1. Being in the present
[Amma: “Only the present is in our hands. We have no control on what is going to happen in future. The past is like a cancelled cheque. What is important is the present and we should think good thoughts and do good deeds in the present. That’s why, training the mind to be in the present is always recommended as a good spiritual practice.
“Children, don’t think that it is not possible to remain in the present at all times, without drifting to thoughts of the past or the future. Everyone has the potential for it. Listen to the following story carefully:”]
Once the only child of a couple became extremely sick. The child’s life was in grave danger. The doctor injected a medicine to the child and said, “This is my last ditch effort. I can’t say for sure whether the medicine will work or not. Recovery of your child rests only with the grace of God. Please pray to God. It is only by His will that the child caan recover.”
The parents were not rery theistic so far in their lives. But, in the present critical juncture, they decided to do what the doctor said. Why? Simply because they had no other alternative.
Both of them praying feverishly to God to save their child, Their entire mind was occupied in the present — to see their only child alive — that was their only wish now.
As husband and wife, the couple had so many fights in the past; they were not seeing eye to eye on many matters. Forgetting all their past bickerings, they now prayed together with mutual love for saving their child; they had no thought of what would happen the next day.
They look at the child; touch and caress his face and body; they watch weather the child is breathing normally; they eagerly look forward for some movement in the child’s body; they look at his eyes eagerly to see whether they would open and look at them. When they see no progress, they pray more feverishly.
Their relatives come to see them. The couple might have had some bitter experiences with some of them in the past. Yet, at this critical situation, they speak to them politely without any hatred. It is because they are in the present — gripped with their only desire of seeing the child alive, they are able to behave nicely with them. They sincerely think that they need God’s grace as well as the blessings and good will of the visitors too. They tell them, “Please pray for saving our child.”
Thus, despite what the past was and future could be, the couple live in the present and it has made them polite and loving people. Presently they are freed from hatred and bitterness.
It is likely that the couple would behave so till the child is either saved or dead. Afterwards all their past old habits and idiosyncrasies might return. Yet, as long as they are in the present, their condition is sober and amenable.
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)
2. Be happy with what you have
[Amma: “Children, be contented with what you have. Never aspire for what others have. Don’t desire for what you don’t have. Don’t think that you will be happier if you live your life like someone else. Don’t think your sorrow is more painful than others. Everyone has his/her share of pain and sorrows in life. None can share the burden of others or exchange with others.”]
Long ago, people living in a land were very unhappy about the state of their lives. No one was happy. Everybody thought that the next person was better off then him/her. By constantly thinking like this, they felt very agitated and furlorn. They could no longer bear their sorrows and burdens.
They got together to pray and cry to God to save them from their miserable lives. Moved by the intensity of their prayers, God appeared before them. He asked them to gather together in a meadow.
I have come after hearing your prayers. Now all of you unload your pains, sorrows, sickness, mental disturbances, physical handicaps etc in bundles in this meadow. People happily unloaded their every problem and pains. Soom the meadow got filled up and grew to be a mountain!
God said, “Now, in lieu of what you have unburdened, each of you can pick up the bundle unloaded by someone else that you may feel as more bearable to you.”
The people vied with each other to take the burden of someone else that they thought to be ‘less heavy’ than theirs. The beggar took up the problems and pains of a rich person. A barren woman took up the problems of a woman who had problems due to multiple children. Thus took up alternative problems and they appeared to be happy. God disappeared from the scene.
People too returned to their homes. From the very next day, people started crying and complaining once again! This time, their their prayers and crying appeared 100 times more powerful than the previous occasion!
God appeared before them and asked them to gather at the meadow once again. They all cried to God saying that they could not handle their new worries and sorrows. They unanimously felt that their previous problems were far more tolerable than the present ones and they wanted their old worries to be given back!
The God permitted them to do so and disappeared.
The people seemed to be relieved and went back to their homes. Bur very soon, they started complaining as usual!
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)
3. There is purpose behind inequality
[Amma: “Why doesn’t God make everyone live happily? Why is it that he has made some people suffer in life? People ask such questions. It is not God’s will that some people should go without food or some people to suffer more. God has given everyone what is basic and essential for them. Everything just to meet the need”.]
