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Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – 2

[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)

4.  A shift in mindset

[NOTE:  This is actually a real life story — from the life of  young Ramakrishnan (now Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri,  one of Amma’s seniormost sanyasis)  during the early days of his association with Amma.]

As a college student Ramakrishnan had a goal of studying medicine and becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, he lost the opportunity to join MBBS by scoring just one mark below the selection cutoff level in the entrance examination.  He became dejected and depressed because of it.  He had no interest in joining any other course. After few days, due to compulsion from his family, he applied for bank job. He got the job.

Even after joining duty, the frustration about not becoming a doctor as per his dreams continued to affect him.  He could not deal with his bank clients with courtesy or friendliness; he could not smile at others.  He understood that such a behavior was not right.

He went to his beloved Guru (Amma) and confessed about his mental turmoil. He said, “Amma, my mind is not in my control; even on petty matters, I get angry. I am not able to behave respectfully with the bank’s clients.  With this mental state, I don’t think  I will be able to continue in my job for long.  Amma. what should I do?”

Amma listened to him patiently. Then consoling him, she said, “My son. Suppose I send a person who is close to me, to you to the bank seeking some assistance from the bank, how will you deal with him?”

Ramakrishnan said, “Of course I will receive him warmly and offer all possible help to him”.

“If so, you must do one thing. Think of every customer who comes to you seeking Bank’s help as though he is a person sent personally by me. If you develop such an attitude, you will be able to behave friendly and nicely with every person approaching you”.

From that day onwards, there was a sea of change in Ramakrishnan’s behavior. He was able to see every person coming to him for banking help as though he was sent by God (his guru) and was able to serve them with courtesy. Anger and frustration left him once for all.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

  5.  The King gripped in fear

 Once there was a King, who was extremely afraid of his enemies. He built a fort for him and lived inside a high security palace. His living room was surrounded by thick walls on all sides with just one small window opening, through which he would communicate with others.  Once a Sadhu visited the palace and he wanted to personally meet the king to get some alms. As he looked harmless, he was allowed to see the king after he was put through all the security tests by the king’s guards.

When the king was informed of the arrival of the sadhu, the king agreed to see the visitor through the small window opening.

The sadhu said, “O king! I came to meet you to get some alms. But I am really surprised to see you living here in this room, so secluded and alone. May I know what your problem is?”

The king said, “My enemies are extremely powerful. If I live like any other king, I am afraid that they will attack and kill me . So I am staying securely in this fully protected room.”

The sadhu laughed and said, “O king, you are already dead”.

“What do you mean?”

“You are virtually inside a tomb, except that your tomb has just one small opening!” — so saying the sadhu left the palace laughing aloud.

(Source: Amma’s satsang dt 18/12/21)

6. Mother’s valuable advice

Once a person asked a famous social worker, “Sir, I have been observing you since long; I have never seen you  getting angry with anybody. You are composed and pleasant in all circumstances. May I know how it is possible for you”.

The social worker said, “In my young age, I too was a very short tempered person. Once I had an angry fight with my friends and I came back home fretting and fuming. Noticing my agitation, my mother asked me what happened. After I explained to her, she said, “If you get angry simply triggered by the words of someone and if you express it,  it means you have become an underdog in front of that person. If you get angry again, it only means the other person has defeated you. Dear son, you must remember this always”.

“After that Incident, whenever I am in a situation where I could get angry, my mother’s words will flash in my memory. Her face and words will appear right in front of me. If I get angry again, it only means I lack patience. Otherwise, I would contemplate on what the other person uttered that infuriated me. I will think:  “Why did he say so? What is the reason for him to get angry with me? Why did he use such harsh words against me?  Is it because of his ignorance? Is it an intentional display of his ego?”

“By thinking so, I would refrain from retaliating. As I stand unperturbed, it is he who gets defeated and not I. Now he would start thinking, “Despite my getting angry, this fellow has remained unmoved, I have become a fool now. My true color has been exposed”. It is this way that I learned a valuable lesson from my mother’s advice. That’s how I am able to face any situation with even mindedness” .

[Amma: “Children, we too should face every situation in life like this.“]

(Source: Amrita Ganga – Satsang)

7. The secret technique!

Once a husband and wife who stopped talking to each other on account of a fight between them.  They slept separately in two bedrooms. The wife stopped doing any service to her husband and kept away from him as much as possible.

One day, the wife came running to her husband shrieking in fear and embraced him. The husband consoled her, spoke soothing words to her to drive away her fear.  As the wife was afraid to go and sleep in her bed, she opted to sleep in her husband’s room.

After a couple of days, the same thing repeated. Again the husband showered his affection on her and allowed her to sleep with him in his bed.

This way, their mutual bitterness melted away. Soon they were on talking terms. The wife started serving food to her husband and taking due care of his needs. Their relationship returned to normalcy and joy and intimacy returned in their life. 

Watching these happenings, their daughter asked her father with wonder, “What has happened papa? You were not talking with each other for long, and suddenly mother is back to normal and you have become a happy couple once again. What magic did you do?”

The father said, “If you promise me not to reveal anything to your mother, I will tell you the secret”. The little girl promised so.

“You know your mother is not afraid of anything in this world, except for cockroaches. Last week, as I was coming home, I was pondering how to end the cold war between us, and suddenly I noticed a cockroach near our house. I caught it and brought it home and placed it on her bed that night without her knowledge. When your mother came to sleep, she noticed it and started shrieking out of fear and came to my room. She had no courage to sleep alone in her room and hence slept in my room. I repeated the same exercise after a couple of days and it worked!”

8. Acceptance

[NOTE:  This is actually a real life story that happened at Boston in one  devotee’s life.]

During one of Amma’s US tour, there was Amma’s darshan program at Boston.  One of Amma’d devotees, who came by his car to attend the program, met with an accident on the way.  Though he was not wounded, he had to spend the whole night in the Police station. He could reach the program venue only the next day.

When he came to Amma for darshan, people around Amma mentioned to Amma about the accident he met with. Amma lovingly inquired, “Son, did you get hurt? Are you okay? Are you upset?”

The man replied, “No, problem Amma, I am quite fine. Also, I didn’t have to spend money on a hotel room as I spent the night in the police station!”

[Amma:  “The Guru teaches us how to see things in their respective places. If we try, we can make our lives positive. Everything has a positive side to it. In this incident, the person was able to take it positively and even was able to joke that the situation had even helped him save money”.]

9. Right treatment

Once a  drunkard went to a bar  ordered his favorite drink. The waiter in the bar brought a glass of  the drink and place it before him.  The drunkard drank half of it in one gulp, and threw the balance  at the  waiter’s face.

The waiter became extremely angry and started shouting at the drunkard.  Hearing the abusive words,  the drunkard started crying. 

The waiter asked, “Why are you crying?”

The drunkard said,  “Unfortunately, it has become a habit for me to drink only half a glass and through the balance drink at the waiter space. I know pretty well that this is a very bad and evil habit. Unfortunately, however much I try,  I am not able to change this  behavior.  I am sorry about this.  I know I must change this.  Can you help me in some way?”

The waiter thought for a while and then said, “Don’t worry;  my brother too  had one such evil habit; he tried on his own to set it right, but could not succeed.  Finally I took him to a psychiatrist  known to me.  The psychiatrist gave him treatment for 3 months and at the end of it, my brother totally got rid of  his is  habit.”

The waiter then wrote down the address of the psychiatrist in a piece of paper and gave it to the drunkard.  Profusely thanking him,  the drunkard took the address  and went away.

A few months passed. The same drunkard came back to the bar and ordered his favorite drink. Remembering him,   the waiter asked, ” Hello! Did you go to the psychiatrist? Hope you have undergone treatment and got rid of your problem.”

The drunkard nodded his head.

The waiter served him the drink in a glass.  The drunkard gulped down  half of it,  and,  like the previous time,  he splashed the remaining drink at the waiter’s face. 

The waiter became uncontrollably angry  and shouted, ” You reckless rascal,  I thought  you would have turned good after going to the psychiatrist; But there is no change in your behavior. Why ?”

The drunkard replied, “It is not right to say  that I have not changed. There is indeed a change in my attitude after the treatment.   Earlier, I used to feel  very guilty after throwing the drink at the waiter’s face,  but after treatment, I got rid of the guilty consciousness.  Now a days I don’t feel bad at all about my habit!”

The waiter said, ” It means you definitely require totally different treatment;  and I am good enough to give the treatment to you”.

The waiter took a stick in  his hand and started beating the drunkard black and blue.

(From Amma’s Janmashtami satsang 2022)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – 4

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 (1)

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.   Personal touch (2)

Once in an office, a departmental examination was conducted to select staff who are to be promoted to managerial posts in the organization.

While answering the question paper, a very odd question caught everybody’s attention:

  • What is the name of your Manager?
  • What is the name of the office assistant who does errands in the office?
  • What is the name of the tea boy?
  • What is the name of the sweeper in the office?

Practically all the people who wrote the exam wrote the Managers’ name correctly. Some people did not know the name of the office assistant. More people did not know the name of the tea boy. Most people did not know the name of the sweeper.

After the exam was over, they went and met the chief of HR department, who was in charge of setting up the question paper. “We wonder what is the need for that particular question. It is in no way connected with our technical skills, communication skills or knowledge of office matters and procedures which are essential for management.”  they argued.

The HR manager said, “In fact it is one of the most important questions that carries lots of weightage.  You see, when you people become managers, you are not just going to manage your work and responsibilities, but manage all the people who work under you. You have to be people-oriented and how you interact with your staff at human level is of paramount importance in your success as a manager.”

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

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Amma’s stories on Family and relationships – Part 1

 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

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)

3. Back to Nature

[Amma:In the present times,  it looks the whole humanity is the grip of  absent mindedness. Man appears to forget all good things on things that beautify the mankind.  While saying this Amma remembers story….”]

Once, in a public Park, a young man  was crying like a little child. Getting pity on him,  a passerby approached  him and asked, “What happened? Why are you crying?”

Sobbing, the young man said, ” My mother is at home;  she is extremely affectionate to me;  she will always make foodstuff that I relish; If I behave adamantly, She would pacify me and at times even feed me with her own hands; Sometimes I throw tantrums like a little child, and yet my mother won’t mind it. She will do whatever I want  and even sing and dance for me;  my mother is indeed my lifeline…”. Saying so, he started crying aloud again.

Hearing this, the passerby said, “You are indeed so lucky to have such a mother;  In fact, you should be happy for getting a mother like her. Why cry? Has anything wrong happened to her?  Is she alright?”

“My mother is alright;  only I have a problem.  I have forgotten where my house is” said the young man.

[ Amma: “We are like the  young man in the story.  Mother Nature is like the  home or mother in the story. We have to get back to nature. Unfortunately the forgotten  how to return to the nature.”]

(From Amma’s birthday satsang 2022)

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 4

[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 travelers 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 travelers 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 travelers 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 are similar to this. Pure water is like 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)

4.  The difference  (1)

Once a minister of a country went to meet his guru to seek advice and solace as he was highly tensed and disturbed by many problems facing the country that needed right solutions.

When he reached his guru’s ashram, one of his guru’s main disciples stopped him. The minister said, “Excuse me, I need to meet the guru very urgently to discuss on some very important matters”.

The disciple said politely, “Sorry sir, our guru is sick; he is taking rest. He has given clear instruction to me not to allow anyone to disturb him.”

The minister was in a dilemma. While he badly wanted to discuss matters with his guru, he could not argue with the disciple too to meet the guru. He stood there for a while very confused and disturbed”.

“May I know why you want to meet our guru so desperately?” asked the disciple.

The minister felt that it would be fine to share his problems with the disciple and he narrated the various serious issues that he is facing as a minister and looking for the right guidance.

The disciple too was quite a learned person and he was serving the guru since long.  So, he spoke to the minister for the next half an hour doling out advice as to how to the problems can be managed. The minister was nodding and hearing all that the disciple said, but there was no full conviction in him to accept all of them and take steps to act on them.

In the meanwhile, hearing the voice of the minister outside his hut, the guru, despite being unwell, came out. The minister was surprised and glad to see the guru and he prostrated before him. The guru asked him what his problem was. Again, the minister narrated his woes to the guru. The guru spoke to him only a few words lasting hardly for five minutes and bid him goodbye.

