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Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 3 (15 more stories)

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)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 3 ( 16 more stories )

1.   Compassion is the measure

Long ago, an aged king was ruling his country. The king wanted to relinquish office and retire to forest; he had two sons. ‘Out of the two, Who should be made the king? It must be one who loves his countrymen’ — thought the king. But he could not come to any clear judgement. He decided to consult his guru on this matter. He knew his guru was the right person to predict the future. He took both the sons with him and went to meet his guru. He requested the guru’s help to give the right decision.

The guru said, “In a few days I will be in the island which is at the middle of the river. Kindly send both your sons separately  to come and meet me there. Please send them without a horse or any other vehicle. Just give them a pack of food to carry for eating on their way.”

On the set date, both the princes started their journey one after the other separately, without anyone accompanying them. The elder son, who proceeded first was encountered by a poor beggar on the way. The beggar said, “I am extremely hungry. It has been two days since I ate a morsel of food. Please give me something to eat”. The elder prince got irritated. He had a long journey ahead and he needed food to eat on the way. He was not supposed to ask anyone for food.  He called the nearby villagers and said, “You see, don’t you know that I am the elder prince of this country? Is it right on your part to allow such a beggar to disturb me on my long and crucial journey? Ensure that such a discourtesy is not done to the son of the king”. After commanding them like this, he proceeded with his journey.

After a while the second prince came by the same path. The beggar stopped him and requested him to give him food.  The second prince thought “I have had my share of sumptuous meals when I started my journey. This poor fellow says he had not eaten for two days. How unfortunate!” He gave his food packet to the beggar and proceeded in his way.

They reached the river bank. They had to wade through the river water to reach the island. At the bank of the river, a leper was standing. His whole body was afflicted with wounds and pus was oozing from them. A bad odor was emanating from his body; no one would dare to go close to him. The leper saw the elder prince and begged him to take him across the river to reach the island which was his place of stay. The elder prince felt only contempt for the leper; he could not bear the nasty odor coming from him. He closed his nose and stepped into the river in a hurry to wade through the waist deep water to reach the island.

But the second prince who too was intercepted by the leper felt pity on him. Despite the bad smell and the dirty wounds in the leper’s body, the second prince carried him on his shoulders and stepped into the river.

As they were wading through the waters, suddenly the water level in the river started rising. The water currents became too strong and it became increasingly difficult to wade through the waters. Soon the elder son could not manage and he was swept away by the strong currents.

It was equally difficult for the younger son too to cross the flooding river with the additional load on his shoulders. He and the leper too were soon were struggling in the forceful water current. At that point of time a huge tree trunk was floating nearby. The prince said to the leper, “Come on; let us catch hold of the tree”. With lots of difficulty, they managed to climb over the tree trunk.

Soon the tree floated towards the bank of the island. They safely got down there. Leaving the leper there, the younger prince went to meet the sage. The sage welcomed him with open hands. He was designated as the future king of the country.

[Amma:  “It was the compassion in the heart of the younger prince that caused divine grace to come to him in the form of the floating tree to save his life.  However well one knows to swim, it would not be of help when a torrential flow of waters occurs in the river.  Nothing but divine grace  could ever come to rescue in such a situation. Children! If divine grace has to come to us, we must do good karma.  Compassion should be the hallmark of each of our actions”.]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

2.   The lame puppy

A little boy went into  a shop where there was a sign board saying ‘Dogs for sale’. He wanted to buy a puppy. The shop owner said that he had puppies with price tags from Rs.2000 to Rs. 5000.

The boy said, “I don’t have that much money; but shall I just have a look at the puppies you have?” . The shop owner allowed him to do so.

A mother dog its several puppies came out from inside the shop.  The boy, with eyes wide open, looked at the puppies eagerly. Behind all the puppies, came a little one slowly and limping. “Oh God! Why is that puppy limping?” asked the boy.

The owner said, “It is lame by birth. It cannot walk normally”.

The boy looked at the puppy pitifully and asked the owner: “Will you give me that lame puppy to me for a reasonable price for me? I can’t give the full amount now; but I can give some money and pay the balance in installments every month”.

The shop owner looked at the boy with surprise. “Why do you want to buy a lame puppy? It cannot run with you or play with you. Why don’t you buy a healthy one?”

Thy boy said. “No. I want only that puppy”. Appreciating his nature, the owner came forward to give that lame puppy free of cost. But the boy said adamantly, “I will not accept it free. I will give the same price of a normal puppy to this one too”.

Again the shop owner was surprised. He asked the boy what the reason was. The boy placed one of his legs on a stool nearby and pointing it to the shop owner,  said, “Look! I too have a deformed leg. If I have this lame dog as my companion, we can exchange our hearts better; each can understand the pain of the other. That’s why I want that puppy”.

[Amma:  “Amma does not mean to say that only if we get the same calamity that another person undergoes we will be able to empathise with him.  Even without experiencing it personally, we are capable of understanding others’ sorrows.  It is possible to assume others’ difficulties as ours; we can grasp what is comforting to us will be comforting to others too and act accordingly. It is this sort of mindset that we should develop. It is indeed difficult to develop such a mindset but you should definitely strive for it”.]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

3.   Something more valuable

Once a saintly lady was undertaking a pilgrimage. On her way to a holy shrine up on a mountain, the lady rested at the bank of a river and took bath. As she was bathing there, she noticed a very bright object amid the pebbles in the stream. She picked it up and to her surprise, it was an unusually large piece of diamond. She put it in her bag and carried on with her travel.

On her way, she rested under a tree and cooked her food. It was her practice to share her meal with any poor beggar or villager nearby. She noticed an impoverished villager and invited him to share the food with her.

As she was arrange to serve food to him, she happened to take out the piece of diamond from her bab and keep it outside for a while. The poor man noticed it and his eyes widened in surprise. He thought, ‘If only I could get that diamond, all my poverty will come to an end; I will be the richest person in this locality and my generations can live comfortably’.

With some hesitation, he asked the old lady , “Mother, I am suffering under utter poverty.  The food you give now will appease my hunger only for a few hours. But if you could kindly give me this diamond, I can live without poverty for ever”. He said so, frankly expecting that the old lady would flatly refuse the request.

But to his great surprise, the lady immediately picked the diamond and put it in his hands and said smilingly, “Sure, you please take it with you. I am only too happy to give this to you”.

The poor man felt extremely surprised and he took it, profusely thanking the saintly lady for her gift. He ran to his home, very excited and happy.

The next day morning, the poor villager came searching for the lady.  He fell at her feet and said, “Mother, I don’t want this diamond piece. Last night, I thought it over again and again and I felt you have got something far more precious to give me than this and I want that”.

“What is it?” asked the lady, very surprised.

The man said, “It is your heart that gave away such a costly piece of  diamond without even thinking twice about it, without even a trace of attachment to such a priceless possession!”

4.   For the sake of others

Once a lonely traveller was walking on a hot day along a long and winding path across a dry land. The whole area was sparsely populated. There was no greenery and the sun was burning harsh over the sky. The traveller was feeling extremely thirsty. He started looking around for water. He could not see any stream or pond anywhere in the vicinity.  As he walked further suffering in the heat with a parched throat, he noticed a hand pump en route.

He rushed towards the hand pump. There was a pot too nearby and the pot contained some water that would be barely enough for quenching his thirst. When he was about to lift the pot to drink water, he noticed a board nearby where it was written: “If you pour the water into the hand pump and pump it, you will be able to get more water for your use. But ensure that you fill up the water again in the pot for the use of other travellers coming by”.

The traveller was now in a dilemma.  The water in the pot looked precious and alluring for him to drink and quench his thirst, though the quantity looked barely adequate. But if he pours it into the pump and start pumping, what was the surety that that the pump would yield more water? What if the entire water got drained while pumping and no fresh water came from earth. However,  there was also the possibility of the pump working and yielding more water for his own use and also for the use of others coming thirsty like him.

If he drank the water immediately, it would satisfy him immediately, but he would be depriving other passersby of their need of water out of his utter selfishness.

The man thought for a while. Then he decided that it would only be right if he did as per the instructions for the sake of others. He poured the little water into the pump and started pumping hard. After a few minutes of effort, fresh water stared gradually coming. The man filled the pot with water and then drank it happily to quench his thirst fully. He pumped again to fill the pot once again and kept it aside.

He walked away with satisfaction.

5.  Not official

Once a visitor from abroad went to meet Chanakya. It was late in the evening. Chanakya was writing something using the light of a wick lamp.  Before he started to converse with the visitor,  Chanakya stopped his writing, put off the wick lamp that he was using and lit another lamp.

Noticing this, the visitor asked, “May I know why you changed the lamp?”

Chanakya replied, “When you arrived here, I was busy with an official work for which the Government supplies oil for the lamp. But now my meeting with you is personal.  It is nothing to do with the Government. So, I put off the first lamp. The lamp now burning is mine and the oil used there is bought from my own earnings. It is my practice to use my personal things for personal works and not abuse my official perks”.

[Amma:  “Children,  it is such examples that the present day society needs. Relinquishing selfishness and ego, if a person carries out his duties, he will become a blessing for the world.”]

6.  How to have real enjoyment

Once a College professor arranged an excursion to his students and went accompanying them. On their way, they rested at a place for a while. Some construction work was in progress nearby. The students noticed that all the chappals used by the construction workers had been left by them at one place. Noticing it, some boys thought of a mischief. The collected all the chappals and hid them at a bush nearby. They wanted to witness how shocked the laborers would become if they did not find any of their chappals there which would be a good amusement for boys.

Noticing their act, the professor intervened and said, “I can suggest you a much greater amusement for you than this. Do as I say:  First, bring those chappals back and keep them at the old place. Then place a rupee coin on each of the chappals and then watch from a distance the faces of the laborers when they come back and look at their chappals! I tell you, you will really get an enjoyment that you would never have seen in your life by seeing their surprise!”

The students did the same and waited for the laborers to return.  After a while, the laborers started coming back one after another.  When they noticed rupee coins on their chappals, their faces lit up brightly and they all smiled; they started talking excitedly to each other wondering how such a wonder can happen.

Seeing this from a distance, the students felt extremely happy; they understood there is  real joy in giving.

[Amma:  “Not all spiritual sadakas could meditate on Self by self inquiry saying ‘I am not the body; I am not the mind; I am verily the Self”. But it is indeed possible for us to see others as we are. This way, our mindset will get lit up with proper discrimination and compassion. Only then all our actions would  help developing our own life as well as the life of others in the society towards goodness.”]

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  It is with you

There was a poor child who attended church every day. A wealthy man saw this and asked him, “What are you going to church for?” “

I am going to pray,” he replied. “All my friends have good shoes. I don’t even have a pair of sandals. I am going to ask God to give me a new pair of shoes.”

The rich man chuckled to himself. A few days later he saw the boy again. “Oho!” he called out mockingly “Did you get that pair of shoes yet?”

“No,” replied the boy.

“Stop your stupid prayer, boy! God did not give you shoes, did he? Why are you praying to him?”

“Oh, but he did give the shoes!” replied the boy calmly. “

But I don’t see shoes on your feet,” said the rich man.

“No, because God gave them to people like you to give them to poor children like me. But people like you have not passed them on to us.”

[Amma: While on one side, people are heaping up riches, on the other side people are sitting beside deep holes. As the ups and downs increase, so will the conflicts between them.”]

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

8.  The story of Pakkanar, the saint

[Amma: “Many people donate without knowing the philosophy behind it.  Our real attitude behind donation matters the  most. People who donate tubelight to a temple write their names boldly over the tube to the extent of hiding considerable light coming from the tube!  It is this type of charity that we see widely around us. One should never donate for name and fame. Amma remembers a story: “]

Pakkanar was a saint who lived in Kerala long ago.  He earned his living by making winnowers (‘muram‘) from bamboo and selling them to people.  The money he earned by selling one winnower was sufficient enough for him for his one day’s expense. He was bent upon donating whatever extra winnowers he had but he was extremely particular that no one should come to know that he was indeed donating the rest. He found a way for it.

He will carry ten fans with him and go from house to house. He would declare a rather hefty price for the fans. Since it was too costly, the householder would not show interest in buying from him. Then he would tell them, “May I leave the fans here for a while? I will come back and take them afterwards”. People would generally oblige.

He would come back after a while and tell them, “Please give me back the nine numbers of winnowers I had left here”. The householder would count the quantity and find that there were indeed 10 pieces. They would think that the Poor Pakkanar does not know counting; they would keep one item with them and give him the nine numbers as he requested.

He would repeat the same technique with other householders that he visited. Finally, he would sell the last remaining winnower for the right price and take the money with him.

Thus Pakkanar was donating stealthily. It is a great example on how one should donate without any fanfare whatsoever.

9.  A helping hand

A few years back  100 meters running competition was arranged for physically handicapped and mentally retarded children by a charity organization.

The children taking part in the race were all set to go, waiting for the whistle to blow.

Once the whistle was blown all the children ran very enthusiastically. Every child was competing with another with a desire to grab the first prize. All of them had undergone repeated practice across several months in order to take oart in this race and win.

A few moments after the start, one of the boys stumbled and fell on the track. On account of the shame of falling and also due to pain, the boy started crying aloud. All the other children running in the race saw him falling down but they did not know what to do. But one little girl stopped. She ran towards the boy and helped him to get up. Then she hugged him and said, “Don’t worry, hold my hands and we will run together”. The other children saw these two children running with joined hands. Immediately they too came near them and joined their hands.  They started running in parallel, all together.

The entire audience was surprised and felt overwhelmed to see such a display of love and solidarity among the children and they clapped their hands. As the children crossed the finishing line together they got  a standing ovation from the onlookers.

[Amma: “Amma had heard this story from somewhere; it might be a real incidence or a fictional story. Whatever it may be, we all have a lesson to learn from the children in this story. Getting success in life is important but along with it we should have a heart to share the pain of the failure of others and extend a helping hand to them to succeed in their life”.]

10. Take only as much

[Amma: “Human beings are part and parcel of nature. Human life depends on nature and its sustenance.  Hence we should take from nature only that much which is just enough for our survival. While taking, we must ensure that we do not disturb the balance in nature, It is our responsibility.”]

Once a family living in a village near sea shore, ws gripped in utter poverty. The head of the family had lost his job and they had no money to buy foodstuff. At that time, the eldest boy in the family was walking along the sea shore and he located a pit where sea turtle had laid several eggs. Happily, he collected all the eggs and brought them home so that they can be cooked and eaten.

When the father saw so many eggs brought by his son, he asked what happened. The boy said that he picked up all the eggs that a turtle had laid. The father got very angry. He said, “Suppose you are married and someone takes away all your children will you not feel extremely sad? It is so for other creatures too. If the turtle finds that none of the eggs it laid was there to produce its offspring, will it not feel very sad? The eggs are essential for the lineage of the turtle to continue. Even though we are driven to such a sorry state because of our poverty, we should not totally become selfish and heartless. You better take half of these eggs and put them back where you picked them up.”

The boy understood and he immediately took some eggs and ran to the seashore.

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

 

11. Honesty to the core

[Amma: “In olden days, despite being impoverished, village people had mutual care, unity and cooperative mindset. They had cordial relationship with neighbors; whatever they could get on  daily basis, they had the generosity to share with others and live with contentment. Even amid poverty they nurtured high moral values. Amma remembers a story…”]

Once upon a time two farmers came to meet a judge with an issue.  One of the farmers said, “I recently bought a farm land from this man. When I started ploughing the field yesterday,  I stumbled upon a copper pot that got unearthed. When I opened it, it contained lots of gold coins and precious stones. You see, I bought only the land from him and I not the pot of gold and precious stones.  I told him to take the pot with its contents but this fellow is refusing I request you to hear the matter and give him necessary advice”.

The other farmer said, “What he says is true. But you see, when I sold the land, I sold it entirely which means anything found buried in the land too belongs to him.  So, I have nothing to do with the pot of wealth. This fellow has been pestering me to take it. I have nothing to do with it. Please save me from his pestering”.

The judge was very surprised and felt very happy to see two such honest and guileless persons.  But he has to solve the problem anyway. So, he did further inquiries. He came to know that one of them had a boy and the other a girl who were at marriageable age. The judge suggested that the two can be married and the wealth found from the land can be given to the couple as a marriage gift.

This solution was most acceptable to both the farmers and the strange adversaries returned home happily as new relatives.

(From Oliyai Nolli-Tamil-Vol 3)

12.  Unwanted poison

Once a young woman got married and came to live with her in laws.  Her mother in law was very short tempered, very demanding and authoritative.  After the passage of few days, the woman found it extremely difficult to bear with the moods of her mother in law. She started hating her to the core.

One day, her brother, a doctor by profession, came to see her. She told her brother. “I am fed up with my mother in law. I want to eliminate her somehow or other”.

Her brother said, “If she dies suddenly, then people would start suspecting you. I will give you a medicine, which is a slow poison. You should mix a little of it every day in the food that your mother in law eats.  After six months your wish will be fulfilled.  But you should be extremely careful about one thing. She should never suspect your evil motives. So, you must ensure that you interact with her  lovingly and be obedient to her always.”  She agreed.

As per her brother’s instructions, she mixed a little of the medicine that her brother gave every day when she served food to her mother in law. She also behaved very nicely with respect and obedience towards her.

Four months passed this way.  There came a palpable change in the atmosphere inside the home.  Being impressed by the nice behavior of her daughter in law. the mother in law’s attitude too started changing drastically. She started behaving very affectionately with her daughter in law.Gradually day by day, both of them started liking each other more and more.

One day, when her brother came to see her, the woman said, “I am afraid I made a big mistake in feeding my mother in law with poison daily. She is actually a very nice woman. She is extremely affectionate towards me nowadays.  Please give me some alternative medicine so that the evil effects the poison I gave her all these days is reversed”.

Her brother laughed and said, “What I have is not poison, but some vitamins only. I knew that the problems you were facing with your mother in law was in fact because of your behavior. I knew if you correct your attitude, your mother in law would behave nicely with you. That’s why I played this trick on you.”

[Amma: “As in this story, instead of trying to change others, we must strive to change ourselves.  If love is given, we are sure to get back love. We only need that patience to express love on others, to get love in return”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.  Cancelled pilgrimage

Once there lived a poor cobbler in a village.  He had a deep desire to go on a pilgrimage and visit holy places. By working very hard and also skipping meals on some days, he saved money little by little for this purpose.

One day at home, his wife, who was pregnant, felt the smell of roasting of green grams. The smell came from their neighbor’s house. The wife, who could not eat well on account of vomiting sensation, was somehow attracted to the smell and she longed to eat curry made of green gram. She expressed her desire to her husband. The husband thought of borrowing some green gram curry from the neighbor and he went to their house. He humbly requested them to give him a little curry, expressing his pregnant wife’s desire.

The neighboring woman was willing to share it, but she said, “I just want to forewarn you about one thing; the green gram which we have used for the curry is a very unclean one.  We are suffering from utter poverty and we have not eaten for almost a week. Unable to bear the pain of our children’s suffering, my husband went to the nearby graveyard and saw a few plants of green grams grown there. He plucked them and brought home and I have cooked them to appease our hunger”.

Hearing this, the cobbler felt extremely painful.  He was their neighbor all these years and yet he did not know that they were suffering in extreme hunger for the past one week. He felt ashamed that when their condition was like this, he was saving money for his pilgrimage.

He rushed to his house, took out his savings and returned to the neighbor’s house. He said, “I am extremely sorry that I never bothered to know about your difficulties. Please take this money and buy some food immediately”. The neighbors hesitated for a while, but as the cobbler kept on lovingly pressing them to take the money, they yielded.

That night, God came to him in his dream. He said, “My dear son, there is no need for you to take pilgrimage to come and see me. I have come to you to give my darshan. I am bestowing you right now whatever spiritual benefits you would gain by going on pilgrimage. My presence will be there in you forever”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Mal. – Vol 2)

14.  Compassionate boss

Once there was a famous garments shop in a town. The owner had worked hard in life in order to come up in life and reach his present status. As he had seen many ups and downs in life, he had a good experience in management and he was quite compassionate too.

His son too started to involve himself in the management of the garment shop. One day, the son said to his father, “Papa, look at that salesman. I have been observing him for days. He is extremely lazy. He sits there and dozes off frequently. It will be a waste of our money to keep such persons in our rolls. Shall I fire him?”

The father said, “No my son. He is from a very poor family and he has to take care of his family by working here. If you fire him, his family will come to streets. Be patient. I will find some way to fit him in some work that suits him better”.

Due to some reasons, the son could not come to the garment shop for a few days.  When he came to the shop after the break, he noticed the lazy salesman wearing just a pant and a banyan (vest) sitting at the front entrance of the shop on  stool and dozing off.  The son got very angry. He went inside to see his father and started complaining about the salesman once again.

The father said, “Oh! Didn’t you notice the advertisement I have kept above his head? he is now working as a model for our vests? Because of him, I have sold the entire stock of our vests just in a couple of days!”

The son went outside to see what the ad was: “Are you suffering from lack of sleep? Our new vests are sure to bring you to sleep within minutes of your wearing them!”. The ‘model’ was dozing off sitting below it!

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 14/7/2020)

15.  Awareness about wastage

Once there was a girl who habitually wasted lots of food whenever she ate. Her father advised her softly many times that it was a very bad habit and she should correct herself. But it did not work. The father then started warning her very sternly about her habit. But still it could not bring any significant change in her behavior.

The father was very conscious that he should somehow correct his daughter.  He thought deeply about it. One day he sat with his daughter and showed her a video.

In the video, in the first scene two young girls were eating chicken in a restaurant. They were talking joyfully and laughing without seriously engaging in eating. After consuming only a very little from their plates, they finished their eating; they took their plates and dropped the contents into the waste bin.

In the next scene, a very poor person comes near the waste bin and starts to search its contents. He locates the two chicken pieces which were hardly eaten. He puts them in a small plastic bag. He fishes out more eatables from the dustbin and puts them in another plastic bag and leaves.

In the next scene, the man is seen getting in to a hut. Two very impoverished girls rush towards their father and eagerly snatch the plastic bags from him. Retaining the small plastic bag with him, he allows the two girls to open the the other bag. The girls eagerly take out the eatables from them and start eating them in a hurry. Once they finished them, the father opens the small plastic bag and joyfully extends the two pieces of chicken to the girls. The girls are thrilled to see it and they start eating it with great relish. Within no time, they finish eating it. Their faces look as if they have still not eaten to their full. They turn the plastic bags inside out and start licking whatever remnants left there.

The girl who was watching this video was shedding tears as she saw the fate of the little girls groping in utter poverty. She said to her father: “Papa, I promise you, I will not waste food any more.”

[Amma: “Disciplining the children right at the young age is extremely essential. If the cement in a wall is not dried up, one can scribble something or draw something in it and it will stay there forever. You cannot do so if  the cement has dried up. Therefore parents, in addition to giving love and affection to their children, should also teach them good habits and inculcate good values in them. They should also live a life of example for them.”]

16.  More prayers?

Once there lived a devotee of God, who was undergoing a bad patch in his life. He had lost his job and was frantically searching for a job for a long time. His family was facing lots of financial problems. He used to pray to God sincerely to save him from crisis. Finally, he got a good, well paying job.

As thanks giving to God, he arranged a bhajan (devotional singing) and prayer program in his house. He invited several devotees and friends to attend the program. He also arranged for refreshments to be distributed to visitors at the end of the bhajan program.

The program went of well. The last song was sung and the arati was conducted to the deity’s picture with a prayer song. As the program ended and every one was getting up to move to the dining area to eat the refreshments, the young daughter of the host got up and shouted: “Wait, wait! Let us make a prayer, don’t go!”

Everyone got surprised. One of them said to her, “We have finished our prayers and did the arathi too! What more is there for praying?”

The little girl said, “All these prayers were done as a thanksgiving by my father as he got a job by God’s grace. But so many other people are still jobless; when my father was selected, all the others who had attended the interview with him did not get their jobs, did they? Those people too should get jobs and live happily. I want all of us to pray for their sake before leaving from here”.

