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Amma tells a story on Power of Love – Human love evolving into divine love

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PREFACE: While most of the stories of Amma are short and crisp, this particular story is rather the longest from Amma and also one of the very emotionally  moving stories told by Amma. This story is found recorded in the (Tamil) Book Arul Mozhigal – part 4. (English Original: Awaken Children – Part 4) as part of the happenings in Amma’s life on  the day May 7th, 1984 at Amritapuri.

While Amma generally repeats many of her stories in various satsangs, perhaps this long story was narrated by Amma only once; in the book, the editor Swami Amritaswaroopnandapuri records that Amma became very emotionally surcharged while narrating this story; She was moved to tears a couple of times and  the listeners too were moved to tears hearing her narration. 

 

[Amma: “Ordinary human love may be very beautiful and vibrant at the start; but gradually its beauty and intensity would wither and finally it may end up in despair, hatred and deep pain.

  “On the other hand, a spiritual love starts beautifully and  peacefully, but as it grows, the love would turn in to painful longing and this longing would grow stronger, deeper and more painful, eager for the union with God; this love would gobble up everything in you.

  “Very rarely, even a pure love between a man and woman too has the potential to attain the status of divine love….  Where there is absolutely pure love, there is no scope for lust. It is said that where Rama is there, Ravana cannot exist…. Pure love is beyond body consciousness; it happens between two hearts. In fact, there is no connection between body and pure love…. Amma will tell you a story to explain this…”]

Once there was a king named Shakti Varman ruling a small country. He had a beautiful daughter called Manohari who was full of virtuous qualities.

A servant maid in the palace named Arundhati had a son called Arun. Since Arundhati’s husband passed away, little Arun was always with his mother.When Arundhati came for work, Arun too would come with her to the palace. Since Arun and Manohari were little children, they used to play together; they became friends. None objected to the children playing together for long, since they were young and innocent.

As years passed, the friendship between them was growing stronger. They spent time together talking, exchanging their feelings and opinions. They had deep trust in each other. When Arun came to the palace, Manohari would tell him various happenings there; “Arun, my mother has ordered a special cushioned bed made of silk and studded with rare and costly gems for me!”  “Look at this dress of mine! It has borders woven with filaments of gold! My father presented this to me; very soon, my mother is going to create a very beautiful flower garden exclusively for me; once it is ready, we will play together there, right?” Manohari would keep talking with him like this and Arun would listen intently and share her joy.

 

He would also narrate to her how his mother was toiling day and night fighting poverty to raise him and the family comfortably in the absensce of his father. Since Manohari was a girl of good virtues, she would feel sad to know the sorry state of Arun’s family.

Time passed. Both of them attained their puberty.

The childhood bond they had all along metamorphosed into a deep love between them. As they were grown up teenagers now, naturally they were not allowed to meet or interact with with each other. The love between them was so strong that they felt extreme pain in remaining away from each other. Pulled by the strong attraction they had on each other, they somehow managed to meet secretly whenever possible.

When they get rare opportunities to meet stealthily, they would exchange words of love; many times, they would simply sit silent looking deeply at each others eyes, feeling no need to talk. They would sit like this for long, totally oblivious of the world around them.

When they were not physically together, their thoughts would be entirely woven around the other…’Where will be my beloved now? What will he/ she be doing right now? Will he/ she be thinking of me just like I am?’ They would find difficult to bear the pain of separation.

As the bond of love grew stronger and stronger, their rare meetings became virtually speechless; their eyes and hearts did all the communication.They would not even touch each other.They enjoyed the bliss of pure love, totally devoid of sexual craving.

Soon, situations turned so tight that it became impossible for them to meet each other. Days and weeks passed this way. The pangs of separation became unbearable for both of them. Manohari was confined to her room always and she felt as if she was burning in fire. Arun turned like a mad person, with no thought other than Manohari; he was encircling the palace longing to get a glimpse of his beloved Manohari.

Manohari was becoming leaner by the day. She became aloof, furlorn and non-communicative.Her parents got worried. They started to inquire why the condition of their daughter was turning out to be like that. Soon the secret of the love affair between the princess and the son of the servant maid came to open. It became the subject of gossip in the palace.

The King became very angry. He issued order to arrest Arun and transport him to a far off island. He gave secret instructions to his soldiers to poison him and bury his dead body in the island.

King’s soldiers arrested Arun and transported him to the island. They gave him a drink mixed with poison. When he fell unconscious after he drank it, they put his body in a wooden box and buried the box at mid night.

Some dacoits who were staying in the island noticed that some soldiers were burying a wooden box  at night. They suspected that the soldiers must have looted money and gold from somewhere and were burying them secretly in the island for repossessing them at a later time.

Once the soldiers left the place, the dacoits eagerly came out of their hiding places and dug the earth to expose the wooden box. As they opened the lid of the box, they were disappointed to see the body of a person inside and no money or jewels there. At first they thought it was a corpse; but they noticed some movement in the body and as they checked intently, the person was seen breathing very feebly.

They sprinkled water  on Arun’s face. Arun opened his eyes. They fed a little water into his mouth and helped him to come out of the box. After drinking more water, Arun started vomiting. He vomited again and again till all the poison he had drunk came out.

Arun blinked and looked all around. He was really surprised that he was still alive. The dacoits questioned him; but Arun looked dazed; he had nothing to tell them. Taking pity on him, the dacoits left him alive there to fend for himself and  departed from the place.

In the meanwhile, at the palace the king ordered everyone including the queen who knew of the conspiracy of transporting Arun to the island with the agenda of  poisoning and kill him, not to reveal this secret to anyone. Hence Manohari did not know of any of these happenings. However, surprisingly, she felt her pain much deeper when Arun was transported to the far of place.When he was poisoned and put into the box, Manohari felt suffocating and was herself struggling to breath.

Not knowing the fate of Arun and continuing to suffer from her long pangs of separation, Manohari was sinking day by day. She started losing weight and soon got reduced to skin and bones. She could not eat or drink; except for her eyes that shone bright by her all consuming love of her beloved, she became virtually like a corpse, permanently bedridden.

The king and queen became extremely worried. They called expert physicians frons from nooks and corners of their country and also from neighboring countries to treat their daughter. None of their treatments could change her condition.

At the island, left alone, Arun wandered here and there like a mad man. Possessed by just one thought — that of meeting her beloved Manohari, he walked up and down the hills crying out “Manohari! Manohari!”. He forgot eating and sleeping. He became lean and impoverished. With long hair and beard, he really looked like a mad man. He would talk to the animals and trees inquiring about his beloved Manohari. Being soaked in such a pure love, an aura of love encased him and that aura influenced all who came into contact with him to like him and care about him, irrespective of his mad looks and strange behavior.

Even wild animals like tiger and and lion became friendly with him. In his presence, even wild animals remained friendly with rabbits and deers that they hunt otherwise for their food. Arun would cry in their presence yearning for his beloved Manohari and the animals would shed tears with him. Some times Arun would dance in ecstasy and the animals too would dance with him!

In such a madness, Arun would run blindly here and there, hit the trees, thorny bushes and rocks and fall down! He will get bruises, scratches and cuts  on his body but would never mind about them.

Very strangely, Manohari who was bed ridden at her palace would toss and turn on her bed and fall down; cuts and bruises would suddenly erupt in her outer skin for no reason! She would cry and laugh! The doctors were totally clueless how such eruptions appeared in her skin. She would whisper “Arun Arun…” and fall unconscious. The power of true love between Arun and Manohari was so strong that it was at the same instance when Arun received cuts and bruises at his skin, Manohari too got them at her body too!

At this point of time, a saint visited the palace. The king received him with all respects. He extended the best hospitality to the saint. The king opened his heart out to the saint and told him about the pitiable state of his only daughter and sought the saint’s grace to save Manohari.

The saint asked the king to take him to his daughter. He kept looking at her straight for a while, closed his eyes and went into deep samadhi. He opened his eyes after some time and said to the king: “Your daughter can be cured; she is in deep love with a person; if that person is brought back here and he touches her, she will become normal”.

The king cried and confessed to the saint that he had arranged to kill Arun, the lover of Manohari. The saint, after sitting in meditation for a while said, “Don’t worry; that person is still alive; get him from the island and bring him here.”

King’s soldiers were despatched to the island immediately. After inquiring all around, they came to know of a madman who always kept shouting “Manohari, Manohari”. Soon they located him amidst wild animals. They somehow caught hold of him and brought him to the king’s palace.

He was taken to Manohari’s bedroom. When he stood there, a light emerged from his body and lighted up manohari. It looked as if a life-force of energy was injected into Manohari’s body from the light. He touched Manohari and instantly she opened her eyes. Arun smiled at her and she smiled back. Their eyes met with each other and remained as if frozen in deep love, needing no words of love for exchange. It looked as if they were never separated; the fact was that they were never separated.

The king and the queen shed tears of joy; the entire staff in the palace felt jubilated.

But the united couple who were bonded into one divine love had no desires whatsoever.  They did not want the palace nor the kingdom. Their world was the world of eternal love. They left worldly life and took up sanyas.

 

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. There is no time for japa

Once a rich businessman went and surrendered to a saint and said “Swami, I have no peace in life; I have so much responsibilities on my head that I am always tensed and running behind the clock to complete my commitments; I beg you to show me some way to attain mental peace”.

The saint said,”I will give you a mantra; you chant it as much as possible and you will gain peace”.

