Amma’s stories on Nature of the human mind – Part 3 (1 more stories)

1. Sold dead cheap?

[Amma: “Be in a family or in a society, people always seem to have a business mindset. Even our relationship with God too has turned to be so. When it comes to God or Guru, what is most essential is total surrender.  But we have become calculative with them too; how to profit out of them seems to be thinking”.]

Once a very rich man was travelling in a ship. Suddenly the weather turned hostile. A powerful thunderstorm struck the ship. The Captain of the ship announced that the ship cannot be saved from sinking and asked all the people in the ship have to do whatever they could to save themselves if possible. Everyone in the ship panicked. The rich man too started praying God frantically like everyone else in the ship. He prayed to God: “Oh my lord. please save me from this calamity. I promise you that I will sell my 5-star hotel and donate 75% of the amount if you save me”.

Very miraculously, the storm subsided quickly and the ship was saved. All the travellers reached the shore safely.  However, the rich man was in a mental turmoil now.  “Oh, if I sell my 5-star hotel, I will easily get a crore of Rupees and it is such a huge amount! Should I really donate 75 lakhs of rupees to God?  Why would He need such a large sum of money from me? What can I do now?” He thought deeply about it and finally got an idea.

He released an advertisement in the newspaper: “5-star hotel on sale. Expected price: one rupee”.

Hordes of people came running to meet him and buy the property. They could not really understand how and why anyone would sell the hotel for one rupee! He told them: “I promise that the hotel is indeed available for sale for one rupee, but to clinch the deal, you must buy my pet dog for 1 crore of rupees”.

He finally sold the star hotel as per his terms and donated seventy five paise to God!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on Family and relationships – Part 1 ( 5 stories)

 1.  Searching for?

Once a husband and wife had some bitter quarrel and they stopped talking to each other. None of them wanted to take the first step to bring back normalcy in relationship.

One week passed this way and not even a single word was exchanged between them. Finally, the husband was no longer able to bear with this stress. He thought of an idea.

He started searching for something in the house here and there, pretending as if it was too important a thing that he frantically needed. He looked and searched at every nook and corner of the house, expressing his tension seriously on his face. He bent down and searched under the cot; he opened every drawer in his table and searched. He opened every cupboard and searched. He climbed over the table and searched in the lofts.

Watching all these, the wife could no longer control herself. “What are you searching for?” she asked him.

That was precisely what the husband was eager to hear from his wife! He said, “Your sweet voice!”

When the wife heard such a sweet reply from her husband, she instantly forgot all her anger and complaints against her husband; her face brightened up and she smiled.

[Amma: “If only we could mutually excuse other’s mistakes and bear with them, we are sure to get peace and happiness in our lives.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.  Mental block

Once a young woman felt that she could not lift up her right hand. She became extremely concerned. She went to consult a doctor.  The doctor gave medicines and tried different treatment methods and yet she could not use her right hand.  Finally she decided to consult a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist engaged her in a long conversation. She inquired whether she had some bitter experiences in the past that disturbed her mind very strongly. The woman said:

“Yes. My mother died when I was a small child. My father married a second time. The stepmother started hating me once she had children of her own. She would find fault with me always and shout at me. A few weeks ago, her anger and censures became extremely unbearable to me.  Anger rose in me so strongly that I even felt like hitting her. With lots of effort, I controlled myself; only after that my right hand stopped functioning; I have not spoken a word to her afterwards”.

Listening to it, the psychiatrist said, “Even though you controlled your anger externally.  it has gone into your subconscious mind; such a deep mental disturbance can result in physical ailments. In your case, the same thing has happened and it is that suppressed anger that has caused failure of your right hand.”

Once the cause was identified. the woman understood that she should somehow get rid of her anger and hatred towards her step mother. She tried hard to set right her mindset and gradually she could succeed. Simultaneously, the mobility of her right hand too started returning.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.  Need one hour time

Once a father, who was normally very busy in his job, came back from his office. His little daughter was waiting for him at the entrance. She asked him, “Daddy, how much money do you get for one hour of work in your office?” .  The father said, “About 300 rupees per hour”.

The girl asked, “Daddy, will you give me two hundred rupees, please?”

The father thought that she wanted to buy a costly doll. He got angry. “Don’t trouble me like this. I don’t want to hear any more word from you”. He rushed into the house. His daughter was shocked at her father’s sudden outrage. With tear filled eyes, she went into her bed room and shut the doors.

After some time, the father felt bad about his behavior. He thought he should have been more patient; he should have spoken at least a few kind words to her. He went to his daughters room and asked “Have you slept, my daughter?”.

“No papa; I am still awake.” she said.

He went and sat  in her bed and said, “Did you feel hurt when I shouted at you earlier? I am sorry about it. Here, take this two hundred rupees. May I know what you intend to buy with this money?”

His daughter’s face brightened up instantly. She lifted her pillow and from there, picked up a hundred rupee note.  Putting this money too together she extended it  to her father and said, “Daddy,  now you have three hundred rupees.  Will you please spend one hour with me?”

[Amma: “Amid all the business and running around, do look at the world around you. Share a little time, friendliness, a patient listening and joy with your family members, friends and colleagues. Live in the present. Enjoy your living. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

4. Untrustworthy sons

Once a father had four sons. As the father god old, the sons wanted the family properties to be partitioned and given to them. Each one of them had a desire to construct a house of his own and hence they pressurized their father to yield to partition.

“We are here to take care of you during your old age; Don’t worry; We will take turns and take excellent care of you; you can stay with each of our families three months in a year; we will provide all the comforts you need” they promised.

When all the sons talked so in unison, the father felt very happy. He partitioned his properties equally amid his four children. One son got his house and garden. Other sons got equal share of his lands. The sons constructed their own houses in the lands they got.

At first the father stayed with his eldest son. He was taken care of very well initially. But, as days passed, he could feel negligence gradually. As days progressed further, the father could palpably see his son and daughter-in-law showing faces to him. With lots of patience he managed to pull along for about a month there. Before they would tell him to move to the next son’s house, he decided to move on his own.

He was welcomed pleasantly at the second son’s house. But he could hardly pull along for 15 days there. Unable to tolerate the negligence, he shifted to the third son’s house.

He could manage to stay only for 10 days there. Then he shifted hastily to his youngest son’s house. Hardly within 5 days of his stay there, he felt it obvious that unless he moved out, he was most likely to be chucked out of the house. He left their house totally dejected.

Thus the hopes of the father who distributed all his properties to his son believing that his sons would take care of him well got totally belied. It was simply a false hope. Within a span of just two months the planned arrangement of staying with the sons lifelong came to an end.

[Amma: “Children, this is the nature of people that we must all comprehend. People rear cows only for its milk. When the cows no longer give milk, we won’t hesitate to sell them to the butcher. If we do our karma expecting that someone would take care of us, we will only end up in suffering. It is indeed the duty of parents to take care of their children during their young age. That duty must be done happily without any expectations in return. Once the right time comes, our mind must be turned towards spirituality. Not expecting anything from the children, we must proceed firmly in the path of spiritual fulfilment. We should never get struck in attachments like “my son”, “my grandchildren” and so on.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 1)

5. Oh for the old purse

Once an old man was getting down from a train and he fell down in the platform.  Many youngsters came running to help him to get up and steady himself. The old man checked his pocket and said, “Oh, my purse, my purse! Where is it?”

The youngsters looked around for it. Once the train moved, the located the little purse on the track, picked it up and gave it to the old man. The old man hurriedly searched the purse as others watched him. He put it back with content into his pocked. An youngster, watching this asked him, “Grandpa, you don’t seem to have any money in that purse; then why were you so excited about losing it?”

The old man said, “There is a long story behind it. I will tell you.  This purse was gifted to me by my father when I passed my 10th class. It contained a nice picture of our God inside. Let me show it to you…” The old man showed the a small picture of Lord which was faded and wrinkled. He continued:

“At that age, I loved my parents the dearest. I removed the picture of God and kept my parents’ photo in the purse.  When I went to college, I fell in love with the girl. I removed my parents photo and kept this girls photo there.  She got married to someone and a few years later, I too got married. I kept my wife’s photo in the purse. Later, we had a boy child whom I adored more than anyone else. I removed my wife’s photo and kept my child’s photo there.

“My wife passed away, and my son became the centre of my life. As he grew up, I kept his youthful photo in my purse. He got married. Over a period of time, he and his wife wanted to build a palatial house for them and nudged me to bequeath my properties to him. He promised to take care of me throughout my life. He sold my properties and built his dream house. I too shifted there. Over a period of time, my son and daughter-in-law started neglecting me and I could understand that I was no longer needed in their life.  I had no option but to shift to an old-age home.  At that time, I understood that whomsoever I love can never be relied on; I understood only God is our permanent solace and companion. I removed my son’s photo and put back our lord’s photo back in the purse. I keep looking at it whenever I feel lonely and depressed. Only He gives me succor and solace. That’s how this old little purse and the picture of God in it became so indispensable to me now!”