The minister was extremely satisfied with the guru’s advice and he left the place with mental peace and clarity. In fact, what the guru instructed was only the essence of what the disciple had already instructed in detail earlier, but the conviction came to the minister only through the words of the guru.

[Amma: “In this story, what the guru said and what the disciple told earlier were essentially same, but the words of the disciple are nothing but bookish knowledge; whereas the words of the guru are based on his personal experience attained through self-realization. That’s why it creates so much conviction and trust in the listener.”]

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang on 25/10/2020)

5.  The difference  (2)

Once the king a country went to meet his guru to seek advice and solace as he was highly tensed and disturbed by many problems facing the country; he had lost all peace of mind and was gripped by a desire to relinquish the king’s role and escape from all the responsibilities. He felt if he could get some solution from his guru to enable him transfer all his responsibilities to someone else, he can have a breath of relief.

After listening to the king’s bag of woes and his final request, the guru said, “Fine. Do one thing. You make a vow to hand over the whole country to me”. The king gladly agreed and made a formal announcement to this effect.

Once it was done, the guru said, “Now, this country is mine. Now I appoint you as the caretaker of this country to govern it as my official representative.”

The king, as he was always obedient to his guru’s words, agreed. He went back to the palace and continued to rule the country. But now a sea of change had happened in his mindset. He felt a great mental relief. He was not the king any longer but only a servant to the guru who is now the real ruler of the country; he was just an instrument in the hands of his guru and felt totally free from the burden of all personal responsibilities that he was shouldering all along.

[Amma: “The sense of ownership is the cause of all tensions. If one becomes an instrument in the hands of God, then all tasks will be accomplished without mental agitation.”]

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang on 25/10/2020)

5.  Mind control 

Once a young man from a rich family came to a guru and said, “Swamiji, I have no interest in worldly life; Will you please accept me as your disciple and give me sanyasa?” 

The guru felt that the young man had good potential to lead a spiritual life. He accepted him as his disciple and gave him sanyasa diksha too. The guru then said, “Normally, once I give sanyasa, you are supposed to go out and beg your food. But, I will not put you through such a difficulty immediately. I would suggest you to go to the house of a woman,  who is my disciple and she will offer you food. Go and have your lunch there daily”. He gave directions to reach the woman’s house.

As the young sanyasi walked towards the woman’s house, he was thinking like this: “Oh! I feel so hungry. If I were to be in my house, I will get a variety of tasty food, such and such curries and side dishes. I know, as a sanyasi, I should not think of such foods, yet, if the woman offers me a similar food, I will definitely love to eat it”.

Once he reached the devotee’s house, the woman welcomed him warmly and respectfully.  She made him seated comfortably and brought a plate full or variety of dishes. What a surprise! Whatever food items he was longing to eat as he walked towards the house were all present in the plate. The young sanyasi ate happily to his stomach-full. It was a hot noon. After eating the food, he felt a natural urge to have a noon nap. But he knew it would be inappropriate for him to rest in a devotee woman’s house. 

But the woman said, “Swami, please feel free to take some rest here. The sun is hot outside, you don’t have to hurry with a full stomach to the ashram”. The sanyasi was totally surprised. He started wondering: Does the woman read my thoughts?’ He brushed aside the idea and thought it must be another stray coincidence. The woman brought him a mat and a pillow. The young sanyasi laid down and soon went into a deep sleep.

It was about 4 PM when he woke up. He was wondering whether he should start immediately from there. The evening sun was still hot. At that time the woman said, “Swami, you can rest for a little while and then return to your ashram. The evening sun is really good for your health”.

The young sanyasi was shaken. His doubt that the lady read his thoughts became very strong. With a surprise in his voice, he asked her, “Do you have the power to read my thoughts?”

The woman said, “Yes, I have. Let me bring some refreshments for you now”.

The sanyasi said, “No, no! Please, I don’t want anything. Let me depart right away”. Despite the woman requesting him to rest for a while, he immediately left the house.

He felt very disturbed to know the fact that the woman had the powers to read his mind. 

On the next day, at the lunch time, the young sanyasi went to his guru and said, “Maharaj, I don’t want to go to that woman’s house for the lunch”. When the guru inquired him why, he narrated what happened on the previous day. He said further, “In fact I am scared that she reads every thought of mine. Sir, let me confess to you that some amorous thoughts too rose up in me when I was in that house alone with her”.

The guru said, “No, no. I want you to go to her house only to have your lunch until I give you any alternative instructions”.

The disciple, having no option but to obey his guru, was walking towards the woman’s house. This time, he was extremely watchful about the thoughts that rose up in his mind. He did not want any thoughts about eating rich and tasty food. He wanted to ensure that only good and noble thoughts rose up in his mind. This way, he was constantly watching his mind, as he did not want the woman to judge him by reading his thoughts.   As he did so assiduously, the number of thoughts passing through his mind gradually reduced. 

Day after day, he practiced to discipline his mind like this and gradually he became very meditative.  His awareness increased multifold. He could hear chirping of crickets even in day time which he normally heard only at night times. His mind remained still for longer and longer times. 

Thus the guru indirectly helped him to become adept in meditation and paved the way for the disciples’ spiritual progress.

(From Amma’s Vishu message 15/4/2022) 

6.  Acting with discernment and determination

Once upon a time, two disciples were living with a Guru for many years and learned the Vedas and other scriptures. The senior of the two disciples was always upset because the Guru showered more affection and  attention to the other disciple.

‘Though I am the senior, I don’t know why the guru entrusts him with many responsibilities’, he thought.

One day the Guru said, “I am in need of some rare medicinal herbs, to be brought  from a particular mountain”.

He called the first disciple and gave him the details of where to find them, how to identify the herb etc and sent him to bring the medicinal plant.

The disciple felt happy that this time at least the guru gave him the rightful importance, and left.

It was a long and tiring walk to the mountain. On his way, he felt very thirsty. Unfortunately, there were no streams anywhere nearby. Finally, he noticed a  deep well. Near it, he saw a pot to draw water, but there was no rope. He walked away helplessly and fell down unconscious on the way. After regaining consciousness, he felt he had no energy to complete the mission, and opted to return to the gurukula empty handed.

A few days later, the Guru sent the other disciple to get the herbs. He too went through the same path. When he felt thirsty,  he too saw the well and the pot without the rope. He looked around and finally saw some long grass. He decided to braid the grass  together to make a long rope. He patiently spent time preparing such a rope.  He tied it around the neck of the pot and drew out water from the well. Thus he could  quench his thirst and proceeded in his journey. He reached the mountain, located the herb and brought it to the gurukula.

Although the Guru had taught both the disciples equally, it was the second disciple who could put his knowledge and wisdom  to practical use. Further, he was determined to complete his goal for which overcoming hurdles with proper effort and awareness was important. 

As for the first disciple, though he had studied the scriptures, he did not have viveka [discernment]. Nor did he have the necessary jijñāsā. His focus on the goal was weak and he did not put in the necessary effort to accomplish it. He succumbed to physical weakness and opted to abort his mission..

So, for tasting success, effort on our part coupled with proper discernment to find solutions to impediments  is essential.

(From Amma’s Vishu message 15/4/2022)

7.  Faithful Dog

Once in a gurukula, a dog happened to come in. One of the disciples developed attraction towards the dog and he started pampering it.  The dog started frequenting the gurukula again and again as the disciple fed the dog and cuddled it regularly.

Watching this over a period of time, the guru called the disciple and said, “You are a spiritual seeker; if you develop attachment towards a dog and keep pampering it regularly, it will be bad for your spiritual progress”.

The disciple was a very obedient person and decided to stop pampering the dog immediately. When the dog visited next time, he totally ignored it. Yet the dog kept coming to him again, wagging its tails. The disciple avoided the dog and distanced himself from it. Yet the dog kept visiting him the next day too. This time, the disciple showed a stern face and drove away the dog from the place.  He did so a couple of more times, and the dog stopped coming to the gurukula once for all.

[Amma: “Our vasanas are exactly like dogs. As long as we keep pampering them, they will not leave us. One has to develop determination and practice vairagya strictly. Only then, we can get rid of out vasanas.”]

(From Amma’s Vishu message 15/4/2022)

8. One size  fits all!

Once there lived a famous mahatma whom many people Many people used to visit. They would disclose their sorrows to Him — like about their financial problems, their health or family problems. A few would would also approach Him seeking spiritual guidance. To all of them, the mahatma would say just one thing: “You must awaken!”

A disciple who was living with him had been hearing Him giving this advice for many years. He could not understand the point of giving the same advice to each and everyone. One day, mustering his courage, he asked his Guru, “Why areYou giving the same answer to all questions? Can’t You offer varied pieces of advice depending on the nature of problems?”

The Guru said, “Let me ask you a question: If 10,000 people came to you crying and told you that they were suffering from nightmares, what advice would you give them?”

“I would tell them to wake up,” said the disciple.

The Guru asked, “So, would you tell all of them the same thing or would you give different suggestions based on whether wild animals came, or ghosts came or poisonous snakes came in their dreams?”

“I would tell then the same suggestion only — to wake up from their dream world” replied the disciple.

Smiling sweetly, the Guru said, “That’s exactly what I’m doing!”

[Amma: “Our outer eyes, with which we behold and experience the world, usually serve only to deepen our sleep of ignorance. To awaken from that spiritual slumber, our inner eyes must open. At present, they are closed.“]

(From Amma’s Vishu message 15/4/2022)

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)

7.  The ropes

Once a businessman was traveling across a dense forest where dacoits usually roam about.  The businessman was unfortunately caught by a group of dacoits.  They robbed him of all his possessions. To ensure that he would not make any trouble, they bound his libs and threw him inside a dried up well.

Fortunately, the well was not too deep and there was a thick growth of bush inside the well. So, he was not injured. After the dacoits left, he started shouting in full throat asking for help.

After a while another traveler came along the path. He heard the shouts of the man and started looking around. He noticed that the voice was coming from the well. As he peeped into the well, he saw the man shouting from inside. He noticed that the man was bound by ropes. The traveler had a big rope with him. Tying its one end to a tree, he got down into the well. He untied the ropes from the man’s limbs and both of them climbed up using the other rope hung from the tree.

Thus the businessman’s life was saved by the traveler.

[Amma: “In this story, the businessman got tied by a rope; but he was also saved by another rope.  Our karmas are just like ropes. Our selfish actions bind us. Actions done with unselfishness and compassion, with dedication to God unbind and release us. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

8. The end? Not yet

Once a man was walking along the beach. He found a human skull on the way. Out of curiosity, he took it and inspected it. Surprisingly he found something written on the forehead of the skull — “This is not the end”.  The man got curious. 

He had heard elders saying that everyone’s fate is written on their heads. The man thought ‘If so, is this the fate of this man? He is already dead, but the skull still contains the words “This is not the end”. Does it mean something more is still pending?’

With that curiosity, the man took the skull with him back home. He kept it inside a box and placed it under his cot.

Every day, he would secretly open the box and look at the skull to find whether any change had happened in it. 

His wife noticed the man’s stealthy action of  opening the box and looking inside. She got suspicious. She was also curious to know what was inside the box. One day, when the man was not at home, she opened the box and was surprised to see a skull inside. 

She thought, “Why is my husband keeping this skull inside? Could it perhaps be the skull of his ex-lover? Is he still re-running his memories of her love, by looking at her skull daily?” She got disturbed and angry.

She brought a pestle from her kitchen and banged at the skull again and again till it was broken to pieces. She closed the box, kept it back under his cot and felt very relieved.

After a couple of days, when the man opened the box, he was very surprised to see only its broken pieces.

He thought to himself ‘Oh! This must be the ‘end’ that had been written on the skull! The writing seems to be true indeed!” 

(Source: From one of Amma’s satsangs)

9. Useful, at last

Once there was a very narrow pass way adjacent to a house which many people used.  A l branch of a tree from the house’s backyard had grown outward, interfering with the pathway. People found it difficult to cross the passage and many of them requested the householder to cut the branch.

The householder refused to oblige saying, “In another 20 years, that branch will grow thick and strong; If I cut it then, I can sell it for 30,000 rupees. Am I a fool to cut it off, for your convenience sake?” 

Years passed. The householder started suffering from diabetes. He developed gangrene in his toes. He refused amputation, and soon it spread to his foot. As he refused to heed to his doctors advice, the gangrene spread to his leg. Doctors advised him to amputate his leg, but he did not agree. Soon, it spread further up and he died.