(From Amma’s satsang dt 12/12/2020)

 

 

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 5 (15 more stories)

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

1. Angry Drunkard

Once a man got fully drunk and was returning home by walk at night. He was totally unsteady and he was simply swaying this way and that way with faltering steps. On his way, he tripped over a stone and fell into a pit. As he was trying to steady himself and wondering how to get out of the pit, suddenly there was a lighting in the sky; it lit up the place all around him for a second.

The drunkard shouted angrily, “Oh God! What are you doing to me? Are you laughing at me? You made me trip and fall into this pit and you are also taking a photograph of it! Don’t dare to play such jokes at me”

[Amma: “Most of us are like this drunkard. For all evils that befall on us on account of our faults, we tend to blame God!“]

(Amma Onam Satsang 10/9/19)

2. Super hit book, but…

Once there was a famous novelist, who had several novels published and were read and appreciated widely. He once thought of writing a non-fiction. He said to his friends, “I am planning to write a book titled Changing your life in 30 days“. His friends said, “Don’t venture into writing such books. You are already a famous novelist and you are making a decent income through your novels. People will not be interested in reading such a non-fiction from you. You will only be wasting your time”.

But the novelist did not heed to their advice. He spent time in writing and finishing the book. Soon a publisher came forward to publish the book and the contract was signed. The books got printed and widely distributed. After two 2 weeks, the writer got a call from his publisher who said, “Congrats! Your book proved  to be a superhit and within these 15 days 2 million copies have been sold; but there is a serious issue now…”

“What is it?”

“We are sorry that we overlooked a typo error in the book title. Instead of ‘Changing your life in 30 days’, we had printed the title as ‘Changing your wife in 30 days‘. Don’t worry, we are correcting it and releasing the fresh prints in the market.”

Subsequently after a couple of weeks, the publishers informed him that not a single copy of the book got sold after the title error was corrected!

(Amma Onam Satsang 10/9/19)

3. The outsider in the marriage party!

Once a lion was getting married and the the celebrations were in full swing. One group of lions were playing music and another group of young lions were dancing. Amidst them, suddenly a mouse joined and started dancing along with the lions!

One lion noticing this intruder questioned: “Hey! Mouse! How dare you come and dance along with the lions?”

The mouse replied: “why not? This is the marriage of my younger brother. Why shouldn’t I dance?”

“We are mighty lions and you are a mean mouse. How can a lion be your younger brother?” asked the lion.

The mouse replied: “I too was a lion once; I became a mouse after I got married”.

4. The best talk!

[Amma: “Some men behave with an idea that women are lower than them.  Such an attitude will only bring hardship to men.“]

Once a group of travellers were to cross a ferocious river running full with flood water.  There was only a weak and precarious wooden bridge to cross the river and the travellers walked through it. Unfortunately the bride could not bear the weight of the group. It gave away and many of them fell into the river. However, four persons including one female member of the group caught hold of a rope in the bridge at the last moment; they hung precariously from the broken bridge and they did not fall into the water.

But the rope too was old and weak.  it gradually and slowly started getting torn, as it could not bear the weight of four people. If only one of them could jump into the water, at least the rest can hang on and also manage to climb up. They started discussing this matter amid themselves. All of them felt that it was indeed essential that one among them should come forward to jump into water. Since there were three men, they felt unanimously that it would be better to sacrifice the woman so that they can escape. With that intent, they eagerly looked at the woman expecting her to do the plunge.

The woman felt that she could not escape this predicament. However, before jumping, she opted to deliver a lecture to the selfish men about the greatness of sacrifice. She started talking in a highly spirited voice about the importance of doing a selfless act in life, how a person sacrificing for the sake of others gets glory, gets a space in heaven and so on. Her discourse was highly impressive; the men who heard it with rapt attention could not control themselves to express their appreciation to the lady as she finished her talk. The clapped their hands together to demonstrate their appreciation.

No need to tell what happened next!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya -Malayalam  Vol 1)

5. Change of Role

Once a man prayed to Go: “My lord! My wife never understands the difficulties I am undergoing in my life. Acroos the whole day, I toil and suffer with my workload in my office; but she is staying at home and enjoying her life. Dear God, I have a wish. Please change our roles; let me become a housewife and let her become a male and attend the office.”

God accepted his prayers and assured him that he would do the same.

The next day, as he woke up he had become the female and his wife, a male.  For the erstwhile woman, now ‘new husband’ it was now enough if he wakes up at eight, take bath leisurely and get ready to go to office. But for the old husband, now the wife, it became inevitable to rise up early from bed.

She started preparing breakfast. She woke up the children and bathed them and forced them to eat breakfast. She had to sweep the house clean. Now it was time to make things ready to send her husband to office. She took out the dress for her husband to wear from the wardrobe, served him breakfast and sent him off. She took her children to school and dropped them there. on her way back, she went to the market and bought fresh vegetables. Immediately she had to wash the old clothes.

Once it was over, it was time to start cooking lunch. Suddenly it started raining. She had to rush out to gather the dresses hung outside in the open, bring them in and spread them for drying in the clothe lines inside the house. It was now evening and the children returned from school. She gave them snacks and milk and sat with them to do their homework. By that time, the husband returned from office; she had to serve him biscuits and tea.

She lit the evening lamps and spent time in chanting God’s names and doing prayers.  It was time to serve dinner followed by cleaning the utensils. Before going to bed, she had to arrange things for the next day’s routine.

Days went by this way. Thus the wife (the erstwhile husband) became very tired, weak and disillusioned on account of the never ending daily chores of a typical housewife. She prayed to God, “Oh dear lord; I have lost all my energy playing my new role as wife. Enough is enough. Please convert me back to my old husband role, please!”

God smiled and said, “Yes,  I will do it, but you have to wait at least for 10 months.”

“Why, why?” asked the woman.

“Because you are pregnant now” said the Lord and disappeared!

[Amma: “Most us are like the husband in this story. We always tend to compare ourselves with those better off than us and feel we are not as happy as they are.  But we should rather compare us with those who are leading a more difficult life than us and feel happy that we are so much better off than these people. Every person in this world is unique. Each person has a specific role to play which is not  same as the other. We must understand this and play our role to the best of our ability with self confidence. Only then we will get satisfaction out of our life.“]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya -Malayalam  Vol 1)

6. Hunger and spiritual philosophy

Once two sanyasis who are well versed in scriptures were travelling together on a pilgrimage by walk. Each of them carried food packet with them, which they would consume after taking bath in the morning. After walking for long, they finally ended at the bank of a river. It was already past noon and they were feeling extremely hungry and tired.
One sanyasi said, “Let me go first to take bath and return; you take care of our food packets lest some animals may come and snatch them away”.

He stepped in to the river for taking bath. The other sanyasi who was sitting at the river bank under the shade of a tree, felt too hungry to wait for bathing. He opened his food packet and started eating in a hurry. Unfortunately, his hunger could not be appeased by it; he thought for a while; then he took out the food packet of the other sanyasi and ate it too!

As the first Sanyasi came back after taking bath, he said, “you can go for bathing; Come back quickly so that we can eat. I am extremely hungry.”

When the second sanyasi came back after bathing, the first one asked angrily, “I was looking for our food packets and they are missing! What have you done?”

“Oh! I was feeling extremely hungry. I ate both of them”.

The former flared up: “How on earth can you eat my share? ”

The second sanyasi said, “Cool down brother! Why do you get excited so much? I am the atman residing in every being. Have you not read the scriptures properly. What does Lord Krishna say in Bhagavad Gita 15.14 — “Aham vaishvanaro bhutva, praninam dehamashritah…….” What does it mean? ‘I, becoming the subtle fire called Vaishvanara, in association with prana and apana vayus, digest all the four types of food’. That is precisely what happened. Don’t get agitated!”

The first sanyasi looked around him. He found a long piece of stick nearby. He took it in his hands and started beating the other. The second sanyasi cried in pain, “Hey, stop stop! Why are you hitting and hurting me like this?”

The first sanyasi said immediately, ” Cool down brother! Why are you shouting like this? Has not lord Krishna said in Bhagavad Gita 2.23 — “nainam chindanthi sasthrani, nainam dahati pavakah.…….” What does it mean? ‘No weapon can hurt the Atman, no fire can burn it, no water can wet it and no air can dry it’. You are that Atman! Don’t get agitated!”

[Amma: “Pundits can quote verbatim many things from scriptures with vanity, but it is not a measure of any spiritual attainment”.]

7. Changing the Capital

Once a man overheard a boy making prayers at the temple. The boy prayed, “Dear God, Please make China as the capital of America”. The man was bemused to hear such a prayer. He asked the boy, ” Why are you making such a prayer?”

The boy said, “Yesterday, while answering my exam paper I had written “China” as the capital of America. Subsequently I came to know that my answer was wrong. So, I am praying to God to make my answer right!”

[Amma: “What we need is a childlike heart and not childishness. Any prayer to God like this is childish”.]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki- Tamil – Part 2)

8. Expert speaker

Once a boy said to his friend, “My teacher is really a great intellect”.

“How?” asked the other boy.

“He is capable of talking for hours on any subject you give. Even if you give him a trivial subject, he can talk for 5 hours!”.

The other boy said, “If you say so, I would say, our neighbor is far greater speaker than your teacher. Even without any subject given, he can talk endlessly for days!”

[Amma: “Nowadays many orators who speak at gatherings are like that. In reality, there is no greatness in public speaking. It is not wrong in public speaking, but what is more important is to put words into practice. Nowadays, most of the talks are meant to give advice to others but never to follow in life.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 2)

9.  Ideal couple (?!)

Once there was a village where all the people lived harmoniously and  peacefully. The reason for this was attributed to a couple in the village, whose life of living without any conflicts or fights was an inspiration for the entire village. If there is some skirmish within any family, elders would say, “Look at that lady! How calmly and peacefully she is living with her husband? Have you ever heard of any bickering, angry exchange of words or fighting between the couples? See how affectionately do they life together. You must learn to be as patient as that lady”.

Hearing it, peace would return to the family. This way, the entire village remained peaceful.

The 30th marriage day of the couple happened to come. In order to celebrate it, the entire village gathered. Having heard about the reputation of the couple, people from Media too came to conduct an interview with the lady of the house. The interviewer asked, “We have heard that your husband was an extremely short tempered and would flare up even for little things before marriage; we also came to know that after marriage there was not even a trace of fight between you and your husband; May we know the secret behind it?”

The lady said, “There is no great secret about it.  Immediately after our marriage, we went on a sightseeing trek.  We took a donkey with us to carry our baggages and foodstuff. On our way, the donkey tripped and fell down. My husband did not like it. He ran to the donkey, twisted one of its ears and said, “You must be careful; this is my first warning to you”…

“We put the luggage back on the horse back and continued with our journey. After a couple of hours, the donkey tripped over a stone and fell down again. My husband got extremely angry. He caught hold of both of its ears, twisted them and said, “I had already told you that you must be careful. This is my second warning to you”….

“On our trekking we were  to climb and cross three hills; till we crossed two hills, there was no further problem from the donkey. As we were half way up the third hill, the donkey was extremely tired and exhausted.  It fell down again. This time my husband took out a pistol from his pocket and shot the donkey. The donkey died instantly…

“I could not digest what he did. I said, “Oh! what a sin you have committed! After all it is a hapless poor animal and how can you be so cruel to kill it like this?”…

“Hearing this, my husband came running towards me and caught hold of my ear. He twisted it and said, “You must be careful; this is my first warning to you. Understand?”

“I understood. Whenever something unpleasant happens between me and my husband, I could not help but think of the fate of the donkey. So, I invariably shut my mouth and maintain peace. This is the secret of my successful family life!”

[Amma: “Even though this is story is meant for humor and the virtue of patience that the lady developed was purely based on fear, there is indeed a value for it. If a crystal of diamond falls on excreta, we would still pick it up on account of its value”.]

10.  Pride

Once a Major in Army got promoted as Colonel. On the day of his taking charge, a person came to see him at his office.When he saw the person entering into his room, he swiftly took his telephone and started speaking “Hello, President Clinton? Any important news? Yeah, I took charge as colonel only today and there is lot of work to do and files to be studied. Please convey my inquiries to your wife; I will speak to you later as I am hard pressed for time…” He hung up,  looked at the visitor with pride and asked gravely, “Yes, what do you want?”

The visitor who was all along standing there with humility said, “Excuse me sir; I have come from the telephone department. This phone-set was provided afresh here yesterday; I have now come to give connection to it!”

[Amma: “Now who became a fool in this story? Perhaps on account of our false pride, we may look like fools on many occasions and we may not be aware of it; that’s all. If someone tries to project himself  as great in front of many people, he may become a fool in front of many”.]

11.  Test of boldness

Once a huge fire broke out at a place and several fire trucks rushed towards the location. The fire was raging so badly that the fire trucks were afraid to go near it.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, one fire truck rushed straight into the fire. This gave courage to other firemen and they followed behind. Soon they put out the fire.

The firemen were so proud of the bravery of that fireman who drove the leading vehicle right into the spot that they wanted to give him an award. They held a banquet in hi honour and expressed their appreciation. They asked him if he wanted anything.

He said, “Yes, I’d like to have the brakes fixed on my fire truck!”

(Matruvani – English – Jan 2020)

 

12.  What to do? It is Kali yuga!

[Amma: “In the Bhagavata Purana written thousands of years ago, it has been clearly stated how life in the Kali Yuga (the time period in which we currently live) will be topsy turvy in so many aspects. Many of these things are indeed happening right in front of  our eyes. It is written in Bhagavata that Forests will turn into households; houses will turn into shops; temples will turn to be places of entertainment; In Kali yuga, the father will eat the son and the son will eat the father (meaning that parents and their offspring will always be at loggerheads with each other). It is also written that women will look like men and men will look like women! It is also there to see nowadays; isn’t it?  Here is a story…”]

 

Once a middle aged man was travelling in a train. He was travelling to meet some of his acquaintances with the intention of finding a right partner for marriage to his daughter.

In the train, there was a woman and her son sitting at the opposite seat. The man entered into casual conversation with them. As they talked the man came to know of the educational qualification of the son, employment details and family background. The man liked the looks of the son and he felt he could be a right match for his daughter.

He broached the subject to the woman saying, “I have a daughter to be married off. It looks your son will be a right match for her; will you be interested in taking some steps on this matter?”

Hearing this, the woman flared up. “What do you mean? This is my daughter and not my son!”

The man was shocked. He said hastily, “Oh, I am extremely sorry madam; excuse me for my fault”.

He got an another angry retort from the other person now: “What do you mean by ‘madam’? I am a man!”

13.  Ideal husband?

Once a group of modern girls were discussing about marriage and their ideas about an ideal husband.

Once of the girls said, “According to me, Lord Shiva is the ideal husband”.

The other girls were very surprised to hear it. They asked how.

The girl said, “Lord Shiva has moon at his head. So there is no problem for light and no electric bill to pay for lighting.  He has Ganga river on his head. In the present days of water shortage, I will not have any problem for water; he wears only a tiger skin always. So, I don’t have the burden of washing his clothes. He takes his food by begging. Hence, I have no responsibility of cooking for him! So, I consider Lord Shiva as the perfect husband!”

(From Amma’s Sivarathri Satsang 21/2/2020)

14.  Happy old man?

Once a passerby noticed an old man sitting on a swing at the front yard of a house and joyfully swaying in the swing. He was so surprised to see the old man’s healthy looks that he wanted to know the secret. He went close to the old man and asked, “Sir, what is the secret of your good health?”

The old man said, “Oh! I smoke 6 packets of cigarettes a day;  I consume one barrel of whisky every week; I eat meat all the three times a day. And I never do any exercise!”

“I just cannot believe it! May I know how old are you?”

“Twenty six” said the “old”man.

[Amma: “Indulgence in narcotics and alcohol may help to forget the world and derive some temporary joys; People don’t understand that  on account of such habits, they are losing their vigor and vitality and causing damage to their health. Their health would deteriorate rapidly, they get geriatric faster and die early in life.  People who are to support the family and the country destroy themselves through these evil habits and cause suffering and agony to their dependents too”.]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

15.  What if ?

Two wildlife photographers were walking through a forest.

All of a sudden, a huge lion jumped onto their path. The two photographers shook with fear.

One of them whispered to the other through the corner of his mouth, “Don’t move! Don’t even breathe! Stand as still as a statue. Remember what we read in that book? If we stand still and look the lion in the eye, it will leave us alone.”

The second man replied, “Yes, you’re right, buddy, we read it in the book. But has the lion read that book? The book is different from this reality. So let us try to run and escape!”

[Amma:Similarly, what we read in a book is different from real life. It is when we face real life situations that we learn.”]

(From Amma’s Covid-19 Talk on 10/52020)

Amma shares personal anecdotes from her early life (4 stories)

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Amma is a storehouse of little stories. She conveys deepest spiritual teachings through little stories. During her satsangs, Amma occasionally shares a few personal anecdotes too from her life which will have some great teachings of values and also some fun elements too! 

1.  Amma Rows a boat

(Note: The exact period in which this incident took place is not known. Perhaps it might have happened when Amma was in her late teens or early twenties).

Amma went to Vallikkavu once to buy some provisions and was returning by noon. Those days, there was no bridge across the backwaters that seperated Vallikkavu from Amma’s village Parayakadavu. People have to cross the waters only through the rowing boat. The boats belonged to Government and the boatman was missing. Perhaps he had gone home for his lunch.

When Amma reached the jetty, several people were waiting for the boat there. A woman was seen crying. Amma asked her the reason. The poor woman said, “I have left my children there at Parayakadavu and came here this morning. There is nothing to eat at home and the children are starving since morning. I came here to borrow some money from my relatives and bought some provisions. I have to go back and cook. Only then the children would get something to eat. I have been waiting here for the past one hour and the boatman is nowhere in sight…”

Amma felt very disturbed. Her heart swelled with compassion. Acquiring an extraordinary bravery, she said, “Come on! All of you come and sit in the boat; I will row the boat across the back waters!” Everyone rushed in. Amma took up the long stick meant to row the boat and felt for the first time how heavy it was! It was about 20 feet taller than her! In her own self styled way, she started rowing the boat by plunging the long staff into the soil under water.  The boat gradually started moving slowly towards the other bank.

As they progressed, one or two large fishing boats came in the middle of the backwaters; those riding in the boats shouted at Amma warning her to stop so that she does not accidentally bang at their boats! Somehow Amma managed to manovre her boat by hook or crook to avoid any collision and gradually getting closer to the other bank!

One or two who happened to notice the happenings from the two banks started shouting excitedly and soon many people had gathered at the banks to watch the maverick little woman rowing a boat with lots of people successfully across the backwaters. Once Amma reached the bank at Parayakadavu side, there was a huge clap from the onlookers! It looked as if they were excitedly watching a cricket match!

When Amma got down, there was another kind of ‘reception’ waiting for her! Yes, it was Damayanthi Amma, Amma’s mother who too had rushed to the bank hearing that her ever unruly daughter was rowing a boat; she was angry with rage and was waiting with a stick on her hand to beat Amma! Once Amma got down, Damayanti Amma started beating her, shouting, “Edee,  how unbecoming of you to row a Government boat like this? You don’t have any experience in rowing such a boat and what a calamity it would have been for all these people, if you had sunk the boat midway? How disastrous it would have been, had you hit a fishing trawler? You are a hopeless rogue of a girl…” After receiving a few beats, Amma writhed herself free from Damayanthi Amma’s grip and fled from the scene!

2.  Not one extra leaf

Amma’s mother Damayanthi Amma was a strict disciplinarian. She had the highest respect for nature and was very particular to preserve nature and consuming only that much as minimum needed from the nature.

In those days, some poor people who go for Sabarimala Yatra by foot and pass through Parayakadavu in their journey were offered food by Damayanti Amma. Despite poverty and shortage at home, she had the magnanimous heart to share their kanji (gruel) and curry with them. When one such visitor came, Damayanti Amma offered him a bowl of Kanji.

It was the practice those days  to use a leaf of a jackfruit tree, by judiciously folding like a spoon to consume kanji. Damayanthi amma called Amma to get her a leaf of jackfruit tree immediately to give to the visitor. Amma went to the jackfruit tree near her house and there she noticed a broken branch of the tree containing some 60 leaves on the ground. She immediately brought the branch containing the leaves to her mother.

Seeing it, Damayanthi amma became furious. “Edee, what I wanted is just a leaf and you have done an atrocious act of breaking a branch of the tree containing so many leaves! How insensitive and careless you are!” shouting so, Damayanthi amma started beating Amma! Amma had to somehow manovre herself to get freed from her mother and explain that she had brought only what had already broken and fallen.

Similarly, Damayanthi amma would always give strict instructions to her children that they should not urinate of spit in a river as rivers are forms of Devi. Even though backwaters are not really rivers, the same respect was to be extended them. Whenever Amma, as a little girl,  used to get into backwaters, the chill of the water would trigger in her a tendency to urinate; but she would immediately remember Damayanthi amma’s words and instantly, as if a switch is pressed off, Amma would control herself.

Damayanti Amma was dead against doing any wastage, however insignificant it may look. When Amma used to sweep the courtyard with a broom (broom made of coconut leaf-sticks) even if a single stick falls from it and found discarded, Dhamayanthi amma would scold her. She used to say, “If you lose a stick a day, then in about 100 days, the whole broom will disappear. Never be careless like this. You must see the whole broom in every stick”.

3.  Atithi Devo bhava (Guest are Gods)

During Amma’s childhood, her mother Damayanthi amma was extremely adept in welcoming and feeding guests.  Whenever she cooked, she made sure that some extra amount of food was always cooked so that if any visitor came to the house at odd hours, food was always there to feed them.

Even when the meal time came, Damayanthi amma would tend to delay it a bit so as to wait for any possible guest landing unexpectedly at that time. Even when food was just enough for feeding the children, if some guest happened to drop by, Damayanthi amma would ensure to feed the guest to his full. If no rice is left after feeding the guest, she would mix scraped coconut with boiled rice water and feed her children.

Poverty was a common problem in Amma’s neighborhood where most were fishermen families; feeding of children in a day would be possible only when the fishermen return from seas with their catch of fish. Sometimes, their arrival would get considerably delayed and the family members would not have eaten anything since morning till late noon. Especially during rainy seasons, as fishermen could not venture into seas, there were families which found difficult even to have a single meal a day.

Damayanthi Amma, before serving meals to her family members, would send someone to the neighboring houses to inquire whether anyone is going hungry there. If so, she would immediately send a few vessels filled with food to them and then only serve food to her own family members.

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 21/7/20)

4.  Amma shares her food

During Amma’s childhood, she was attending an elementary school nearby.  (She studied upto 4th standard and then discontinued due to family problems). Most of the children who studied there were from fishermen’s families. Most of them lived a life of  hand to mouth existence. These families lived each day by the income they got from that day’s catch of fish.

If a class contained 50 students, at least 10 to 15 children in the class will not have anything  to eat during noon meal time. Many children would bring their noon meals in a tiffin box and eat at lunch time. Some children, who lived close by, would run to their homes to eat their lunch. While those children who brought food took their lunch, those who had nothing to eat would while away time in the corridor or in the grounds.

Noticing this, young Sudhamani (Amma) felt sad.  She used to take her lunch box. She took a portion of her food and shared it with another girl who did not have anything to eat. Noticing this, other children who had brought food too kept aside a portion of their lunch and started sharing it with other children. That way, all the children in the class had their lunch that day.

When this news spread, those children who went home to eat their lunch started bringing some food with them on their return to share with other hungry children.

This way, in the whole school, no children had to go without food during lunch time.

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 6 (15 more stories)

1. When money comes in excess

[Amma: “Children, it is not wrong to make money. But it should not be as if the entire life is only for that. You can have enough money for your needs; but you should not accumulate money excessively.”]

One there lived a man who earned his living by making and mending umbrellas. He used to make umbrellas peacefully, by chanting God’s name all the time. He would speak about God’s great qualities to the people who come to him. Whatever he could earn this way, he lived a very contented and happy life. His customers loved him. He was never short of income needed to run his family.