[Amma: “No worldly relationship is permanent;  it is our relationship with God that is everlasting”.]

Amma’s stories on respecting and preserving Nature (2 stories)

1.  Self imposed limit

[Amma:Somewhere, we have lost the discrimination to differentiate essential need from extravaganza.  If we take anything more than what is absolutely essential for our needs from Nature, it is adharma. It is a sin.”]

Once, early morning, a social worker was brushing his teeth near a river. He had brought a vessel with him in which he gathered some water from the river for the purpose of washing his mouth after brushing. He was accompanied by a group of fellow social workers, with whom he was discussing some important matters seriously.  When he was about to wash and rinse his mouth and face finally, he noticed that he had already exhausted the water in the vessel. He said, “Oh God! How careless I have been! Even before I completed my washing, I have already exhausted all the water”.

Listening this, others could not understand why he was regretting like this. One of them said, “Why are you lamenting like this? Here is the river running full with water and you can always fetch some more water to complete your washing!”

The man said, “The river may be full; but I don’t have the moral authority to take more than what I truly need”.

[Amma:If only we all develop such a social awareness and moral stand as this social worker, we can definitely drive away poverty and deaths due to starving from the face of this earth”.]

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2. Very Old Technology!

Once a boy was going on a walk with his grandfather. The boy said “Grandpa, soon our scientists will find a technology to convert Carbon dioxide to Oxygen.”

The grandfather laughed and said, “It is a very old technology, existing almost ever since creation, my boy! It is called ‘Tree’!”

(From Amma’s 67th birthday message 27/9/2020)

Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 2 (4 more stories)

[If you have not read the previous 15 little stories of Amma under this topic, you can read them here:  Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 1 ]

1.  Insignificant victory

An young man received call for a prestigious job interview, which he was eagerly waiting to receive for months. He had to travel to a distant city where his interview was scheduled. For that, he had to travel by air and the travel plan involved changing a plane at an intermediate station. Once his first flight descended in the intermediate airport, the next plane was scheduled to depart after a gap of half an hour. As he was waiting at the departure lounge for the flight, he felt  hungry; he decided to utilize the time gap to have a quick bite.

He went to the Restaurant there and ate some fast food. When the bill came, he was shocked as the amount was Rs 500, which was too hefty for him.  He went to the cashier and argued with him: “Hey! This is very unfair. I have not eaten anything heavy to demand such a high payment”. After arguing for a while, the cashier decided to pacify the customer and offered a 100 Rupees reduction. But the young man was not happy. He kept on insisting that the bill was still unfair. He was very particular not to spend more than Rs 300. After lots of arguments, finally, the cashier agreed for Rs 300.-

The young man was very happy. He felt very proud of himself for arguing so strongly and smartly saving Rs 200.- in the bargain. He walked proudly towards the departure gate. There he came to know that the flight had departed about 5 minute ago!

Forgetting the very significance of his journey for which he had indeed been waiting for months,  the young man had wasted his precious time  in arguing, just for saving  a small amount of money!

[Amma: “Some people tend to complain that time was not favorable to them. The fact is, time is always favorable. Only we are not in tune with the time.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

2.  Why so excited?

A middle aged person and a young man were walking around a flower garden.

The young man asked his father excitedly in a loud voice, “Daddy! Isn’t this the flower called rose? Ah how beautiful it is!”

The father too spoke in an equally excited voice, “Yes my dear son! This indeed is the rose!’

“Is n’t its color known as pink, daddy?”

“Yes! Indeed!” said the father. The son pointed his hand towards the lawn and said, again loudly full of excitement, “Is it not the grass daddy? Isn’t its color called green?”

“Yes! My son. You are absolutely right!” The fathers voice too was equally loud and excited.

The young man continued to point one after other and they talked excitedly about each.  In a nearby bench, an old man was seated. He had come to the garden seeking silence and mental peace. He felt irritated by the loud-mouthed talking by the father and his grown up son. With obvious expression of his irritation and disapproval, the old man said, “I came to this garden in search of some mental peace. Many people who visit this garden too are like me.  When you two people talk so  loudly oblivious of your surrounding, people like me have lost peace. Your dull headed son keeps on asking insignificant things and you are so excitedly replaying “yes my son!” to all his questions! Why don’t you go to some doctor and find a cure for your son’s retarded behavior instead of coming here?”

Hearing this, both the father and son stood there, stupefied for a while. Then the father said, “I am sorry. My son is not mentally retarded.  He had been blind right from birth. Only two days ago his eyes were operated in order to bring eyesight to him. After the operation, at the time of removing his bandage, I had this desire to show him some really beautiful and heart-warming sights for the first time as he sees this world. That’s why I brought him here. This is the first time in his life that he is seeing all these beautiful things around here. That’s why he was talking so excitedly about them. I too was overwhelmed with joy when I my son has got his eyesight and naturally, when he asked the questions, I was equally excited and spoke so loudly.  Suppose we got back  the wealth that we had lost long back, how much excited we would become! In the same way, we totally forgot our surroundings; kindly excuse us”.

Hearing this, the old man felt extremely bad and ashamed about his hasty judgment and the way he had let out very hurting words against them. He immediately sought their pardon. He took a resolve that, in future, he would not get angry at others by framing his own preconceived judgements.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

3.  Revenge – Is it worth?

Once a person heavily drunk drove his car that ended up in an accident. A young man on the road got killed in the accident.

The mother of the young man who died started crying uncontrollably when she heard the news.  He was her only son and his loss at his prime youth was unbearable to her. Despite the passage of several days and months, her sorrow did not reduce. It soon turned to anger — anger against the person who killed her son in the accident. She want to take revenge on him. She wanted to kill him; her heart started boiling with such a desire.

A few days passed this way. Gradually her mind cooled down; she was able to think more logically into the idea of  avenging her son’s death. She thought, ‘What will I really gain by killing the drunkard? Will I ever get back my son? If my son’s accidental death could cause so much grief in me, then it will be natural that if I kill the drunkard, his mother and family too will grieve the same way. What will I gain by causing those innocent people to suffer mentally by my act of vengeance? Let them not face the same fate as I had faced’. Now her mind became calm.

She thought further: ‘What was the cause of my son’s death? Was it not the drinking habit of the person who drove the car? If he were to be a sober person, he would have driven the car carefully and my son would not have died. So the real problem is drinking and driving. If I could do something to make a few people aware of the evil consequences of drinking, to that extent the society would get benefited.’

She discussed the matter with some of her friends and wellwishers. They too came forward to support her enthusiastically. Soon she started a small Social service group through which she conducted sessions  with people to propagate the evils of drinking. She dedicated her time considerably for this mission. Within a few years she was running a large organization dedicated to propagate the evils of drinking across the nation.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 4 (3 more stories)

[If you have not read the previous 15 little stories of Amma under this topic,  you can read them here: Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 3)

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1.  Bottled Krishna?

One day a Pundit came to see a Mahatma.

The pundit was famous for his scholarship and his knowledge of the scriptures. He was a very proud man. The pundit said to the Mahatma: “I am well versed in all the shastras of our religion. I came to you with an expectation that you may be able to teach me something extra that I don’t know of”.

The Mahatma smiled and said, “I am afraid I don’t have anything to tell you more than what you already  know.  But there is a shopkeeper in this village, who, I believe, has something to teach you”.

The pundit got curious. He inquired who the shopkeeper was and immediately proceeded to go and meet him. When the pundit reached the grocery shop, he noticed that he was in the process of supplying various grocery items to one of his clients.  He heard the shopkeeper telling the client, “You please read out the items one by one from your shopping list and my boy will weigh and pack them.”

Immediately, the Pundit understood that the shopkeeper was a simple, unlettered man. What could such a person teach a scholar like him? Anyway, having come all the way, he approached the shopkeeper and introduced himself. He said, “The Mahatma in this village asked me to meet you. He told me that you have a piece of wisdom that you can teach me”.

The shopkeeper was surprised. He said, “Revered Sir, I am an unlettered man. I have no knowledge whatsoever except selling provisions. What can I ever teach you? Anyway, having come all the way to meet me, I request you to sit with me for a while in the shop, relax yourself and then go back home”.

The Pundit sat in a chair next to the shopkeeper and looked around the shop. In one shelf nearby, there were several jars  painted  in different colors. The pundit became curious. “What do these jars contain? Why are they painted in different colors?”