When he died, 20 years had passed  from the time he refused to cut the tree branch. His family members arranged to cut the tree branch so as to use the wood for his pyre.

 

Amma’s stories on nature of the human mind – Part 1

1.  Living in the present

Once a businessman, who not really running his business successfully went to a shopping mall.Sitting at a restaurant there, he ordered ice-cream and started eating it.

His mind was crowded with so many thoughts: “….Since last night I am having this headache and it’s is not going away. There must be something wrong with the food I at the roadside hotel last night. Perhaps a lizard had fallen dead in that food or perhaps some of lizard droppings have fallen into the food. It must be on account of such food poisoning I am having this headache…”

Just then he saw an extremely rich person arriving in a latest model premium car. He was extremely well dressed and was wearing a thick gold chain and also diamond rings. He was going into the shopping mall.

The businessman thought, “Ah! How rich that guy is! How much I wish I could lead a life like him! But what a horrible state I am in now. Right from my childhood, what I have seen was only poverty. My parents could not bequeath any wealth for me. my business is in bad shape and I am burdened with debts. I am really worried where I will end up in future. Will I ever be able to get rich and enjoy life like this person?”

Thus his mind was so crowded with the thoughts of his past and future while he ate the ice-cream that suddenly he realized that his his ice-cream cup got empty but he had not enjoyed the taste of it at all!

[Amma: “We should learn to live in the present and enjoy what we have in hand.Lamenting about the past or worrying about the future will not help in in anyway to change the present.”]

2.   On a cold night

[Amma: “Religion and spirituality are really the keys to open human hearts to look others with compassion. Unfortunately, blinded by selfishness, people are unable to see things rationally through their hearts and eyes. The above keys, instead of opening the heart, are used to close the heart and create darkness. That seems to be the current mentality.”]

Once four people from different religions went to a distant island and stayed there overnight to attend a religious conference. It was a very cold night. All the four persons had matchboxes and pieces of wood with them, but each one thought that he only possessed it and not others.

The first man thought, “From the pendant that hangs in his neck chain, the person next to me looks to be a man of different religion from me. Why should I light fire for him too?”

The second person thought, “The person on my left is from my enemy country; they are always inciting war against us. Why should I share my fire with him?”

The third person thought, “I know this guy on  my right is from that religion which is always critical of my religion and keeps creating problem to our religious people. I should never share my fire with him”.

Look at that skin color of that fellow. I hate that colored people; I will never ignite a fire to share with him”.

Thus all the four persons did not ignite fire despite having the materials with them. As night progressed, it became so cold that all of them were frozen to death.

[Amma: “In fact, they did not die on account of the freezing cold; it is because of their frozen heart that did not melt, they met with their death. We too are becoming like that.We are at loggerheads with others due to divisive tendencies on account of country, religion, color and creed.”]

3.  Regret – either way!

Two friends were at a riverside park enjoying the peace, when they noticed a strange signboard. ‘Pot of Untold Surprises Ahead!’ it proclaimed, pointing down a rickety path. The next sentence in the sign was darkly mysterious. ‘Beware! He who takes from it will regret! He who does not take will also regret!’

Curious to see what this was, the two friends quickly walked down the path. But by the time they reached the spot, it was already dark. Nevertheless, they located the pot there. One of them gathered a handful from the pot and bundled it in a cloth. In the semi darkness, he could not see what it was. The other friend declined to take anything, saying, “The board says that the one who takes it, as well as the one who does not take it will be disappointed. Let’s see what happens.”

They both reached back home and the first man opened his cloth bundle. To their shock and surprise, there lay a heap of gold dust.

“Oh no!” said the second man, aghast. “I should have taken some!”

“Oh no!” said the first man. “I should have taken more!”

So both of them were disappointed.

[Amma: “This is the state of our mind. Whether we get it or don’t get it, we will be sad. This is the nature of our mind.”]

(From Amma’s Covid-19 Satsang 10/5/2020)

4.  As you think

Once a there was a magical swimming pool at a place. It’s wonder was such that when a man jumps into it, it would get filled up with whatever thing the person imagines in his mind at the moment of jumping in.

Once three friends went to that swimming pool and they wanted to test whether whatever stated about the pool was indeed true.  The first person said, “Let this pool get filled with money…” and jumped into it. What a surprise! The whole swimming pool got filled up with currencies!

The second man thought of ice creams and jumped into it. At that very moment the pool got filled with ice cream.

When the third person was about to jump a crow flying above his head pooped on his head. The man thought disgustingly: “Oh crow’s poop” and lo when jumped into the pool it was filled with crow’s excreta!

[Amma: “Whatever thought that is deeply etched in one’s mind gives shape to his life. Whatever desire one strengthens in his mind becomes a goal for his life. Knowing this psychological fact, our ancestors gave lots of prominence to truth and dharma in social life. Those who grow up learning the importance of values right from young age, will nurture and practice these values even when they grow up.”]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

5.  Wisdom from parrot

Once day, a person went to meet his friend. As he entered the front yard of the house, he noticed the pet parrot of his friend inside a cage. It was a talking parrot.

Seeing the man, the parrot called him out. “Hey! If you release me, I will teach you three great pieces of wisdom which will be worthy across your entire life”.

The man got very much interested. He opened the cage and the parrot flew out. It sat on a tree branch nearby and said, “My first piece of advice is that you should never regret your past actions. What is done is done and there is absolutely no point in regretting over it. My second piece of wisdom is that you should not believe all that others say”.

“Before telling you my third piece of wisdom to you, let me tell you one thing” said the parrot. “Do you know why your friend kept me safely in a cage? I have two big pieces of precious gems which are worth millions of rupees. Without knowing this secret, you have let me free!”

The man felt very bad. He immediately regretted for having set the parrot free. Had he known the secret, he would have killed the parrot and took away the precious gems from its stomach.

Seeing his disappointment, the parrot said, “See! You have not put into practice the wisdom I taught you just now.  I told you not to believe anyone blindly but you simply believed when I lied to you that I had two precious gems in my stomach.  Then you forgot my first advice too and you started regretting your action of having released me from the cage!”

“Oh! I am sorry. Well. May I know your third piece of wisdom?” said the friend.

The parrot said, “You are a fool. What is the use of knowing the third wisdom too when you cannot make use of my previous two?” saying so, the parrot flew away.

(From Amma’s Guru purnima satsang 5/7/20)

6.  The subtle aspect of dharma

[Amma: An act of killing an animal or creature with a larger interest for welfare of the people is not a sin. An act of violence, done with a selfish motive, is a sin.]

Long ago, there lived two Brahmins in a village. Both of them were inflicted with the same disease suddenly. When the consulted the Vaidya (physician) he said, “This is a strange disease and it has got only one cure. If you eat fish, this will get cured. Otherwise, it may prove to be fatal”.

Since both the Brahmins were strict vegetarians, they got very disturbed to hear the cure. They were at at a loss as to what to do. They consulted their family members. Both the family members said that it was better to eat the fish to save the life. The first Brahmin agreed and started eating fish and soon he got cured of his illness.

On the other hand, the second Brahmin did not want to eat fish as he felt it was against his principles and achara (cleanliness habit). He was very adamant and he did not heed to the repeated appeals of his family members. Soon his health deteriorated and he died.

He was the only breadwinner of the family; on account of his death, his wife and children suffered under poverty for long.

[Amma: “In this story, the first Brahmin compromised to eat fish and on account of it, he lived to protect his family. Eating fish is not to be taken as an act of cruelty in this case. The second Brahmin’s family had to suffer on account of his adamancy. Protecting his family is more important a dharma than non-killing of fish. An act is to be treated as violent or sin only if done with hatred or vengeance”].

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

7.  Wrong choices

[Amma: “One has to be extremely careful on what one chooses in life; it is extremely important to avoid bad company”.]

Once a man went to a strange place where there were 3 chambers with a notice board saying “You are free to take possession of any one of them, at your own risk”.

He opened the door of the first chamber and there were some narcotic drugs kept there. He opened the second chamber and saw golden ornaments stacked there. When he opened the third chamber, he saw an extremely beautiful woman sitting there.

The man thought; “If I take away the gold, I may get chased by the police. If I take possession of the girl, I don’t know what problems I would get into; she could be the wife of another man. So, the safest thing is to consume some drugs and enjoy it”.

He went into the first chamber and consumed the narcotic drug. In the intoxicated state, he went into the third chamber and raped the woman. Then he opened the second chamber, collected all the golden ornaments and walked away.

(Tuesday Satsang 15/9/2015)

8.  What is natural is easy

[Amma: “Accepting certain things as natural makes life smoother. Intellectual analysis can make such things very complicated.”]

Once a rabbit saw a centipede walking nearby and suddenly a question came up in its mind. “I wonder how you manage to walk with hundreds of legs like this? Can you explain me which legs you put forward first and in which order and sequence you move the other legs to walk around?” asked the rabbit to the centipede.

The centipede stopped to think. As it analysed and tried to explain how it does walking, it got stupified by the magnitude of the problem! It could not just walk nor explain how it does it!

9.  The costly gift

[Amma: “Is the love we get from the world a real love? Is it possible for us to love anyone totally selflessly? In fact, worldly love is not love but cheating; we are simply loving in the name of desires”.]

Once there was a girl who loved her friend so much that she wanted to buy a beautiful birthday gift for her. She searched and searched and finally found one, but she did not buy it.

On the day of birthday, the girl sent a letter to the friend in which she wrote: “My dearest friend, my love for you is  inexpressible. I wanted to send you a beautiful birthday present for you. I found one, but did not buy it because its cost was hundred and sixty rupees!”

This is the kind of love that most of us have!

(Source: ‘Awaken Children’)

10.  Day dreaming

[Amma: “Man has a tendency to indulge in daydreaming. It is mostly imagining something about the future. Rewinding the past deeds or dreaming about the future are natures of human mind. Even very active people can get caught in day dreaming once in a while. Man does not know how much of energy is wasted this way. When one is actively engaged in some work, it is outright wrong and also dangerous to indulge in daydreaming”.]

Once a village woman went to the market to sell the eggs laid by her hens. She earned her livelihood this way. She carried a basketful of eggs on her head and started walking.

While going, she started thinking: “I will sell all the eggs at a good price today. Using that money, I will buy more hens. They too would lay lots of eggs. I would sell them more and more and and earn quite good money to buy a cow. By selling the cow’s milk, I will be able to buy many more cows. In due course, I will own a big farm, build a bungalow and live their lavishly.

“Many young men would vie with each other to marry me; if I see one of such handsome men, I will feign shyness and walk shaking my waist like this…” With this imagination, she started swaying her waist while walking; she lost the balance of the basket on her head; the basket fell down and all the eggs in the basket broke to pieces!

11.  The right place

[Amma: “There are certain time tested traditions and practices in a society, religion or culture that are best left untampered. If at all a change is a must, it must be well thought out by the people concerned and connected with the change.”

Once the eyes, nose and mouth of a person started discussing among themselves. The eye said, “It is a known fact that out of all the 5 sense organs, I have the most coveted position, because life will be most difficult for a person without eyesight. That’s why God has given me my position in the face above the mouth and nose”.

The eye said further, “What irks me is the presence of eyebrow above me. Eyebrows are just a insignificant bunch of hair having no worthwhile purpose whatsoever. How arrogant it is for them to sit above the eyes? What do you think?”

Both nose and mouth agreed with what the eye said. Hearing the conversation, the eyebrows spoke humbly: “We agree. We are not in anyway worthy when compared to eyes. We will shift our position below the eyes”. So saying, they moved themselves below the eyes.

The eyes felt triumphant for a while. But there were comments that the face looked ugly when eyebrows shifted below the eyes.

Now the nose got disturbed too. It felt that its significance too is far above that of eyebrows and hence it wanted the eyebrows to occupy a level below it. The eyebrows agreed and shifted their position below the nose.

Now it is the turn of the mouth to raise its objections saying its importance too is high above the eyebrows. Eyebrows again shifted their position to come below the mouth! Women started vehemently complaining that their faces look the ugliest due to the transformation!

Finally, the compromise arrived. The eyebrows got shifted to their original position once again!

12.  What the mind cannot avoid

[Amma: “The very nature of mind id to think what we constantly want to avoid thinking.”]

