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Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1. There is no point in carrying

[Amma: “The past is like a cancelled cheque. It has no value. It is futile to keep brooding over the past worries, hurts and pains and making the present miserable.”]

Once a disciple went to his spiritual master and cried, “Guruji, I have so much of difficulties and pains in my heart that I have been carrying from the past and I could not get rid of them. Please help me to attain mental peace.”

The guru gave him various spiritual advices but the disciple could not grasp them well and put them into practice; he continued to suffer from the thoughts of the past and he kept complaining to the Guru again and again.

Then, the Guru gave him a sack load of vegetables weighing about 15 kilos and said to the disciple, “You carry this on your shoulders all the time; even when you are lying down for resting or sleeping, you should hold it on your chest. Do this till I give further instructions”.

The disciple obeyed the guru and carried the sack load of vegetables all the time on his shoulders or on his head. It was very painful and tiring for him. During nights, he kept the sack on his chest and slept. He could not sleep well.

He kept on doing this for the next few days. The vegetables started decaying and soon afoul smell started emanating from the sack. As they decayed further, liquid started dripping from the sack he felt it irritating and itchy.

Unable to bear the pain and discomfort any longer, he ran to the guru and sought his permission to throw away the burden. The Guru gave his permission and said, “This is precisely what I was advising you with regard to your carrying the mental burden of  the past too! That too was heavy, painful, irritating and itching in your mind! If only you could throw them away like the sack that you did now, you will be relieved!”

(Beach Satsang 2/1/2017)

2. The enlightened disciple

[Amma: “Amid spiritual aspirants living with a Sadguru, there are some whose nature is more feminine. They have no desire for lecturing; they care the least for fame or respect. They may not even aspire for self-realization. They are just content to be with the satguru and do His service. That’s their austerity. They don’t know any higher level of spirituality. They have nothing greater to aspire than the company of their sadguru. This devotion cannot be explained intellectually or logically. Their condition can be equated to the devotion of Gopi’s of Vrindavan on Lord Krishna.”]

One of the disciples of Lord Buddha was suddenly missing.  Over a week, everybody was searching for him but he could not be located, nor his whereabouts known. 

One day Lord Buddha located him. He was hiding himself by sitting in the roof of an Ashram shed. Buddha however knew that he was hiding there; he also knew that the disciple had obtained self-realization and was hiding himself after attaining it.

He made the disciple come down. Holding his hands, Buddha said, “I know you have attained your goal”.

The disciple said, “My lord, Even before you told me this, I knew that I have realized the goal of my life. In fact I was hiding from your view only because I feared that you will declare that truth.  I was afraid that you would then say, ‘Now that you have attained it, go out of this ashram and teach the world.’ But, my dear master, I would be happy only to remain unrealized and just be in your joyous company for ever. I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to go out and teach the world as a person of self-realization”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

3. The essence of true knowledge

[Amma: “Explanations and interpretations (of scriptures or spiritual knowledge) actually become a hurdle in turning the mind inward and experience the Truth. In fact, our mind and thoughts become hindrance to real experience. If one has to experience the beauty of flower, all thoughts related to explaining the flower must stop. Likewise, only when the mind becomes silent, one can grasp the true meaning of scriptures. Do read scriptures; but never assume that you don’t have to do anything else over and above it. Only when one attains a childlike mind that says, “I don’t know”, one can really progress in spirituality.

Once a young man went to a saint and became his disciple. The saint said to him: “You write down whatever you have known and learned about religion and spirituality. It will benefit you. Then come and show it to me”.

The disciple, heeding fully to the Guru’s command, started writing in a big notebook whatever he knew so far in life about religion and spirituality. It took one year for him to complete it. He brought the notebook and handed over to the Guru.

The saint opened the notebook and glanced over several pages for a while. Then he said, “This is indeed written with clarity and mental focus. It can really give the reader the needed spiritual phillip to tread the path of spirituality. Your one year of hard work is reflected in the contents. However, it is rather too long. Can you please do a precis writing and reduce the length?”

The disciple agreed and went back. It took five years for him to condense his ideas and reduce it to half of its original length. He brought it to his Guru. The guru leafed through it and said, “Well done! Ideas are very clear and the writing style is excellent! However, I want you to make it considerably more brief”.

The disciple was disappointed when he heard this. However, bowing to the Guru’s wish, he started rewriting it. It took 10 years for him to finish the task of condensing all his ideas to just 5 pages. He submitted it to the Guru saying, “Master, I have condensed all that I have understood on spirituality in these 5 pages. I am thankful to you for making me fit for grasping this truth”.

The guru went through the five pages fully and thoroughly. Then he said, “Extremely well written! YOu have achieved it purely through your concentration and spiritual austerities. Yet, there is a little shortcoming in this. Try to rectify it”.

Years went by. The guru was getting old. He became bed ridden. The time had almost come for the guru to leave his mortal body. The disciple came to the guru and prostrated before him. He handed over a piece of paper to the guru. The guru glanced it. There was nothing written in it. Immediately, the guru placed his hand on the disciple’s hed and blessed him, saying, “Now you have grasped the truth fully. Let the truth henceforth be revealed to you and shine in you”. In that very moment, the disciple attained enlightenment. He sat silently at the feet of the guru. The guru left his mortal body and merged with the infinite.

 

 

[Amma: “Children! If you attain a mind that says, “I don’t know anything; I am nothing”, you will attain your goal. Only when you get that mindset, God’s grace will flow into you”]

(From Arul mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4. Relinquishing is not easy

[Amma: “Spiritual journey, in fact, is not a journey forward; it is rather travelling backward i.e. we travel back to reach our real source. In this process we have to drop off our attachments and vasanas (inborn tendencies) and it is painful. A person desirous of climbing a mountain and reach its top has necessarily leave behind his possessions down below. Else, the upward travel would be too taxing and difficult. If one does not relinquish attachments whole-heartedly, pain cannot be avoided. Amma will now share a story she had heard:”]\

Once a rich man, though possessing all objects of enjoyments that his money could buy, found his life empty and meaningless. He wanted to get rid of his worldly attachments and desires and lead a stress-free and peaceful life. He decided to seek counsel from a Sadguru.

Having known about a famous saint living in a village a few miles away, the rich man started to meet him. As he was about to depart, he thought, “What is the use of all the money that I have kept hoarded in my vault? Let me take all my gold coins, place them at the guru’s feet and forget about them”. He put all the gold coins in a bag and carried the bag with him.

After travelling the whole day, he reached the village where the guru was living. He found the guru sitting under a tree at the outskirts of the village.He rushed to the Guru, placed his bag at the guru’s feet and prostrated before him. When he rose up, he was shocked to see the Guru picking up the bag and running away!

For a moment, he was confused and shaken by the weird act of the guru. Instinctively he felt he should get back his bag containing the gold coins at all costs. He started chasing the Guru. The guru ran pretty fast; he ran across paddy fields, crossed streams, passed through thick bushes, climbed up and down a small hill and wound his way through the narrow lanes and bylanes of the village. With lot of difficulty, the rich man too ran behind the guru in order to catch him.

As the guru was very familiar with the local terrain, he could run through all nooks and corners of the village even in the dim twilight. Soon, the rich man lost track of the Guru. Dejected, he slowly walked back to the tree where he originally met the guru.

A surprise was waiting for him there. His bag was lying at the foot of the tree! The guru was not visible anywhere around. In fact, the guru was hiding himself behind the tree and watching what the rich man was doing. The rich man jumped forward to pick his bag and opened it eagerly to see whether the gold coins had been stolen. He felt very relieved and overwhelmed with joy to see that all the coins were intact.

From behind the tree, the Guru asked: “How are you feeling now, my son?”

Impulsively, the rich man replied, “Oh! I am extremely happy. This is one of the happiest moments of my life!”

The guru said, “My son, in order to gain real happiness, one has to undergo real pain!”

[Amma: “Children! You may run around behind worldly enjoyments. But unless you return to your starting point, you will never get true happiness. That is another important message from this story”.]

(From Ammavin Anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

5.  Wider vision

[Amma: “When man thinks of himself and his desires alone, he becomes narrow minded. He becomes blind to things other than his self-interest”.]

Some youngsters went to a sage and expressed their desire to become disciples to him. The sage took them to a well nearby.He asked each of them to look into the well and tell him what they saw inside.

One youngster looked inside and said that he saw his own reflection in the well water. The sage asked “Did you notice anything else?”. The youngman said, “No”.

Almost everyone else, after looking into the well said the same thing.

The last younster said, “Swami, I see my reflection and also the reflections of trees and creepers that have grown tall all around me reflected in the well water”.

The sage accepted the last person alone as his disciple. He said to others, “You were all able to see just your reflection only. It indicates that each of you think about yourself only. Only this person saw trees and creepers too. It means he is not a person who thinks of himself alone. His outlook is clearer and wider than yours. Hence I am taking him as my disciple”.

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

6. Who is the right person to take charge?

Once a guru had two disciples. He used to give the responsibility for most of the important activities of the Ashram to one of these two disciples; the other one was unhappy about it.  The reason for his displeasure was that he was the senior among the two in joining the ashram. Hence he got angry with the other disciple who got more prominence than him.

One day, he went to the guru and asked, “Master, why are you not giving ashram responsibilities to me? I can do them better than your other disciple”.

After listening to his complaint, the Guru called both the disciples together and gave them an assignment: they have to visit an adjacent village and assess the nature of people living there.

The first disciple, on his way close the village, noticed a man pacifying a crying child by offering a chocolate to him. As he inquired, he came to know that the person offering the chocolate was a murderer. The disciple was impressed to see the good attitude of the person who was keen on pacifying a crying child, despite being a murderer.

As he walked further, on the way, he noticed another person attending to an old man suffering from hunger due to utter poverty. The man was helping the old man to drink some water. Upon inquiry, he came to know that the person helping the old man was a robber; the disciple felt glad to see compassion in the heart of the robber.

Next, on his way, he noticed a woman wiping the tears of another woman and offering her solace. That woman, he came to know, was a prostitute. He was so glad to notice the good heart of the prostitute in offering emotional comfort to a distressed woman.

The disciple came back to Guru and explained what he saw. He was full of praise about the goodness in the people despite being anti-social.

The senior disciple too returned from the village by that time.

When the guru asked him what he saw, he said, “I saw a man beating an young boy; I saw another person shouting at a poor beggar; I also noticed a nurse severely scolding a patient. I could only hate  such people, who have no compassion in their heart.”

The guru arranged to investigate the cases reported by the senior disciple and then explained the real background to those incidences.

The man who beat the boy was a good samaritan; he was providing food and clothing to several destitute children. The boy who got beaten by him had a habit of stealing. No amount of good counseling could help to correct his behavior. As a last resort, the man, purely with the intention of correcting the erring boy, gave physical punishment. Hearing this, the disciple said, “I can’t accept such a behavior. However good the man be, what right has he got to beat a young boy?”

In the second case too, it turned out that the person who scolded the beggar was a one who donates generously for humanitarian activities. He was scolding the beggar because the latter was hale and healthy who could earn his living by working, instead of idling and living by alms. Even this was not acceptable to the second disciple. He quipped. “However generous the man may be, why should he scold a beggar? If he could give some alms, let him, else let him say ‘I can’t give you anything’. He has no right to scold the poor person”.

In the third case, the nurse was known for her dedicated service to patients day and night. She used to treat the man for a severe wound and she dressed it up with  bandage. But the man had the bad habit of removing the bandage and it delayed the process of curing of the wound. The nurse censured the patient for his foolish behavior. When the guru explained this, the second disciple said, “The nurse might have made the bandage too tightly; she might have hurt him and caused pain and irritation to him while doing the bandage. That could be the reason for the man to remove it. Just because she was a nurse who attended to him, she has no right to scold her patient”.

The guru called both the disciples together and said, “None in this world is totally bad or evil. However evil a person may be, he would still have some good qualities in him. The first disciple could see only the good qualities in a murderer, thief and a prostitute.  If we possess good qualities in us, we will only see goodness in others. We are all in need of only such eyes that see only goodness in others”.

Looking at the second disciple, he said, “My son, you only noticed your own mental tendencies in others too. You could only ‘find’ some evil even in good people. Only when your attitude changes, you will be able to see goodness in others and then you will  naturally become eligible for taking up ashram responsibilities”.

[Amma: “Most of us nowadays have the attitude of the second disciple only. Even if someone possesses thousand good qualities, we don’t notice them. If we find one mistake, we would notice only that. But God sees only good qualities in others.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

7. Camel is my right guru!

[Amma: “Some people say that your Guru is within you and your own mind can guide you as a Guru. They ask, “what is the need to surrender to a third person as a Guru?” Of course it is true that there is an inner guru; but right now, it is like a guru enslaved by our own unbridled and evil tendencies. Our own mind is not within our control. It is totally at the grip of vasanas. If we go as per the whims of such a mind, it will only lead us to danger.”]

Once a man went in search of a guru. He went to several masters one after the other. Each one advised him about the need for humility and faith. It was not to his liking. He believed that he cannot be a slave to another person. Thinking so, he rested at the side of a road. He thought, ‘None of these gurus are fit enough to guide me through the right path’. As such a  thought passed in his mind, he saw a Camel which was grazing in front of him nodding its head. He was surprised to notice it. ‘Oh! This camel is capable of reading my thoughts! That’s why he nodded his head in approval! This must be the right guru I was searching all along!’ he thought.

He went close to the camel and asked, “Are you willing to be my guru?” The camel nodded his head. The man felt extremely happy.

Afterward, he made it a habit to take the camel’s permission for all his plans and actions. Whatever he asked, the camel would nod its head which he would take as his guru’s approval.

One day he asked the camel, “Today I saw a beautiful woman. May I start loving her?” The camel nodded.

A few months passed. He came and asked, “May I now marry that woman?” The camel nodded.

A few days passed. He came and asked the camel, “May I start consuming a little liquor?” Again the camel nodded. Then gradually drinking became a habit. His wife started severely criticizing him for it. He came to the camel and asked, “Shall I fight with my wife?” Again the camel nodded. He went and started fighting with his wife.

He rushed back to the camel and asked, “I just cannot tolerate her arguing and fighting with me like this, as she is bent upon stopping me from drinking. Shall I stab and kill her?” The camel nodded as usual.

He ran back to his wife and stabbed her. She died on the spot. Soon the news spread; the policemen came and arrested him. After trials, he ended up in jail with a life imprisonment.

[Amma: “Our mind is exactly like this Camel guru! It has no issue with right or wrong. Whatever we desire, the mind will give its total concurrence forgetting future consequences.   Thus, if we surrender to our mind which is a slave to vasanas, we will become slaves to our attachments.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

8.  Obedient Disciple

[Amma: “A tree is no doubt contained in a seed; but only when the seed goes into the soil,  it can sprout and grow into a tree. Even an elephant can be tied to a tree once it is grown up. But if the seed is not cared, it will become food for bird. The truth of advaita is indeed inside us. But only when we develop humility and simplicity, read and contemplate deeply on the what we read, it could become our true experience.”]

Once an youngster went to meet a Guru and requested him to take him as his disciple. There were already many disciples in the ashram.

“Living in an ashram is not easy for everyone; please go back now and come later” said the guru.

The young man felt very disappointed. Noticing it, the guru said, “Well, are you good at any job?” He then proceeded to mention the various activities in the ashram to know whether he could fit into any of them. The youngster was clueless about all of them. Then the guru asked, “We have several horses in the ashram; will you be able to take care of them?”

“Yes, Sir, if you wish so” said the young man. The guru sent him straight away to the ashram stable to take care of the horses.

The new disciple engaged himself wholeheartedly in feeding the horses, bathing them cleaning the stable and so on. Soon, on account of his sincere  and abundant care, the horses grew fat and healthy.

The guru hardly ever gave any teaching to the students. Every morning he would call them and tell them a sloka (verse). He would ask them to keep contemplating on the meaning of the sloka the whole day to grasp its inner purport and put it into practice in their life. That was his mode of teaching.

One day, the guru came earlier than normal, gave the sloka to the disciples and departed somewhere on  a horse. The new disciple who was immersed in the job of attending to the horses came running. He did not get his sloka for the day from the guru.

“Master, what is my sloka?” He asked the guru, running behind his horse.

“Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?” chiding him so, the guru went away. The disciple started memorising these words of the guru again and again: ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?

The guru returned in the evening. All the disciples were there to receive him except the new one. “Where is he?” asked the guru. The other disciples said in a mocking voice, “That fool is is mumbling something like  ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?‘ the whole day!”

The guru understood. He called the disciple and asked him, “What are you doing?”

He said, “I am repeating and contemplating on the sloka that you uttered this morning while leaving”.

The guru’s eyes filled with tears. He called the disciple close to him, placed both his hands on his head and blessed him. The other disciple got very displeased with what the guru did.

“Master, we are with you in this ashram for so many years and yet you are showering your blessing to that foolish newcomer! It is unfair” they said.

The guru said, “Go, buy some narcotics and bring it here”.

They did. He mixed the narcotic drug in water, poured a mouthful in each disciple with a strict instruction that they should not swallow it, but spit it out. They obeyed.

“Do you feel intoxicated?” asked the guru.

“No master! How can we? We never drank it!”

The guru explained: “You too were only receiving my words in a similar way. You listened to them and immediately forgot about them. But look at him. He did not do so. Without trying to find fault in my words,  he simply accepted it. He has such a guileless heart. It is not just that. I had given the job of taking care of the horses to you people earlier; none of you took care of them properly; you never fed them in time nor bathed them properly; they were looking lean and impoverished during your days. They were also behaving very restless and unruly. But, after he took charge, the horses became hale and healthy. They not only received good feeding but also his love and care; hence they lost their aggressiveness and became friendly with people. He worked wholeheartedly; he did karma for the sake of karma. Above all, he could take my words totally as I uttered without questioning.  That’s how he became eligible for my blessing”.

[Amma: “Children! We should also strive to be like that disciple. One should not find fault with the words of the guru. He should accept them as such, take to heart and practice what he preached. Then none including the guru himself cannot stop the grace of the guru from flowing to him.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9. Guru’s tests could be toughest

[Amma: “Children! There is no difference between a brahmachari or a householder in the holy presence of God or Guru.  A disciple should always keep his mind on God and do his duties. What is important is the total, unwavering surrender to the will of God or Guru.”]

Once a guru went to a village accompanied by his disciples for conducting a series of discourses. A householder came regularly with his family to attend the discourses daily; he was highly impressed by the Guru and his teachings. He wished to join the ashram along with his family.

 After the discourse program was over, he went to Guru’s ashram with his wife and children and prostrated at the feet of the guru. He expressed his desire to join the ashram permanently and serve the guru.

The guru explained to him the hardships involved in living in the ashram in order to dissuade him from his desire. However, the householder was quite firm in his resolve. The guru permitted him to stay in the ashram with his family. Soon, the man shifted his residence there.

He engaged himself earnestly in all ashram activities and was very dedicated in his work. However, the brahmacharis in the Ashram were not happy to have a householder amid them. They found all sorts of faults with him and complained to the  Guru. The guru knew well that the householder was extremely dedicated and sincere. He decided to demonstrate it to the brahmacharis and make them understand.

He called the householder in the presence of other brahmacharis and said, “You have relinquished your home, hearth and job and come here to stay with us permanently. The ashram has very limited resources and somehow we have been managing things with only brahmacharis here.  If you are a single person, we could manage, but we are now burdened with the expenses of  your wife and children too. Hence you should go out, work and earn money to meet the expenses of your wife and children”.

The man started going out from the very next day to an adjacent town, did some labor work from morning to evening, collected his daily wages and gave it to the ashram for meeting their expenses. A few days passed.

The other bachelor disciples started finding new problems with the man and complained to the guru again.

The guru called the man and said, “The money you are giving hardly can meet your expenses. All these days, only ashram has been spending for your family. Consider it as an accumulated debt; you have to compensate it; work hard, earn double the amount and pay to the Ashram. Only afterward you can take food from the Ashram”.

The man explained the matter to his family and said, “You should not eat hereafter from the Ashram kitchen. Wait till I comeback from my work; I will buy and bring food for you when I arrive at night. Only then you should eat”. His family members agreed.

The man started working from early morning till late in the evening. He collected the wages and gave it to the Ashram. Whatever little money he was left with, he would buy some food and bring for his family. There were days when his earnings were inadequate and they would go hungry on such days.

Even after subjected to such hardships, the householder did not venture to move out of the ashram. The brahmacharis were very much surprised to see this. Yet they were unhappy. They created new reasons to complain. They said to the guru, “He is working from day to night in his own business and earning quite a lot of  money; he is giving only a portion of it to the ashram and  living comfortably otherwise, leaving the family inside the ashram”.

The guru called the man and chided him:”You are a cheat. You have left your family here in the ashram, earning big money outside, but giving only a little to the Ashram. You are a liar; a fraud”. The disciple did not even a speak a word against his guru. He hung his head and went silently back to his room.

That night the guru called his disciples and said, “Tomorrow there is going to be a big feast in the ashram. We don’t have enough stock of firewood with us. Some of you should go to the forest right away and bring dry firewood; make sure that it is finished before dawn”. He went to sleep after giving this instruction.

The disciples were too unwilling to go to the forest at night to bring firewood. They went to the householder’s room and woke him up. They said, “There is going to be a big feast in the ashram tomorrow and our guru wants you to get enough dry firewood urgently, right now”.

The man felt happy that guru had given him such an urgent task. He immediately left for the forest and the other disciples went to sleep.

Even after dawn the next day, the guru could not see his householder disciple in the ashram. He inquired where he was. The disciples said, “Last night, he went to the forest for bringing firewood”.

The guru immediately started walking towards the forest and his disciples followed him. The went through the forest in search of the man. They shouted his name aloud again and again. After a long search, they could finally hear his feeble voice calling them back from somewhere. Searching in the direction from where his voice came, they finally located a dilapidated well from where the sound was coming.  It was a shallow well with a little water inside it. While the man was tracing his way through the forest the previous night, he had fallen into the well.

It was still dark inside the well. The guru wanted other disciples to pull the man out immediately. Some of them lied down on the ground and extended their hand inside the well. What they felt first with their hand was a bunch of wood. They asked the man to extend his hand so that they could hold it and pull him out. The man shouted from the well. “You see, I am carrying the bunch of firewood on my head and holding it firmly with my hand; if I remove my hand, the firewood will fall into water and get wet. Please lift up the firewood first, which is essential for cooking the feast; please deliver it first to the Guru and you can come later and pick me up from the well”.

The Guru’s eyes became wet to hear his words reflecting the man’s total faith and surrender to the guru. Only after the firewood was picked up, the man extended his hand for getting lifted up from the well. As the man came out, his wet body was shaking in cold. The guru embraced the man lovingly, placed his hand on his head and gave him self-realization at that very instance, as the other disciples watched it with their faces dark in shame.

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

10. Spiritual life is no cakewalk

[Amma: “A life dedicated to spirituality is meant for people with power and tenacity. It is the path of the bold and not the weak-kneed. If some people get disappointed with life suddenly jump into a life of renunciation wearing a saffron cloth without weighing the pros and cons, life would become very disappointing for them. It is enough if a house-holder takes care of his wife and a couple of children; but a true renunciate will have to bear the burden of the entire world. He could never be fickle minded, sensitive to criticism or emotionally weak.  Without discrimination and dispassion, none can live a life of spirituality”.]

Once there lived a husband and wife in a village. However much the husband worked hard and brought more and more money, his wife would keep on complaining, saying “This is not sufficient”. Because of her nature, the husband felt miserable in life. Since he had no courage to commit suicide, he decided to take up sanyas and left home.

He travelled long and finally ended up at the place of a guru. He requested the guru to give sanyas to him and take him as his disciple.

The guru asked. “Are you seeking sanyas just because you left your home and hearth out of dejection in your family life or have you really got dispassion?”

The man replied, “I have a strong desire to become a sanyasi. That’s why I left my home”.

“Don’t you have any desire for material things?”

“No; I have no desire at all”

“Don’t you want name, fame and wealth?”

“No; I don’t want any of them. I have no liking or attraction on them”.

“Are you sure you want to become a total renunciate?”

“Yes; I want to renounce everything”.

After interviewing him like this, the guru accepted him as his disciple and gave him a kamadal (water pot) and yoga dhanda (wooden staff).

Days passed. They set forth for visiting many holy places by walk. On the first day, after walking for long, they felt tired and rested at the bank of a river. The disciple wanted to take bath. He left the kamandal and yoga dhanda at the river bank and went to take bath in the river. When he returned, he was shocked to find the kamandal missing. He searched here and there but could not find it. He got very disturbed and angry.

The guru said to him smilingly, “You said you have no attachment for material things, but you seem to be very agitated for losing the kamandal! Let it go. Let us move on”.

The disciple retorted, “How will I have drinking water without a kamandal? We don’t have any other vessel with us”.

The guru said, “You are a man without desires and why are you carrying this small attachment to your drinking pot? Accept that it is by God’s wish that the kamandal has been lost”.

But the disciple continued to me in a dejected mood. It was time for lunch.  The disciple was feeling very hungry. But the guru did not offer anything to him to eat. The disciple started murmuring.

Hearing it, the guru said, “Persons choosing a life of spirituality must have patience and forbearance. Should you not learn to be active even if a whole day passes without food to eat?   If you become so weak due to hunger even at twelve noon, what can be done? A spiritual aspirant must learn to renounce attachment towards food as the first discipline.  You have to shrink your stomach first in spiritual life”.

However, after some time, the guru gave a little nutritional flour for the disciple to eat. But it was not at all tasty. The disciple could not eat it.  As it was bitter too, he started vomiting after eating a little.

That was the last straw! The disciple was ready to relinquish the life of sanyas! He somehow wanted to return to his old family life. He sought permission from the guru to leave.

“What was your idea of sanyas when you came to me with that request?” asked the guru.

The disciple said, “I never thought a life of sanyas will be so tough. I was thinking that if I take bath, smear my forehead with ash and kumkum and sit at a place with closed eyes, people would come and fall at my feet; they would offer food to me with reverence. I thought I will be fed on time thrice a day by devotees and I can lead a life of comfort without doing any work! Now I understand this sort of life by following you is worse than the scolding of my wife. Enough is enough”.

So saying, the disciple left the guru in a hurry.

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

11. The final test

Once in an ashram a few disciples learned scriptures and spiritual practices under the guidance of the Guru.  Once their learning was over, the Guru wanted to send them out to the world so as to guide people on scriptures and lead a worldly life if they so wish. He called the disciples and said, “As a last test to gage how far you you have acquired the required disciplines, I want you to climb up the nearby hill and fetch me the fruits from the sacred tree at the top. You must not return without bringing the fruits”.

The disciples climbed up the hill and reached the top. There the tree was there, but it was well fortified by tall compound walls all around it. They could locate only one entrance in the wall but it was covered with a massive rock.  The disciples, tried to push the rock away, but it was too huge. They inspected the wall all around and found no way to climb over it and jump inside.

All the disciples except one, decided to return empty handed since it was practically futile to attempt any entry into the compound and reach the tree.  But the solitary disciple said, “Our guru has given specific instruction to fetch fruits from this tree. It is my duty to keep trying and put my best efforts to somehow gain an entry into this place. I will keep trying; you people can go if you like”. So saying, he resumed his efforts to push the rock away from the gate. He was straining every limb but could not even shake the rock by an inch. But he did not slacken his effort.

The other disciples laughed at his foolishness; they came back to the ashram and reported the matter to the guru. The guru noticed that one of the disciples had not returned. “Where is he?” he asked. They said, “We all tried to roll the rock away from the gate, but we could not succeed in our joint effort; yet, like a fool, he is trying all alone to accomplish the task” said they.

“Come, let us go up and bring the fellow back”.

Along with the guru, all of them climbed up the hill once again.

When they reached the top, the noticed that the disciple was sweating profusely and still attempting to move the rock by some means or other.

“Why are you still attempting to do the impossible, my son?” asked the guru.

“Master, you had instructed that we should not return without fetching the fruit from the tree. I have put all my efforts and now you are here already; will not the impossible become possible with your grace?”

Pleased, the guru placed his hand on top of the rock. Instantly, the rock split into two and gave way. Opening the gate, all of them went inside. Under the tree, there was a box containing gold coins and jewels. The guru took them and gave it to the disciple.

He said, “You are the person who has fully grasped the core teaching in spirituality — that one should obey his guru with unwavering faith and surrender, in order to become eligible for receiving the abundant grace of the guru. Take this wealth and go to the world; Lead a happy life and serve the world with the wealth as well as your spiritual teachings”.

(From Amma’s Gurupurnima message 16/7/2019)

12. Not ripe yet

Once the king of a country came and surrendered to Saint Kabir. He wanted to relinquish his kingdom and take up a life in quest of spirituality. After warning the king about the extent of sacrifices he had to make and extent of  surrender he has to possess in order to reach his goal, Kabir however took him as his disciple. He assigned the former king all sorts of sundry and unpleasant works and the king did them all without  murmur.

Several years passed. Kabir’s wife was observing the former king’s behavior and she felt very happy about his humility and dedication. She said to her husband, “That ex-king disciple is a gem amid your disciples; it is high time you bless him with self-enlightenment”.

Kabir said, “No. He is not ready, yet”.

But his wife was adamant. She felt sure of her judgement. Kabir said, “Okay! Let us do a test on him. Tomorrow, when he enters into the ashram, you throw a bucketful of rubbish on his head from the terrace”.

Guru’s wife did so. The moment the rubbish fell over him, the king looked up angrily, noticed his Guru’s wife and said, “If this had happened in my kingdom, I would have shown who I am”.

The wife reported the matter to Kabir. Kabir said, “Did I not tell you? He is not yet ripe”.

A few more years passed. Again, the guru’s wife had a strong urge to give her recommendation once again. “Okay. this time, you pour more filth, cow dung etc on his head and see what happens”.

