose of fishing, agriculture and also for boat rides for entertainment.
One day, several boats from both the countries were having joy ride in the lake when suddenly a thunderstorm struck at the lake. The wind was blowing so powerfully that several boats capsized. One of the travellers who did not know to swim got trapped in the water currents and was struggling to survive. Seeing his pitiable condition, another traveller jumped into the water and swam towards the sinking man. He caught hold of him and swam to the shore. Finally both of them landed safely on the shore.
The person who was saved was brimming with emotions and he was extremely thankful to the person who saved him. He embraced him lovingly and expressed his indebtedness to him. The savior too felt very happy and he too expressed pleasantries.
As they talked further, the savior came to know that the person he saved was actually from the other side — their enemy country. Suddenly his face turned grim. He was not too happy in saving an enemy’s life! Similar expression came in the face of the other person. He felt ashamed and angry for having survived by the mercy of an enemy! All the camaraderie they felt towards each other moments ago instantly vanished and they turned angry towards each other!
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
12. The beloved puppy
Once there was a boy who was very fond of his pet puppy. Daily, after returning from his school he would play with it.
One day, he came home from school and found the puppy dead. He got upset and started crying. His mother said, “Don’t worry, my son. Let’s bury the puppy in our backyard. I will build a lawn decorated with flowers around its grave. Also we can buy a seesaw and a swing-set. Your friends will visit you, and you guys can have a nice time every evening playing there.”
The boy stopped crying and he started smiling.
Then, suddenly, to his surprise, he saw the puppy rushing towards him. The puppy hadn’t died after all. It had merely inhaled some poisonous gas and fainted.
Now that the puppy was alive, the boy realized it meant that he wouldn’t get the lawn, seesaw or swing-set. His friends wouldn’t visit him to play. So, the boy got angry at the puppy and started throwing stones at it!
[Amma: “This is the nature of worldly love. Worldly love is limited and selfish. People love the cow for the milk she gives. Once she stops giving milk, they won’t hesitate to sell her to the butcher. “]
13. Yielding to temptations
[Amma: “In Mahabharata, major character’s lives portrayed and the experiences they had gone through are all meant to serve as guides for us to lead a rightful life by learning from their right and wrong behaviors. If Yudhishthira played the dice game, lost all his possessions and experienced humiliation and countless hardships in life, it is a teaching for us not to play any gambling games. Yudhishthira did not want to antagonize Duryodhana and the other Kauravas by declining their invitation to play the dice game. He wanted to avoid any possible war with them and he decided to please them by playing it. Since Kauravas used Shakuni to play the game on their behalf and he skillfully cheated Pandavas, what could have been a possible win for Yudhisthira was lost by him. Thus yielding to others’ whims just to please them could cost us heavily. Where a firm no should be said, one should not be weak and say yes.” ]
Once there was a young man in a village, who was liked by everyone in the village. He was very kind hearted and very compassionate with the poor and needy. If his parents gave him pocket money, he would generously give a major portion of it for the poor people who were without food. If he had 5 dresses, he would share 3 of them with others. He was a darling to his parents.
Once he went on a holiday trip to a tourist place along with his friends. While all of them had lots of fun, his friends engaged themselves with drugs during nights. They smoked ganja and they tempted the young man again and again to try it once. For 3, 4 days the youngman stoutly refused to yield to their temptations. They kept insisting: “Just take one puff. Nothing more. You must experience how it feels like. We don’t want you to keep indulging in it. Just one try”.
The young man felt that he should not displease his friends by being so stubborn.
He yielded. He just took one puff. It was indeed exhilarating to him.
The next day, when they invited him again to try one puff, he took two puffs. He was captivated by the experience he got. On the third day, he joined with them voluntarily and took 3 puffs. That hooked him. Soon he got addicted to it.
As days passed, his dependence on drugs became too strong. Whatever pocket money he had, he spent them on buying the narcotics. Soon the money he had become insufficient to meet his increasing needs of indulgence. He started stealing money from home. His family members became suspicious. They came to know of his addiction and they were shocked. They stopped all source of money to him and kept on pressing him to come out of the habit.
But his addiction was so strong that his life became miserable without his daily dose of drugs. He was frantic to get money. One day, he tried to steal a gold chain from a woman. The woman started shouting immediately for help. In order to silence her, the young man closed her mouth forcefully and tried to strangulate her. In the process she suffocated and died.
Soon police arrested him and put him behind bars.
Thus, the life of one nice young man turned totally topsy turvy on account of his yielding to his friends’ pressure in order to be in their good books. Instead of saying a firm ‘no’, the young man said a weak ‘yes’ and he ended up facing all the evil consequences of it.
(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 8/9/2020)
14. Being careful
Once a man went to meet his friend. The friend was furiously searching for his pen. “Only recently I saw you buying a few ballpoint pens. What happened to them?” the man asked.
His friend said, “I have the habit of losing my pens very frequently. I don’t have a count of the number of pens I have lost in my life. I don’t know how to get rid of this bad nature”.
The man went out and returned to his friend soon. He had gone to buy a pen for his friend. He presented a very nice looking pen to his friend and said, “This is a very very costly pen. Please keep it safely with you”.
After several days, when he went again to meet his friend, he was surprised to notice that the friend was still keeping the pen presented by him earlier. “How come you did not lose this pen?” he asked.
“Did you not tell me that this pen is very costly? I didn’t want to lose a costly pen and that made me careful and attentive enough”.
[Amma: “If we truly understand that something is really valuable or precious, we will not waste it indiscriminately. Time is precious. If we waste the present moment, we will not be able to get it back. Spiritual seekers should understand this and ensure that not a second is wasted on unnecessary things.”]
(From Amma’s Onam satsang 31/8/2020)
15. Habits die hard
Once there was a boy who developed a habit of pickpocketing to earn money for his pleasures. His mother came to know of it and she felt very bad and disturbed about her son. She wanted him to turn a new leaf. She told her son to go and meet the priest in the local church and confess to him about his habit and seek pardon from the Lord. The boy simply listened to her.
On that day, he pickpocketed the purse of a businessman. The next day, he went to the church, met the priest and confessed him about what he did. The priest said, “It is a great sin to steal money from other’s pocket like this. You please go and meet the businessman and return his purse in tact.” The boy nodded.
He went to meet the businessman and returned the purse to him. That night his mother noticed that the boy was counting a bunch of currencies. She was shocked. “Where from did you get so much of money?” she asked her son.
The boy said, “The priest advised me that pickpocketing is a sin and I should return the purse with all the money to the businessman. I agreed. Before leaving the church, I noticed this currency lying in a box next to him. I skillfully stole it from there!”
[Amma: “Once we identify our blunder, we should make a firm resolution to correct ourselves and not to repeat it again. Sometimes people commit sins without understanding. God will pardon us once for our ignorance. But if we keep repeating it, God will no longer pardon us.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 1)