The shopkeeper said, “Sir, it is for my easy identification of items, that I have colored them differently. The first jar in red contains pepper. The second one in yellow contains mustard. The third one in green contains cardamom. The next one contains cloves. The last one contains Krishna”.

What? Krishna? What do you mean?”

“Sir, actually the last one does not contain anything. It is empty. I call it the jar of Krishna”.

“Why?”

“You see, you cannot put anything in a  jar that already contains something. If you have to put something, it should be empty first. If our mind is filled with so many things, it has no space for the lord to come and reside inside. Only when we keep our mind empty without thoughts, God can come and occupy it. That’s why I call the empty jar as the jar of Krishna”.

The pundit was awestruck hearing the explanation from the unlettered shopkeeper. He immediately understood that his mind was full with ideas and concepts learned from scriptures and hence it does not have any space for God to enter and reside in him. He understood that knowing God and establishing God in his heart was far more important than stuffing himself with scriptural knowledge. He understood that he should get rid of all his pride and make his heart empty to have the vision of God.

(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami Satsang 10/9/2020)

2.  What you really lost

Once a group of travellers were going to a village. As they walked, they reached a place adjacent to a forest. There they saw a pond with clear water. They left their possessions at the bank of the pond and got into water to take bath. When they returned to the bank after taking bath, they were shocked to see their possessions missing. Thieves had indeed stolen them and run away.  The travellers immediately went around in search of the thieves.

They noticed a Sadhu sitting at the shade of a tree on their way. They asked him, “Did you notice any thieves running this way, carrying things? They have stolen our belongings”.

The Sadhu said, “You are all sad because you have lost your possessions. Aren’t you? Now think. You have lost your happiness now; the thieves who made you lose your happiness are outside you or inside you? Do you want only your lost possessions or want something that you will never ever lose? Think deeply on this.”

The travellers understood what the sadhu said. They understood that he was a Mahatma. They surrendered to him and requested him to take them as his disciples.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol.1)

3.  Expansiveness matters

Once  there lived a householder who had the habit of visiting a  Mahatma frequently. He would always complain about the hardships and sorrows he was facing in his life. One day, when this devotee started to talk about his woes, the Mahatma cut him short and said, “You go and bring a glass of water and a handful of salt”.

The devotee brought them.  The saint said, “Put a  spoonful of salt in the glass of water, stir it well to dissolve it fully and then drink a little of that water”. The man did so.

“How does it taste?” asked the mahatma.

“Ah! Very salty; I can’t even swallow it” said the man.

Then the Mahatma took the man to a nearby pond. “Now put the handful of salt in the water and dissolve it fully” he said.

The man did so.

“Now taste a little of that pond water” said the Mahatma.

The man drank some water.

“Do you find it salty?” asked the Mahatma.  “No, Maharaj, not at all” said the man.

The mahatma said, “My son, the sorrows in our life too is similar to this. Pure water is ike the natural, inner joy that we all have. If a little of salt is added to a glass of water, the water turns salty and you can’t even drink it. But the same salt, if put in a pond of water, does not make the water salty. Your mind, at present, is very small, like the glass. But if you make your heart very large like the pond and awaken the bliss inside it,  then no amount of sorrow will disturb you”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol.1)

 

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 4 (8 more stories )

1.   Equal punishment?

Long ago, there lived a very rich landlord in a village. He was a miser and lead a life of utter selfishness with no compassion for the poor and the needy.

One day, he went to the village magistrate and made a complaint against another villager saying that he had stolen money from his almirah.

The person accused was extremely poor. When the magistrate summoned him and interrogated him, he openly admitted that he had indeed stolen money from the rich man’s almirah because of unbearable hunger in his family.  At the end of inquiry the magistrate gave a ruling that the stealer and the rich man should undergo imprisonment for equal period.

The rich man could not digest such a ruling. He made sure that a complaint about this reached the king of the country. The king called the magistrate for an inquiry. The magistrate spoke to the king, openly expressing his views without any fear, “Your majesty, while I punished the poor man for the act of stealing, I punished the rich man for his act of amassing money far beyond his needs and never coming forward to help the poor and the needy with his money and properties.  Even if he could not help the poor directly, he could have at least  come forward to donate money to charitable organizations who work for the downtrodden and the needy. He never did that too. Even though God has given eyes and ears to him, he could never see the suffering of hungry people; he could not hear the lamenting of the poor in need of help. That too is a crime according to me and that’s why I gave him punishment.”

The magistrate paused for a while and then continued: “Now I think it is wrong on my part to have given equal punishment to both the persons. I should have indeed given an additional punishment for the rich man for another crime — the crime of abetting a poor person to resort to stealing. Had he donated some money for the fellow villager whose family had been driven to extreme poverty and hunger, the poor man would no need to steal from the rich man’s house. This rich man indeed is the cause for creating a thief. That’s why he should have been punished for it too”.

[Amma:  “Accumulating more and more possessions is also adharma; it is a  sin. That’s why we should always negate pomp and extravaganza. By saving money being spent on such things, we should divert it to help the poor and the needy.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.   Compassionate request

Once a school girl took part in a prestigious competition and won the first place. The sponsors of the competition offered her a free trip to Visit USA as the reward.

At the award function, the anchor asked a question to the girl, “How happy are you feeling in winning the competition and getting the chance to visit to USA?”

The girl said, “I am indeed very happy to have won this competition; but I would be happier if I could get the award in cash equivalent to  all the expenses of sponsoring my trip to USA”.

“Why are you desiring cash? Are you not interested in visiting USA?” asked the anchor.

The girl said, “It is not so. My mother is a nurse. Last week I accompanied my mother to the hospital where she is working. There I happened to meet a girl of my age, and as I interacted with her,  we became friends. I came to know that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. It was shocking for me. My mother told me that her cancer  was in advanced stage and if at all she should recover, she should undergo more advanced treatment in a bigger hospital. Unfortunately, her parents are poor and they could not afford any costlier treatment. She would not survive for long in this condition. I felt very painful; such an young girl, who would have lots of dreams about her future, who is not still aware of her precarious condition, who believes she would soon recover, will be dying shortly because there was no money with the parents to save her.  Suppose this reward comes to me in cash, I want to give it to the girl’s parents so that they can use it for treating her. That would truly make my winning the  competition worthy”.

Hearing her speech, the organizers immediately took a decision to give the reward to her in cash and they made an announcement about it immediately.

[Amma:  “On this day of New year, let us all make a resolution to do at least one act that could bring happiness or comfort to others without any selfish motive.  Even if we are not capable of doing big things, it does not matter. A word of compassion, a friendly smile, a friendly heart that is ready to hear the sorrows of others — even such little things are good enough.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.   Compassion is more important than worship

Once a group of pilgrims were travelling to Rameshwaram after taking holy bath in the Ganga at Kashi.  They were carrying Ganga water in small pots for the purpose of doing abhishekam to Lord Shiva’s linga at Rameshwaram as per the traditional practice.

Somewhere at the middle of their travel route, they had to cross a dry landscape. It was a hot day and all the travellers were suffering from thirst. But unfortunately, they could not locate any source of water in the stretch. Since all of them were very particular to carry the Ganga water for Rameshwaram, they did not want to quench their thirst with the Ganga water in their pots. They somehow managed to bear with their thirst and moved on.

On the way, a donkey was lying on the road, breathing heavily. It was obvious that the donkey was fatigued by the hot sun and it was extremely thirsty.  One of the pilgrims felt pity on  the donkey which was at the verge of death. He decided to feed the donkey with his pot of Ganga water. The donkey hastily drank all the water in his pot and felt rejuvenated. The man felt extremely happy that he could save the life of a donkey with the water he carried.

However, the other pilgrims did not approve his act of charity. They said that it was totally wrong to ‘waste’ a whole pot of Ganga water which was really meant for doing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva. They said he lost all the punya of undertaking the pilgrimage.

The man said, “I don’t care if I lose all the good fortune of completing Kashi Yatra; saving the life of a poor creature by feeding it with Ganga water is far more more important to me than doing abhishekam to God at Rameshwaram; I saw God in that poor creature. Seeing its pitiable condition, it was just impossible for me to walk ahead without offering help.”

[Amma:  “Four things make an act of charity invaluable:  1)  Sacrificing one’s own possessions and comforts  for giving to charity (2) Donating  selflessly without expecting anything in return or without the intent of getting name and fame (3) donating to someone more deserving than oneself  and (4) Seeing God in the receiver, offering a donation with humility. We all must develop the above attitude and do good to others. If we do charity with this attitude, we will get satisfaction and prosperity in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

4.   Indebtedness

Once  a hunter shot an arrow tipped with poison on a deer. The arrow missed its target and hit the trunk of a large tree. Due to the effect of poison, the tree started withering. Soon, all the leafs in the tree dried up and the tree was dead.