Guru’s wife did the same. This time  the ex-king looked up, smiled at the lady and said, “Thank you, Mother! This is the what I deserve. My ugly ego does require such a treatment indeed!”.

When the wife reported the incidence to Kabir, he said, “Yes! Now he is ripe. Call him in and I will bless him”. When the king came, Kabir placed his palm on the head of the ex-king. Instantly, the king experienced self-realization.

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

 

13. Sakshi bhavam (Attitude as a witness)

Once a disciple went to the master and said, “Master, you are always emphasizing the need to have the attitude of a witness in handling all our emotions. But I find it extremely difficult to practice it. How do I practice it?”

The guru did not give a reply immediately.

In the meanwhile, the disciple committed a few mistakes in his actions and behavior inside the ashram. The guru called him and naming some other disciple, he explained him that such and such mistakes were committed by that particular disciple which were objectionable. The disciple heard them smilingly as it was meant to be about some other disciple.

Suddenly the Guru said in a stern voice, “Now I tell you, those mistakes were not done by that person, but were indeed committed by YOU”.

The disciples face turned very grim. He hung his head. He felt very agitated inside.

The guru said, “When I said that the mistakes were committed by you, you are feeling sad and disturbed. But earlier, when I said that they were done by some other disciple, you were able to receive them with an attitude of a witness! It means you do possess the capacity to remain as a witness. But when this subject “I” comes into picture, the trouble comes! If you consider this “I” in you as not your true Self, you can remain a true witness. We do possess the capacity to control our own thoughts and actions; if only we nurture and strengthen this capacity, then it is really possible to maintain the attitude of a witness in all circumstances and accept things with a smile. The mind will not get weakened under all circumstances.”

14. Guru’s teaching

Once a disciple went to the master at night with the intention of asking his guru’s spiritual advice specific for him. When he went there, the guru was busy writing a letter in candle light.

The disciple prostrated before the guru and asked, “Sir, I have come to you to seek your spiritual advice for me”.

The guru did not reply. He was steadfast in continuing to write the letter. After waiting for a while, the disciple asked the guru once again. No reply.

After a while, the guru finished writing the letter and instantly the flame in the candle too went out as it had burnt its full.

Now the disciple reminded his guru once again. The guru said, “I have already given you the instruction”.

The disciple was shocked. “Swamiji, I have been asking you a few times and you did not utter a word!”

The guru said, “Didn’t you notice what I was doing? The candle was burning almost close to its end; I had to finish writing this letter before the flame went out and that is what I did; that is precisely the instruction for you to comprehend too — The life is short and fickle. It might end at any time; you have to make the best use of it and attain your goal before your death.”

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

15. Guru’s only advice

Once there lived a Mahatma, who had many disciples and devotees. A constant stream of devotees would come and meet him and keep on pouring their many woes — need for money, health problems, family problems and so on. Hardly anyone would seek his advice on spirituality.  But the Guru would always give a single advice to them all: “You wake up”. That’s all.

A disciple who was always nearby the Guru asked him, “Maharaj,  why are you giving the same advice to all these people? Won’t it be better if you give different advices to different problems?”

The guru said, “Suppose many people are sleeping in a hall; all of them are having different nightmares in their dreams and were tossing and turning in their beds troubled by their dreams. What will you do to help them?”

The disciple said, “I will shout ‘wake up, wake up’ and goad them to wake up from their dreams”.

“That’s precisely what I am doing” said the guru!

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

 

 

 

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 4 (16 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.     Surmountable Problem!

Once there were two colleagues – a male and a female – working in an office at adjacent seats. When some serious issues or crisis comes up in the office works causing them mental stress, both of them had a habit of opening their wallet and looking at a picture they had kept there. They would close their eyes and then start resuming their work with revived vigor.

Others in the office who have been watching this for long were curious to know what picture did they carry in their wallets that could give them mental peace in moments of tension.

When they inquired, the man showed the picture and said it was his wife.

“Oh! You love wife so much that when you look at her picture itself you feel energized?” they asked.

The man replied coolly, “No. At the moment of extreme problem at office, when I look at my wife’s photo, I think ‘when I have been facing such a huge problem in life, is it a big deal to face this problem in the office?’. Immediately I get the vigor to surmount any problem”.

They asked the woman colleague. The woman showed the picture which was her husband and said the same about her husband!

[Amma laughingly said, after narrating this story, “If I say the story of only a man looking at his wife’s photo, the woman folk here would come and fight with Amma that she is not fair! So, I added the woman character too in this story to escape from complaints of partiality!”

Br. Shubhamrita, who was the translator of Amma’s satsang from Malayalam to English, while translating this narrative added on his own: “Of course Amma is always partial towards men for justifiable reasons, but she added the woman character in the story today  just to ward off criticism only!” Amma too joined the laughter when Shubhamrita added his quip!]

(Beach Satsang Fri 6/2/2015)

2.  Experience

[Amma: “Rational thinking and proper understanding are same. When you can think rationally,  your understanding increases and vice versa.  If you can stay in the present wilfully, your awareness increases and you get clarity in thinking. When you get clarity,  you can foresee hints about dangers and problems that are going to come. Let Amma share with you a story she had heard:”]

Once a correspondent from a newspaper came to interview a very successful businessman. The conversation went on like this:

Correspondent: “Sir, what is the secret of your success?”

Businessman: “Just two words”.

C:  “What are they?”
B: “Right decisions”

C: “How do you take right decisions?”
B: “One word”.

C: “WHat is it?”
B: “Experience”.

C: “How do you gain experience?”
B: “Two words”.

C: “What are they?”
B: “Wrong decisions!”

(Source: From ‘Ammavin Anpu Ullaththilirunthu‘ Tamil)

3. Owning the Guru!

[Amma: “A disciple must make use of the external physical form of the guru to grasp his internal subtle form. To know the subtle form of the guru, the disciple should have a subtle mind. A disciple, instead of grasping the Guru’s real subtle form,  serves only the external physical body, it may lead to dangerous consequences. Let Amma tell you a story to narrate this:”]

Once a guru had two disciples. Both of them were always competing with each other to serve the guru. Once, while relaxing in the bed, the guru asked his disciples to massage his legs. Both came and sat on either side of the Guru. The disciple sitting on the right side said to the other, “Listen; this right leg of the guru belongs to me and the left leg is for you; Is that alright?”

The other disciple said, “OKay. But make sure to confine your services to the right leg only. Never attempt to encroach on “my” left leg of the guru. Is that clear?”

“Fine; I will take care of “my” right leg.  You should ensure that “your” left leg should never come on “my’ way. Right?”

Thus settled, both of them started to message their side of the leg of the guru.  As the guru had already dozed off, he did not hear the conversation between the disciples and their ‘property sharing agreement’.

During sleep, the Guru turned side wise. Now the right leg was lying over the left leg.  This made the second disciple very angry. He shouted at the first disciple “You have broken your agreement. I hust cannot tolerate the right leg resting over “my” left leg. Remove it immediately, else I will show you my true color. Don’t blame me for the consequences later”.

The first disciple got very angry on account of this provocation. He stood up and said, “you arrogant rascal! Don’t throw any hollow words. Come on! Show me what you can do; if anything happens to “my” right leg, that will be your end!”

Both got worked up. They took two wooden sticks in their hands. The second disciple was ready to break the right leg that has insulted the left leg by resting over it. The first disciple was also ready to break guru’s left leg, if only ‘his’ property of right leg was hit.

Hearing this commotion, the guru woke up from his slumber; he was shocked to see his disciples standing at his two sides with wooden sticks in hand, with their faces red with anger. “What happened? What are you up to?” asked the Guru.

The disciples replied, “Maharaj, you just lie down and continue with your sleep. This is something between the two of us and you don’t have to bother interfering in this matter. We will settle it ourselves!”

(From Arul Mozhigal- Part IV)

4. Going through the motion

[Amma: “Even in the path of bhakti (devotion), certain amount of jnanan (knowledge) is essential. Rituals have their place and purpose in the practice of Bhakthi but their significance must be properly understood. Blindly following rituals will not really help in one’s religious practices”.]

Once there lived a person who was very systematic in his daily worships. He would offer milk, panchamritam etc to the deity, light lamps, chant hymns and prayers daily.

He had a pet cat in his home. While he performed the pooja and chanted the hymns with closed eyes, his cat would sneak in and lick the milk kept in front of the deity. Having noticed this once, he felt bad that the milk meant for offering to God was defiled by the cat. To prevent it, the man would catch the cat before commencing the pooja,  put a basket over it to cover it and thus prevent it from roaming around.

His little son would watch his father doing pooja daily and also noticed his practice of covering the cat with the basket. However, he did not know why he was doing so.

Years passed. The father died. So did the cat. The family tradition of conducting daily pooja to the deity came on the shoulders of the son who had grown up now.

The son too arranged the materials for the pooja, prepared milk and panchamritam and did every minute details of the pooja exactly as his father used to do. Suddenly he remembered: “Oh! The cat is missing!” There ws no cat in the house, but their neighbor had one pet cat. He went to the neighbor’s house, got their permission and carried the cat to his house for the sake of puja; he placed the cat by his side and covered it with a basket! He started singing his hymns only after that.

He made this ‘ritual’ a regular one, so that the ‘traditional’ pooja procedures established by his father were practiced by him impeccably!

(Tuesday Satsang 28/3/2017)

5. The closed case

[Amma: “Most people don’t have true faith. They are only in the grip of blind faith. Instead of devotion to God, what they have is fear and doubt. Even educated people won’t accept in God, but they have lots of faith in their car, house, TV etc. These worldly things can perish at any time and yet they have faith in them; but they don’t have faith in the imperishable atman which is the indweller in all beings. What a pity! Let me tell you a story:”]

Once in a village, an aged patient lost consciousness and looked almost dead. Everyone thought he had died. As per rituals, they bathed his body, adored him with a new clothe, placed him in a coffin, conducted the last religious sermons and carried the coffin in a procession towards the cremation ground.

People carrying the coffin suddenly heard a knocking sound from inside the coffin. First they were scared. Then they stopped the procession, placed the coffin on the ground and opened it. The person inside the coffin spoke in a feeble voice, with his eyes still closed, “I am not dead; please take me out”.

But the people around did not believe what he said. They said, “The doctor checked your body and declared that you were dead; The priest too had finished the sermons and given permission to conduct your last rites and bury you. Sorry. We can’t help now”

They closed the coffin, carried to the burial ground, dug a pit, buried the coffin and returned home!

 

6. Willingness to Share

[Amma: “Most people can talk eloquently about unselfishness and sacrifice. But when it comes to putting them practically in life, they would never do it wholeheartedly”.]

Once a man was telling his friend “I really want to serve the world unselfishly and become a renunciate”.

Noticing that his voice was dry and lacked any true emotion, the friend asked, “Do you really understand what unselfishness and renunciation mean?”

“Oh, definitely” said the man.

“If so, you should be prepared to share one of your TV Sets if you have two, to a poor person who does not have TV”.

“Yes. I am ready for it”

“If you have two cars, you should give your car free to one who does not have a car”.

“No doubt about it. I will surely give”.

“If you have two cows, you should give one to a poor person who does not have a cow”.

Now the man said, “Sorry! I cannot give the cow”.

His friend got  surprised. He asked, “Why can’t you give a cow? When you can share a TV set and a car with others, will not the same logic apply to cows too?

The man said, “No. That logic would now apply. In reality, I don’t have two TV sets or two cars. But I do possess two cows!”

[Amma: “Children! This is how our renunciation truly is! If someone comes to us for help, we would wriggle out saying, ‘I could have helped you if only I had this or had that’. But in reality, even if we are in a position to help others, we really don’t wish to do it. We will invent reasons for not helping them and turn them away”.]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

7. Where did God hide?

Long long ago, when God decided to create the world, his idea was to create a nice place for him to reside. So,  he created this earth with beautiful mountains, meadows, forests, rivers, seas, birds and animals. He lived happily in it. Everything was going fine.

Unfortunately, God made a blunder one day. He created the human beings too!

From that day onwards, he was in trouble! Day and night people started complaining to him. They prayed for something or other. Not allowing him to eat, rest or sleep, people were constantly knocking at the doors, demanding something or other from him.

God lost all his peace of mind by the never ending demands of human beings.Once he solved one problem, another problem came up. The solution he gave to one person became a problem to another person.One person prays for bountiful rains. Another person complaints that his crops get affected by rain, his roof leaks and hence he wants the raining to stop. Whatever God did brought fresh problems to him and people ceaselessly complained.

God got fed up. He called his advisors and sought a solution to escape from people. One advisor told him to retire to Himalayas. God said people would find him there and soon come chasing him. Another person suggested God to move his residence to the moon. God said, “Dear friends; the problem with you is that you cannot foresee future, while I can. In future man will travel to moon too and find me there”.

His advisors fell silent. After a while, an old advisor came close to God and murmured something in his ears. God’s face brightened up hearing his suggestion. His suggestion was: “Dear lord, you hide yourself in the hearts of the people”. God said, “Yes. This is the right suggestion. Man will never search God  within himself and hence he will never find me out there!”

[Amma: “Children! God resides in the deepest recess of our hearts. He resides there in the form of guilelessness and pure love; Our mind and our ego hide his presence there; he is always there; we have forgotten that he is ever there”.]

8.  He is cured!

Once a physician came late to his dispensary to attend to the patients. As he entered into his dispensary, he saw a man with a miserable expression on his face, as if he was trying to control something with extreme difficulty. He was standing with his back tightly pressed against the compound and legs tightly close.

Before going to his cabin he asked the compounder cum assistant who was already there at his desk as to who the person standing against the compound wall was.

The compounder said, “Oh! That man has been waiting for you for the past one hour. He came here with uncontrollable cough. Since you were late, he wanted me to give him some cough syrup for his relief. I told him that cough syrup is presently presently out of stock. But he kept on insisting me for some relief till you come and attend to him. I took pity on him and gave him a purgative syrup for relief”.

The physician got extremely angry hearing it. “Are you a fool? Are you mad to give him a purgative instead of a cough syrup?”

The compounder said coolly, “Sir, my treatment has really worked. Look at him! He is not coughing at all!”

[Amma: “Sometimes certain wrong decisions we take in life might look might deceptively look right in the short run”.]

(Amma Singapore Satsang 2/5/19)

9. Cause and effect!

Once a man with a bandage on his forehead went to meet his friend.

His friend asked: “What happened? How did you get injured?”

The man said, “Yesterday my wife fell down”.

“If she fell down, how come you have injury on your forehead?”

“When she fell down I laughed. She got angry”.

10. Searching – for what?

Once a person called up his relative over phone. It was a child voice that answered “Hello”. The person knew that it was the little son of his relative. He said, “Hi my little boy, How are you? Please call your father”.

The boy said in a very hushed tone: “Father is very busy”.

“Then call your mother”.

“Mother is quite busy”

“Both are really busy? Right. Call your elder brother”.

“Elder brother is also busy” said the boy in hushed voice.

“What my dear son! How come everyone is busy? Who else is there in the house?”

“Some policemen are there”.

The caller was intrigued. He said, “Then call one of the policeman”.

“No. They are also busy!”

“Whaaat?  Then who else is there in the house?”

“Fire service men are there”.

“I wonder what is wrong there. Call one of them”

“They are also very busy”

The caller came to his wit’s end. “What is the nonsense happening there my son? Why are so many people there? what are they busy about?”

The boy said in a hushed tone: “They are all busy searching for me!”

[Amma: “People search for happiness everywhere, but the real source of happiness is within us”.]

11.  Identify yourself!

Once a new teacher came to the Biology class. He was teaching about different birds, their features, food and hunting habits etc. He announced: “Tomorrow there will be a midterm test on this subject. You have to do more self-study on this subject yourself. Let me tell you beforehand that the test could be somewhat unconventional so as to test how well you have grasped the subject.”

One student studied the textbook and also memorized the standard questions and answers on the subject.  He was quite confident to score good mark in the crucial test.

The next day, the new teacher had kept some five curated and stuffed models of birds on the table, with their bodies fully covered and only their legs and claws exposed.

The question paper read: “Identify the birds by their legs and write salient details of each bird giving their features, habitats, flying capacity and food habits”.

The student, who was all along used to only conventional exams was very upset and angry because he could never imagine such an unconventional way of testing the students. He felt it was not at all fair to conduct a test like this.

He walked angrily towards the new teacher, threw his empty answer paper on his table and said, “Sir, we are not used to these types of exams. It is not right to force such a surprise test on us. I am sorry to tell you that it is very unfair to make us fail or lose marks this way. I am protesting against this test and I am going to walkout without writing this test”.

He stomped out of the room. When he was near the entrance, the new teacher shouted, “Hey! What is your name and roll number?”

The boy promptly turned back, lifted up his pants up to his knees and said, “Sir, Look at my legs and find out yourself!”

 

12.  You get what you deserve

Once a rishi was taking bath in a river. A little mouse that somehow fell into the river got drifted towards the sage by the river stream. The sage picked up the mouse and brought it to his hut. He somehow developed a liking for the mouse which interacted with him with love. Using his yogic powers, he blessed the mouse to become the  a beautiful princess of the country.

The princess grew up and the king started looking for the right match for her. One day the king brought the princess to the sage and sought his blessings and guidance for getting the right husband for her.

The mouse in the form of the princess fell at the feet of her erstwhile savior. The sage asked her affectionately, “What sort of husband do you wish? I will bless you accordingly”.

The princess said, “My husband must be the most powerful personality in the whole world”.

The sage said, “The entire world’s survival depends on the sun. He is indeed the most powerful ruler of this world. Shall I ask the sun God to marry you?”

The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can cover the sun from shining on the earth; is not the cloud more powerful than the sun?”

“Well; then I will arrange your marriage with the God of rains” said the sage.

The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can be blown over and dispersed by the wind; is not the  wind more powerful than the cloud?”

“Well; If you think so, I will arrange your marriage with Vayu, the wind God” said the sage.

The princess thought for a while and said, “But I am afraid the mountain is more powerful than the wind, because it  can stop the movement of wind.  Is not the mountain  more powerful than the wind?”

The sage chuckled within himself and said, “Well; in fact there is something more powerful than the mountain too”.

“Who is it? I would be glad to marry him!” said the princess.

“A mouse. A mouse can dig a hole even through a mountain. Is it not more powerful than the mountain?”

The princess jumped with joy! “Yes, yes! I will marry the mouse!”

The sage laughed aloud; he sprinkled some holy water on the princess and converted her back to a mouse, so that she could marry a male mouse and live happily thereafter!

[Amma: “Every one of us are in fact the Atman which is essentially divine and beyond birth and death. Yet, because of maya, we tend to lower our real status by identifying ourselves with our body and mind and thus limit ourselves”.]

(Amma Satsang on 1.6.19)

12.  As you interpret, so you understand

Once two boys got a bunch of nuts to eat.  They went to sit under a huge shady tree at the back end of a cemetery. They took out the pack and decided to share them equally. Picking the nuts one by one they said, “This one is for you, this one is for me” and started dividing them. As they picked up the nuts some of them rolled out and fell close to the fence of the cemetery.  The boys noticed it and yet they continued with their job of dividing, leaving those nuts at the fence to be picked up at the end.

Just behind the fence, there was a road. A boy from the nearby locality came by bicycle towards that place. He heard some voices from inside the cemetery; he was curious to know what was going on. He stopped there, went close to the fence and sharpened his ears to hear the conversation inside. He heard “This one is for you and this one is for me” again and again. He was shocked.

With pounding heart, he rushed in his bicycle to share what he found out to the first person he encountered. An old man was walking by that side and the boy said, “Uncle! I heard the weirdest conversation between God and Satan inside the cemetery!”

The old man laughed and asked, “What did you hear?”

“I heard God and Satan sharing the the souls between them in the cemetery  saying “this one is for you and this one is for me!”.

“Whh..at? That is nonsense!” said the old man.

“But uncle, believe me! I heard it; please come with me; perhaps we can still hear it”.

Out of curiosity, the old man rushed to the spot along with the boy. Sure he could also hear “This one is for you and this one is for me” from inside the cemetery!

The old man was very curious to investigate. He went close to the fence and see whether there are any gaps through which they can peep in and see what was going on.  He found a small gap in the fence and when he looked in he could see a wide tree trunk and nothing more.  With difficulty he widened the gap so that both of them could look inside.

But they could still not notice the two boys there inside, as the tree trunk was hiding them. They heard, “Okay. This one is for you and this one is for me. We are almost finished. Let us pick those nuts at the fence and share between us. Then we are done!”

Hearing this the old man and the boy had the shock of their lives. Instantly they took to heels and ran like mad from the spot!

[Amma: “Limited by our own preconceived ideas and intellectual limitations, we misinterpret many things in life and suffer out of it”.]

13.  Perks?

Once, when the monthly phone bill came for the landline phone in the house, the husband felt shocked. The amount was exorbitantly high. ‘Someone is excessively using the phone here; it must be my wife’ he thought.

He called his wife and showed her the bill. “I am afraid you are excessively talking in the phone; it’s time you stopped it immediately” he said.

The wife felt offended. “No! I am hardly using this phone; whatever personal calls I make, I do it from my office phone and not from here! It must be our son who is doing this” she said.

The father called his son and inquired. “No papa! I don’t use our landline phone for my personal calls. I only make use of office phone for this purpose”. Then, after thinking for  while, he said in a subdued voice, “I think it is our new servant maid, who is using our phone. I have noticed her talking from our phone on a few occasions when none of us are in the hall!”

The father was shocked to hear this. He immediately called the new servant maid and inquired.  She admitted that she was indeed using the phone and added, “What’s wrong in it? I am also using the office phone, no?”

[Amma: “All of us nurture double standards in our life; whatever we do is perfectly normal but if others do it it is wrong!”]

13.  What’s the time?

Once, a person went to the house of an old friend. They were meeting after a very long time. The friends talked happily for hours reminiscing many old incidents across a couple of drinks. It became late at night. Suddenly the visitor said, “Oh! It is already late! Wonder how time just flew by talking about our good old days! What is the time like? My wife will be waiting for me and she will get worried; My mobile has no charge…” Saying so, he looked around for a wall clock.

The host said, “Sorry, I don’t have a wall clock or a timepiece. My mobile too is out of order… Wait! Let me find out the time for you…”

So saying, he took out a hammer from his tool box and started hitting the wall. After a while, there was a loud voice shouting from the adjacent flat: “You idiot!  Don’t you have sense that others are sleeping? What are you breaking at midnight 12 o’clock?”

The man smiled gleefully and said to his friend, “Got it? It is 12 o’clock now!”

[Amma: “Some people are so selfish and insensitive that they don’t care causing inconvenience to others in order to fulfil their selfish motives.”]

15. New Year Resolution

A group of friends were celebrating New Year Day. A youngster asked for a cigarette from his friend. His friend said, “Didn’t you tell me that you have taken a resolution not to smoke from this New Year?”

The youngster replied, “Yes. I am indeed stopping it stage by stage. The first stage is this”.

“What do you mean by first stage?”

“In the first stage, I have resolved not to buy cigarettes from my own money and I will smoke only by getting cigarettes from my friends”.

[Amma: “Children, our resolutions should never be like what this youngster did! Once we take a resolution, we should implement it, come what may”.]

16. Communication done!

A person was scheduled to travel a long distance on account of his official work the next day. He wanted to get up at 5:00 AM. Only then he would be able to catch 9:00 AM flight. He was extremely tired when he returned home. He wanted to go to bed immediately. He wanted to ensure that he would get up positively at 5:00 AM the next morning.  However, due to a fight he had with his wife earlier, they were not talking to each other for the past few days.

So, he wrote a note saying “Please wake me up at 5:00 AM tomorrow” and sent it to his wife through the servant maid.  He went to bed.

When he woke up the next morning, it was already 9 AM! As his trip got jeopardised, he felt very angry and shouted at his wife saying, “Why didn’t you wake me up?”

His wife too got angry. She shouted back: “Why do you get angry? I have already done what you asked me to do. Just go and see at your bed near your pillow”.

The man went and saw what was there. A piece of paper was kept there with a scribbling:” 5 AM”.

“If you keep a message in a piece of paper, how will I wake up?” he shouted.

“You too gave me the message in a piece of paper only yesterday; You did not speak to me. So, I reciprocated in the same way” said the wife!

[Amma: “Even if the husband is not in talking terms with her, the wife could have woken him up, considering the importance of his business trip. In the same way, the husband could have dropped his obstinacy and requested her verbally to wake him up at 5 AM. But neither of them were ready for stepping down. We must always correct a mistake by a right action. Instead, if we oppose a wrong with another wrong, the family life will become a hill of mistakes. “]

 

 

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 2 (15 More stories)

1.  She gives, She takes

Once the king of a country did not have any progeny. He and his queen were extremely anxious about it. The king prayed Devi earnestly to bless him with a child. He conducted a yaga as per the advice of his guru and sought Devi’s blessings.

Very soon the queen became pregnant. The royal couple were overwhelmed with joy. Unfortunately, at the time of delivery, the child died. The king was crestfallen. All his hopes got shattered. He lost interest in living. Carrying the corpse of the new born, the king went up to a cliff of a hill with an intention of jumping from there and commit suicide.

When he was about to leap, suddenly Divine Mother appeared before him with all her glory and stopped him. She collected the body of the baby from the king’s hand. The king noticed that the baby suddenly became alive now and was kicking  and squirming. The king was overjoyed.  Shedding tears, he prostrated before Devi and then extended his hand towards Devi to receive the baby. Devi did not give the child; smilingly, she swiftly moved away from the the king. The king was shocked; he started running behind Devi, crying “Oh Mother! Please, please give me my baby; I beg you…” But Devi suddenly disappeared along with the child.

The king fell at his knees and cried uncontrollably.

Suddenly a thought dawned on to my mind. “Why am I crying like this? Whose baby is it? It was divine mother who blessed my wife with pregnancy. It was she who made the child lifeless upon delivery; it was she who stopped me from committing suicide and gave life to the child again. After all, it is her baby and she can do whatever she wants to do with it. How can I foolishly claim it to be my baby and ask her to give it back?”

The king felt real humiliation and surrender. He prayed to Devi again and again to forgive him for his foolishness.

At that moment, Devi appeared before him once again and gave him the child. She said, “Take this child; he will become a great king and a self-realized saint in future”.

2.   The right boon to ask

[Amma: “Stop searching for happiness; then you will realize that you have got rid of sorrow. WHen praying to God, pray for giving you a contented mindset under all circumstances. If you pray that you should be happy with whatever you get, it becomes the right prayer”.]

Once there was a devotee of Lord Vishnu who had the habit of praying incessantly for whatever he needed, liked and desired. Getting fed up with his attitude, Lord Vishnu appeared before him and said, “I am fed up with your non-stop prayers and demands.  I will give you just three more boons and that’s all. Nothing more in future”.

The devotee felt very perturbed hearing it. He thought deeply and then asked, “My Lord! Let my wife be dead”. His idea was that he could get married to a far better girl. God granted his wish and disappeared.

His wife died. So many people came to his house to inquire about the untimely death of his wife. His friends and relatives kept on speaking about her excellent qualities and consoled him. Only then the man realized that his wife was indeed an wonderful woman that he had never bothered to understand. He felt very bad about his hasty decision of asked his Lord to take away her life. He started wondering whether he could ever get another wife with such sterling qualities that his dead wife had.

So, he decided to use his second boon and requested Lord Vishnu to bring life back to her. Lord Vishnu agreed and his wife came back alive.

Now the man was left with just one boon only. He had already wasted two boons for nothing and he was extremely alert and concerned that he should wisely use the third one. He was quite confused as to what to ask. He consulted his near and dear ones on this matter. Different people suggested different things. Some advised him to pray for lots of wealth. Another suggested to him to pray for deathlessness. Yet another said, “If you don’t have good health, what is the point of living forever?” Yet another friend said, “Even if you have plenty of wealth, how can you enjoy it without the company of good friends? Pray for good friends”.

In such a confused state, the man spent several years.  Still he could not decide what to pray for. Finally, he decided that he should seek the suggestion from his Lord Himself!. He prayed, “My dear lord, please advise me: what boon should I ask you which will the best for me?”

Lord Vishnu said smilingly, “You pray for a  mindset that would remain contended in whatever you get in your life!”

[Amma: “Renounce and enjoy. True enjoyment and true bliss are inside your mind only. Learn to be contented with that enjoyment and bliss”.]

3.   Put it down

A devotee went to have a darshan of his guru. He wanted to offer something to his Guru. First he took a bunch of flowers. Then he had a doubt whether flowers would not be the apt and valuable offering to the Guru. So he took a few diamonds with him.

He reached the abode of his Guru. He was giving darshan to the public. He saluted his guru and took out the flowers for placing them at the feet of the guru.  The Guru said, “Put it down”.  He thought the Guru was asking him to offer the diamonds instead. Hence he placed the flowers on the floor and took the diamonds.  The guru said once again, “Put it down”. He got confused.

Having had the darshan of the guru, he was ready to depart. Before leaving, he prostrated before the guru. The guru said once again, “Put it down”.  He lifted up his head and looked at the guru. The guru smiled and said, “Yes! If you do not put down your head, that is, your ego down, you will not get self realization”.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4.   The thief who had the darshan of Krishna

[Amma: “For a person who, leaving behind all doubts and worries, attains dispassion and freedom from yearnings, his past becomes of no consequence.  For a person totally surrendered to the lotus feet of God, past loses all controls. He attains the vision of God and lives in its contemplation, leaving behind his past as a dream; God’s grace takes him along in his rest of life journey”.]