Once a sage with occult powers visited a village. The village people went and requested him to make all the people in the village happy and prosperous. The sage, in deference to their wishes. used his occult powers to give them all lots of money, jewelry, new houses and so on. The people of the village received everything with joy and bid farewell to him after expressing their thanks to him.
After a few months, the Sage visited the same village again. This time, he found the village totally different from what he saw last time.
In fact it was even difficult to walk through the village. Dirt, waste and garbage were found strewn everywhere. The whole village was stinking. There was absolutely no cleanliness anywhere. Consequently, people of the village were suffering under different ailments. Cattles were not being reared, lands were not ploughed; no agricultural activity was going on.
When he inquired why, he came to know that ever since he gave lot of money to all the villagers, provided houses to stay and so on, no one was coming forward to do any work. There were no laborers to do farming. None came forward to clean the streets and surroundings as none was dependant on work to earn money to run their livelihood.
The people now begged the sage to reverse what he had done so that they can return to the old, healthy way of leading their lives!
(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)
4. “My life is best”
[Amma: “Everyone lives in his own world and thinks of himself to be great. Even a mosquito may feel its world is better than anyone else’s!”]
Once there lived two astrologers who were very good friends. They were very good in predicting future from horoscopes. Once they got curious to know of their next birth. After going through their horoscopes in depth, they concluded that one of them will be born as a mosquito and the other a bullock. They also predicted that they would meet in the next birth too.
The astrologer destined to be born as mosquito said to his friend, “Please do me a favour when we meet in our next birth. Please crush and kill me to death when you see me.That way, you will shorten my pitiable life of being born as a lowly mosquito. That way, I can hasten to take a better higher birth so as to reach God faster”. His friend agreed.
After their death, they took their fresh births as a bullock and a mosquito as predicted. THe bullock remembered its promise and kept looking for locating his mosquito friend. One day, he noticed that one mosquito living with a swarm of other mosquitos in an adjacent pool of extremely dirty sewage water amid a mound of filth was indeed his friend of the previous birth.
The bullock did not even feel like walking through the filth to reach out to his friend. However in order to fulfil his promise, he reluctantly walked through the filth. His friend mosquito was sitting over some dirt. The bullock lifted up his front leg to crush the mosquito. Noticing the intent of the bullock, the mosquito cried aloud, “Hey you! Stop, stop! What a cruel act you are trying to do? What harm have I done to you?”
The bullock said, “Don’t you remember me, your old friend of previous birth? Have you forgotten your request to me in the last birth to kill you the moment we meet in this birth? Haven’t you told me that you did not wish to live the worthless, lowly birth of a mosquito, but wanted to quickly die and take higher births?”
Hearing this, the mosquito laughed and said, “What do you mean by saying this life of mine is lowly and worthless? You just don’t know how beautiful and comfortable this life of mine is! I have a beautiful wife and nice kids; I have no desire to leave this heavenly location and take any higher birth or to reach God. I simply don’t think any other world would be any better than this! I am quite contented to live here and I request you to allow me to live in peace!”
(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)
5. Ignoring sane advice (1)
[Amma: “God is full of compassion. A mother who gives birth to her children also tells them dos and don’ts for leading a trouble-free life. If we follow them, our life will be smooth. Likewise, God, the creator, gives and knowledge and power to discriminate what is permanent and what is transitory. Without using discrimination if we do wrong, we have to suffer the consequences. There is no point in blaming God for it”.]
Once in a village a mother had two sons named Viveki and Aviveki. One day, she sent the boys to the adjacent town to buy so milk. As they were going to the town for the first time, she gave detailed instructions to them.
She said, “My dear children, on your way to the town, you will find two bridges. The one on the eastern side is made of teakwood and the other on the western side is made of a low quality wood. The teakwood bridge is strong and sturdy, but is far off from here to cross. On the other hand, the other bridge on the western side is closer by, but it is very old, rickety and shaky. If you use that bridge, you have to walk extremely carefully as it will shake and crack. If you are not careful, you can falter your steps and fall into the river. The bridge may even collapse.