The businessman said, “Swamiji, where do I have time to do japa or chant mantras?” He pulled out a large bunch of keys from his pocket and showed it to the saint. “See, I have so many things under my care. I can’t find time to do any chanting; please suggest me something else” said he.

The saint said, “It is not really necessary that you sit at one place and do japa. Can you chant your mantra when you walk to go to your toilet?”

The businessman said, “My toilet is in my room itself!”

“Fine; how many steps do you need to walk from your bed to the toilet?”

“Some, 10-12 steps, Swamiji”

“That’s fine. You chant your mantra while walking those 10-12 steps. How far is your garage from your house?”

“It is about 30 feet, Swamiji”

“Good enough. Chant your mantra while walking those 30 steps”

The businessman agreed. He started chanting his mantra in those brief periods. Then he thought, “Can’t I extend this to other mundane activities too?”

Then he started changing his mantra while brushing his teeth and while answering his nature’s calls; he started changing while taking bath, while changing his dress, while driving to the office and so on. Gradually he started getting a  taste for chanting mantra and found more and more slots in his daily life to chant mantras without affecting his work and responsibilities.

He could notice that his mental peace was increasing on account of chanting mantras like this. He could gradually get distanced from his mental tensions and observe himself more as a witness rather than a doer. Without knowing, chanting Mantra became a second habit in him all the time!

2.  The virtue of patience

(From Upadesamritham-2 Tamil – Page 245)

[Amma: Patience is a quality that a spiritual seeker must possess right from beginning to end of his spiritual practice. A disciple can never realize his goal of enlightenment unless he eradicates his ego totally. A guru will conduct several tests  including surprise tests to ascertain whether a seeker has come with true earnestness or just out of a fleeting surge of dispassion. He will test whether the disciple has patience, commitment and surrender. He will test whether the disciple gets dejected easily or has the tenacity  and will power to cross hurdles. The Guru knows that if a disciple lacks the essential qualities like spiritual power, maturity and compassion, he cannot serve the world properly; he could even turn destructive instead of being constructive. The Guru may even take extreme steps to test a disciple’s patience and commitment].

Once a Guru handed over a piece of rock to his disciple and asked him to create a beautiful idol out of it.  The disciple started chiseling the rock in all earnestness. Ignoring food and sleep, he worked on creating a beautiful idol out of the rock to his own satisfaction.  With humility, he went to his guru and placed the idol at his feet.

The Guru looked at the idol, and expressed his dissatisfaction. “Is this the way to create an idol? It is ugly” Picking it up, the Guru threw it away and it broke into pieces right in front of the disciple’s eyes.  The disciple was shocked. ‘I have toiled so much, even forgetting to take my food and rest , to create this idol and how come the guru could not appreciate it at all?’ His dejection was writ on his face.

Even though the guru noticed it, he gave the disciple another piece of rock and said, “Now do it once again”.

Taking lot more care this time and with increased focus and concentration, the disciple chiseled the rock to create a beautiful  idol again. He felt, ‘I am sure this time my guru will really be impressed’. He took the idol and gave it to his Guru.

Seeing it, the Guru’s face frowned. “Are you laughing at me?  This idol is worse than what you did last time!” saying so, the Guru threw away the idol and broke it. He was intently looking at the disciple’s face to see the reaction.  The disciple stood there hanging his face. Even though he did not utter a word in retaliation for what the guru did, his disappointment was writ large on his face. The Guru gave him another piece of rock and asked him to make another idol.

The disciple worked  with his chisel on this rock with a lot more care to ensure that he could end up with an extremely  beautiful idol. The Guru threw it away too, with much harsher criticism of the piece! This time, the disciple did not have any negative reaction or dejection on his face. He thought ‘If this is Guru’s will, let it be so. Whatever he does is meant for my good only’. Thinking so, he collected the next piece of rock smilingly from the Guru’s hands and proceeded to work on it.

When the disciple went to Guru with yet another beautiful statue that he had carved out most painstakingly, the Guru once again did what he was doing all along. The disciple’s face did not express any feeling whatsoever. Seeing the serenity at the face of his disciple, the Guru felt extremely happy. He  joyfully embraced his disciple and kissed him on his forehead. At that very moment, the disciple attained self-realization.

[Amma: For any third person observing the way the Guru went about breaking the idols, it might look as if the Guru was very sadistic and cruel. One may even suspect the guru to be a lunatic. But what was truly happening there was only comprehensible to the guru and the disciple who had a total sense of surrender. Actually, whenever the Guru broke the disciple’s idol, he was in fact creating a true and divine idol in the heart of the disciple; what was really broken was the disciple’s ego. Only a true Satguru can do it. Only a true disciple can grasp the bliss that comes out of it.]

3.   The Power of Authority

Once a rich man was suffering unbearably on account of his hectic work schedules and mental tension. He lost his peace of mind totally; he consulted his friends and they advised him retire, to lessen his workload, delegate responsibilities, take a long break and so on. However, he was not convinced; .  He went to several doctors and psychiatrists; they prescribed medicines for him; they also advised him to plan for retirement and relax at home.

None of the medicines could cure him; he was not willing to heed to their advices.

One day, he came to know of a saint who was residing in a cave at a distant hill. The rich man took a decision to seek spiritual advice from the saint to solve his problems. He started immediately, despite the hardships involved in climbing the hill terrain.

With lot of physical strain, he traversed up hill and finally reached the cave of the saint.

It was freezing cold; the saint was sitting stark naked inside the cave. The rich man prostrated before the saint.

Without uttering a word, the saint signalled to the rich man to be seated next to him. He obeyed. The saint closed his eyes and went in to deep samadhi. He sat in that state for 3 consecutive days. The rich man too waited very patiently sitting beside the saint all the time. He ignored the cold, forgot food and drink and waited with the sole desire of getting a permanent solution to his problem.

On the third day, the saint attained outer consciousness. Looking at the rich man with compassion, the saint said, “you take retirement, stay at home and enjoy a peaceful life”. So saying, he blessed the man. The rich man returned home, fully satisfied with the statement of the saint.

Days passed. his friends visited his home one day. They were surprised to see that the face of the rich man was radiating peace and contentment now. How could such a drastic transformation take place in their friend within such a short time? They were wonderstruck.

The rich man explained to them about his visit to meet the saint and how he took his advice seriously and acted on it.

“But this is the same advice we gave you earlier!” they exclaimed.

Smilingly the rich man said, ” Yes; you used the same words alright. But when the saint uttered the same words, I could grasp the deeper inner meaning they carried; when he said ‘get retired from work’, the inner meaning I grasped was to withdraw my five senses from the world of distractions. When he said ‘stay at home and enjoy peace’, the inner meaning was ‘let your mind stay put in Atman and see everything as God’s form’. The very powerful ambience of the saint and the power of his words removed my fear, reluctance, anxiety and tension. That’s why I could continue to enjoy peace thereafter”.

[Amma: It is only in the presence of a self-realized saint that a true transformation in mind can take place].

(Arul Mozhigal-9  p. 53)

4.   A lesson from dirty water

Once a Guru was away from his Ashram for a while. When he returned to the  Ashram, he found there was a woman employed in the Ashram. He questioned his disciple who was managing the ashram as to why he allowed a woman into the Ashram. The disciple said,  “Maharaj, since the woman was neither young not beautiful, I thought there is no harm in employing her”. The Guru did not say anything.

A few days went by.

One day the guru was again going out of the Ashram. Before he left, he cooked food for his disciple with excess of salt added. He asked his disciple to bring some cow dung. When he brought it, he put a  some cow dung in the drinking water pot kept in the disciple’s room. When the disciple asked for the reason,  he did not give any reply. He then kept the food inside the disciple’s room, locked it from outside without the knowledge of the disciple and went away.

At noon, the disciple was feeling hungry. He tried to go out to the kitchen, but found that the room had been locked from outside. Then he noticed that the food was kept in a covered plate in his room itself. He ate it hurriedly as he was very hungry. He noticed that the food was excessively salty, but in any case he finished it off.

Due to the excess salt in the food, he started feeling extremely thirsty. He called out others from his room, but there was nobody around. As time passed, he thirst for water became very intense.  Knowing well that the water pot contained drinking water contaminated with cow dung, he decided to drink it in any case because his thirst was so unbearable.  Till the evening, he kept on drinking the same water, though with a sense of aversion,  to quench his thirst.

The Guru returned in the evening and opened the door. He went to the water pot and checked it. It was almost empty. “Why did you drink this dirty water, my son, knowing pretty well that I mixed cow dung in it?”

The disciple replied, “What to do Maharaj? The food you had kept for me was excessively salty and after taking it, my thirst for water became unbearable, Since I could not get any other water, I compromised myself to drink it. The situation was like that. What to do?”

The guru smiled and said, “When situations turned in such a way, you lost all your control and drank the dirty water knowingly. When our vasanas come out very strongly, we may act in such a weird way that we would not imagine doing it under normal circumstances. That’s why I was wary of employing a woman in the Ashram”.

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

5.   The obedient disciple

Once, in a gurukula, where practically all the disciples were Brahmins, the guru took a Shudra too as a disciple and taught him shastras along with other students.

After years of learning scriptures, it was time for the disciples to return to their homes and engage themselves in activities for earning their livelihood.

The Guru told all his disciples that they should ensure that they give lectures on Shastras to worldly people for the welfare of all.

Unfortunately, when the disciples, after returning to their homes, went about giving discourses on shashtras, people were not interested in listening to them.