On a night, a thief was on his rounds, trying to locate places where he could steal. On his way, he noticed a large gathering of people where a person was seen delivering a lecture. He went closer to see what was happening. There a Pundit was giving a discourse of Srimad Bhagavata Purana (The stories of Gods, particularly of Lord Krishna from Indian mythology). He was beautifully explaining the childhood pranks of Lord Krishna at Gokulam.

He explained how beautifully was little Krishna adorned by his mother Yashoda. After bathing Krishna, Yashoda draped  Krishna with many ornaments and silken clothes. She placed a golden crown on Krishna’s head decorated with Peacock feathers and studded with  many precious stones. She fitted ear rings, put many ornaments having pearls and diamonds around his neck; golden waistband with tiny jingle bells and so on.

The thief did not know anything of Lord Krishna and his childhood stories of Gokula. When the pundit narrated the stunning beauty of Krishna well decorated with golden ornaments, the thief believed that the pundit was describing some boy from a filthy rich family whom he knew of! He thought, ‘if only I could find out who this boy is and where he lives, I can snatch all the ornaments he wears; then all my poverty and suffering will end; I and my family can live happily forever’.

After the discourse was over, he stealthily followed the Pundit. When they were in a dark and lonely place, the thief caught hold of the Pundit by his neck and threatened: “You old man! tell me where that little boy draped in golden ornaments lives. I will go to his house and steal them all. If you do not reveal the truth, I will kill you!”

The Pundit was dumbstruck in fear. The thief continued to threaten him; finally, he opened his mouth and blabbered: “Look! Don’t do any harm to me. What I told was just a story; the little boy is not somebody alive today. He is a fictitious character described in our old Puranas…”.

The thief was not willing to accept it. “You are lying. If it were so, how could you describe so vividly about the boy and the various ornaments he was wearing in detail? Will you come out with truth or prefer to die?” he threatened further.

However much the Pundit tried to convince him, the thief refused to believe. Finally, in order to escape from the thief, the pundit said, “Fine. Let me tell you the truth. That boy lives in the dense forest outside this town; his name is Krishna. Go and search for him there”. The Pundit thought that if the thief went deeper into the forest, he would get attacked and killed by some wild animal.

“Fine! I will go and search for the Krishna there. If I don’t find him there? I will come back and kill you” saying so, the thief left for the forest.

He roamed around the forest shouting “Krishna, Krishna…”. He was gripped by a single thought: ‘If I could locate Krishna and get all his jewels, rest of my life will be carefree’. His motive was wrong. Yet his mind was totally preoccupied with the beautiful form of Krishna adorned with jewels, as vividly described by the pundit. He roamed around the forest for three days, forgetting food and drink. His foot got pierced by thorns and sharp stones. He was bleeding. Yet he would not stop his search. He would climb over tall trees and look around for Krishna.  His mouth was constantly calling “Krishna, Krishna”. Finally, having lost all his energy, he fell down unconscious and yet his voice mumbling “Krishna, Krishna”.

Suddenly the thief regained his consciousness. With his eyes still closed, he felt he was lying at the lap of somebody. He could feel a soft palm caressing his forehead. He heard a sweet voice telling him, “Ah! You are gaining consciousness, good. You are indeed dead tired. Please open your mouth and eat this little food; you will gain energy”.

The thief opened his eyes. He was shockingly surprised to notice that he was indeed lying at the lap of that Krishna whom he was searching so frantically all these days! He could not believe his eyes. He rubbed his eyes again and again to check whether what he was seeing was indeed true! No doubt about it. It was the same boy he had heard described by the pundit. That dark skinned, unimaginably beautiful young boy, wearing a crown with peacock feathers, yellow upper cloth, wearing so many ornaments in his neck and smiling captivatingly at him!

The thief could not just turn his gaze away from the face of Krishna. Krishna lovingly proffered some food and unconsciously the thief opened his mouth; Krishna fed it into his mouth and he chewed it. Oh! What a bliss!

After the thief ate the food, Krishna helped him to get up from his lap and made him sit comfortably. Then, he started removing all his ornaments, bundled them up in his upper cloth and extended them towards the thief, saying “Didn’t you come in search of me for all these ornaments? Come, take them; go home and live happily”.

The thief still looking at the wonderful form of Krishna as if he was dazed was shook up by Krishna’s words; his voice choking with emotion, the thief said, “No Krishna! No. I don’t want these golden ornaments. I want you; Just you!”

What a somersault in the attitude of the thief!  Krishna insisted, “No, no! Take it. Having come in search of me all the way for these ornaments, I cannot allow you to go empty handed; take them”. But with eyes flowing tears profusely the thief said, “Oh Krishna, after seeing you, I have no desires left except for your company; Krishna! I want to embrace you; I want to lie in your lap again; I should for ever keep gazing at your face; please bless me for these; nothing more!”

[As Amma was narrating this story to her close disciples (as this incident happened in August 1984  and recorded by one of her disciples in the book ‘Arul Mozhigal-Vol 5) Amma stopped further narration of the story for a while. She stood up from the cot where she was sitting. Her whole frame and face glowed as though surcharged by a divine light. Her right hand showed ‘chin mudra’. A captivating divine smile adored her lips. Devotees around her felt immediately that Amma was acquiring and displaying Krishna bhava. It looked as if her whole body was vibrating in waves of spiritual ecstasy.  Her body was swaying sidewise. Those who were blessed to witness this happening felt that they too were getting immersed in a wave of devotion and great bliss.

With the assistance of a devotee, Amma with faltering steps, managed to reach the cot once again and sit there. Quite some time passed before she could regain outer consciousness. A devotee reminded her about the story and then she continued it, saying “Oh, yes; where did I leave?” Okay…:]

Krishna placed the bunch of ornaments in front of the thief and disappeared. The thief, maddened by the grip of deep emotional love on Krishna was shocked to see Krishna missing. He ran here and there, shouting “Oh Krishna, where are you? Please, never leave me alone; please come back, come back!”

But Krishna did not show his face to the thief again. He searched for Krishna like a mad man for a few more days. Disappointed, he took the bunch of golden ornaments with him and returned to his native place; he headed straight to the house of the pundit and knocked at his doors.

The pundit saw through the window as to who was knocking at his doors. He was shocked to see the thief standing there. “Oh my God! this fellow has come back to kill me after searching for Krishna in the forest in vain”. He was too scared to open the doors. But the thief continued to knock it; he said, “Oh Panditji, please open the door; I have seen Krishna! I have seen Krishna!”

Still shaking with fear, the Pundit finally opened the door, closing his eyes tightly, expecting the thief to pounce on him and stab him with his dagger. But nothing of that sort happened. He felt somebody touching his feet. He opened his eyes and saw the thief prostrating on the floor in front of him! “What is this? What are you doing?” blabbered the Pundit, surprised by the thief’s behavior.

The thief got up and placed the bunch of golden ornaments at the feet of the Pundit. Tears were flowing from his eyes; he said, “Panditji! I saw Krishna with my own eyes! He gave me all these ornaments! But, I don’t want any of them. You are indeed my guru who blessed me to have the darshan of Krishna; all these jewels indeed must belong to you; please accept them and bless me!”

The Pundit was confused as well as shocked to hear what the thief said. It all sounded like the blabbering of a madman to him. He believed he must have killed some rich kid and robbed all the ornaments. He shouted, “You sinful rascal! Which child did you kill and brought these sin-tainted jewels here?”

The thief replied calmly, “No master; I did meet Krishna. He made me lie on his laps; he fed me with his own hands; he voluntarily gave all these ornaments to me”. Seeing the tears flowing from his eyes and the total change of attitude in him, the Pundit got intrigued. He opened the cloth bundle, He could not believe his eyes! It ws absolutely clear to him that those were just not the ordinary ornaments human beings wear but were indeed the divine jewels that adore God.” It dawned to him that the thief had indeed met Krishna. In voluntarily, “He started crying “Krishna, Krishna!” He could not control crying; with choking voice he cried, “Krishna! Am I a greater sinner than this thief?”. He ran out from the house like a madman and rushed to the forest.

He too roamed around the forest, shouting “Krishna, Krishna!” He pleaded to Krishna: “My lord! Am I not fortunate enough to have your darshan? Have I not been telling your story and singing your glories for the past thirty years? I wonder what extra merits that thief who commits murders and robberies could have acquired for getting your darshan! AM I not worthy enough to get your darshan like that thief?” He fell unconscious crying aloud like this. He woke up, cried again and lost his conscience again and again.

But Lord Krishna did not turn up.

The Pundit felt dejected. He thought ‘What is the point in living hereafter? Let me commit suicide’. He tied his upper garment to a tree branch, made a noose and was ready to hang himself. At that point of time, he heard the divine voice of Lord Krishna:

“Stop my dear Pundit;  Calm down. You are indeed my beloved devotee. I am indeed very pleased with your services to me. However, for the time being, I am not going to come before you. You were wondering what extra merits that thief  could have acquired for getting my darshan. Shall I tell you the truth? He totally believed that I was a real child and not a fictitious character! When you described my beautiful form, he believed totally that I do live in that form and he longed wholeheartedly to see me. His thirst for seeing me had the power of doing severe austerities. Once he saw me, he became mad with devotion on me.

“But, think of you! You were narrating my stories and singing my glories all these years, but you were thinking I was only a character in the story of Bhagavata! When the thief threatened you, you told him that I never existed in reality except in a story; thus you denied me, the ultimate truth of existence, out of fear for your life! Where there is fear, I will not be. Where there is faith, there is no fear.

“You were narrating my story and singing my praise only mechanically; you never longed to see me. You were eating and sleeping in time promptly day after day, whereas the thief lost interest in his food and sleep while searching for me with a single pointed desire to see me.

“For the time being, be contented with hearing my voice. Anyhow, I will give you my darshan one day in this birth itself. Till that time, keep spreading my story; keep singing my glory. This way, thiefs, sinners and atheists will turn a new leaf; they too would start doing good for the world”.

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.   Destroying vanity

[Amma narrates this story from Upanishad]

With the support of Adhya Shakti, the primordial power of Brahman (God),  Devas won the wars against Asuras. However devas were gripped by vanity after tasting success; they became very proud of their prowess. Ignoring God, they celebrated their victory. God (Brahman) assumed the guise of a Yaksha (demi God) and appeared before devas.  Indra. the Lord of devas was intrigued to know who the yaksha was. He sent Agni, the Lord of fire to find out who he was.

Agni went to the yaksha to inquire about him. The yaksha asked in turn, “Who are you?”

Agni said, “I am agni. I am capable of burning anything”.

The yaksha put a shred of hay in front of Agni and asked him to burn it. Agni tried to burn it. Despite using his full power, he could not burn it at all. Humiliated, he went to Indra and reported to Indra that he could not understand who the yaksha was. He did not reveal his failure in front of the Yaksha.

Indra sent Vayu, the Lord of wind to the yaksha. Vayu introduced himself saying that he had the power to blow anything. The yaksha asked Vayu to blow away the shred of hay. Vayu used his full might to blow the hay but could not even move it a bit. Vayu too went back to Indra and hiding his failure, he said he could not identify who the yaksha was.

Now Indra himself went to see the yaksha; he went there with some humility as the other two, who themselves were powerful celestial Gods, could not grasp who the yaksha was. The Yaksha disappeared and in his place he saw Divine Mother (Parashakti) shining forth as a brilliant light.

Indra prostrated before her and asked “Divine mother, who was that yaksha?”

The divine mother said, “It was verily the power of God; it is because of its action through your hands that you could win the war. Whatever laurels you get are due to its working through you”.

[Amma : “Children, whatever you achieve in life is not your achievement but the achievement of Brahman.  Behind every success and failure of yours there is the will of  Brahman acting. You have to understand this. The true success in life lies in understanding the truth”.]

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  Worshiping stones

One small boy, who saw the priests worshiping Shivalinga in the temple cherished an intense desire to do the same, but he could not go into the temple as he was not a brahmin. The thought of performing a puja to Shivalinga became stronger and stronger in his innocent heart.

One day, he had an idea.  He took some stones and placed them  one on top of another. Considering that as lord Shiva, he started doing the worship. But the poor boy did not have the necessary ingredients to offer to the deity as the priests in the temple. Therefore he offered plain water, imagining that it was rose water; sand became the food offering and he used pebbles instead of camphor. After the worship the boy sat in meditation just as he had seen the priests do, all the while thinking of Shiva. Seeing their friend doing the puja to the Shivalinga, the boy’s friends too sat around him and imitated him, their eyes closed as if meditating.

Their parents, not having seen them for long time, cam in search of them. They found their children and saw what there were doing. Taking it only as an insignificant child’s play, the parents knocked down the Shivalingas. Seeing their parents, the children got frightened and ran back to the homes, all except the first boy. He sat there motionless. When he opened his eyes, he found that his shivalinga had been knocked over. Bursting into tears, he called aloud “Oh Lord! What happened to you? Where are you? What am I to do now?”

In a few seconds, Lord Shiva Himself appeared before the boy and blessed him.

[Amma : “This is the power of conception (bhava) and faith. The Lord was pleased even when worshiped with sand and stones. All those ingredients, though imagined became real, owing to the ‘bhavana shakti’ of the innocent child, and the lord was pleased”.]

7.  It is the state of mind that matters

Once there were two women who lived in neighboring houses. One was a munificent lady and the other a prostitute. The prostitute was a poor lady and had no other way of making a living. However, each time she committed a si, she prayed to God with great remorse for forgiveness.

The other lady, although she was munificent, always spoke critically of the prostitute neighbor to anyone who came to visit her. Having given something in charity, she would tell them, “look, that woman is a prostitute.  Don’t go there”. She would say this even to beggars. Having heard of this criticism, and the fact that the neighboring lady had talked about her manner of making a living  to all the visitors, the prostitute’s mind was always filled with repentance. She sincerely prayed to God for forgiveness.

Years rolled by and both the ladies died. As the munificent lady was well known for her charitable activities, her dead body was cremated with reverence and honor by many people who came to pay their last respects. But there was none to attend the corpse of the prostitute. Somebody took it and threw it into the graveyard, where it was pecked and eaten by vultures and dogs.

However, interestingly enough, the prostitute’s soul ascended to the heaven and the munificent lady’s soul went to the hell.

[Amma : “Children, do you know why it happened so? Although the first lady was munificent by nature, her mind was always keen on finding fault with the other lady.  Therefore her body, which did all the charity was cremated with all honors while, her soul, which was only keen on finding fault with others went to hell. In the prostitute’s case, it is with her body that she did wrong things but her mind was always intensely repenting and praying. Therefore her body was treated befittingly and her soul went to heaven for rewarding her pure mind. THis will be the result if we sit looking at the other people’s faults instead of correcting our own wrong attitudes”.]

8.  Why should I fear?

Once there a father and son in a village.  The son had an ailment and the father took him to the local physician. The physician told the name and description of a specific herb which was essential for curing the ailment. Since it was not found in the village, the physician told them to go and fetch the herb from somewhere and if they could bring it, he would make a medicine out of it and give to them.

Both the father and son set out in search of the herb. The wandered around bushes and fields to locate the specific herb in vain. They made inquiries at many other villages but none was aware of such a herb. They got very tired’ they were hungry and thirsty. As they looked around for water to quench their thirst, there was a well nearby and also rope and a bucket. As the father bucket and rope to fetch water from the well, he was surprised to note that there were some rich growth of plants inside the well at water level and he could recognize that it was nothing but the specific herbal plant they were searching for!

After drinking water, the father tried to get down into the well; but he could not, because the well did not have provisions to place his feet or palms to grip and descend. He did not think twice. He tied the rope around his son’s waist and holding the rope firmly he made his son descend into the well. “Be careful; the moment you touch water, start gathering the plants; call me and then I will pull you out; don’t worry”.

A few passerbys came that side and were curious to see what was happening. They were shocked to find the man sending his young boy deep into the well. They asked the man. “Are you a fool? Hod dare you risk the life of the boy by doing this?”

The man did not bother to heed to their words. His son plucked enough plants and upon hearing his call, he carefully lifted up the rop and brought his son out. The passersby asked the son, “Were you not afraid? How did you get this much courage to tie a rope around your waist and venture into this deep well?”

Without any hesitation, the son said, “What is there to be afraid of? Is it not my father who was holding the rope?” That was the level of trust he had on his father.

[Amma : “Children, we must have such a faith in God. ‘God is there taking care of me and protecting me; why should I have any suffering or worry?  When such a faith is there, there is no thought of even getting Self-realization. If somebody keeps doubting every minute, his devotion is no devotion. It is not faith worth the name”.]

(Upadesamritam-1)

9. True acceptance

[Amma : “Children, the type of devotion that most people have today on God is a devotion purely for wish fulfilment. There is no spiritual understanding behind devotion to God.If things happen as prayed, they love God; if things happen contrary to their expectations, they hate God. This cannot be termed bhakti at all! Never expect any joy from such a bhakti”.]

There were two neighbors living in a village. Both of them, despite getting married 10 years ago, did not have progeny.

One of them was extremely desperate to have a child. He would pray feverishly to God to bless him with a child.  Practically he would cry to God everyday for favouring him with a child.

One night, as he was sleeping, an angel appeared in his dream and asked, “Will you really be satisfied if you get a child?”

The man replied, “There is no joy in life without a child; I would really be satisfied if I get a child”. The angel blessed him and disappeared. Soon, his wife became pregnant. The man felt extremely joyous. Yet, soon he started worrying: ‘Is there likely to be some physical handicap on my child? Will he have some serious health issues? Will he be good looking?’ — such thoughts started disturbing him. Now he did not find time to think of God. His whole mind was occupied with the thoughts of the child.

His wife delivered a healthy male child. The couple felt extremely happy.  He started saving money meticulously for his son’s education. As he wanted to ensure the best life for his son, he started working hard to earn money. He also started demanding and getting bribes in his office so as to maximize his income. When the boy reached five, he sent him to school. His mind was always worried in thoughts like ‘What if my son fall down at school? What if somebody harms him?’

His son, as he started growing , proved to be very adamant and mischievous. He had least interest in studying. Now the man’s mind was preoccupied with the worries of his son’s future. As he got matured further, he stared developing bad habits; he had evil company; teachers started complaining about him to the parents.

As he joined college, he acquired drinking habits. He came to the house drunk, fought with parents and demanded more and more money for his enjoyments. He did not hesitate to shout at parents using filthy language and at times even indulged in physically abusing them. In fact his return from college daily became nightmarish for the parents.

He started selling off their wealth and possessions in order to get money to feed his evil habits. One day, he took out a dagger and threatened his parents that he would kill them if they were not meeting all his demands. Fearing that he would do as he said, they started borrowing money and giving to him, as they have already lost their properties to meet his lavish expenditure.

When people came to know that the no longer have any property to back their loans, none came forward to give any loans. Everyone in the village started hating and isolating his family. The son understood that he could no longer extract any money from parents. He ditched his family once for all and left somewhere, never to return.

The man and his wife lived a life full of misery and alienation from friends, relatives and neighbors.

Now let us see what the neighbor’s life was like.

The neighbor too had deep devotion to God. But his devotion was not materialistic, but spiritual. He prayed to God for God-realization. He cried to God for his vision and his prayer was to get pure love on God. He was not disturbed by thoughts of not having an offspring. His thinking was, ‘If at all I am destined for having offspring, God will give it; but my real attitude should be to see every child as my own”.

He spent in time in japa, singing hymns in praise of God; he spoke of God and stories on God’s divine play to the villagers. Everyone liked him and enjoyed his spiritual company. He spent a portion of his income on charities.

God was pleased with his demeanor of selfless devotion and blessed him to have an offspring.

His wife gave birth to  a male child. The couple were not really overjoyed and they continued to live a life dedicated to God. They brought up their child in the ambience of chanting God’s name and singing his bhajans. The child grew up to be a boy of very good virtues.  Everyone in the village liked the boy. The parents were not extremely attached or possessive about the child. They continued to be totally devoted to God.

Even during their old age, they remained independent. They received visitors to their house with love and care; they spoke only of God and his glories. They remained the most adored couple of the village; they remained happy and contented before they got the child; they continued to remain so even after begetting a son, because their life always depended on God.

10. The broken doll and the bad omen

Once the king of a country, as he got old, wanted to handover the kingdom to his offspring. He had twin sons. As per tradition, the elder son must be given the throne. As one of the twins was elder to the other by a time difference of 10 minutes, the king made that son the king.

At the time of coronation, a saint visited the palace. He blessed the twins and gave them each an identical doll. He said, “Please keep this doll with you in safe custody. If this doll gets damaged, bad times will befall on you”.

The new king called his minister and handed over the doll to him. he said, “Make sure that this doll is kept very safely. If something goes wrong with it, you will be held responsible”.

The second son gave the charge of safeguarding the doll to his faithful servant.

A few years passed. Once when the minister was handling the doll to clean some dust, the doll fell down and broke. The minister got very scared. Anyhow, with heavy heart, he reported the matter to the king.  The king got very angry with the minister. He was extremely worried that as per the saint’s prediction, he was going to face very bad times. “Despite my warning, you have failed in your duty to safeguard the doll. Considering the gravity of the mistake, I have no option but to behead you”. The minister pleaded with the king to show mercy on him, but the king was in no mood to relent. The minister felt that he could very well break the other doll too, so that one more person would not face a threat to his life like him. Any way, the king carried out his order and the minister was executed.

The king was constantly worrying about the loss of the doll and this worry started affecting his health. One day, he was affected by a stroke, He became bed ridden.

In the meanwhile it so happened that the second doll at the custody of the younger son’s servant too broke. The servant came and reported the matter to his master. The younger said thought about it for a while and said, “Don’t worry. Don’t inform this to anyone”.

The younger son thought that considering the possibility of arrival of bad days, he should engage himself in some philanthropic activities and divert his mind. He started a home for the aged. He opened dispensaries in villages to give medicare to poor people. Thus he initiated a few more welfare activities for the benefit of the country.

The king’s health went down day by day. It became very clear that he was not likely to recover and rule the country effectively. Hence the old,erstwhile king  decided that his younger son should be made  the new king of the country. The decision was announced and the coronation date was fixed.

The saint who came for the previous coronation and gave the dolls too was invited.

The old, retired king asked the saint, “Swamy, during my first son’s coronation you came and gave them two dolls and warned that if the dolls broke bad times would befall them. Recently both the dolls broke. My elder son got a stroke and he has become bed ridden. he is no longer fit to be a king. But even though my second son’s doll too broke, he has become a king now and his life has turned out to be better! How is this?”

The sage said, “When your elder son’s doll broke, he became highly disturbed. He even went to the extent of killing his minister for it.  Thus he committed a serious sin too. On the other hand, your younger son started doing philanthropic activities in order to counter the evil effects of a bad time. He acquired punya for his positive actions and this punya karma has come to his rescue to protect him”.

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 2019)

11. Mother is there

Once two children were practicing swimming in a swimming pool. The mother of one of them was also with them. The place where they practiced had just 2 feet deep water. As the children were about 4 feet tall, there was no risk of them getting drowned.

Yet, as they started practicing swimming, one of the boys sank into the water and started crying in panic. Immediately, the mother of the other child who was with them immediately lifted the boy from water. She asked him, “Why are you panicking like this? The water is not deep at all; look at this boy; is he not swimming without any fear? Why are you creating a scene here?”

The boy said, “I thought ‘if I sink into the water, there is none to save me’; Fear gripped me; my legs became numb and my head started swirling; I lost control and sank”.

The woman asked her son, “Why didn’t you get any fear?”

Her boy said, “You are next to me, no? If I sink I know you will rush to save me; that’s why I had no fear”.

[Amma: “His faith in his mother gave him self-confidence. It awakened ability to swim; swimming became a joyful to him. Having faith in God too is similar to this. We must have the strong faith that God, who is the embodiment of all powers, is always there to take care of us and that He will come to our rescue when we get into any trouble. If we have such a faith, then we can face life boldly without fear. When discrimination and faith go hand in hand, there won’t be any fear in life”.]

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

12. True longing is missing

Once Sage Narada, on one of his sojourns to earth, noticed a group of priests gathered at a place with depression and disappointment writ large on their face. He went near them and asked them about their concern. They said, “We have been conducting Yagas through many years, but we have never been blessed with the vision of God. That’s why we are feeling very disenchanted”.

Narada said, “It is indeed true that you people have been conducting Yagas methodically across many years; but tell me, have you ever had deep love and yearning for God? Were you guileless in your conduct?

“I know of a fisherman who longed to have a vision of the Divine Mother. He went and asked his guru as to what he should do to get Devi’s vision. The guru said to him. “Suppose you hold the head of a person by hand and immerse him in water and don’t allow him to raise up from water, what will be his condition? Will he not get highly agitated and become frantic to get his breath? If you could become so frantic and restless to have the vision of Devi, she would definitely come before you”.

“The fisherman took whatever his guru said to his heart; he left his home, forgot his concern for his body or life and jumped into water shouting “Oh Mother” aloud, with a single and firm resolution — ‘I will not come out of water until Devi gives her darshan to me’ .

“As he sank into the water, Divine Mother instantly appeared before him and said, “My son, what do you want from me?”

“The fisherman felt extremely happy; he said, “My dear mother, I want nothing; I just wanted to have a vision of you and that’s all! Let the world get what is good; Mother, if you feel hungry, I request you to come to my house and eat something!”

After narrating this story, Narada said, “You people must develop the same amount of deep longing and love for God as the fisherman had; you should become as guileless as he. Then you too would get the vision of God”.

[Amma: “A stage should come where one feels there is no point in living without knowing God”. When such a deep longing comes the life’s fruit is attained”.]

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

13.  Faith and surrender

[Amma: “It is possible to overcome fate by dedicating all our actions to God. We must always strive not to turn lazy and blame the fate. It is the nature of lazy people not to put any effort but blame the fate for all their ills”.]

Once two friends went to meet an astrologer and they gave their horoscopes to him for study. After scrutinizing their horoscopes, the astrologer predicted that both of them would die of snake bite.

One of the friends lost his mental peace and balance from that day onward. He was constantly fearing about snake and the arrival of his death by snake bite.  He became mentally deranged on account of this fear. Because of his mental disturbance, everyone in his family became very unhappy.

However, the second person was not overtly troubled by the prediction. He started looking for ways and means to escape from any snake bite.  He consulted many people on this matter, but soon understood that there was no foolproof way available for permanently escaping from any possibility of snake bite. He resigned himself to this fact and surrendered to God for saving him. Moreover, he also  took necessary precautions to avoid any encounter with snakes to the extent possible. He mostly stayed in his room.

Finally the day for the snake bite to happen arrived. He was inside his room, doing his prayers to God.  As the thought of snakebite crossed his mind, he got up suddenly. Inadvertently his leg hit upon a snake doll kept in his room. The doll had two steel wires protruding from its mouth to look like the tongue of the snake. The wires pierced on the man’s leg and caused a small wound.  Thus, by God’s grace, the man escaped from a real snake bite, but ended up by getting a little wound from a snake doll.

On the other hand, his friend got his whole life spoiled on account of his fear of a snake bite. Thus by leading a life of surrender to God it is even possible to escape from fate through the intervention of divine grace.

(From Oliyi Nokki-Tamil Vol 1)

14.   Feeling Krishna’s pain

Once a there lived a farmer whose life revolved around farming activities busily all through the day.  One day, he saw a group of people walking past his hut. He inquired where they were going. They said, “A discourse on Bhagavad Gita is taking place in the nearby hall; we are going there to listen it”.

The farmer too felt desirous of listening the discourse on Gita. He too went to the premises. The hall was practically full and most of the listeners looked well educated, impeccably dressed and sophisticated. The farmer with his rag clothing and unclean looks was prevented from entering into the hall by the program organizers.

The farmer felt very disappointed.  He lamented to God, “Oh my Lord, these people are not allowing me to listen to the discourse; Am I such a sinner that I should not hear about your holy story? If your Will is such, let it be; let me sit outside and listen”.

He sat under a tree. The discourse was actually in Sanskrit and the farmer could not understand a single word of it. He lamented again saying “Oh God! Have I done so much of sins that I am unfit to comprehend even the language?” He cried. At that moment he saw a large picture of Lord Krishna kept at the entrance of the hall. In the picture, Krishna was standing at the chariot reining the horses and he was turning his head backwards and looking at Arjuna and delivering his Gita discourse.  The Farmer kept on looking at the picture of Lord Krishna intently; he could not move his eyes away; tears started trickling from his eyes. He sat there transfixed and did not feel the passage of time.  Suddenly he gained outer consciousness and noticed that people were leaving as the discourse had ended. He too returned to his hut.

He came to the venue the next day too. He sat under the tree and started gazing Lord Krishna’s picture. His mind turned inwards and he started shedding tears. He did the same on the third day too. This time, the form of God started glowing at the lotus of his heart as he sat there eyes closed and his mind fully immersed in the divine form. Tears of joy trickled from his eyes.

After the lecture was over, everyone was returning home. The Pundit who delivered the discourse came out of the hall; he noticed the poor farmer sitting under the tree with eyes closed and shedding tears; his face was glowing in bliss. The pundit was extremely surprised. He wondered, ‘Why is this poor man still sitting here and crying even after my lecture got over? Has he been impressed and emotionally moved simply by hearing my discourse?’

The pundit went near the farmer.  The farmer seemed totally oblivious to the surroundings. His face was shining blissfully, reflecting the inner joy he was experiencing. A feeling of total peace seemed to be surrounding the farmer. The pundit touched him. The farmer slowly opened his eyes. The pundit asked, “Was my discourse so impressive for you?”

The farmer said, “Sorry Sir, I could not follow a single word that you spoke as I don’t know Sanskrit; but when I kept thinking about Lord Krishna’s compassion, I am unable to control my tears. See, he has been standing and talking to Arjuna and his neck is so much twisted in order to see Arjuna sitting behind! When I thought how much pain would the lord be having in his neck for doing this and I could not bear his suffering; I start crying”. When the poor farmer said so, he lost his body consciousness. He attained God realization. His compassion and guileless heart made him fit for receiving the divine grace.