There were plenty of birds, worms, insects, rats, and squirrels living in the tree all long. Once the tree dried up, almost all of the creatures left the tree in search of alternative places for their living. But one parrot that lived in the tree for long did not want to leave the tree, because of its indebtedness and emotional attachment to the tree that had supported it and nurtured it all along. Forgetting food and sleep, the parrot grieved for the death of the tree and continued to stay there. All the fellow birds advised the lone parrot that it was meaningless to keep attached to a dead and dry tree and urged it to move on along with them. But the parrot  stoutly refused.

The news about the parrot spread across the three worlds and it reached Heaven too. Lord Indra was surprised to hear about it. He wanted to test the parrot.

Indra came to the tree in the form of an old brahmin and asked the parrot, “Why are you so foolishly clinging on to this tree which has dried up totally?”

The parrot said, “I know by virtue of my austerities that you are none other than Lord Indra. You see, I was born in this tree. I grew up in this tree and this is where I acquired all my skills and instincts.  It was due to the protection given by this tree, I lived safely from the attack of predators. How can I discard this tree which has nurtured and protected me all along?”

Hearing this Lord Indra said, “I am extremely pleased to hear your words of compassion. I will offer you any boon you ask for”.  The parrot immediately said, “Lord, I will be extremely happy if you could bring this tree back to life and restore its original status”. Lord Indra agreed and sprinkled nectar on the tree.  Within moments, the tree started to grow fresh leaves and soon it attained its original condition bearing flowers and fruits.  Seeing this all the birds and animals which had discarded the tree earlier returned to the tree joyfully.

[Amma:  “If only all of us have the same attachment and indebtedness towards mother nature just like the parrot’s attachment to the tree in this story, preservation of Nature would become effortless. Let us develop such a mindset and pass it on to the coming generations.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.   Personal touch

Once a new Managing Director joined his office.  He was welcomed by all the managers. The personnel Manager said, “Sir, we have arranged your room ready at the 20th floor. We have one exclusive elevator for your use, which will take you straight to your floor without stopping at intermediate floors”.

The MD took charge. After a few days, he called up the personnel manager and said, “Please shift my office from 20th floor to the ground floor”.

The personnel manager humbly asked the MD, “May I know the reason Sir?  Are you not feeling comfortable there?  Have we missed giving any facilities there?”

The MD said, “No. The office and facilities are good. No complaints. All my employees are spread across the various floors down below in this building. I am not able to effectively interact with them”.

“Why Sir? If you call any of them to your room, they will always be glad to come and meet you there!”

The MD said, “No.  I don’t want to sit on a high pedestal and demand  their attention. I want to interact with them all in a more personal way.  I want to know about them, their hardships, their family problems and so on more freely. If I sit in the ground floor, all the people will have to pass through the ground floor only when they come to the office or leave the office and that way, I will have a better access towards them through casual meetings too.”

[Amma:  “In a similar way, Avatara Purushas come to the earth for the sake of the common people. They come down to the level of the common man and teach them in a way they can understand,”]

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

6.   Don’t take more than your need

Once the family of a rich man came to a famous hotel for a buffet dinner.

An old man sitting and eating in the next table, kept watching the rich man’s family. Most of the members from the family were picking up lots of varieties of food in excess quantities. They would try some items, eat a little here and a little there and discard the food. They would again pick up some more items and waste them if they were not to their liking.

The old man signaled to the head of the family and expressed his wish to talk to them. He said, “You people are wasting lots of food. This is not right. Take only as much as you could eat and not more. This is not a responsible behavior” he said curtly.

The rich man felt offended and angry. He retorted: “We have paid for the buffet for each and every one of our family. You know that buffet food is unlimited. So, it is totally up to us to take as much as we want; if we like something. we eat it; if we don’t like, we throw away. None can question us. It is our right”.

The old man said, “It is your right to eat to your stomach-full for the money you have paid. But it is not your right to waste food; by wasting food, you are depriving somebody else’s share of food. There are countless poor people in the outer world who don’t have the means to eat one square meal a day. Many people go to bed with empty stomach. The food you waste rightfully belong to the poor and you are depriving them indirectly by wasteful consumption”.

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

7. Avoiding Embarrassment

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village. As he had no money to sow for the upcoming crop season, he approached a rich man in his village for a loan. The rich man was quite kind hearted. He readily offered money to the farmer and asked him to repay it once he harvested his produce and sold them.  Thanking him profusely, the farmer collected the money and went about enthusiastically to raise the crops.

Unfortunately, by the time the crop was ready for harvesting, a heavy thunderstorm struck. His entire farm was flooded and the farmer lost all his produce.  He was crestfallen. How could he repay the loan?

With no other go, the farmer started avoiding the rich man. Whenever he saw the rich man coming in the opposite direction at a distance, the farmer would quickly take a detour and avoid meeting him. The rich man noticed what the farmer was doing and he understood.

One day, the rich man was walking on the road along with his friend. He noticed the farmer coming at a distance. Immediately the rich man quickly hid himself behind an adjacent tree. After the farmer went past, he returned to the road. Surprised to see his behavior, the friend asked, “What is this? Why are you hiding yourself from the farmer? Are you afraid of him for some reason?”

The rich man said, “No. I really feel pity for the farmer. I know he has lost his entire crop this year due to unexpected floods. In fact I had loaned him a heavy amount for raising this crop. He is a honest farmer and he feels extremely embarrassed to see me face to face out of fear that I may ask him to pay back the loan. So, he is always trying to avoid me.  Since I know his pitiable condition, I wanted to avoid any embarrassment for him in seeing me in front of him today. That’s why I hid myself behind the tree”.

(From Amma”s 67th birthday satsang 27/9/2020)

8. For the sake of havenots

Once there lived a boy who used to notice a Home for the orphans on his way to school. He would feel very sorry looking at the children whose faces were always sad and forlorn.

Onam festival was round the corner. As usual, his father gifted him some money for the festival for him to buy toys or anything else that he was desirous of.  He thought, ‘I have parents who always but toys, news dress and other things for me and take good care.  But who is there for the poor children living in the orphanage? They don’t have parents and relatives. How sad is their condition!’

Thinking this way, he took a decision. He approached his classmates and said, “All of us are having pocket money now given by our parents for celebrating Onam. Let me suggest a thing. Let us pool the money together and buy some face masks and simple toys in bulk. Let us sell them to public from street corners. By using that money, we can buy more of them and sell more. Using that money, let us buy lots of toys and gift them to the orphan children. What do you say?”

Practically all his classmates did not show interest in his suggestion. They were keen to use their pocket money only for their own enjoyment. However only one boy agreed to his suggestion. They put their money together and bought some funny face masks and toys for children.  Both of them wore face masks, went to places where people gathered in large numbers and entertained them with their antics. Amused people gathered around them and watched them with glee. The boy announced, “Please buy some masks from us and gift them to your children. They will be happy to wear them and you too find joy in their entertainment. We see you are all laughing and enjoying. But remember for a moment that there are indeed people around us who do not know what joy is.  Please think of them and buy goods from us. The money you pay will be utilized for giving that joy to the deserving people”.

The boys’ entertainment and smart speech attracted the audience. They eagerly came forward to buy the masks and other toys from them. From that money, they bought more stuff and resold them. With the accumulated money they bought lots of funny masks and other toys and gifts for the orphans.

On the day of Onam festival, the two boys went to the orphanage. While the people outside ashram were all in festive mood, the children at the ashram looked furlorn. The boys called all the children and distributed the masks and other gifts to them. Suddenly, the faces of all the children lit up. The boys burst fire crackers; they lit sparklers and handed over to the children. Festive mood caught up inside the Home too. The children started jumping and screaming around in joy.

The boy who initiated this stood aside and watched all the merry. His eyes filled with tears of joy. He felt that the joy he felt at that moment, by not keeping anything for selfish enjoyment but sharing everything with others was far more intense and deeply satisfying than what he would have had otherwise.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

Amma’s stories on the Power of Love – (3 stories)

1. The lonely child

[Amma: If there is some thing that can rid us of fear and give us the power to move forward overcoming all hurdles, it is love.]

Once there lived in a village a widowed milkmaid with her little daughter. She sold milk to the residents of a kingdom who lived inside a well guarded fort. The fort was on top of a small hill and her village was situated outside, at the foothills.

One evening, after she finished selling milk inside the fort, she got delayed. As she returned to the exit gate, she found the gates locked. She appealed to the guards to open the gates for her, saying, “I have left my little child alone in my hut. It is already late in the evening. If I don’t return before dark, my daughter would be gripped in fear and start crying; if something happens to my daughter, there is no point in my living any more; please take pity on me; please allow me to go out!”