After trying this out for a while, the Brahmin boys found out that there was no point in wasting their time like this and they went about in search of some other occupation to earn their livelihood.

However, the shudra student did not want to go against his guru’s instructions. He went to a nearby forest daily, sat amidst a few dense trees and started expounding the shastras he had learned from his guru. Only the trees were the silent audience for his discourses!

One day, the king of the country went to the forest for hunting. As he was roaming around he heard a human voice. As he went nearby, he could hear shastras being expounded nicely by a person sitting unobtrusively amidst the trees. The king stood there for a while, giving a patient listening to the talk. He was very impressed by the teaching of the shudra disciple. For the next couple of days, the king visited the forest once again and listened to the discourse without the knowledge of the young disciple.

Finally, he went close, paid his respects to the disciple and expressed his desire to take him to his court and offered him the position of Raja guru, to advise him on the matters of dharma.

Thus the shudra student got a well being and highly respectable position in the kingdom.

While all the rest of the disciples quickly discontinued the instruction of the guru, it was only the shudra student who was steadfast in carrying out the words of the guru and he was profoundly rewarded for his commitment. That how the grace of the guru acts.

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

6.  The secret kill

Once a guru, in order to test how far his disciples had progressed in their awareness, gave them a hen each and said, “Go and kill them where no one sees your act”.

The first disciple returned soon and said, “I have done as per your instruction. I took it to a nearby cave where no one was there and I killed it there”.

The second disciple returned to the ashram after a long time and the hen was still alive in his hands.  He said he could not find any place where none could see his act.

“Why? the other fellow found a cave nearby and he killed the hen! Why couldn’t you do it?”

“But Maharaj, wherever I went, the hen was looking at me! How can I kill it?”

(Amma Satsang – Fri 26/8/16)

7.   Shiva – the Guru

[Amma: When one is mentally united with one’s beloved God,  what remains is absolute silence and peace. It is meditation without break. It is samadhi.]

Once Lord Shiva and Parvathi were conversing. Lord Shiva was normally in samadhi most of the times; he would leave Parvathi alone and go to places elsewhere. Stung by the pain of separation from her beloved Lord, Parvathi insisted on being united with him forever. She wanted Shiva to teach her how to remain in Samadhi; Shiva agreed.

He asked her to sit in padmasan, close her eyes, turn her attention inwards and meditate on Him.

As she started meditating, Shiva asked her “What do you see?”

“I see your lotus feet in my mind’s eye”

“Now go beyond the form. What do you see?”

“I see a light so bright that it is even difficult to see it” said Parvathi.

“Now go beyond the light. What do you see?” asked Shiva.

“I am hearing the sound of ‘OM'”

“Go beyond the sound of OM too. Now tell me what do you experience?” asked Shiva.

There was no reply from Parvathi. Her sense of individual soul had disappeared and merged into the wholeness of Lord Shiva. In that state, there was no one to talk or hear. She had attained the pinnacle of love. It is beyond word, thought or intellectual analysis.

8.   Guru only knows

In a gurukula, the Guru gave Sanyas to all his disciples except for one. The disciple who did not get sanyas felt angry on his guru. He started thinking “Our guru behaves partially; he gave Sanyas to everyone, but not to me; he gave sanyas to those who even joined later than me; he is not a sadguru. It is better to leave from here and go elsewhere”; subsequently he started finding more and more faults with his guru. He did not hesitate to tell others his opinions about the Guru.

In the meanwhile, the guru planned to conduct a yaga (fire sacrifice) in the ashram. Various materials needed for it were brought and kept stored in a house adjacent to the ashram. The guru sent this disciple to fetch necessary materials from the house frequently. An young maiden in the house would issue him the materials from the house. This happened continuously for several days.

Since he was meeting the girl almost daily, the disciple got attracted towards her; gradually he started fell in love with her. Even after coming back to the ashram he could not forget the face of the girl.  The guru continued to send him almost daily to her house at some context or other. His love on the girl grew so strong that he felt he could not remain without seeing her for long hours. One day, he proposed to her.

The girl set forth several conditions for him to fulfil if she had to agree to marry him. They were in fact against the regulations of the ashram, but because of his infatuation on her, he agreed to her conditions. She told him “Now you have to carry me on your shoulders”. He agreed for it too! As he went closer to her so as to lift her up, the girl took a stick lying nearby and started beating him left and right. The disciple, unable to bear her beating, ran to the ashram and came panting in front of the Guru.

Knowing all that happened, the Guru said, “My dear son, don’t you understand now why I did not give you sanyas? You are wrong when you assumed that I don’t have love on you. As I knew you have this vasana in your heart, I did not give sanyas to you. You are not yet free from all your inner vasanas. If  I gave you sanyas, you will only cause trouble to the world’.

The disciple understood. He fell at the feet of his guru and sought his forgiveness.

9.  Prevention is better

Once a Guru in an Ashram was chit-chatting with a friend who came to meet him from outside.

A disciple was picking up a pot and was going out to fetch water from the stream nearby. Watching this, the guru said, “Be careful with the pot”. The disciple nodded. As the disciple was about to leave the door, the Guru asked him to come to him; he twisted the ear of the disciple and said, “Don’t break the pot; understood?” and sent him off.

Amused, the friend asked, “Why are you twisting his years and punishing him when he has hardly started? He has not broken the pot!”

The Guru said, “What is the use if I punish him after he breaks the pot?  Because of my twisting his ears in advance, at least he would be careful in handling the pot while fetching and bringing the pot! Prevention is better than cure”.

 

10.  Put it into practice

A disciple was living in an ashram for long. He regularly attended to Guru’s satsang and also studies shastras. After a period of time, he felt disappointed that he was not finding any progress in him. He want to the Guru and said, “Maharaj, you know I have been in the ashram for so long, but I have not been blessed with any spiritual experience nor am I feeling any progress in my status”.

The Guru said, “Have you ever gone to Kashi?”

“No, Maharaj. I have never seen Kashi”.

The Guru asked a couple of other disciples the same question. One of them said, “Yes, Swamiji, I have seen Kashi”.

“You please help this man to make a visit to Kashi. Give him necessary details and guidelines” said the Guru.

After several days, the Guru saw the disciple and asked him, “How is Kashi?”

The disciple said, “Swamiji, I have not gone to Kashi. The other day I just heard you suggesting me to make a visit to Kashi; I did not act upon it”.

The guru smiled and said, “All along you simply listened to lectures on shastra. You never acted upon what was taught to you through the scriptures. That’s why you have not experienced any spiritual progress despite spending years in the Ashram”.

 

11.  Looking at the good side

[Amma: “Even in a criminal, divine qualities are latent. Even in an evil person one can find at least one good quality. Even such a person has got every potential to turn totally good. If only we are patient with such people,  it is possible to kindle their divinity. By developing the quality of seeing good in others, divine grace will fill up inside us. It is that grace that brings success in life”.]

Once a guru wanted to go and live in a new village. Before shifting there, he wanted to gauge the nature of the people living there. He sent two of his disciples to the village and asked them to make their own independent assessment and come back.

The first disciple went around the village, interacted with a few people and came back. He reported: “Maharaj, one cannot see such evil people in any other part of the country. There are only murderers, dacoits and whores in that village; that’s why I came back very quickly”.

The second disciple also came back after a while and he said to the guru, “Swamiji, the village people are very nice; we can’t find such people anywhere”.

‘Oh! How come there are two totally contradicting observations by two persons?’ wondered the guru. He asked them to elaborate more.

The first disciple said, “I saw a dacoit in the first house, a murderer in the second house; I was told that a whore lives in the third house. I felt that is enough to know about the general character of that village people; I felt no urge to know more about the rest of the people. How can I have a good opinion about them?”

The second disciple said, “I too went to those houses. I noticed that the dacoit was feeding a few people suffering under poverty; it is his practice to look around for people who have nothing to eat and provide them with food. I felt happy to see such a good quality in him. I came to know that the person in the  second house was a murder, but I saw him helping a poor man who had fallen down on the path. Though he is a murder, he has compassion to help someone who is suffering and it means he is not dry in his heart. That pleased me.

“I went to have a look at the prostitute’s house too. I saw four young boys there. when I inquired, I came to know that they were orphans and it is the prostitute who is taking care of them as if her own children.

“Thus when I saw such good qualities in people who are condemned as evil by the society, I felt what is the need to inquire about the other people living in the village? I formed a very respectable opinion about the villagers in general and then returned”

(Source: ‘Oliyai nokki’- Tamil)

12. Money for abuse!

Once a saint sent one of his disciples to a village of ruffians with a mission — he should preach dharma to the people there and reform them to become good human beings.

The disciple went to the village and stayed with the people.  Right from the beginning, the people did not like his presence there. When he tried to advise them, they got angry and hurled abuses at him. They treated him very badly. Sometimes, unable to contain himself, he also shouted back at them. That made the people more angry with him.

After trying his best for several days to make them see reason, he felt that he could not succeed in his mission. He came back to his guru and said, “Maharaj, the people in the village are extremely bad; I could not teach them any good values; they were always verbally abusing me and shouting at me. It was extremely difficult for me to be patient with them; I was alway mentally agitated and angry. I am afraid those people are beyond redemption”.

The master said, “I think you should make one more sincere attempt. This time I will give you 100 silver coins. Whenever someone verbally abuses you, don’t react. Simply gift that person with one silver coin”.

The disciple collected the coins and reluctantly went to the village once again.