When the Pundit and his companions heard the farmer’s words, they too shed tears. The Pundit felt a deep sense of peace that he had never felt in his life earlier.

[Amma: “Children, the Pundit may be very learned; the people who came to his lecture too could be very learned. But it was the guileless farmer who was blessed with the darshan of Lord. The farmer shed  tears feeling the pain of the lord. It was totally a devotion evolving not out of selfishness, but out of totally selfless love on God feeling the pain of God as if it was his own. It was because of such a pure and childlike heart that  the farmer became eligible to receive Lord’s grace“.]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

15.   Make a start – good things follow

Once a woman got  the first place in an painting competition. She received a nice chandelier as the prize. It was a beautiful looking chandelier made of glass stones.  She brought it home and hanged it at the reception room of her house.

As she stood there appreciating its beauty, she noticed that the paint in the room walls had faded and discolored at several places. She felt that the nice looks of the room on account of the chandelier was marred by the wall paint and she immediately took a decision to repaint the walls. Once it is done, she noticed that the curtains in the windows were pretty dirty. She washed them. Next she noticed that the carpet in the room had become very old and the coir in them were loosened at several places.  She threw the carpet away and spread a new one.

Thus the arrival of a new chandelier paved way for several improvements in the reception room leading to bringing in a new and refreshing look to the old room.

[Amma: “Children, like this, if we start practicing a good habit in our life, many other good qualities will come to us naturally.  Our life itself can turn a new leaf this way. It is so because God is the embodiment of all good qualities. When we acquire one good quality from Him, rest of them would follow. However that first step of acquiring a good quality is very essential.”] 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 4 (15 more stories)

1.  Who knows?

One day, a man came out of his house very early in the morning well before dawn and started walking alone in the darkness of the road. There were no other people on the road. A police van on night patrol came by. Noticing the man walking alone in darkness, the policeman stopped the vehicle.

“Where are you going?” asked the policeman.

The man said, “How do I know?”

“What do you mean?” insisted the policeman.

“I mean, How can I ever say for sure?”

The policeman got very suspicious. Is this fellow a criminal who is out to do some mischief and trying to evade questions? He ordered the man to climb into the vehicle, took him to the police station and locked him up. The policeman said, “Don’t try to play dirty tricks with police. Tell the truth or you will not be released”.

The man laughed and said, “How can I ever be sure of where I am going to end up? You see, early this morning I wanted to go to the temple and have a darshan of the Lord; but see what has happened? I have ended up in the jail. That’s why I said ‘how can I ever say for sure?’ ”

[Amma: There are many things in life that happen beyond our control. We may want to something and end up doing something else in life.”]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 15/5/2018)

 

2. The lost key

[Amma: “You are searching for joy in  place where you can’t find it; Joy is within you and you are searching it in the outside world. All your worldly beliefs and hopes are bound to become naught one day. Only when they leave, you will get the true yearning for knowing your atman, your own inner Self.”]

Once an old man was kneeling down and searching for something outside his house. A passer-by asked, “What are you searching for, Sir?” The old man replied, “I have lost my key; I am searching for it”. The passerby too started searching for the key.

After searching for long, they could not find it. The man asked, “Are you sure you lost the key here in this vicinity?”

The old man said, “I lost it inside the house”.

“Oh God! Then why are you searching here?”

The old man said, “There is no light inside the house; Here streetlight is available; that’s why I searched here”.

3. The lost watch

Once an old man, possessing an old model watch misplaced it somewhere inside his house and was frantically searching for it.  He called a couple of neighborhood boys and sought their help to search and locate the watch.

The boys asked, “Grandpa, are you sure you lost the watch inside your house?”

The old man said, “Yes, yes! I remember seeing my watch this morning and also winding it. I remember wearing it before I went for the bath.”

All the boys were searching here and there and they were also talking aloud and making some fun and frolic. However they could not locate it.

One of the boys who was smarter than others  asked, “Grandpa, where do you normally keep your watch?”

The old man said, “I keep it mostly in my bed room. Occasionally I may keep it in the kitchen or in the cupboard in the hall”.

Then the boy said to his companions: “You please go out of this room and search for the watch in the kitchen and the hall. I will do the search inside the bedroom”.

As soon as the other boys went out, the smart boy locked the bedroom from inside, closed the windows and went close to the bed, near the pillows, at the wardrobe and so on very silently sharpening his ears to hear any sound, since the room was very silent now. At a corner of the cupboard, hidden under a bunch of books, the boy located the watch!

“How did you manage to get it?” asked the old man appreciatively.

“The boy said, “Instead of ‘looking’ for your watch, I started my search by ‘hearing’; now that this room is silent, I was   seeking the ‘tick-tick’ sound that your old watch produces and thus located it”.

[Amma: “Truth of the Self gets revealed in the silence of the mind.”]

4. The neighbor’s wood

[Amma: “People experience extreme happiness or extreme dissatisfaction on two occasions; if their enemy or the person they hate to the core undergoes severe suffering, they become extremely happy; if their enemy is living a grand or happy life, they become extremely forlorn! This is unfortunately the state of mind of many people.”]

Once there lived two neighbors who were extremely antagonistic towards each other. One day, one of them went to a wood mart and bought two logs of wood for doing some carpentry works at his house. When he brought the material and started cutting on it, he noticed that both the logs had been eaten by termites inside and they were unfit for any woodwork. The wood mart did not offer any guarantee and hence he was forlorn on account of the loss. For a change of mood, he went out of the house for a walk.

After some time, he returned the house; his face looked bright and he was laughing. His wife was surprised to see his change of mood; she asked: “What happened? Why are you laughing?”

The man replied: “How can’t I be laughing? Have I not bought two termite eaten logs of wood? You see, it is not a big loss at all! Our neighbor has bought 20 such logs from the same mart and all of them are spoiled!”. He continued to laugh aloud!

(Amma’s Arul Mozhigal (Tamil) -Part 4)

5.  Give or Take?!

Once a person was walking along a forest alone. Suddenly, he heard a voice — someone shouting “Help, help!”. The man looked around and at a distance, he saw a pit from where the voice seemed to come.

He ran towards the pit and there he noticed that a man had fallen into the pit and was not able to climb up. It was he who was shouting for help.

The passerby lied down at the edge of the pit, extended his hand into the pit and shouted “Give me your hand”.

The man inside the pit saw the passerby trying to help him. But he was hesitating to grip the hand. The passerby shouted again: “Come on, don’t delay; give me your hand!” Still the person in the pit was hesitating.

The passerby wondered what was wrong. He thought for a while and then changed his call; “Come on, take my hand! Take my hand and grip it well; I will pull you out of the pit”.

Hearing this, the person in the pit immediately came forward to grip the helper’s hand and soon he was pulled out of the pit.

[Amma: “That’s the nature of the world! Most of the people are so selfish that they are not willing to give anything to others; but when it comes to taking something from others, they willingly comes forward. The world has become so selfish nowadays!”]

(Amma satsang 16/2/17)

6.  End of greed

Once in kingdom, there was a river that contained lots of corals and gemstones in its bed. The king one day announced that whosoever rowed a boat upstream and downstream along the river across 16 hours and come back to the starting point can possess all the gemstones lying in the river bed that he covered by rowing.

As 16 hours of rowing was physically a very demanding task, no many came forward to take the challenge. However, one greedy person came forward to take up the challenge. He resolved within himself to cover as much distance as possible so as to accumulate a real huge wealth. Lots of people including his friends and wellwishers crowded the river bank to witness the feat. He started rowing the boat continuously for 8 hours and covered a long distance.

He thought, “If I can manage to row for one more hour in the forward direction, then I can speed up my return so that I will be able to accumulate that much of extra treasure”. He rowed for one more hour. Again greed clouded his mind and he rowed for one more hour. At the end of each hour, he was prompted by greed and finally he ended up rowing for 12 hours in the forward direction. It meant that he had only 4 hours left for his return journey.

He reversed the direction and started rowing fast. However, as he had been rowing continuously for 12 hours, he was already feeling quite tired. However, his greed prompted him to row faster, for, if he missed reaching the starting point, all his effort would be futile.  Breathing heavily and sweating profusely, the man kept on rowing, straining his every muscle and nerve in the process.

He lost so much energy that he could not even sit and row. He lied down and still kept rowing. Exhaustion took him over completely. Still his hands kept moving albeit very slowly.

He started hearing voices. He raised his head up and noticed that people were standing in the river bank and shouting at him “Come on! Faster, faster! Only a few minutes are left!”. Gathering whatever little energy left in him, he rowed with all his might. He vomited blood and fell unconscious as the boat touched the starting point.

When the king’s messengers came to the boat to take him to the king, they found only his dead body there.

(Amma satsang 13/3/17)

7. The trees that weren’t

[Amma: “In Karma yoga, when it is said that one must work without expecting results, it does not mean that one can be careless and purposeless in carrying out a task. Every action must be done with total ‘shraddha’ (ernest awareness), only leaving the end result to God’s will.”]

Once a landlord wanted to grow lots of trees in his land; he engaged four workmen for this purpose and assigned them specific tasks that each one should carry out. The first person should dig holes on the earth; the second person should do the seeding, the third person  should cover the holes again with soil after adding some fertilizer and the fourth person should do the watering. This way, he thought that the works would go on serially and also faster.

After the project was over, several weeks passed, but no saplings sprang forth from the soil. The landlord was surprised. He called the workmen and inquired what happened.

The first worker said, “Sir, I have been dutifully digging the holes on the earth; I have not faltered in my duty”.

The next worker said, “I have sincerely done my assigned work of filling up the holes with the soil after adding fertilizer”.

The next worker said, “I have done my duty of watering them; I have not faltered”.

The landlord asked, “Where is the person in-charge of doing the seeding?”

All the other three said in unison; “We have no idea; We did our assigned work; that’s all; it is not our responsibility to find out whether the person meant to do the seeding turned up or not”.

8.  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)

9.  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)

10.  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)

11.  “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)

12.   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)

13.   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)

14.   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)

15.  Proud of what?

A person borrowed large sums of money from many people and bought an island. With the loaned money, he also built a huge mansion that looked like a palace and lived there.

He would receive whoever that visits the island in his mansion and show them around the palace, boasting about his prosperity and greatness.

One day a Sanyasi visited the island. He went to the palace seeking alms. When the man came out to see the sanyasi, the latter did not  salute him. The man got angry. He said, “Do you know who I am? I am the owner of this island and also this palace. This is the first time anybody has ever failed to show respect to me”.

Hearing this, the Sanyasi asked, “Do you really mean that this entire island and the palace truly belong to you?”

“Yes. I am the owner of these”.

“Promise?”

“Yes. I vouch I am the owner”.

But the sanyasi was a knower of his past. He smiled and said, “Ask your own conscience as to how you got the money and the number of people who loaned you the money!”

Hearing this, the man was shaken to the core. His face paled. He realized his mistake immediately. He understood that there is nothing that he could claim as his own in that place. He immediately fell and the feet of the sanyasi.

[Amma: “Whatever spiritual knowledge we possess today is not something got by doing intense austerities. What we know has been acquired by reading the books written by others and we foolishly claim “I am the Brahman”. Except saying such hollow words, we don’t have a trace of humility, compassion towards others, or the mindset of sacrifice which are the qualities of knowers of Brahman.”]

(Source:  Upadesamritam-1)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  God comes at the call of the guileless

[Amma: “Children, guileless prayer and incessantly calling Him are sure ways to make God happy. You don’t have to be an educated and wise man. Even an unlettered forest can receive God’s grace”]

Once, a disciple of Adi Shankaracharya was very devoted to Lord Vishnu’s fourth Avatar, Narasimha. Desiring to receive the vision of his personal God, he went to a forest and started deep meditation contemplating on Lord Narasimha’s form. For days at a stretch he would sit on a rcock adjacent to his hut inside the forest and did meditation.

One day a forest dweller came by. The meditating sadhu did not notice him. The forest dweller somehow got attracted towards the sadhu. He started wondering: ‘Why is this person sitting all day like this with his legs locked like this? Why is he suffering like this?”

As the sadhu was meditating with closed eyes, the forest dweller thought that he was sleeping. As he was very eager to speak to him, he came there several times in a day and also on several days; he would wait for several hours there hoping that the sadhu would open his eyes and notice him.

Finally, one day, while he was waiting there patiently, the sadhu opened his eyes and saw the forest dweller standing reverentially in front of him. The forest dweller fell at the feet of the sadhu and asked very humbly, “Master, why are you always sleeping sitting cross legged like this? Why don’t you lie down and sleep more comfortably?”

The sadhu replied, “I am not sleeping; I am meditating on my personal God”.

The guileless forest dweller asked, “Master, what is meditation? What is personal God?”

The sadhu said, “You cannot understand all these. Take it that I am calling God and doing prayers in order to see Him”.

The forest dweller was surprised again. “How can you call someone sitting here? Why don’t you go out and search for Him?”

The seeker did not reply. He smiled, closed his eyes and resumed his meditation.

Days passed. The forest dweller could not restrain his curiosity. He badly wanted to know whom the person was searching and what the details were to find him out. He again spoke to the sadhu one day, “Master, May I know who the person you are searching is? May I help you to find him out?”

The sadhu was happy to see the sincerity and earnestness of the forest dweller. He knew he could not convincingly explain and make him understand about meditation and having a vision of God Narasimha. He simply said, “Look; I am not searching for a man. I am looking for a strange animal called Narasimha that has lion’s head and human body; it is extremely powerful”.

Months passed. The forest dweller and the sadhu became friends. The forest dweller was increasingly getting disturbed to see his master doing meditation most of the time sacrificing food and sleep. He wondered, “What sort of creature is that Narasimha? My master troubles himself so much to see him but that lion with man’s body does not bother! My master, poor fellow, is going leaner by the day on account of not eating properly. I must do something to help my master. I must teach a lesson to that Narasimha who does not come to respond to my master’s prayers”.

He sought permission from the Sadhu so that he can go around the forest in search of Narasimha. The sadhu felt amused. He thought, ‘Cranky fellow! He thinks my God is hiding somewhere in the forest!’ Thinking that there is no point in explaining about these things to the illiterate forest dweller, he thought ‘He is not going to find out Narasimha in any case; let he go and make a search as he wishes; it is not easy to make him see reason’. Thinking so, he gave permission.

The forest dweller started searching for Narasimha. He went into every nook and corner of the forest. He peeped into the caves; searched through dense bushes; climbed hills. He shouted aloud, “Where are you O lion with human body? Come to me! Come to me!”. Somehow he was madly gripped by an overpowering desire to search and locate the elusive Narasimha; he too forgot eating food and drinking while doing the search like a mad man. He too lost weight and became like a skeleton.

His frequent loud cries , “Oh my Master’s Narasimha, come to me; where are you?” reverberated through the entire forest. They created powerful spiritual waves. Even the nature came to a standstill hearing his cries.

Soon his cries ceased; his physical search ceased. His heart was full of single thought – of seeing Narasimha. He sat in one place, totally immersed in silence. A powerful wave of divine yearning emanated from him like fire and travelled up to Vaikuntam (The abode of lord Vishnu) and heated up the Lord’s place. Lord Vishnu could not but yield to his silent the deeply powerful prayer.

He took the form of Narasimha and appeared before the forest dweller. The man was overwhelmed with joy to see Lord Narasimha standing right in front of him calmly. He tied a creeper around the neck of the lion like a rope and dragged Narasimha to the place where the Sadhu was meditating. The lion-man calmly came with him  like a cow!

“Master! Open your eyes! See whom I have brought with me! I have caught Narasimha and brought him for you!” He shouted in front of the sadhu who was meditating at the rock. The Sadhu opened his eyes. He could not believe what he saw! Holding the creeper rope in one hand, the forest dweller was feeding it with a bunch of grass!

“Come down master, don’t be afraid! This line is not ferocious at all! It is very soft and friendly!”

The sadhu came running down from the rock and fell at the feet of Lord Narasimha and the forest dweller. He cried seeking pardon. He was very confused. How could his lord appear so easily and come so freely with the forest dweller? Lord Narasimha spoke, “My son! Get up and cheer up. Whomsoever calls me with total love and dedication, who longs for me in and out – only he is the most dear to me. Where there is true love, there won’t be a trace of ego. Where there is guileless love, I will easily make my abode there”

The lord placed his hand on the head of the forest dweller and granted him moksha instantly. He blessed the sadhu saying, “You too will attain realization in this birth itself”. The seeker was freed of his pride and he became very humble.

2.  Childlike faith

[Amma:  One requires a child-like faith in the word of one’s guru. It is such a faith that can bring grace.]

Once a particular province in a country was suffering from draught. A couple of monsoons failed and people were suffering without rainfall. The several villagers decided to conduct a Yagnya to pray to Rain God.  People enthusiastically came forward to contribute the necessary materials, invite knowledgeable priests to conduct the yagnya and so on. On the day of the yagnya people from several villages gathered in thousands to witness the yagnya.

As a couple with their little daughter started from their home to go to the place of yagnya, the little girl said, “Father, let us take the umbrella”.  The father said, “Why do you want to carry an umbrella? Don’t you know that we have not received rains for many months now?”

“But father, we are conducting prayers today for getting the rains! Sure it will rain!” said the daughter. The father reluctantly allowed the girl to carry an umbrella and they reached the venue. Virtually the little girl was the only person who had brought an umbrella.

The yagnya was conducted as per prescribed rituals.  At the end of it, the Rain God sent forth clouds to bring rains to the venue. Even though it was not destined to rain there imminently, the God brought showers there, moved by the utter faith of one little girl who brought the umbrella amidst all others who had gathered there without such a conviction.

(Amma Tuesday Satsang – 12/9/17)

3.  Manasa Pushpam

Once a very proud and arrogant rich man wanted to make a grand food offering to God. Engaging very talented cooks, he prepared a grand feast consisting of varieties of tasty sweets and savories, curries and multiple other food items. He brought varieties of flowers and fruits too as offerings. Lining them up in front of the altar, the rich man prayed “My dear God, I am offering you whatever best I could prepare and get;  I seek your blessings. If you need anything more from me, please don’t feel shy to ask; Ask me and I will get them for you”.

He heard a heavenly voice: “Dear son, if you could offer me Manasa Pushpam, I will be satisfied. Nothing more is needed.”

“God, please tell me where I can get it and I will immediately arrange to fetch it for you” said the rich man.

The voice said “It is quite close by”

The man went out and asked his neighbors “Have you ever seen Manasa Pushpam? I understand it is somewhere nearby only. Can you help?”

Everyone said they have no idea. The man went around asking every one. He sent his messengers around to inquire in all the localities in the town. But he could not get any information.

Feeling lost, defeated and exhausted, the man came back to his house. Kneeling in front of the altar, he said “My lord, I accept my defeat. I feel humbled. I surrender to you. I have nothing more to offer except my heart”

The heavenly voice said :”That is precisely is the Manasa Pushpam I wanted”

[Amma:  God needs nothing except purity of heart from us.]

4.  The hidden help

[Amma:  “At times, our problems in life may look unsurmountable and we may feel depressed and helpless. But if you have a firm faith that God is with us and his grace will be with us to overcome our problems, we will get the needed boost in our mental energy to come out of our woes”.]

Once a man was driving his car  through a narrow pathway, the car got struck in a pool of slush and could not move out.  The man looked around for help.  He saw a farmer coming there in a cart, pulled by a horse. He sought help from the farmer to pull his car out of the slush and the farmer agreed. He brought his horse name Sunny along with a rope. He connected the rope to the car’s bumper and tied the other end to o his horse. He goaded the horse to pull the car out, shouting “Come on Sunny, pull, pull; pull hard; you can do it!” The horse tried to pull the car but as the load was too much for it, it stopped pulling and did not react to the shouting of the farmer any further.

However much the farmer goaded the horse, it did not make any further efforts. The farmer thought for a while as to what to do. Suddenly he thought of an idea. He moved away from the spot for a brief while, came back and then shouted, “Now, come on Bunny, you can do it; Pull, pull…!”

Now the the horse Sunny started pulling with enthusiasm and the car came out of the pit!

The owner of the car was very surprised. He asked the farmer, “How come when you shouted Sunny he did not pull after trying for some time, but when you said “Bunny, pull pull” your horse pulled it? I don’t understand this. Can you explain?”

The farmer said, ” My horse name is Sunny only. He is blind. Initially, he pulled the car,  but having found the load too much for him, he did not put enough effort subsequently.Then I thought of this idea. When I shouted “Bunny, pull pull”, he thought that I have brought another horse by name Bunny to assist. Since he is blind, he did not know there is no other horse. He thought that he can put effort again, since there is one more horse assisting him and his load will be shared! This time, he managed pull the car out!”

5.    Escape from the floods

Once a mendicant was crossing a river late in the evening. Due to heavy raining at catchment area, the river suddenly started flooding. Water level increased and also the flow was very forceful and turbulent. Though the mendicant knew swimming, he could not really manage to swim across the river. He was getting forcefully dragged by the fast currents and he was struggling to keep himself afloat.

Soon it became pitch dark. Somehow he could manage to catch hold of a log of wood. He felt the wood log must have got stuck somewhere and it was not moving. He gripped the log tightly as water was flowing neck deep underneath. He was fervently praying to God to save him.

Gradually, as the time passed, his hands became very painful and numb. It became increasingly difficult for him to keep holding the log of wood. By that time, the water flow too somewhat reduced and the water level came to his waist. But he could not hold on any further. He made his fervent prayer: “My lord; I have tried my best to hold on. I cannot do any more. Let your will be done. It is up to you to keep me alive or dead. I surrender to your will” So saying, he released his hands from gripping the wooden log.

 

As he sunk into the water by about a foot length or so, his legs touched the river bed and his head was still above the water level! Then it stuck to him that what he was holding all along was the branch of a tree which has grown bent towards the river from the adjacent river bank! He was hardly a few feet away from the river bank all along and he could not know it because of utter darkness!

Amma: “that this is how grace comes when all our efforts come to an end and a sense of total surrender comes.”

6.  The hidden treasure

[Amma: Everyone of us have the potential to know our true self inside us. The self is all powerful, but we are not aware of it. In order to remind us of our true powerful self, the help of the sadguru is needed.]

Once a stranger told a beggar, “Hey! Why are you going around begging like this? Listen; you are neigther a beggar nor a mendicant; in fact you are indeed a millionaire!”

The beggar did not believe him. He ignored what the stranger said and walked away. But the stranger would not leave him in peace. He kept coming behind the beggar and kept on saying, “Believe me; I am your well wisher. I really want to help you. I know this secret.You are the owner of a huge treasure and it is within your easy reach!”

The beggar now got intrigued. “Is that so? Where is that treasure?” he asked.

The stranger said, “Go and dig inside your hut” and went away.

The beggar rushed to his hut, took a crow bar and started digging at the floor of his hut. Soon he hit a huge pot buried inside the ground. when he managed to clear the soil and opened the pot, it was full of gold coins, ornaments and precious jewelry. The joy of the beggar knew know bounds. He thanked the stranger profoundly from his heart.

[Amma: In this parable, the stranger is the sadguru. He gives necessary spiritual instructions to the disciple (the beggar) and encourage him to dig deeper within himself to get the hidden treasure of his true Atman.]

7.  The 3 orphaned boys

Once there lived 3 boys who were orphaned at much young age. Since no other relatives came forward to take care of them, they had to somehow fend for themselves. They roamed around and some times begging for food and sometimes doing odd jobs to earn money for their livelihood. They grew up to become youths this way.

One day, they were sitting under a tree near a road. A rich man who was travelling by car passed by and duddenly his car got into trouble and stopped near the tree. The rich man came out of the car and looked around helpless as to what to do further. The tree young men came forward help. They had learned a little of car mechanic skills in one of their earlier jobs in a garage. Hence they could do something and managed to get the car started.

The rich man felt very happy with the youngsters and inquired about them. He wanted to help them and took them along in his car.

He gave some clerical jobs to them in his factory and provided them with food and simple accommodation too.

The three started working happily in the factory.

The eldest brother was very sincere and hard working. At the end of the month, he said to the rich man, “I am extremely thankful to you for giving me a livelihood. You are already giving me food and shelter. What more do I need? I don’t really need a salary. I will continue to work here”

The second brother too was good at his work, but at the end of the month, he  would go to his manager and wanted his salary to be paid promptly.

The third brother was not so good at  his work. He started finding ways to embezzle the company’s money through wrong means and enjoyed his life. Within a few months, the frauds committed by him came to light and the rich man immediately depromoted him and made him a peon.

The second brother was rewarded with a promotion after a few months.

Years passed this way. One day the rich man died.  He had no family. In his will, he had mentioned that the entire factory and al his properties should be given to the eldest brother.

[Amma: Every karma has its fruits connected with it. Even if one works without expecting any fruits, the efforts of good actions will definitely accrue to the doer of good.]

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 20/9/16)

8.  The right mindset

Once there lived a saint who had attained self realization. He was a good orator and his speech had the power to awaken spiritual wisdom in others. His high spiritual knowledge and stature became widely known and people sought after him to visit places and give satsangs.

People in an adjacent village wanted to listen to his spiritual discourse. Their representatives went to meet the saint and cordially invited him to visit their village and address the people there. The saint agreed.

On the day of his visit, hundreds of people had assembled in a maidhan and they reverentially welcomed the saint. The saint took his seat in the platform and he was garlanded. He rose to speak. He posed this question to the gathering: “Do you know the subject matter that I am going to talk to you?”

“Yes, we know Swamy!” shouted several people enthusiastically.

Looking at the crowd silently for a while, he said smilingly, “So, there is no need for me to talk to you because you know the subject already!” He got down from the dais and left the village!

The villagers got very disappointed. They went back to his ashram after a couple of days and begged him to come again to the village and deliver his talk.

He agreed and visited the village on the appointed date once again. This time too he posed the same question to them. The villages replied in quorus “We don’t know anything about what you are going to speak, Swamiji!”

He stood there silently for a while. Smiling mischievously, he said, “What is the point in talking to people who do not even know even a little of what they are going to learn?” So saying he got down and returned to his Ashram!

The villagers got very confused. What should be the correct approach to make the saint speak? They discussed amidst themselves and arrived at a strategy: When the saint poses the question next time, some of them should say yes and some should say no.

Again they went to invite the saint to lecture at their village and again he agreed.

This time, when he posed the same question, the responded as per their plan —  half of the people got up and said yes and the other half said no. But the saint was smarter! He said, “Good. Those who know can teach those who don’t know”. So saying he left the place once again.

The disappointed villages discussed and argued among themselves once again as to what should be the right strategy to deal with the saint. One old man got up and said, “Whatever strategy we scheme and follow only fails.I feel it is better to be silent when he asks the question next time”. All agreed.

Finally, the saint was brought back next time with lots of cajoling. When he rose up and asked “Do you know what  subject I am going to speak?” there was a dead silence.

The Saint smiled with satisfaction and he started speaking gems of wisdom to the people and the villagers felt extremely blessed and benefited by his talk.

[Amma: When people said “Yes, we know” during his first visit, it was a sign of egoism. When the intellect is full with so many knowledge, nothing new can enter. It is like a glass already filled with water. If you try to add anything, it will only overflow. It will not hold anything new.

When people said “We don’t know” during the second visit, it is a sign of a negative and closed mind set. To receive spiritual teaching, the mind should be open. This is like keeping glass upside down; you cannot pour anything into it.

The third answer of mixed yes and no is a sign of a confused and unsteady mind. It is like a glass already half full with dirty water. If you pour any fresh water to it, it will get mixed with dirty water and will not be usable.

The last response, silence is the right response. When the mind is open and free without any preconceived ideas, it can easily and freely grasp what is taught. It is like keeping an empty glass open to receive fully whatever that is being poured.]

(Arul Mozhigal – p. 77)

9.   The Farmer’s devotion

Sage Narada once felt proud that he was a great devotee of Lord Narayana as he was constantly chanting the lord’s name. One day, Lord Narayana called Narada and said to him: “There is a farmer in earth who is far more devoted to me than you”.

Narada could not believe it. He came down to earth to personally verify the matter in person. He observed the farmer for a couple of days and noticed that the farmer was chanting the Lord’s name only thrice a day. Narada wondered how this farmer could ever be a better devotee than him?

He went back to Vaikuntha and asked Lord Narayana about his doubt.

God gave him a bowl of oil filled to the brim and said, “Narada, you have to keep this bowl on your head and cicum ambulate that Hill once. Mind you, you should not spill even a drop of oil”.

Narada took up the challenge. He took one full round of the hill extremely carefully without spilling even a drop of oil and came back to the lord, beaming.  The lord asked, “Now tell me Narada, how many times did you chant my name when you walked around the hill?”

Narada thought about it and realized that he did not chant the lord’s name even once, because his entire concentration was in walking carefully without spilling the oil.

Lord Narayana said, “Now do you understand? That farmer has to toil in his field for the whole day; he has to take care of his family and find means to feed them daily. Amidst such a busy engagement, he still manages to chant my name thrice in a day! Is he not a better devotee than you?”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

10.   God’s test

[Amma: “God will come in the form in which we think of Him. God will also come in different forms in order to test a devotee’s depth of devotion and renunciation”]

Once there was a devotee who did a severe penance to realize God. One day, a stranger came to his house and said, ‘It seems you are a great renunciate. If so, let me see your depth of renunciation. Give your wife to me”.

Without any hesitation, the devotee gave his wife to the stranger. The wife started crying but the stranger took her along and walked out of the house. As he was leaving the compound, some friends of the devotee saw the stranger taking the sobbing wife of the devotee along and going away. They mistook the stranger to be a miscreant who was forcibly taking the woman along. They came rushing, caught hold of him and started beating him severely.