One day, a very rich Zamindar came to buy an umbrella from him. He was impressed by the quality of the umbrella, its low price and also the nice behavior of the umbrella maker. He wanted to reward him. He generously gave a huge sum of money to the maker for buying the umbrella.

It was the first time the man ever got to see such a huge sum of money at one go from selling an umbrella. The money started playing with the nature of the man. His mind lost concentration in work; he constantly thought how to save that money. Will it be safe if he kept it at his house? Will it get stolen by thieves?

The thought of money blocked his chanting of God’s names. He could not finish the jobs in hand in time. ‘How to invest this money? Shall I start building a new house? Should I start a new business?’ such thoughts kept crowding his mind.  He lost concentration on work totally. He felt irritated to speak to others. He lost his habit of talking nicely with his customers.  If anybody disturbed his thoughts about money, he felt angry at them.

In due course, his customers started dwindling.  His income nosedived.  As his mind was constantly on money, it lost its peace. As greed and selfishness increased, he felt painful and agitated. As his income from making umbrellas started drying, he had to spend all the money for his sustenance.

Thus the peace and tranquility that prevailed in his life was totally lost on account of the arrival of a huge sum of money.

2.  Forbearance

[Amma: “When the goal is high, the amount of patience and forbearance needed to achieve it is also high. Without these qualities, any grand declaration of intentions might  turn to be a laughable declaration. It applies to spiritual quest too.”]

Once there was a famous wrestler.  He had lots of fans; he was challenged by many other wrestlers.  The wrestler had a dream that he should be the conqueror of all wrestlers in the world and he should be overawed by others by his sheer looks. So, he thought of an idea. He thought that if he could have a picture of a ferocious tiger tattooed on his back, he would look intimidating.

He called a famous tattoo artist. The artist showed a picture of a wild tiger that looked quite fierce and violent and he agreed. The tattoo artist started his work. He first started with the left ear of the tiger. The wrestler never expected that the tattooing process would be so prickly and painful.  After a short while, he said, “Oh no! That area feels so painful. Please stop there and do the tattooing in some other area”.

The artist stopped there and started to work on the right eye of the tiger. After patiently bearing the pain for a while, the wrestler could not contain himself any more. “Wait, wait! The pain is really excruciating there. Please leave that portion and start somewhere else”.

Now the artist shifted his work to the mouth of the tiger. As usual , within a short while the wrestler started shouting in pain. “No, no! I just cannot bear this pain any more! Better erase everything; I am abandoning this idea”.

The artist said that there is no way of erasing a tattoo work done on the skin. But, the wrestler was not ready to continue with the torture on his back!

Thus, the back of the wrestler now looked ridiculous with a few patches of lines and dots drawn incoherently at his back. Instead of creating an awe, it only created ridicule from the onlookers!

(from Amma’s Gurupurnima message 14/7/2019)

3.  Setting example

[Amma: “Any preaching is best done by living as example.  Mere verbal preaching cannot effectively drive home philosophy. People tend to follow prominent personalities in the society. Hence people in high posts and positions should set examples for others.”]

Once a minister went to the the house of the Head of the Village as a guest. That village was extremely dirty. In every street and road junctions rubbish had accumulated in huge mounds. Gutters were stagnant overflowing with filthy water. Bad smell permeated the entire atmosphere of the village.

The minister inquired why the whole village was so dirty. The Village Head replied: “The people who live here totally lack civic sense. They cannot even understand that we should keep our localities clean. However much we advise or teach them, they would not listen. They are extremely lazy. I have tried my best to give sermons to  them on cleanliness but I am fed up as they just don’t bother. ”

The minister did not say anything. After taking his dinner at the house he went to sleep.

Next day early morning, the village head woke up but he could not find the minister in his bed. He searched for him in the entire house in vain. He came out of the house and looked around. The minister was on the street with a broomstick on hand. He had swept the surroundings clean and was igniting a huge mound of waste. Seeing it, the village Head could not remain a mute spectator. When the minister himself was engaged in scavenging work, how can he be an idle onlooker? He too started cleaning the streets.

As people in the village started coming out of their houses in the morning, they saw the minister and the Head of the village busy in sweeping the village. They were surprised! How could they sit idle when such eminent persons were engaged in cleaning work?  Everybody started joining the work.  Soon, all the rubbish were cleared and burnt. The gutters were cleaned.  the whole village became spic and span. Very soon, the culture of the village changed and cleanliness became their part of life.

(Source: Oliyai nokki-Tamil-Part 1)

5. Never lose hope

Once a huge flock of birds were flying away from the forest where they were living all along. After flying for while, they came down to rest. They noticed a huge contingent of snails moving slowly towards the direction of the forest. “Where are you going?” asked the birds. The head of the snails said, “We are moving to the forest ahead of us; we want to go and live there”.

The chief of the birds said. “What? To that forest? I would advise you not to go there. We are all coming only from there; we have abandoned it and going in search of greener pastures. That forest is unfit to live; As all ponds there have dried up, there is no source of water there; trees have withered; there is nothing to eat and live there. You can’t find any green leaf there”.

The head of the snail said, “It does not matter. By the time we reach there, we are sure, things would change. We have enough time and enough hope”.

6. Gaining attention

Once a man was standing at the terrace of his house. He saw his friend walking along the road. Instead of calling him aloud, he somehow wanted to get the attention of the friend. He plucked a bunch of flowers from an adjacent tree and threw towards his friend. The friend stopped, picked up the flowers and smelled them. Taking them along, he moved forward.

Now the friend from the terrace throw a coin towards him. The walker noticed the coin on the road; he looked around to see whether anyone is noticing him. But he did not look upward towards the house. He picked up the coin, put it into his pocket and walked away. Now the friend from the terrace threw a pebble stone at his friend; it hit him on the head. Infuriated, the man looked around in all directions and also upward and  only then he noticed his friend standing at the terrace and smiling at him.

[Amma: “This is how most of us behave with God too. When good things happen in our lives, we never bother to think of God. But when a calamity strikes, only then we start looking for God’s help!”]

 

7. The little boy and the pilot

A pilot on duty on a specific and regular flight route always would fly low over a meadow and look eagerly down. Noticing his habit, the co-pilot asked him, “What is so special about this meadow? Why are you eagerly looking at it each time?”

The pilot said, “When I was a boy, I lived in a village in this meadow. I used to go for fishing in the stream nearby. As I sat there with my fishing rod, normally, a plane would fly overhead; I used to eagerly look at the plane; I longed to become a pilot and fly a plane those days. Over the years, I have indeed become a pilot. But now, as I fly over this meadow, I long for my childhood. I would love to sit peacefully by the stream with a fishing rod in hand and do my fishing leisurely!”

[Amma: ” By thinking of the past or worrying about the future, most of us miss to live in the present fully.”]

(Amma Onam Satsang 11/9/19)

8.  Donated Air?

Once an Old Age Home was celebrating its anniversary. A cultural show was arranged for the celebration and all the inmates and other invitees were sitting in the hall and enjoying the program.

Suddenly, a person came into the hall and switched off all the ceiling fans. He was a well known businessman in the town. One of the inmates asked him, “Why did you switch off all the fans? Don’t you see that people are sweating profusely in this hot climate without air circulation?”

The businessman said, “It is me who donated all the fans in this old age home. My name has been written in all the fans in this hall.If all the fans are running, no one would be able to read my name written in them. I wanted to make sure that people who have come here for this program should know that it is me who has donated all these fans. That’s why I switched off the fans”.

[Amma: ” Such a donation can never be called a real donation.  Such an attitude will even cancel out the punya that one accrues through donation”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

9. Selective hearing

A small crowd of people were waiting outside a shop to buy various provisions. The shopkeeper was busy picking up things that the customers asked and packing them.

Suddenly, the shopkeeper stopped all his work, closed his eyes and joined his palms in prayer. A couple of minutes passed and then he opened his eyes. He noticed that there was a look of irritation in the customers’ faces. One of them said to him curtly, “What is it you are doing all of a sudden by closing your eyes? When all of us are waiting to be taken care of in the shop, aren’t you showing disrespect to your customers by stopping your work and doing like this?”

The shopkeeper relied patiently, “It is evening arati time in the adjacent temple. Did you not hear the temple bell ringing? Hearing the sound of the bell, I just closed my eyes and prayed to God for a few moments”.

“None of us heard any bell ringing from the temple” said the customers.

The shopkeeper did not speak further and was busy with his work. After a while, when others were not noticing, he threw a coin on to the road. When the coin hit the road, it made a clinking sound. All the customers immediately turned back. Some of them rushed to pick up the coin.

Immediately the shopkeeper said to them, “See, when the sound of the bell from the temple was loud and clear, none of you noticed it; but all of you did not miss the mild clinking of a coin!”

[Amma: ” The awareness of all the people who came to the shop were only  in money and worldly matters; That’s why they all could hear the mild sound of a coin hitting the floor. On the other hand, the shopkeeper gave considerable significance to the thoughts of God in his life. That’s why, despite being extremely busy with his work, he could instantly turn his attention towards God at the sound of the temple bell. Like this, our centre of attention should always be God in our lives. Then whether we are engaged in worldly matters  or extremely busy in some activity, our awareness on God will always be sharp”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya-Malayalam- Vol 1)

10.  The signature signifies…

[Amma: ” In the past, men had a bloated pride claiming ‘I am more powerful than women’ and the tendency to dominate and subjugate women. Women of the present day tend to think differently. They think, “Across so many years in the past, men dominated and controlled us. We shall no longer allow it. It is time to teach them a lesson”. Now there is constant wrangling in the present day families; both men and women are busy trying to teach the others who is bigger. This tendency should go. Instead of supporting and nurturing each other, couples tend to become two banks of a river with no connecting bridge in between.”]

Once a man got married. After the formal ceremonies in the traditional way are over, the couple proceeded to the Registrar Office to formally register the marriage.

After going through the formalities, the husband first signed in the register. Subsequently, the wife too signed. After seeing his wife’s signature, the man shouted, “Finished. I don’t want to live with this woman. I want divorce immediately!”

Everyone who accompanied them were shocked. The registrar asked, “What nonsense are you talking? What went wrong?”

The man said, “You are asking me what went wrong? Open your eyes widely and note what you see here…” saying so, he pointed out his signature and that of his wife below. “Do you notice how small and compact my signature is? Now look at hers. See how big and long — as if she is occupying the entire page for it? I have rightly understood its meaning and purport. Even in life, she wants to dwarf me and dominate me. I just can’t allow it. I will not allow her to make me small”.

(Source: Amritam gamaya-Malayalam- Vol 1)

11. Judgement depends (1)

Once a relative came to meet his aunt after a long time. They were chit chatting on various family matters.

“Your son got married recently, right? How is your daughter-in-law?” asked the relative.

The aunt said, “Oh don’t ask me anything about her. The less said, the better. She is the laziest woman I have ever seen in my life. She never gets up from her bed before 8 AM.  My son prepares coffee and wakes her up with the cup of coffee in hand. She does not know the spelling of ‘cooking’. She hardly does any household chores. ..”

“So, your son must be suffering a lot?”

“Suffering? Poor fellow. He is such an idiot that he does not find anything faulty with her.  Instead, he is  totally supportive to her and does all the domestic chores himself. It is he who pampers her and dances totally to her whims.  He is just a puppet in her hands; that’s all”.

After a while, the relative asked about the aunt’s daughter.

The aunt’s face brightened up immediately. She said, “Oh! My daughter is extremely lucky. She has got such a nice and loving husband, who treats her virtually like a queen. He simply does not allow her to do any domestic work; he permits her freely to sleep till late in the morning; he has engaged maids to do all the domestic work; he is such a gem of a person!”

(From Amma’s Onam satsang 14/4/2020)

12. Judgement depends (2)

[Amma: “If we develop liking on something, we will start praising it. If a man falls in love with a not-so-good-looking girl, he would see her only as an epitome of all beauties. At the same time, however good looking a person may be, one who hates him/her will only see shortfalls in him/her. This is how, unknowingly our own likes and dislikes tend to dictate our judgements.”]

Once a woman was busy in her kitchen and she was listening to radio too. She heard a woman singing beautifully.  She said to her husband, “Oh! This song is so nice. It is sung so beautifully. When I hear this, I feel dropping all my work in the kitchen and sit aside to hear and enjoy the singing”.

The husband asked: “Do you know who is singing?”

The woman said, “I don’t know”.

The husband said, “It is our neighboring woman who gave a police complaint about you is the singer!”

The moment she heard it, she asked her husband to switch off the radio saying, “Oh! I don’t think this song is so good. The voice is horrible and there is no alignnment with shruti and tala too!”

13. Two beggars

Once  in a village two beggars lived together, sharing a small space in a choultry. One of them was blind and the other, lame.  They would sit outside the choultry and beg at the passersby.  Since there was not much of crowd in that area, they could hardly get any income and they  found it extremely difficult to get even one square meal a day.

One day, the blind beggar said, “It is becoming hopeless to sit here and eke out a living. Let us do one thing.  I have strong legs ; I can carry you on my shoulders and walk. Since you have eyes, you can show me the way. We can walk to the market place where there will be a big crowd and we can get more money from people who will take pity on us.”

The idea immediately appealed to the lame beggar. Soon the blind beggar carried the lame one on his shoulders and they walked to the market place by inquiring their way. They sat together and begged at the people. Many people started dropping coins and currency in their begging bowl.

It was indeed proved to be  a big bonanza for them. At the end of the day, they shared the amount collected equally. A few days went smoothly like this and their pockets started swelling with more and more money. But the arrival of money started creating cracks in their friendship.  They started fighting over the money. Each one demanded a higher share.

“You must thank me for the fortune we are receiving daily. Unless I carried you on my shoulders and took all the trouble of walking to the town, you would never have earned such an amount. Naturally, I deserve a higher amount in the collection!”

The lame man said, “But unless I had guided you in the path, how could you reach the market place? It is me who deserve a better share.”

Soon they started arguing. The argument grew to become a big fight.  The next morning, each of them did not want to talk to the other.  The blind man did not want to carry the lame man and the lame man was in no mood to go with the blind man unless the money sharing issue was sorted out. They did not go to the marketplace for begging. It continued for more days, till all their cash collection got exhausted.  They started sitting outside the choultry to beg once again. Their hunger and poverty returned to them as earlier.

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)

14. Which world?

[Amma: “People nowadays are driven by attraction towards new things. Once attained, only dissatisfaction increases. Constant unhappiness widens gap between family members. Though husband and wife life under the same roof, they seem to live in two different worlds. Amma remembers a funny anecdote:”]

Once a man asked his friend, “When do you think this world  would come to an end?”

His friend asked: “Which world are you talking about?”

Man: “What do you mean? How many worlds are there?
Friend: “As for me, there are two worlds. ”

Man: “How?”

Friend: “There is one world of my wife and there is another world of mine. When my wife dies, her world would cease to exist. When I die, my world would come to an end!”

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)

15. Really?

[Amma: “Nobody wants to die. Every being wants to  live life the fullest. But no one seems to have any idea of how to lead that life to bring happiness to oneself  and to others.”]

Once there lived an old woman in a village all alone; she had no relatives to call her own or to take care of her at her old age.  She was eking out a living by going into the forest  to collect some firewood, bring it to the village on her head and then selling it for money.

Because of aging, she found it very difficult to carry heavy loads on her head.  Her suffering became unbearable.  She would call out to God panting and cry, “Oh God, Can’t you bring an end to my suffering by taking away my life? What is the point in living a life like this?”

One day, mid way, the old lady dropped her load, unable to carry it any more. She prayed, “Oh God, please end my suffering. I can’t go on like this anymore”.

At that moment a dark and ugly figure came and stood in front of her.  The old lady got terribly scared. “Who are you?” she asked.

The figure replied, “I am the lord of death. I have come to take away your life. Didn’t you call me just now? I have come conceding to your prayers”.

The old lady shook in fear, hearing his words. She suddenly thought of an idea. She said, “You mean my crying just now? Actually I called out somebody to help carry this load of firewood. Will you please help me?”

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)

Amma Tells stories from Itihasas & Puranas – Part 3 (10 more stories)

1.  King Ambarisha and Sage Durvasa

King Ambarisha was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Having pleased with his devotion, lord Vishnu gifted his Sudarshana Chakra to Ambarisha. Ambarisha’s country prospered after the arrival of the Chakra and he was always protected by its power.

Ambarisha undertook a vow to fast on every Ekadasi day for a period of one year.  Lord Indra became very jealous of Ambarisha and he was worried that the king, who was already in possession of the mighty Sudarshana Chakra,  might become a threat to him, once he gained the benefits of austerities of fasting on Ekadasi days for a year continuously without a break.

As the day of his last fasting day approached, Lord Indra went to Sage Durvasa (who was known for getting angry on  petty matters and cursing others) and pleased him with his services. He managed to send Durvasa as a guest to King Ambarisha with the evil idea of breaking the fast and preventing the king to get divine blessings.

Durvasa went to meet King Ambarisha. The king received the sage with all reverence. He told the sage that he had finished Ekadasi day fast they can have the meals together on Dwadasi day at the auspicious time. The sage wanted to finish his morning ablutions before it and left, with a promise to return soon.

While the king waited, the most auspicious time for the king to take his food and end the fasting pledge came. His ministers insisted that he should at least sip some water to mark the ending of fasting at the auspicious time, while he could wait for the sage to return for taking the meals together.  But the king did not want to do it, out of respect for the distinguished guest. However, as the auspicious time was about to end, he succumbed to the pressure of his ministers and sipped some water. Exactly at that moment, the sage returned. He noticed the king sipping water without sharing with him and he got very angry.

King Ambarisha sought the pardon of the sage again and again by falling at his feet, but the sage remained  unmoved. He cursed the king for his failure to treat the guest properly and created a demon to kill the king. The king silently prayed to Lord Vishnu to protect him.

Suddenly, the Sudarshana Chakra came whirling and killed the demon instantly. The chakra started moving towards Sage Durvasa in order to cut his throat too. Shocked, the sage started running and the chakra kept chasing him. The sage ran to Lord Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu but none came forward to save him. Lord Vishnu told him to run back to the King Ambarisha and seek his pardon so as to escape from the Chakra.

Durvasa rushed to the king and sought his pardon for having insulted the king for no reason. The humble King prayed to Lord Vishnu to save the sage; instantly, the Chakra withdrew.

Extending all respects to the sage, the king served food to the sage and ate along with him, successfully completing his fasting vow.

(Note: This story appears in Amma’s talks rather briefly in Upadesamritam 1 — not with so much details as above)

[Amma: “God will always be with his devotees who are as humble as Ambarisha. God will come to the rescue of only such devotees who have such a humility. Instead, if one’s mind is only full of wishes like ‘I want wealth; I want comforts; I want money’ etc., how can he ever get God to come to his support?”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

2.  What is Brahman?

[Amma: “There are many pundits and sanyasis today, who can talk about Advaita Vedanta, but never live by it.  Their mind is full of desires and envy. Advaita is not something meant for intellectual debate. It is an experience that a realized person has. There is a story in Upanishad on this subject:”]

Once a father sent his son off to a Gurukula to learn shastras.  The boy came back after finishing his study. The father noticed vanity in the behavior of his son on account of his acquired knowledge. He started asking questions on what he had learned on Brahman; the son tried to explain Brahman through words from what he had memorized from scriptures.  The father decided to teach a lesson to his son.

He asked his son to bring some milk and sugar. Then, he told him to mix them together and taste it by picking up some milk from different directions in the cup. He asked, “How does it taste?”

The son said, “It taste sweet.”

“Explain me sweetness and how sweet it is” said the father. The son could not answer. He kept silent. He understood that Brahman is an experience that cannot be explained by words.

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

3.  Sita’s magnanimity

In Ramayana, Ravana abducted Sita and kept her confined in Ashoka Vana. Many Rakshasis (Demonesses) were around her, constantly troubling and threatening her both physically and mentally. They were forcefully compelling her to accept Ravana and marry him.

On one side, Sita was suffering from deep agony as she had no idea about what her beloved Ram was doing after her abduction by Ravana; on the other side, the torture of of Rakshashis to turn her mind to accept Ravana, Thus Sita was living in virtual hell at Lanka.

It was then Hanuman arrived there as the messenger from Lord Rama.  For the brilliant Hanuman, it required little time to grasp the extent of suffering Sita was undergoing there.  After giving the ring of Rama to Sita as a proof of identification, he said, “Ma, if you give permission, I will kill all these treacherous Raksasis who were torturing you all along”.

Sita stopped Hanuman and said with compassion, “No, don’t do any such thing; however sinful people may be, it is our duty to show forbearance towards them”.

4.  Three different prayers

Lord Rama came to Mithila to take part in Sita Devi’s swayamvar.

The people of Mithila saw Rama and immediately they thought. “Oh how handsome this young man is! From his looks it is highly possible that he is very skilled and a man of impeccable character. Oh God! We pray to you to give him enough power to lift the Shiva’s Bow and marry our most beloved princess Sita!”

When Rama arrived at the place to take part in Swayamvara, all the rest of the kings who had already gathered there to take part in the swayamvara saw Rama. They cursed: “Oh God! Why did this young prince come here? Will our chance of winning Sita become a distant dream because of this young man? Dear God, How nice it would be if only he could disappear totally from this scene!”

Sita too saw Rama. Immediately her heart started throbbing for him. She prayed, “Dear Lord, why did you create this Shiva’s bow so heavily? Will you please make it very light when this young man tries to lift it?”

[Amma:  “Of the three prayers, only the prayer of the people of Mithila was the most appropriate and just. They did not pray for alteration of any situation. They prayed only for God’s grace to give Rama enough power to lift the bow. In a similar way, in all situations that we encounter in our life, we must pray for giving the requisite mental strength to face them boldly. At the same time, our prayer should not be childish”.]

5.  Krishna’s intervention

When the Kurukshetra war was going on, Duryodhana went to meet his mother Gandhari on one night. The purpose of his visit was to get the blessings of his mother to get more power and ensure victory for him in the war.

Gandhari had a lead a life of sacrifice by tying a cloth around her eyes all through her marital life since her husband was a blind person.  This was the way she demonstrated her dedication to her husband by leading a life on equal footing — she did not want to enjoy anything that her husband could not. By the practice of this virtue, she had attained some yogic powers by which she could bless a person through her eyesight; if she  looks at a person’s body, the person would develop strength like iron and he would become unbeatable in a combat.

Duryodhana met Gandhari and requested her blessings through her eye vision. Gandhari, out of her love for her son, agreed for it; she asked Duryodhana to take bath and come in front of her totally nude and she would remove her eye band and look at his body to bless him.

Duryodhana took bath and was coming in nude to meet his mother.  Lord Krishna who came to know of Duryodhana’s ploy, intervened Duryodhana on the way. He said, “What are you doing Duryodhana? Is it not highly disrespectful if go in front of your mother totally nude?  Have you fallen so mean in your conduct? Can’t you at least wrap a narrow towel around your waist? Duryodhana felt that what Lord Krishna said was indeed a sane advice. He tied a small towel around his waist and went in front of his mother.

Gandhari removed her eye cover, looked at Duryodhana’s body and blessed him. All the limbs of Duryodhana that were not covered by cloth became strong like iron; since his thighs were covered by the cloth, they failed to receive her grace.

At the end of Kurukshetra war when the final combat with the mace took place between Duryodhana and Bhima took place, Bhima could not succeed in weakening Duryodhana by hitting him at his various limbs that had been ‘protected’. Finally, Lord Krishna signalled to Bhima to hit Duryodhana at his thigh. Though, as per rules of the combat, one should not hit the opponent on the thigh with the mace, Bhima took the advice of Krishna and hit Duryodhana at his thigh and Duryodhana fell defeated on the ground. That brought the victory to Pandavas and the end to the Kurukshetra war.