Once a king became bald-headed at a much young age. He became very unhappy about it.  He frantically wanted to have a bountiful of hair on his head, but none of the medicines and remedies he undertook based on the advice of Royal physicians could solve his problem. He became extremely worried and desperate.

The king badly wanted to consult a real expert in herbal medicines who could permanently solve his problem of bald head. He sent messengers across the country to interact with people to locate the best physician in his country.

Finally, the messengers located an old and  very famous herbal physician from a remote village of his country and brought him to the king’s palace. The king told him curtly, “I want you to prepare the right medicine that can grow hair on my bald head. I have tried so many oils, medicines and concoctions but none of them worked. I am totally fed up. Now I am giving you a last chance. If your medicine works, you will be rewarded far beyond your expectations. But if it fails, I will hang you. Remember this and concoct a sure-fire medicine to solve my problem permanently”.

The poor physician felt as if he was hit by a thunderbolt when he heard the king’s threat to his life. He knew for sure that in his school of medicine, there was absolutely no solution to treat baldness. How could he say this to the arrogant king? Will he ever understand?  The physician decided that he should handle this issue very tactfully and escape punishment. He said, “Your majesty! I am extremely glad that you have given me this opportunity to be at your service and solve your bald head problem permanently. Please give me two weeks time to prepare this rare medicine involving the combination of very sparsely available rare herbs.”

The king readily agreed.

After two weeks, the physician came to meet the king carrying a bottle of herbal oil and gave it to the king. He said, “Your majesty! With lot of difficulty, I have prepared this medicine referring to secret, sacred texts. This medicine will surely work and there is no doubt about it, but ….”

The king impatiently asked, “What is this but? Tell me what it is.”

The physician said, “It is not a big issue, Maharaja. It is just a small matter mentioned in our medical scriptures. At the time of applying the herbal oil, you should never think of a rat. That’s all. Nothing else”.

The king sighed with relief. “Oh! It is not anything big.” He presented lots of gifts to the physician, reminding him about the condition that if the medicine failed, he would be executed. The physician said, “I have no worry Maharaja; My medicine is sure to work; but remember — never ever think of rat while applying the oil on your hair. If you do, the medicine will not work”.

The next day, at the auspicious time, the king removed the cap of the bottle, put a spoonful of oil in his palm and was about to apply it on his head. Suddenly he remembered what the physician told. Along with it came the thought of a rat! Not just a rat, it was rather a procession of rats!

He aborted the idea of applying the oil for the time being. He tried to apply it after after a few hours, but promptly, the thought of rats too came in his mind. He tried several times on that day and on several following days; he tried indoors, outdoors, in the garden, in the bedroom, in the Puja room — whatever and wherever he tried, thoughts of rats came automatically! Dejected, the king threw away the bottle once for all!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

13.  Trusting falsehood

[Amma: “The tendency of people is always to get attracted to falsehood rather than the truth. They seek what is external rather than what is internal. People are very adamant in clutching to their own opinions and not easily ready to know, weigh and alternative concepts, particularly in matters related to religion. They are content to live within whatever limited extent of their understanding of religion. But true spirituality is far away from it.”]

Once a group of tourists were traveling in a bus. On their way, the bus broke down while passing a village. It took lot of time to set right the problem and many of the tourists were hungry.

The village people came forward to help them; they brought their local home made food and offered it to the tourists. The foodstuff they brought and offered looked very different from what the tourists were normally familiar with. Hence a doubt arose in them whether the foodstuff had turned bad. Even though they were very hungry, they hesitated to eat that food.

At that time, one of the tourists suggested that they can offer some of that food to a dog and if it relishes it, then it may be safe for them to consume the food. A stray dog came that way and they placed a little of that food before it. The dog ate it with relish and was roaming around the area; nothing happened to it. The travellers then ate the food and felt satisfied.

Next morning, the travellers heard a news that a stray dog was found dead. They were shocked. They thought the food they gave to the dog must have been infected poisonously leading to the dog’s death.

In no time, most of the tourists started feeling sick. Some started vomiting. They rushed to a doctor in the locality and told him about the suspected food poisoning.

The doctor wanted to see the dead dog first and ascertain the cause of its death. WHen he inquired, he met a person who was a witness to the dog’s death. He said, “The dog was hit by a speeding car on the road and it died. I was the one who removed its body from the road and threw it into an adjacent ditch.”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

14. Different perspective

[Amma: “Change is the only reality of life. Both good and bad happen in life; facing the happenings with a laugh or with crying is within our capacity. Spirituality helps us in accepting life with a positive mindset. Being thankful is a very essential quality in life.”]

Once an old man, on  the eve of New Year day, sat to write whatever happened in the whole of the previous year.

He wrote:

  • “Last year was a year of suffering and misery for me. I had to undergo the pain of getting my Gall bladder operated upon and I was hospitalized and bedridden for many days.
  • “My father passed away and I went through lot of emotional pain on account of his death.
  • “I served my company with lots of enthusiasm for the 30 years and I was all along active and busy. Unfortunately, as I crossed 60 years, I had to undergo retirement.
  • “My son met with a car accident and was severely injured; he underwent treatment. On account of the accident, he had to miss his medical entrance examination.
  • “Our car was totally damaged….”

As he thought about all these negative happenings, he felt depressed; he bent over the table and dozed off.

His wife came that way and saw her husband lying over the table; she noticed the piece of paper he was writing; she took it and went through it. Taking the paper along with her, she went in and returned after a while. She kept another piece of paper on the table and left.

After some time, the old man woke up. He wanted to continue with his writing. But he noticed that the paper lying on the table was different and it contained something in his wife’s handwriting. He started reading it.

  • “At last, after several months of suffering from a problem in my gallbladder,  I took the right decision to undergo an operation and it brought an end to the prolonged suffering.
  • “My father lived up to a ripe old age of 93 and died peacefully. It was heartening that till his last days, he was active and was managing his chores all himself.
  • “After working and earning for 30 years, I got my retirement so that I can enjoy a well deserved rest and relaxation. I feel happy that I served my company well and I can now have my own time to relax and pursue my hobbies
  • “Though my son went through a car accident, it was indeed a divine grace that he is alive.
  • “Though the car was severely damaged, it was indeed a miracle that our son did not get any fracture.”

15.  The power of thoughts

[Amma: “In sacred places like temples and ashrams,  the ambience will be filled with good vibrations caused by good thoughts. When we visit such places, unknowingly our mind calms down. If we spend more time in places where the thought vibrations are good, our own thoughts will bet a positive boost.”]

Once a king and his minister were going in royal chariot across a market place. There was one shop selling sandalwood. The king happened to see the owner of the shop who was looking at the king. The king said to the minister, “When I look at the sandalwood seller, I somehow get angry and disturbed and I don’t know why”.

The minister was keen to probe into this. He inquired others to know more about the sandalwood seller. He came back and said to the king, “It appears this sandalwood seller’ business is in a very bad shape and he is deeply disturbed about it. Your majesty, may I make  humble request? You were telling me earlier that you wanted to make a new wooden cot for you. I request you to kindly order the requisite sandalwood for that purpose from this shop owner so that he will get some financial benefit through your grace”.

The king at first did not feel like yielding to this request. However, after a while he conceded.

The minister arranged to give the order for the supply of sandalwood to the shop owner. Being a prestigious order, the shop owner came personally to the the palace to deliver the consignment of sandalwood.  He met the king and paid his respects.

At that time the kind said to the minister,”I don’t know why; to day I feel quite comfortable and friendly with the sandalwood seller”.

The minister smiled and said, “When you saw the sandalwood seller at the market last time, his financial condition was extremely bad.  When he saw you there, his thoughts went like this: ‘if only this king dies, his ministers would by lots of sandalwood in order to burn his body in the pyre and I would get some business’. Such a selfish and negative thought in his mind created bad vibes in your mind too and that’s why you felt disturbed and angry at him at that time. Now, after getting a good business from you, his thoughts have changed. He now thinks: ‘let our king live long with prosperity so that I continue to get more and more business from him’. Such a positive thought in his mind has created positive vibrations about him in your mind too!”

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2 )

16. 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)

17. 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. “]

18.  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)

19.  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)

20. 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)

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 3

1.  How golden shower tree came in to being

[Amma: “The ‘Vishu’ signifies beginning of a new year when we submit all that we have to God and  pray for his blessings. Surrendering to God brings us all prosperities. The golden-shower flowers (Konnai), cucumber and a pot full of coins represent beauty and prosperity. The blooming of golden shower trees everywhere during this period is such a feast for eyes. When nature is rich, it reflects richness in our lives too. There is a folklore associated with the Golden shower tree and the Vishu festival:”.]

Long ago, there lived a brahmin boy who was deeply devoted to Lord Krishna. He would get up early in the morning and go to a nearby temple daily for worship of his beloved lord. He would do archana with flowers.

The boy’s family lived in utter poverty. His mother was always sick and bedridden. Some times, he would cry his heart out to Lord Krishna about the pitiable state of his family.  One day he returned home after completing his prayers in the temple. He was feeling very hungry and was extremely tired too.  He lied down on a mat for resting and soon went into deep sleep.

He had a dream. Lord Krishna came to him and smiled at him enchantingly. He played the flute to entertain the boy. He stroked the boy’s face and back with his hands to soothe him. Then Krishna took out a little bell from his golden waistband and put it in the boy’s palms. Krishna disappeared immediately.

The boy woke up immediately. He was surprised to see a little golden bell in his palm. He could not believe his eyes. With unabated excitement, he ran to his mother and said. “Ma, Krishna came to me in my dreams and gave me this golden bell!”

His mother did not believe him. She was angry at him thinking that he might have stolen the golden chime from the ornaments of lord Krishna at the temple and chided him for his misdeed.

The boy felt extremely upset and he threw away the bell. It fell under a tree in their courtyard.  What a surprise! The tree immediately blossomed.  It bore bunches of flowers in golden color, each looking exactly like the little golden bell that the boy threw away. It was indeed the ‘Konna’ tree (Sarakkondrai – Golden Shower tree)!

Seeing this, the mother was struck with wonder. Then a divine voice was heard. It said: “From now onward this tree will bear these golden yellow flowers every year on this same day. Those who look at it first in the morning will be bestowed with all prosperity. “

From that day, the boy’s family started prospering. The mother got cured of her illness.  The day was called ‘Vishu’ and this day signifies the arrival of divine blessings to those who pray with sincere and pure heart.

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki – Vol 3)

2.  Real devotion (1)

Once a king, who was a great devotee of Shiva built a magnificent temple for Lord Shiva. He made elaborate arrangements for the ritualistic consecration of the main deity. The date was also set for the ceremony.

On the day before the consecration ceremony, Lord Shiva appeared in the king’s dream and said, “My son, I am very satisfied with your devotion and all the efforts you have put to construct a nice temple for me.  However, I am sorry that I will not be available in your temple tomorrow at the time of the consecration ceremony.  I have to go to another temple’s consecration ceremony arranged at the same auspicious hours tomorrow, because that temple and all the preparations done for the ceremony are far more grander than yours”.

Lord Shiva also told the king the name of the devotee (Poosalar Nayanar) and his address in a village where the consecration of the temple built by him was to take place the next day.

The king woke up at that moment. He thought, ‘Is that temple far more grander than what I have built? Then I must have a look at it’.

The next day morning, surrounded by his royal entourage the king went to the village. To his surprise, he did not find any new temple there. He inquired about the person (Poosalar)  that Lord Shiva had mentioned to him in the dream and went in search of his house. Another surprise awaited him there. It was actually a very dilapidated hut.  As the king peeped inside, he saw a poor man in tattered clothes sitting there and immersed in deep meditation.

The king felt amused. “Oh! Is this poor man the great devotee that built a temple?” he thought. He prayed to Lord Shiva to clarify his doubt.

At that time,  Lord Shiva blessed him with a vision by which he could get a projection of what was going in the poor man’s mind in his deep meditation.

What he saw in the vision was a great, grand temple, far more wonderful than the temple built by the king. People holding thousands of pots of Ganga water were performing abhishekam to the deity in the temple. He could here blowing of conches and loud chanting of vedic mantras. Many saints and sages and celestial Gods were present there to watch the holy ceremony. In the Shivalinga being consecrated, Lord Shiva was present and he was blessing all the devotees gathered there.

On seeing it, the king’s pride crumbled.  He understood the intensity of devotion the poor villager had on Lord Shiva. He fell at the feet of Poosalar with reverence and humility.