But the guards were extremely rigid and they refused to open the gate for security reasons. They told her to stay somewhere inside for the night and leave once the gates open early at sun-rise.

Overwhelmed by disappointment and grief, the woman left the place and started frantically searching for some way or means to escape from the walls of the fort.

In the next day morning, the guards opened the gates. They were surprised to see the milkmaid waiting outside the gate with her milk cans to enter into the fort! They were taken aback. How on earth did she manage to sneak out of the walls of the well protected fort on the previous evening?

The took her to the king.Upon inquiry, the milkmaid explained her predicament and anguish on the previous evening. She told the king that after a thorough search, she found out a small crack on the wall of the fort through which she escaped. The king was curious to know where the weak spot was and he went along with the maid to see the location.

The king was extremely surprised to notice that it was almost impossible to notice the existence of such a small crack in the wall through which a person can escape with difficulty. It was indeed a very dangerous endeavor to climb the wall to that cracked area; further, on the other side, the slope of the hills were really treacherous and it was indeed a very dangerous task to descend the hills that way. It really looked to be a superhuman effort to accomplish it.

The king asked her, “Were you not gripped by fear to escape through this extremely dangerous path in darkness?”

The milkmaid replied, “There was only one thought in my mind last evening. I have got to got out somehow or other from here and reach my little daughter. I know how scared she would be if I were not to reach her before night. I totally forgot about the safety of my own life; there was no place for fear in my heart at that time”.

2.  Tuned mind

[Amma: “True love or relationship depends on the depth of inseparable sense of togetherness. Such a deep emotional bond happens in the mind and hence it cannot be measured. In proportion to that feeling of togetherness, it manifests in the outer physical plane too. People having such a deep love on each other will have resonating thoughts too. A husband will understand the wife thoughts even before she expresses them; so does the wife.”]

Once a husband was sitting in his room at his house deeply engrossed in some office work that he had brought home on a holiday. He was feeling tired and wanted to relax for a while. However the work was so urgent that he had to finish it off and hand over it to the office the next day.

He was fighting sleep and trying hard to concentrate. He thought, “If only I get a good cup of coffee”. He knew his wife was busy cooking at the kitchen. It was an odd time when he did not normally drink coffee. He did not want to disturb his wife.

As he resumed work, his wife appeared in his room with a hot cup of coffee in her hand! The husband was surprised! “How come you know that I longed for a cup of coffee?”. The wife said, “I just felt you needed a cup of coffee; that’s all!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

3. For her sake

One young man used to go by his motorbike to meet his lover regularly.  Driven by the urge to meet his beloved girl, the young man used to drive rashly, without bothering to obey traffic rules. Even if he sees Red light at traffic signals, he would just ignore it drive ahead without stopping. Many times he met with small accidents on account of his rash driving.  But he never bothered about them.

One day, he was driving his bike with one of his friends sitting at the pillion. His friend knew about the man’s rash driving habits. On that day, the young man stopped his bike at one of the traffic junctions when he noticed red signal. He took out his girl friend’s photo from his pocket and looked at it lovingly while waiting for the signal to turn green.

His friend was really surprised. ! “Hey! What happened to you? I have never seen you stopping your bike at signals?”

The young man replied, “All these days, due to my excitement to meet her, I drove fast, ignoring signals. I never bothered about traffic rules or other vehicles. The only thought that occupied my mind was to meet her as fast as possible. But of late I have started thinking: ‘If, because of my rash driving, I were to meet with an accident, will it not throw her into grief?’. Now, with such a thought arising in me, I have started to drive responsibly, obeying traffic rules!”

[Amma: “Like this, if we are driven only by our selfish likes and dislikes, we feel rules and regulations are unnecessary. But when we take into consideration others’ interests and concerns, we get awareness and patience; then we understand the need to follow rules and regulations.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 7 ( 17 more stories)

There is no dearth of fun and frolic in the company of a Mahatma like Amma. Amma narrates several humorous and funny stories that carry spiritual wisdom. Here are  more such little stories:

(If you have not read the previous 15 stories in this series, please click here —> Part 6 (Humorous stories from Amma)

1. Exploiting the poor?!

Once a beggar went to a house for begging. It was one such house where the beggar had been receiving alms across several years. That day the householder gave him ten rupees. The beggar got angry and said to the householder: “In early days you used to give me hundred rupees once in a month; afterwards you reduced it to fifty rupees a month; then it turned out to be twenty five rupees in later periods. Now you are giving me a paltry ten Rupees. Is it not very unfair?”

The householder replied to him patiently: “When I was giving you, I was a bachelor and at that time I could afford to give you so much. Later I got married and my wife was not employed. That’s why I reduced the amount to fifty rupees. Later I had a child and naturally my family expenses increased considerably. At that point of time, I reduced the amount to twenty five rupees.  Now I have got a second child too.  Now, in reality, I have no money to spend. However, since I felt I should not send you back empty-handed, I somehow managed to give you ten Rupees”.

Hearing this, the beggar shouted angrily, “So, you are running your family using MY money?”

 [Amma: “In this story, instead of receiving the money given as charity with a sense of gratitude, the beggar reacts as if it is his birthright! We too may behave like this in many situations in life. All our dealings with Nature, family members, friends and fellow human beings too are many times like this done with utter selfishness. Instead of being thankful we behave as if we are rightfully entailed to demand and receive our cut.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2. Sound sense!

Once a boy came to the school without doing his homework.  The teacher asked him why he had not done it.

The boy said, “I could not concentrate and do my homework because of lots of noise in my house, Sir?”

“What is the reason for the noise?” asked the teacher.

“Well, the TV was continuously on and the noise from it kept on disturbing me from doing my homework”.

“You could have asked others to tone down the volume or switch off the TV till you finished your homework. Why  didn’t you do it?”

“Nobody will listen if I say so” said the boy.

“Why? Why not?”

“There was no one except me in the house, Sir” said the boy sheepishly.

(From Amma’s Ramayana Month Satsang – 25/7/2020)

3. Hence proved!

Once a man was frequently getting severe headache. As he could not get any relief from off the shelf medicines, he decided to consult a doctor.  The doctor prescribed a brain scan.

When he met the doctor with the scan report, the doctors’ face turned grim. “I am sorry to say this, but you have to face the reality. You have a large tumor in your brain and in all likelihood, it is cancerous too. You have to undergo a major brain surgery without delay. Else your life is under threat”.

Hearing this the man’ face brightened up. “Are you sure the tumor is in my brain?” he asked. “Yes, of course” said the doctor. The man threw up his hands and laughed heartily. The doctor was surprised.

“Why are you laughing, man? I am telling you that it is life threatening and you are taking it so casually?”

“Naturally doctor. You have given me a proof now for me to show to my wife. All these years, she has been humiliating me saying that I have no brain and she would never listen to whatever I say!”.

 [Amma: “For some people, pampering their ego is more important than their very life.”]

(From Amma’s Ramayana Month Satsang – 2/8/2020)

4. Hearty prayer!

Once a couple went to pray in the temple on their Marriage Day.

After the worship, as they came out of the temple, the husband asked his wife: “What did you pray for?”

The wife said, “I prayed to God that I should remain your wife in all our future births. Well; What did you pray for?”

The husband was silent for a moment and said, “I prayed to God not to give me any more births”.

(From Amma’s Ramayana Month Satsang – 2/8/2020)

5. Better recourse!

Once a man was having a psychosomatic problem. He could not sleep in the night because of a strong mental perception he had. He believed that some stranger was hiding under his cot every night. However he tried to brush the thought aside, he could not overcome that unfounded fear.

He decided to consult a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist after examining and interviewing him, said, “I can definitely cure you of this problem. But it requires a prolonged treatment. You have to have a counselling session with me once a week for at least 4 to 6 months. At the end of it, you will get totally freed from the fear and gain a sound sleep at night.”

The man said, “I will think over it and come back to you shortly”.

The doctor’s consultation fee was about Rs 1000 per session. It meant that the man had to spend Rs 16000 or more for his treatment. It was clear to him that he could not afford it. He was frantic so look for an alternative solution.

The patient never came back. The psychiatrist happened to see him at a restaurant some weeks after they had met. He asked, “What happened? Why didn’t you come for the treatment? How is your condition now?”

The man said, “Oh! I got totally cured within 4,5 days through an alternative treatment, doctor. Thank God. There was no need for any any prolonged treatment!”

“How was it possible? Which doctor cured you?” asked the curious psychiatrist.