Hearing the uproar, the devotee came out of the house and saw the stranger getting beaten black and blue.  It looked the stranger was about to breath his last. He was shocked. With unbearable pain in his heart, the devotee said, “What is this? What have you done to this poor man? I willingly gave my wife to him”. He knelt down and prayed: “Dear lord, please forgive my friends; please save this man; he should not die; please take away my life and give the life to him instead”.

As soon as he uttered these prayers, the stranger disappeared and God Himself stood in front of the devotee and blessed him. It was God indeed who came in the guise of the stranger to test the devotee.

[Amma: “God was testing whether the devotee had any selfishness. The lord did not appear when he gave up his wife willingly; but only when he showed his willingness and mental attitude of sacrifice to even give his life to save the life of stranger, God appeared before Him”]

(Source: Awaken Children – Vol 2)

11.  The king’s test

Once, in a kingdom, the aged minister of the King passed away.  He was a man of wisdom and righteousness. The king wanted to select a new minister for the post and he invited aspiring persons to meet him. He told them that he would conduct  a test for them and if they pass it successfully, he would make them the minister.

The aspirants were taken to a small pond nearby. Each of them were given a pot with holes at the bottom. The test was that they should empty the whole pond with that pot.  After hearing the condition, many of the aspirants dropped away saying that such a test was foolish and did not behove with the knowledge and wisdom they possessed.

Some of them took up the challenge and as they filled water in the pot from the pond and took the pond a few yards away to drain into a nearby canal, considerable water leaked through the pot and it became a task of indeterminable time scale to finish off. Practically all except one person dropped off from the test.

One middle aged person was alone kept doing the job of taking the water from the pond and draining them pot by pot into the nearby stream. He judiciously used his hand to cover some of the holes in the pot so that wastage was reduced to the extent possible. He kept doing the work tirelessly day in and day out for the next couple of days.  Finally, after tirelessly working like this, he virtually emptied the pond. Only a few pots of slush was left out at the bottom of the pond. As he cleared the slush too, he found a large cloth bundle at the bottom. He untied the bundle and found plenty of golden ornaments, gold coins and precious stones inside.

He bundled them up and went to meet the king. He said, “My lord; I have completed the task of emptying the pond and I found this treasure too inside; kindly take it to your safe custody”.

The king was extremely pleased. He immediately appointed the man as his minister and presented the entire bundle of the treasure him.

[Amma: Shraddha (attentiveness) , Kshama (patience) and Utsagam (enthusiasm) are the three ingredients for one to reap success in all the endeavors.”]

(Amma’s birthday satsang 2016)

12.   Even a little is worthy

Once a person wanted to visit a very holy place. It was a very popular religious center and thousands of people thronged that place every day and visit the holy temple there.

With such a huge crowd gathering there every day, the place naturally turned to be a tourist spot too. There were lots of shops selling varieties of food, eatables and snacks, flowers fruits and other sundry items for worship, utensils, silks and garments, fancy items, gift items, electronic gadgets and so on. There were also music shows, discos and film theatres.

The visitor arrived at the holy place and started going all around.  Everywhere he saw people all around, eating rich food, shopping, engaging in fun and frolic at various places of entertainment and so on.  The visitor kept talking, loudly criticizing all these: “What is so holy about this place? You people are only roaming around and enjoying yourself in all sorts of worldly pleasures! Where is spirituality here? Where is holiness?”

At that point of time, he heard a heavenly voice: “All these people are engaged in these activities after visiting the holy shrine here and doing their worship and prayers; but you have not done even that and you are criticizing all the others”

Amma:  Even a small amount of spiritual practices done has its benefits and they carry the value across births. The benefit is never lost.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

13.   Your effort is needed

Once there was a choultry in a village, where travellers, poor and the needy will be served with free food once a day.  The food serving would stop exactly at 12 noon and the doors would be shut. However, for the convenience of any traveller arriving late, there was a bell hung near the entrance. If the visitor rings the bell, someone would come out and give them food.

One day, an orphan boy, who used to eat his daily noon meal regularly at the choultry arrived late. The doors were already shut. He was a short boy. The bell was hanging at a higher level beyond the reach of the boy. The boy jumped and jumped but he could not touch the bell.

He searched here and there and located a short wooden stick; he tried to hit the bell with the stick but it was still a little short in length. The boy was disappointed but still he did not give up; he kept jumping again and again with the stick in hand, attempting his best to hit the bell.

A passerby happened to watch the repeated efforts of the boy to hit the bell. He took pity on him. He was a tall person and he came to the doors and rang the bell with his hand.

The authorities came out, noticed the boy and then served him a pack of food.

[Amma: “God’s grace would come to the person who makes sincere efforts.”]

(Tuesday Satsang 20/12/2016)

14.  Lord Shiva’s test

[Amma: “One must develop totally guileless faith in God. It means a faith without even a trace of doubt. Our heart is the centre of faith while our intellect is full of doubts and questions. Any superficial knowledge without deeper faith in scriptures is dangerous. A child-like faith is needed. Where there is love, there your will get guileless trust.”]

Once Devi Parvati had a doubt. Though it is widely known that taking a bath in the river Ganga absolves one from all the sins committed, she knew that it does not happen like that always. She asked Lord Shiva why.

Lord Shiva said, “People take bath in Ganga ceremoniously, without deep faith  in the power of Ganga in cleansing them off all their sins. That’s why”.

Parvati could not believe it. Lord Shiva said, “Okay; Let us go to the earth and I will show you the truth of my statement”.

Lord Shiva and Parvati took the guise of an old man and his wife. They went to the bank of river Ganga. Lord Shiva gave instruction to Parvati on what she should do and he dropped himself into  deep pit containing clay and slush.

As instructed by Shiva, Parvati beat herself on her chest and cried aloud begging at the passersby to save her husband. She said to the people returning from Ganga after their bath. “Please, please save my husband. Due to a major sin committed by him, he has been cursed to fall into the pit. Unless he is extracted from it before sunset,  he would die as per the curse. O beg you, please save my husband…”

Moved by the pitiable weeping of the old lady, many people came forward to pull the old man off the pit. Parvati, as if she remembered something that she forgot earlier, said. “Wait, wait! As per the curse, the person who attempts to save my husband must be totally free from any sin; else, the person who pulls my husband will also fall into the pit and die; his head will break into thousand pieces”.

Hearing this, those who came forward retracted their steps quickly and excused themselves from the place. No one was willing to take any risk.

After a while, a young man came there. Parvati explained her predicament to him. He said, “I have no problem; I can help you; I am coming here straight after taking bath in Ganga and hence I am free of any sin.”

He jumped into the pit and brought the old man out.

(From Tamil Arul Mozhigal-4)

15.  God’s Will be done

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village who was an earnest devotee of God. He lived there in a hut with his wife and a son. He owned a horse that would help him in his farming activities.

One day, his horse was missing. The farmer desperately searched for his horse everywhere, but he could not locate it. The other villagers came to know of his loss and visited him to inquire about it. They said, “How unfortunate you are to lose such a nice horse”.

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer went into a nearby forest to fetch firewood. He saw his horse grazing there along with a female horse! He tied both of them and brought them home.

Villagers, seeing this now said,  “How fortunate you are to get back your horse and a mate for it too!”

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is fortunate or unfortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer’s son wanted to ride the female horse. When he tried to mount on it, the horse threw him off to the ground. The son broke his leg.

Again the villagers came to his house and lamented saying that it was really unfortunate that the farmer’s only son had to have a fracture and be bed ridden.

The farmer again said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

A couple of days after it happened, king’s army men came to the village. As the country was at the verge of facing a war, they were recruiting able bodied youngsters for serving in the military mandatorily. Since the farmer’s son was lying with a broken leg, he escaped from military recruitment.

When villagers again came to him and said that he was fortunate to have his son saved from joining the military, the farmer repeated his usual statement!

(Vijayadasami Satsang from Europe 19/10/18)

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 3 (15 more stories)

1.  The simpler solution

[Amma: “Changing external things is extremely difficult; it is much easier to change our internal mindset to face the external circumstances.”]

Once a king went for a relaxed walk along with his minister barefooted. A sharp thorn pricked his foot and the king was hurt. Out of pain and instant anger the said, “Don’t you know that I take casual walk in this place? How can there be a thorn in the path I walk? The whole country is mine and I can opt to walk anywhere any time at my own convenience. I don’t want such a thing to happen again. By tomorrow, you shall have all the roads in this country to be carpeted; your head will roll if you don’t do this”.

The minister was furlorn to hear the command. He could not sleep over night. It was obvious to him that what the king ordered was not practical to implement and he was sure to get beheaded. He made up his mind to talk frankly to the king the next morning.

Early morning we went to meet the king and said, “Your majesty; I could not arrange to do carpeting of all the roads in the the entire country as per your order; consequently, you are free to behead me as per your dictum yesterday. Before I die, may I just make a suggestion? Instead of carpeting the whole city, will it not be prudent if you wear shoes before going for a walk?”

 

2.  Unwanted curiosity

[Amma: “Bringing useless and purposeless thoughts into the mind and indulging in them for long has become the habit of people today.”]

Once a man, putting on specs was reading a newspaper in the morning. He kept the newspaper very close to the eyes, then pushed it away from his eyes, kept it sideways etc and trying to read it. It looked obvious that he was struggling to read the newspaper. He bent himself over the newspaper, lifted it up above and still he was not able to read it properly.

His neighbor, who was observing all these for a while, asked him, “What happened? Aren’t your glasses alright? Perhaps your eyesight has deteriorated over the years and may be it is time for a checkup and change the glasses”.

The man said, “My eyesight is quite alright; in fact, I don’t even need glasses to read the paper. The glasses I am wearing now are not mine. When I went for the morning walk today, these specs were lying on the road; I picked up and brought with me; I am now wearing them and testing how they are!”

[Amma: “Most of us are like this man who is undergoing suffering by wearing the glasses that are in no way useful to him.”]

(Tamil Matruvani Nov 2015)

3.   The Patient listener – 2

Once a famous sadhu was invited by people to deliver a series of lectures on dharma, right conduct and living. The first day, some 200 people had gathered to listen to the talk. One the second day, most of them turned up again, but he repeated the same subjects that he talked about the previous day. On the third day, the audience had dropped down considerably but again he delivered his lecture exactly in the same way he did in the previous days. One the fourth day, there was just one person only in the hall to listen to the talk.

On that day, he changed the subject and talked about more things.

At the end of the session, the sole listener went to the sadhu and said, “Sir, why didn’t you change the subject on the second day itself? If you had done that, people would have continued to come to your lecture and got benefited by it. Why did you change the subject only today when I was the only listener?”

The sadhu said, “I not only give lectures but also watch people’s reactions; I know people did not follow the things that I taught them in their lives.  So, I felt compelled to repeat what I said again. However I was watching you and I understood that you are at least listening to my words and acting upon them. I saw you helping an extremely poor man with food and money yesterday. Today I saw you leaving your footwear at a wrong place as you entered the hall and the watchman scolded you for it; without arguing with him, you immediately removed your footwear and put it in a different place. It is precisely such behavioural changes that I was expecting from people when they listened to my lectures. I felt very glad that my teachings are working at least on one person like you. That’s why I changed the topic today!”

4.  Good intentions alone won’t help

[Amma: “One’s next birth depends on one’s thoughts arising in mind at the moment of death. But whatever thoughts that come out at the death bed depends on one’s innate nature developed and formed as mental impressions of one’s past life”.]

Once there lived an intelligent and rich businessman. He believed in the Hindu culture that uttering God’s name would lead one to good life. He named all his children with names of God. His plan was that at the time of death (like the infamous Ajamila** mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam)  he could call out any of his sons by name and thus attain moksha.

When he was in deathbed and felt his death was nearing, he called out his sons “Rama, Govinda, Narayana!” All his sons were taking care of the family business (a shop) and they came rushing in. When he saw all the three of them together. He became angry. He shouted angrily at them: “If all of you come like this together, who will look after our shop?” With such a worldly thought in mind and words, he breathed his last!

** [Ajamila was a normal worldly person, who had named his son ‘Narayana’. When he was at deathbed, he wanted to tell something to his son and called out Narayana. At that very moment, he breathed his last. The messengers of God of death (Yama) came to drag his soul; at the same time, hearing his call, Lord Narayana too sent his messengers to fetch the soul of Ajamila. Since Narayana was the supreme God, messengers of Yama could not take Ajamila’s soul to their destination where he would be judged based his sins and good deeds.  Lord Narayana’s messengers took him to Narayana and thus Ajamila was lucky to get the blessings of Lord Narayana, even though his calling out the lord’s name was totally inadvertent!]

(Source: ‘Sambhashanangal’-Malayalam- Part 2)

  1. 5.  Whither the market?

[Amma: “Even in nature, you will find plants and animals strive to live with optimism a life in full against all odds. It is human beings who lack faith and confidence. That’s why they get into sorrow. Amma will tell you a story she has heard”]

Long ago, a footwear manufacturing company sent two salesmen to a distant island where tribal people were living. The company wanted to explore sales opportunities in that island for their footwear products.

The two salesmen went by boat to reach the island and went around in two directions to make their independent assessments. They returned to the mainland by evening and sent telegrams to their company giving their individual feedback.The first salesman messaged: “No one in this island know what a footwear is; they had never worn any nor have any need for it as they were living like this for centuries. There is no scope to pitch a sales to them and convince them. Hence I am returning to head quarters“.

The second salesman messaged: “People have never worn footwears here in this island nor know its use. Hence there is a great potential to sell footwear here. Please send a large lot of footwear by sea freight immediately and I shall start selling them right away“.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  The true colors

[Amma: “Habits and vasanas being carried by us across several births are very strong indeed. It is not easy to get rid of them. They are very powerful. When an appropriate moment comes, they raise up their heads strongly however much we try and keep them under check”.]

Once there were two young and charming children — a brother and sister, who used to go to their neighbor’s house for playing. The neighbors were very fond of these children and enjoyed spending their time playing with them. One day, these children dressed themselves like a king and queen. They had cardboard crowns decorated with silvery and golden shaded papers to adore their heads.

They went to the neighbor’s house and knocked at the door. “The lady in the house asked: “Who is it?”

The children said, “We are the king and queen of the country; we have come to visit your house”.

The amused lady decided to play with them in the same tune; She opened the door, bowed before the children and said, “Oh, welcome your majesty! How fortunate I am to have you as a guest in my house! Had I known earlier that you are coming, I would have arranged a red-carpet welcome for you!”

The children said, “It is okay; It is enough if you take us inside and offer us refreshments”.

The lady respectfully took the children inside, arranged two chairs for them and said, “Respected king and queen may please be seated in this golden throne please!” The ‘king’ and ‘queen’ took their seats.

The lade went inside and brought a plate containing biscuits and two cups of milk. She placed them on a stool in front of the children and said, “I humbly request the king and queen to take my offering please!”

The biscuits in the plate were made in the shapes of various animals — lions, tigers, deers, cows, goats, crocodiles, oxen, dogs, fish, ducks and so on. The king and queen vied with each other two pick up the various biscuits; if the ‘king’ picked one lion, the ‘queen’ too would pick one. If the queen piked one dog, the king too would search frantically to locate a dog and pick it. Finally there was one elephant shaped biscuit only lying in the plate and there was no duplicate piece available. Both the king and queen wanted to possess that piece and they jumped over the plate to grab that piece! But the queen was smart enough to grab it first!

The king could not tolerate the defeat! He got angry. He tried to forcefully remove the elephant from the queen’s hand and could not succeed. Seething in anger, he picked up the glass of milk and poured it on the queen; the queen too retaliated. The king started attacking the queen by throwing the ‘wild animals’ on her!  Soon both of them were rolling on the floor fiercely engaging in wrestling. In the melee, their cardboard crowns fell away. Their royal dresses were getting torn!

Thus the ‘royal couple’ who were dignity personified at the time of entering the house became normal children in fighting for the biscuit pieces!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

7.  The right solution

[Amma: “If you clearly perceive your own mistakes, then you will take steps to remove them. Only when you become aware of them, you realize how bad they are. Recently Amma came to know of this real life story….”]

The manager of a hospital was facing a problem of keeping their elevator clean. Many visitors to the hospital had the habit of chewing tobacco/gutka. They get the urge to spit their saliva and many people shamelessly spat inside the elevator too at the corners. Thus cleaning the elevators frequently became a problem for the administration.

In a meeting of the hospital administrators, this issue was discussed, in order to find a workable solution to prevent people from spitting inside elevator.

Finally, a novel idea was implemented. 4 mirrors were placed on the 4 corners of the elevator. People who get the urge to spit inside the elevator will have to necessarily see their faces in the mirror and they could realize that it looks distasteful to do it! Hence people stopped spitting inside the elevator and the cleaning issue was solved once for all!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8  Tamil)

8.  Like Whom?

Once a traveller was walking along a street in a small town. He saw an extremely beautiful mansion in the street. Attracted by its grandeur, he stood in front of it and gazed it with admiration for a while.

A person from the house came out and asked the on-looker: “What are you looking at?”

The traveller said, “It is a very beautiful mansion! I am just marvelling at it!”

The man said, “Well, I am the lucky owner of the house”.

“Is that so? Very glad to know”.

“You know how I got it? I have an elder brother who presented this mansion for me”.

“Ah, fantastic”.

“Now Sir, please be frank. Are you not thinking right now ‘How wonderful it would be if only I have an elder brother like him’ ?” asked the owner of the house.

The traveller smiled and said, “No. I was thinking: ‘How wonderful it would be if I were like the elder brother’!”

[Amma: “True joy comes by giving; not in receiving”]

9.  Reforming the world?

[Amma (Addressing a pseudo-sanyasin): “My son, Before correcting yourself, if you try to correct others or the world, nothing would come out of it. The saffron cloth you are wearing is not meant to give you good looks nor to fetch you respect from others. It is meant to remind you constantly of your true goal in life; it should not contribute to boost your ego. Rather it should destroy your ego.”]

Once there lived an old man who loved to talk of his past to his friends.

He said, “In my youth, I was proud that I knew many things; I was confident that I could accomplish whatever I wanted.  I was trying my best to correct others and their ignorance. I prayed, “Oh God, give me the power to correct the world”. As days and years passed, I realized that I had reached my middle age and thus lost half of my life. I could clearly see that I had not achieved anything personally  in my life, nor could I correct anyone in my life.

“Then I prayed to God, “My lord, please give me the power to correct at least those who are close and dear to me”. I sincerely felt that it was my duty to correct the wrongs in others who are around me. Years have passed and now I have become old. Nowadays, my prayer is only this: “My lord, please give me enough powers at least to correct my own faults!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 – Tamil)

10. Outsmarting the opponent

[Amma: “In politics and business, the competition existing to outsmart the opposition is very strong and also problematic indeed. In order to gain upper hand, it becomes inevitable for them to overpower, control and manipulate the opponent. People even resort to unrighteous means, ignoring basic human values. “]

A rich man was once caught in a litigation. As the case was progressing, he felt that his side was weak and he may lose the case. He did not want it to happen; he wanted to win the case by hook or crook, even if it were to be by way of corrupting the judge and turning the judgement to his favor.

The rich man inquired about the judge’s habits and he came to know that the judge was very fond of playing golf. He suggested to his advocate to buy a very costly set of golf game accessories and present to the judge.  Shocked, the advocate said, “No! Never think of such ways. The judge is a very honest person; he takes pride in his honesty and would never accept any bribe. In fact, if you ever try to bribe him, the case could very well turn to be totally unfavorable to you”. Hearing this, the rich man became pensive.

After a few days, the judgement was announced. It was in favour of the rich man. He arranged a party to thank his advocate. The rich man said, ” I should really thank you for the timely warning you gave about the danger of bribing the judge. Actually, I did present the golf set to the judge, but I sent it across mentioning that it was a gift being sent by our opposite party!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

11.  No way!

[Amma: “In the present day husband and wife relationship,  there is no give and take. Both lack patience. Hence there is no progress in relationship; only repulsion is there! Only positive and negative poles in magnets can attract each other. If both poles are either positive or negative, they end up only in repulsing each other”.]

Once two cars came opposite to each other in a very narrow lane, where there was not enough width for two cars to pass side by side. Unless one car took reverse to the end of the lane so as to give way to the other car, there was no way they could move forward.

Both the drivers of the cars started arguing. Each one wanted the other driver to take reverse. Neither of them were willing to yield.

The first driver got out of the car, walked to a nearby teas stall and started sipping a cup of tea. Seeing this, the other driver too got out, bought a cigarette and started smoking. After finishing his tea, the first driver noticed that the second driver had not done anything; he bought a newspaper and started reading it.

After noticing that the first driver was not taking any action, the second driver finished his smoke,  came to the tea stall, ordered some snacks and started eating them leisurely!

Hours went by as both did not want to budge to the demand of the other. It was a matter of prestige for them. Thus they could not move forward in their path.

(Beach satsang Mon 16/1/2017)

12.  Ineffective treatment!

[Amma: “Life is a blessing. But instead of using our discrimination to choose the right, we choose the wrong and suffer”.]

Once a man was suffering from an eye disease as well as stomach pain.He went to consult a doctor. The doctor, after examining him, prescribed some eye drops and also a bottle of another medicine for his stomach pin.  He instructed him to apply a few drops of the medicine for the eye and take a spoonful of the  medicine for the stomach.

After coming home and the time came for taking the medicines, the patient got confused. Which bottle for which ailment?  He took an spoonful of eye drops and drank it. He dropped a few drops of the stomach medicine into his eyes! On account of this, both his ailments got accentuated and he had to suffer much more!

[Amma: “We are like the patient in this story,  confused always about our choices in life. The topmost priority to be given to our life is to realize our Atman — our real nature, through intense practice. We should give only a secondary importance to our boy and its needs. But we behave like changing the medicine! The effort needed to realize the atman is given to take care of the body!”]

13.  Impermanence is mithya

[Amma: “Mithya does not mean non-existent, but impermanent. Everything in life is constantly changing. Only Atman is real and unchanging. According to Vedanta, our life is dreamlike”.]

Once an extremely poor young man was suffering without food, shelter and clothing. He was sitting by the side of the road, feeling extremely depressed about his condition in life.

Suddenly there was a big commotion. An elephant was coming in the road with a garland in his trunk and lots of people including soldiers were following it.

The elephant came near the poor man and put the garland over his neck. There was a huge jubilation with this happened. He was told that the king of the country had died without a heir and it was decided, as per traditions followed in that country, to appoint whomsoever the king’s elephant garlands would be made the king.

The young man was carried with lot of fanfare to the palace. He was bathed, draped in the finest of royal clothes, adored with golden and diamond ornaments and crowned as the king of the country in a grand celebration.

Thus, overnight, the poor man’s life took an unpredictable and unimaginable turn! From utter poverty, he started rolling in royal luxury and he was enjoying every moment of it! Soon proposals came to get him married to a princess of another country too.

This is indeed what is known as mithya. The ways by which maya plays its delusive game is very unpredictable.

(Monday beach Satsang 23/1/2017)

14.  Selfish prayers

[Amma: “Amid theists, there are many people whose faith in God is just shallow. Their dealings with God are just for getting his grace for enjoying worldly pleasures.  They will always have their doubts  and also be unhappy and dissatisfied! Their prayers will be with selfish motive only — to get fleeting things or to complain about petty issues. True love and devotion would be missing; only selfishness, greed and hatred (against their adversaries) would dominate their prayers”.]

Once a man invited a Sadhu to his house. His wife had died recently and wanted the Sashu to conduct specific prayers for getting peace for the departed soul. The sadhu conducted worship to God and made his prayers saying, “Let everyone in this world live happily; let there not be suffering anywhere; let peace prevail everywhere; let prosperity swell everywhere; let every soul attain liberation”.

Hearing this, the householder intervened: “Swami, I was expecting you to pray for my wife’s soul to attain peace. But you did not utter even her name; can’t you pray for my wife exclusively?”

The sadhu said, “I cannot pray just for your wife alone. My guru has taught me that whatever and whenever I pray, it should be for the good of the entire universe. The scriptures of of the religious school that I belong to also teaches us the same way. In fact, when we pray for the wellbeing of all, naturally your wife’s soul will also benefited for sure. Sorry, I can’t pray just for an individual”.

The sadhu did not yield to the repeated appeals of the householder. Finally, with no other go, the householder said, “Okay Swami, Please go ahead in your own way. But just make sure that my neighbor is excluded from the benefits of your prayers!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

15. How human beings got 100 years as lifespan!

After one pralaya (dissolution of the universe), Lord Brahma  started another round of creation. He created different types of creatures — plants, insects, Animals and so on and he was about to finalize the lifespan of each creature.

He called man first and told him that he had decided to give him a lifespan of 30 years.  Hearing this, the man looked very unhappy. He prayed to Lord Brahma to increase his lifespan.  Brahma said, “I cannot show any special privilege to human beings alone. The lifespan for every creature has already been very meticulously planned and fixed”. But man kept on persisting. He was begging Lord Brahma for a longer lifespan, again and again.

Brahma then said, “Okay. You stand here by my side; I will call other creatures and inform them their lifespan. If any of them feel that their lifespan is too long and they don’t want that much, then I will add to human’s account whatever lifespan they want to reduce”. The man stood by the side of Brahma with anticipation.

Brahma called the bullock and said, “Your life span is 40 years”. The bullock said, “My lord, I can’t bear such a long lifespan. I pray to you to reduce it by half”.

Brahma agreed and added those 20 years to man. Man looked happy, but he was still standing there, hoping to get more.

Next Brahma called the donkey and granted 50 years to it. The donkey pleaded woefully, “My lord, why are you punishing me like this? I would rather be happy had you not created me at all; I have no wish for a long lifespan; Even half of it is long enough; Please don’t give me more than 25 years”.

25 more years were thus added to man, thus increasing it to 75. Though happy, the man was still willing to have more; he was eagerly waiting for the other animals.

Next Brahma called the dog and granted it 30 years. Even before he finished saying it, the dog started barking, vehemently protesting it. “My lord, I have no wish to live beyond 15 years” said the dog.

Man happily received another 15 years. Brahma looked at man’s face and he noticed that he was still not satisfied despite getting 90 years of age.

Brahma called the worm next and gave 10 years to it.  The worm almost swooned on hearing it. “My lord, I shudder in fear to learn such a long life span for me.  Please, please… I don’t want it at all. Please give just a few days as my lifespan; nothing more”.

Brahma transferred those 10 years of worms life too to man’s account. Now the man looked happy to receive 100 years as his lifespan. He started jumping and dancing in joy.

Amma: “Dear Children, Up to 30 years, man spends his life in education and employment with no major worries or responsibilities.  He leads a carefree life. By this time he gets married. Now like a bullock, he has to pull the ‘cart of his family life’ with all the responsibilities. His energy and health deteriorates. Thus he reaches middle age. He leads the remaining twenty five ‘donkey years of life’ carrying the burden of a thankless worldly life on his back. By 75, he becomes dead tired, totally losing energy. 

He spends the remaining 15 years like a dog, sitting at home to guard the house and the grandchildren, just for the sake of his food and shelter. By the time he reaches 90, everyone including his grandchildren discard him, He keeps living in the memories of the past.

The last 10 years that he got from the worm, he leads a pitiable life. Unable to walk, he moves like a worm. Advanced age and sickness make him unfit for anything. He spends his life lying in bed and squirming like worm. He dies like a worm, immersed in total disappointment, despair, sorrow and pain.”

 

 

Amma’s stories on the Nature of God, Avatars and Mahatmas – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. Hanuman’s Shivalinga

[Amma:   Mahatmas are sources of power. They are embodiments of divine consciousness. A magnitized piece of iron becomes capable of drawing other iron filings. In the same way, a Mahatma can even make inert objects sentient.]

Lord Rama instructed Hanuman to bring a Shivalinga to Rameshwaram so that He could install it there. Hanuman travelled everywhere in search of the best Shivalinga. He did not return even when the auspicious hour of installing was dawning. In order not to let the auspicious time pass uneventfully, Goddess Sita moulded a Shivalinga from mud, and lord Rama enlivened it with his Vital breath.

Just then, Hanuman returned with his Shivalainga. When he learned that the installation ceremoney was over, he became downcast. Seeing his sorrow, Lord Rama said, “Don’t give too much importance to the installation ceremony. Remove the shivalinga that has been installed and we will install the Linga that you have brought now”.

Hanuman then tried to remove the Shivalinga that Rama had installed, but he was unable to move it even an inch, no matter how hard he tried.

This shows the power of a Mahatma’s sankalpa (divine resolve). The sankalpa of a Mahatma is powerful enough to transform even a clod of mud into the divine. Because Mahatmas are one with the supreme consciousness, any sankalpa they make gets fulfilled.

(Matruvani – Eng – July 2018)

2.  Pray to God directly

[Amma: “At times of worry, we normally share our woes with friends and relatives. Instead, we should rather share our grievances with God. Don’t multiply your worries by speaking to people. Rather find solutions to your problem by praying to God”.]

One day, Lord Shiva and Parvathi were sitting together at Kailash, Suddenly Shiva got up and rushed out somewhere. Within a moment, he came back.

Surprised at his action, Parvathi asked the lord for the reason. Shiva said, “There was this devotee of me who would always pray to me for conveying his woes, big or small. He would never talk to anyone else about them. Today, as he was returning home, some people mistook him as a thief and started beating him severely. As I wanted to save him, I rushed out from here. As I went to the spot I saw the devotee speaking to someone saying, “These people are beating me for no fault of mine. Will you help me in beating them in retaliation?” I understood that the devotee is not in need of my help; hence I took a retreat!”

 (Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 – Tamil)

2.  The power of a blessing

A  woman who was grieving over the death of her husband went to a Mahatma and devotedly prostrated before him. The Mahatma blessed her by uttering the words ‘sumangali bhava‘ (‘May you remain happily married’).