“So, I advise you to take the longer distance path and cross the river using the teakwood bridge in your onward journey to the town. At the house where you have to buy the milk, they would give you a wooden staff. On your return journey, you can cross the river by the old, creaky bridge. Now the wooden staff will be very handy for you to support and stabilize yourself to safely cross the bridge without falling down and reach home faster on your return.
“So, remember — never use the old bridge on your onward journey and take the risk of falling down”.
As the brothers started their long walk to the town, they first noticed the old, rickety bridge. Seeing it, Aviveki got tempted to cross the river quickly using it. He said, “Why should we walk unnecessarily to such a long distance to reach the Teakwood bridge? We will just cross the bridge very carefully using this bridge itself. It will save lot of time”.
Hearing this, Viveki said, “No. Mother has given us very specific and clear instructions that we should use this bridge only on our return journey and not on the onward journey. She has told us that it is very risky. So, drop the idea and come along with me”. However, Aviveki was adamant. “I know all that. I can be very careful and manage without using any stick. I will go alone if you are not joining me”. Viveki refused to give him company and he proceeded further to go to the east side Teakwood bridge.
He reached the town, located the house, collected the milk as well as the wooden staff given by them. He walked back and reached the west side rickety bridge. There he saw his brother lying in waist deep water, unable to move because of broken leg.
(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)
6. Ignoring sane advice (2)
[Amma: “When God created the world, he has also taught people how to conduct themselves in this world. If people got into trouble and hardship by not heeding to his words of wisdom, how can God be blamed for it? God never punishes; even what you perceive as punishment too is God’s way of correcting and improving you”.]
Once a boy wanted to go to the neighbor’s house to play. The mother said, “There are two ways to go to the neighbor’s house. One is to go to the front of our our house, open the gate, go to the neighbor’s gate and enter it and reach the house. There is another shortcut about which I will not tell you. I would only want you to go by the gates”.
The boy came out of the house and he became curious to find out where the short cut was. He inspected the fence separating the two houses and there he noticed a small opening. He decided to sneak through the gap. When he entered through it, the sharp thorns in the fence pieced his skin and he started bleeding. Hearing his cry, the mother came out and retrieved him back to the house. Without telling a word, she applied medicines on his skin and soon it became alright.
Within a couple of days, the boy again got permission to go the neighbor’s house for playing. This time too, he decided to sneak through the opening in the fence, with a determination that he would be careful enough not to wound himself. But, his manoeuvres did not work and he got injured once again by the thorns. Again, without a word, his mother came forward to help him, cleaned the wound and applied the medicine.
Same thing repeated after a couple of days. This time, the thorn made a deep scratch on his skin and he bled. His mother noticed his mischief but did not come forward to help him. She left the wound to remain as it was. The wound did not cure; pus formed in it and the boy was suffering in severe pain.
The mother now said, “Last two times, I came to your rescue and you did not get the wound septic. Since you did not experience the pain, you decided to do the mistake again and again. This time, I intentionally did not apply medicine, because I wanted you to learn the hard way. Only when you feel the real pain, you would desist from committing the same mistake in future. You will not resort to going by shortcuts. It is not because I didn’t care about you that I ignored you the last time. Since I truly care about you, I wanted you to come back to the right path and increase your awareness. That’s why I let you suffer”.
(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)
7. Bad omen!
[Amma: “It is our good thoughts, good intentions and good prayers that we do in the morning as we get up that could lead to a happy and fruitful day. However, some people wrongly attribute the day’s happenings — good or bad, to the face of the person that they saw first in the morning”.]
Once a king, after waking up in the morning, came out of his room to the balcony and looked outside. There, on the street, he saw a beggar in tattered clothes. The beggar too looked at the king and bowed. The king immediately withdrew to his room with revulsion, thinking “Oh! What a bad sight to see first in the morning! It is so inauspicious to see a beggar first.I am worried what is going to happen today. Will there be any arrival of a war or any news of famine?” With such a thought troubling his mind and his heart welling up in hatred on the beggar, the king restlessly paced up and down in his room. Unexpectedly, he slipped, fell down and sprained his leg.