Seeing him back, the people got agitated. He again started advising them on dharma and someone or other would start scolding him. Immediately, he would give a silver coin to the person who abused him.

This went on for a few days and soon he exhausted all his silver coins. The next day the villagers started shouting at him as usual. Hearing it, the disciple started laughing aloud. The people were surprised to see him laughing without showing any anger or irritation.

An old man came forward and asked him, “Why are you laughing?”

The disciple said, “All these days, I had spent silver coins to hear you abusing me. Now I am left with no money; hereafter, I don’t have to spend my money for hearing your verbal abuses and it is now free! When I thought of it, I could not contain myself from laughing!”

Thus, the disciple, over a period of time had developed the quality of patience and forbearance. He had now become mature enough to laugh even when somebody abused him. By obeying his guru’s words sincerely, he was able to develop such a noble spiritual quality.

The change in the mindset of the disciple created a positive vibration. The villagers started talking amidst themselves: “This man is so nice and patient. In fact, all these days, he has been rewarding us with silver coins for all the bad things we spoke at him. Patiently bearing all these, he has been trying to teach us a few good things for our well being. Let us not abuse him any more; let us attempt to understand what he is trying to teach us”.

Over a period of time, the villagers gradually became more refined, free of the various vices and their evil mindset. They gradually started following good and right conduct by absorbing his teachings.

13.  The power of concentrated mind

[Amma: “If one can attain unwavering peace of mind, many things can happen naturally without difficulty. Suppose you want to memorize something. If you sit at a place and manage to remove all thoughts from the mind and read the portion that you want to memorize once, it will get registered in your mind. You will not forget it till the end of your life. There is no need to memorize it hundred times with tension forgetting food and sleep. Endless hills are hidden deep in our mind. It can contain all the knowledge of the universe. We have not learned the secret of acquiring that skill yet.”]

Long ago a foreign emperor invaded India and conquered it. He wanted to take the four vedas without any distortion to his country. He sent his spies all over the country to find out where he can get all the four vedas in pristine form.

Finally, he came to know that a Brahmin family living in north India was preserving the original palm leaf texts containing all the four vedas. He went there with a team of his army men to meet the Brahmin.

The Brahmin was living in a cottage at the bank of river Ganga with his wife and four sons. The king approached the hut, placed his army men on security outside the hut and went inside. He ordered the Brahmin to handover the manuscripts of vedas to him.

The Brahmin said peacefully, “Venerable king, you don’t have to show so much authority to get the four vedas from me. I will give them happily to you. Before I hand over them, I have to conduct a special ritualistic pooja. I need a day for it.”

Seeing suspicion in the king’s face, the Brahmin said, “Don’t doubt me, Oh king! If you wish, you can keep your guards here. I will not run away. Please come tomorrow. I am only asking for time to conduct the pooja before handing over the palm leaves to you”.

The king ordered his security persons to stay there and guard the hut and he returned.

When the king came back the next morning and entered into the hut, he saw the Brahmin sitting in front of the ceremonial fire and dropping the last palm leaf into the fire, chanting some mantras very loudly. The brahmin’s 4 sons too were sitting around the fire with him and intently listening to what the father was chanting.

Seeing this, the king got very angry and shouted: “You cheated me; I am going to behead you!”

The brahmin replied softly, “Oh King! Don’t get worked up. My fours sons were listening to the chanting of the four vedas throughout the night. I finished chanting of the fourth one just now. Don’t think I have not honoured my promise and cheated you. Now all my four sons know the vedas perfectly without losing even a word of it. Please take them to your country. They will preach veda to your people totally sticking to the original text”.

The king could not believe it. “This can’t be true. You are cheating me”.

The Brahmin asked his sons to start chanting the vedas. They did it perfectly without missing a word. The king was surprised beyond measure.

It happened because the four sons, with total peace of mind, concentration and devotion to their father listened fully to the chanting of the vedas and hence they could absorb them totally.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

14. The Guru Reveals the Real You

Once a hen was incubating her eggs; it so happened that there was an egg of an eagle too mixed up with her other eggs.

After a few days, the eggs hatched and chicks came out. The chick of the eable too was amiest them. Like all other chicks, the chick of the eagle too scratched the earth with its nails, caught worms and ate. It never knew that it belonged to a powerful species of birds that can fly and soar in the sky.

Months passed by. The chicks had grown big and so was the eagle.

One day, an eagle flying at the sky noticed this young eagle scrubbing the earth and eating worms, surrounded by other hens. The large eagle was very surprised. It waited for the opportune time to corner the ‘hen-eagle’ and explain to it what its real status was.

One day the hen-eagle roamed away from the other hens. Noticing it, the visiting eagle flew close to it and landed near it. The hen-eagle got extremely frightened to see the ‘enemy’ and cried out. Hearing its cry, all the other hens and cocks roaming nearby came rushing to help and the visiting eagle had to retreat in a hurry.

On another day, the hen-eagle got stranded quite away from the group of other hens. Noticing it, the visiting eagle came nearer. This time, it was more careful. It kept a safe distance and then spoke very softly: “Hey! Listen to me; don’t get scared; I am not your enemy, but your friend. I wanted to tell you one important truth”.

The hen-eagle was still scared; it wanted to run away. But, with lot of difficulty, the visiting eagle stopped it and started counseling: “You see, you are not really a hen; you are not destined to run around on the earth and eat worms like this! You are indeed a mighty eagle like me who can fly high on the sky and enjoy your freedom! You can fly because you are like me; whatever power I possess you too have it. Come on, flip your feathers and try to fly!”

The hen-eagle still could not get convinced. It could only think that the eagle was trying to brainwash it with the intent of killing and eating it. However, the big eagle did not relax its efforts to convince the hen-eagle. It kept on talking with lots of patience and tact. Finally it could gain the trust of the hen-eagle. The visiting eagle took the hen-eagle to a nearby lake and said, “Watch your reflection in the water;see how you look; don’t you agree that you appear same like me?”

The hen egle was surprised to see her image in water looking exactly like the other eagle. It could not believe its eyes. it kept looking again again at the water. Finally it was convinced that it was an eagle indeed and not a weak hen. Its faith and trust on the visiting eagle became full. It developed conviction on what the former said and its self-confidence grew. It started obeying the eagle.

The large eagle started teaching the young eagle how to fly. It was of course difficult for the young one initially. It flew a couple of feet above the ground and fell down a couple of times;but practicing repeatedly, it could soon fly higher and higher. After a while, both the large eagle and the young one flew together joyfully high up on the sky.

[In this story, the hen-eagle represents the worldly person; the visiting eagle represents the Sadguru who has known his oneness with God. Eating worms represents enjoying the petty sensual pleasures of the world and getting bonded to the world; seeing reflection in water represents getting a glimpse of one’s oneness with divinity by the grace of the guru; trying to learn flying represents doing spiritual sadhana as per Guru’s guidance; soaring high in the sky with the Guru represents getting liberated (attaining mukti) and attaining Unity with the infinite in the same way as the Guru.]

 

 

 

15. The Lazy disciple

Once a Guru and his disciple were sleeping inside a hut on a cold night. In the middle of the night, the Guru asked said to the disciple “Please check whether it is raining outside”.

The disciple felt too lazy to get up, go out and check whether it was raining. At that time, a cat came inside the hut through the window. The disciple extended his hand, touched the cat to check whether it was wet. Since it was not wet, he said, “Guruji, it is not raining outside” and dozed off.

After some time, the guru said, “I am really feeling cold; will you please shut the window?”

The disciple covered his face and ears with his bedsheet and said, “Guruji, we are spiritual renunciates; are we not supposed to bear heat and cold with equanimity?” and continued with his sleep.

After a while, the Guru said, “Please get up and turn off the lamp”.

The disciple said, “Master, Have I not obeyed and responded to your previous two requests?  Why don’t you do at least this yourself to set an example of self-help?”

[Amma: “The disciples of the present day are mostly like this! They want to instruct and manage the guru rather than obeying Guru’s instructions”.]

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Discrimination and dispassion – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. The 4 wives

Once a king had 4 wives.

He used to give lots of importance to his 4th wife, take her out with him in his social outings and always be proud of her.

As for his second wife, he will always pamper her, give her good food, dresses, makeup accessories and so on and take care of her well being.

He used to spend quite some time with his third wife, help her, spend money for her in order to keep her happy and comfortable.

But he would never bother about his first wife and always ignored her.

The king fell seriously ill and several doctors treated him, but his recovery was nowhere in sight. Doctors declared that the king would not live for long. The king was full of sorrow and despair. he called his 4th wife and  asked her: “When I die, will you come with me?”

The 4th wife said, “No way. When you die, I will immediately marry someone else and lead a happy life”. The king was shocked to hear this.

Then he called his third wife and asked her: “Will you come with me when I die?”

The third wife said, : “I will be with you only till you die. Not afterwards”. The king was dejected.

When he posed the third wife the same question she said, “I will come with you till the cremation ground; that’s all”

But the first wife said, “Don’t worry! I will be there with you even after your death”. The king became very remorseful about himself because it was his first wife whom he never bothered to take care all along was the one who came forward to be with him forever.

In this story, the 4th wife represents one’s wealth, social status, power, positions and honor. When we are alive, we strive so much for all these and we are very proud about  them. After death, all the money, power, position and honors we possessed go to somebody else.

The third wife represents one’s physical body. We pamper it with good food, drinks, clothing and jewelry. But when we die, the body cannot come with us.