[Amma: “Children, we must indeed establish and consecrate God in our heart. Not understanding this, most of us give too much importance to external austerities and aggrandisement of worships and rituals. Our heart must be filled with devotion and purity. Mind should become one pointed on God; then God will shine there for ever.”]

3.  True faith

Once a man was travelling with his wife in a ship.  Oneday, there was a sudden change in climate. The sky was covered with thick dark clouds. It started raining and soon the wind started blowing very powerfully. The ship started swaying dangerously on account of the storm.

All the travellers in the ship got extremely scared. They started shouting and crying.  While the man’s wife too started weiling out of fear, the man was keeping his cool.  He was trying his best to comfort his wife but he could not succeed. All his efforts to assuage her anxiety and tension did not yield any result. The man lost all his patience.  He opened his baggage, took out a pistol and holding it at her temple he shouted, “I am fed up with your cries. If you don’t stop immediately, I will shoot you”.

The wife was least disturbed by seeing the pistol nor by his threat.  She said, “Do you really think I will get scared by your threat? No way!”

“Are you not afraid seeing this pistol, with my finger ready to press the trigger?” asked the husband.

She said, “I know that with a single shot the pistol can kill me. But as long as it is in the hand of my beloved husband, I have the least fear about it. I know pretty well that you will not think of doing even a minor harm to me!”

The man said, “In the same way, I know pretty well that the control of this storm is in the hands of God whom I always worship.  I have complete faith that God will not do anything harmful to me. That’s why I am least disturbed about this storm; whatever comes I will face it boldly, because I am under His protection always”.

[Amma: “Children, whatever difficult situations we come across life, we must have the firm faith that God’s hands are behind it; if we have that conviction, then we can face the situation without any fear. This does not mean that we don’t have to make any effort on our part. Whatever we could do within our capacity, let us do it; anything beyond it, leave them to God’s will and accept whatever He deems fit. If we develop such an attitude, we can always live with mental peace in our life”.]

 (Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

4.  Real devotion (2)

Once a king, went to a forest for hunting, along with his soldiers. While chasing some wild animals, he lost his way and got separated from the accompanying soldiers. As he started searching for the path. it started raining heavily. The king got drenched fully; he started shivering in cold. Finally, after walking for long, he located a small Krishna Temple. There was also a hut adjacent to it.  He went to the hut; an old priest and his wife were staying alone in the hut.

They welcomed the guest and offered him a towel to dry himself. They offered him simple clothing so that he could remove his dress soaked in rain.  They offered food to the king and offered him bed to sleep for the night.

Early next morning, the soldiers came there in search of the king and were very happy to see him there in the hut safe and alive. The king was extremely pleased with the care and comfort offered to him by the old couple. He wanted to present them with 100 gold coins. The old priest politely refused to accept it.  He said, “God is giving us whatever is essential for us to lead a peaceful life.”

The king was extremely surprised to hear this. He said, “You both are now old. What will happen if you fall sick? I will do one thing. Let me build a new house for you. I will engage someone to take care of you and serve you”.

But the old priest again refused to accept any of them. He said, “We have no thought or worries about falling sick.  Our God, who is verily Dhanvantri (Vishnu’s form as God of Medicines)  is always with us and protecting us.”

Despite being poor, the face of the old couple glowed with contentment and unfailing devotion to God. The king bowed his head in admiration of their conduct and took leave of them.

 (Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

5.  Not from books

Once there lived a doctor, who was quite an experienced person who commanded lots of respect from the his patients for his treating skills.

One of his junior doctors called him over phone and said in a frantic voice, “Doctor, I need your urgent advice. Here is a boy who has swallowed a small ball; he is in deep trouble and find it difficult to breathe. I have tried my best to pull out the ball but I could not succeed. Please suggest me some solution; it is very urgent”.

The doctor said, “Do one thing; pick up a feather of a peacock and start tickling him”.

The junior could not believe his ears. “Doctor, are you sure this is the treatment?  I have never studied such a thing in the medical books!”

The doctor said, “Go ahead and try what I said. Don’t delay” and he hung the phone.

Having no other recourse, the junior doctor did what the senior advised.

After a while the senior doctor’ phone rang again. The junior spoke in an excited voice: “Doctor! What a wonder! I did as you said; initially the boy was looking scared; then once I started tickling him, he started giggling and laughing and gradually the ball came out! Doctor! Where did you read about such a treatment?”

The Doctor said, “If I have no other recourse to solve the problem, I always try something simple and also out of the way. It is my maxim” .

[Amma: “Even if we are not able to do any great things, just as the boy was saved by a little thing in this story, we can always do something small within our capacity and it can lead to great things”.]

(Source: ‘Amrit Ganga’ Telecast – Season 1 episode 6)

6.  Unconditional compassion

Once a man was walking across a dense forest alone. The man saw a tiger watching him from a distance. He got scared and started running. The tiger too started chasing him. In order to save himself, the man quickly climbed over a tree.

The tiger came near the tree and stayed put there, hoping to catch hold of the man somehow or other.

There was another shock waiting for the man at the treetop. He saw a huge bear sitting there! He was extremely scared. What to do now? Should he remain on the tree and get eaten by the bear or jump down from the tree to escape the bear but get caught by the tiger?

Seeing him shaking in fear, the bear spoke to him: “O man! Don’t be scared. I will not kill you. You are my guest.”

The tiger was still waiting below. The man felt very tired and was about to fall asleep. It was getting cold too.  The bear said, “If you sleep off sitting there in the branch, you may fall down and the tiger will eat you. Come and hug me to ward off the cold and then sleep. I will keep awake across half of the night. Then during the second half of the night, you keep the vigil and I will sleep.”

The man had no option but to agree. He hugged the bear and felt very warm. He slept off peacefully.

Noticing this, the tiger said to the bear, “ Never trust a human being. Humans are highly selfish and have no sense of dharma.  They never hesitate to kill ferocious animals like us for the fun of it. At least we animals kill only for the sake of food and it is our dharma. So, I suggest you to drop the man. I will eat him and satiate my hunger.”

But the bear refused. It said, “He has taken refuge in me. I cannot betray him. You better go away.”

The tiger did not move. It opted to wait.

During the second half of the night, the bear woke up the man and then it started sleeping.

The tiger, noticing it, said to the man: “You are a fool. Never believe this bear. He is not feeling hungry now and that’s why he has not killed and eaten you. But he is sure to consume you for breakfast tomorrow. I suggest you roll the bear down; I will eat him for dinner. I will go away from here after eating him so that you can run away safely from here”.

The man believed what the tiger said. Without any hesitation, he rolled the sleeping bear from the tree top. But the bear woke up mid fall and held on to a branch and started climbing back towards the man. The man, who saw this, was extremely frightened; however,  the bear said to him “You had sought refuge in me, I wouldn’t harm you. Even though you betrayed me, I forgive you. You can leave from here tomorrow after the tiger moves away“.

[Amma: “This is the nature of mahatmas.  Once they offer refuge to someone, it is unconditional.  Even if the person who came into his fold by surrendering to him betrays him, the Mahatma does not forsake him. He bears no ill will. “]

7.  What’s God doing?

[ Amma: “We should have śraddha in each action. That śraddha is a part of the prayer; it makes the prayer complete—śraddha as well as proper effort.”]

Once a devotee of God was driving his car on a country side. The road was in a bad condition with lots of potholes and also very narrow.  The car’s wheels got stuck in a muddy pit.

The man came out of the car.  He did not know what to do. He decided to pray to God for help. He took out his meditation mat from the car and walked up to the top of a small hill nearby. He spread his mat on a flat rock, sat in padmasana posture and started praying to God with closed eyes. He prayed deeply to get the car out of the pit.

After a while, he opened his eyes a little  to see whether the car has come out of the pit by God’s grace. Seeing it had not, he immediately began blaming God, “What’s the point of praying to you?” he said angrily.

Suddenly, a voice resounded from the skies, “Son, try pushing the vehicle as you pray.”

(From Amma’s New Year Satsang 2021)

8. The new Mandapa

There was one very famous Temple complex in  a town, which was a holy place of pilgrimage and also historically very old.

There was a mandapa (multi-pillared pavilion) in the temple complex which was centuries old and was in a very dilapidated condition.   The temple administrative committee was concerned that it was becoming an unsafe place for people to use it as the structure may fall at any time and cause damage.  However, considering the holiness of the place and its archaeological significance of the structures, there were differences of opinion amid the committee members on what to do with it.  Finally, a draft resolution was made by the committee taking into account all the view points of the members. It read:

1) It is decided that as the existing Mandapa is very dilapidated, it will be demolished.

2) A new mandapa will be built in the same place in line with the architectural features of the old mandapa.

3) The stone pillars, statues and carvings from the old mandapa will be carefully dismantled and they will be utilized for the new structure.

4) Considering the holiness and history of this sacred place, the old mandapa shall not be disturbed.

So, it became obvious that no purposeful action could be taken based on the resolution of the committee!

[ Amma: “There is no point in making grand resolutions unless the hurdles in implementing them are removed.”]

(From Amma’s New Year Satsang 2021)

9. Guru’s grace

Once there lived a family of flower vender in a village. Unfortunately, both the parents died leaving the three little children to fend for themselves.  The eldest boy took the responsibility of taking care of his two younger siblings by continuing with flower vending. He used to pluck the flowers from their garden daily and sell them in front of the temple.

 They had a family Guru, who was a mendicant, always travelling from place to place.  One day the Guru visited the village and came to the temple.  The boy was extremely happy to see the  Guru there. With the basket of flowers that he plucked in the morning, he rushed to see the Guru, fell at his feet and offered the full basket of flowers at his feet.

 The guru was very happy to see the boy and inquired about the well being of the family. He said to the boy, “I am very happy to know that you are taking care of your younger brothers and feeding them by selling the flowers.  Please take back the basket of flowers with you and sell them in the market.  I don’t want you children go hungry today because of your offering all the flowers to me.”

 the boy replied, “Maharaj,  we are quite used to going without food now and then;   fresh flowers will bloom anyway tomorrow morning and I can continue with my business. Flowers bloom daily, but it is so rare to see you and get your blessings. “

 The guru was extremely pleased to hear the the boys words and his surrender.  He blessed the boy, retaining the the flower basket with him.

 After a while,  the king and queen of the country came to meet the Guru at the temple.  The queen said to the Guru,  “Maharaj,  very unfortunately my husband fell sick recently and when  he recovered, he lost his eyesight. We have no progeny;  The king is very disturbed because he is not able to rule the country properly without eyesight.”

 The Guru said, “Please take the the flowers in the basket,  Crush them to extract a juice from them and apply it  to king’s eyes three times a day. Take this boy along with you and raise him up  as your own son.”

The king and queen agreed happily. By applying the extract from the flowers as medicine, the king got back his eyesight.  They adopted the flower vending boy and his brothers.  Soon, they also crowned the  boy as the  Prince. 

After the king’s death, the boy became the the king of the country.

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 6

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:

1.  In times of Corona!

Once a man, who was confined to his house on account of Corona Virus lockdown for weeks together got terribly bored and frustrated. He was longing to go out and roam in the streets freely.

He heard the voice of a vegetable seller outside his house. The man rushed out. There a vegetable seller was on the street and was pushing his cart-load of vegetables to sell door to door. The man went near him and asked: “Do you have the licence to sell like this?”

“Yes; of course. I have got the permission letter from the municipal corporation” said the vendor.

The man spoke to him nicely: “Good. Now I will make an offer to you. I invite you into my house and you can relax under the fan and watch TV. I will ask my wife  to serve you food and refreshments.  Instead of roaming in the hot sun like this, you can take rest. I will take the cart on your behalf and sell your vegetables for the next two hours. I will hand over all the collections to you without any commission for me.  Will you please agree?”

The vendor said: “No. Sorry. I will not. I cannot”.

The man said, “Why, why? I am only trying to help you in good will. If you want I can even pay extra to you from my pocket over and above the sales proceeds”.

The vendor said: “You see, I live in the next street. I am not the vegetable seller. The original vegetable seller is relaxing in my house. I have taken this cart from him for hire for a couple of hours!”

(From Amma’s Covid-19 message-2 dt 30/5/2020)

2.  An useful tip to handle Corona!

Once a town under the care of a municipal Corporation was heavily infested with rats. People were suffering a lot and whatever they did in their homes to eradicate the rats did not work out. Pressure was mounting on the Municipality to tackle the issue on war footing to eliminate the rat menace.