The king’s physicians attended to him immediately, wound a bandage to the king’s leg and prescribed complete bed rest for a few days.
Attributing this misfortune to the beggar whom he saw first in the morning, the king asked his minister to fetch the beggar from the street and ordered that he should be hanged.
The beggar was arrested and brought to the court. The minister conveyed to the beggar about the king’s order and the reason for the punishment. Before he was taken to the gallows for hanging, the minister asked “Do you wish to say anything?”
The beggar said, “As the king saw my face first in the morning, he met with a small misfortune by spraining his leg. But see my misfortune. I too saw the king’s face as first thing in this morning and I am going to lose my life for it. Tell me whose face is more inauspicious? Mine or the king’s?”
(from Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)
8. Destructive mindset
Once upon a time there were three countries which were antagonistic to each other always and were fighting with each other. Each country wanted to destroy the other two and both the kings and peoples of the countries nurtured deep rooted hatred against the people of other nations.
God felt bad about such a mindset. He wanted to bring the antagonism to an end and he called for a meeting of the representatives of the three countries. He said to them, “My children, why are you always fighting with and hating each other? What do you want? I am here to fulfil your wishes; tell me your problems and I will solve them”.
The representative of the first country rose up and said with total disregard to God and said, “First of all, we don’t even believe Your existence. We believe only our leaders. If you really want us to believe you, then you should demonstrate your power to us”.
“What do you expect me to do, so that you will believe in my power?” asked God.
The representative of the first country pointed out the rep of the second country and said, “If you destroy his country fully, we will start believing in your power. We are even willing to build temples for you and worship you in our country.”
God was shocked to hear such a statement. He could not talk for a while. Seeing his silence, the first man said, “YOur silence proves that you are not capable of doing what I asked. It does not matter. We will do it ourselves; perhaps it might take a longer time, but it does not matter; we will do it.”
Without responding to him, God looked at the rep of the second country. He knew that the people of that country were theists. So, he thought the rep will speak more amicably. The rep said, “My lord! Our request is extremely simple: The first country should no longer be found in the world map. Let that place remain empty. Just in case you are not going to do it, our army will definitely do it with your blessings and grace”.
God was shocked much more when he heard this. If such was the state of people who believe in God, what to speak of non-believers? He sighed and looked at the face of the third person. He got up, bowed his head reverentially to God and smiled. God felt some hope seeing his gesture. ‘Oh! I hope at least this fellow understands me; let me at least save his country from destruction’ — thinking so, he asked, “My son, what is your wish?”
The representative of the the third country said, “My lord, I just have no separate opinion of my own. I will be happy if you concede to the wishes of these two persons.”
(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)
9. Priceless indeed
Once there lived a beggar, who was quite healthy and looked young too. However, out of sheer laziness to work, he would beg at the passersby, saying, “Oh gentlemen, please look at my pitiable state; God has created me extremely poor and I am an orphan. There is no one to take care of me. Please have pity on me and give me a few coins.”
One day, a wise man was passing the street and the beggar begged money from him too.
The wise man said to him, “Why should you beg like this? I will give your ten lakh rupees. You give me both of your hands”.
The beggar was shocked. He said, “Sir, how can I live without hands; aren’t they priceless?”
“Fine; then give me both of your legs instead. I will give you the same amount” said the wiseman.
“Sir, are you mad? How can I ever give my legs? They are priceless”
“Then give my your eyes. I will give the same amount”.
The beggar got irritated. He said, “Not just eyes, I will not give any part of my body for a price”.
The wiseman smiled and said, “My dear friend, you have been begging by saying God had created you a pauper. But now you say your legs, hands, eyes and every organ in your body is priceless and you are not willing to give any of them for any money. Is it not now clear to you that God has given you a wonderful, priceless body? Using this body, why not you do work and earn your livelihood? When you are quite healthy, don’t extend your hands for begging. It is nothing but utter laziness. God never loves anyone who wants to get everything given to him by charity. God does not like people who live like parasites in the society. Better find a job and live by earning.”