6.  Draupadi’s compassion

When the Kurukshetra war almost ended, most of the warriors on both sides had perished in the war. As Dronacharya was killed by devious scheming by Pandavas, his son Ashwathama was boiling with rage and he wanted to avenge the Pandavas for his his father death. He also wanted to inflict a deathly blow to them on account of losing his close friend Duryodhana in the final mace battle with Bhima.

He knew that as long as Lord Krishna was with Pandavas, he could never defeat Pandavas in a war. Hence he schemed to undertake a gory act of violence which was against any norms of normal warfare. Accompanied by a few trusted supporters he went to the Pandava’s camp at midnight when everyone was deep asleep. In one of the tents, he saw five people sleeping together fully covering themselves in blankets. Assuming that they must be the five Pandavas, he murdered all of them mercilessly on the spot.

However, the five persons who were sleeping together were not Pandavas but were the five children of Draupadi born to the five Pandavas.  When she came to know of her children’s murder, her grief was unconsolable. Arjuna and Lord Krishna were seething in anger; they came to know that it was Ashwathama who committed such a gory murder. They went out in search of Ashwathama. Soon they located him, arrested him and brought him before Draupadi.  Their intention was to kill Ashwathama right in front of Draupadi’s eyes so as to avenge for her grief.

Seeing the pitiable state at which Ashwathama stood there, Draupadi said, “Don’t kill him. I am not able to see him only as a murder of my five children. I also see him as the son of your revered teacher Dronacharya. Having got worked up on account of his father’s death, this fellow has resorted to a vengeful counter act forgetting his dharma. By killing him, I am not going to get back my children alive. As a mother, I know how painful it is to lose your own children. If we kill him, the same pain would be felt by his mother too. Let no other mother undergo such a grief on account of my vengeance. Please give him some other punishment and release him”.

[Amma:  “Amma does not mean to say that criminal should not be punished. Let law take its own course. Over and above man-made laws, there is the law of Nature — the Justice of the Universe – that delivers fruits to all actions with principal and interest. No mortal being can ever frustrate karma giving back the fruits of karma.  At the same time, hating the criminal instead of the crime is sure to affect our personality, mind and actions negatively.  If our mind is filled with hatred and enmity, how can we ever get peace and happiness? Hence the change has to happen in ourselves.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki- Tamil – Part 3)

7.  The boon that Kunti had

[Amma:  “Children, in life we all may come across good times and bad times. At times, there may be certain happenings in life which bring good fortunes unexpectedly and we may consider as a divine grace.  At times what looks to be a good fortune might turn out to be a calamity because of certain omissions and commissions of ours done out of lack of discrimination and awareness. When such a thing happens, we might think that a good fortune was rather a curse. In reality it may not be so. How we face good fortunes and bad fortunes as they are encountered in our lives will decide the overall meaningfulness of our life”.]

Early in her teens, princess Kunti Devi devotedly served Saint Durvasa when he came and stayed for a while in the King’s palace. Having felt very happy at her devoted service, Durvasa instructed a mantra to Kunti by which she could call celestial Gods and get pregnant through their association if and when such a need arose.

But, even before her marriage, Kunti made the mistake of experimenting with the Mantra by calling Sun God.  Because of such an act she had to go through the ignominy of bearing a child and the pain of discarding it secretively. Some people may think why Kunti had to undergo such a painful incidence in her life despite getting a boon from a saintly person.

However, the truth was that Sage Durvasa knew through his divine vision that Kunti would not be able to bear a child through her husband after her marriage. He knew there was a need for her to bear children of great valor and character for the sake of establishing dharma in future and that’s why he gave the mantra to her. It was the foolish mistake of Kunti to try out the mantra to check whether it really worked that brought Kunti into disgrace before her marriage.

[Indeed, as foreseen by the sage, Kuntis’ husband Pandu, on account of a curse he received from a saint, could not beget children from his two wives. It was at his behest that Kunti agreed to call celestial Gods by utilizing the mantra and bore 3 children — Yudhishthira, Bhima and Arjuna. Thus at the appropriate time the mantra did bring good fortune for her.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya- Malayalam – Vol 2)

8.  Arjuna constructs a bridge

Once Arjuna had come to south India on a pilgrimage and he visited Dhasushkoti. After taking holy bath in the sea, Arjuna noticed the remains of the bridge that Lord Sri Rama in the previous yuga had built with the help of monkeys in his quest for slaying Ravana in Lanka to bring back his wife Sita.

Arjuna came to know how painstakingly Rama had to construct the bridge with stones and boulders brought from mountains by the vanaras.

At that time a monkey came by his side. Arjuna said to the monkey, “I don’t really understand why Rama had to make use of the services of monkeys like you to construct a bridge. Rama was a great archer, wasn’t he? If I were there, I would have easily constructed a bridge in no time using my arrows”.

The monkey said, “Nonsense! You don’t really know about my ancestors like Sugriva, Angata and others! They were so heavily built and strong that a bridge made of arrows will crumble in no time if they walk over it!”

Arjuna felt offended. “Don’t underestimate my prowess to build a bridge structure with arrows. It can withstand any amount of weight”.

The monkey said, “Will you take up a challenge? You construct a bridge here with your arrows. I myself will walk over it and crumble it! What will you do if you fail?”

Arjuna, in a moment of pride, said, “If you could crumble my bridge, I will sacrifice my life by jumping into fire”.

The monkey agreed and asked him to make a bridge.  Arjuna took his bow and arrow, and using his skills he built a bridge of arrows.  The monkey jumped over it and started walking on it. By the time it walked across a few yards, the bridge started crumbling to pieces! Arjuna could not believe his eyes!

With some humility coming into his manners, Arjuna said, “Please give me one more chance. I will construct a stronger bridge that you cannot break”. The monkey agreed.

Using more powerful Mantras, arjuna shot his arrows and built a much heavier and stronger bridge this time. Again the monkey walked over it and crumbled it in no time.

Arjuna’s pride was totally shattered. He arranged to collect firewood, lit a fire and was ready to jump over it. The monkey was curiously standing by the side and watching it.

At that moment, a Brahmin came that side and noticed the happenings. He came close by and asked Arjuna, “What happened? Why are you preparing yourself to jump into the fire at this young age? What is the problem?”

Arjuna narrated the whole incidence to the brahmin. The brahmin said, “You see, when two persons have a dispute and they enter into a competition, there should be a third person to act as a judge. Then only a fair decision can be taken as per scriptures”.

The monkey agreed to what the brahmin said.

The brahmin suggested that Arjuna should construct yet another bridge in his presence and the monkey should attempt to destroy it. The monkey agreed. The monkey was too sure that he could break any bridge that Arjuna could make.

This time, before shooting his arrows, Arjuna prayed within his heart to his beloved Lord Krishna to offer his blessings so that this time the bridge did not collapse.

After praying, Arjuna took more effort to construct the next bridge which would be extremely strong. Now the monkey jumped over it and started walking. Nothing could happen to the bridge! He was surprised. As the brahmin and Arjuna watched, the monkey suddenly started growing bigger and bigger and soon stood there as tall as a mountain. Only then, Arjuna realized that the monkey was none other than Lord Hanuman! He fell at the feet of Hanuman with humility. Hanuman now tried to crumble the bridge with his one foot. However powerfully he stomped over the bridge, the bridge did not yield a bit!

Hanuman was extremely surprised. How come a bridge made earlier by Arjuna could be crumbled by him even with an ordinary monkey’s physique, but could not succeed now even with his enlarged and mighty form?

He took back his humble form and prostrated before the brahmin. Both Hanuman and Arjuna noticed that blood was oozing from the shoulders of the brahmin.

Arjuna too offering his reverence to the Brahmin, said, “O Brahmin! My salutations to you. I don’t think you are an ordinary brahmin! May I know who you are? Why is there a bleeding on your shoulders?”

At that moment instead of the Brahmin’s form Arjuna noticed that his beloved Lord Krishna was standing there. At the same time, Hanuman saw his Lord Rama standing there!  Thus Lord Vishnu indeed had come there in the guise of the Brahmin and He revealed himself as Krishna to Arjuna and Rama to Hanuman!

The Lord said, “Both of you are my ardent devotees. I wanted to save Arjuna from dying in the fire;  that’s why I had to give my shoulders under the bridge to bear the weight in order that it did not collapse under  Hanuman’s stampede. That’s how my shoulder got injury and is bleeding.”

Addressing Arjuna, he said, “It is because of your ego and pride that you thought yourself to be a greater archer than Rama. It is because of your ego that the bridge collapsed under Hanuman’s weight earlier. You have to get rid of this pride. Remember that all the power that comes through you is indeed mine!’

Turning to Hanuman, the lord said, “When you crumbled the bridge twice earlier, you were conscious of your strength. But you have no right to let Arjuna die just because of your challenge.  Great archers like Arjuna are needed for the welfare of the world ; How could you drive him into giving up his life? As an act of repentance for doing so, you shall present yourself in the flag that adores Arjuna’s chariot in the forthcoming Mahabharata war and protect Arjuna from evil forces.” Hanuman agreed.

Thus the lord taught a lesson to both.

(From Amma’s Ramayana Month satsang part 3  15/8/2020)

9.  Learning from Mahabali’s story on Thiruvonam

Lord Vishnu came in the form of a 3-foot Vamana to meet Mahabali, the Asura King who had conquered and ruled all the world, during a yaga conducted by the former.

Vamana asked for just 3 feet of land as a gift. Mahabali, who was capable of even donating a whole country if asked, was bemused to hear the request for just a 3 feet of land by the young brahmin boy. He thought it was paltry. But when Vamana took viswaroopa (huge cosmic form), with 2 feet, he had measured all that worlds under the rule of Mahabali. With that Mahabali’s ego too was crumbled.  At last he gained humility be realizing that in front of God all my possessions are meaningless; even I am nothing in front of Him. He thought, “There is nothing that I can claim to be my own. The whole universe belongs to Him”.

With ego totally subdued, he surrendered to Lord Vishnu and his mind totally merged in lord’s feet ,losing sense of “I” and “mine”. It is not right to say that the lord stamped him down to netherworld with his foot.

When lord asked him what his last wish was, Mahabali said, “I have only one wish. In remembrance of this day, all people should eat to their stomachful, wear new clothes, and enjoy the day dancing. May this world be filled with happiness and peace.”

[Amma:  “This is what a pure devotee wants from God . He does not seek self-realization or liberation. His only wish is that all the people on earth should live happily and peacefully. That’s how Thiruvonam celebration is remembered as the day of total surrender of a devotee.”]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

9.  Karnas’ vanity

During the Mahabharata war, one day Arjuna and Karna were facing each other in combat.  It was lord Krishna who was the charioteer for Arjuna while King Salya was the charioteer for Karna. Both Karna and Arjuna were showering arrows on each other.

Karna finally resolved to finish off Arjuna with a very powerful arrow. He aimed his arrow on Arjuna’s head and was ready to release it from his bow. Noticing it, Salya said, “Karna, if you really want to kill Arjuna with this arrow, don’t aim at his head. It is better to aim at his neck.”

But Karna replied with pride, “Once I set my aim and of focus for my arrow. I won’t change it. This arrow will hit Arjuna’s head and kill him for sure”. So saying he shot the arrow.

Lord Krishna noticed the arrow shooting towards  Arjuna’s head. He pressed his leg on the chariot’s platform and on account of that pressure, the chariot’s wheels sank into the soil. Because of this sudden depression, the arrow that was to hit Arjuna’s head could hit only his crown and  shattered it to pieces. Thus Arjuna was judiciously saved by Lord Krishna.

If only Karna had listened to the sane advice of Salya, he could have killed Arjuna. But since Karna was too proud and adamant, he failed to heet to the good counsel.  Soon, Arjuna succeeded in killing Karna in the combat.

[Amma:  “If we possess such  ‘I know it all’ attitude, we cannot learn anything from life.  If a vessel is full, what can one store afresh in it? Only when the bucket sinks into well water, it can fetch water. Even if one is a Nobel laureate, if  he wishes to play flute, he should start as a beginner by learning it from a flautist with humility.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

 

 

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Discrimination and dispassion – Part 2 (16 stories)

1.  Nothing can come with you

A great emperor who lived in yesteryears wanted to conquer the entire world. With a huge army, he attacked one country after another, won the wars and brought the countries under his rule. He raided the wealths of those countries and took the loot to his country.  He heavily taxed the people of the countries that were brought under his control. Just as he possessed mighty power, he also possessed utter selfishness and totally uncouth, tyrannical mindset.

On account of his greedy wars, he became the richest emperor in the whole world.  But death does not allow anybody to be a permanent victor always.  His last days neared.

He thought, “I have done countless evil acts goaded by a single thought of becoming the emperor of this world and possessor of all the wealth on earth. Now death is nearing me. I cannot take with me even a single item from whatever wealth I have earned hard across this entire life. I, who wanted to make the entire world dance to my tunes, now have to go all alone, leaving everything behind…”

He took a resolution.

He called his ministers and said, “After my death, when you put my body in the coffin and take it out on a procession, make sure to make two holes in the coffin and make my empty hands protrude outside through them. It will teach a lesson to the people that even their most powerful and wealthy emperor cannot take anything with him once he dies”.

[Amma: Children, this is the reality of the world. Whoever you are, whatever you possess, death will rob everything from you. Knowing this, surrender to God”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.   Priceless than diamond?

[Amma: “Spiritual knowledge is real wealth. When this inner wealth is obtained, exterior wealth becomes meaningless. Spirituality thus helps to renounce outer wealth. By such renunciation, one becomes richer than the richest of all the wealthy people of the world”.]

Once a devotee of Lord Shiva was suffering from unbearable poverty. One night, Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and said, “Go to the outskirt of your village where a you will meet a Sanyasi. He is in possession of an extremely costly diamond. Ask for it and he will give it to you. It will make you the richest person”.

The poor man woke up immediately and he could not sleep afterward. He was very excited about the fortune he was to receive the next day. He waited eagerly for the dawn.

He rushed to the outskirt of the village after dawn. There a Sanyasi came and he was about to spread his seat under a tree. THe poor villager ran to him and said, “Swami, I heard you have a piece of diamond with you. Please gift it to me?”

Sanyasi looked up at him and said, “Oh! That piece of diamond stone?” He searched inside his bag and gave a large piece of diamond to him nonchalantly.

The villager collected the diamond piece and looked at it this way and that way. It was quite huge; he could not believe  his eyes. It looked as if it could even be the largest piece of diamond ever found on earth. Dazed with surprise and excitement he came back to his, even forgetting to thank the Sanyasi who gave him the stone!

His mind started floating in numerous dreams of desire. He could not sleep peacefully the whole night. He tossed and turned in his bed, disturbed mentally.

Next day, immediately after dawn he rushed to the outskirt of the village where he had met the Sanyasi the previous day. He woke up the sanyasi who was sleeping and said, “Swami, if you could simply give such a priceless stone of diamond to me without any hesitation, it means you are in possession of something far more priceless kept in your heart. Please give THAT to me!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.   Do it before mind changes

[Amma: “Children, Human mind is fickle; it always tend to be lowly.  Here is a story from Mahabharat to show this”.]

Once Karna, known to be very compassionate to poor and forthcoming in giving donations generously, was applying oil to his head before taking bath. In his left hand, he was holding oil in a beautiful golden cup studded with costly gem stones  and taking oil from it into his right hand, he was applying it to his head.

At that time, Lord Krishna came to see him. He wanted to test Karna’s mindset in donating things. He asked Karna to give him the golden cup containing the oil. Karna was surprised. He said, My lord, I am really surprised why you want such a lowly thing from me! Anyway, who am I to judge your motives? Please take it right now”. Saying so , he extended his left hand with the cup.

Giving something to others with the left hand is considered very inauspicious. Hence Krishna said in a stern voice, “Karna, don’t you know that you should not give away things with left hand?”

Karna said, “Kindly bear with me for this act of mine, Lord!  Do you know why I did so? My right hand is oily. If I have to use it, I have to first get up, wash it and then give you the cup. Who can ever rely on the fickleness of mind? By the time I wash my hand, my very resolution to give the cup as a gift to you might change! That’s why I opted to give it to you immediately without any delay so that my mind does not change”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

4.   Fire in the factory

[Amma: “Neither the mind nor the past happenings are the problems. It is our association with the mind or the past that creates problem. That is, the illogical attachment to “me and mine” is the problem. If you can get freed from this attachment and accept everything as a witness, our entire outlook about the world changes.”]

Once there was a massive fire in a factory. The owner of the factory, upon knowing about the accident, became mad with grief; he cried, “Oh! I have lost everything. All my hard labor through all these years to bring up this factory have become a naught; My life is in ruins…”. He kept blabbering and crying like this.

At that time, his close friend came to him and said, “Why are you crying unnecessarily? Your son has sold this factory yesterday. It is no longer yours!”. The factory was still burning, but the fire in the owner’s heart got extinguished instantly! He wiped off his tears and breathed peacefully.

A that time, his son came running and shouted, “Father! Why are you sitting here? The factory is burning there and you are doing nothing about it? What is wrong with you?”

The father asked, “My son, why bother? Haven’t you sold the factory yesterday itself?”

The son said, “No father, the deal was almost through, but before we signed the papers, there was a last minute hurdle and the buyer backed off”.

Hearing this, the owner started crying again!

[Amma: “The cause of the owners grief is not really the burning of the factory, but his attachment to the factory. His reactions were totally different based on his sense of ownership to the factory. So, if one gets rid of attachment, there is no grief.”]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

5.  Bondage is only in imagination

A cowherd used to take the cows for grazing early in the morning. He will bring back the cows to the cow shed in the evening and tie them to their posts.

On one evening the rope for tying one of the cows was missing. If he left the cow without tying, it may roam around and get lost. It was already dark and he could not get any rope in nearby localities. The cowshed belonged to an Ashram and he met the Sadhu who was heading the ashram to seek his counsel.

The Sadhu said, “Don’t worry! You just go through the actions of tying the cow to the pole. The cow will not move afterward”.

The boy did the actions as told by the sadhu and went to his home. He came back early morning the next day and the cow was very much there at its place! He untied all the cows and released them. Since this cow had not been really tied, he pulled the cow to get up from its place  to join the herd. But the cow would not move! The boy started wondering what was wrong.

The sadhu came to his rescue again. He said, “This cow thinks she has been tied and  expects you to untie  her from the post! Now do the action of untying it and she will start coming with you”. The boy did so and the cow got up and came along with him!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

6.  Guru’s note on wisdom

Once there lived a Sadguru who had thousands of followers across the world. He was worshiped by so many people. His purity, guilelessness, and pinnacle of wisdom were matters of great admiration to people. Through his teachings and activities he set right the course of lives of numerous people.

People were curious to know the source of his wisdom and purity. How did he acquire his spiritual greatness? Whomsoever asked this question, he would say “After I leave my body, you will receive a book of my teaching as my spiritual property. You will get answer to this question there”.

One day he attained samadhi. After his last rites were over, his disciples started searching for the book of his teachings. When they located it, they were surprised to notice that it contained just a single sheet of paper. In it, it was written, “My children, know the difference between the container and its content. Once you know it, you too will attain the wisdom that I attained and the darkness of ignorance will get dispelled”.

[Amma: “Children, What the sage said as ‘container’ is the human body and the content is Atman. Atman is different from the body. Milk is different from its container. The container is not the milk. Knowing this truth, our life will be freed of all unwanted fears”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

7.  Renunciation – not easy

[Amma: “When a true spiritual seeker gives up his family. he is doing that for the common good. Only if one is free from all kinds of attachments including family cannot love or serve the world selflessly. Family members will not die because renunciates have abandoned them for the sake of God; they will live on”.]

Rama Tirtha was in the grip of extreme dispassion and he took a decision to leave his hearth and home. However his wife said, “I am also coming with you”.

At that time, he said, “Alright, I will take you with me provided you fulfill three conditions”.

“What are they?” asked his wife.

“First of all, you should consider your husband as dead” he said.

“Agreed” said his wife.

“Secondly, take all your children to the marketplace and openly declare that these children are God’s and not yours”.

His wife could not agree to this condition.

He said, “Then how can I take you?” and left. He did not even have to state his third condition.

[Amma: “However much they may try, mothers cannot develop such an attitude of detachment with their children”.]

(From Awaken Children-2)

8. Counting stones?

[Amma: “What is that we can claim our own? What we believe to be our own today may not be owned by us tomorrow. All belong to God only. If at all we can claim something as our own, it is our desires and anger! Relatives, money, name, fame — none of these can give us peace of mind. Only when we realize this,  true detachment would come to us”.]

Once there lived a very rich man who had a servant to assist him.

One day a couple of friends of the rich man came to meet him. They inquired the servant, “Is your master available? Can we meet him?”

The servant went inside and saw what his master was doing. He came out and said to the visitors, “My master is busy counting stones”. The friends were surprised; they wondered whether such a rich person would be engaged in counting stones.

After a while, the rich man came out to meet the friends. They inquired, “Your servant said you were counting stones; is that true?”

The rich man felt offended. He started wondering whether his servant was a fool to notice him counting money  but reporting that he was counting stones. “If you were hurt by such crude talk from my servant, please excuse me” said the rich man. After the friends departed, he called his servant and chided him for his foolish talk.

A few days passed. Another friend came one day to meet the rich man. He asked the servant, “Can I meet your master now?” The servant went inside, came back and said, “My master is engaged now in loving his enemies”. On that day too, the rich man was actually counting his money and was safely keeping it locked in cupboard. Coming to know of the servant’s remarks, he felt very angry. He beat the servant black and blue and ordered him to vacate the place immediately. As the servant was moving out he called him, gave him a doll and said, “If you find a person more foolish than you, give this doll to him”. The servant did not utter a word and he went away, taking the doll.

Several months passed.

One night, robbers came to his house and attacked him. They swindled all his money and other valuable possession from him. When he tried to resist them, they threw him down from the first floor and escaped with the booty.

When the relatives came the next day, the saw him lying on the floor, unable to move his limbs. He could not even get up. He was given different medical treatments but he could not recover. Huge amount of money was spent on his treatments and his properties were lost in the process. His wife and children deserted him. He remained in bed, bearing all the pain and suffering, without food and care. If some neighbors took pity on him and brought food, he would eat it. There was no one to take care of him.

The old servant came to know of the pitiable status of his previous master. One day he came to see him. He brought the doll too with him. The moment he saw the master, he handed over the doll to him. The rich man understood immediately. But he nevertheless felt humiliated. In a pitiable voice, he said, “Are you adding fuel to the fire?”

The servant said, “I hope you are now in a fit condition to understand my old statements; aren’t you? You madly went behind money and hoarded them. Did you get even something worth a stone from your money? Is it not true that your wealth that you loved so much  indeed turned to be your enemy? Is it not your wealth that has brought you to this pitiable state? Is it not because of it you have now lost everything? Who else could be a more foolish than you who has lost everything on account of money? All the people who expressed love to you all along actually loved only your money! One the money is gone, you were only like a corpse to them! Today all of them hate you and have discarded you. At least from now onward grasp the fact that God alone is your permanent relative and seek Him”.

Even though the servant spoke such blunt words, he however he stayed with the master and lovingly served him. The rich man felt extremely bad about himself. He lamented: “I don’t know where I will go; I don’t know why I lived all along. I was imagining that wife, children and wealth are permanent and lived for them. But they have all ditched me. I have never thought of God even for a minute all these years. Those who had called me “lord” and bowed to me earlier don’t even turn towards my direction nowadays; they hate and discard me…”

The servant consoled the master saying, “Don’t lament any longer that there is none to take care of you. God is always there”. He continued to stay with the master and served him.

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9.  Real Sacrifice

Once a king went to meet a sanyasi.  The king prostrated humbly before the sanyasi.

The sanyasi asked, “Why are you giving me so much respect?”

The king said, “Weren’t you a king before becoming a sanyasi? You have relinquished your country and all the comforts of a king’s life and took up sanyas. For such a grand sacrifice, I bow before you”.

The sanyasi said, “But you are a greater renunciate than me”.

The king was surprised. “Me? A greater renunciate? How?”