Hearing this, the woman said, “O Lord, my husband passed away last night. In this life I will not marry another man. How then can I remain happily married?”

The mahatma replied, “Please return home. You will find your husband alive”.

When the woman returned home, she saw her husband sitting up on the deathbed.

[Amma: Such is the power of a mahatma’s words. It is not that they speak truth but that Truth rushes to fulfil their words. Hearing this, some might ask, “In that case, why can’t mahatmas resurrect all those who have died? People die even in their presence, don’t they?”  Life and deaths are laws of nature. Mahatmas do not act against the laws of nature. However, in certain situations, their compassion is aroused and their resolves bear fruit].

(Matruvani – Eng – July 2018)

3.   Success in one attempt

A boy used to fail four five times in each class. Finally, he reached up to his tenth standard. He felt that even if he wrote tenth standard exams ten times, he was most unlikely to pass. However, his class teacher made a mental resolve to make him pass the tenth exam in a single attempt.

He started coaching him day and night without rest. He was very particular not to allow his attention to get diverted anywhere else. Finally, the exams came and the boy exams and passed it in single attempt.

[Amma: “Even though the boy was aware of his limitations and felt for sure that he would not pass even after writing exams in 10 attempts, his teacher ensured that he passed it in one attempt. A Mahatma in the role of a Sadguru is like that teacher. For a disciple who may even need thousand births to realize himself, the Guru is capable of helping him to gain it in a single birth”].

(Matruvani – Tamil -Adi 2018)

4.   It is not easy to understand God’s ways!

Once there was a famous temple in a town where lots of devotees visited it regularly and made prayers. The deity was very famous as a wish fulfilling God and crowd was there all the time.

A sweeper working in the temple was very devoted to the lord of the temple. He was very guileless and soft-hearted.

He felt pained to see his God standing all the time in the sanctum sanctorum with His hands showing vara-abhaya-mudra (one hand showing blessings and another hand showing ‘don’t fear’) and endlessly hearing the prayers of the ever streaming devotees. He felt sorry for the lord. He wanted to offer his help to his God to get some rest to Him.

He went to the lord and said, “My dear God,  I feel extremely pained to see you standing like this all the time; you deserve a good rest. Please let me stand there in your position there for a few days till you feel relaxed and rejuvenated”.

Moved by the simple and heartfelt prayers of the sweeper, the lord said, “My son, it is a very difficult job indeed standing silent like this and listening to the people’s never ending grievances; I am quite used to doing it; it will be very difficult for you to do it; don’t worry; I will manage.”

The sweeper was adamant. He kept on insisting the Lord that he should take some rest. The lord finally said, “Okay, I will concede to your proposition for a few days one one condition that whatever happens in front of you, you should not react and stand like a statue only; you should remain patiently listening and witnessing all that happens without getting involved”.

The sweeper agreed.

He took up the place of the lord standing with vara abhaya mudra;  The lord moved away from the place for a while.

On that day, a very rich person came to the temple and stood in front of the ‘God’ for praying. He had brought  a huge bag of cash (which he was to drop into the temple Hundial as an offering) with him ;  he placed the bag at a corner and prayed: “My lord, please make me the richest person in this world”.   As he left, he forgot to pick up the cash bag. As he went to the temple office to drop the money in the Hundial, he noticed that his bag was missing.

In the meanwhile, a very poor beggar came to the lord and prayed: “My dear lord, I am dying day by day out of impoverishment; I don’t have anything more than a few coins to offer to you; please accept them and give me money for my survival and wellbeing”.

He placed the coins at the feet of God and turned back. His eyesight fell on the corner where the rich man had left his cash bag. The beggar picked it up, opened it and saw bundles of currency inside it! He turned towards God and shouted joyfully: “Oh God! I could never imagine that you will bless me so instantly! You are the most benevolent God in the whole world! Thank you so much, God, for giving this money!” he tucked the cash bag under his arm and walked away!

The sweeper posing as God was shocked to see the poor man lifting the cash bag and walking away! But he contained himself somehow from reacting.

Soon,  a captain of a ship came to the lord and prayed: “My dear God, I have to sail a long journey; please protect me from any hardships and bless me a safe journey”.

In the meanwhile, the richman who lost his cash bag complained to the security persons on duty at the temple. He came to the sanctum Sanctorum along with the security person in search of the bag.

Suddenly he remembered that he had kept his bag at the corner before praying; not finding the bag there and only noticing the sailor sitting and praying there, the rich man suspected whether the person would have taken the cash bag.

The security person started interrogating him. “We suspect you have taken the cash bag of this person; return it immediately or we will have to call the police and arrest you for suspected theft”. No amount of pleading by the sailor could stop the the rich man and the security person from harassing him for the theft.

The sweeper posing as Lord could not contain himself this time. He felt that it would be totally inappropriate for him if he did not interfere to save the innocent sailor.

He opened his mouth and said in a dignified voice: “Listen my children! I am the God speaking. This sailor is innocent. The cash bag was taken by a beggar who just left a few minutes ago”.

All the people inside got goose pimples hearing the God speaking! They prostrated with reverence; The security person and the rich man ran out immediately to locate and nab the beggar.

After a while, the God returned to the sanctum Sanctorum and said, “As per your wish, I have taken rest and I am back to take charge again. Did you do your job rightly by remaining a silent witness all the time, as I had instructed you?”

“No lord; I am sorry that I could not keep up my word. I had to break my silence to interfere in order that injustice does not happen in this holy premises” said the sweeper and explained what happened. He thought God would appreciate him for his intervention.

But the lord felt very upset. “Why did you open your mouth and spoiled my grace working on all the three people?”

“Lord! I believe I have done only dharma!” protested the sweeper.

The Lord said: “You human beings cannot understand My scheme of things; despite my advice, you did not keep quite and spoiled all the grace I had intended to bestow in those people.  I know the poor beggar who is an extremely compassionate person. I wanted him to make use of the rich man’s money; he will eat to his stomach full with that money daily and also help others who are starving by sharing the money with others. He is not greedy and I wanted to bless him like that. Whatever punya this poor man gains, a portion of it will go to the rich man too, who does not need that much money anyway and he, on his own, will not spend it for the poor and the needy…”

“Then how about the sailor whom I saved?”

The God said: “I wanted the sailor to be arrested and jailed for a few days, because the ship in which he is to sail is destined to sink into the deep seas in a storm. By opening your mouth and telling the truth about the theft of the cash bag, you have now paved the way for the death of the sailor!”

5.  Sense of Humility

Once sage Vishwamitra went to Lord Vishnu and complained: “My lord, I too have done lots of austerities and attained divine powers just like Sage Vasishta. But everyone seems to treat Vashishta to a greater regard than me and they don’t seem to have much of regard for me. This is very unfair. Why is it so?”

Lord Vishnu smiled and called Sage Vashishta to his abode. He then told both of them; “Viswamitra has a doubt and I have to give a reply to him. Before that, I want both of you to show your capabilities on a task I am going to give you and let me see who finishes off the task earlier. Each of you go independently and feed thousand people who are lower than you and come back”.

After a few hours, Viswamitra returned to Vaikunta and declared: “My lord! I have accomplished the task of feeding thousand people who are lower than me”.

Both of them waited for the return of Sage Vashishta. A couple of days passed. Vashishta came back at last and he reported to Lord: “I am sorry Lord! I could not locate any person lower than me. I only see God in each one of the people I meet and hence I could never consider tham lower than me”.

Lord looked at Vishwamitra and smiled. Vishvamitra understood immediately and he bowed down to Sage Vashishta.

6.  Acceptance – the great virtue

[Amma: “A self-realized person sees everyone as Atman in different forms; he cannot negate anything;  like the sky, river and sea, he accepts everything — good or bad, equally.”]

Once in a village, an unmarried woman became pregnant and gave birth to a child. She refused to say who the father of the child was. Everyone in the village condemned and criticized her. Her parents put pressure on her to declare who caused her pregnancy. Finally, in order to avoid further humiliation and save her face, she said one saint living in the hut at the outskirts of the village was the child’s father.

Hearing it, the parents and the villages got very agitated. They marched towards the hut where the sage was staying, called him names and abused him. They said he was a fraud and a man of meanest conduct. They thrust the child in his hands and said that he should take care of the child.

The saint smiled and said, “Fine, let it be so”. From that day onwards, he took care of the child very well, much more than a mother caring her child.

His name was tarnished. His disciples and other villagers who revered him earlier disowned him. Even then he said, “Well, let it be so”.

One year passed this way. The mother of the child felt tormented by her conscience. She told her parents that she had lied about the child’s father; it was actually the young man in the next house of hers with whom she had a physical relationship.

Hearing this, the parents felt very sad. The news spread across the village. Everyone in the village and the disciples felt very remorseful for having wrongly implicating the saint without deeply inquiring into the false accusation. The fell at the feet of the saint and sought his pardon. They requested that the child be returned to the mother. The saint smiled and said, “Fine! Let it be so” and blessed them.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

7.   True detachment

[Amma: “A true sanyasi, even after self-realization and the state of total freedom from karma, has to work for the welfare of the world energetically and efficiently. Despite all the contradictions existing in the outer world, he does it, as he is still part and parcel of the outer world. But inwardly, he would remain in the total silence and actionless state of Atman, without any contradictions. A true sanyasi has no attachment or sense of possession. Despite being amidst hectic activity, he has really no attachment to actions and remains in total freedom.”]

Once a sanyasi was travelling in a train. Many co-passengers were there in the compartment. All the passengers had several luggages, bags and packs. The sanyasi too had a cloth bag containing some of his possessions. Noticing it, a passenger commented, “We are all family men and naturally we have so many possessions to carry. But you are a sanyasi; you are wearing ochre cloth too; I am surprised to see you carrying a bagful of possessions with you. In what way, you are different from us?”

The sanyasi heard it and remained silently smiling.

After a short while, the train was travelling over a river bridge. Smilingly, the sanyasi took his cloth bag and swiftly threw it out of the window into the river! Then he turned towards the co-passenger who was questioning him earlier and said, “Dear brother, I have thrown my bag; will you throw your baggage too like me?”

Shocked, the co-passenger retorted, “What do you mean?  I have several costly possessions in my baggages. How can I throw them away?”

The sanyasi said, “I too had a few costly things in my bag; I am able to throw them away without a trace of attachment or a sense of loss. YOu can’t do so because you are attached to your possessions. That is the difference between you and me”.

The passenger hung his head in shame on hearing the answer.

8.  Detach and Attach

Once a sanyasi was walking be, with a bag on his shoulders. Some youngsters, seeing his ochre cloth and tattered looks, made fun of him. In order to tease him, they asked, “What is sanyas?”

The sanyasi dropped his bag onto the ground and started walking away. Surprised, one youngster ran behind him and asked him, “I asked you, what is sanyas. Please tell me”.

The sanyasi smilingly came back, picked up his bag, put it onto his shoulders and started walking away. The youngsters now understood that the sanyasi was trying to teach them something through his actions. Now they came  running to him and asked more humbly “We understand you are teaching us something with your actions, but we could not understand; Will you kindly explain us?”

The sanyasi said, “Yes! I was indeed demonstrating to you what is sanyas. When you asked the question first, I dropped my bag and walked away. It means, ‘Leave behind what you consider as me and mine and walk free’. That is sacrifice”.

“Then what is the meaning of picking up the bag again?”

The sanyasi said, “A sanyasi first renounces me and mine. Then he picks up the burden of the world on his shoulders and starts working selflessly for the welfare of the world”.

(Monday beach satsang 16/1/2017)

8.  Let it sink first

[Amma: “A guru teaches higher truths to only such of those disciples who grasp and put into practice what the guru has taught them”.]

Once a famous saint was invited to give lectures on spirituality. A huge crowd comprising of some 2000 people had gathered there to listen to him. Impressed by his speech, the people spread words and the next day some 3000 people came to listen to his talk. The saint spoke on the same topic that day as done on the previous day. For the next day, the crowd got dwindled to some 1500. On the third day too he spoke on the same subject again. On the fourth day, the attendance had reduced to some 750 and still he spoke the same subject again.

As he continued the same way, the crowd dwindled to 400, 200, 100 and the subsequent day, there was just one person attending the talk. On that day, the Saint changed the topic!

The solitary person who was hearing the talk asked the saint, “Maharaj, if you had changed the subject several days ago, many people would have listened it and got benefitted like me. Why didn’t you do so?”

The saint said, “I knew that whatever I was preaching was not grasped by the people and they never made an attempt to put them into practice in their lives. So I kept repeating the same subject again and again so that it can sink into the people’s hearts. However I was watching you for the past couple of days. I taught about compassion and sacrifice and I saw you donating your dress to a poor and needy person. I taught patience and humility and I noticed you yesterday leaving your chappal at the wrong place before entering the hall and the watchman scolding you for your callousness. I noticed that you listened patiently to his abuses as a way of acknowledging your mistake. Thus you had absorbed another virtue from my lectures.  Since you are implementing my teachings in your life, I found you fit enough to receive higher teachings; that’s why I changed the topic today”.

9.  It is the dress that deserves it

[Amma: (About her dressing up like Devi during Devi Bhava darshan:) “When God comes in human form, each Avatar has a way and a purpose. When you see a lawyer in his characteristic attire, you are reminded of your court case and the hope of succeeding in it. Likewise, Amma takes Devi bhava with colorful saree and ornaments, you are reminded of that dressing up reminds you of Devi. Unfortunately the present world believes so much in exterior show, the dress and the makeup. In order to remove people’s attachment to fleeting things, Amma has tro come in disguise!”]

Once there was a great social leader who was invited to attend a big conference comprising of VVIPs and renowned specialists and bigwigs from various walks of life.  The leader intentionally dressed himself in a very simple attire to look like a common man. When he reached the conference avenue, no one took notice of him to extend a cordial welcome. The security persons and people in the reception committee did not permit him to enter into the conference hall.

The leader went back home, dressed himself well with coat and suit and went back to the avenue. This time, he was received very respectfully. He was taken in and and was guided to a dining hall where a grand feast was being served to the invitees.

As he was seated at the dining table, he started to remove his coat, tie, suite and shoes. He rolled them into a bundle and placed it on the dining table. People looked at him wondering what he was up to. When they asked him why he was doing so, he said, “A while ago, I came to the venue dressed like a common man. Nobody allowed me inside. Then I came back dressed in coat and suit, you people invited me with lots of respect and brought me to dine here. So, it is quite clear that the respect has been given only to my dress; that’s why I thought let my dress enjoy this feast!”

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale-Malayalam)

10.   Remaining ever in the state of  a witness

[Amma: ” Remaining in a state of witness (‘Sakshi bhava’) is nothing but remaining in a real state of real awareness — observing what is happening inside and outside and remaining unperturbed and unconnected. In reality there is nothing inside or outside. In Sakshi bhava, we are at the centre of everything and hence, whatever changes happening around us do not affect us. We are one with the universal power.

“However even a true jnani remaining in such a state may appear to be suffering externally. THough they may ‘appear’ to be so, they are in reality, not affected. On sakshi bhava, one can remain witness to one’s own death. All the pain and suffering of his body too will be observed by the sage as a witness”.]

Once a saint was living at the banks of the holy river Ganga. He was totally immersed in divine consciousness. He would always be chanting ‘Shivoham’, ‘Shivoham’. His sweet voice of chanting was audible to the other sadhus residing at the opposite bank of the river too.

One day, the saint was sitting at the bank of Ganges and chanting ‘Shivoham’ as usual with closed eyes. At that time a lion came out of the forests of the Adjacent Himalayan jungle. It was approaching the saint  behind his back.It was clear that the lion was hungry and it was approaching the saint to attack and eat him.

Sadhus living in the opposite bank saw this and they were extremely worried. They started shouting from their side: “Maharaj! A lion is approaching you and it is going to attack you! Please jump into the river and save yourself”.

Hearing their shouts the saint opened his eyes. He turned his head and saw the lion approaching him with hungry eyes. He did not move from his seat. He was ready to accept whatever was going to happen. He knew that the time has come for end to his bodily life in the earth. As he was immersed in the state of Supreme Consciousness, he had no sense of duality. He could not differentiate between himself and the lion. The person sitting and chanting Shivoham and the hungry lion were one and the same for him.  Unperturbed,  he sat there, motionless, chanting Shivoham.

The sadhus on the opposite bank saw, with pounding hearts, the lion pouncing on the Saint and clutching him with his powerful jaws. The saint kept chanting ‘Shivoham shivoham’ . The lion tore his body with his teeth and claws. Still the chanting of Shivoham did not stop! It appeared as though the saint was satiating his own hunger in the form of a lion by savoring his own body in the form of the saint. Till the life force in the body of the saint remained, the sound Shivoham was reverberating in the air.

11.   Accepting God’s will

Once there lived a sadhu who lived by alms. He would go door to door begging his food.  He traveled from place to place and lead his life carefree, in the contemplation of God. At nights, he would knock the door of some house and beg for providing him shelter for the night. Irrespective of whether he was provided with food or shelter by people, he was always pleasant and good mannered. He was spiritually quite evolved but people hardly ever noticed his saintly nature.

On a cold night, he went to a street in a village and knocked at the door of a house. People in the house were not willing to accommodate a stranger and a beggar like him in their house. He said, “Oh God! Thank you, thank you” and went to another house. Somehow, on that cold night, no one in the street came forward to accommodate him in their house. His loud utterance “Oh God! Thank you, thank you”was repeatedly being heard in the village.

Finally, he decided to walk up to the bank of a river flowing adjacent to the village and take shelter under a tree. It was cold and damp.

One of the villagers, who too denied accommodation to the sadhu felt bad after turning him away. He was impressed by the good manners and nature of the beggar. He came out of his house in search of the beggar. Finally he located him at the bank of the river. He approached him and said, “I am sorry that we village people did not give shelter to you on this cold night. I am curious to know — how come you were always saying thanks to God whenever anyone denied you accommodation? How come you did not get angry or dejected?”

The sadhu said, ” Just look around you, my friend. How beautiful the nature around us is!  The full moon is up in the sky making the whole area glow in the nature’s splendor. Observe the beauty of the river sparkling like silver and running with a melodious murmur; Look at the sponge-like clouds at the sky; Look at the array of trees waving their heads in the cool breeze on the opposite bank of the river! I would have been denied of enjoying such a beautiful art work of God at this cold night, had I been accommodated in your house. Whatever God has granted me to night is for my joy only!”

(From Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

12.  Vision of God

Surdas was an earnest devotee of God and a poet too. He was blind from birth. Once he was on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. On his way, a young boy joined him and gave company to him on the long journey. The boy was very helpful, friendly, jovial and humorous. Surdas was extremely pleased to have such a boy accompanying him on his pilgrimage. When they reached the outskirts of Vrindavan, it suddenly occurred to Surdas that the boy must surely be his beloved Lord Krishna coming with him to take care of him out of his abundant compassion. Surdas, welling with love, called the boy to his side and embraced him joyfully. However the boy writhed himself free from Surdas’ grip and ran away.

Surdas said, “My dear Krishna! You can run away from the grip of my hands, but I have already confined you in my heart! How can you ever escape from there?”

Very pleased , the lord said, “SUrdas, I will grant you vision to your eyes. You can look at me now!” Surdas got vision and he looked at his beloved Krishna’s glorious divine form to his heart’s content. Then he said, “My lord! Now you can take back my vision. Having seen you, I have no desire to see the outer world. Let your vision alone remain  permanently etched in my memory!”

[Amma: “For a true devotee, once God’s vision is obtained, he has no interest in this world anymore”.]

(From Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

13.  Empty the mind first

[Amma: “My son, will you be able to remain a new (beginner) spiritual seeker always? Only if you are such a humble and guileless aspirant, it paves the way for opening of the heart. A new aspirant is aware of his lack of spiritual knowledge. Hence he openly and wholly grasps spiritual teachings.If he thinks ‘I know all these stuff’, then he cannot stand humbly and be receptive to the teachings. Even if he hears, it would not enter. It would just flow out.”]

Once in a deep forest, a saint lived alone.  A very learned scholar went to see him one day. Right from the time of his arrival, he was in a hurry to return. He said to the saint, “Sir, can you teach me quickly something about meditation?”

The saint replied smilingly, “Why all this hurry? Please take your seat; we will have a cup of tea and then speak about meditation. We have enough time for it”.

But the scholar was impatient. He said, “Why delay? We can speak right now. Please advise me on meditation”.

But the saint insisted: “Let us have some tea first; then talk”. He stood up and started preparing tea. The scholar sat there impatiently; that was perhaps his nature. His mind was thinking about many things.

The saint took his own sweet time to prepare the tea; he brought the tea in a vessel and also two cups. While the scholar waited restlessly, the saint placed one cup in front of the scholar and started pouring the tea. The cup became full and yet the saint kept pouring more tea. The tea started overflowing from the cup but still he did not stop.

“Stop, stop! What are you doing? It is already full! Why are you pouring more and more?” shouted the scholar.

The saint stopped and said smilingly, “Yes; you are right. You know pretty well that the cup is already full and it cannot take up even a drop of tea extra. Likewise, your mind is already full of so much scholarly matter including ideas about meditation that you have learned from scriptures. Whatever I am going to teach you will not enter into you. If at all my teaching about meditation has to absorbed by you, you have to first empty your mind and intellect first. Do it first and then I will talk to you. Also know one more thing.: Meditation is an experience. It cannot be explained like a theory.  Only when your mind is freed from all thoughts, you can really experience meditation”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

14.  The greatness of Mahatmas

Once there lived an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Even afgter several years of marriage, he was not having any children. Hence, praying for progeny, he undertook severe austerities. Still he was not blessed with a child.

One day, he saw sage Narada passing through his village. He went and prostrated himself in front of the sage. He came to know that Narada Maharshi was on his way to Vaikuntha to have a darshan of Lord Vishnu. He requested Narada to inquire Lord Vishnu as to when he would be blessed with a child. Narada agreed.

When Narada reached Vaikuntha, he conveyed the devotee’s request to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu replied that in the current birth of the devotee he had no scope for progeny. Since Narada did not want to convey the bad news to the earnest devotee, he avoided going back to meet the devotee.

Several years passed. It so happened that Narada had to pass through the same village of the devotee again.  As he went to the devotee’s house, he noticed that three children were playing at the courtyard of the house. Narada came to know that they were indeed the children of the devotee! He was extremely surprised. He inquired the devotee how he came to have children.

The devotee said, “Respected Maharshi! A few days after you came to our village last time, a Saint came here. I had the great fortune of seeing him and serving him. Having satisfied with my service to him, he volunteered to give me a boon. I prayed to him for giving me progeny. He blessed me saying that I will get three children. Purely through his blessings, my wife gave birth to three children”.

Narada went straight to Vaikuntha. He complained to Vishnu for not telling him the truth about the devotee: “A few years back, when I requested for blessing your devoree with children, you said that as per his fate he could not get progeny; but today, he has three children”.

Even before Narada told Him about the saint blessing the devotee with children, Lord Vishnu smiled and said, “If so, it must be due to the blessing of a Mahatma. Only Jnanis could change the destiny of a person”.

[Amma: “Children! Know that Mahatmas can can give what even God can’t. The saint has the power to alter the prarabdha (fate) of a person by the power of his sankapa (mental resolution)“.]

(Source: Amutha mozhigal-5 Tamil)

15. Depicting peace in art

Once in a king’s court, there were two very good artists.  There was always competition between them as to who the better artist was. THe king one day decided to conduct a competition between them  to judge who was better of the two. The king ordered them to make a painting for the title “Peace”.

The first artist drew a painting depicting a beautiful lake adjacent to a mountain.  The lake was shown in such a way that there was not even a ripple in its water. The very look of the painting had the capacity to calm one’s mind and bring peace.

The second artist drew a painting depicting a huge waterfall; the splashing of water and the foams it creates and the whirlpool it creates were wonderfully drawn. One could even feel the sound of water falling down with continuous thud by looking at the painting! In the same painting, there was a bush, in which a small bird had been shown sitting motionless with its eyes closed.  Thus it depicted peace amid noisy commotion. It gave a clue to the onlooker that even amidst hectic activity, one can find absolute peace.

[Amma: “The second picture indeed shows the wonderful mindset of a true Jnani. Amid all the turbulence existing in the world, a saint could be in utter peace; he remains in silence, unperturbed by the activities of the world.”]

(Source: Amutha mozhigal-5 Tamil)

Amma’s stories on Self-confidence, Determination and Purpose in Life (16 stories)

1. The 5-year Kingdom

[Amma:  This human body is meant to be utilized to attain God realization. As every day passes, we are nearing death. If we spend this life in enjoying worldly pleasures, we lose our energy. On the other hand, if we spend time on constant remembrance of God we get mental power; In youth, we have health and a long life ahead of us which should be utilized to get rid of our weaknesses. If we do so, we don’t have to worry about the future as well as the present.]

Long ago, in a country, there was a rule that any citizen can become the king but his tenure was limited to five years. At the end of five years, the king would be transported to a stray island where all wild animals lived. Once dropped there, the hungry and ferocious animals would attack and eat the king.

Though everyone knew the rules, there were people who came forward to become kings purely motivated by the desire to enjoy the royal life of luxury, wealth comforts and privileges for five years as a king. Whenever individuals  agreed to become the kings, they would climb the royal throne joyfully, but the joy would gradually wane as days and months passed. The fear of getting transported to the distant island only to be eaten away by wild animals would gradually grip them and there won’t be any more joy on their faces.

In the palace, there were varieties of food to eat, captivating dance performances by beautiful maidens and obedient servants to provide all sorts of comforts to the king. But none of those who became kings could enjoy them as they could only see death facing them constantly. The country thus saw some 10 kings ruling them across 50 years in the same fashion.

Next came a king who was one youth brimming with enthusiasm and joyfulness. He was never remorse like his predecessors. He enjoyed all the royal comforts, danced with the damsels, went for hunting expeditions, travelled around the country and provided good governance for the welfare of the people.

His five-year term too came to an end. When he was about to be deported to the island, people were very surprised to see him remaining joyful and beaming as usual. They asked him, ‘Dear king, we are wondering how you can remain so joyful despite the fact that your royal term and your very dear life has come to an end? You are totally unlike your predecessors! How is it possible?”

The king replied, “Why should I be remorseful? I am fully prepared to go to the island. There are no wild animals there now.When I became a king 5 years ago, I learned hunting. I went to the island several times with my soldiers and hunted and eliminated all the wild animals living there. I have also cut down many trees and created cultivating lands; dug wells; I have arranged to build beautiful palaces there. I have to simply go there and continue to live a life of luxury and comfort, free from the burden of ruling the country! That’s all!”

(From Upadesamritam-2)

2. The reward for patient work

[Amma: Children,  shraddha and kshama (focused attention with faith and patience) are needed in any mission. If both are there, God will bless you wherever He is.

Once two villagers went for fishing. On their way, there a was a stream with dense trees having their roots protruding into the water. One of the villagers said, “I want to build a small earthen bund around this area and catch the fish coming in the stream; will you join me?”

The other man said, “No; you have to first make the bund and then drain water inside the bund till you get the trapped fish; it is lot of work and time consuming too. It may drag for the whole day. If we don’t get fish, my children will have to go hungry; I would rather look for catching fish elsewhere.” So saying he proceeded alone.

The first villager started building a bund around the trees using mud, leaves and toots and grass. He did not have any tools with him. He had to work only with his hands. Once finished he started draining the water from inside the bund. Since he did not have any vessel with him, he had to use his palms as cups and throw the water out;  with full focus, without thinking anything else, he kept on draining the water with his palms from the bund. In between the bund broke here and there and he had to mend it;   then he would revert to draining the water. He want on doing this work with focus, continuously without losing hope. By evening he managed to drain out all the water from the bund and he could get lots of fish trapped inside the bund in the mire.

In the meanwhile, the second villager went around to ponds and rivers to catch fish easily, but but he was not getting anything the whole day. He was returning empty handed, and met his friend on the way, who was almost packing, having finished his day’s labor.

Knowing the sad plight of the second villager, the first villager was glad to share some of his catch to him. Both of them walked happily to their village.

Thus on account of his unshakable faith, dedication, focus and patience, the first villager was able to get results and he could also help his friend through sharing.

(from Arul Mozhikal – Part 1)

3.  The mirror image

Once a king commissioned several great sculptures in his palace to create wonderful sculptural art works for public display.

One of the sculptures worked day and night and create a wonderful sculpture on a huge piece of rock depicting 33 Crore devatas.

Another sculpture took another piece of rock as large as the one chosen by the first sculpture and kept on working on it by the side of the first one. What he was doing was to create a perfectly flat surface on one face of the rock first and he kept on polishing it straight and flat day and night. Finally the rock’s face became as smooth as a mirror.

When both of them finished their works, the king visited the place to see their works. He was wonderstruck by the talent of the first sculptor who had meticulously carved the various devetas. The king was equally surprised to see an exact mirror image of the 33 Crore devatas so perfectly carved as the first one. When he went closer to see it, he was struck by the truth that what the second sculptor had done was not a mirror-image of the first one, but a perfect mirror itself on the surface of the rock!

[Amma: “When our mind is totally cleaned and polished, it will start reflecting all the divine qualities of celestial Gods automatically inside us. There is no need for worshiping devatas externally.”]

4. Face the situation

[Amma: “When we are confronted with adverse situation, we should not try to escape from it. We should have acceptance and be determined to face it and tackle it.”]

Once a person received a phone call from his ‘military’ uncle. The retired Colonel from the Army was a very talkative person, never tired of boasting about his great experiences in wars which he would tirelessly repeat umpteen times without noticing the disinterest in the listeners. The uncle said that he is coming to the house to meet him and is already on the way. The person was not at all in a mood to meet his uncle and hear his boring repetitions umpteenth time.