(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)
10. The Solution!
[Amma: “Children, By serving others, you are blessed. In the same way, by doing evil to others, you will suffer. Let me tell you a story:”]
A person walking on the road, met a friend on the way. The friend looked a very agitated and disturbed. “What happened? Why do you look so disturbed?” he asked.
The friend said, “At the end of this street where taxi drivers park their cars, there is one driver who hits me at my back whenever he sees me. I have not been able to stop his behaviour. I am getting uncontrollably angry with him day by day. I want to teach him a fitting lesson one day”.
“Be careful; don’t do something hasty and get into trouble “ advised the person. But his friend said, “That driver’s behaviour has crossed the limits of my tolerance. I am going to give him a fitting punishment that he could not forget in his life”
What do you intend to do with him?”
“This is what I plan to do today. I am going to buy a country bomb and fit it on my back and cover it with my shirt. From tomorrow, that driver will not have a hand to hit me again. Haha!”
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)
11. The dress makes difference
[Amma: (When asked about her dressing up like Krishna and Devi during Bhava Darshans): “It helps people understand what bhava is. People have special preconceived ideas about Krishna and Devi and Their dress. When one says “Devi” nobody will think of an ordinary girl. There must be a distinctive quality in the manner of dress. By wearing those beautiful sarees, crown and jewels, mother is planting an impression of Devi in the mind of the devotees and trying to help them to make their faith stronger in order to grow spiritually. Mother will make this point clear through a story:”]
One man was cutting down a tree which was growing by the side of the road. Another man who noticed it and said, “Don’t cut down the tree; it belongs to Government and cutting it down is against the law”. The first man not only did not listen but also started scolding the other severely. Actually, the person who tried to prevent the man from cutting down the tree was a policeman. He left the place immediately and soon returned in his official dress.
Even from a distance the man cutting the tree noticed that a policeman was approaching him. He stopped cutting and immediately fled from the place!
[Amma: “See the difference in the impact created when the policeman came in ordinary dress and later in the official dress! Therefore, special attire is needed to to teach ignorant people.”]
(From Awaken Children-2)
12. Pride and its effect
Once a king who went to a forest for hunting, got separated from the rest of the party. As he was walking, tired and weary due to hunger, he saw some forest dwellers.
He asked them, “Which fruit is good to eat?”
They said, “Any fruit in this forest is good to eat. Even naturally bitter fruits are sweet here.”
The king was astounded and he inquired as to how it could be so. They said, “The king who rules this country is a repository of good qualities. Therefore the subjects are good-natured. Maybe it is because there is no one evil in this country that the trees give sweet fruits only. Nature is pleased with the good acts and qualities of the king and his subjects.”
The forest dwellers did not know that it was the king himself who was standing in front of him. Even so, they received him in a respectful way.
When the king returned to his place, he was brimming with pride. He was inflated with ego thinking that because of his greatness, even bitter fruits became sweet. His manners changed; his pride made him arrogant. He started doing unrightful acts soon.
Later, the king went to the forest once again. The forest dwellers saw him while he was about to eat some fruits and said, “Don’t eat that fruit; it is very bitter. Everything is spoiled now due to the evil rule of the king of this country. Due to his wicked behavior, the subjects too are acting in a evil way; Nature has become displeased. None of the fruits here are good to eat.”
The king was shocked to hear this. He returned home thinking about all his evil actions with repentance.
[Amma: “Our character will be the cause of good and evil in this world. Knowing that, you should live cautiously. The actions of human beings are the basis of nature’s goodness”.]
(From Awaken Children-2)
13. Too busy!
Once a man returned from office.
He found lots of letters delivered at the doors by the postman. He collected them and started opening them one by one and began reading them.
Suddenly he remembered that it was the last date to pay the electric bills. He wanted to write a cheque for the bill amount and he started looking for his cheque-book. As he started frantically searching for the missing cheque book, he noticed that all the utensils, plates and glasses were lying unwashed after the dinner party he had at his house the previous night.
He started washing them one by one at his kitchen sink. While he was doing it, he noticed that the plants he had kept at the windows were withering because they had not been watered for the past couple of days. He stopped the cleaning work and started watering the plants. As he walked around to water various plants, he noticed that his car in the garage had gathered lots of dust as he had not bothered to clean it since a couple of days. He suspended watering the plants and went to the garage to wash his car.