The second wife represents our friends and relatives. We spend time with them, take care of them and show concern for their well being. When we die, they would accompany us only up to the cremation ground.

The first wife is our soul. During living, we never bother about our soul and the ways and means of nurturing it rightly. But it is the soul that remains with us once we die.

2a. Son’s beautiful present /2b.  “Wait I am coming” / 2c. The luggage

[Amma:  Whatever we do or accomplish in this world are all done by us by the power of God only.  We have no right to be proud of it. In fact, We don’t ever have a power to decide what is going to happen in the next moment.

By claiming ownership of all our actions and responsibilities, we end up getting tensed up in life and keep complaining to others about our burdens and sufferings on account of it.  If we truly surrender to God, then we can remain relaxed as He takes care of our burdens]

Once on his father’s birth day, an young boy gave a beautiful and costly present to his father. The father was very surprised and happy. The son boasted to his father, “Papa,  have I not got you a very nice and costly present when compared to what my elder my brother presented to you today?”

Father said: “Yeah! It is really very beautiful! By the way, how did you money to buy such a costly gift?”

The son replied : “It is so simple, papa! I used your credit card!”

* * * * * *

Once a person was standing in the open terrace of his house. he saw a friend coming to his house to see him. He shouted from the terrace: “Hey! I am here. Wait a minute; I am just coming down”

As he climbed down a few steps,  he got a massive heart attack, collapsed in the stairs and died on the spot.

That is the reality of our course in life.

* * * * * * *

Once a person got into a train with a heavy head load of luggage. Even after finding a seat to relax, he continued to carry the luggage on his head. He said to a fellow passenger: “Even after getting into train and getting a seat, I am suffering on account of this luggage on my head”

The co-passenger replied: “Why should you still carry the luggage on your head? Remove it and place it on the loft. The train is going to carry it anyway!”

3.  It’s all for good

[Amma:   Everything happens at God’s will, but it is not always easy for people to accept it.  It really requires a highly evolved mindset to accept as God’s will when a calamity strikes us. Suppose someone’s child dies, will it ever be easy for him to say ‘It’s by God’s will that my child died?’. But such a mindset is an ideal state to be attained]

Once a king got a deep cut in his hand accidentally when handling a sword and the matter was informed to the Chief Minister by another junior minister.  Hearing this, the Chief minister said, “It’s all for good”. The junior minister was shocked to hear such a statement. He went and reported to the king about this. The king got angry; after verifying whether the Chief Minister really made such a remark, he ordered to put him in jail.

As the junior minister put the Chief Minister to the jail, he asked him “What do you feel about this?”. The chief minister replied, “It’s all for good”. The junior minister felt irritated to hear such a statement.

Within the next couple of days, the king decided to go for hunting. While he normally took the Chief Minister as company for his hunting sojourns, he took the junior minister with him this time.

The king and the minister went deep into the forest and they lost their way.  They also got distanced from the king’s team of soldiers. Both of them were caught unawares by a gang of tribals and were imprisoned by them.

The tribals were to  give a human sacrifice to their deity and they chose the king for it, as he looked strong and majestic.  Before beheading him before the statue of their deity, they gave a ceremonial bath to the king and inspected his body thoroughly for any flaw. It was then they noticed a bandage in the king’s hands.  According to their customs, they could not sacrifice a man with wounds in the body. Now they inspected the junior minister’s body and found to be free of blemishes. The beheaded the minister before the deity and released the king.

The king managed to return to the palace and went to the jail immediately to seek pardon from the chief minister and release him. The king narrated what happened at the forest and said to the minister “It has indeed become true that the wound I received in my hand became a blessing, as you had predicted. But may I know why you said that it was all for good when you were  imprisoned?”

The Chief minister replied, “Had I not been imprisoned by you, I would have accompanied  you to the forest and I won’t be alive now!”

5.  The Life of Tulsidas, before he became a saint

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil – Page 16)

[Amma:  By running behind worldly  desires, you don’t really understand that you are leading yourself to great calamity. You may lose the very opportunity of reaching the goal of human birth, namely, attaining self-realization. Only when it dawns to you that you have not attained anything but only losing something, you gain interest in spirituality]

Tulsidas,  a great saint, who wrote the famous Ram Charita Manas, was a businessman before he got interest in spirituality. He loved his wife very dearly and had an uncontrollable lust on her body; he even ignored his business in order to spend his time in the company of his wife.

Once his wife had gone to her parents’ house for a while. Tulasidas could not tolerate his separation from his wife.  Driven by the lust to be with his wife, he left his home at night to go to the home town of his wife. It was raining very heavily and a storm was blowing at that time, but ignoring them he went ahead. On his way, a wild river was crossing and it was full of floods due to the torrential rains. He had to necessarily cross it in order to reach his wife’s place. There was no boatman around.

Determined to cross the river, Tulasidas noticed a floating object in the river and thinking that it was a log of wood, he jumped into the river, caught hold of it and started swimming towards the other bank of the river. Actually, it was not a log of wood, but a dead body that was floating in the floods.  Never minding to notice it, he reached the other bank and walked swiftly towards his in-law’s house. It was midnight when he reached the house. The door was locked as all were sleeping; Due to the noise of the storm, his pounding and knocking at the doors could not be heard by the people inside the house. His wife was sleeping at upstairs.

As Tulasidas looked around to find the way of getting inside the house, he saw a thick rope hanging from a tree branch that was close to the window upstairs. Actually it was a python that looked like a rope. Not bothering to notice the reality, Tulasi das caught hold of it and climbed up to the first floor. Through the window, he jumped into his wife’s room.

He thought his wife would be glad to see him there. On the contrary, she was shocked to see her husband coming to her at the odd hours, purely driven by lust ignoring all the hardship on the way. She said to him “Instead of possessing such a lust on this perishable body of mine, if only you had  possessed love on God, you could have easily attained God!”

Hearing those words, Tulasidas was devastated. His ego was hit severely. He felt ashamed of the blind lust he had all along on his wife. He hung his head in shame.  He realized the burden of carrying such an overwhelming attraction on his wife. At that very moment, his breath, his heart beat and every cell in his body turned inwards. His lust was replaced by an overwhelming longing for God. At that very instant, he decided to lead the rest of his life in god consciousness instead of body consciousness. He left the house immediately. He became a monk and wandered all around, with his heart filled with divine consciousness. He became a very venerable saint sooner.

6.  The suitcase

[Amma: It is attachment to things that is cause of suffering.]

Once a business man went overseas to start a business abroad. He worked very hard and his business prospered very well. He made lots of money. He bought lots of gold and precious gems.  He finally decided to return to his natve country. He collected all his gold and other valuables in a huge suitcase and travelled by ship to his land.

On the way, there was a huge storm.  The ship got battered heavily by the fiery winds of the storm. Sea water entered into the ship. As the ship was about to capsize, the captain ordered all the people to escape using the life boat. The businessman carried with him his huge suitcase and jumped into the life boat. Unfortunately the life boat too capsized soon.

The business felt into the freezing sea water yet he was firmly gripping the suitcase in his hand. All his lifelong savings were in the suitcase and he was determined not to lose it. By the sheer weight of gold bars that the suitcase contained, the box started sinking and the businessman too was drowning.  Finally it dawned to him that unless he leaves the suitcase, he won’t be able at least to try and swim to save his life. Alas! When the realization dawned, it was too late. Due to the extreme coldness of the sea water, his fingers had frozen; however much he struggled, he could not stretch his fingers to release the suitcase. The businessman’s dead body sank deep down the sea along with his suitcase.

(Tuesday satsang 8.8.17)

7. Guru teaches through action

Amma: One should always remember the goal of our life. It is to attain self-realization. We must make use of this life to attain realization in this very birth, without wasting our time in any other distraction.

Once a person went to a saint with the intention of receiving his spiritual teaching. It was night. The Guru was seriously engaged in writing something in candle light.  The man prostrated before the saint and said “Swamy, kindly give me some spiritual teachings”. The Guru said nothing. He kept on writing. After waiting for a while, the man said again, “Swamy, I have come here to seek your teaching”. The Guru did not respond. He continued with his writing in candle light.

After waiting for some more time, the person reminded the guru again. By this time, the candle had almost melted to its end; when the guru finished his writing, the candle flickered and the light went off.   “Sir, about the teaching…” The man reminded.

The Guru said, “I have already given the teaching. Didn’t you pick up?” said the guru.

“I don’t get it, Sir. You haven’t spoken to me at all!” said the man.

The guru said, “Didn’t you notice that I was engaged in writing in order to finish it before the candle totally wore off? The duration of availability of candle light is limited. Even before it totally burns out, it may get put off by a blow of air any time. Likewise, our life span is limited. Even before living a whole lifespan, death may occur at any time. Hence we should make use of the available life by dedicating ourselves to reach our goal, without wasting a minute. That is what I taught you”.

(Tuesday Satsang 01.08.17)

8.  Visitor

[Amma: God who gives everything to you expects you to share your wealth with others. If you try to keep everything to yourself, it is tantamount to stealing. Remember that we have come to this world as a guest. Keep that mindset always.]

Once a visitor came to a saint’s house. He was surprised to see that the house was extremely simple. No decorative items were found in the house. There was not even a chair to sit.

“It is really surprising; I don’t even find a chair to sit here” said the visitor.

“Who are you?” asked the saint.

“I am just a visitor” said the man.

The saint said, “You see, I too am a visitor; why should I accumulate things here?”