He decided to escape from the uncle by sneaking through the back door and take a different road to go out for a while. He rushed out in hurry. As he was walking on the road, unfortunately his uncle was also coming towards his house through this alternate route!

The uncle was so happy to see his nephew in front of him on the way!

“Oh, my boy! It is so nice of you to come all the way to receive me….” Then he started his monologue: “This reminds me of an incidence I faced in the second world war …..”. They were standing by the side of the road and the uncle kept on talking unmindful of the surroundings. It was a hot day and the sun was already rising up above the head; there was not even a tree around; the man’s legs started paining; he was feeling thirsty.

Now he was thinking: ‘If only I had stayed back at the house, I could have at least sat on a chair comfortably; In hurrying out, I forgot to take my umbrella to protect me from the sun; if I were in the house, I could have switched on the fan and not suffer from sweating; I could have drunk a cup of water or some cool drink to quench my thirst, while here, there is not even a single shop in the vicinity where I can get a cool drink. What a fool I was to try and escape from this uncle and now suffering more!”

[Amma: This is what happens if we are not bold enough to face the situation and try to escape; our suffering will be more than what we would encounter otherwise. We must always be flexible to accept situations as they come to us. We cannot change the external things; but we can change our mindset to meet the situations with alacrity.]

(Monday Satsang   11/02/2019)

5. The tough Cartman

Once, during a cold season, a poor mother and her little baby were stranded by the side of a road. It was snowing. The mother was not adequately dressed to protect herself from cold. She held her child close to her bosom and both were shivering in the cold.

At that time a bullock cart came by.  The cartman took pity on the woman and offered to take her along and drop her in her village.

The mother and child got into the cart. Chill air continued to blow and the snowfall was dense. Even with the protection inside the cart, the woman was shivering uncontrollably and the child too was crying. The cartman noticed that the woman had no energy to fight the cold and the child could not get any warmth from her body or get covered adequately by her cloth. Her eyes were turning blue and face whiter.

The cartman stopped the cart, took the child into his arms and covered it with his clothes. He then pushed the woman out of the cart and started driving the cart away.

The woman was shocked. She started shouting, “Hey! Why are you running away with my child? Give my child back! What harm did I do for you to abandon me and take away my child? Stop, stop”.  She started crying.

The cartman was bent upon driving his bullocks to run fast. As the cart was moving farther and farther, the poor woman mustered up whatever energy she had in her and started running behind the cart. After running behind the cart for considerable distance, she noticed some passersby on the road; she cried to them seeking help saying that the cartman was forcefully abducting her child.

The villagers wanted to help her. They too started shouting and chasing the bullock cart along with the woman.
Soon they could catch up and managed to reach the cart. The cartman stopped the cart.

The villagers rushed forward to attack the cartman. He shouted, “Wait, wait! Listen to what I say before attempting to hit me!”

The villagers paused. The cartman said, ” I offered her help by agreeing to transport her in my cart to her village. But I found her suffering uncontrollably in the cold and she  looked as if she could not protect herself as well as her child from the biting cold. I thought let me take her child and give it warmth. I had no means to protect her from cold. Then I thought of this idea. I know she is a loving mother who cannot abandon her child. If I run away with her child, I felt she will muster up enough energy and run behind me to get her child back. That is precisely what happened. See, by running, she has now warmed up her body and thus could fight the cold too, instead of succumbing to it ! My idea has really worked!”

[Amma: “Every disciple should strive on his own to get spiritual awakening. He should not always be dependent on Guru’s physical presence, love and attention. Keeping regularity and having focus, the disciple should put independent efforts. He should have self confidence. Self confidence is like a booster racket. Sulking in the absence of guru should be avoided.”]

6. Perseverance

Once a father, deeply interested in classical music, wanted his son to learn the music. He took his son to a famous vidvan (musician) and requested him to take his son as his disciple. The musician agreed.

The boy joined the music class but he was not showing keen interest in learning the classical music. He was not putting enough effort and he remained distracted when the master taught.

The master said, “You are not keen to learn the music. Because of you, the other students may get spoiled. I cannot allow you to sit in the class hereafter; either you can leave, or, if you really want to continue, you can sit outside the room, listen and learn”.

The boy felt very bad. He felt sorry for his attitude. He did not want to discontinue. Conceding to the teacher’s dictum, he decided to stay outside the classroom and listen the music taught to other students.

From that day onwards, the boy stood outside the classroom and grasped what the musician was teaching. After the class, he went to a secluded place and practiced what was taught in the class. Gradually, he started developing liking  the taste for classical music and was able to appreciate and understand its nuances. This continued for several months.  The boy eventually developed good proficiency in singing and was in fact his singing was better than the other students. The teacher was secretly watching observing what the boy was doing and also noticed his proficiency.

One day, the teacher started a new song, which was based on a complex raga, which was rather a difficult one to grasp. That day, he called the boy inside and said, “From today onwards, you can sit inside the class and learn; I know you are now quite competent to grasp and master this difficult song”.

(Tuesday satsang 3/1/17)

7. A simple act is good enough

[Amma: “Some people who want to do something good to the world sometimes  get put off by thinking ‘What good can I, as a single person, really strive to bring some changes in this world, which is full of darkness of ignorance?’. We have a candle called mind with us. Let us ignite the light of faith in it. Don’t doubt as to how you will cover the long path covered with darkness with this little candle.  Take one step at a time. You will get enough lighting to take the next step”.

A man, whose life had been shattered with grief and despair was standing at the side of a road, not knowing what do next in life. Then, a passerby looked at the man’s face and smiled very pleasantly.  The man, who had been disowned and discarded by everyone in his his life, felt a great warmth in his heart as he saw the passerby smiling at him.

‘Oh! At least there is one person in this world, who is able to smile lovingly at me!’ — this thought gave him some enthusiasm.  In that moment of elevated mindset, the man suddenly remembered an old friend, who had helped him in the past when he was in dire straits. ‘Why not I write a letter to my old friend?’ he thought. He immediately put his thought into action.

The friend who received the letter from his old pal, felt very happy to read the letter; ‘Ah! it is so nice to read this letter from my dear friend with whom I had lost touch and never knew his whereabouts all these years!’ This joyful mindset made the man to donate ten Rupees to a beggar standing nearby.

The beggar bought a Raffle Ticket with that money. Surprise of all surprises, he won a huge prize money for the ticket!  As he collected the money and walked back joyfully, he noticed a sick beggar lying at the side of the road. ‘Is it not the money I have now given by God? Should I not give a little of this to the suffering beggar?’ This thought prompted him to take the beggar to a nearby hospital; he admitted him there for treatment and paid all the fees. The beggar got cured of his ailment soon and he was discharged from the hospital.

As he was walking, the beggar noticed a puppy fallen into a pool of water and was shivering in cold and unable to come out. It looked obvious that it was hungry too.  The beggar picked up the dog, covered with an old rug he had; he collected some dry sticks and lit a fire. As the puppy was warming himself, the beggar got some food and shared it with the puppy.  The little dog, now freed of cold and energized with food, happily followed him.

At night, they reached a house and the beggar requested the house owner to permit him to sleep at his house on the cold night. Fortunately, the house owner agreed and let the beggar and the little dog sleep at the ‘thinnai’ (elevated platform) at the front of the house.

At midnight, the beggar and house owner were suddenly woken up by the incessant barking of the little dog. They were shocked to notice that a portion of the house was on fire. The owner rushed in and brought his little child out.  The rest of the family members too rushed out. The beggar joined with the other family members to put out the fire quickly.

Thus by giving shelter to the beggar and the little dog that night, the house owner’s family was saved. The little boy, who was saved from fire, grew up to become a saint in future. By coming in contact with the saint, so many people felt benefited in their lives.

What is the root cause of all these happenings? Just a loving smile a stranger gave to a person standing at the roadside! He did not spend even a paise.

[Amma: “Just a smile!  See what a chain reaction it created in the lives of so many people! Even a very insignificant good act can trigger a great reaction in the society.  We may not know it immediately. But certainly it carries a value.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

8. Finding the next king

Once the king of a country died suddenly; he had no offspring and in order to carry out the administration smoothly, the minister was asked to take over the charge of the king till an alternative arrangement was made. The minister too was already aged.

In consultation with others, the minister started searching for the rightly qualified person to rule the country. But he could not locate any able administrator who had valour, trustworthiness and smartness to become the king of a country. Time passed by.

The minister badly wanted to unburden his responsibility. He thought of handing over the ruling to his own son.  He knew that his son was trustworthy. But, being a very honest person, he wanted to test his son to ascertain whether he had enough awareness and smartness. He called his son and told him that he intended to crown him as the next king, subject to his passing a test. The son felt very elated.

The minister said that the test would be as follows.

The son should go to the stable from where three ferocious horses would be released one after the other. He should manage to catch and hold on to the tail of any one of the horses.  If he succeeds in any one of the three attempts, he would be crowned as the next king.

The son went to the stable quite confidently and excitedly. When he said he was ready, the first horse was released.  It came at lighting speed towards him. The son was somewhat slack and sluggish, as his mind was engaged in the dreams of becoming the king.  Even before he could jump to catch the tail, the horse went past him very swiftly and disappeared. The son thought, “Well! I have two more chances anyway” and got ready for the next horse.

The next horse came running and when it came close to him it jumped high and went away! The son was disappointed but he thought, “I have definitely one final chance; I can surely make it”.

The next horse came. The son was quite alert. As the horse crossed him, he immediately jumped over its back, extending his hand to catch its tail;  he fell on the floor with a thud.  The third horse had no tail!

[Amma: “One must always be alert and aware and be focused on the present rather than imagining about the future. If the opportunity coming in the present is wasted, one may not get it again in future.]

9. The rainbow

A physically handicapped girl, who was permanently confined to wheelchairs was looking out of the window. Every evening, her mother would bring her to the window and leave her there for some time.  As usual, she saw little children of her age running around, shouting gleefully and playing on the streets. This sight would always depress her and turn her to a mournful mood. ‘When all the other children are able to enjoy life by playing and running around, why am I to suffer like this in glued my wheelchair?’ She would start crying.

That evening, when the sunlight was still on, it started drizzling suddenly. As she looked at the skies, she saw a beautiful rainbow! This was the first time in her life she ever saw a rainbow and she was captivated by its colors and beauty! Her sunken mood got lifted up; as she was looking at the rainbow with wonder, the rainbow vanished, as the sunlight got covered by the clouds.

When her mother came to her, she spoke excitedly to her mother: “Mama, I saw a beautiful sight at the sky; it was like a huge half-ring with myriad colors! What is it?” The mother explained to her that it was a rainbow and how it gets created when both sunshine and raining take place in mornings and evenings.

From the next day onwards, the girl started looking at the sky through the windows eagerly for the arrival of the rainbow, but it never came. She asked her mother, “When will it come next time, Ma? Will you take me closer to it?”

The mother said, “The rainbow stays only for a short duration; but let us try when it rains and shines next time.”

Soon, another day of raining came. The mother took her daughter in her car and rushed to the top of a nearby hill. Fortunately, there was sunshine too! The girl got an unhindered view of a beautiful rainbow at the skies and her joy knew no bounds. She started talking to the rainbow.

“Oh, you are so colorful and wonderful. You give so much joy for people. But why are you there only for such a short time?”

The rainbow replied to her, “When God created me, he told be that my life span would be very short. I thought about it. I felt that even when it is so, I must give joy to others; it was then that I received all the wonderful colors on me!”.

The girl was very impressed by what the rainbow said. She kept thinking about it. She thought, ‘I should also accept what God has given to me; despite my handicap, I should try to give joy to others…”

From that day onwards, she started spending time with other children by calling them to her; she told stories to them; she shared jokes with them. The other children started enjoying her company too.

[Amma: “Children, only the present is the reality. The past is like a cancelled cheque and the future is unknown to us. We must use the present to lead our life happily and purposefully. Whether you cry or laugh, time will go. Why not laugh and enjoy your present?  Life is like a lottary. Even among those who win it, some may win ten thousand Rupees and some may win a million. Likewise, some may life for long and some may die early. Some may suffer from ill-health and some may lead their entire life quite healthily. Acceptance is the key to lead a happy life. Why not accept what is given to you and lead a life giving happiness to others?”]

(Amma Onam satsang 2019)

10. When the situation warrants

A frog was jumping across a road and it fell into a pit in the road. It tried its best to jump out of the pit but could not succeed.

Seeing its plight, a rabbit came to its rescue. However, whatever he tried, he could not help the frog to get out of the pit. The rabbit brought a couple of its clan and they all tried their best to get the frog out bnt they too could not succeed. They all got tired. As time passed, they felt hungry too. The rabbit said, “We will go now, eat something and also bring something for you to eat; then we shall try afresh to get you out of the pit”.

They had not moved much farther away; suddenly the frog leaped and fell right in front of them! The rabbits were very surprised! “How come you could jump and get out of the pit now while your could not do it earlier?” they asked.

The frog said, “After you left from the road, a saw a huge truck coming on the road and it wheel was right ahead of the pit; I did not think any more; I just made one leap and see, I ended up here!”

[Amma: “We all should think that whatever problems that we come across in life are simply the situations that God creates for awakening the power and strength in us to overcome the problems”.

(Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

11. Criticism is necessary

When Abraham Lincoln was the President of USA, he had some  critics who were constantly criticising for his various omissions and commissions. He was very tolerant of the criticisms hurled against him.

When some of his well-wishers asked him why he was not countering them vehemently, Lincoln said “Criticism is helpful; it improves our awareness and makes us watchful.  When I was a kid, we had a lazy horse in our farm.  One day I saw a flea disturbing him again and again. That made the horse restless; it jumped around, swung his head, swung its tail again and again to chase away the flea. Seeing its plight, I felt I should go and chase away the flea.  But my father stopped me and said, “Don’t do that! At least the flea could make the lazy horse a little active!”

(Amma Shivarathri Satsang 21/2/2020)

12. When there is self-confidence

When Duryodhana invited Yudhishthira to play the game of dice, Yudhishthira agreed.  He started playing one game after the other by pledging his wealth and kept on losing.

At that point of time a bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Viveka Buddhi (faculty of discrimination).   It appears you don’t want to make use of me anymore. Hence I am leaving”. It departed.

Yudhishthira continued to play and lost his brothers too in the bet. Then he bet his wife Panchali too.

At that point of time another bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Dharma bodham (knowledge about righteousness).   It appears you don’t want to make use of me anymore. Hence I am leaving”. It departed.

Immediately, yet another bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?” .

The bright light replied: “I am your Aishwarya (Wealth).   I am leaving”. It departed. Immediately another bright light came out saying “I am your keerthi (fame). I too am leaving”.

Yudhishthira and his brothers lost everything in the game of dice and spent the next 12 years in the forest. They were ready to live another 1 year with hidden identity. If they could complete it successfully, they can stake their claim to get back their land and rule it again, as per the promise made by the Kaurava king Dhritarashtra.

Yudhishthira was quite confident that they would successfully finish their one year of living incognito too.

At that point of time, a bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Atma Viswasam (Self confidence).  You are still nurturing me and I will stay with you”. So saying, the bright light entered back into his boy.

Immediately another bright light came from somewhere and identified itself as Viveka buddhi. “I am coming back to you”; so saying the light entered into him.

Soon, one after another Dharma bodham, Aishwaryam and Keerthi which had left him earlier returned to him.

In due course of time, the Pandavas won the Kurukshetra war and Yudhishthira became the king once again.

[Amma: “We  should never lose our self confidence. Self confidence is like a booster rocket.”]

(Amma’s Vishu Satsang 14/4/2020)

13. Progressive Effort

Once a King was roaming in a forest with his security guards on a hunting expedition.  A minister of a neighboring country too was visiting forest in his country along with his wife. The minister lost his way and got seperated from his wife too. Unknowingly he ventured into the forest territory of the neighboring country where the king was hunting. The minister’s wife managed to locate him as she noticed him from a distance in a hilly terrain. She  started following him in a hurry in order to catch up with him.

The king noticed the minister and immediately suspected that he must be a spy who was secretly entering in to his territory. The minister was caught by the security men. The king accused him of trespassing in to his territory. Whatever explanation the minister gave was not convincing to the king. The wife of the minister noticed from a distance all that happened. She was at a loss to know what to do further. She thought that if she attempted to join with her husband, If she too would be arrested.  Then there won’t be any possibility of trying and securing the release her husband. So, she decided to secretly follow her husband who was already arrested.

The king and his entourage returned to the capital and the minister was placed in a jail complex at the 7th floor. The minister’s wife who followed him managed to get some help from local people for her stay and food through some devious schemes.  She disguised herself like a man and started roaming around the city. Through stealthy inquiries, she managed to know where the minister was incarcerated. She started roaming around the jail complex with a desperate intent to somehow get into contact with her husband.

One day she noticed that only one window in the seventh floor of the jail building was open.   She suspected that her husband must have been kept in solitary confinement in that floor. As she kept roaming that area in disguise, she noticed a person standing at the window at the seventh floor and she could immediately recognize that it was indeed her husband. She gesticulated to him. The minister noticed her and he immediately understood that it was indeed his wife in disguise.

The minister managed to get a sheet of paper and a stone in his cell. In the paper he scribbled: “I have noticed you. I want you to arrange get the following: A long silk thread that could reach up to my room from where you saw me, a thick cord of the same length, a strong rope of the same length and a cutting saw. Catch a wasp. tie the silk thread to its legs, tie the thick cord to the other end of the silk thread; tie the rope to the other end of the cord. Tie the cutting saw to the other end of the rope. Once you are ready, I will signal to you and you can let the wasp fly.” He wrapped the paper around the stone and threw it towards the place where his wife was standing. His wife picked up the stone and read the paper.

Soon,  managed to arrange all these and came and waited at the place where the minister noticed her earlier. The minister, as part of his food ration used to get a some honey and corn flour daily.  He smeared the honey at the bottom frame of the window and signalled to his wife to release the wasp.

The wasp flew up. It got the smell of honey from the window and flew up there. Since only a very light silk thread was connected to its legs, it could fly without difficulty. The wasp landed at the window and started licking the honey. The minister threw a towel over the wasp and caught hold of it.

He caught hold of the silk thread and started pulling it. He now got the cord and started pulling it. Now the rope came to his hands and he pulled it too. Now, at the end of the rope, he got the saw. He untied the saw and started cutting the window grills. Once several grills were cut, there was enough space for him to wriggle out of the window. He tied one end of the rope to the remaining grills and catching hold of the rope he got down from the 7th floor. He scaled the compound too using the rope and joined with his wife who was anxiously waiting outside, hiding behind a tree.
Both of them managed to escape from the city and return to their country.

[Amma: “Yoga is the way of reaching the subtlest experience of  uniting with Atman, by gradually going from gross to more subtle things step by step. Like in this story, where the minister caught hold of one thing from another for his escape, in yoga, we start with the gross body by undergoing the discipline of doing yogasanas.  Through yogasanas, we control breathing,  by controlling the breath, prana is controlled. Prana controls the mind and by subduing the mind, one experiences Atman. “]

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

14. Self confidence

Once a very famous violinist was about to begin his concert in a huge hall where avid music enthusiasts had gathered in thousands to listen to his performance.

The violinist started to play with an alaap. Somehow he felt that the sound was not alright. Something was amiss in his playing. He immediately stopped playing and inspected his violin. He was shocked to notice  that it was not his own violin that he had brought with him properly tuned. He made an excuse to the audience and quickly returned to the dressing room and searched everywhere but his violin was not to be found. It then struck to him that some of his competitors in the field who were envious of him might have schemed to bring him disgrace by stealing his violin and replacing it with a faulty one.

For a moment the violinist became extremely nervous. What should he do now? Cancel his program?

However he gathered his nerves immediately. He thought to himself: “Does the music originate in the instrument? No. It is from my soul that the music flows. Let me demonstrate this truth today. May God’s grace be with me in my effort. He took the violin once again, tuned its strings and then returned to the dais. He started playing it and a brilliant music started flowing from him through the violin. The whole audience listened the music with rapt attention. The program proved to be the best of all his past performances.

[Amma: “Tremendous power lies hidden in each and every one of us inside. Everyone of us have a music inside us that we never experienced of. It has infinite potentials. If only we strive, it is possible to find it out and awaken it.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15. Practice and proficiency

Once a young man, who had lost his left hand in an accident wanted to learn wrestling.  He approached a famous master and expressed his desire. He was of course apprehensive that the master might not accept him because of his physical handicap.

However, the master agreed to take him as his disciple. He taught him one particular technique of wrestling that involved his right hand and asked him to practice it again and again to perfection. The master continued to teach other students in various other techniques of wrestling.

While the youth continued to practice what he was taught, he was somewhat disturbed by the fact that the master was not teaching him any more techniques unlike other disciples.

He approached the master and asked, “Master, right from the beginning, you have taught me only one technique in wrestling while your are teaching many other things to other students. May I know why you are not teaching other techniques?”

The master said, “It is enough for you if you practice this one technique and attain perfection in it. With this one method you can become a very proficient in wrestling”.

Even though the youth did not find the reply satisfactory, he however kept practicing the technique again and again because of his trust and respect on his guru.

After a few months, the guru arranged a wrestling competition amid his students.  This handicapped young man too participated in the competition. In the first two rounds of competition, he won quite easily. He felt very surprised of himself. However, the third round was more challenging. After a prolonged effort, he finally won. Thus this single handed youth became the champion in that competition.

He went to the master and said, “Master, I am still not able to believe that I became a champion! How did it become possible for a single handed person like me to beat all the other boys having two hands?”

The guru said, “The technique I taught to you was a very difficult one and you have brought yourself up to perfection through repeated practice. If you lock the opponent in your grip with that technique, the only way to get untangled from it is to grip the left hand and twist it. Since you don’t have your left hand, it became impossible for your opponents to get freed from your grip. That’s how you won”.

Thus the handicap of the youth became his strength.

[Amma: “If we strive with discrimination, even shortcomings can turn to become our strengths.  In the same way, we have the power of atman inside us which, when awakened, can take us beyond our perceived boundaries and limitations and lead us to wholeness.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

16. Looking for the right ruler

Once an Empress ruled a large kingdom; she was righteous, courageous and selfless.

One day, she summoned all able men from her country. In the assembly, she announced, “I have called all of you to make a very important announcement. Ours is a very vast country. For the convenience of administration and in order to represent every community equally and fairly,  I am going to split it into two parts and appoint an administrator for each region. The persons selected should work selflessly for the welfare of the people by understanding their needs and aspirations. They should be able to love the people and serve them with dedication. They should be courageous and also effective leaders. If the administrators prove their ability, I will crown them as kings of the respective regions and allow them to rule independently. On the contrary, if they do not fulfil their obligations with sincerity and honesty, they will be imprisoned for life or even face a death sentence. Those who are courageous enough to accept this challenge may please come forward.”

There was a deafening silence in the gathering. No one seemed to be ready for the challenge. Suddenly two young men came forward. “I am ready to take up this responsibility” said each of them. The queen felt very happy. She said to them, “I really appreciate your positive response. I want to reward you immediately by presenting each of you with an excellent horse, from the best of lot from our stable.”

Addressing the rest of the gathering, the empress said, “I thank all of you for coming here on my invitation. All of you will be given a hen each as a gift for you to take home”.

Then the empress took the two young men to the stable and showed them four thoroughbred horses – one white, one grey, one chestnut and one black in color. She asked them to select the horse they liked. One youngster chose the black horse and the other, the grey. The empress appreciated them for their quick decision. They saluted the Empress and left the palace.

After a while, the youngster who took the black horse came back and met the empress. He said, “May I take some other horse instead of this one?”

“Why?” asked the empress.

He said, “Actually, when I took this home, my wife did not like the black color. She wants a white horse” said the man with hesitation.

The empress asked him to return the black horse; instead she gave him a hen and said, “This is the right gift for you to give it to your wife”, and sent him away.

After a few days, she sent a word for the other youngster to come and meet her.  When he came and saluted her, she asked, “What were you doing these days?”

The man said, “I took a couple of days to test the horse to know how strong it is and how fast it can run. I trained it to work as per my commands. Then I took a ride on it to visit that portion of the country which I am asked to administer. I travelled around to understand the climate, the landscape, the nature of trees, plants and crops grown in the region. I studied what sort of new crops can be grown in the region.  I interacted with the people to understand their aspirations, needs and problems.”

The queen was extremely happy to hear his words. She said, “I am glad to appoint you as the king of the region” and blessed him.

[Amma: “In this story, the Empress symbolizes God or nature. The wife who preferred white horse instead of the black one represents human mind. The man who changed his mind for the sake if his wife represents being a slave to one’s mind. The man who chose the grey horse and rode to his destination symbolizes human conscience, discerning intellect and determination. The youngster, who changed his decision at the behest of his wife, did not succeed in becoming a king. He lost a great opportunity in life. He even lost the horse that he was gifted with. God gives equal opportunities to all. Most people don’t make use of it. Some people grasp God given opportunity, but they lose it because of narrow minded selfishness. Only some people use it rightly and they succeed in life.”]

(Source: Amma’s 67th birthday message 27/9/2010)

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 3 (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.  Thanklessness

[Amma: “Man shamelessly take things from nature with utter greed. He never seems to be thankful for whatever he has received”].

Once a man was standing in a bus stop. Since the bus he was waiting to board broke down, there was lot of delay. As the man kept looking around idly, he noticed an ice-cream vendor nearby. During the long period of waiting, nobody seemed to buy any icecream from the vendor. Seeing his impoverished looks, the passenger took pity on the vendor and asked, “How much does a cup of ice-cream cost?”

“Five rupees” said the vendor. The man took out a five rupee coin from his pocket gave it to the vendor, and walked away without collecting the ice-cream, intentionally.  The but too gor repaired by that time and he boarded the bus and went away.

A couple of days later too, the man came to the ice-cream vendor, asked for the ice-cream, gave another 5 rupees, and went away without collecting the ice-cream.

Within the next one year or so, the same thing happened several times.

One day the man came to the vendor once again. This time the vendor could not contain his curiosity. He asked, “Sir, may  I know why you are giving me five rupees again and again but not collecting the ice-cream?”

The man said, “See, I have no liking for ice-cream. When I gave you five rupees for the first time, I was feeling that I should do some little help to you, since you were not doing any business for long, as I watched you from a distance from the bus stand. Actually, I was waiting in the bus stand that day to catch my bus to go to a job interview. Surprisingly, I got the job and I came and donated another five rupees for you”

“You were giving money a few more times too subsequently; why?” asked the vendor.

The man said, “At one time, I got a huge order for my company and I received a good incentive money for it. I came here the next day and gave money to you. Subsequently, I got a promotion quickly and I came here again. To day, i have come here to give your five rupees because I got promoted to Manager post today!”

The vendor said coolly, “Sir, it’s all fine. But I have to tell you something; since last week, the price of the ice-cream has been increased from five rupees to ten rupees”.

(Devi bhava satsang abroad 4/3/2015)

2.  How to lessen the shock

[Amma: “Effective communication is very important for good relationships”]

Once a wife went on a tour while her husband stayed back. She was very fond of her pet cat and gave strict instructions to her husband to take good care of the cat during her absence.

One day, the cat climbed over the roof of the house. Unfortunately it slipped from there, fell down and died.

The husband sent an SMS to his wife: “Your cat is dead”. The wife was very shocked and got very upset. She cut short of her trip and returned home. She shouted at her husband for his carelessness and said, “You won’t understand what a huge shock it was for me to see your sudden SMS informing of the cat’s death. You see, you should have a heart for understanding your wife’s sentiments and have some tact to convey the message. You should have first told me ‘the cat climbed onto the roof’. Then you must have informed ‘it fell down, got some injury and is undergoing treatment’, then ‘the cat is in serious condition’ and finally, ‘the cat passed away’. This way I would be able to absorb the bad news step by step, digest it without getting a shock”.

“Okay, dear; I understood” said the husband.

The wife left again to resume her tour. Within a few days, she got an SMS from her husband: “Your mother climbed on the roof”.

(Devi bhava satsang abroad 4/3/2015)

3.  The drunkard’s resolve

Once a drunkard went to a new bar and ordered 3 glasses of drink.  The bartender asked “Why are you asking for 3 glasses, Sir? You have come alone”.

The drunkard said, “I had two best friends and we normally drink together; one has left for USA and the other left for Australia in pursuit of their jobs; now I want to drink their share too, in fond memory of them”.

The drunkard kept visiting the same bar everyday and his habit of ordering 3 glasses and drinking all of them became regular.

One day he came to the bar as usual and ordered only two glasses of drink. The friendly bartender said, “I am sorry about it”.

“Why are you feeling sorry?” asked the drunkard.

“Since you ordered only two glasses of drink, I thought one of your friends might have died”.

“Don’t  say any such nonsense to me! Both of them are hale and healthy”.

“Sorry sir;  Then why did you order only two glasses of whisky today?” asked the bartender with curiosity.

“See, I have become quite concerned about my health. My doctor too advised me to stop drinking. So,  I have decided to stop drinking from today.  It is MY share of the drinks that I did not order today; Understand?”

4.  The patient listener-1

Once a scholar gave a lecture to a gathering of 3000 people in a large hall. He was so much immersed in his monolog that he kept talking on and on and the audience started getting bored. people started leaving the hall one by one and then gradually more and more. But the scholar kept continuing unabated. After a while, the whole hall was empty except for one person sitting at the front row and listening.

Finally the scholar stopped. He felt very happy to see at least one person sitting through the lecture till the end and he felt very thankful to him. He appreciated the man and asked, “Did you find the entire talk so helpful to you?”

The man replied: “No sir; the ‘asana’ (mat) on which you are sitting and delivering the talk belongs to my wife. If I  go home without collecting it, she will scold me!”.