Suddenly he remembered about the electric bill and his search for the cheque book! He also realized that he had not finished any of the tasks that he undertook that evening!
At that point of time, he received a phone call and it was his friend. The friend asked: “How was the day?”
The man sighed and said, “Don’t ask me. It is too busy a day!”
[Amma: “This is the state of affairs with most of us. Being busy has become a disease! Nowadays everyone including children say, “I am too busy”. But the reality is that there is no focus on the job at hand. Instead of living in the present, we live either in the past or in the future. Only when we learn to be in the present, we will be able to finish our tasks in hand effectively. Plan while you plan in the present. Once planning is over, undertake the task in the present. While planning don’t think and worry about future. “]
(Amma’s Monday Satsang 16/12/19)
14. The hidden treasure
Once there lived a very rich man who had four sons. All the four sons were lazy and they lived an easy life rolling on luxuries and spent money lavishly from their father’s earnings.
The richman who had come up in life in the hard way, was extremely worried about the future of his four sons. No amount of good counselling had any effect on them.
Worrying about his children, the richman got sick and soon he was in death bed.
He was constantly thinking of ways to inculcate some value for working and earning into his children.
One day, he called his sons and said, “I am not going to live any longer. I am sharing this secret with you. Please listen; I have got a huge treasure containing lots of gold and diamonds earmarked for your inheritance, I have kept them buried in four huge pots under four different trees in our orchard. After my death, you may dig them out and make use of it for your future”. He breathed his last.
After doing his last rites, the four men went to the orchard enthusiastically. They started digging the land under the shade of each tree one after the other. There were several hundreds of fruit trees in the orchard and they did the digging under all the trees. However they were disappointed that there was no treasure buried anywhere.
One of the four sons said “Our father has squarely cheated us. What to do now? Having dug so many holes all around the orchard, let us at least do one thing. Let us put fertilizers and manures in them and fill them up again with soil”. The others agreed.
Six months passed by. The fruit season came and all the trees, having received lots of nourishment through the manure, gave bountiful yield of fruits. The brothers could make lots of money selling the fruits.
They understood the real secret behind the treasure their father had hinted to them.
[Amma: “There is no doubt that divine grace is always there for the sake of devotees. But one has to really put effort to become eligible for that grace”.]
(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)
15. The nature of children
Once, in a village, two little children were playing a game with a stone. The game involved keeping a small stone at the back of a hand, throwing it up and catching it. It had to be done 100 times continuously without fail to get 100 points. Whatever number of times a player failed to catch the stone, that many points will be lost. In the game, one of the children scored hundred while the other scored only eighty. As per the rule of the game was that the winner would give 20 mild beatings in the palm of the loser for having scored less by 20 points.
On that day, the winning child happened to give harsh beatings in the hand of the loser that caused considerable pain. The child got angry and ran away to his home crying. He went and complained to his mother that the other child beat him severely while playing with him.
The mother got worked up. She went to the house of the other child and started scolding him harshly for having beaten her son. The mother or the other child got very angry on the lady who came and made a big issue of it. She started scolding the lady. Soon they started verbally fighting with each other on the streets. Hearing the matter, the husbands of the two women came to support their wives. They started shouting angrily against each other. In the process, they lost temper and started physically abusing each other. Seeing the men attacking each other, lots of village people rushed in. Soon they got divided into two groups, each supporting one of the men and soon it evolved in to a group clash.
Someone reported the matter at the police station.
Policemen rushed to the scene and brought the mobs to control. Once a semblance of order was restored, the Policemen started inquiring the cause for the group clash. Finally they came to know that it all started with the fight between two children.
“Where are the children? I want to enquire them too” said the Sub Inspector.
Everyone started looking around but the children were not to be seen anywhere nearby. As the parents started searching for the children across the village, they found them at the river bank playing together joyfully.
[Amma: “Children, unlike the elders, don’t get entangled in the past or future. They live in the present and enjoy it.”]
(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)