(From the book: Ammavin anbu ullathilirunthu“)

9. Surprise Test

Once a young boy, who habitually wakes up only late got up very early in the morning. He saw light in his grandfather’s room and peeped inside to see what he was doing. The grand father was doing prayers and changing hymns.

Noticing the boy, the grandfather asked, “Good morning, my child! What happened? Why are you up so early?”

The boy said, “The teacher may conduct surprise test today in the school. I wanted to read and go prepared for any such test today; but grandpa, why are you awake so early?”

The grand father replied: “I am also preparing for a surprise test from God; that test is called death!”

10. The Beggar King

Once a young beggar was roaming on the streets seeking alms. Suddenly, a royal chariot appeared on the road. It stopped near the beggar and Royal messengers alighted from it. They came close to the beggar and looked very intently at him. They nodded their heads to each other, grabbed the beggar and and forcefully took him with them in the chariot. The beggar was terrified. His vehement protests fell on deaf ears; they took him to the royal palace.

Royal servants came forward and after respectfully bowing to him, removed his torn and tattered clothes. They took him to a royal bath tub and thoroughly bathed him in warm, scented waters. Nest, they adorned him in grand royal attire and beautiful golden ornaments. The beggar could not understand any of the happenings; he was terribly confused, worried and also surprised by these developments, but no one came forward to explain why all these things were happening to him.

He was then respectfully taken to the royal court hall, where the king, ministers and many dignitaries of the countries were waiting. The King looked at him with love, embraced him and lead him to the throne. He made the beggar sit in the throne and placed a golden crown on his head. There was a huge jubilation.

The king announced: “Dear citizens, the long wait has come to an end today. Here is my son, whom I lost when he was a child during a war years ago. All these years I was trying frantically to locate him. I had given the details of his birth marks and unique identification features to some of my closest confidants and sent them all over the country to search and locate my son.

“Very unfortunately and due to the play of fate, my dear son was all along roaming in the streets as a beggar. Finally, my agents were successful in locating him and after confirming the birthmarks and other identities, they have finally brought him to the palace. This young man is my crown prince and he will be your king in a few years!”

The young man comfortably settled in the Royal quarters. He was trained by qualified teachers on archery and other martial arts; he was also trained on administrative matters. Soon, in the next couple of years, he took over the king of the country.

One day the king was reminiscing about his old begging days. Suddenly, a curious and strange desire sprang up in his mind. “What if I go back to my old place where I was begging and  reenact my begging live life for a day and experience how it feels?”

Without informing anyone, the king went back to the old place dressed in in tattered clothes  and roamed about in the same place where he used to beg. Not knowing that the king was in the guise of a beggar, people treated him the same way they used to treat any beggar. Some offered him food. some gave him a few coins. some people shut the door on his face,  some people cursed him him and shouted at him. In olden days, when he used to be a beggar, he would feel joy when people gave him food or money; he would feel ashamed and hurt if they scoff at him. But now when he received food, there was no jubilation; when people shouted at him, he could smile and walk away. He  knew that he was no longer a beggar but a King now, with with all the wealth the nation in his command!

Thus, in his role as a beggar the king was totally detached from the pain and pleasure and remained a witness to all that happened to him.

[Amma: When we realize that our true status is Atman, we will not be swayed by emotions of pain and pleasure.]

11.  The caretaker

Once a professor took his pet dog to meet his friend.

He said to his friend, “I have to go abroad on a research assignment for 5 years. Will you be interested in taking care of my dog till I come back?”

The friend too was a lover of dog. He agreed. He took care of the dog well; fed it with love regularly, played with it and enjoyed its company thoroughly.

After five years, the professor returned. The friend gladly returned the dog to the professor without any qualms.

[Amma:  It is the feeling of belonging and developing a sense of attachment that causes misery. By developing the right viveka vairagya, one can lead a happy life. ]

(Satsang – Tue 23/8/16)

12.  Dying Consciously

[Amma:  “Death brings untold misery. Nobody wants misery. Hence everyone is afraid of death. Everyone wants to live somehow forever; fear of death creates mental agitation and this agitation gives the pain of death. Even if people die in an unconscious state, the experience of internal agitation will be there.  Children! never die unconsciously. If you learn how to die with total consciousness, you can decide how, where and as whom you can take your next birth. If you don’t want to take rebirth too, you can attain birthless state.”]

Once a saint was put in the gallows by the authorities who were against his preaching certain philosophies. They sentenced him to death. They ordered that he should drink poison and die.

The jailor gave him a cup of poison and instructed him how to drink it. The saint smilingly received the cup and listened to the instructions intently. There was no shivering of hands; there was no sign of fear of death in his face. There was no agitation or restlessness in him. He prayed to God and sipped the poison relaxedly.

Then he lied down. He started speaking clearly how the poison was acting inside him.  He explained what the various forms of discomfiture were that he was experiencing, which areas of his body are feeling the pain or burning sensation, and which bodily functions were being felt to be failing in him. He never lost the grip of his consciousness. He kept on with his commentary till  his faculty of speech also failed and he breathed his last. Till the end, he was conscious.

This is real death. This is truly embracing death. Only when you see your death as a witness, you are really embracing death.

(From Amma’s Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

13.  Over dependence

[Amma:  “Being in the present means paying full attention to doing the work in hand, without distractions. If you keep yourself from distractions of the mind, everything will happen spontaneously and naturally”.]

Once there lived a famous architect. Many students were working as apprentices under him. Among them, the architect had a specific liking and sentimental attachment towards one student.  He considered the student to be brilliant, extremely good in his tastes and creativity. It so happened that whatever designs of the architect that the student held in the highest esteem won great appreciation from the clients too and his popularity and fame increased  considerably in the field. Consequently, his attachment to that student became so strong that he would start a new architectural project only after getting the nod of approval of the design from that student. If the student did not like one, he would discard that design and start with a fresh concept.

Once he was given a design contract to develop a beautiful and artistic main door of a temple.He made several design alternatives, but none of them were acceptable to his favorite student. He discarded them and made new ones; thus he made hundreds of alternatives in the company of the student, but still he could not get the nod of approval from the student for any of them.

The committed deadline was nearing. He could not any longer postpone it. While he was sketching another alternative design, the ink in his drafting pen got exhausted.  He sent the student to fill up the ink. The student somehow got held up and his return got delayed.

In the meanwhile, the architect suddenly got a new idea for the design of the door; he took a pen from another assistant and quickly sketched the design of the door that he just now conceived. By the time the student was back, the design concept was ready. The architect showed it to the student and upon glancing it, the student exclaimed. “Yeah! This is it! This is the most beautiful design and this is the one that you should present to the client!”

The architect said, “Now I understand how this sketch became successful. All these days, my mind was hankering for your company and was anxious to satisfy you and get your nod of approval. On account of it, my mind was not fully immersed in the task of making a creative and beautiful design. Now in the absence of your company, I worked in the present, applying my mind totally independently, without worrying about your judgement. That’s why I could create this nice design!”

(Fr0m Ammavin anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

14.  Discrimination must come at right time

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

15.  The miser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. The Imperfect Dog

[Amma: “If we do 100 bad things and do just one good thing, God will shower grace on us for that one good thing ignoring all the 100 bad things we did. On the other hand, if we do 100 good things and do one wrong thing, human beings will not see the good things but only point out the wrong thing.”]

Human tendency is always to criticize the imperfection in others.

One a man, standing by the side of a vegetable shop, was surprised to see a dog coming to the shop with a bag hung on its neck. It came near to the shop keeper and barked twice. The shop keeper asked “What do you want?” The dog looked at the potatoes and barked once.  “One kilo?” asked the shopkeeper. The dog barked twice. “Two kilos?” asked the shop keeper. The dog wagged its tail. The shop keeper measured two kilos of potatoes and put it in the bag that the dog carried.

The dog went on to buy a couple of more vegetables this way. Then based on a further barking signal, the shop owner took out a wallet kept in the bag, counted and took the correct money that was due for the vegetables and put the wallet back into the bag. He also hanged the bag in the dog’s neck.

The dog started walking away. The onlooker was very surprised to see such an intelligent dog. he was very curious to meet the owner. Hence, he followed the dog.

The dog walked across a couple of streets and reached a house. It lifted up its front legs and scratched the door. After a while, hearing the scratching sound, a person from the house opened the door and let the dog in.

The onlooker said “Hello there! Actually I followed your dog to see who the owner is. You are very lucky! What a smart dog you have with you!”

“Smart? Frankly he is not really that smart.  You see, I have been trying to make him learn to lock the door while going and then unlocking it himself when he returns; that way I don’t have to get up and come to open the door; but his is not good enough in learning and doing it” said the dog owner.

2. A rose for the grand father

[Amma:  “In Sanathana Dharma there is the practice of conducting Pirtru Karma (annual food offerings to deceased parents ) by ceremonial offering of food.  While such practices are good and beneficial, it is all the more important that the parents in old age are taken due care of with love and respect when they are alive, rather than doing ceremonies after their death for fear of curse from ancestors.”]

A young boy’s father was accompanying  him to the school; on their way, the boy mentioned to the father that it was the birth day of the school Principal.

Father said: “Oh! Then I will buy a nice rose for you. You take it and give it to your principal and seek his blessings; he will feel so happy with you!”

While he was buying a rose, the boy said “Father, please buy one more rose; I want to give it to Grandpa.  He too will feel very happy to receive it from me”.

Father said “Oh, no. That old man need no such pampering. He is always sitting idle at home and complaining about us. Forget him. It is your principal who is instrumental for giving studies to you through your school; let us show respect to him”.