The municipal administration formed a committee named “Task force for elimination of rats”. The committee members met frequently and initiated several measures to eradicate the rats. As time passed none of their techniques worked and the rate menace continued.

The municipality then renamed the comittee;” Taske force for containment of rat menace”. They continued to take steps but the rat problem continued to increase unabated.

Finally, the committee was renamed: “Task force for peaceful co-existence with rats” !

(From Amma’s Covid-19 message-2 dt 30/5/2020)

 

3.  Wrong way to learn

Once a man was very keen to learn yoga. But he was too lazy to  look for a Yoga Guru and he was also not willing to spend money for learning. He came to know that someone was teaching yoga in a local FM radio broadcast.

He tuned his radio to the radio station. A teacher was giving detailed stage by stage instruction for a particular yoga. The man decided to try it right away.

The voice said. ” Sit comfortably on a mat on floor in cross legged posture”. The man already knew how to sit so and he did.

“Now bend down, carefully lift your left leg and place your ankle behind your neck” said the voice.

It was rather difficult to do it, but the man was enthusiastic enough to try and succeed in placing his leg as instructed.

“Now carefully lift your right leg and place right ankle too behind your neck” said the voice.

The man found it even more difficult to do it. His neck and left leg were already aching. But he did not want to call it quits so quickly. With lots of effort he managed to place his right leg too as instructed. Every part of his body was aching now. He found it difficult to breath. He was desperate to unlock his legs but he could not do it easily. He was frantically waiting for the next instruction.

“The next step for this yoga will continue same time, tomorrow. Please stay tuned to Fitness for Health FM Channel at 84.7 FM. Have a good day!” said the voice the the program ended!

[Amma: “Yoga should always be learned in person from a qualified yoga teacher.”]

(From Amma’s talk on International Yoga Day 21/6/2020)

4.  Poor memory!

[Amma: “It is not just enough if we develop skills. We should also have the capacity to keep our mind in peace under all circumstances. If not, even the existing skills will not be useful at crucial junctures.”]

Once a young man who was a graduate, went to attend a job interview. Since it was his first job interview, he was extremely under tension.

The interviewer started the conversation with  simple question: “What is your name?”

Because of his tension, the youngman was dumbstruck for some time. Then he started biting his nails. The interviewer noticed that he was singing a song in an inaudible voice to himself.

He asked: “Why aren’t you saying anything? I asked just your name!”

The youngman said, “Just a moment sir. I am singing ‘Happy birth day to you…” song inside. I know my name will come at the end of the song and I can tell you then” .

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

6.  Right words, wrong time!

Once a husband and wife used to fight with each other almost on a daily basis. The fight normally would start at night when the husband took his dinner. The husband never liked any of the dishes cooked by the wife and he was always vocally critical about it. The wife would get very upset with his remarks and that would trigger the fight between them.

One day, the husband was talking with his neighbor. The neighbor gave a friendly counselling: “You see, I am hearing you and your wife fighting daily. This is too bad. Rest of your life would become totally miserable if you go on and on like this. Don’t keep on criticizing your wife’s cooking. Just for  change, you throw some appreciation on her cooking one day. That will make her happy and perhaps she would start cooking with much more care in order to get more appreciation from you. This way, you will regain mental peace”.

The idea appealed to him. That night, when he sat for his dinner, he remembered the friend’s advice. As he tasted one item after other, he kept on saying “Oh! This dish tastes very nice; this one is so good; this is wonderful…” and so on.

But instead of brightening up, his wife’s  face turned red in anger.

But the husband did not notice her facial expressions. As he was about to finish, he asked “Can you serve some more of these stuff; I really enjoy eating them today”.

That was the last straw. The wife blew up in anger. She started throwing all the vessels here and there. The husband was totally taken aback by her reaction.  He asked, “What is wrong with you? All along I have been criticizing your cooking, but today appreciated every food stuff that you served; I ate them all and even asked for more. Still why are so so angry? Why are you breaking the vessels?”

The wife said, “You have proved once again that you don’t like my cooking.  I was not feeling well today and I did not cook the food. Since you would come hungry from the office, I ordered food from the restaurant and kept them ready for you. You enjoyed every item bought from Hotel. It proves you don’t like my cooking at all”.

[Amma: “Children, our efforts have limits. It is divine grace that is essential to make the effort fruitful.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  Hence proved!

[Amma: “Many people ask ‘Is there really a God or no?’. As long as one’s analysis is within the precepts of creation, one can never understand the secret behind creation. Only when we transcend beyond creation, we can understand the secret of the creation. For that a basic requisite is a faith in a Creator (God)  who is beyond creation.”]

Once a teacher was teaching the theory of evolution to his students.

He called a student named David and asked: “David do you see the tree outside the class room through the window?”

“Yes, I see it” said David.

“Now, go out and look up. Let me know whether you see the sky”.

David went out, came back and said, “Yes, I saw the sky”.

“Did you see God there?”

“No”.

The teacher said beaming: “That is my concept. There is no God. How can you believe something that you can’t see?”

Hearing this, a girl stood up and said, “Teacher, may I ask a few more questions to David?”

The teacher agreed.

“David, do you see the trees outside?”

“Yes, I see them”

“Do you see the grass?”

“Yes. I see”.

“Do you see the sky?”

“Yes. I see”

“Do you see our teacher?”

“Yes, I see”

“Do you see his brain?”

“No,  I don’t see his brain”.

“Then, as per the concept taught by our teacher today, he does not have brain!”

[Amma: “Students of science first believe what the text books contain and what the teacher teaches. Then they can do experiments in lab and get first hand experience of what was taught to them. Likewise, we should first believe what our Rishis have told about god  based on their personal experience. Then we too should undertake sadhana based on the teachings received from Guru. Then we too can experience God. “]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

8.  Same place!

Once four villagers engaged a motor boat to go deep into a forest through the river to cut a few trees and bring them back to their place for sale.

After travelling into the forest, they got down at an appropriate place. While the boatman waited at the bank of the river, the villagers went into the forest to cut well grown trees of their choice. After clearing the leaves and branches, they carried huge logs of  four tree trunks one by one and brought it to the place where the boat was kept.

The boatman saw the logs and said, “These are too huge and heavy. I can at the best take three logs in the boat, along with you four people”.

But the villagers argued with him: “No, no! It won’t be a problem at all. Last year too we came to cut the trees and we transported four logs in a similar boat like this”.

“Are you sure? Were those logs of wood so big as these?” asked the boatman.

“Yeah, we are quite sure; don’t worry!”

The boatman reluctantly allowed them to load the four logs into the boat. He started the boat. They would have hardly moved by a kilometer or so, but the boat was unable to pull the load; it started to gradually sink in water and soon the boat capsized along with all the load.

With lot of difficulty, the four villagers along with the boatman managed to swim across the river and reach the bank nearby.

After resting for a while, one of the villagers asked “Do we know where we are now?”

One of them climbed over a huge rock nearby, looked around and exclaimed: “Hey! This place is quite familiar to me! We are hardly away by about hundred meters from the place where our boat capsized last year!”

[Amma: “Experiences are of no use if we do not learn our lessons from them”.]

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

9.  The lost key!

Once a man brought his young boy to the doctor and said, “Doctor, my son has swallowed my suitcase key! Please help”.

The doctor asked, “When did it happen?”

The man said, “He swallowed it some 10 days ago, doctor”.

“Wh…what? 10 days ago? Why are you bringing him only now?” asked the doctor in a shocked tone.

“We had a spare key with us and hence managing with it all these days, doctor. But today we lost the spare key too and could not locate it despite searching it everywhere. We are badly in need of opening the suitcase, doctor. Please, help us!”

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

10 .  Mala?!

Once a guru advised one of his new disciples to go to the top of the adjacent hill and spend a few days in seclusion totally dedicating himself to doing japa.  He added, “Make sure to take ‘mala’ with you”.  His intention was that the disciple should use his japa mala (rosary) to do his japa.

After a couple of days, the guru went up the hill to meet his disciple in order to check how well he had progressed in his austerities in seclusion.

The disciple saw his guru coming. He ran to him and fell at his feet. “Welcome my master!” he said.

“How are you? Are you doing fine? Did you face any difficulty?”

The disciple said, “No master; I am perfectly comfortable here thanks to Mala and the cups of tea I get”.

“Tea? Where from do you get your tea?”

“Mala is preparing it for me, Master” saying so, he called out loud. “Mala! Master too is here. Please bring two cups of tea!”

His girlfriend named Mala came out of the hut nearby with two cups of hot tea in her hands!

[Amma: “Some times, some disciples interpret their guru’s teachings to their own convenience”.]

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

11.   The problem with the intellect

Once 3 persons who entered in to the territory of a terrorist king’s land were caught by securities. They were suspected to be spies. The king ordered them to be killed, by crushing them under a huge falling log. The 3 intruders pleaded for mercy, saying that they were innocent and had no spying role. The king said, “Okay. Put one by one at  the killing spot and let the wooden log fall. If by chance the log does not fall and fail to crush a person, let him be released.”

All the three men were taken to the punishment arena. One of them was first made to lie down on the floor. A massive wooden  log was hanging right above him at a about 15 feet height, held by hooks. Once the bell rang, the operatives were to release the hooks and the log should fall down. The man was trembling with fear and he was praying feverishly for God’s help so that the log did not get released. What a surprise! Due to a mechanical fault, the hook did not release and the log never fell down. He was allowed to get up and go! The man ran from the spot with uncontrollable joy.

Now the second person was made to lie down. Again the hooks failed to release the log and he was also saved.

Finally the third person came and lied down. He happened to be an Engineer. Upon noticing that the hooks were not releasing, he immediately understood what the technical hitch was. He called the operatives and gave them instructions on  how to resolve it so that the hooks could release the log. The operatives did the correction and the log promptly  fell on the Engineer and crushed him to death!

12.   No problem!

[Amma: “When we face difficulties in life, we have the capacity to stand apart  and watch it without getting deeply agitated, but most of us are not able to practice it under all circumstances.  It is always easy for us to watch and analyse other’s problems dispassionately. But when it comes to our own problems, we invariably fail to step aside and look into them with an eye of a witness”.]

Once a businessman was in an important meeting. To avoid any disturbances, he left his personal mobile with his driver outside the office.

After a while the businessman’s mobile rang and the driver took the call. It was the voice of the businessman’s wife and she said, “Right now I am doing shopping and I am calling from the jewelry shop. I found an extremely beautiful necklace here; I have never seen such an attractive necklace anywhere else in my life. But it is too costly. However, I just didn’t feel like getting out of this jewelry shop without buying it. THe money I had brought for shopping was not adequate. So, I used the Credit Card that you had given to me and paid the bill….”

“Oh, That’s good” said the driver.

“There is something more. As I was returning home, I just dropped into the Showroom of Mercedes Benz Cars. One of their latest model cars was very appealing to me. Since I had no money, I had to sell of a portion of our company shares online and got the money. I have bought the car too…” said she.

“That’s fine” said the driver.

“Oh! My love! You had never been so loving and caring like to day. I feel really blessed that I have got such a considerate husband in my life!!” so saying she cut the phone, even before the driver could attempt to intervene and  reveal to her that he was only the driver and not her husband!

After the meeting was over, the businessman came out . He asked the driver, “Was there any call on my mobile?” .  The driver narrated the whole matter. By the time he finished it, his boss fell on to the ground losing consciousness!

Whether the credit card was burdened with huge amount or whether the company’s shares were sold off,  it was of no matter of concern for the driver. But as for the businessman, it was a calamity.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.   Smart Broker!

Once a young man who wanted to get married sought help from a marriage broker. One day, the broker told the man about a suitable girl for him and asked him to come along with him to the house of the prospective bride to see her in person.

After seeing the girl both of them were returning. The broker asked.”Now tell me, Do you like the girl?”

The man said, “Are you mad? How do you think I will agree to marry her? Didn’t you notice that her eyesight was so bad?”

“Oh! That’s really a good thing in her. After marriage, suppose you come home late in the night, she won’t notice”.

“Not only that. She stutters while talking”.

“That too is for good. Because of this weakness, she would talk far less, unlike all other women. It is a blessing for you”.

“I also noticed that she is hard of hearing”.