The sanyasi smile and said, “Suppose a person owns a huge palace. If the palace is cleaned and all the unwanted rubbish are thrown away, will it be considered a sacrifice?”

“No. It can never be said so”.

“Suppose, on the other hand, if the person starts safeguarding all the dust and rubbish, but relinquishes the palace, what will you call it?”

“He must be called a great thyagi (one who relinquished)”

The sanyasi said, “It it were true, then you are such a thyagi; you have sacrificed the bliss of the knowledge of Self which is greater than the country and the palace; buy you enjoy the pleasures of kingdom just like the person who keeps rubbish with them and find enjoyment in it”.

The sanyasi was not mocking at the king. What he was trying to communicate was that all the material pleasures of the world are not really worthy and they would vanish any time.

[Amma:Once we grasp that material pleasures are unworthy, it becomes easier to relinquish them. If we make use of viveka (discrimination) properly, we won’t find it difficult to understand what to relinquish at what point of time in life.  This is the straight path to taste success in life.“]

(Source: Tamil Matruvani July 2019)

10.  Always happy?

Once a kingdom was being ruled by a great king who was morally very upright and ruled his subjects with fatherly love and care. He was always working for his people’s welfare. Because of his stellar qualities, the people of his country too loved him dearly; they considered him as if he was God in human form.

The kings of adjacent countries became very envious of him. All of them joined together and they explored ways and means to defeat the king and occupy his nation. They somehow made a connection with the minister of the king and corrupted him through money and wealth.  Through the evil designs of the minister, they got the secrets of the countries defence. Through vicious planning, they attacked the country one day and through a coup, they seized the king and put him behind the bars.

They did not offer any special facilities for the arrested king. He was put among the other criminals already in the jail.

However, the king was least perturbed by all these happenings. He lead a life of joy with no care or worry whatsoever in the jail.

Watching his carefree behavior inside the jail, the enemy kings felt very disappointed. They were also surprised how a defeated king, devoid of any royal power, could lead a happy life inside the jail. They came to meet him one day and asked him how such a behavior was possible for him.

The king said, “You people can defeat me, put me in jail and deny me any comfort; you can do only that much. But it is totally within my freedom either to be sad or be happy. I possess that wisdom which can make all my worries to nothingness. I know who I am. I know the nature of the world. With that knowledge, I keep my mind totally under my control. You can never conquer me in that aspect!”

[Amma:What we have to seek first is the knowledge about our own true Self and the nature of the outer world. If this knowledge is obtained, we can face any calamity in life and live unperturbed “.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam- Vol 1)

11.  Discrimination must come at right time

[Amma:There is a limit and a measure for everything. Our life should be in tune with it. Everything has an inherent nature and we should understand it and live accordingly. God has given us not only the five sense organs but also the capacity of discrimination. If we do not discriminate but run behind satisfying the sense organs madly, we will never get true happiness and peace; we will end up only in misery“.]

A man once went on a pilgrimage to distant holy places.

As part of his travels, he went to a new country for the first time which was quite unfamiliar to him. He neither knew the language nor the culture and food habits of that country.  As he roamed in one of the market places, he saw for the first time, a shop selling a red coloured fruits which was not familiar to him. Lots of people were seen buying it along with other provisions in the shop.

The man thought that it must be a nice and sweet fruit unique to that country which many people seem to enjoy. He too bought those reddish fruits and continued with his sightseeing. After wandering for a few hours, he felt tired and took rest under a tree. He opened the packet of fruit, took one and bit it at its tip.

It was very hot and spicy and not sweet at all. With doubt, he bit the middle portion too and it remained hot.  He thought “Perhaps this particular piece is spoiled; let me try another one”. He took out another fruit and bit it. There was no change. It tasted hot only. Frustrated, he took out the remaining fruits one after another and continued to taste them hoping that at least one of them will taste sweet, but he was disappointed. His tongue was burning unbearably and he ended up shedding copious tears.

Poor fellow! He never knew that that it was chilli and not any sweet-tasting fruit.  After biting one or two, he should have realized that it was not a fruit at all.  But having got attracted by its attractive red color that looked like a real sweet fruit, the man could not get rid of his delusion and an idiotic hope that at least one in the pack would taste sweet; it was due to his total lack of discrimination that he ended up biting every piece in the pack only to get his tongue burned and end up in unbearable suffering.

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

12.  The miser

Once there lived a rich man who, despite possessing plentiful wealth, had no peace of mind. He came to know that if he could reach heaven after death, he could really enjoy a very peaceful and joyful life. He asked many people to know the ways and means to reach heaven.  Finally he went to a sanyasi for consultation.

The sanyasi said, “If you liberally donate money, you can reach heaven. When you donate, you should not differentiate receivers on the basis of caste, religion or creed. You should not count your money and give, but donate in plenty.”

The rich man agreed. He set out for buying lots of cows for donating to others. Being a very stingy person by nature, he was hesitant to buy good, milk-yielding cows which were usually costly. Instead he bought old cows which had stopped giving milk.

He converted some money into 5 paise and 10 paise coins. His idea was that if we donate in coins, they would look very sizable, but would not cause him too much expenditure. Since he was instructed not to count money and donate, he could now give away bundles of coins without counting!

He announced a date for disbursing his donations. Many beggars swarmed his house on the day of donation. The sanyasi came to know of the intent of the rich man. He felt bad that the rich man would only end up in hell instead of heaven if he donated that way. So, in order to teach a lesson to him, he too went there in the guise of a poor beggar and joined the others in the crowd.

When his turn came, he too received a bundle of coins and an old, skinny cow as gift. The sanyasi immediately took out a golden bowl from his bag and gave it to the rich man. The rich man was astounded to receive the golden bowl; he knew that the worth of the bowl was several times more than what he had donated. he felt very happy that his act of goodwill had brought him an instant reward. As he stood stupefied,  the sanyasi said to him, “As I am giving this golden bowl to you, I have a small request. I want you to return this to me when you come to heaven”.

The rich man was surprised to hear this request. He thought, ‘What a strange request! How can I ever give this back when I reach heaven? Reaching heaven is possible only after death and I know pretty well that I cannot carry anything with me after my death!’  This thought rose up again and again in his mind — ‘Nothing can be carried with me after death’.

Then the truth suddenly dawned in him. ‘When nothing from my possessions could be taken with me once I die, why should I be so stingy in donating money to these poor people? Oh! What a sinner I am to donate these old cows and bundles of coins which are of no value to the receivers!’

He fell at the feet of the sanyasi and begged pardon for his sinful behavior. He took an instant resolution to donate all his money for the welfare of the poor. He felt immense sense of happiness once he took the decision.

[Amma:Children, most of us are like this rich man when it comes to give any donation to others. We should contemplate on this. However rich one may be, not a single paisa can be taken along with us when we die. Such being the truth, why should we be miserly? We must extend help to others to the extent possible. That is the real sign of wealth. It is the way to mental peace and satisfaction”.]

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

12.  Self restraint

Once  a man went to meet his friend at his house.

The friend’s wife opened the door and being familiar with each other, she welcomed him in. She told him that her husband had gone out on some work and was expected to return any time. She asked him to wait and went to the bathroom to take bath.

When she returned from bathroom, she was somewhat scantily dressed. Upon looking at her, the man’s mind got very disturbed.  Amorous thoughts welled up in his mind and he felt a deep urge to go and hug her.

At the same time, his discriminating mind voice warned him: “This woman is the wife of your close friend. If you get tempted and do any mistake, it would be an act of betrayal done to a friend. If he comes to know of it, then the two families will face emotional wreck. Control your mind, however difficult it may be”.

Thus wisdom awakened in the man and he regained his composure.

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13. Misguided self-rightism

Once a traveller went inside a Devi temple. Adjacent to the temple courtyard, there was a tree. Standing under the shade of the tree, the traveller started smoking  cigarette.

Noticing it, the temple priest came to him and said, “This is a holy place; please don’t smoke here”.

Hearing this, the traveller felt offended. In an angry voice, he said, “Look, I am not under the command of anybody. I am the boss for myself. I won’t allow anybody to control me or give directions to me. I know what to do and what not to do very well. Whatever fire that is burning in the wick lamp adjacent to Devi inside the sanctum sanctorum and the fire at the tip of my cigarette are one and the same. I see Devi in both of them.  In such a state, what is wrong in smoking a cigarette?”

Listening to his lecture, the pujari replied:

“If you are so evolved to see Devi in everything, then there won’t be any need for you to find joy in smoking! Right now you are addicted to cigarette. Our scriptures say that there is no joy inherent in any object and you have not been able to grasp the truth of it so far. The true bliss resides inside us.  There is another thing. A person who is so evolved to see God in everything, will not be smoking inside a temple like this. Such an evolved person will always, in all his actions will lead a life which will be an example for others to emulate.  Whatever he speaks or does will be such that others can learn from him what is right and good.  What you are doing right now is to twist  and distort spiritual principles in order to justify your own faults and weaknesses. First of all, we must strive to identify and accept our own faults and shortcomings and then overcome them successfully through discrimination. Only then you are fit ti claim ‘I am my own boss’.”

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.  Significance is gone

Once a Guru was giving a lecture to his disciples. During the discourse, he narrated a funny story and everyone laughed loud hearing it.  After a minute, the guru repeated the funny story again. This time only a few laughed.  After a while the guru repeated the same story all over again. This time no one laughed.

Smilingly, the guru said, “When we hear the same joke again and again, we don’t laugh. It means, it has lost its significance. It has no more value. If this is a fact of life, consider this: most of us keep thinking about a mistake we did in the past again and again and keep on feeling bad about it. What value does it serve?”

[Amma:Children, instead of  repeatedly brooding over our past mistakes and failures in life and feeling depressed over them, we must be able to open a new chapter in our life.”]

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.  What did he gain?

Once a young prince was taken around his country for sightseeing. One of the places he was advised to visit was a hill considered holy for the royal family. When the prince visited the hill, the minister who accompanied the prince explained to him a belief about the holy hill.  The belief was that it was accessible only to the souls of great emperors who conquered and ruled many countries. Upon their death, the souls of a great emperors can ascend to the hill’s top and were given the privilege of establishing their country’s flag at the summit of the hill. It was considered a very rare privilege and it was to be the dream of every king to aspire for such a honor.

The young prince was very impressed. He felt a deep urge in him that he too should become a great emperor and acquire the privilege of establishing his country’s flag at the hill’s summit.

As the prince grew up and he became the king of the country, he was fully gripped with a desire to be a great emperor. He spent his time and resources in  building a huge and powerful army. He started attacking his neighboring countries and won one after another in gory wars.  His army went about mercilessly killing enemy kings and soldiers. The countries won by him came under his rule. He ruled the countries he had captured with an iron hand; people were subjected to lots of hardship; his army looted people’s wealth and possessions. His army marched ahead further and further to conquer many other nations. His very name became synonymous with terror and violence in the continent.

After virtually spending his entire life this way, the emperor passed away.  His soul drifted towards the holy hill. It was carrying his country’s flag. The spirits guarding the hill welcomed him royally and permitted him to climb up the hill. As he reached the hilltop, he saw a huge gate, guarded by an old spirit.  After verifying his antecedents and the details of the countries he had conquered, the old spirit opened the gate and permitted him to go inside.

The emperor was dumbfounded by what he saw there! The entire area of the summit was full of flags of so many countries and there was not even an inch of space for him to establish his flag. He asked the old spirit what to do. The spirit said, “I have been guarding this gate from time immemorial. I have seen thousands of emperors from across every nook and corner of the world coming here to plant their nation’s flag in memory of their conquering many other countries! You are not the first person to find no space here either! If you want to establish your flag here, simply remove any one of the existing flags, throw it away and plant your flag post there. That’s what all the others did!”

The emperor’s soul sank with disappointment.  What a fool he was in wasting his entire life in waging wars on other countries, just for the dubious merit of planting his flag here, where countless other emperors had already done the same thing across thousands of years! He thought of the gory acts of violence he had done; the extent of pain and suffering he imposed on the people he ruled. He felt extremely ashamed of his life. He was now gripped with the fear of what sort of hell now awaited him.

(From Amma’s 67th birth day satsang 27/9/2020)

16.  Remaining thankful

Once two beggars were walking on an isolated path. Suddenly they noticed two shining coins lying in the path.  Each of them picked up a coin and checked it. “Ah! this is a gold coin! Thank god. If we sell it, we can lead a happy life hereafter” said one of them.

The other one inspected the coin and said, “This is a very ancient gold coin. It bears the seal of a king who ruled our land some 2000 years ago. This is indeed a very precious and rare coin and it is very rare indeed. It is not something to be sold. It must be given to the king for safely preserving it as this coin represents our long tradition and rich cultural heritage”.

“If it is so valuable, so much good. Then we will sell it to a treasure collector and get lot more money” said the first beggar.

“No. I won’t like to sell it. It should rightly belong to the king” said the second beggar.

“If you want to be a fool, so be it. You do whatever you want with your coin. Let me go on my way. I will find a rich person to buy it” so saying the first beggar parted ways.

The second  beggar proceeded to the king’s palace. He was stopped by the guard. “I want to meet the king and offer him something very valuable”. The guard laughed at him and said, “You look like a beggar. What can you offer to the king? No one can meet the king just like that. We cannot permit you inside”.

The beggar said, “I have a rare gold coin which belongs to a period of a couple of thousand years of our kingdom. I thought it is very precious and it should be kept safely in the king’s treasury. I don’t have to meet the king. It is enough if you safely hand it over to the king”. He gave the coin to the guard and started walking away.

The guard was very surprised to see the coin. He thought if he handed it over to the king, the king may give him some reward. So, he went inside, met the king and gave it to him.

The king was very surprised to see the coin. He knew it originally belonged to his treasury and it was stolen by someone some time ago. “From where did you get this?” asked the king. The guard told the king about the beggar who brought it. The king said, “Go and bring him here immediately!”

The guard rushed out. The beggar was not there. He went around in search of the beggar and soon located him at a distance. He brought him to the king.

“Where did you get this coin? Why did you bring it to me?”

The beggar explained. The king asked, “Are you not expecting any reward from me?”

“No your majesty! I know this coin is precious and it is worth preserving in the treasury as a mark of respect to our long cultural tradition. That’s why I brought it here to give it to you. I had no other motive” said the beggar.

The king was extremely moved. He was totally awestruck seeing the honesty and the patriotism of the poor beggar.

The king immediately appointed him as the Minister in charge for his treasury and ordered necessary facilities to be provided to him for his stay and other comforts. The other ministers did not like the king’s decision. They did not like a beggar being given such a responsible and prestigious post. They became envious of him.

A few days passed. Some ministers joined together and met the king with a complaint. They said, “Your majesty, we suspect the former beggar who is the present minister of treasury to be indulging in stealing. We notice that every day he is bringing a briefcase with him while getting into the treasury and leaving with it in the evening. He is surely taking some valuables daily in his briefcase”.

The king did not believe them immediately. He wanted to personally verify. The next day, he hid himself at a nook near the treasury. He too noticed that the new minister was indeed bringing a briefcase with him and then leaving with it in the evening. The king felt very disturbed. Should he arrest him based on suspicion? Should he hang him if he was indeed smuggling valuables? Should he engage his guards to stop him and thoroughly check the briefcase? That will be too insulting to the minister if it did not contain any valuables. What to do? The king could not sleep well that night.

Next day, he decided to watch the minister once again stealthily. The king hid himself inside the treasury in the morning. The minister entered there with his briefcase. He stood in front of a mirror and removed his ministerial dress. He opened the briefcase and what he took out from there was his old ragged and torn cloth and his begging bowl. He wore the old clothes, held the begging bowl in his hand and spoke to his own image in the mirror.

“Oh my Atman! Look at yourself. This is how you were before you got the fortune of becoming the minister of the treasury.  Be ever thankful to God for having blessed a poor beggar like you to hold such a prestigious post. Never get tempted to the riches in this treasury.  If you lose your honesty, you will lose everything. When you came to the world, you brought nothing; when you die and leave the world, you cannot take anything with you. So be thankful to God always for all the goodness he has endowed to you.”

The king watched all these from his hiding place. He was extremely moved. He came running towards the minister and embraced him.  With eyes shedding tears, he said, “I am so proud of you, my minister! Please forgive your king. The other ministers who were envious of you came and complained to me that you are stealing valuables from the treasury and taking them our in your briefcase. Initially I too felt disturbed and suspicious. I even thought of jailing you and also executing you if you were really stealing valuables.  Now I really understood what a gem of a person you are! I am getting old and I have no son to rule this country. I have decided to appoint you as the next king of this country!”

The minister bowed to the king with all humility.

Soon a guard came and informed the king that a couple of persons have been arrested when they found valuable gold and other objects that belonged to the treasury in their possession. They were brought to the court. The beggar who had retained the other gold coin was also one of the persons arrested. Upon inquiry, the king came to know that some of the ministers who were jealous of the new minister were indeed behind the theft.

(From Amma’s satsang 10/10/2020)

 

 

Amma’s stories on the Nature of God, Avatars and Mahatmas – Part 2 (16 stories)

1.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 1

[Amma:   Naranathu Branthan was an Avadhoota (Madman like sage) who lived in Kerala a few centuries ago. He was a self-realized yogi, whose behavior was known to be very weird. There are many stories associated with his life and Amma will narrate a few of them”.]

Once a spiritual aspirant wanted to become a disciple of Naranathu Branthan and follow him wherever he went. He approached Branthan and made this request. Branthan did not have any inclination to accept anyone as his disciple.  Hence he rejected the request. But the sadak was very adamant. He kept on pleading Branthan to accept him as a disciple.

Finally Branthan said, “Fine; you can follow me. But there is a condition for it. You should do whatever I do.” The sadak agreed very enthusiastically.

Branthan started walking. He walked and walked. One day passed; the second day passed and yet Branthan would not stop walking! The Sadak could not just cope up with Branthan’s walk. He cried, “Guruji, I have no energy left; unless I eat something, I will die”. Branthan did not reply.

After a short while they came across a smithy shop.  At that time they were melting Lead there. Branthan went inside, took a handful of molten lead in his hand and drank it. He called his disciple and said, “Come on, now drink this as much as you want and quench your hunger!”

The disciple gathered whatever little energy he had and ran away from the spot!

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

2.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 2

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’ means mad man. His behavior was beyond the comprehension of common men. Hence they called him mad. He accepted it without a protest.  He never tried to change the opinion of the people nor tried to teach them spiritual wisdom.  He never explained his behavior to people. In fact, he was least bothered about people and their opinions”.]

Branthan had the habit of cooking his food at cremation grounds using the fires of the pyre there. One night, he was cooking his food this way. At that time, a group of spirits, headed by a devata (celestial being)  came there. They had the custom of dancing around the burning pyres. Those spirits would not opt to display their dance in front of human beings. Hence the devata ordered Branthan to go away. However, Branthan was adamant and he would not budge. Soon there was heated argument between him and the devata.

The Devata argued, “It is customary for us to dance around the pyre. We shall not swerve from our practice”.

Branthan said, “Like you being firm about your custom, I am also very firm about my custom of cooking my food in the pyre. I will not move from here. Why don’t you move to some other cremation ground to locate another pyre?”

Noticing his adamancy, the spirits thought that, being a human being, he could be scared by them and chased away. They took up very gory and scary forms and made thundering noise and threatening gestures towards Branthan. But Branthan laughed seeing their antics and was busy with cooking.  So the head of the spirits stopped their antics and realized that Branthan was no ordinary human being, but a sage.

The devata saluted Branthan and said, “Sir, I accept my defeat; as told by you, we will go to some other cremation ground. However, having been impressed by your courage, I would like to offer a boon; Ask whatever you want”

Branthan said, “I need no boons; I have no needs nor desires; There is nothing that I need to accomplish. Just leave me alone so that I can concentrate on my cooking”.

But the devata was adamant. It wanted to offer something to Branthan.

Branthan said, “Fine. Tell me the date of my physical body dying in this world”. The devata told him the date and said, “This is not a boon at all. Ask something”.

Branthan said, “Okay. Just advance my date of death by a day, or postpone it by a day”.

“I don’t have that power to alter the date of your death; ask something else” said the devata.

Branthan took pity on the devata. He was suffering from elephantiasis and his left leg had been affected by it. He said, “Fine. Since you are so particular to offer a boon to me, you can change the elephantiasis from my left leg to right leg.” The devata did it. Branthan said, “Okay. I don’t need anything more. All of you leave from this place”.  The spirits left the place immediately.

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’s story clearly depicts the nature of a true Yogi who is totally surrendered to God. Even devatas and spirits are subservient to such a sage. Such a yogi never has fear; he has no curiosity or excitement; He is not worried about or disturbed about anything. While he is capable of changing the effects of prarabdha Karma himself, he is least inclined to do it and he accepts whatever pains and pleasures that come to him as per fate. He is beyond any vasanas and he he is able to laugh at anything and be a witness to all happenings”. You must also notice that Branthan did not express compassion too! We can’t say whether he was compassionate or not, because he is not concerned with the world or society, as he is immersed in a higher state of existence in unison with the ultimate”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 3 – Ambalapuzha temple

WHen the Ambalapuzha temple was built and the consecration ceremony was to be done, priests were invited for the installation of the main deity’s statue and do the related ceremonies. All of them were eminent scholars who could chant all the four Vedas by hear. In spite of their knowledge, they could not fix the statue firmly on the altar, however much they tried.

When the problem remained unsolved, the temple authorities made some astrological calculations in consultation with the priests. According to their calculations and predictions, a competent person to do the installation was sitting a few yards away from the temple compound.

When they went to the identified spot, they found a primitive and crazy-looking man siting there and chewing betel leaves, having just finished eating fried fish.  He was none other than Naranathu Branthan.

They brought him to the place where the installation was taking place, in spite of the priests’ mocking at him and making rude remarks to the temple authorities. They held their noses and spat on the ground to express their disgust seeing Branthan.

They thought, “What made these people to bring this ugly and low caste man here? What is he going to do?” Suddenly all the priests vomited, but what came out of their mouth was fish! Then the crazy man, who ate fish spat on the ground and out came basil leaves. Everyone was wonderstruck. Taking some betel leaves, he chewed them and spat on the altar; he uttered a few words in a scolding tone, “Hey Krishna, sit there!”. The statue became firmly fixed thereon.

[Amma:   “The name of the town Ambalapuzha originated from the word ‘tambulam’ (betel leaves, when chewed with arecanut and lime, which together are known in Sanskrit as tambulam). The town was previously knowns as Tambulapuzha. It was that illiterate layman’s spittle and his chiding of God that bore fruit and not the vedic chanting of priests. This was because the ‘crazy man’ was a Perfect Soul; whereas the priests were only after money. They did not have any spiritual power”.]

(From Awaken Children-Vol 2 )

4.  Forbearance – (1)

[Amma:   “The glory of the rishis and saints of our past is immeasurable. Without their compassion, the world have become a hell by now. It is their sacrifice and compassion that protect the world even today.  IT is their patience and love that compensate and balance the evil effects of the selfish acts of the people of the world.  We cannot fathom the depth of their compassion. Their compassion extends to those who intend to harm and eliminate them too”.]

A king brought his young son to get him admitted to a Gurukula. It was the practice in those days that whether one is a son of a king or the son of a poor man, children lived in the company of their Guru and learned Vedas, shatras, arts and also moral education. Children would not have contact with their parents during their period of stay at Gurukula.

When the king and the prince arrived, the place was calm and peaceful. There was nobody to be seen in the Gurukula. After searching for a while, the noticed a saint– the guru,  sitting under a tree. He was in deep state of samadhi.  The king and prince waited for some time for the saint to open his eyes. When he opened his eyes, the Guru noticed the king. He pleasantly welcomed the king and offered him a seat.

But the king was rather upset and angry that he was not properly accorded welcome at the Gurukula and that he had to search for the guru and also wait indefinitely till the guru finished his meditation. As a king, he was so much used to getting royal treatment wherever he went that he was angry about such a callous treatment meted out to him.

The guru asked respectfully, “Your majesty, may I know the purpose of your visit?”