The boy said “Why do you say so? Grandpa is also full of wisdom; he tells me so many stories containing morals; I want to give a rose to him too”.

“Forget it” said the father curtly and bought just a rose.

A few weeks later the grandfather passed away.  The father bought a beautiful rose garland to place on the dead body of  his father. As he was about to place the garland, the young boy stopped his father.

Why are you now placing the rose garland on your father’s dead body? When I wanted to present him with a single rose when he was alive, you did not agree.  Why waste a garland now?”

 

3.  There is a limit to patience!

[Amma:   “People are generally so selfish that their honesty will take a backseat so long as their selfish interests are not affected”. ]

Once a Office employee collected his monthly salary from his manager. Upon counting  it, he noticed that he had been paid 500 rupees in excess. He coolly pocketed the money and left the place quietly. On the salary day on the next month, the employee found that he had been paid an excess of 700 rupees this time. Again he opted to keep the money with him without mentioning about it to anyone.

On the third month, when he counted his salary, he noticed that he had been paid 300 rupees less. He got very angry. He thumped at the table of the manager and shouted: “What is this blunder? We work so hard every day in the office shedding our sweat and at the end of the month, you are cutting our already paltry salary by three hundred rupees!  How can you be so careless and cruel?”

The manager replied softly, “Look Mister. Two months back, we had paid 500 rupees in excess by mistake and you never reported about it to us. Last month again, by mistake, we had paid  you 700 rupees in excess and you never bothered to return that amount. But today, when we paid 300 rupees short, you are making such a hue and cry!”

The man said, “Sir, two months back  when you paid me excess, I thought it could be a human error. Everybody is bound to make a mistake at some time and I felt that I should not make an issue out of it.  Hence, I kept quiet. Last month when I received excess salary again, I thought that I should be dignified enough to maintain patience so that you will have another chance to correct your mistake on your own.  But when negligence happens for the third time in a row, then I thought it is not right to keep mum any longer. That’s why I brought the serious lapse on your part to your immediate attention this time!”

4.   The play of fate

[Amma: “One reaps what one sows. It is not easy to understand how our prarabhdha karma accumulated in previous lives work their way in the current birth. Ordinary mortals do not have the power to change the course of fate.”]

Once a Garuda was sitting in a tree near a pond. It noticed a large frog at the bank of the pond. Suddenly the garuda noticed that a Yama Doota (a Messenger of death God) was standing here next to the frog and intently looking at it.

The garuda instantly felt that the Yamadootha was there to take the life of the frog. In a sudden rush of compassion, the garuda flew from the tree, fetched the frog in his claws and flew swiftly to a distant place up on a hill and released the frog.  Noticing that the frog was very scared and had nothing to eat in the nearby vicinity, the Garuda flew nearby to fetch some worms for the frog to eat. When it returned, it was shocked to find that the frog was in the firm grip in the mouth of a large snake. The snake swallowed the frog and swiftly hid itself in the gaps of a rock.

Feeling very disappointed, the garuda flew back to the tree near the pond where it was resting earlier. As he arrived there, the Yama dootha was still there. He was now intently looking at the garuda and smiling. The garuda asked him, “Why are you staring at me? You want to take my life too?”

“No” said the messenger. “Actually I am here to thank you!”

“What?” asked the garuda with surprise.

“When I was here to take the life of that frog, I was wondering like this: ‘It is alright that the frog’s time has almost come; but as per my records, its death should really take place in the mouth of a snake at the top of a hill which is quite far off from here; I was wondering as to how this frog can reach that place so quickly? Even if  it goes jumping as per its nature, how can it reach the top of hill in such a short time?’ Then you came into the picture and ensured that the frog is taken to his destined place of death! That’s why I thanked you!” said the messenger.

The Garuda felt humbled. It asked “May I know why the fate of the frog was such that it should die at the mouth of that snake?”

The messenger of death said “In its previous birth, the frog was a rat. The rat bit two little snakes that were born to the snake in the hill. The rat bit the two little snakes half way and then ran away.  The mother snake had to witness the long drawn and agonizing death of the small snakes. She felt so helpless and pained to see the prolonged suffering of her two kids. She cursed the rat and took a vow to kill the rat. However, the rat had died subsequently and took birth as the frog.  It is in this birth as a frog that the snake’s curse had to take effect!”

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

5.  Consoling others

Once a lady came to know that the husband of a woman in the neighboring house died. She heard wailing and crying from the adjacent house. She went to the house, sat close to the woman who lost her husband and started consoling her. The widowed woman was crying uncontrollably.  The lady, in a very dignified tone, started consoling the grieving woman saying, “Please gather yourself; What is born has to die one day. That is the law of nature. You know, the physical body made of five elements only perishes and the Atman that reside inside is indestructible; Atman is never born nor will die”. The widowed woman listened to these words of wisdom from Vedanta and to a little extent it helped her to gather herself.

After a couple of months, the lady’s husband fell sick and died unexpectedly. She started crying so loud that the entire people in the street gathered into her house. Now the widowed neighboring woman came and sat adjacent to the wailing lady. She said, “Madam, while I am sorry that you lost your husband, I am rather surprised to see you crying so loud; hardly a few months back when my husband died, you taught me so much Vedanta about Atman being imperishable and that only the body dies! How come you are so much immersed in grief now?”

Pat came the lady’s reply: “That day, it was YOUR husband who died. Today, it is MY husband”.

[Amma:  “It is the attachment to me and mine that causes grief.”]

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

6.  The last wish

Once a criminal who had committed murders and dacoity was caught and sentenced to death. As he was being taken to the gallows for hanging, the authorities asked him what his last wish was.

He said he wanted to meet his mother. His mother was brought in. He said he want to convey something privately to his mother. He was allowed to speak to his mother at her ears in a hushed tone. At that point of time, the criminal bit his mother’s ear lobe. His mother cried out in pain and agony. Immediately the guards intervened and took the mother away.

When they enquired the criminal why he bit his mother’s earlobe, he said, “I wanted to punish her in some way for what she failed to do. Right from my very young age, I started stealing. At that age, I did not know right and wrong. Whenever I brought the stolen booties, she was happy to receive them and never warned me of the evil of stealing and its consequences; she did not prevent me from stealing. Had she punished me at that young age itself and corrected me, I would not have ended as a hard core criminal and end up getting hanged to death today”.

[Amma:  “It is the duty of the parents to teach what is right and what is wrong to their children right from young age and lead them in the righteous path.”]

7.  No enemies

Once a notorious person celebrated his 100th birthday and a news correspondent came to interview him.

The correspondent asked “In this long 100 years of your life what is that one thing you are most proud of?”

The old man replied; ‘In all these 100 years of my life, I have no enemy on earth”

“Ah how, great your life is! It should become an example for others to follow. How did you achieve it?”

“Not easy, but I did accomplish. I simply did not allow any of my enemies to remain alive on earth! That’s all”.

[Amma: “Without eradicating such destructive mentality, we can never bring wars and incursions to an end,”]

Matruvani – Avani 2008

8. The Handicapped King

Once there ruled a king who had lost one eye and one leg in a war. He had a strong desire that a beutiful portrait of him be drawn. His desire was made known to the famous artists in his country.Hoping for a great royal reward, many of them came forward to see the king.

They were told by the ministers that the king was expecting a great artistic work that should show him truly but without the ugliness of his physical handicaps.

How to really draw the portrait of a king beautifully when the truth was that he did not have one eye and one leg? Most of the artists backed out.

However, one artist came forward and accepted the challenge. He painted the picture of the king very meticulously and once he finished, everyone marveled at his skill and brilliance.

In the picture he had drawn showing the king holding a rifle in his hands and aiming to shoot some distant animal; in focusing the target, he was shown with one eye closed as that was what snipers do when they focus through their rifle. The king was also shown sitting in a kneeling posture with one leg shown folded.

Thus the artist had the brilliance to show the king as he was, but judiciously camouflaging physical faults of the king!

[Amma: “One should always try to focus on the goodness of the others, ignoring their negative aspects”].

9. Learning a lesson

Once a lion went for hunting along with a hyena and a jackal. The lion attacked a deer and killed it while the other two animals were only spectators. The lion said to the hyena to split it into three parts so that all the three can eat it. The hyena split the body of the deer into three equal parts. On seeing it, the lion became very angry. It attacked the hyena and killed it on the spot.

The lion then directed the jackal to spit the carcass of the deer into two parts so that both of them now can eat. The jackal then split the carcass with three fourths of the portion reserved for the lion and one-fourth for himself. Seeing this, the lion nodded appreciatively and asked, “How did you become intelligent?”

The jackal said, “I learned it from hyena”

[Amma: “If you have enough alertness, you can learn even from idiots.”]

10.   The Alteration work

Once a young boy got a new jeans pant. When he wore it for the first time, he noticed that the legs of the pant were rather extra long; he wished that they were shorter by at least 2 inches.

He went and asked his mother, “Mom, will you cut and re-stitch the bottom of my pant by 2 inches; the leg is too long”. The mother said, “I am very busy cooking right now. Go and tell your father”.

The boy approached his father and explained to him his problem. The father replied patiently: “I am studying an important office file now as I have to make a presentation immediately as I reach my office. Will you please aske your sister to do it?”

He went to his sister; she said, “I am preparing for my class test in the college today. Ask the servant maid…”

The servant maid too said she was busy with her chores and would do it later if she found time. The boy felt very frustrated. He threw the jeans over the sofa and left for the school.