“Oh!Why don’t you understand that it is indeed very advantageous to marry such a girl. She will not hear any rumours about you!”

The young man lost his patience. He shouted, “Over and above all these, she has a hunch back too!”

The broker said: “Brother, I feel pity on you. As I explained, she has so many good things in her that makes her fit to be the best wife for you; yet if you want to reject her just for a small fault like a hunchback, where on earth will you get  better wife than her?”

[Amma: “Our mind is just like this broker. The mind will always try to convince our body and intellect to yield to its desires. We can never underestimate the power of our mind. But it is indeed possible for us to bring this powerful mind under our control.  Discrimination and practice are essential to get control over the mind”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.   There is a purpose!

Once a man went for haircut to his regular barber shop. When he sat on the chair for cutting his hair, the barber said, “I happened to meet your mother in law yesterday.  She was mentioning that you are possessing lots of black money”. The man got very angry when he heard this.  “Did she say so? She is a wretched woman. She borrows money left and right from so many people but never repay them.  It has become my burden to pay them from my pocket and yet she is talking ill of me? Lier!” his anger did not subside even after uttering these words. He kept on talking ill of her. The barber was deeply engrossed in cutting his hair during this time.

When the man came to the barber shop next time and sat in the chair ready for cutting, the barber said, “Yesterday your mother in law said to me that you are not giving a single paisa to the family”. The man got worked up again and said, “What right that Thataka has to utter such nasty lies about me? Actually it is me who takes care of all her expenses; I am the one giving money for her food and clothing…” he continued to say nasty things about his mother in law further. The barber kept him busy in cutting his hair.

When the man visited the barber the next time, the barber just started to make some comments about his mother in law once again. This time,  the man stopped him and asked, “Why are you always talking about my mother in law. I don’t want to hear any more word about her”.

The barber replied, “You see, whenever I broach the subject of your mother in law, you get very angry and all your hairs stand straight; it makes cutting your hair easier for me. That’s why I talk to you about your mother in law!”

[Amma: “Our mind is just like a play toy in the hands of others. Others know what makes us angry and agitated. When somebody appreciates us, we feel elated; when somebody criticizes us, we get worked up. This way, our life is tied to the lips of others. When we get angry, jump up and create hell around us, it becomes an entertainment for the others”.  ]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.   Trustworthy Husband?

[Amma: “To have amity in family life, an important factor is the capacity to listen to each other.  Nowadays, nobody seems to have the patience or time to actively listen to others’ talking.”]

Once a woman was telling her friend: “Whatever secrets I tell to my husband will not get shared by him with anyone else. I am very sure about it”.

“Oh! You have got such a trustworthy husband! You must be proud of it!” Said the friend.

The woman said, “No. It is not like that. Whatever I tell my husband, he never listens to them keenly”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

16. Nothing!

Once a king visited a temple; Standing in front of the sanctum sanctorum,  he prayed and finally ended his prayer saying loudly, “O God, you are everything; in front of you, I am nothing, I am nothing, I am nothing” saying so, he prostrated before God.

A moment later, another stray devotee, who too was standing there said, “O God, in front of you, I am nothing, I am nothing, I am nothing”.

Hearing it, the King got very angry, “Hey there! That was MY prayer; how dare you repeat it?” 

[Amma: “This is the nature of the ego that we all have.We unknowingly become entrapped in its net.”]

(From Amma’s Vishu message 15/4/2022)

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 3

1. What next?

Once a sage was conversing with a new visitor who came to meet him.

Sage: “What are you doing?”

Visitor: “I am working as a clerk in a Company”.

Sage: “If you get a promotion what will you become?”

Visitor: “I will become a Senior Clerk”

Sage: “What is the next post you will get?”

Visitor: “I will become Assistant to the Department Manager”.

Sage: “What next?”

Visitor: “If I really strive well, I can become the manager one day”

Sage: “Oh! That sounds very nice! What is the next position you can aspire to get?”

Visitor: “Oh! That is very hard to guess. Perhaps, if I have lots of luck, I may become the Vice President of the Company!”

Sage: “Wow! (He pats the shoulder of the visitor).  That will be wonderful. But still I am wondering what could be your next level…”

At this point of time, the visitor lost all his patience. In a loud and curt voice, he shot back :”If I put tons of effort, have lots of luck and  some political backing, I can become the President of the company! Enough?”

The sage did not leave him at that. “What next?” he continued.

That was the last straw. The visitor shouted: “What do you want me to become? A God?”

Now the sage laughed aloud and said, “My son! Now you have said the final and correct answer.  But there is a little difference. YOu don’t have to become God’ you are already God.  It is enough if that knowledge dawns in you.”

[Amma: “It is this knowledge that is true spirituality.  We are so much immersed in  the idea that what we call as “I” is this limited body, mind and intellect. We have to discard that idea and move forward, it will dawn to us that I am indeed that divine power that permeates everything outside and inside and we can experience the bliss of that reality.”]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

2. Amma with a Vedantin

[Amma: “People can buy Books on Vedanta from Bookshop and read them. After reading them, some may declare “I am Brahman”. But Advaita Vedanta is not something contained in mere words. It is something to be experienced and then expressed in practice at every moment of life.  If someone merely repeats Vedanta verbally it is just ignorance. He is simply acting like a tape recorder or a parrot. Once one of Amma’s young disciple came to Amma and the conversation went like this: “]

Devotee: “Amma, I am a Vedantin.”

Amma said nothing.

Devotee: “Aham Brahmasmi….Aham Brahmasmi….Aham Brahmasmi”

Amma said nothing. He was silent for a while. Then

Devotee: “Shivoham…Shivoham….Shivoham”

Amma said nothing.

Devotee: “Amma, Why aren’t you saying anything?”

Amma: “Son, aren’t you the Brahman already? What is there for me to say to you?”

Devotee: “But, Amma, Why do I still have anger, hatred and desire in me?”

[Amma: “That’s the crux of the issue!  One cannot become a Vedantin by merely reading books.  Vedanta should become the lifeline in us. However, it is indeed good to read Books on Vedanta. Then one should contemplate and understand it deeply.  Through meditation, it should sink deep into our heart. With that, we should strive to get past our weaknesses like anger, desire, hatred and so on.”]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

3.  Guru has his way

Once a guru and his disciple were returning to their Ashram by walk after a long and tiring pilgrimage.  They rested for a while under a tree. The guru got up and said, “Come, let us keep going; I want to reach the Ashram before sunset”.

But the disciple, who was much younger to the guru, felt too tired and dull to proceed further. He said, “Master, I am feeling too tired. I want to have a nap before we proceed further; I am left with little energy”.  But the guru was very particular to move on. He said, “Leave behind your laziness; you are young and you can definitely walk further; we are not too far from the Ashram. Come on!”

But the disciple was adamant. He lied down under the tree and said, “Master, if you want to proceed please go ahead; I will rest for a while and come a little later”.

The guru did not like the attitude of the disciple.  He walked alone. After a short while, he noticed some construction activity by the side of the road. Several men and women were working there as laborers.  A woman’s child was sleeping in a hammock under the shade of an adjacent tree.

The guru stealthily picked up the sleeping child and walked back before anyone could notice him. He went to the tree where his disciple was sleeping and left the child next to him.

He came back to the construction site, called one of the ladies working there and said, “Hello, have any one of you left your child in the hammock there? I happen to notice one young man picking up your child and rushing in this direction..” He pointed the direction where his disciple was sleeping under the tree at some far distance.

Hearing this, one woman started crying, saying that it was her child. All the laborers working in the site left their work and gathered immediately around the guru.

The guru said, “He would not have gone far off: run immediately and chase him” saying so, he coolly started walking towards his ashram.

The laborers picked up crowbars, sticks and stones and started running in the other direction. Soon they saw at a distance a man sleeping under a tree with a child next to him. Making loud cries, they started running towards the tree.
Their noisy shouts woke up the disciple. As he looked around confused, he noticed the child sleeping next to him. Then he noticed several laborers coming angrily towards him with weapons in their hands and shouting “There he is; catch him!”

The disciple immediately understood that there was something wrong and they mob was actually coming to attack him. Not thinking twice, he started running.  Before they could reach him he managed to run very fast from the place. He ran through lanes and bylanes to save himself from the fiery mob. Fortunately, the mob stopped once they saw that the child was safely sleeping under the tree.

When the guru reached the Ashram,  he chuckled within himself to see the disciple standing at the front gate sweating and panting, waiting for his arrival!

[Amma: “A guru knows the weaknesses of his disciple. He will create circumstances where in the disciple’s  undesirable tendencies are  corrected and his capabilities are stretched beyond limitations.”]

4.  Laughing at others

Once there were two disciples under a guru and both of them were very egoistic. It was their nature to speak ill of each other always.  However much the guru counseled them, there was no improvement in their behavior. One day the guru thought of a plan.

During the night, when both the disciples were in sound sleep, the guru brought some paints and painted their faces to look like clowns.

In the morning one of the disciples who got up first saw the face of the other and started laughing out loud. Hearing his laughter, the other disciple woke up. He saw the face of the first one and bursted out laughing.  Both of them continued to laugh by pointing fingers at each others’ face. One of the disciples got up and brought a mirror; he shouted it at the face of the other and said, “Look here O clown! This make up suits you perfectly!” and kept on laughing.

The other disciple grabbed the mirror and turning it at the face of the other said, “Look at your face! If you go and start performing tiger dance, you can earn lot of money!”

When it dawned to them that both of them had been painted on their faces to make them look funny, they stopped laughing instantly.

[Amma: “Children, It is always easy to laugh at the fault of others; everybody can do it. But only those endowed with the quality of discrimination can look into his own idiosyncrasies  and laugh at himself and go beyond them. Only then one can get real spiritual progress.”]

 

6.  Not too far away

Once a guru and his disciple were travelling to a holy place by foot. It was a long and arduous journey and the disciple was feeling very tired. He wanted to take a long rest before continuing with the journey, but the guru was particular to reach the holy place before dark.

“The place is not far off.  We have to walk only a small distance and we will reach the destination. Then you can relax there. Come on!” he encouraged the disciple to keep walking.

They walked for another half an hour. The disciple felt exasperated. “Master, you said it is only a short distance and yet we have not reached the place despite walking for so long”.

The guru said, “I know this route very well. We are on the right path and we have to walk just a little more. We are almost there;  Come on!”

Again they kept walking. Another half an hour was gone. The disciple felt very disappointed. “No master; I cannot walk anymore. I am dead tired. Please tell me the truth. How long should we walk?”

“Ah! We have almost reached. A little more walking and we will end up there. Be cheerful!” said the guru.

After walking for another twenty minutes, they finally reached their destination.

[Amma: “Spiritual journey is never short and sweet. A seeker has to tread a long and arduous path to reach his goal of self-realization. There is every possibility for a disciple to lose heart, get disillusioned and drop out from his quest. But a Sadguru does not allow an earnest seeker to slacken his efforts upon facing difficulties. He constantly goads him to strive for more through soothing and comforting words of encouragement; he helps his disciple to stretch himself beyond his limits in order to reach his goal.”]

(from Amma’s Guru purnima message 5/7/2020)

7.  Boundless compassion

Once a good hearted man brought an young boy to meet his guru at an ashram. “Master, this boy is an orphan. None of his relatives are willing to take care of him since he is very arrogant and mischievous. May I request you to show him some way?”

The guru said he would admit the boy into the ashram and take care of him.

The guru kept the boy under his direct observation and showered lot of love and care on him. The boy however continued to be very arrogant and indisciplined. He behaved roughly with other boys in the ashram and created trouble for every one. Other inmates in the Ashram felt very annoyed and they kept on complaining about the boy to the guru. However, the guru brushed aside all their complaints and continued to shower his love and affection to the orphan boy.

A few years passed by. The boy grew up. He frequently went out of the ashram and joined evil company. He started stealing money from the ashram and spend it on smoking and drinking with his friends outside the ashram.

One night, a group of ashram inmates came to the guru and said, “That boy is hopeless.  We feel he can never be straightened. You see, he is right now lying on the road outside the ashram fully drunk. He is bringing such a disgrace to the ashram.”

The guru went out to see what happened. The boy was lying near the road under a tree.  It was pretty cold outside.  The guru removed his shawl and wrapped it around the boy. He sighed seeing the pitiable state of the boy and returned to the Ashram.