The king bursted out. “Are you trying to mock at me? Instead of according me the proper royal welcome, you are asking me why I have come here! Where are all the students and disciples here? May I have the fortune of having a darshan of them?” he asked with sarcasm.

The guru expressed sorry and said, “This is a gurukula where we follow strict rules of discipline for the students; every student and disciple has a time schedule for study, work, worship, japa and other spiritual practices. As each of them follow their discipline, you could not see any of them outside. I too was immersed in meditation. That’s why we could not offer a formal reception to you”.

This explanation could not convince the king. “Do you intend to demean me?” he asked. Not knowing how to convince the king. The guru kept quiet. The king remembered that his purpose of coming there was to admit his son to this gurukula. This particular gurukula was most reputed in his kingdom for teaching knowledge and character to the students. Hence, the king controlled his anger and showing an external act of humility he sought forgiveness from the saint for his display of anger.  He then requested the Saint to accept his son as his disciple.

The guru instantly agreed and the formalities of admission were completed. The king left his son behind and departed; yet the sense of anger and hurt was still simmering in his heart.

The prince proved to be an excellent student. He was humble, had good conduct and character and also had devotion to God. The Guru was extremely happy with the boy and showered his love and care on him. The boy grew up to a youth in the Gurukula and he excelled not only in scriptural knowledge, but also in weaponry. His character remained impeccable.

The day of completion of his education came soon. With tear filled eyes, he stood before the guru with utter humility and said, “My respected master, I belong to you. I have nothing to claim as mine. In front of your greatness, I am nothing. There is nothing equivalent to the love, affection and care you took in grooming me. I want to give you something as my Guru dakshina (tuition fees). I am waiting to know your wish”.

The Guru touched the prince’s face with affection and said, “My son, your obedience, humility and devotion to me is the greatest Guru dakshina which you have already given to me. What else do I need?”

The prince insisted again and again. The guru said, “My child, Since I have no need at present, I will collect the Guru dakshina from you at the appropriate time of need. Don’t worry” and bid farewell to the prince.

The King was still nurturing the anger towards the saint and he was only waiting for his son to complete his schooling and return to the palace. Once the son came back, without his knowledge, the king sent his soldiers to the Gurukula and arranged to burn all the thatched huts, class rooms and residential places in the Gurukula. His soldiers also tortured the Saint and his disciples.  Leaving them to lurch for food, clothing and shelter, the soldiers returned to the palace and reported the matter to the king. The king felt very happy that he had done the long nurtured revenge on the saint.

Days passed. The king decided to crown the prince as the future king and retire. Before taking up the throne, the prince wanted to visit his guru and take his blessings. He went to his gurukula and was shocked to see the condition of the place. There were no huts, no class rooms, no facilities.

He frantically searched for the guru and finally found him meditating under a tree. He waited till the guru opened his eyes and then fell at his feet; impatiently he asked, “My master! What has happened here?”

The guru said patiently, “Nothing my son; there was a forest fire and all the huts got burned. That’s all”.

But the prince was shrewd enough to find out that the damage could not have happened due to forest fire and he suspected something fishy.  By that time, the other students and disciples gathered around the guru. He inquired them what happened and they told him the truth after a brief hesitation.

The prince was shocked beyond words. However the shock turned to anger and he roared, “Father, you coward! What a dastardly act you have done. I am going to finish you off.”  He gripped his sword with his right hand and the horse’s rope by the left hand and swiftly mounted it.

Immediately the Guru jumped in front of his disciple and stopped the horse from charging forward. He tried to convince him to drop his anger.  But the Prince could not be tamed; he wanted to take revenge on his father for having done such a horrible act of vengeance against his beloved Guru.

Having failed in his attempts to pacify the prince, the saint finally said, “Fine, my son! I will permit you to go. But before you leave, please give me my Guru dakshina”.

Immediately, the prince got down from the horse, saluted his Guru and said in a pleasant voice, “Oh! Thank you my master for conceding to my prayer at last . Please let me know what you want”.

The guru said, “My son; please drop your planned act of punishment to your father. This is the guru dakshina I want”.

The Prince was dumbstruck hearing this plea. He stood there stunned, looking at the radiant face of his great master. Tears rolled from his eyes. He slowly fell at the feet of his guru.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.  Forbearance – (2)

Once a saint was living the life of a traveling mendicant. One day he was resting under a tree. A ruffian came there and for no reason, without any provocation, he beat the saint with a stick in hand. It was a heavy beating at the shoulder of the saint. At the swiftness of the hit, the stick fell on the ground. The saint took it on his hands; fearing that he would hit him back with the same stick, the ruffian took to heels.

The saint too started running behind him with the stick in his hand.

Some people who witnessed the ruffian hitting the saint, came running to the scene and they caught hold of the ruffian.

The saint came near him and said to him, “Here is your stick; I came behind you only to return this to you!”

Hearing this, those who to the help of the saint to catch the ruffian were terribly surprised.  One of them said, “What are you saying, Swami? W all saw this rascal hitting you with the stick for no reason at all; you should definitely thrash him — not once, but many times. He deserves the punishment”. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

The saint smiled and said, “Why should I beat him?  I cannot do it.  It is true that he beat me with that stick and I believe it happened by God’s will only. Suppose, instead of this fellow hitting me, what would I do if a branch from the tree got broken and fell on me? SHould I hit back the tree?  I take it that this is a punishment I am receiving at the present time, for some crime I must have done in some previous birth. It means that I am only receiving the fruit of my karma and this fellow is just an instrument for it.  Hence there is no meaning in hitting him back. If I do so, it will only end up adding to my bad karmas, instead of cancelling out the past karmas”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

6.   The story of Poonthanam – Krishna’s devotee

Poonthanam was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in Kerala some 4 centuries ago. His life was marked by several tragic happenings, but he lived a life totally dedicated to Krishna and accepting all the unfortunate happenings in his life as the divine play of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur.

He was extremely sattvic (full of pure qualities) and lived a righteous life. He was simple and humble. His only child, born after lots of yearning and prayer to Lord Krishna died an unfortunate death. How did it happen?

His house was full of relatives who had gathered for the function. Poonthanam was celebrating the third birthday of his son; the celebrations and ceremonies extended till mid night.  Finally, they all retired to bed in a hurry. Suddenly at that time a powerful storm occurred. All the oil lamps in the house got extinguished in the wind. After the winds subsided, the lit all the lamps again.

Only then they noticed that Poonathanam’s child was missing. Everybody started searching for the child in panic in all nook and corners of the house but could not find him. Suddenly one of the relatives noticed a huge heap of sleeping mats dumped at a corner of the house.

Actually, Poonthanam’s boy was sleeping at that corner.  When all the lights got extinguished, people who who woke up rolled their sleeping mats and threw them at the corner one after the other in the darkness.  Thus it became a huge heap under which the child got caught and was suffocated to death. When the mats were removed, the dead body of Poonthanam’s child was underneath.

Think of the extreme shock and pain that the couple had to undergo.  Poonthanam too cried. But soon he was able to gather himself and recover from the ill fate. How? The unwavering faith and surrender Poonthanam had on his beloved Lord Krishna elevated his mind spiritually and that  mindset taught him to wriggle out of the sorrowful calamity. As a poet, he sang,  “While little Krishna is dancing in our hearts, do we need little ones of our own?

But Poonthanam’s wife could not easily recover herself from her shock. She thought her husband must be a lunatic and she hated him. Once when Poonthanam was travelling to Guruvayoor, he was attacked by robbers on the way. He had many such unfortunate things happening in his life. Yet, his devotion to his beloved Lord never changed.

[Amma:   “When measured purely from worldly angle, Poonthanam’s life was a tragedy. But he was always in bliss. How was it possible? The answer lies in the above song. Once you establish God in the temple of your heart, then what remains is nothing but bliss. That bliss will be both inside as well as outside”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-3 Tamil)

7.  Form and formless God

[Amma:   “Saguna (with form) and nirguna (without form) are not two different Realities. Ordinary people can reach Formless Being only through some kind of medium. For those who don’t know how to swim, a boat is necessary to cross the river, isn’t it? Mother is not saying you should stay in the boat for ever. After reaching the other side, you should get out”.]

Once there was a disciple, sitting at the banks of a river in the Himalayas, thinking “I see God in the form of my Guru but he says that he is not the body. Yet how can I believe him? How can one be with and without form at the same time? Doesn’t he talk to me and do all the other actions like ordinary people?”

While the disciple was brooding over the matter, a block of ice suddenly crashed into the river. As the disciple looked at it, a squirrel jumped onto the ice which floated across the river. Upon reaching the other bank, the squirrel got off and gingerly jumped away.

Seeing this, the disciple thought, “No doubt the ice is only water. But without it, the squirrel could not have crossed the river. THe formless water became ice and will eventually lose its form and river to its original formless nature as water, but the form serves a purpose. Likewise,  Nirguna becomes Saguna for taking us across the Ocean of Samsara. Henceforth, I will look upon my Guru as the embodiment form of the formless Absolute”.

[Amma:   “All forms have limitations. There is no tree which touches the sky, and there is no root which touches the netherworld. This means the names and forms are finite. We should go beyond all names and forms. Even though God is beyond all qualities and all-pervading, He will come in a form according to our sankalpa“.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

8.  What exist there is here

Once a group of devotees from Kerala planned to make a holy pilgrimage to Kashi in North India to bathe in the Holy river Ganga.  When they asked an old, saintly devotee in their village whether he would like to come, he said, “I am too old to make this journey. Please take my walking stick and after dipping it in the Ganga, return to me”.

When the devotees reached Kashi and bathed in Ganga, they dipped the old man’s stick in the river. Unfortunately the stick slipped and got washed washed away by the river’s swift current.

On returning to the village, they informed the old saint that they had lost the stick.

“Did you lose it in the Ganges?” he asked. “Yes; in the Ganges” they replied.

“Then it is no problem” he said; going to the backyard of his house, the saint waded into the pond there and pulled out his stick!

[Amma:   “For a knower of the Self, there is no good or bad, pure or impure. For him, there is  Purity alone. As for as he is concerned, there is no difference between the Ganges water and the water in the pond. But for ordinary people, all these differences do exist”.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

9. What God looks for

[Amma:   “A true karma yogi is one who keeps his mind on God while being engaged in any work. We must have the mindset of accepting everything as God’s act. That is  true bhakti. If one is engaged in puja, but the mind is wandering on all external matters, that puja can not be taken as bhakti yoga. At the same time, if a scavenger does his job of cleaning by chanting God’s name and believing his work as a service to God, it is truly bhakti yoga as well as karma yoga”.]

Once there lived a woman in a street, who was very devoted to Lord Krishna. Whatever works she did,  she would dedicate it to God, saying “Krishnarpanamastu“. Whether she was sweeping her courtyard or bthing her child, she would not forget to say ‘Krishnarpanamastu‘.

There was a temple adjacent to her house. The priest in the temple did not like the woman always chanting Krishnarpanamastu.  He could not bear her saying it while throwing the garbage. He used to scold her for her behavior but she did not react.

One day, the woman through a handful of cow dung away from her house and unfortunately, it fell inside the temple front yard. The priest heard her saying Krishnarpanamastu while the cow dung fell in the temple. He got very furious. He caught hold of the lady and dragged her into the temple; he made her cleanup the dung and wash the area. Then he gave a few beatings to the women and chased her away.

When the priest woke up from the bed the next day, he could not move his hand. He was shocked. He cried in pain and prayed to God to cure him. That night, God appeared in his dream and said, “I cherish the cow dung thrown by the woman more than the sweet pudding you offered to me; what you do in the temple for me is not puja, but whatever the woman does is indeed puja for me. I cannot bear the woman suffering under your ill treatment. Only if you fall at the feet of the woman and beg her parden, your hand will get alright”.

10. Nature of God

Once a king and his minister were discussing about Puranas. Referring to the Story of the Elephant King Gajendra, whose life was saved by Lord Vishnu from the clutches of a crocodile, the king asked the minister rather mockingly, “I don’t understand why Lord VIshnu has to come personally to save Gajendra. Was he not mighty enough to send some of his soldiers to save Gajendra?  Rather, he could have dispatched just his Sudarshan Chakra right from his abode at Vaikuntham to kill the crocodile?  Why all the fuss to rush personally to save an elephant just because he called out by name?”

The learned minister did not respond immediately.  He waited for the right opportunity to explain it to the king.

Ther minister was very fond of the Little Prince (the son of the king) and he used to spend some time with the kid to play with him. The minister secretly got an idol of the prince made that looked exactly like the prince.

One day, the minister and the prince were playing at the Palace gardens. The king was standing at the balcony of his palace and he could notice the two playing at some visible distance away from him.  There was a well in the Garden. As the two were playing, suddenly the king saw his little son standing at the brim of the well and then suddenly falling into it. He was utterly shocked. But the fact was that the minister had indeed arranged to keep the idol of the prince there and pushed it into the well, knowing well that the king was noticing it from a distance.  The king was unaware that it was just the idol that was pushed into the well.

Gripped by anxiety and agony, the king got down swiftly from the Balcony and came running to the  garden, shouting for help.  When he arrived at the spot, he was surprised and relieved to see his little son there, holding hands with the minister.

“Oh! What happened here? I saw my son falling into the well and hence I came rushing” said the king.

The minister said smilingly, “Oh revered king, what is the need for you to personally come rushing here to save your son? Won’t it be enough if you call your security guards and send them to save your child from drowning?”

The king said, “What do you mean? How can I remain cool and issue order my soldiers to do something when my own son is drowning here?”

The minister said, “That is precisely what Lord Vishnu did when he heard the cries of the elephant Gajendra!  For the lord, Gajendra was just like a son! Every living being is like His son and daughter! When any of them cry to Him for help, how can’t he help but to rush personally for saving him/ her! That is the nature of God”.

11. What God looks for (2)

Once there lived a poor laborer who was a deep devotee of Lord Krishna.  It was his regular habit to visit the temple of Lord Krishna adjacent to his house every evening after his daily jobs were over.  He would promptly present himself at the time of deeparadhana (vesper service) and would feel spiritually surcharged; he would not miss this habit.

One day, due to extra work, he was held up late at his workplace.   When he rushed to the temple, the deeparadhana had been completed and the priest was coming out. The laborer felt very disappointed for having missed to see the deeparadhana.  He stood there with a sunken face.

The priest noticed the man’s disappointment. He knew that he was a very regular visitor to the temple who was always present at deeparadhana time and watched it with rapture. The priest was deeply impressed by the devotion of the poor laborer.

He went close to him and said, “I am doing deeparadhana daily to the Lord. I will give all the punya (accrued merits)  of doing this service for lord to you. Will you please give me the punya of your longing for God to me?”

The laborer happily agreed to this proposition.

On that night, Lord Krishna appeared in the laborer’s dream. He said, “To day, you have done a foolish thing. Why did you exchange the punya of your deep love on me to that priest for his act of doing deeparadhana? After all, he is doing it as a part of his job as a priest. His merits of doing this procedural service to me can never equal the love and devotion that comes from your pure heart.”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

12. What God looks for (3)

Once there lived a Brahmin who was well versed in scriptures and he was a deep devotee of Divine Mother. Wherever he went, Devi too would go with him. Though others could not see Devi, the Brahmin would see her and even converse with her.

One day, he was undertaking a pilgrimage and Devi too was following him. At one place, the Brahmin happened to see whether Devi was coming behind him as usual, he was surprised to notice her missing. He started walking back in search of Devi. After going back some considerable distance he noticed that Devi was sitting in a platform inside the hut of an untouchable man.  The untouchable was actually worshiping Devi by placing a sword and Trishul on the platform, deeply involved in his prayerful worship. Devi was patiently sitting in front of him as long as his worship was continuing and was blessing him by accepting his worship with a smiling face. Once the pooja ended, Devi came out of the hut to be with the brahmin.

The Brahmin said, “Mother, I know how stressful it would have been for you to sit  so long in front of that untouchable low caste person who did some dubious worship without knowing any mantra or tantra. Please do not do such things again”.

Hearing this Devi smiled and said, “I have been with you all along and still you have not understood my nature.  I always look at the heart of the devotee. I have no discrimination based on someone being higher or lower in social order. Whosoever calls me with total love and devotion, I would go there.  I value pure, guileless love more than scriptural knowledge. I don’t want to follow you hereafter as you have not even grasped this basic nature of mine”, So saying Devi disappeared.

[Amma:   “The moment egoism and differentiation rises up in a devotees’ heart, he gets distanced from God immediately.”]

13. Your responsibility

Once a person who lead a life of righteousness and accumulated punya (fruits of good karmas) in this world died and went to heaven on account of his goodness.

There one day he noticed a strange shop; the shop carried a board :”All goodness and wealth are available here for buying free of cost”. The God himself was the seller in the Shop. The man went inside the shop, bowed to God and said, “May I get happiness and peace for all the people of mankind from this shop?”

The God immediately gave him a bag full of seeds. The man said, “Well, I am afraid I have not asked for any seeds”.

God smiled and said, “My son, whatever you have asked for is available here, but only in seed form. It is up to you to put all efforts to grow them into trees and then pluck the fruits of happiness and peace from them!”

[Amma:   “All of us in this world possess the seeds of goodness inside us, given by God.  They are indeed in the form of ‘bija’, the seed . It is up to us to sow them, give water and nourishment and and take due care of them, they will grow big and flower one day. Then the fragrance will spread all around and the life will be blessed. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14. The right person

Once there lived a Sadhu, who was a great devotee of God. He was extremely humble and lived a life immersed in the bliss of devotion to God. Lots of people came to him in search of peace; they became his disciples and devotees.  He was extremely popular and revered in that locality.

One day a Pundit came to see him.

The pundit too was somewhat famous for his scholarship and his knowledge of the scriptures. He was a very proud man; he was extremely argumentative and he loved engaging others into arguments. He derived lots of joy in defeating them in intellectual arguments based on kis knowledge on scriptures.

The pundit did not like the popularity of the Sadhu, who, according to his judgement, would not even have rudimentary knowledge of scriptures.  He wanted to establish his superiority there.

He spoke the Sadhu: “Swamy, I will be glad to have a debate with you on the matter of God”. The sadhu said with folded hands, “O revered Pundit, I have the least knowledge about scriptures. You are a great scholar, I cannot even stand before you and talk on the matters of spirituality. What do I know? I know nothing.”

The Pundit felt proud and happy. He said: “If you are not inclined to debate with me, will you give me a letter stating that you have accepted defeat from me on the matters of God?”

“Definitely” said the Sadhu. He got a letter prepared as wished by the pundit, signed it and gave it.

The Pundit went to attend a large Conference of scholars and spiritual seekers where various matters of scriptures were being expounded.  There were seminars, panel discussions and debating sessions. The pundit spoke in a session and said, “Perhaps you people are already aware of my extensive knowledge in our holy scriptures. In fact very recently I met this Sadhu in such and such place. I don’t know why, so many people throng to him and show lots of reverence to him. When I met him, this sadhu really got scared of me! He gave me a letter stating that he has accepted defeat from me on the matters of knowledge about God! Here is the letter signed by him!’

He circulated the letter amid his audience. People went through the letter and started talking very excitedly amid themselves. Some of them laughed.

“Why are you feeling so excited? Why do you laugh?” asked the pundit.

Some of them got up and said, “Sir, we are indeed extremely glad to see this letter. All along, we have been searching for the right person to guide us on spiritual matters. We are glad that we came to know who it is, today”.

“Good. You have understood that it is me. Right?” said the pundit.

“No Sir; Not you. We meant the Sadhu who gave you the letter. Even though we have been studying and discussing scriptures, we also know that God cannot be found through scriptures. We know that knowing God by real personal experience is what really matters, and for such a realized person, scriptures are not really of any value. Humility is the hallmark of such a person.  At last, we have now understood that the Sadhu must be the true knower of God! We are all eager to go and meet him and get his blessings!” said the people in the gathering.

(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

15.  For the fun of it

Once a prince was playing hide and seek with his friends in the garden adjacent to his palace. At one point of time, the prince was the catcher. He kept his eyes closed and all his friends ran away to hide themselves in different places. The Prince started looking around for them. One by one, he caught a few of the boys from their hiding places. But a couple of them could not be easily located. The prince was frantically running around here and there to find out where they were hiding.

Watching this, one of the guards said, “Your majesty. You are a Prince and if you can’t find your friends, it is enough if you just issue an order loudly and they will have to come out of their hiding places. Why should you waste your time running in search of them like this?”

The prince said, “What you say is true. But there won’t be any fun in the game if I do so!”

[Amma:   “When God takes an avatar, he accepts the nature of human beings and comes in such a form to earth.  It is his lila (divine play) to be among the human beings. He tends to demonstrate knowledge and ignorance, power and weakness in this divine play.  We can observe that these avatars too undergo pains and pleasures, problems and resistances in their lives like ordinary human beings. Only then they could mingle easily with others  and relate with them. Once they have opted to play this game, they should change the rules in between, should they?”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  The hands

Once  in a village, there was a prominent statue of a famous saint. The statue was sculpted in such a way showing the saint extending both the hands. An inscription at the base of the statue read “Come into my hands”.

As years passed, both the hands of the statue got broken.  The villagers felt bad about it. Even though the hands were broken, the inscription below the statue was still prominent and clear. Some villagers felt that the old statue should be removed and a new one of the saint with extended hands must be installed again there. Some other people said, “There is no need to discard this statue. It is enough we we repaired it to attach two hands.”

An old villager came there and intervened in the arguments. He said, “There is no need either to change the statue or fix new hands.”

If we don’t do it, then the inscription saying ‘Come into my hands’ looks meaningless and awkward” said some people.

The old man said, “That’s okay. It is enough if we add another sentence under it like this: “I have no other hands except yours. My hands are nothing but your hands”.

[Amma:   “God has no separate hands other than ours. He acts only through us. Hence we should bring God in our hands; in our legs; in our tongues and in our hearts. This way we must transform ourselves to God.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol.2)

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 5 (15 more stories)

1.  Being in the present

[Amma: “Only the present is in our hands. We have no control on what is going to happen in future. The past is like a cancelled cheque. What is important is the present and we should think good thoughts and do good deeds in the present. That’s why, training the mind to be in the present is always recommended as a good spiritual practice.

“Children, don’t think that it is not possible to remain in the present at all times, without drifting to thoughts of the past or the future. Everyone has the potential for it. Listen to the following story carefully:”] 

Once the only child of a couple became extremely sick. The child’s life was in grave danger. The doctor injected a medicine to the child and said, “This is my last ditch effort. I can’t say for sure whether the medicine will work or not. Recovery of your child rests only with the grace of God. Please pray to God. It is only by His will that the child caan recover.”

The parents were not rery theistic so far in their lives. But, in the present critical juncture, they decided to do what the doctor said. Why? Simply because they had no other alternative.

Both of them praying feverishly to God to save their child, Their entire mind was occupied in the present — to see their only child alive — that was their only wish now.

As husband and wife, the couple had so many fights in the past; they were not seeing eye to eye on many matters. Forgetting all their past bickerings, they now prayed together with mutual love for saving their child;  they had no thought of what would happen the next day.

They look at the child; touch and caress his face and body;  they watch weather the child is breathing normally; they eagerly look forward for some movement in the child’s body; they look at his eyes eagerly to see whether they would open and look at them. When they see no progress, they pray more feverishly.

Their relatives come to see them. The couple might have had some bitter experiences with some of them in the past. Yet, at this critical situation, they speak to them politely without any hatred. It is because they are in the present — gripped with their only desire of seeing the child alive, they are able to behave nicely with them. They sincerely think that they need God’s grace as well as the blessings and good will of the visitors too. They tell them, “Please pray for saving our child.”

Thus, despite what the past was and future could be, the couple live in the present and it has made them polite and loving people. Presently they are freed from hatred and bitterness.

It is likely that the couple would behave so till the child is either saved or dead. Afterwards all their past old habits and idiosyncrasies might return. Yet, as long as they are in the present, their condition is sober and amenable.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.  Be happy with what you have

[Amma: “Children, be contented with what you have. Never aspire for what others have. Don’t desire for what you don’t have. Don’t think that you will be happier if you live your life like someone else. Don’t think your sorrow is more painful than others. Everyone has his/her share of pain and sorrows in life. None can share the burden of others or exchange with others.”]