The man said, “Frankly speaking, I did a calculation on how much I should spend on you for the treatment. It was far beyond my means. So, I called the local carpenter, paid him 100 rupees to cut off all the four legs of my cot. So, with no space under my cot, no one can come and lie under it, right? From that day onwards, I am sleeping peacefully, doctor!”

(From Amma’s Ramayana Month Satsang – 2/8/2020)

6. What did I forget?

Once there lived a farmer who was extremely busy most of the times. On account of it, he used to forget many things that he wanted to do in a day. He decided to have some way to remind him of things to do.

Before going to bed one night, he took a piece of paper and a set of color sketch pens. He decided to draw lines in different colors to remind him of things to do on the next day. He thought well and drew seven lines in seven colors, each line representing one thing he must do – like a rainbow.

He got up early in the morning; remembering something he missed out, he drew an eighth line in the paper. Thus he had 8 different tasks to accomplish that day.

The first line was to remind him that he should brush his teeth, take bath, have his breakfast, lunch etc at appropriate times.

The second color line was to remind him to take his dog for a walk in the morning.  He did it.

The third color line was to remind him that he should apply fertilizer to his crop and also water them. He accomplished it.

The fourth line was to remind him to go to marketplace and buy things for his domestic needs. He finished it.

The fifth line was to remind him to give fodder and water to his cattle. He did it.

The sixth one was to take his car to the garage for a repair. He finished it.

The seventh one was to make the payment for the electricity bill. He finished it too.

Only the eighth one was pending.  He tried to remember what task it was but he could not remember it. It was night by now. He thought deeply again and again to remember what he wanted to accomplish by that eight line, but his memory failed him completely. He knew it was a very important one and that was why he added it as the last one early in the morning. He became tensed. He could not sleep. He got up from bed and walked here and there trying to bring back his memory but he could not. He lost his sleep. At last, he remembered almost by dawn the next morning.

The eighth reminder was that he should go to bed early and sleep well, which was his doctor’s specific advice to him!

 [Amma: “We too forget our goal of life like this. The very purpose of human life is to attain God. It is the only changeless purpose. But we all forget this and go behind changing things. We want to stop certain changes from happening. Because of this tendency, we are constantly under tension. On the contrary, if we set our goal on the changeless — the God, then no change ever affect us.”]

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

7. Can’t open!

Once a young man went to his village chief with a complaint about his family members; he wanted his intervention to set right matters.

He complained: “Sir, I am staying in a small room in my home; that room is stinking. This room is occupied by the pet dogs of my elder brother;  another brother has a few cats in it. My sister has a couple of rabbits in the room which are her pets. My mother has a couple of goats.  The room is horrible and dirty. I cannot breath any fresh air. If only you could do something I will be thankful to you. I am longing for a breath of fresh air!”

The village chief asked, “Don’t you have a window in your room?”

“Yes! there is a window; but it is kept closed”.

“Why don’t you, open it to get fresh air?”

“No I can’t. If I open the window, my pet pigeons will fly away!”

 [Amma: “This is how most of us behave when it comes to finding fault with others and complaining about them. We never recognize our own faults and limitations”.]

8. Easy role!

Once in a community, people wanted to celebrate Onam with several entertainment programs. A drama on Krishna Lila was  planned. A man was extremely interested in acting and he gave his name to the troup. He was very excited about it and was discussing with his wife as to what role he should take up in the drama.

His wife said, “If people offer you the role of Krishna, don’t take it up. It will be extremely difficult for you to act in that role and you have to put lots of efforts.  But if Kamsa’s role is available, take it immediately. It will suit you the best and you will need little effort to shine in that role!’

 

(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

9. Elevated state!

Once a drunkard got heavily drunk on a Onam day. He said to his friend, “You know, when I am drunk, I become same as Mahabali”

“How?” asked his friend.

“When I am drunk, I treat everyone equal — rich man – poor man, big man — small man; I don’t differentiate. Also when I am drunk. I speak only the truth.  Mahabali too did the same. Right?”

(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

10. Extrapolation!

 [Amma: “Our mind is always  full of thoughts. Our thoughts don’t stop even during our sleep many times.  The very nature of the mind is to keep brooding over the past happenings or keep worrying about future happenings.”]

Once a middle aged person was travelling in a train. A young man sitting next to him, asked “Sir, what is the time?”

The middle aged man said, “Shut up”. Noticing this, a man sitting next to him said, “Why are you getting so angry? After all he just asked what the time is!”

The man started to give a lecture: “He asked, alright; Suppose I tell him the time, what will happen next? He will then start talking about the climate. Then he will start discussing current affairs in the news paper. Then he will start talking about politics with me.  Then he will ask about my family members. It may lead to my asking about his family details. Once we talk so much and get to know about each other in so much in detail, I may have to invite him to my home out of courtesy, when I get down. Perhaps he would visit my house and who knows, he may even stay with us for a day! I have a beautiful daughter at home. What if she falls in love with this fellow? Or this fellow may fall in love with her.  If  situation comes to that, I will never agree to get my daughter married to a person who can’t even afford to have his own watch!  To avoid all these eventualities, I said ‘shut up’ and closed the chapter once for all!”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 1)

11. Sunken hopes!

Once two friends were talking. One of them said, “I heard you have started drinking nowadays. What is the reason?”

The other said, “I have been facing lots of problems in life. I am trying to kill all my problems by sinking them in alcohol!”.

“Have you succeeded in your effort?”

“No, dear friend. All my problems have learned to swim in the alcohol and they could not be drowned”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 1)

12. One last hope!

 Once a farmer had a donkey and a dog in his farm house. While the dog, being a loving pet, got all the care and cuddling from the farmer, the donkey was not so fortunate. The farmer always thought that his donkey was slow, lazy and was not working hard. He hated it. He did not feed it enough and used to beat it often.  The donkey was constantly suffering. Taking pity on it, the dog once said to the donkey,” Why are you patiently bearing all the torture being meted out to you? Why don’t you run away from here and find a better course of life for you?’

The donkey said, “You are indeed right about my unbearable suffering. I have just one last hope here and that’s why I continue to stay here”.

“What is it?” asked the dog.

One day I happened to overhear the farmer talking to his daughter. You know his daughter is lazy and does not help her mother in the kitchen. She does not study well too. The other day he was telling his daughter, “If you are so lazy, who will ever marry you? I think I will have to marry you  off to our donkey only”. So, I am hoping that one day or other I will get married to the farmer’s daughter; once I become his son-in-law, then my life will be cozy; he will not ill treat me anymore. Right?”

[Amma: “Worldly life invariably gives us only pain and suffering. Yet, people always live with the hope that life would turn to be better and enjoyable at some time in future and continue to live with hope”.]

13. Modern technology!

 Once a ship in which a rich businessman travelled got into mechanical trouble. The ship was forced to reach the shores of a remote island, where the population consisted of simple rural people who were far cut off from the rest of the technologically advanced civilization in the world.

The island people were very kind hearted. A family consisting of a father, mother and son volunteered to take care of the businessman and offered him fruits, simple food and shelter till the ship got somehow repaired.

The businessman was overwhelmed with gratitude to the family that took good care of him. He wanted them to come with him to his country as tourists to see how other advanced countries looked like. The family gladly agreed. The business men thus took him to his country and offered them good hospitality. He engaged his personal secretary to take them around the city for sightseeing and other entertainments.

The visitors were wonderstruck to look around the city. The secretary took them to theatre show. It was a grand show in which all the great film stars, musicians and other performing artists participated. The program was scheduled to be conducted at the 24th floor of a multistoried building.

The secretary took the visitors near the elevator. He asked them to wait there and said he would return in a few minutes and then take them to the program venue.

The visiting family was looking all around with wonder. At that time, they noticed that a very old lady with wrinkled skin and sick looks was brought there in a wheelchair.  The attendant who came with the lady pressed a button on the wall. After a while, the wall split open. The old lady in wheelchair was taken into a small chamber inside the wall and the wall closed immediately.

The visitors saw some arrow symbols blinking on the wall. One upward arrow got lit. After some time, they noticed that the downward arrow started blinking. After a while, they were surprised to see the wall splitting open again. This time, a very young and attractive girl in her twenties came out from the chamber in the wall and went out.

The father from the island was wonder struck and over awed!  He shouted to his son immediately, “Hey! You take your mother immediately into this chamber! I never knew such wonders are possible in this part of earth! I too love to convert your mother to be a young and beautiful girl  in her twenties!”

[Amma: “People of present days expect all wonderful things to happen magically in life”.]

(from Amma’s 67th birthday satsang 27/09/2020)

14. Order what!

Once a lawsuit was filed against a man for a crime he had committed. He received a summon to appear in the court. It was the first time in his life that the man was attending any court proceeding. The man came and stood in front of the judge for inquiry. As there was some commotion in the gathering, the judge knocked his gavel on the table and said in a loud voice”Order, Order!”