The boy woke up from his slumber a couple of hours after dawn. He noticed that he was covered with a shawl and it was his guru’s shawl. He felt deeply disturbed and moved. The thought that despite his evil behavior across all these years, the guru still loved him and took care of him when he was lying totally drunk on the roadside.

He started crying.

With teary eyes, he entered into the ashram, came to the guru’s room and fell at his feet. He cried his heart out and sought forgiveness from the guru for all his misdeeds. He promised to turn a new leaf right from that moment.

Soon a dramatic change started happening in his behavior.  Within a couple of months he turned out to be one of the best young disciples in the ashram and he could stand as an example for others.

(from Amma’s Guru purnima message 5/7/2020)

8.  Four gurus

Once a disciple asked his guru, “Master, can you tell me about your guru?”

The guru said, “I have learned from so many gurus. But four of them stand apart. I will tell you about them…” and he continued:

“My first guru was a thief. Once I stayed together with him for a few days. Every night he would promptly wake up at 2 AM and go out. He would return after a few hours. When I asked him whether he could get anything by stealing that night, he would say, “No. I am not lucky today. Let me try again tomorrow night”.

The next day too he would promptly get up at 2 AM at night and go out. He chose that odd hour because he knew that all people would be in deep sleep at that time and that would be the best time to break into houses and steal. That night too he returned empty handed. It happened so on several days.

 I asked him, “You have not been able to succeed all these days. But still you are doing it again and again. Why?”

He said, “This is what I know for earning my living. I don’t have any other skill. I have to persevere like this and I ams sure I would get a big booty one day, if I could break into a rich man’s house”.

From him I learned the importance of perseverance in pursuing one’s spiritual goal.

My second guru is a young boy. One day, I saw a boy going in the night with a lantern in hand. I wanted to tease the boy and asked him, “Do you know where from the light comes?”

He immediately lifted up the glass of the lantern and blew air into the flame. The light immediately got extinguished and it became dark. The boy said to me, “The light came from the place where it is gone now”.

I was taken aback by his brilliant retort. That day I learned that it is wrong to underestimate or disrespect anyone and even boys deserve respect.

My third guru is a dog.

One day, I was to cross a river. I noticed a dog too which wanted to cross the river. It went close to the water, looked at it and barked. Then it came back. After a while it went to the water and barked again and returned. I understood that it was looking at its own reflection and getting scared of presence of another dog in water and that’s why it barked. But after a while, it jumped into the water, swam across and reached the other bank.

This dog taught me a lesson that we should be firm on our spiritual goals even though we may get distracted by fear and loss of self-confidence. At some point or other, we should gather ourselves and proceed firmly to reach our goal.

My fourth guru was a farmer. Once I went to a village where an old farmer lived. He was revered by everyone in the village and they considered him a saint. I met him and interacted with him. I asked him, “Why are you so special that people respect you so much?”

He said, “I see goodness and hope everywhere. When I see a egg, I think of the hen inside it. When I see a seed, I think of the tree that it contains. When I see, death I see life.  When I see the diversity in the world,  I see the unity behind them all”.

From him I understood what  non-duality is.”

(from Amma’s Guru purnima message 5/7/2020)

9.  Blessings for prosperity?

Once in an Ashram, many disciples lived with their Guru.  Depending on the extent of development of spiritual maturity in them, the guru used to sent them for serving the society in suitable ways.

One day the guru chose a disciple for deploying him in some charitable activity.  Before departing, the disciple fell at the feet of the guru and sought his blessings. The guru blessed him saying, “My son, may you always get the comforts of stay in a palace, may you always be served with the foods of best taste, may you always sleep well in a bed of roses”.

The disciple was very surprised to hear such blessings from the guru. He asked, “Master, all along as we lived in the ashram, you have always professed simple living devoid of all comforts and insisted on sacrifice; now you are blessing me of all sorts of royal comforts. May I know why?”

The guru smiled and said, “My son, the true meaning of my blessings are indeed to tell you that you should progress in the path of sacrifice. When you go out and serve the world, you are most unlikely to get any form of comfortable stay. You must develop such an attitude  that you shall gladly  accept whatever meager facilities you get for your stay as if it is  a royal palace. Then you should eat food only after you feel extremely hungry. If you eat like that, whatever type of food you may get will taste delicious.  You will have to physically exert yourself so much that by the time you go to sleep, you will be so tired that you will find even a surface of rock to lie down to be a bed of roses!”

[Amma: “One can attain deathless state only through renunciation. Renunciation does not mean reducing all comforts alone. It includes serving others without any selfish motive.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

10. A Parable

Once the Prince of the World of Light was conquered by The Lord of Darkness and was incarcerated  in a dark cell.  The lord of Darkness arranged several security guards around him to ensure that he did not attempt to escape.

On the wall of the dark cell, there was a small hole and through the hole, sun light peeped in to the room. The light said to the Prince, “You give your royal crown and your royal dresses and jewels as bribe to the security guards. They are very greedy and they will help you to escape from this cell. Accordingly the Prince gave away his possessions and the guards helped him to escape.

As he came out, the Sun God presented him with a powerful sword. With that sword, the prince killed the Lord of Darkness.

He then returned to his World of Light. The aging king immediately crowned him as the new king.

[Amma: “In this parable,  the lord of Darkness is Ignorance (Ajnana).  The Sun God is the guru.  The crown and the jewels represent lust and other worldly desires. The sword given by Sun is Knowledge (Jnana).  This story tells us that by obeying the guru and relinquishing lust and worldly desires, one has to annihilate the ignorance using  the knowledge bestowed by the Guru.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

11. Love that too

[Amma: “If goodness exists in our hearts, then we will be able to see only goodness everywhere. When our heart is good, we will be able to enjoy the beauty of lotus flowers even if they are in a muddy pond. On the contrary, if our mind harps on the muddy pond, we won’t be able to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of lotus flowers.”]

Once a householder went to his spiritual master and paid his respects.  He wanted to speak his heart out. He said to the master: “Guruji, till this day in my life, I have never knowingly hurt any person; I have heard in my childhood a saying — ‘if your talk is good, your walk (i.e. behavior) too will be good’ and I have always followed it as a matter of principle right from my young age. I always take extra care to ensure that I don’t hurt anyone with my words…”

In order to explain how harsh words become so unpleasant to hear, he gave an example: “Master, whenever I come to this ashram and stay here, I hear lots of birds chirping in the mornings and evenings. I really enjoy hearing the singing of cuckoos and the chatting of parrots here which are so sweet to the ears. But amid all these, I also hear crows cawing and it really makes me cringe; It is so jarring to my ears and I don’t like it. So, speaking harsh words is similar to that, in my opinion…”

And he continued to speak of something that keeps disturbing him: “Master, despite my speaking nicely with others and never hurting anyone with my words, I find that my life is not smooth nor peaceful. What could be the reason for it?” He asked.

When he kept on talking, the guru, who was seated on the ground in front of him, was drawing something on the sand with his finger and patiently listening to him too.  Not lifting up his face from the picture he was drawing, the master said with a smile on his face: “I think you must try to love the crows too whose cawing  is unpleasant to you. If  your are able to like even the cawing of the crows, then you will be filled with joy in your heart. Further, you will become more eligible to receive God’s grace”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

12. Mother is the first guru

Once a group of scholars were discussing about the best commentaries and literary works based on Ramayana. 

One of the scholars said, “I consider such-and-such person’s work on Ramayana to be the best. He has thoroughly elaborated  out the spiritual aspects of Ramayana very well”.

Another person said, “I really love so-and-so’s Ramayana because it is poetry form and it is indeed a very commendable and lucid presentation of the emotions in Ramayana”.

Some other scholars were suggesting some other names.

One scholar said, “I consider my own mother’s version of Ramayana is the best”.

Others got curious. “Has she written a book elaborating Ramayana?” they asked.

“No” said the scholar. “When I was child, she narrated the Ramayana story so many times. I used to listen to her narration with rapture. Through her narration, I received so much valuable teachings for my life — the importance of dharmic conduct, valuing truth, adhering to truth, unselfishness and sacrifice, the importance of love between family members, respecting elders, fostering good friendship, surrendering to God and so many things.  My mother did not just told me Ramayana stories but she actually lived the various values taught by Ramayana in her own life and set an example to me. That’s why I say, her version of Ramayana is the best for me”.

(From Amma’s Ramayana month Satsang – 26/7/2020)

13. Finding God

Once a there was a young boy who was deeply devoted to Devi, the Divine Mother. He had a deep longing to have a vision of the Divine Mother. He approached his guru and expressed his desire.

The Guru said, “It is possible for you to see Devi, but not really in divine form. But you can definitely see Divine Mother coming in the guise of  of a normal woman. I will tell you an identification by which you will be able to know who that woman is. She will have a mole in the little toe of her right foot”.

From that day onwards the boy started looking at the right foot of every lady he came across. He would look for a mole in their small toe. Days and months passed; yet he did not come across any woman with that identity.

One day, his mother came towards him with a vessel in hand to give him something to eat. At that time, the vessel fell down. The boy bent down to pick the vessel from the floor and at that time, he noticed a mole in her right toe. He was overwhelmed by surprise. With devotion welling up in his heart he fell at the feet of his mother and prostrated again and again with tears flowing from his eyes.

[Amma: “If  we really want to see God, we should first see God amid people who are closest to us — mother, father, guru and friends. Then we should be able to see God  in whomsoever we meet. Then we should be able to recognize God inside each and every being. We should be able to love and serve everyone. That is what is needed. If this attitude comes, then in due course, we will be able to have the vision of God in each and every being in this earth.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14. Creating Heaven and hell

Once a person visiting an ashram for the first time, met the guru and asked him a question: “Maharaj, Are heaven and hell really existing?”

The guru asked him, “Who are you?”

The man said with pride: “I am a soldier.”

The guru said, “A person like you, who is essentially very cruel and animal-like, is not qualified to ask this question to me. Don’t waste my time; Go away”.

The soldier could not bear such an insult thrown right on his face. He got very angry. He pulled out his sword from the sheath hanging on his waist and was about to slice the guru in one stroke.

The guru smiled at him without a trace of fear and said,”Aren’t you overwhelmed by anger? You are right now in hell!”

Hearing this, the soldier got bewildered. He felt ashamed to recognize his own fury. He slid back his sword into its sheath and fell at the feet of guru with humility.

The guru said, “You are now in heaven!”

[Amma: “Both heaven and hell are our own creation. If the mind is peaceful, even a gory hell would be like a heaven; If the mind is agitated, even the best heaven would be like a hell. Peace, equanimity and joy are all dependent on one’s mind. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15. Acceptance

Once in  village, there lived a farmer who was facing lots of hardships in life. Some f his cattles met with untimely death. His farmland was attacked by pests. Heavy floods damaged his crops once. He had several family problems too. He felt sick of his life.

In his village, there lived a rich businessman who was also considered a very wiseman in the locality.  The farmer approached him for some financial help and and also sought counsel from him. He narrated in detail about his sufferings in life.

After patiently listening to him, the businessman said, “I will give you some job for you tonight.  Please do it well and  I will give you financial help to you and also give you some useful guidelines to face hardships in life.”

The  former nodded his head.

The businessman said, “I have got 100 horses in my stable. You have to ensure that all of them lie down and sleep together. Once you have finished it, come and see me”.

The former gladly accepted the job and went to the stable.

He went around and arranged to feed them all first. He thought that once they are well fed, they will sleep peacefully. Some of the horses ate well and after a while, they lied down to sleep. But several other horses did not eat. They were simply standing. The farmer went near each horse and cajoled it to eat. Some did and some did not.  He forcefully made some horses to lie down. Some of them yielded to his commands and some did not.  Past midnight, he somehow managed to  make 60 horses to lie down but the rest were not. By about 3 AM, when majority of the horses seem to be lying down, a few horses that had lied down earlier started standing up!

Even by dawn, the farmer could never succeed in making all the horses lie down together and sleep! The farmer lost his whole night’s sleep in this process!

Early morning he came and reported the matter to the businessman: “Sir, I could not succeed in making all the hundred horses to lie down and sleep together”.

The businessman smiled; he gave some money to the farmer and said, “You see, this is is how our life too is. You can never solve all your problems fully and enjoy a trouble free life. It is just not possible. Ups and downs will always be there. You have to bear with them, manage as best as you could and lead your life to the best of your ability. That’s  the only way.”

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)