Long ago, people living in a land were very unhappy about the state of their lives. No one was happy. Everybody thought that the next person was better off then him/her. By constantly thinking like this, they felt very agitated and furlorn. They could no longer bear their sorrows and burdens.

They got together to pray and cry to God to save them from their miserable lives. Moved by the intensity of their prayers, God appeared before them. He asked them to gather together in a meadow.

I have come after hearing your prayers. Now all of you unload your pains, sorrows, sickness, mental disturbances, physical handicaps etc in bundles in this meadow. People happily unloaded their every problem and pains. Soom the meadow got filled up and grew to be a mountain!

God said, “Now, in lieu of what  you have unburdened, each of you can pick up the bundle unloaded by someone else that you may feel as more bearable to you.”

The people vied with each other to take the burden of someone else that they thought to be ‘less heavy’ than theirs.  The beggar took up the problems and pains of a rich person. A barren woman took up the problems of a woman who had problems due to multiple children. Thus took up alternative problems and they appeared to be happy. God disappeared from the scene.

People too returned to their homes. From the very next day, people started crying and complaining once again! This time, their their prayers and crying appeared 100 times more powerful than the previous occasion!

God appeared before them and asked them to gather at the meadow once again. They all cried to God saying that they could not handle their new worries and sorrows. They unanimously felt that their previous problems were far more tolerable than the present ones and they wanted their old worries to be given back!

The God permitted them to do so and disappeared.

The people seemed to be relieved and went back to their homes. Bur very soon, they started complaining as usual!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

3.  There is purpose behind inequality

[Amma: “Why doesn’t God make everyone live happily?  Why is it that he has made some people suffer in life? People ask such questions. It is not God’s will that some people should go without food or some people to suffer more. God has given everyone what is basic and essential for them. Everything just to meet the need”.]

Once a sage with occult powers visited a village. The village people went and requested him to make all the people in the village happy and prosperous. The sage, in deference to their wishes. used his occult powers to give them all lots of money, jewelry, new houses and so on.  The people of the village received everything with joy and bid farewell to him after expressing their thanks to him.

After a few months, the Sage visited the same village again. This time, he found the village totally different from what he saw last time.

In fact it was even difficult to walk through the village. Dirt, waste and garbage were found strewn everywhere.  The whole village was stinking. There was absolutely no cleanliness anywhere. Consequently, people of the village were suffering under different ailments. Cattles were not being reared, lands were not ploughed; no agricultural activity was going on.

When he inquired why, he came to know that ever since he gave lot of money to all the villagers, provided houses to stay and so on, no one was coming forward to do any work. There were no laborers to do farming. None came forward to clean the streets and surroundings as none was dependant on work to earn money to run their livelihood.

The people now begged the sage to reverse what he had done so that they can return to the old, healthy way of leading their lives!

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

4.  “My life is best”

[Amma: “Everyone lives in his own world and thinks of himself to be great. Even a mosquito may feel its world is better than anyone else’s!”]

Once there lived two astrologers who were very good friends. They were very good in predicting future from horoscopes. Once they got curious to know of their next birth. After going through their horoscopes in depth, they concluded that one of them will be born as a mosquito and the other a bullock. They also predicted that they would meet in the next birth too.

The astrologer destined to be born as mosquito said to his friend, “Please do me a favour when we meet in our next birth. Please crush and kill me to death when you see me.That way, you will shorten my pitiable life of being born as a lowly mosquito. That way, I can hasten to take a better higher birth so as to reach God faster”. His friend agreed.

After their death, they took their fresh births as a bullock and a mosquito as predicted. THe bullock remembered its promise and kept looking for locating his mosquito friend. One day, he noticed that one mosquito living with a swarm of other mosquitos in an adjacent pool of extremely dirty sewage water amid a mound of filth was indeed his friend of the previous birth.

The bullock did not even feel like walking through the filth to reach out to his friend. However in order to fulfil his promise, he reluctantly walked through the filth. His friend mosquito was sitting over some dirt. The bullock lifted up his front leg to crush the mosquito. Noticing the intent of the bullock, the mosquito cried aloud, “Hey you! Stop, stop! What a cruel act you are trying to do? What harm have I done to you?”

The bullock said, “Don’t you remember me, your old friend of previous birth? Have you forgotten your request to me in the last birth to kill you the moment we meet in this birth? Haven’t you told me that you did not wish to live the worthless, lowly birth of a mosquito, but wanted to quickly die and take higher births?”

Hearing this, the mosquito laughed and said, “What do you mean by saying this life of mine is lowly and worthless? You just don’t know how beautiful and comfortable this life of mine is! I have a beautiful wife and nice kids; I have no desire to leave this heavenly location and take any higher birth or to reach God. I simply don’t think any other world would be any better than this! I am quite contented to live here and I request you to allow me to live in peace!”

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

5.   Ignoring sane advice (1)

[Amma: “God is full of compassion. A mother who gives birth to her children also tells them dos and don’ts  for leading a trouble-free life. If we follow them, our life will be smooth. Likewise, God, the creator, gives and knowledge and power to discriminate what is permanent and what is transitory. Without using discrimination if we do wrong, we have to suffer the consequences. There is no point in blaming God for it”.]

Once in a village a mother had two sons named Viveki and Aviveki. One day, she sent the boys to the adjacent town to buy so milk. As they were going to the town for the first time, she gave detailed instructions to them.

She said, “My dear children, on your way to the town, you will find two bridges. The one on the eastern side is made of teakwood and the other on the western side is made of a low quality wood. The teakwood bridge is strong and sturdy, but is far off from here to cross. On the other hand, the other bridge on the western side is closer by, but it is very old, rickety and shaky. If you use that bridge, you have to walk extremely carefully as it will shake and crack. If you are not careful, you can falter your steps and fall into the river. The bridge may even collapse.

“So, I advise you to take the longer distance path and cross the river using the teakwood bridge in your onward journey to the town. At the house where you have to buy the milk, they would give you a wooden staff. On your return journey, you can cross the river by the old, creaky bridge. Now the wooden staff will be very handy for you to support and stabilize yourself to  safely cross the bridge without falling down and reach home faster on your return.

“So, remember — never use the old bridge on your onward journey and take the risk of falling down”.

As the brothers started their long walk to the town, they first noticed the old, rickety bridge. Seeing it, Aviveki got tempted to cross the river quickly using it. He said, “Why should we walk unnecessarily to such a long distance to reach the Teakwood bridge? We will just cross the bridge very carefully using this bridge itself. It will save lot of time”.

Hearing this, Viveki said, “No. Mother has given us very specific and clear instructions that we should use this bridge only on our return journey and not on the onward journey. She has told us that it is very risky. So, drop the idea and come along with me”. However, Aviveki was adamant. “I know all that. I can be very careful and manage without using any stick. I will go alone if you are not joining me”. Viveki refused to give him company and he proceeded further to go to the east side Teakwood bridge.

He reached the town, located the house, collected the milk as well as the wooden staff given by them. He walked back and reached the west side rickety bridge. There he saw his brother lying in waist deep water, unable to move because of broken leg.

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

6.   Ignoring sane advice (2)

[Amma: “When God created the world, he has also taught people how to conduct themselves in this world. If people got into trouble and hardship by not heeding to his words of wisdom, how can God be blamed for it? God never punishes; even what you perceive as punishment too is God’s way of correcting and improving you”.]

Once a boy wanted to go to the neighbor’s house to play. The mother said, “There are two ways to go to the neighbor’s house. One is to go to the front of our our house, open the gate, go to the neighbor’s gate and enter it and reach the house. There is another shortcut about which I will not tell you. I would only want you to go by the gates”.

The boy came out of the house and he became curious to find out where the short cut was. He inspected the fence separating the two houses and there he noticed a small opening. He decided to sneak through the gap. When he entered through it, the sharp thorns in the fence pieced his skin and he started bleeding. Hearing his cry, the mother came out and retrieved him back to the house. Without telling a word, she applied medicines on his skin and soon it became alright.

Within a couple of days, the boy again got permission to go the neighbor’s house for playing. This time too, he decided to sneak through the opening in the fence, with a determination that he would be careful enough not to wound himself. But, his manoeuvres did not work and he got injured once again by the thorns. Again, without a word, his mother came forward to help him, cleaned the wound and applied the medicine.

Same thing repeated after a couple of days. This time, the thorn made a deep scratch on his skin and he bled. His mother noticed his mischief but did not come forward to help him. She left the wound to remain as it was. The wound did not cure; pus formed in it and the boy was suffering in severe pain.

The mother now said, “Last two times, I came to your rescue and you did not get the wound septic. Since you did not experience the pain, you decided to do the mistake again and again. This time, I intentionally did not apply medicine, because I wanted you to learn the hard way. Only when you feel the real pain, you would desist from committing the same mistake in future. You will not resort to going by shortcuts. It is not because I didn’t care about you that I ignored you the last time.  Since I truly care about you, I wanted you to come back to the right path and increase your awareness. That’s why I let you suffer”.

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

7.   Bad omen!

[Amma: “It is our good thoughts, good intentions and good prayers that we do in the morning as we get up that could lead to a happy and fruitful day. However, some people wrongly attribute the day’s happenings — good or bad, to the face of the person that they saw first in the morning”.]

Once a king, after waking up in the morning, came out of his room to the balcony and looked outside. There, on the street, he saw a beggar in tattered clothes. The beggar too looked at the king and bowed. The king immediately withdrew to his room with revulsion, thinking “Oh! What a bad sight to see first in the morning! It is so inauspicious to see a beggar first.I am worried what is going to happen today. Will there be any arrival of a war or any news of famine?” With such a thought troubling his mind and his heart welling up in hatred on the beggar, the king restlessly paced up and down in his room. Unexpectedly, he slipped, fell down and sprained his leg.

The king’s physicians attended to him immediately, wound a bandage to the king’s leg and prescribed complete bed rest for a few days.

Attributing this misfortune to the beggar whom he saw first in the morning, the king asked his minister to fetch the beggar from the street and ordered that he should be hanged.

The beggar was arrested and brought to the court. The minister conveyed to the beggar about the king’s order and the reason for the punishment.  Before he was taken to the gallows for hanging, the minister asked “Do you wish to say anything?”

The beggar said, “As the king saw my face first in the morning, he met with a small misfortune by spraining his leg. But see my misfortune. I too saw the king’s face as first thing in this morning and I am going to lose my life for it. Tell me whose face is more inauspicious? Mine or the king’s?”

(from Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

8.  Destructive mindset

Once upon a time there were three countries which were antagonistic to each other always and were fighting with each other. Each country wanted to destroy the other two and both the kings and peoples of the countries nurtured deep rooted hatred against the people of other nations.

God felt bad about such a mindset. He wanted to bring the antagonism to an end and he called for a meeting of the representatives of the three countries. He said to them, “My children, why are you always fighting with and hating each other? What do you want? I am here to fulfil your wishes; tell me your problems and I will solve them”.

The representative of the first country rose up and said with total disregard to God and said, “First of all, we don’t even believe Your existence. We believe only our leaders. If you really want us to believe you, then you should demonstrate your power to us”.

“What do you expect me to do, so that you will believe in my power?” asked God.

The representative of the first country pointed out the rep of the second country and said, “If you destroy his country fully, we will start believing in your power. We are even willing to build temples for you and worship you in our country.”

God was shocked to hear such a statement. He could not talk for a while. Seeing his silence, the first man said, “YOur silence proves that you are not capable of doing what I asked. It does not matter. We will do it ourselves; perhaps it might take a longer time, but it does not matter; we will do it.”

Without responding to him, God looked at the rep of the second country. He knew that the people of that country were theists. So, he thought the rep will speak more amicably. The rep said, “My lord! Our request is extremely simple: The first country should no longer be found in the world map. Let that place remain empty. Just in case you are not going to do it, our army will definitely do it with your blessings and grace”.

God was shocked much more when he heard this. If such was the state of people who believe in God, what to speak of non-believers? He sighed and looked at the face of the third person. He got up, bowed his head reverentially to God and smiled. God felt some hope seeing his gesture. ‘Oh! I hope at least this fellow understands me; let me at least save his country from destruction’ — thinking so, he asked, “My son, what is your wish?”

The representative of the the third country said, “My lord, I just have no separate opinion of my own. I will be happy if you concede to  the wishes of these two persons.”

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

9.  Priceless indeed

Once there lived a beggar, who was quite healthy and looked young too. However, out of sheer laziness to work, he would beg at the passersby, saying, “Oh gentlemen, please look at my pitiable state; God has created me extremely poor and I am an orphan. There is no one to take care of me. Please have pity on me and give me a few coins.”

One day, a wise man was passing the street and the beggar begged money from him too.

The wise man said to him, “Why should you beg like this? I will give your ten lakh rupees. You give me both of your hands”.

The beggar was shocked. He said, “Sir, how can I live without hands; aren’t they priceless?”

“Fine; then give me both of your legs instead. I will give you the same amount” said the wiseman.

“Sir, are you mad? How can I ever give my legs? They are priceless”

“Then give my your eyes. I will give the same amount”.

The beggar got irritated. He said, “Not just eyes, I will not give any part of my body for a price”.

The wiseman smiled and said, “My dear friend, you have been begging by saying God had created you a pauper. But now you say your legs, hands, eyes and every organ in your body is priceless and you are not willing to give any of them for any money. Is it not now clear to you that God has given you a wonderful, priceless body? Using this body, why not you do work and earn your livelihood?  When you are quite healthy, don’t extend your hands for begging. It is nothing but utter laziness. God never loves anyone who wants to get everything given to him by charity. God does not like people who live like parasites in the society. Better find a job and live by earning.”

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

10.  The Solution!

[Amma: “Children, By serving others, you are blessed. In the same way, by doing evil to others, you will suffer. Let me tell you a story:”]

A person walking on the road, met a friend on the way. The friend looked a very agitated and disturbed. “What happened? Why do you look so disturbed?” he asked.

The friend said, “At the end of this street where taxi drivers park their cars, there is one driver who hits me at my back whenever he sees me. I have not been able to stop his behaviour. I am getting uncontrollably angry with him day by day. I want to teach him a fitting lesson one day”.

“Be careful; don’t do something hasty and get into trouble “ advised the person. But his friend said, “That driver’s behaviour has crossed the limits of my tolerance. I am going to give him a fitting punishment that he could not forget in his life”

What do you intend to do with him?”

“This is what I plan to do today. I am going to buy a country bomb and fit it on my back and cover it with my shirt. From tomorrow, that driver will not have a hand to hit me again. Haha!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

11.  The dress makes difference

[Amma: (When asked about her dressing up like Krishna and Devi during Bhava Darshans): “It helps people understand what bhava is. People have special preconceived ideas about Krishna and Devi and Their dress.  When one says “Devi” nobody will think of an ordinary girl. There must be a distinctive quality in the manner of dress. By wearing those beautiful sarees, crown and jewels, mother is planting an impression of Devi in the mind of the devotees and trying to help them to make their faith stronger in order to grow spiritually. Mother will make this point clear through a story:”]

One man was cutting down a tree which was growing by the side of the road. Another man who noticed it and said, “Don’t cut down the tree; it belongs to Government and cutting it down is against the law”. The first man not only did not listen but also started scolding the other severely. Actually, the person who tried to prevent the man from cutting down the tree was a policeman. He left the place immediately and soon returned in his official dress.

Even from a distance the man cutting the tree noticed that a policeman was approaching him. He stopped cutting and immediately fled from the place!

[Amma: “See the difference in the impact created when the policeman came in ordinary dress and later in the official dress! Therefore, special attire is needed to to teach ignorant people.”]

(From Awaken Children-2)

12.  Pride and its effect

Once a king who went to a forest for hunting, got separated from the rest of the party. As he was walking, tired and weary due to hunger, he saw some forest dwellers.

He asked them, “Which fruit is good to eat?”

They said, “Any fruit in this forest is good to eat. Even naturally bitter fruits are sweet here.”

The king was astounded and he inquired as to how it could be so. They said, “The king who rules this country is a repository of good qualities. Therefore the subjects are good-natured. Maybe it is because there is no one evil in this country that the trees give sweet fruits only. Nature is pleased with the good acts and qualities of the king and his subjects.”

The forest dwellers did not know that it was the king himself who was standing in front of him. Even so, they received him in a respectful way.

When the king returned to his place, he was brimming with pride. He was inflated with ego thinking that because of his greatness, even bitter fruits became sweet.  His manners changed; his pride made him arrogant. He started doing unrightful acts soon.

Later, the king went to the forest once again. The forest dwellers saw him while he was about to eat some fruits and said, “Don’t eat that fruit; it is very bitter. Everything is spoiled now due to the evil rule of the king of this country. Due to his wicked behavior, the subjects too are acting in a evil way; Nature has become displeased. None of the fruits here are good to eat.”

The king was shocked to hear this. He returned home thinking about all his evil actions with repentance.

[Amma: “Our character will be the cause of good and evil in this world. Knowing that, you should live cautiously. The actions of human beings are the basis of nature’s goodness”.]

(From Awaken Children-2)

13.  Too busy!

Once a man returned from office.

He found lots of letters delivered at the doors by the postman.  He collected them and started opening them one by one and began reading them.

Suddenly he remembered that it was the last date to pay the electric bills. He wanted to  write a cheque for the bill amount and he started looking for his cheque-book. As he started frantically searching for the missing cheque book,  he noticed that all the utensils, plates and glasses were lying unwashed after the dinner party he had at his house the previous night.

He started washing them one by one at his kitchen sink. While he was doing it, he noticed that the plants he had kept at the windows were withering because they had not been watered for the past couple of days. He stopped the cleaning work and started watering the plants. As he walked around to water various plants, he noticed that his car in the garage had gathered lots of dust as he had not bothered to clean it since a couple of days. He suspended watering the plants and went to the garage to wash his car.

Suddenly he remembered about the electric bill and his search for the cheque book! He also realized that he had not finished any of the tasks that he undertook that evening!

At that point of time, he received a phone call and it was his friend. The friend asked: “How was the day?”

The man sighed and said, “Don’t ask me. It is too busy a day!”

[Amma: “This is the state of affairs with most of us. Being busy has become a disease! Nowadays everyone including children say, “I am too busy”. But the reality is that there is no focus on the job at hand. Instead of living in the present, we live either in the past or in the future. Only when we learn to be in the present, we will be able to finish our tasks in hand effectively. Plan while you plan in the present. Once planning is over, undertake the task in the present. While planning don’t think and worry about future. “]

(Amma’s Monday Satsang 16/12/19)

14.  The hidden treasure

Once there lived a very rich man who had four sons. All the four sons were lazy and they lived an easy life rolling on  luxuries and spent money lavishly from their father’s earnings.

The richman who had come up in life in the hard way, was extremely worried about the future of his four sons. No amount of good counselling had any effect on them.

Worrying about his children, the richman got sick and soon he was in death bed.

He was constantly thinking of ways to inculcate some value for working and earning into his children.

One day, he called his sons and said, “I am not going to live any longer. I am sharing this secret with you. Please listen; I have got a huge treasure containing lots of gold and diamonds earmarked for your inheritance, I have kept them buried in four huge pots under four different trees in our orchard. After my death, you may dig them out and make use of it for your future”. He breathed his last.

After doing his last rites, the four men went to the orchard enthusiastically. They started digging the land under the shade of each tree one after the other. There were several hundreds of  fruit trees in the orchard and they did the digging under all the trees. However they were disappointed that there was no treasure buried anywhere.

One of the four sons said “Our father has squarely cheated us. What to do now?  Having dug so many holes all around the orchard, let us at least do one thing. Let us put fertilizers and manures in them and fill them up again with soil”. The others agreed.

Six months passed by. The fruit season came and all the trees, having received lots of nourishment through the manure, gave bountiful yield of fruits. The brothers could make lots of money selling the fruits.

They understood the real secret behind the treasure their father had hinted to them.

[Amma: “There is no doubt that divine grace is always there for the sake of devotees. But one has to really put effort to become eligible for that grace”.]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)

15.  The nature of children

Once, in a village, two little children were playing a game with a stone. The game involved keeping a small stone at the back of a hand, throwing it up and catching it. It had to be done 100 times continuously without fail to get 100 points. Whatever number of times a player failed to catch the stone, that many points will be lost. In the game, one of the children scored hundred while the other scored only eighty. As per the rule of the game was that the winner would give 20  mild beatings in the palm of the loser for having scored less by 20 points.

On that day, the winning child happened to give harsh beatings in the hand of the loser that caused considerable pain. The child got angry and ran away to his home crying. He went and complained to his mother that the other child beat him severely while playing with him.

The mother got worked up. She went to the house of the other child and started scolding him harshly for having beaten her son. The mother or the other child got very angry on the lady who came and made a big issue of it. She started scolding the lady. Soon they started verbally fighting with each other on the streets. Hearing the matter, the husbands of the two women came to support their wives. They started shouting angrily against each other. In the process, they lost temper and started physically abusing each other. Seeing the men attacking each other, lots of  village people rushed in. Soon they got divided into two groups, each supporting one of the men and soon it evolved in to a group clash.

Someone reported the matter at the police station.

Policemen rushed to the scene and brought the mobs to control. Once a semblance of order was restored, the Policemen started inquiring the cause for the group clash. Finally they came to know that it all started with the fight between two children.

“Where are the children? I want to enquire them too” said the Sub Inspector.

Everyone started looking around but the children were not to be seen anywhere nearby. As the parents started searching for the children across the village, they found them at the river bank playing together joyfully.

[Amma: “Children, unlike the elders, don’t get entangled in the past or future. They live in the present and enjoy it.”]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)

 

 

Amma Tells stories from Itihasas & Puranas – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1.  Sabari’s love and Gopis’ love

[Amma: “A spiritual seeker’s mindset should be such that he is ever alert and eagerly anticipating the arrival of his beloved God to meet him. He should ever be ready to extend a warm welcome to his lord and offer his puja to Him. The puja pedestal in the seeker’s Puja room is not just a place to keep God’s image. It is indeed the sactum sanctorum of your beloved God. If you have such an anticipatory mindset, you will always keep the place spotlessly clean”.]

Sabari was an old lady from a hunter family and she was an ardent devotee of Lord Rama. Every moment in her life, she was waiting for the arrival of her beloved Rama to her hut. She kept the hut and the surrounding garden clean,  neat and beautiful so that when Rama would arrive he could lie down and relax there.

Everyday, she decorated her hut with flowers; she spread flowers on the walkway to the hut. To do pada puja to her lord, she kept her vessel spic and span every day. She made a fresh flower garland everyday for putting on to her God’s neck as soon as he arrived. She decorated the seat on which her God would come and sit. She plucked sweet fruits and kept them ready every day to feed her lord.

She was doing all these tirelessly year after year tirelessly. She never even missed chanting her Lord’s name nor slackened her efforts to all these practices. And finally, one day Lord Rama did arrive to bless her and grant her the bliss of his divine company.

Similar thing happened at Brindavan too in the next yuga when Lord Krishna as a boy lived joyfully in the company of the Gopis. When Akrura came to Vrindavan to take Krishna to Mathura at the behest of his king Kamsa, the Gopis of Vrindavan were just not ready to be separated from their beloved Krishna. They virtually turned mad when they came to know of the mission of Akrura. They got very angry with Akrura and showered abuses at him for his attempt to take their Krishna away. When Krishna, Balarama  and Akrura started from Vrindavan, they did not allow the chariot to move forward.

Krishna consoled them all, saying, “Don’t worry. I have an important mission to accomplish at Mathura. Once it is finished, I will not waste a moment there and will come back here. You are all my true love; how can I ever be separated from you for long?”. So saying he bid farewell to all of them, never to return to Vrindavan again in his life.