The man immediately said, “Two masala dosas, two vadas and one filter coffee!”

Presently, the man is behind the gallows and still awaiting the arrival of masala dosas and the rest!

[Amma: “This is our world! Even when people are about to face the dark and hopeless situations in their life, somehow they expect masala dosas and coffee to be served to them! They do not wish to emerge from the darkness into the world of light and freedom.”]

(from Amma’s 67th birthday satsang 27/09/2020)

 

15. Quick fix methods!

Once a obese man was frantically looking for ways to reduce his weight. He wanted some shortcut methods to achieve his intention. He was going through various advertisements offering short term solutions to reduce his weight.

He was impressed by an advertisement that offered a 30-day “deluxe” package to reduce his weight. He paid the prescribed fees and joined the program. 

When the program started, an extremely beautiful girl was introduced. The trainer announced “This girl is a good runner. If any of you can run and catch her, you can possess the girl at the end of the 30-day program”.  The offer was extremely attractive to the obese man. It was so with many others who had joined the program. 

Once the whistle was blown, the girl started running. All the participants started chasing her. After running behind her in vain for several minutes, the participants got exhausted. The coordinator  came and announced : “We will repeat this process thrice a day. This is our program package and the weight loss regimen that you will follow for the next 30 days”. 

Several days passed. No one could catch the girl. The obese man felt thoroughly exhausted and tired. He felt that this program was just not suitable for him.

“Is there any alternative program for me to choose?” He asked the coordinator.

The coordinator said, “Yes! We have s super-deluxe weight loss program that lasts only for 15 days”.

The obese man opted to switch over it by paying the additional fees.

When the program started, an extremely ugly woman was brought to the stage.   The coordinator announced, “In this package, this woman will run to catch you. If she catches you she will possess you. If you don’t like her, it is up to you to run fast and escape from her!”

[Amma: “This is precisely the state of affairs with our likes and dislikes in life. If we madly keep running behind our likes, we get very exhausted without achieving what we liked. On the contrary, if we run away from our dislikes without the courage to face them, we get equally exhausted in our lives!” ]

(from Amma’s 67th birthday satsang 27/09/2020)

16. Jolly good trip?

Once a husband and wife were sleeping in their open courtyard on a cot. Suddenly a tornado hit the locality. It sucked the couple along with the cot and threw them at some hundred kilometers away. Very surprisingly, they landed safely without any injuries. 

The wife started sobbing uncontrollably. The husband consoled her saying, “Why are you crying? See, we are so fortunate that we have landed without even a scratch on our body. There is no reason to cry!”

The wife said, “I am not crying out of sadness. I am crying out of joy, really”

“What is there to feel so happy?” asked the husband.

She said, “Across so many years of our married life, this is the first journey to a distant place that we both have travelled together! That made me so happy and I started crying!”

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil Vol 2)

17.  Your ‘chai’ce please?

[Amma: “Nowadays we have plenty of  information, but we do not know the nature of the world. We have umpteen choices to improve our life’s comforts. Changes are happening all around, but there are certain fundamental needs that don’t change.”]

Once an Indian, a simpleton by nature,  went to USA upon invitation. He was given a luxurious accommodation. The lady in charge of receiving him and taking care of his needs, asked him, “Would you like to have something to drink?”

The man was indeed longing to have a cup of tea and he said gladly, “Yes, a cup of tea please!”

The lady asked “Would you prefer tea with caffeine or without? Would you like to add ginger?”

The simple man had all along been used to have simple tea and he never knew about these options. Why is this lady asking such questions? “A simple tea is good enough” he said.

The lady left and returned within a minute. “Excuse me, would you like to have tea with sugar or without sugar? Would you want herbal tea?”

The man was losing his patience. “Just a simple tea” he said curtly.

The lady continued: “Tea with milk or without milk? If you want with milk do you want it with fat or free from fat? What percentage of fat would be okay for you?”

The man got exasperated. “Stop. I don’t want any tea. Please just bring me a glass of water to drink”.

The lady asked, “Do you want mineral water or spring water? Should it be a filtered water? Hot or cold?”

The man lost all his patience. He went inside and drank a mug of water right from the washbasin tap!

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

Amma’s stories on Karma / Fate – Part 1 (7 more stories)

1.  The fruit of Karma returns anyway

[Amma: “The fate or the fruit of your past karma is like an arrow that you shot to hit a target and return. When the arrow comes back, invariably, you fail to catch it and it attacks you too. The only difference may that the return of the arrow (the fruit of your karma) may not happen immediately. It may come late, but sure it will.”]

Once a farmer worked very hard in order to own a big farm, so that he, his sons and grandchildren could live very comfortably. He bought a barren land and toiled very hard to make the soil fertile. Fighting against draught, pests and storms, he protected his crop. He could get great yields. After years of hard work, he could really become quite rich. He got old. He thought the time has come for him to rest and he handed over the responsibility of managing the form to his son,

Once the son took charge, the old man felt very relaxed. He used to lie down in front of his farm in an easy chair and enjoyed his rest and leisure.

The son who took full charge of the farm initially felt very happy and proud. He too worked hard. But as days passed, his enthusiasm waned. He started feeling unhappy about his father. “While I am working so hard and straining every nerve and muscle of mine in the farm, how come this old man is spending the whole day idling and playing with grand children? This is so unfair” thought he.

As he was frequently gripped by such thinking, he started hating his father. ‘This old man is simply eating, doing nothing and enjoying his life from my hard labor’. He started feeling that his father was a burden on his head. ‘He might have worked hard in the past; so what? Times are changing; I must ensure well being of my family and my children. Why should I take care of this idle old man?’ so thinking, he was overpowered by a desire to get rid of his father once for all.

He made one large wooden box that can fit his father. He placed it on a cart. “Go and lie inside the box” he ordered his father. The old man obeyed without any protest. The son closed the box and drove the cart up over an adjacent hill. Upon reaching the summit, his plan was to push the box down a steep cliff to kill his father once for all.

When he was trying to push and and roll the box, he heard heard a knocking sound from the box. He shouted, “What do you want?”. The father replied from the box, “I can understand what your intention is. You are thinking I am old, and useless and you want to get rid of me once for all. Fine. But open the box. I will come out and you can push me from the cliff. Thus you need not waste this wooden box. Keep it safe and it could be handy for your son in in future!”

[Amma: “In this story, when the old man said that the box could be useful for his son in future, he meant that the account of karma for his present act would be tallied by his son in the future. You should also note that the old man too must be reaping what he sowed. He must have treated his own father or someone else like that in the distant past.”]

2.  The lost wealth

Once a building contractor at a project at site temporarily engaged an accountant locally to handle the money matters. Every month end, he used to give  a small bunch of currency to the accountant and ask him to keep it safe under a separate account-head. First time, the accountant asked, “For whom is the payment meant?”

The contractor said, “I am setting off this money for a good cause — something like giving to an orphanage, or for educating the poor children which I will decide at the end of this project”.

The accountant thought: ‘Why give away the money to unknown beneficiaries? Let me misappropriate the money and enjoy life’. Without following the instruction of the contractor, the accountant pocketed the money himself every month and wasted it away in drinking and gambling at week ends. He was otherwise an efficient man at his duty.

Over a period of time, the specific contract work came to an end. The contractor wanted to settle the accounts of temporary employees at the site and move to the next project.

He called the accountant and said, “It is time for us to part; you have done your job well; I want to reward you specifically for your efficient work. You know I was giving you an unspecified amount every month to put it in a separate account for donating to a good cause. Actually, I had planned that money as a bonus for you. You can bring that money and take it as a gift from me; please get that money and we will settle and close that account.”

The accountant was shocked to hear it.

[Amma: “By engaging in bad karma, we ourselves block the way of good karma in reaching us in future”]

3.  What is the real cause?

[Amma: “Karma and its effects are very complicated to comprehend. There could be so many indecipherable causes behind effects and it is beyond the comprehension of common people. One should not jump into conclusion in passing judgement about others. “]

One a very benevolent king was ruling a small country.  He had great respects for sannyasins and mendicants. He built a huge dining hall to feed renunciates and brahmacharis on a daily basis. He would personally visit the place and even serve food with his own hands with reverence and  humility to the travelling mendicants. This practice was going on for long.

One day, after partaking the food in the dining hall, many of the mendicants fell sick and several of them died.

The king was shocked beyond measure when such a calamity happened. He could not grasp why such a calamity would strike for a benevolent act that he had been doing with utter sincerity and commitment. He felt that a great sin would befall on him for causing death to somany pious sannyasins. He started to undertake a fast and he was even prepared to die as  atonement of the sin.