5.  The sad story at the end

[Amma: “The importance of spirituality in life should be grasped early in life. Leading a life without spirituality and realizing the need much later in life will only bring sorrow.”]

Once three friends Ramu, Somu and Komu went on a holiday to a new city. They stayed in a hotel and their room was at the 60th floor.

They took a cab to go round sight seeing in the city. There was a rule followed in the hotel that the elevators would be switched off at 12 at midnight and hence all the guests were advised beforehand that they should ensure return to the hotel before midnight.

Ramu, Somu and Komu who spent the whole day in sight seeing and then in partying at a bar till late night; they  forgot totally about the Hotel rules. When they returned to the hotel in a cab, it was 1 AM and the elevator was already switched off. They had no option but to walk up all the 60 floors using the stairs.

Ramu said, “To forget the strain of climbing up, I will keep cracking jokes till we reach 20th floor; from 20th to 40th floor, let Somu keep telling happy stories; from 40th to 60th floor, let Komu keep telling sad stories”. The friends agreed.

Hearing Ramu’s jokes, they climbed the first 20 floors without strain. Then Somu started narrating happy stories and they managed to climb another 20 stories with effort. Finally Komu started narrating several sad stories and with lots of stress and strain they managed to reach the 60th floor.

Just then Komu said, “Now I am going to tell you the saddest story of all. Friends, we have left behind our room key at the cab itself”.

(Amma’s New year day Satsang 2016)

 

6.   One level below!

[Amma: “The causes and effects of karma work in a cyclic way. Men of the past dominated women unduly. Now the cycle is reversed.”]

A dominating husband in a household used to keep telling his wife that she must always be one step below him. To check how far she had understood his instructions, he asked: “If I sit in a chair, where will you sit?”

The wife said, “I will sit in a stool, lower than the chair”.

He asked: “If I sit in the stool, where will you sit?”

She replied: “I will sit in the floor, below you”.

He asked again: “Suppose, I sit in the floor, what will you do?”

After some thinking, the wife said, “I will dig a hole in the ground and sit inside, below your level”.

The husband was still unrelenting. He asked: “Suppose, I sit in the hole, what will you do?”

The wife said instantly: “Ah! I am  just waiting for that moment! I will immediately fill the hole with the mud and then sit over you!”

(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)

7.  The costlier one!

[Amma: “In this world, many people live like the blind. They see things superficially without a deeper focus. They judge things very lightly with no capacity to see what is true. The present society seems to dwell in a half-sleep state”.]

Once a rich man wanted to present a very costly and highly valuable gift to his friend. He went to an antique shop and went around to see the various objects of the past kept displayed in glass shelves. He saw one skull there with a price tag of 25,000 dollars. He wondered why it was so costly. Next to it was another skull, much smaller in size, but carrying a price tag of 50,000 dollars. He could not contain his surprise.

The shop man explained: “Sir, the larger skull is that of the very first king that ruled this country thousands of years ago. it is such a rare and precious item that antique collectors can hardly come across! I hope you will agree with me that the price tag it carries is justified for its rarity and historic relevance.”

“But why is the smaller one costing double? What is so rare about it?”

“Ah! That too is the skull of the same king; but it looks small because it was his skull when he was a  boy.” said the shop man.

“Oh! Is that so? That’s fantastic! I will buy the small one!’ said the rich man.

8.  Hasty act!

[Amma: “Before engaging in any karma, one should use his discrimination too.”]

Once there was a very smart salesman who went out of the way with strange tactics to impress his customers and sell his vacuum cleaners.

He took his Wet and Dry vacuum cleaner for selling to a new locality. He located a house where the front door was open. He tiptoed to the house and peeped in to see whether anyone was in the reception room. Since no one was there, he rushed back, brought a packet of cow dung and quickly sprinkled them at the reception floor. He withdrew immediately and after a few minutes, he came back and rang the doorbell.

The lady in the house came out from the kitchen and the first thing she noticed was the reception floor dirtied by cow dung. She was shocked and surprised and then looked up the door to see the salesman standing outside.

“What do you want?” she asked.

“Good morning madam! I am coming from so-and-so firm selling wet and dry vacuum cleaner; may I come inside and arrange a demo for you?”

Even before she invited him inside, the salesman entered into the reception and feigned a surprise by looking at the floor! “Oh my God! What happened madam? Oh! Don’t worry; it looks I have come at the right time; I will straight away demonstrate how our machine cleans up this mess in no time”. He unpacked his machine and asked “Where is the plug point, madam?”

The woman, who was smart enough to understand that the mischief had been done by the salesman,  went inside and came back with a bucket of water and a mop; she extended them to the salesman and said, “I am afraid you have to clear up this mess with water and mop only. Please do it right now”.  The salesman said, “No madam! The electric machine is here; Show me the plug point please!”

The woman said coolly: “We don’t have electricity in the house”.

(Amma’s birthday satsang 2016)

9.  ‘Pet’ty problem!

[Amma: “Children, learn to understand respect others’ emotions. Listen to their problem with love and affection. A husband/ wife should accept the spouse wholeheartedly. Let there not be any secretiveness in relationship. All said and done, differences in opinions, misunderstandings and arguments will happen. Amma will tell you a funny story she heard…: “]

Once a wife was very desirous of owning a pet at home. But her husband never would agree to it. One day when the husband was away from home, the wife bought a little monkey and brought it home to raise it as her pet.

When the husband was back at home, he felt very angry to see the little monkey there. He shouted at his wife and asked “What food will you give for it?”. The wife said, “Whatever we eat”.

“Where will he sleep?” he demanded to know.

“In the same bed where we sleep” said the wife defiently.

“Oh! How about the bad smell?”

The wife said coolly: “Am I not tolerating  bad smell for the past twenty years? I think the monkey too will get used to it!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

10.  The cause of love

[Amma: “In the present day, it appears interpersonal relationships have lost meaning. It is rare to see true love between husband and wife. They seem to only nurture fear and distrust. They tend to analyze and weigh each other. True love becomes absent because of it. Only superficial relationship seems to exist between them due to lack of love and understanding. Amma remembers a funny story…”]

Once two friends met. One said, “You are lucky; you have a beautiful lover; what does she think of you?”

The friend said, “She thinks I am wonderful, good singer and a great painter”.

“What do you like in her?”

“I like her because she thinks I am wonderful, good singer and a great painter!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

 

11.  Accepting reality

One day, a father, noticing that his son had not got up from bed and was sleeping far beyond normal time, tried to wake up his son. The son was in no mood to get up; he tried to cover his face with the blanket and mumbled, “Papa, don’t trouble me; I don’t want to get up now…”

The father said, “Give me three reasons why you don’t want to get up”.

The son said, “One, I don’t want to go to school; two, school is boring; and three, children are making fun of me”.

The father then said, “Now I will give you three reasons why you should get up: One, you should go to the school — it is your duty; two, you are fifty years old and three, you are the principal of the school!”

(Tuesday Satsang 6/2/18)

12.  Women’s Expectations!

Once in a Supermarket, there was an exclusive section for women to ‘buy’ husbands of their choice! That section had 6 floors. There was a huge display board explaining the rules applicable to women who wanted to ‘shop’ for husbands there.

The rules were as follows:

  1.  Each floor has prospective grooms with certain qualities and the higher floors  have grooms with higher qualifications.
  2. A woman must  pick up a suitable mate at which ever floor she found a suitable mate and  exit from the store.
  3. If she is not satisfied at one floor, she is free to go up to a higher floor and look for better alternatives, but she cannot come back to a lower floor again with a revised choice!

Lots of women found it very exciting! They climbed up to the first floor and saw the display board. It said, “You will get well employed husbands earning very well here”.  “Oh, that’s good. Any way, let us see what is available in the next floor” so thinking, the women climbed up to the 2nd floor.

The notice board in the second floor said, “You will get husbands earning well and also looking quite handsome here in this floor”. Many women found it quite impressive. Yet, they wanted to know what is better in the next floor.

The notice board in the third floor announced “Husbands having good jobs, looking handsome and also having love for children can be had here”.  “Oh! This is indeed fantastic. What more would a woman need? Anyway, I am curious to know what better grooms are available in the next floor”. They moved up.

The board in the fourth floor said, “Well earning husbands, very handsome, loving children and offering help to wives in domestic chores are available here”. “Oh! This is really heavenly! I should definitely settle for this. Yet let me see what could really be better in the next floor” so saying the women moved up.

The board in the 5th floor announced: “Well earning grooms, very handsome, loving children, helping women in domestic chores and also giving full freedom to wives are available here”.  The women were flabbergasted. They could not imagine whether there could be anything greater than this ever possible in earth. Yet. Why not find out? Why miss another choice?

The board in the 6th floor had a huge electronic display and it said, “Welcome to 6th floor; In this floor, we don’t have any grooms to offer and we congratulate you for being the 2,34,45,567th woman visitor, seeking the most suitable husband!”

13.  What a Genie can do!

Once  a man was casually walking along the seashore. He noticed a glass bottle getting washed to the shore by the waves and he picked it up. Upon curiosity, he opened the bottle. Surprisingly, a genie came out of the bottle and saluted him. “Thank you for releasing me! I am your slave now. I can carry out three wishes from you. Please order me what to do”.

The man was overjoyed hearing this. He said, “I want a great grand palace for me to live in”.

The genie nodded.  There was a banging sound “boom boom” and within no time, there stood a huge palace, on the ground , right in front of them. “I want huge wealth” he asked next. ‘Boom boom’. the palace was instantly filled with mounds of gold and silver! The man could not control his joy!

Now he thought deeply of the third and final wish he could make. He made up his mind and said, “I should become  lovable to all women on earth”. Boom boom! The genie made him into a chocolate!

(Monday beach satsang 16/1/2017)

14.  What even Genie can’t do!

Once  a man was casually walking along the seashore. He noticed a glass bottle getting washed to the shore by the waves and he picked it up. Upon curiosity, he opened the bottle. Surprisingly, a genie came out of the bottle and saluted him. “Thank you for releasing me! I am your servant now. Please order me what to do”.

The man was very surprised. He thought for a while and said, “For a long time, I have been nurturing a wish to visit Hawaii islands. But I am allergic to travel by air. I don’t want to sail by sea too, as the journey will be slow, long and tiring. I want you to construct a highway and sea bridge from here to travel to Hawaii comfortably by car”.

The Genie said, “Do you ever imagine the amount of construction work involved in this” Do you know how many tons of steel, cement etc are needed and the extent of cost in labor and construction?  This is too big an extravaganza just for satisfying the fancy of an individual like you. Can you ask me something else, please?”

The man thought for a while and said. “Well, in that case, you teach me the secret of knowing a woman’s heart. I really want to know what makes a woman happy, what are truly her wishes and intentions and how to understand their needs and satisfy them fully”.

The genie thought for a while and said, “Well. Do you want a 4-lane  or a 6-lane highway for Hawaii?”

15. The adamant horse

Once the owner of a very famous race horse offered it for sale in a marketplace. The horse was very well built, powerful and also was difficult to control and ride. The owner spoke very high of his horse and explained how many races it had successfully won. There were many people who eagerly came forward to buy it, but the owner was demanding a hefty price for it. At last, one horse lover bought it by bidding a large amount and brought it to his house with pride.

The horse was rather adamant in not allowing him to mount on it.  But after lots of cajoling, he managed to mount the horse. There was one secret with the horse that the new owner did not know of. The horse had been trained in such a way that when the rider utters “I” it will start running; it will stop only when it hears the word “God”.

After mounting the horse, the owner tried to make it run by many tactics but the horse refused to budge. In exasperation, the owner said, “Oh if only I know the secret of making you run…” The moment the horse heard the word “I”, it started running. The owner felt very happy. The horse was running extremely fast and the owner was really thrilled. After a while, he wanted to stop the horse. He tried all the known and popular methods of stopping the horse but nothing worked. The horse was running non-stop with abundant energy; soon it started climbing a small hill.

The rider was really worried. None of his efforts to stop the horse worked. Soon the horse was running towards a cliff in the hill. As the horse reached the cliff, the rider shouted out of fear, “Oh God, please save me!”. The moment the horse heard the word ‘God’ it stopped. Had the horse taken one more step, both would have fallen off the cliff and surely met death.

The rider was extremely relieved. In the meantime, several people who saw the horse running uncontrollably and the rider riding it with fear of death writ large on his face, were running behind them, with the intent of offering any possible help should the man fall from the horse.

Those chased behind him caught up with him and they reached the cliff. They felt very relieved to see the horse standing there still. “Good to see you alive” they said. The man wanted to impress the people who might be thinking that he was an inept and inexperienced rider, that he was indeed capable. He said, “See, how I have successfully brought this adamant horse to my control at the last minute!”.

The moment the horse heard the word “I”, it surged forward!

[Amma: Our sense of “I”, the ego, is the greatest cause of trouble.”]

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1.  Value of money (1)

A very rich man used to go to the market from his house for shopping by walk always. Having noticed this for long, one of the shopkeepers asked him, “Why are you coming to the market walking? You can very well come by your car! I always see your sone coming to the market only by car!”

The rich man said, “When I was young, my father never earned enough money to provide me comforts. Whatever riches I have today have been earned by me by hard work. I know the value of money. As for my son, his father has earned enough to give a car to him. The son doesn’t know the value of money because he has not struggled to earn it. That’s why he comes in the car!”

2. Value of money (2)

Once a father and son lived together. The son was extremely lazy and he was simply living off his father’s income. Fed up with his attitude, one day the father said to his son very strictly, “Look, you can have your meals at this house hereafter only if you earn at least two Rupees a day and give it to me”.

The lazy son went around to meet the neighbours and his father’s friends to borrow two rupees from someone or other and paid his father before taking food daily.

The father soon came to know of it and gave strict instructions to his neighbors not to give any money to his son.  Next day, the son could not get any money from them. He went to a hotel, offered his services to wash the utensils and collected two rupees as his labor charges. That was the first time in his life he ever labored to earn money.

He brought home two rupee note to his father and asked for his food. The father said, “Wait”. He went inside, brought a wick lamp and started burning the two rupee note. The son was shocked and angered to see what his father was doing and shouted, “Stop, stop! What are you doing ? Are you foolish to burn my hard earned money this way? Do you know how much I toiled to earn these two rupees?” Shouting like this, the son was about to hit his father.

The father said, “Now you understand the value of hard earned money? It is with the money that I had earned by toiling hard that you have been eating all along, sitting idle at home!”

[Amma:  Only if we work hard to attain something, we will understand its value; otherwise, people will squander it or misuse it. Amma cannot give divine knowledge for free to anyone who is not willing to work for it.]

3.  The learned parrot

Once a very learned sanyasi was walking through a dense forest along with his pet parrot. The parrot was very dear to him, as he had taught the parrot to chant many scriptures verbatim; it had taken many years of earnest effort to teach the parrot to such a capability.

In the forest, a ferocious tiger noticed him and came charging towards him. The sanyasi was very scared; he started running, but he was no match for the speed of the tiger chasing him.He did not know how to escape and thought his life would end very soon. Suddenly, most unexpectedly a forest dweller came on the way and he managed to chase away the tiger.

The sanyasi felt extremely grateful to the forest dweller for saving his life. He wanted to gift something valuable to the man, but being a begging mendicant, he had nothing to give. He thought for a while and decided to give as a present his dearest pet, the parrot, to the forest dweller. The hunter gracefully accepted it.

The sanyasi bid farewell to the hunter and left. After he reached his hut in his village, he suddenly remembered that he had totally forgotten to tell the hunter how valuable the parrot was since it can chant many shashtras. On a second thought, he felt that it was wrong on his part to have given the parrot to the forest dweller form who the parrot’s chanting abilities would be of no use. He decided that he should give some other valuables and coins in his possession to the hunter and retrieve his beloved parrot.

The next next day, the sanyasi went into the forest and fortunately he could meet him on the way. He eagerly inquired, “How is the parrot?” The forest dweller replied, “Oh! It was quite tasty; thank you!”

[Amma: There is no point in gifting something to one who does not know the value of it. A sadguru can easily give realization to a disciple but he will not give to a person who may not know the value of it]

4.   The useless pride

Once a very rich man travelled in his car in a highway. He was carrying with him lots of jewels and so many costly and valuable items in the car.

When he was passing through a deserted place, a few highway robbers stopped his car enroute. They forced him to come out of the car at gun point.

One of the robbers took him away from his car, drew a circle on the ground using a stick and forced the rich man to stand inside the circle. He said, “Don’t ever dare to come out of the circle; if you put a step outside this circle, we will kill you”.

Then all of them surrounded his car, checked it thoroughly and took away all the jewelry and other valuables found in the car. Finally, they poured some petrol on the car and torched it.

Then they came back to the place where he was standing, in order to kill him. On seeing them, the rich man started laughing. “What is there to laugh, you fool?” they asked him angrily.

The rich man said gleefully, “I am not a fool; actually I fooled all of you. Did you not say that if I step out of the circle, you will kill me? When you were busy looting and burning my car, I stepped out of the circle so many times and none of you noticed it!”

[Amma: Many of us live in this world like this rich man. Instead of escaping and running away to save his life when the robbers were busy, the rich man was priding himself in his foolish act of jumping in and out of the circle. When dire things are happening in our lives, we take pride and pleasure in our petty achievements, forgetting the great calamities we are to face in life]

5.  The most beautiful girl on earth

Once a great artist drew the painting of an extremely beautiful girl. Whomsoever saw the painting fell in love with the girl, so lured by her exquisite beauty. Some of them asked the artist “By any chance this girl is your lover?” When the artist said no, each of them expressed their desire to marry the girl and all of them wanted the artist to reveal her whereabouts.

In fact each one of them was so madly got infatuated with the girl in the picture that each was very determined  not to allow any other to try and woo the girl in any way!

They kept on pestering the artist to reveal her identity and location. The artist said, “I am sorry; she is not a real girl at all. I have never seen such a girl anywhere in my life. She has no specific language, religion or country. Whatever beauty I found inside my heart, I expressed it through this painting – her eyes, her nose, her face and all her limbs are only the expressions of my own imagination of the best of all beauties. Please don’t ever blindly believe existence of any such real girl in the world”.

But people refused to accept what he said. They said, “You are lying because you want to get married to that girl” they accused him. The artist said, “No. Even if you travel all over the world to locate her, you will not find her because she is the essense of all that is beautiful that I could conceive as an artist”.

Refusing to heed to the artist, the people started blindly believing that such a girl really existed. In order to possess her, they started fighting with each other. Soon it became a melee; burning with desire and rage, people started physically attacking each other and all of them got killed in the bitter fight.

[Amma: We too are like these people. We are in search of God as seen in pictures or as described in poetic mythological stories. In that search we also fight with each other and cause damage to ourselves.]

6.  The lean elephant!

[Amma: It is our mind that makes one beautiful or ugly in our point of view. If we love someone, he/she will look beautiful, even if the looks are otherwise. If we don’t like someone, they would look ugly even if really beautiful]

Once a lady, sitting from her house peeped outside and saw someone roaming at the gate of the house. She said to her servant, “Someone as fat as an elephant is standing at our gate; go and find out who it is”.

The servant went and came back excitedly. He said, “Madam, it looks it is your eldest son who ran away from the house a few years ago!”

The lady got up immediately and rushed out. Seeing her son there, she hugged him and said, “Oh my son! Where have you been all these years? Why have you become so thin?”

Once it became known that she was indeed her son, how her outlook changed!

7.  Initiating a change

[Amma: Any change for the improvement of the outer world has to come from the minds of the people. A change in an individual’s mind can trigger a change in the entire society.]

Once there was a village inside bordering a forest. At night, it was engulfed in darkness. A main road passed through the village into the forest which served as a thoroughfare to go to towns beyond the forest. As the village remained a secluded place, lots of robberies and murders took place. It was becoming very unsafe to travel through the road during nights.

A good hearted person living in the village felt pained to see such criminal activities taking place. He sent several petitions to the Government to provide electricity and street lights to the village, but nothing happened. Crimes continued to happen along the way in the village at nights. People in the village started living in perpetual fear and they were too afraid to venture out at nights.

Finally, the person decided to do whatever little part he could do: he kept a hurricane lamp outside his house at night so that there is atleast a little light on the street near his house.  When the neighbor noticed it, he thought, “It is really nice to see this place lit at night; let me also keep a lamp outside my house at nights”. Soon it caught up with everyone in the village. Soon the whole thoroughfare passing through the village got illumined at night on account of lamps kept outside every house every night.

On account of it, robberies and murders happening there gradually came down.

Thus, on the initiative of one person to do a good for the society, a positive wave was created in the whole village. If one thinks ‘let others change before I change’ no progress will ever happen.

8.  The power of words

[Amma: “Words  have the power to change the nature of men”].

Once a Brahmin was teaching moral lessons to children in a temple. Te king of the country happened to visit the temple at that time. The Brahmin, who was fully immersed in teaching the lessons failed to notice the arrival of the king.

The king felt offended that the Brahmin failed to extend him the necessary reverencial welcome to the king; he came close to the Brahmin and started chiding him for his negligence. The Brahmin apologized and explained to the king that he did not to it intentionally bu missed noticing the arrival of the king due to his active engagement with the children. The king refused to accept such excuses; “What is such a great subject that you are teaching to the children without even noticing me?” he asked in a mocking tone.

“I was teaching the children the importance of developing good conduct and character; unless I do it with full involvement and concentration, it will not be effective” said the Brahmin.

“Do you believe mere words can change the behavior of the people?”

“Sure, my venerable king; words do have the power to create change in one’s nature”

“I don’t believe it” said the king.

Just then, one of the students watching their conversation came forward suddenly and shouted at the king: “You get out from here”.

The king got extremely angry. He took out his sword and rising it, he said, “You young brat! How dare you talk to a king like this? I will behead you and your guru right now and destroy this place!”

The Brahmin said, “Excuse me, your excellency! You said a moment ago that you don’t believe that words can change the nature of people. But see what happened now! A couple of words uttered by a young boy has caused such a great mental agitation in you! You have even decided to kill us and destroy the place!”

[Amma: “Children, from this story, it is clear that words have the power to change the nature of people. When even ordinary words can make a change, think of the power of mantras embellished by Bijakshararas (seed syllables) given to us by great sages”].

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 -Tamil)

9.  Thanklessness

[Amma: “Man shamelessly take things from nature with utter greed. He never seems to be thankful for whatever he has received”].

Once a man was standing in a bus stop. Since the bus he was waiting to board broke down, there was lot of delay. As the man kept looking around idly, he noticed an ice-cream vendor nearby. During the long period of waiting, nobody seemed to buy any icecream from the vendor. Seeing his impoverished looks, the passenger took pity on the vendor and asked, “How much does a cup of ice-cream cost?”

“Five rupees” said the vendor. The man took out a five rupee coin from his pocket gave it to the vendor, and walked away without collecting the ice-cream, intentionally.  The but too gor repaired by that time and he boarded the bus and went away.

A couple of days later too, the man came to the ice-cream vendor, asked for the ice-cream, gave another 5 rupees, and went away without collecting the ice-cream.

Within the next one year or so, the same thing happened several times.

One day the man came to the vendor once again. This time the vendor could not contain his curiosity. He asked, “Sir, may  I know why you are giving me five rupees again and again but not collecting the ice-cream?”

The man said, “See, I have no liking for ice-cream. When I gave you five rupees for the first time, I was feeling that I should do some little help to you, since you were not doing any business for long, as I watched you from a distance from the bus stand. Actually, I was waiting in the bus stand that day to catch my bus to go to a job interview. Surprisingly, I got the job and I came and donated another five rupees for you”

“You were giving money a few more times too subsequently; why?” asked the vendor.

The man said, “At one time, I got a huge order for my company and I received a good incentive money for it. I came here the next day and gave money to you. Subsequently, I got a promotion quickly and I came here again. To day, i have come here to give your five rupees because I got promoted to Manager post today!”

The vendor said coolly, “Sir, it’s all fine. But I have to tell you something; since last week, the price of the ice-cream has been increased from five rupees to ten rupees”.

(Devi bhava satsang abroad 4/3/2015)

10.  The cost of love

[Amma: “There is hardly any true love in worldly relationships; if people love each other, it is practically for selfish reasons”]

Once a little girl was hospitalized for treatment for a a serious ailment. She had to remain in the hospital bed for about a week and her parents took turns to be with her. The doctors and nurses took good care of the girl and they moved very nicely and affectionately with her.

Once she was cured and was about to be discharged, the girl said to her father, “Papa, I think we should express our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors and nurses; they were so kind, affectionate and caring towards me all these days!”

As she was talking like this, a nurse came in and handed over a bunch of papers to the father of the girl. The father looked at it and then smiled at the girl. The girl asked, “What is it, papa?”

The father said, “It is the bill I have to pay for all the love, affection and care that you were mentioning a while ago!”

11.  Nature gives free

Once an old man was hospitalized due to breathing problem.  He got treatment for a couple of days. When he was about to be discharged, the ward boy brought the hospital bills. As he looked into the details, he noticed that he was charged a couple of thousands of rupees for Oxygen. Looking at it, the man’s facial expression changed. He knelt down and started praying God.

“Why sir, any problem with money?” asked the ward boy.

“The old man uttered his prayer aloud: “Oh God! How  magnanimous you are and what a thankless guy I have always been! Right from birth till this old age, I have been breathing the oxygen that you have given in the air so magnanimously without expecting anything in return from me! Please forgive this thankless guy!”

12.  Father’s advice

Once an experienced shopkeeper was keen to put his son in charge of the shop and train his son well in the art of salesmanship.

He brought his reluctant son to the shop and gave him essential instructions and put him on the job straight away.

A customer came and asked “Do you have Colgate toothpaste?”

The son searched the shelves and could not find any Colgate paste. He said, “Sorry, I am afraid it is out of stock”.  The customer then asked soap of specific brand which was also not available in the shop. When the son said so, the customer went away.

The father was watching all these from a distance. He came to his son and started coaching him: “Dear son, this is not the way to do business. You must never allow a customer to go away without buying anything. If Colgate toothpaste is not there, you should offer him some other branded paste, saying “this is a much better product; this has special ingredients to make your teeth sparkling white and so on. You should convince your customer with your impressive salesmanship to make him buy the alternative toothpaste. You got it?”

“Yes, papa. I think so…” said the son.

Next day.

A customer came and asked for a roll of toilet tissue paper. The son looked around for it and could not find it in the shelves. In a voice brimming with enthusiasm and confidence, he said, “Why toilet paper, sir? I have got a much better product to offer to you. You see, we have this X brand of emery paper, a superb product that can meet your needs better!”

13. Limited Support

[Amma: “Only God could be a true companion under dire circumstances; help and succeor received from near and dear ones have limitations.”]

Once a clod of mud and a dry leaf were close friends. One day they went for a walk together. On the way, it started drizzling. The dry leaf said, “Don’t worry; I will protect you from rain”. So saying, it covered the clod of mud and saved it from dissolving in rain water.

After a while, the rain stopped and wind started blowing. Now the clod of mud climbed over the dry leaf and stood over it, thereby preventing it from getting blown away.

A little later, heavy raining started along with gusty winds. Now the clod of mud got dissolved in the downpour and the leaf got flown away. Neither could be of any help to each other.

(Tuesday Satsang 1/9/2015)

14.  We are responsible

Once day, God went for a visit to Hell.  The people in the hell complained to him: “O God, you are very partial.  We have been living in this dirty and foul smelling hell for countless years. Those who are living in heaven too were living there for countless years with all joys and comforts. Is it not unfair? Should you not, at least for a brief period, do a mutual exchange?”

The God conceded to their request; he sent all those living in hell to heaven and vice versa.

After some days, God went to visit the hell once again. He could not believe his eyes. The hell was looking very clean, spic and span. There were lots of flowering plants around and the place was sweet smelling.  People there were singing God’s name and glories; some of them were dancing. Wherever he could see, only joy was there.

God then went to see the heaven. Again what He could see was unbelievable. Many beautiful plants that had existed had withered or dried up totally. There were no flowers to see. Paths were strewn with dirt and litter. People had urinated and defecated indiscriminately all around. There was only foul smell everywhere. People there were seen fighting with each other or in rioting. In other words, the old heaven was now a hell.

[Amma: “Children, this is the reality. It is we who create our own heaven or hell”.]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

15. The Mayor’s post

[Amma: “It is the nature of people to crave for others’ attention towards them. Egoistic people constantly need others’ attention on them. They could not live without it. Mind has such a madness. Those who are in its grip tend to act madly. As man grows, his mind and ego too grow and they become more subtle; their attempts to seek others’ attention too becomes subtle. Nobody wants to be an ordinary person; everyone wants others to acknowledge him as high and give respect. Amma will share a story she has heard:”]

Once a correspondent from a news magazine wanted to write a news report about the Mayor of a city. He wanted to know what the people of the city felt about him and his administration. He interviewed a cross-section of the residents of the city; he was surprised to hear only negative opinion about the Mayor from the people whom he interviewed. Everyone had some complaint or other about the mayor. Some said he was inefficient and lethargic. Some said he was very corrupt; some blamed him to be the root cause of all the ills of the city administration. A majority of them said that they had indeed made a mistake in voting in favor of him earlier.

Finally, the correspondent met the mayor. While interviewing him, he asked casually, “May I know the salary you receive for your post?” The mayor said, “I have no salary; this is a honorary post”.

The correspondent was surprised. He said, “At one end, you don’t get a penny for your services;  at another end, as per my survey with the people of this city, a vast majority of them seem to be totally antagonistic towards you and your administration; I am sure you would definitely be aware of the mood of the people against you; may I know why you are still occupying the post?”

The mayor said, “Please don’t publish what I am telling you now. I may not get salary and I may not get people’s acknowledgement; yet I love  the prestige and respect the post of the Mayor of the city carries. I love the importance and attention that I get by holding this high post”.