However, from the moment he left, they started anticipating his return! They kept aside ghee and butter every day to feed their lord when he would be back.  They decorated their houses and made artful kolams around their house. With tears flooding their eyes, they kept staring the path that Krishna would take to reach their houses.  The gopis felt that every tree, shrub  and flower plants, the river Yamuna, the cows, other animals and birds of Vrindavan — every living non-living being were indeed eagerly waiting for the return of their beloved Krishna. Their mind totally immersed in the thoughts and memories of Krishna, every gopi virtually attained the looks and manners of Krishna. They all became Krishna personified.

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.  Yudhishthira’s ‘victory’

[Amma: “Children, death is always behind us. We do not listen to the sounds if its footsteps. Yet we ignore the fear of death and hold on tightly to all our whims and fancies close to our bosom. We never want to change our behavior; we fail to develop love and compassion towards others. Death can knock us out at any time and it is just foot behind us. Hence don’t postpone anything for doing tomorrow. Right time is just now to do good things. Change your mindset about life right now.”]

Once an old and impoverished brahmin came to see King Yudhishthira at his court on an evening. He prayed for monetary help to conduct the marriage of his daughter. Yudhishthira told him to come to his palace the next morning to collect the money. The brahmin, who was full of hope that he would get help from the benevolent king on the same evening was disappointed and left the palace as he was to walk all the way from his distant home again the next day.

After a while, there was a huge noise of beating of drums and blowing of conches outside the court. It sounded similar to a typical occasion when a king returns to the palace after successfully winning a war. Yudhishthira was surprised to hear the noise. He sent his messenger to find out what is happening outside the court.

The messenger came back and and reported that it was all done at the instruction of Bhima. Yudhishthira sent a word to his brother Bhima to come and meet him at once. Bhima came and bowed before the king. When asked what he had done, Bhima said, “Dear brother, I arranged everything to celebrate your victory!”

“Victory of what? Where is the war?” asked Yudhishthira with surprise.

Bhima said, “This victory of yours is greater than winning a war. Brother, you asked the old brahmin to come tomorrow and collect the dole. In the present times, when no one can ever predict what will happen in the next moment, you were sure enough to live till tomorrow morning; it means you have conquered death. That’s why I arranged the celebration!”

Yudhishthira, a man of dharma and wisdom immediately understood what Bhima was driving at. He thanked Bhima for reminding him about the fictitious nature of human life and the need to take instant decisions when it comes to doing an act of charity for the sake of the poor. He immediately sent his messengers to fetch the old brahmin and gave him money sumptuously for celebrating his daughter’s wedding.

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

3.  It is divine power that is acting

[Amma: “Children, it is the power of God that leads us in all our activities. Understand this, we should develop such a mindset that we constantly remember ‘I am just an instrument in the hands of God; he directs and I act’ “]

Vishwamitra was a great saint. Yet he wanted to occupy a higher status than the sage Vashishtha.  However, everyone respected and adored only sage Vashishtha. In whatever way he could mentally analyse, Vishwamitra could not grasp what made Vashishtha greater than him. In order to get clarity on this, he went to lord Brahma and said to him, “My lord, I have done years and years of penance and undertook several very severe austerities. With powers accumulated through them, I could even create an exclusive heaven for Trishanku. Despite all these, people adore and respect only sage Vashishtha more than me. What is the reason behind it?”

Lord Brahma said, “Take Vashishtha along with you and meet Adisesha, the giant serpent that supports the world on its hood. Adisesha will clarify your doubt”.

Vishwamitra met Vashishtha and took him along with him to meet Adisesha. He explained to Adisesha what Lord Brahma told him.

Adisesha replied, “Oh Vishwamitra Rishi, before I answer the question, I need a help from you. I have been carrying the burden of the world all along and I feel very tired. Can you please hold the weight for some time, for my sake?”

Vishwamitra said, with pride, “No problem! I will carry the weight just like holding a straw”. When he made himself ready, Adisesha transferred the earth from his head to Vishwamitra’s head. However, he could not bear the weight even for a second and he fell unconscious.

Adisesha immediately came forward to take back the load. When Vishwamitra regained his consciousness, Adisesha requested Vashishtha’s help to bear the load for some time.

Vashishtha came forward saying, “That power by which I live, that power that leads me, that power that prompts me to action — may that power bear the weight”. With utter humility, He extended his hands to take the earth. Without any difficulty, he could bear the weight of the earth.

Vishwamitra was very surprised to see this. Adisesha said, “Vishwamitra, you are not inferior to Sage Vashishtha in penance. But you do everything with a pride “I do it”. But Vashishtha does everything without a sense of doership, without any egoism.  That is the greatness of Vashishtha. That’s why everyone respects him”.

(From Matruvani Tamil  2017)

4. The power of Krishna’s flute

[Amma: “A self-realized Mahatma in fact identified himself with the entire universe. It is his power that is acting through everything. He can, if only he wishes so, ake all sentient and non-sentient beings to obey his command. Everything is his. Even the sum, moon, seas, mountains, trees and animals can act on his wishes and execute his will. A mere sight, a thought or a touch from him is enough to convey his command”.]

When Lord Krishna was in Vrindavan, his uncle Kamsa was trying all possible means to locate Krishna and kill him. He sent several asuras (demons) one after the other in a mission to find Krishna and execute Him, but all his efforts failed. Every failure strengthened his resolve to kill Krishna. One day, he sent one of his asuras to kill all the cows that Krishna and his associates possessed in Vrindavan.

Every morning, Krishna and his associates would lead all their cows for grazing in the meadows far away from Vrindavan. The asura sent by Kamsa arrived at the meadows. He decided to drive all the cows to one place in order to kill them. Seeing his scary form, the cows got frightened and started running chaotically in all directions. However he managed to control them and drive them in one direction The gopas were very scared and they came running to Krishna to report the matter.

Hearing the bad news, Krishna smiled.  He took out his flute and started playing a tune. The captivating music from the flute spread in all directions far and wide. The cows heard it. Enchanted by the music, the cows turned direction and they started charging and attacking the Asura!  When hundreds of cows turned against him, the Asura felt absolutely helpless to overpower them! He tried all his magic tricks but none could work against the cows that were chasing him by the influence of Krishna’s music emanating from his flute. The Demon had to run away from the spot to save his life.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 – Tamil)

5.  The power of Rama’s anger

[Amma: “A saint is like the mother earth in his patience and compassion. These qualities are very deep in him. Suppose he gets angry, his anger too is as deep as his patience. If his anger is let out, its power  will be like the fire of the final destruction of the universe. As the Mahatma is immersed in the vase expanse of the universe, his anger too would be very vast indeed”.]

Lord Rama was all set with his resolution to build a bridge across the sea to reach Lanka in his mission to annihilate Ravana and bring  back his wife Sita from his clutches. The sea was rough and the waves were high and strong. Rama decided to pray to the lord of the seas and seek his favor so as to build the bridge smoothly. Rama undertook fast for three days and intently prayed to the Sea God for his grace and permission.

Rama was the Avatar of Lord Vishnu who was indeed the creator and sustainer of the entire universe and every minor God was subservient to him. Hence there was indeed no need for him to pray to Sea God. Yet, Rama displayed his humility, in order to set an example for the world.

However his act of humility ended up in boosting up the ego of the sea God.  He did not bother to respond to the humble prayers of lord Rama and appear before Him to grant his wishes.

Sensing his egotism, Rama got angry. Rather, it can be said that Rama commanded his emotion of anger to come to him. Then he took his bow, fitted an arrow and said, “Oh the Lord of the Seas! In order to obey the laws of Nature,  I submitted my self to patience and humility.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 – Tamil)

6.  Krishna everywhere

[Amma: “When you are fully immersed in your true self, you become everything — one  with the entire universe. A new universe is revealed to you. You remain there permanently”.]

Once Lord Krishna and Arjuna were walking together, chitchatting. Krishna said, “Arjuna, you say I am an incarnation of God. I want to reveal a thing to you”. He took Arjuna through a village path.

They reached a vineyard.  Krishna pointed out the creepers there and asked Arjuna : “What do you see there?” Arjuna said, “I see lots of grape creepers and bunches of ripe grape fruits hanging from them”. Krishna said, “No Arjuna, watch intently, those hanging out there are not grapes”. Arjuna watched intently.  He was taken aback. There were no creepers or grapes. Each and every fruit hanging there was verily  a Krishna!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 – Tamil)

7.  Arjuna’s pride

[Amma: “When you are fully immersed in your true self, you become everything — one  with the entire universe. A new universe is revealed to you. You remain there permanently”.]

Once Lord Krishna and Arjuna were walking together, chitchatting. Krishna put his hands on Arjuna’s shoulders and said, “Arjuna, I want a honest answer from you. Tell me who is the greatest archer in the world?”

Arjuna said, “It is me”.

Krishna, with a look of exasperation on his face, said, “Don’t you think it is a self-boasting, over confident and arrogant answer?”

Arjuna Said, “Oh Krishna! When you, the Lord of this Universe, is putting your hand on my shoulders and protecting me, who on earth has the power to defeat me in archery?”

Krishna smiled and walked along.

[Amma: “Children, we must always remember that it is the power of God that is acting through us.”]

8.  Just one syllable – three meanings

Once a grand famine gripped the earth. There was no rain for a couple of years at a stretch and people started suffering a lot.

The devas, Asuras and human beings who were all suffering decided to pray to Lord Brahma to save them from famine. They did severe penance to solicit the grace of Brahma, who had been in deep meditation for long. They waited for him to open his eyes. Finally, Lord Brahma opened his eyes and saw all of them. He just uttered a syllable “Da“, closed his eyes and went into deep meditation once again.

The devas, asuras and humans thought that the Lord had given them the clue to solving their problem by uttering ‘Da’. Each went into meditation to deeply contemplate on the word syllable ‘Da’.

The devas, upon meditating on ‘da’ for long, felt that it meant ‘Damya’ meaning self-control. Devas knew that they were always freeling engaging themselves in enjoying unbridled sensual pleasures. They felt that it was because of it that their suffereing had come. They understood that they should start practicing self-control immediately.

The Asuras meditation on “da” for long. They felt that ‘da’ meant ‘daya’ — compassion. Asuras knew how cruel they were and they understood that God wanted them to practice compassion. They decided to put this advice into effect.

The human beings, who meditated on ‘Da’ understood it to teach them ‘Dana’ — donation.  They instantly felt that they were too selfish and never wanted to give away or share anything with others.  Instead of hoarding things and enjoying them selfishly, they understood that they should share more with others.

As Devas, Asuras and Humans started practicing these qualities in their lives, they could please the lord. Rains started pouring again and prosperity gradually returned to earth.

9.  Realizing the power of Self

[Amma: “A true spiritual seeker gets rid of his individuality, his ego. He grasps that he is Atman; he is bliss personified; This way, he, who has always thought of himself as a zero watt bulb now turns into a dazzling 10000 watt bulb. Such an acquisition of power happens in him”.]

In the story of Ramayana, all the monkeys headed by Angata reach the southern sea shore in their mission to search for Sita. In order to find whether Sita is in Lanka, one had to cross the seas. The monkeys, knowing that they did not have the capacity to jump over the sea felt dejected. None of them were confident to make a jump across such a long distance. Hanuman too was sitting in a corner.

Elder monkeys ask Hanuman, “Hey, can you jump?”. Hanuman said, “No! I am afraid I can’t”.

But some of the seniors like Jambavan said, “No, Hanuman! You are indeed capable. Only you can accomplish it. You are not an ordinary monkey; you are the son of Vayu, the God of wind. You have all the powers to do it; only you seem to have forgotten”.

When they praised him like this and gave him the needed moral boost, Hanuman got up. He realized that he did have all the power and potential. He enlarged his body like a hill and then took one great leap. He crossed the sea and landed at Lanka. He searched and found Sita there. He gave Rama’s message and returned successfully.

In a similar way, our scriptures keep saying, “You are not an ordinary mortal; you are verily the Atman; you have all the powers inside you”.

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale – Malayalam)

10.  Sandipaka’s Devotion to Guru

The Sage Angirasa was a very powerful rishi. He had several disciples. One day, he called all his disciples and said, “Due to my fate on account of bad deeds in my previous births, I am going to be affected by leprosy soon; I will lose my eyesight too. I would prefer to live those days in Kashi. I would kike to know who of you will be interested to be with me in Kashi and do personal service to me”.

The disciples looked at each other and kept quiet. Then the youngest among them all, Sandipaka rose up and said “Respected Guruji, I am ready to come with you and serve you”.

The guru said, “You are too young ; you don’t know anything about the right way of doing personal service to guru”. But Sandikaka was adamant. He stood firm in his decision. He was deeply interested in doing personal service to guru. Finally Rishi Angirasa agreed. Both of them reached Kashi.

Very soon, Angirasa was affected by Leprosy and he lost his eye sight too. Sandipaka served his guru with utter care and devotion day and night. He went out to beg food for his master and also washed his clothes. On rest of the times, he was with his guru, always ready to extend any service needed by him. He believed that his guru and the Lord of Kashi (Viswanatha) were one and the same.

Despite his devotion and committed service, his guru would scold him severely; he would accuse him of committing blunders that he never did; at times he would blame him for not washing his clothes clean or bringing foodstuff that had turned sour. At times, he would also shower him with love and affection and feel bad about giving him all the trouble.

Sandipaka continued to serve his guru without losing heart. One day, Lord Shiva appeared before him and said, “My son, I am highly impressed by your dedicated service to your guru. I would like to offer a boon to you. What do you want?”

But Sandipaka did not want to ask anything without getting his guru’s permission. He ran to his guru and asked, “Shall I ask Lord Shiva to cure your leprosy?”  Angirasa Rishi got very angry. “You are not my disciple at all. Do you want me to suffer more by taking another birth? Don’t you want me to attain realization in this birth itself by suffering all my past karmas?”

Sandipaka returned to Lord Shiva and said “Dear Lord, Please pardon me. My guru did not approve the boon I wanted to ask from you. I have no other need. Kindly excuse me”.

A few years passed by. Sandipaka continued to do his service to guru with the same devotion and dedication. One day, when he was at the streets begging for food, Lord Vishnu approached him and said, “My child, I am extremely happy abut your service and dedication to me. Whatever boon you want, please ask me and I am ready to give it. Don’t disappoint me as you did to Lord Shiva”.

Sandipaka was surprised. He said, “Dear Lord! I have never done any service to you; in fact I had never even thought about you. Then how can you become happy with my service?

Lord Vishnu said, “Guru and God are no different. By serving your Guru, you have served me”. Again he ran to his guru and and asked him what boon to seek from Lord Vishnu. His guru said, “I don’t need anything; if you want to ask something for yourself, ask Lord Vishnu”.

Sandipaka ran back to Lord Vishnu and said, “My Lord, please give me the right mindset and discriminative faculty to correctly comprehend what my guru needs so that I can serve him to his fullest satisfaction”. Lord Vishnu was very happy to hear this and he said, “So be it” and disappeared.

When Sandipaka returned home, his guru asked him what boon was sought by him from Vishnu. Sandipaka narrated what he asked. At that very instant, all the leprosy lesions on his body disappeared. His eye sight was also back. Smiling broadly, Rishi Angirasa embraced his disciple lovingly. In fact, getting affected by Leprosy and losing eyesight were simply ploys enacted by him in order to test his disciple’s dedication and devotion.

With full of love, he blessed Sandipaka saying, “I am extremely happy with your devotion. If all disciples serve their gurus with the same dedication and love as you did, they will all lead a trouble free life. Let all future disciples serving their masters attain the status and glory as you have attained”.

[Amma: “Children, this is true Bhakti. If such a devotion exists, nothing else is needed”.]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 – Tamil)

11.  Gandhari’s envy

[Amma: “People coming to spiritual life expect magical progress; they lack the patience and perseverance.  The blossoming of the inner self will happen only slowly and steadily. Everything in nature has a gradual and predetermined duration of time for evolution. Even the blossoming of a flower is a wonder and it happens in its own time.  The birth of a child is another wonder and it takes nine long months to happen. God never makes things to happen in a hurry. Only if you progress step by step, the progress will be real”.]

Gandhari, wife of the blind king Dhritarashtra came to know that Kunti (wife of Pandu, brother of Dhritarashtra) had conceived and given birth to her first Child (Yudhishthira).  Gandhari too was pregnant at that time. She became very envious of Kunti and out of impatience, she punched her abdomen with her hand again and again. On account of it, the fetus in her womb got disentangled and she gave premature delivery to a lump of flesh.

At that time, Rishi Vyasa came to her palace. He took pity on Gandhari despite her act of immaturity. He cut the piece of flesh into hundred pieces, placed them in 100 pots and closed them tight. Using his yogic power, he passed on some of his prana shakti (his vital life energy) into the pots. He told Gandhari to take care of the pots for a specific period and not to open them. Again, Gandhari, out of impatience did not wait till the end of the stipulated period and she opened them. On account of it she got 100 children who were not mentally ripe and mature. These children grew up to become rogues and they became the cause of destruction of their lineage.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 – Tamil)

12.  Lakshmana’s Anger

[Amma: “It is only through love that it is possible to make the heart blossom with divinity. A sage’s presence, love and touch can do lots of good to others. He can make their hearts blossom and develop receptive mindset. Here is an example how a saintly person’s presence and touch can have the power of healing.”]

The date for Sri Rama’s coronation had been fixed. But on account of Kaikeyi, the event could not happen. Kaikeyi asked for two boons from Dasaratha. As per her first boon, her son Bharata should rule Ayodhya kingdom; as per her second boon, Rama should go and reside in the forest for fourteen years. That was how Kaikeyi made use of the two boons her husband had promised to her in the past.

Dasaratha pleaded to Kaikeyi not to insist on Rama’s exile to forest as Dasaratha’s very life was so much attached to Rama. But Kaikeyi was adamant. She said he should not waver from Dharma as the father of Rama, the very embodiment of dharma.  Dasaratha could not do anything.

But Rama, the avatar was happy to accept the effect of the two boons. He had no disappointment nort anger. He was at his peace as usual to him, because he had no attachment.

But Lakshmana, Rama’s brother and his self-appointed personal attendant was aflame with anger when he heard about the news of Rama’s exile.  As Lakshmana loved Rama more than his own life, started abusing Dasaratha unmindful of the fact that he was his father.  He said that he would put Kaikeyi and Dasaratha in the gallows and crown Rama as the king. No one was able to pacify and control Lakshmana’s anger. Rama kept his quiet watching Lakshmana’s anger. Finally, when Lakshmana became somewhat subdued on account of losing all his energy through the expression of anger, Rama went close to him, touched him and said in a soft voice, “My son”.

That’s all. These two loving words and the touch changed Lakshmana completely. His heart opened up. His childlike nature reared up again. His anger fled. He became steady. He felt peace.

After this change happened, Rama gave a brief sermon to Lakshmana conveying spiritual wisdom. His words now went deep into Lakshman’s heart.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 – Tamil)

13.  The story of Markandeya

The sage Mrikandu had no children for a long time. In order to beget a child, he did severe penance to please Lord Shiva. Finally the lord appeared before him and asked, “Do you wish to have an intelligent and radiant son who will ie at the age of sixteen or a useless dullard who will have a long lifespan?” Mrikandu prayed for the former kind of child.

As was foretold by Lord, the newborn baby developed into a prodigy endowed with all qualities. The parents named him Markandeya (son of Mrikandu). All the four Vedas and other scriptures spontaneously dawned in his intellect. Everyone who came in contact with him felt attracted by his good qualities and behavior. But his parents were unhappy and would weep upon looking at his face, remembering that he would die at the age of sixteen. Somehow they managed to conceal this fact from him.

One day, Markandeya noticed the sorrow in his parents’ face and inquired the reason for it. They told him about the secret of his birth. Thenceforth, Markandeya immersed himself in intense tapas with the strong determination to please Lord Shiva and overcome death.

At last the fated day arrived. When the messengers of death came, they found Markandeya sitting in samadhi, absorbed in the thought of Lord Shiva. Since they could not approach him at that state, the God of death himself, Yma, came to take away Markandeya’s soul. Waking from samadhi and seeing Yama, Markandeya threw himself on Shivalinga and embraced it tightly. Throwing his noose around Markandeya and the Linga, Yama tried to pull Markandeya away.

Infuriated, Lord Shiva emerged from the Shivalinga an killed Yama in order to protect his devotee. The Lord then bestowed eternal life on Markandeya and blessed him that he would remain sixteen years old for ever! Then, in response to the prayers of the gods, Lord Shiva brought Yama back to life.

(From Awaken Children-2)

14.  Jada Bharata and the deer

[Amma: “The next birth one takes after death will be according to to the thought one has at the time death. At the moment of death, only the unfulfilled and strong desires will decide what you will become in the next life. If they are godly thoughts, then you will become a devotee; if they are worldly thoughts, you will again be thrown into the world of vasanas. That’s why it is said that you should cultivate divine thoughts through regular practice. You cannot think of God all of a sudden, especially at the moment of death”.]

Jada Bharata was a king in the ancient times. As the fruit of a life of righteousness, he developed a spirit of detachment and a strong desire for God-realization. Entrusting the kingdom to his eldest son, he left for the forest in order to do intense sadhana.

One day, while engaged in japa by the side of the river. he saw a fawn being swept away by the current of the river; getting up, he rescued the fawn and took it to the hermitage. With great care and love, he raised the fawn as if it was his own child.  Soon he forgot all about japa, meditation and other spiritual practices due to his preoccupation with and affection for the fawn.

Unexpectedly, the time of his death arrived. Even at that time, he was lamenting the fate of the deer and died while looking at it. Naturally, he was reborn as a deer, but due to his previous sadhana, he remembered his mistake of the previous birth and remained aloof from his mother and all other deer. Finally, he was reborn as a man and achieved the Highest Goal through a life of detachment.

(From Awaken Children-2)

15.   The right interpretation of dharma

After Pandavas and Kauravas completed their formal education and learning of archery and other skills in weaponry under the tutelage of Kripacharya and Dronacharya, the elders like Bhishma, King Dhritarashtra and others wanted to designate the next crown prince to rule Hastinapur after Dhritarashtra.  The task was to assess who between Duryodhana (the eldest of Kauravas) and Yudhishthira (the eldest of Pandavas) would be the better choice to rule the nation.

At that time, a murder case came to the king’s court for judgement. Bhishma suggested that both Duryodhana and Yudhishthira should hear the case and suggest the right delivery of judgment according to dharma that they had learned.

It was a case where a Brahmin, a Kshatriya, a Vaishya and a Sudra joined and conspired together to commit a murder. The inquiry revealed that it was indeed true that all the four persons produced in the court were the culprits in committing the crime.

When asked about the punishment to be metered out to the culprits, Duryodhana said that all the four must be hanged since their had conspired together to do the murder.

When Yudhishthira was asked, he said, “Since a Sudra is not exposed to dharma shastras,  he is not fully aware of what is right and what is wrong. Hence he can be whipped 50 times for the crime and released. The Vaishya is definitely far more exposed to dharma through education which means he has done the crime knowing what is wrong. Hence his punishment must be more severe. He can be whipped 50 times and imprisoned for 5 years.

“A kshatriya, being in ruling class, is far more aware of dharma; in fact, he is duty bound to maintain dharma in society. If he commits a murder, it is a serious crime. Let him be whipped 100 times and incarcerated for at least 12 years.

“As for the Brahmana, any form of indulgence in violence is totally prohibited.  As a Brahmin, he is exposed to all dharma shastras and he is the one responsible for propagating the shastras to Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Thus a brahmin conspiring and committing a murder is an extremely serious matter. Nothing short of hanging him to death would be the right judgment in my opinion. However, as per Shastras, Kshatriya like me cannot impose such a punishment to a Brahmin, who is to be revered by all classes of people. Hence I would rather ask the Brahmin to choose the right and appropriate punishment as ordained in the shastras for himself”.

Hearing the judgement, all the elders in the court gave a standing ovation to Yudhishthira for his wisdom and the right grasp of the essence of shastras. Everybody felt that Yudhishthira was indeed the right choice for becoming the future king.

(From one of Amma’s beach satsangs)