Nobody could find out how the food poisoning happened.

In order to find out the truth and apportion the sin of  killing so many innocent mendicants, the God sent a messenger for investigation.

The messenger conducted a thorough inquiry amidst the working staff, the cooks and other servants working in the dining hall. He also did a thorough physical inspection of the dining hall. In this investigation, as directed by the messenger, a workman was made to climb up to the ceilings of the tiled hall and check the tiles and the beams. There, right above the place where food used to be kept ready just before serving, a dead snake was found in between some tiles and the beam.

From further inquiries done on eye witnesses, he came to know that on the fateful day, an eagle was found attacking a poisonous snake above the roof of the building. The wounded snake seemed to have escaped the clutches of the eagle and somehow sneaked through the gaps in the tiles and entered into the underside of the hall roof.

The snake was almost dying and just before it breathed its last, it had opened its mouth and ejected poison. It was exactly at that moment the lids of the vessels carrying the food items were opened for serving right below and the droplets of poison fell into the food and got mixed with the food.  It was by eating that poisonous food that the mendicants died.

The messenger made a mental analysis: The king was not definitely responsible for this happening. The sin cannot be apportioned to the eagle because it is its basic nature to attack and kill snakes. It was not responsible for the snake’s escape. The snake too was not responsible because it was not spitting venom intentionally. The servers were not responsible for they were not knowledgeable about a snake right above vessels spitting venom at the  point of opening of the food vessels.

The messenger was at a loss. God had given him the responsibility of  apportioning the sin of the death of the mendicants on the right recipient. Whom to give it?

Thinking deeply, he was walking at the outskirts of the city. He saw a group of travelling mendicants coming into the city. They were inquiring a woman vendor at the street about the location of the king’s dining hall where mendicants were served free food.

The woman said to them: “Oh! No, no. Please never go there to take your food. The king is evil and very wily. He is poisoning and killing saintly people who come and take food there!”

The messenger heard the conversation. He decided to assign the sin of killing of the mendicants to the lady vendor who was spreading rumor by unjustly blaming the king without any basis of truth.

(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)

4.  Escaping death?

[Amma: “Death is always stalking us. It is always behind us like our shadow. If one can clearly understand that death is inevitable and it can come at any time, then one can get the determination to know God before the body falls. No one can ever predict at which moment one would die.”]

Once a king was very curious to know when he would die. He called an expert astrologer, who was extremely reputed for correct predictions about future, to his court for this purpose. The astrologer analysed the king’s horoscope in detail and finally said, “I am sorry to say this, your majesty! As per my calculations and observations, you are bound to die today itself immediately after sunset.”

The king felt devastated hearing this shocking revelation. He could not digest it. He frantically wanted to escape death and immediately called learned pundits and experts in Shastra to his court. He asked them to suggest ways and means to escape death.

The pundits started brainstorming to find out ways to escape death. One pundit suggested to perform a particular ritual and chanting of mantras. Another pundit would oppose it and suggest some other means.  That suggestion would get vetoed by a third pundit. Thus arguments and counter arguments went on and on amid the learned pundits and the clock was running too. It was already past noon. Unfortunately, the pundits could not come to any consensus on the right method to escape death by the king. The king was getting more and more tensed up and desperate to get a solution.

Watching this, one old, wise man in the king’s court came and whispered in his ears: “YOur majesty, Never trust these pundits. They are incapable of finding any solution to your problem. If you want to save your life, fetch a strong horse that can run the fastest, mount on it and leave from the capital as far off as possible. Don’t waste your time! Quick!”

For the confused king, that advice appeared to be a good solution. He fetched his best horse from his stable, and rode on it as fast as possible, as far as possible from his palace so as to escape death. By evening, the king had travelled many miles away from his capital. Both the horse and the king were extremely tired. He stopped the horse and lied down under a tree for rest.

All the happenings of the day ran through his mind. He felt relieved that he could travel so much far away from his palace before sunset. He felt confident that by doing so, he had managed to hoodwink death. He closed his eyes peacefully and soon dozed off.

The sun set at the west and soon darkness started engulfing the place. Suddenly the king woke up. At that very moment, up from the branches of the tree, the messenger of death jumped down and landed adjacent to the king.  Laughing aloud, he said, “I know you will come here; I was waiting in this tree for your arrival for quite some time. I was even wondering whether, by any chance, you may not end up at this place!  Any way, thank you, you have arrived in time!”

He caught hold of the king and instantly the king fell dead!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

5. Destined to happen

Amma narrated the following real incidence.

During the time of tsunami disaster,  a group of Ashram brahmacharis were engaged in relief and rehabilitation work at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. One of the brahmacharis wanted to visit and pray at the famous Shaneshwara temple at Thirunallar nearby. When he went to the temple, it was extremely crowded. A very long queue was waiting to have the darshan of Lord Shani at the temple.

The brahmachari too joined the queue.  He was rather impatient and was getting exasperated by the slow moving queue. Restlessly, he was looking this way and that way, getting out of the queue and joining the queue and causing disturbance to others due to his impatience. The policemen on duty to control the crowd somehow felt suspicious of the brahmachari’s movements; they suspected that he could be a pickpocket! They grabbed him and started enquiring him. Somehow they were not convinced; they took him to the police station and retained him in the lockup overnight.

The other brahmacharis who noticed that this person was missing in the night, got worried. After inquiring here and there, they came to know that the person had ended up in the lock up at the police station. They met the sub-inspector and explained to him about the brahmachari and the purpose of their staying in Nagapattinam. The sub-inspector immediately released the Brahmachari from the lock up and allowed him to go.

The Brahmacharis reported the matter to Amma. They were somewhat restive and asked Amma why a person, engaged in good social service and also visiting a temple for prayers get into trouble like this.

[Amma: “There are certain untoward incidents that are destined to happen will happen, even when one is engaged in actions with good intentions. If you ask why should it happen to such a good person at such a time, we could only say that there are certain unfavorable positions of planets in one’s life when such things do happen. The destiny might be that he should end up in jail for long. But an unknown divine grace on account of his punya may also behind it in such a way that the evil effects of his prarabdha are lessened and he is relieved by just a night of stay and suffering in a police lockup.”]

6.  Pitying the queen!

Once a new servant maid was engaged in cleaning the Queens’ room in the palace. The servant maid who was seeing the queen’s room for the first time was awestruck at the grandiose furnishings seen in the room. The furniture were finely carved, smooth and impeccably polished; the carpets, the window drapes, and other artefacts were extremely fine. The servant maid touched them and felt thrilled. She pressed the queen’s bed and wondered how soft it was.

Suddenly she had an unstoppable urge to lie down at the bed and have a feel of it. She looked around to ensure that there was none else in the room. She lied down on the bed and felt exhilarated.  Suddenly, quite unexpectedly the queen opened the door and entered into the bedroom.  She saw the servant maid lying in her bed.

The queen got extremely angry.  The servant maid was shocked to the core. She jumped up from the bed and stood there shivering. The queen took the broomstick and started beating the servant maid left and right. She called out her guards and commanded to them to arrest the maid and put her behind the bars.

Instead of crying for the beating she received and the punishment meted out to her, the servant maid started laughing. The queen was surprised. “Why are you laughing?” she shouted.

The servant maid said, “Your highness, just for the small mistake I did, you have beaten me so hard and also ordered to put me in jail. If such a severe punishment is meted out to me for such a small mistake, I thought what sort of punishment God will be giving you later, for all the various acts of arrogance and hatred you would have committed in life on account of your royal status as a queen. I could not control laughing!”

(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami Satsang 10/9/2020)

7.  Cyclic reaction!

Once a Court Jester was telling some funny stories in the king’s court. There were a couple of jokes for which everyone was laughing but the king could not understand them. He thought that the Court Jester was mocking at him; out of anger, the king slapped the jester. The jester felt an unbearable pain. Anger rose up in him but he had to control it with difficulty. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he could not question the king’s action.

In order to vent out his anger, the jester slapped a person standing next to him. That man asked “Why are you hitting me? I have not done anything to you”.

The Court Jester replied,”It doesn’t matter. You can give a slap to the person next to you. This world is like a huge wheel. When it revolves, everyone gets his due share. Now don’t hesitate; give a slap to the person next to you!”

[Amma: Every good or bad action done by us can affect many people. Nowadays we see similar things happening around us. People tend to vent out their frustrated anger and enmity on people around them.  In reality, the person affected by our outburst of anger might not have anything to do with it.  Anyway, whatever we do unto others will come back to us one day or other.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil  Vol 2)

Amma’s stories on Nature of the human mind – Part 2 (15 more stories)

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)

7.  Resolution?

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)