The mother, after finishing the cooking came to the hall and saw the jeans lying on the sofa. She remembered her son’s request. Immediately, she did the alteration by cutting off 2 inch of length at the bottom and then stitching it. When the servant maid finished off her duties, she noticed the jeans lying at the sofa. She too remembered the boy’s request and she too took the scissors, cut off two inches from the bottom and re-stitched it.

In the evening, the boy’s sister returned from her college. Seeing the jeans, she too altered it by reducing the length by two inches, not knowing the fact that it had already been shortened twice by others.

The boy returned from the playground late in the evening. Noticing the jeans lying at the sofa, he was curious to know whether anyone had done the alteration desired by him. When he lifted it up, what he saw looked like an half pant!

[Amma: “We have a tendency to criticize and discard the values of the past as outdated. If we keep on discarding the past again and again, nothing of value will remain for us to save us from the present day ills. It is like bathing a baby and throwing balance water along with the baby”.]

Tuesday satsang 15.9.2016

11.  The envious businessman

Once there lived two businessmen who knew each other; both of them were doing well in business, but one of them was highly envious of the other; he would always try to imitate the lifestyle of what the other person was doing, in order to prove that he was in no way less rich or inferior to the other person.

Once the first businessman bought the latest model of a very costly luxury car. On seeing it, the second businessman too bought the same model car, spending lots of money.

Unfortunately, the first businessman’s car met with an accident and got damaged heavily. Seeing it, the second businessman felt happy. But, soon, his car too met with an accident and got damaged beyond repair.

After a few days, the first businessman was up on the road with another brand new car! Unfortunately, the second businessman who lost heavily due to the damage of the car, could not afford to buy the same model car.

He felt very disturbed. He went to meet a saint for gaining mental peace. He told the saint about his mental status and asked, “How come he managed to buy another costly car, while I could not?”

“He must have insured the car; did you insure your car?”

The man said, “No”.

“Then, that’s why” said the saint.

[Amma: “The good acts we did in our previous lives and do in the present  give us punya which comes to our protection at the time of need like an insurance cover”.]

(Amma birthday message 2016)

12.   Eating with 2 hands

Once a man was extremely hungry. He sent his servant to buy food from a restaurant. The moment the food arrived, he started eating it hurriedly using both his hands.

People around him were surprised to see him eating like this! They asked him, “Sir, What are you doing? why are you eating in such a hurry using both your hands?”

The man replied, “Because I don’t have a third hand!”

[Amma: “Most of us have no honesty to speak the truth or accept a defect. Whatever happens, we only try to justify our actions always”.]

13.  The piglet’s love

Once a man went to see his friend at his house. The friend warmly received the guest and offered him soup to drink in a bowl.

At that time a little piglet came there. It was the pet of the friend. It came close to the guest, ran around him, licked his feet and tried to climb on him and so on. The guest was very surprised to see that a piglet can be so cute and lovable and he was very impressed how it became so friendly to him. “I have seen pet dogs and cats showing affection to the owner; I am really surprised how this piglet could express so much affection to me despite my being a stranger! Does the mother pig have a few more piglets? Can I take one of them as my pet?”

The friend said coolly, “You don’t know the secret behind this love. You see, the bowl in which I have served soup to you is the one in which I regularly feed this piglet; it is his affection to the bowl that made him try and climb over you and reach to it, so that he can have his share of fill from it!”

[Amma: “Most of the love we get from the world are only selfishly motivated.”]

14.  Fine? Fine!

[Amma: “Education, when sown in a moist soil which is humility, will only produce good yield. In the present day culture where people believe that human effort alone will be sufficient, an important aspect known as divine grace has been totally forgotten. This only grows vanity in man. The dearth of good values is obviously seen in the present day educational institutions.”]

In a college there was a total ban on smoking.

The principal of the college one day noticed a student smoking in the corridor.

The principal went near the student and told him, “You are breaking the college rules by smoking here.  You must pay a fine of 100 rupees for your indiscipline”.

The student inserted his hand into his pocket and fished out a 500 Rupee note.

He gave it to the principal and said, “Sir, May I smoke four more cigarettes, please?”

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-3 Tamil)

15.  Checklist!

Once a man was returning home by walk after work. On his way, a dog bit him.  The man did not take it seriously and did not go to a doctor. As days passed, he became sick and he went to a dispensary to see the doctor. After examining him, the doctor said, “It appears you have been bitten by a mad dog. Since you have ignored it over these days, your condition is very precarious. It is impossible to cure it. I am sorry”.

The moment the man heard it, he took a piece of paper from the doctor’s table and started scribbling something seriously. Seeing this, the doctor said, with compassion, “Oh! You have started writing your will so urgently? No need for such a hurry. There are indeed some new medicines for dog bit. If you take them, you may be able to live a little longer”. The doctor was attempting to console him with care.

The patient said, “Who said  I am writing my will? Since I am going to live only for a few days, every minute of my life is precious now. That’s why I am preparing the list of all my enemies.  Before I die, I want to go and bite as many of them as possible; that’s how I am going to take revenge on them”.

[Amma: “Children, None should have an attitude like this person. God has given a limited slife span to all of us. We should utilize it best by expressing mutual love, giving a helping hand and supporting each other by sharing. We must understand that only when we pardon others’ mistakes, God will pardon ours.”]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

 

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 2 (15 more stories )

1.   Sacrifice for higher purpose

Long ago, a queen in Chola kingdom became pregnant. She started getting labor pain and she was reaching the advanced stage of delivery. The royal astrologist, looking at the planetary positions at that time said, “A great king of stellar qualities who can do great good to the country and who himself will attain great name and fame  could be born, if only the actual time of delivery could be postponed by an hour”

Coming to know of this, the queen asked her maids to tie her legs together and hand her upside down in order to delay the delivery till the arrival of the auspicious time. Thus for the sake of getting a great future king, the queen underwent unbearable pain and suffering. Finally, a male child was born at the auspicious time, but due to the extreme rigor the queen subjected herself to her body, she succumbed immediately after delivering the baby.

The child was smeared with blood all over his body and his eyes too were bloodshot at the time of his birth.  He was named Kochengannaan (Red eyed king).

The child grew up to become a great king who ceaselessly worked for the welfare of his subjects and progress of his country. The king later became a saint and was one of the 64 Nayanmars of the Tamil Saiva Tradition.

[Amma: People nowadays ask, before undertaking any work, “What is my stake in this?”.  Instead of asking  “What will I get for me?”, we should think “What can I contribute for the welfare of the society?”]

(Matruvani May 2009)

2.  Natural action

Once a Sanyasi was taking bath in a river. He noticed a scorpion which was struggling in the water for its life. Out of compassion he lifted it in his palms in order to put it on the bank of the river. But, it stung on his finger. Out of pain, the sanyasi shook his hand and the scorpion fell into the water.

Again, taking pity on the scorpion and forgetting his pain, the sanyasi once again picked up the scorpion from waters and again it stung him! He had to drop it once again due to the acute pain of the sting.

It happened a couple of more times. A man watching the whole thing from the banks, asked the sanyasi, “Even after knowing that the scorpion will sting you, why are you trying to save it again and again?”

The sanyasi replied: “Stinging is its nature; showing compassion is my nature”.

3.  I too will

Once a king was travelling through a village. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a stone came flying through the air and hit the king at his forehead. It caused a deep wound and blood started flowing from his forehead. Immediately, the king’s attendants rushed to his help; they applied some medicines and tied the wound with a strip of cloth. His security men ran around to locate the culprit who threw the stone at the king.

After some time, the guards brought an old lady in front of the king. The old lady said, “Oh respected king! I am a poor lady and I have a grandson to take care. We don’t have any food to eat for the past 3 days and the boy was crying out of hunger. As  I was searching for something to feed him, I saw this mango tree nearby which was full of ripe mangos. I thought if I could fetch one fruit, I could give it to my grandson and appease his hunger. So, I took a stone and threw it at the bunch of mangoes. It was very unfortunate that the stone missed the target and it happened to hit you.  I am extremely sorry and I feel guilty that I have injured my king; I am ready to undergo whatever punishment you decide for me…” saying so, the old lady bowed before the king.

The king ordered to his attendants: “Provide enough food and money to this old woman immediately and send her back home”.

THe attendants carried out his order immediately. However, they were surprised at the action of the king. They asked him, “His majesty, we don’t understand how you can leave this old woman without punishment for her crime of hitting you with a stone…”

The king said, “Even the mango tree gives sweet mango to those who throw stones at it. When a tree which has no faculty of discrimination can do such an act of charity, what if a man, who is endowed with intelligence and discrimination does not act with compassion? One more thing. There is yet another lesson that we should try to give happiness to those who cause suffering to us. When I thought in these angles, how can I ever give punishment to the old lady?”

[Amma: Those endowed with awareness and discrimination can learn lessons from every such incidences. For them, others are like mirrors from whom they can see their own imperfections.”]

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2018)

4. The most beautiful person

Once a father said to his young son, “Today, I will take you to meet the most beautiful person”. The son got very curious. “Is it so? How beautiful is he?”. The father took out a photo from his wallet and showed it to the son. The son was rather disappointed. “I don’t think he is beautiful. Rather, he looks ordinary”.

“Wait and see” said the father. In the evening, he took his son to a nearby village to meet the person. There was a big crowd waiting to see the person. The father and son found a place to sit near the him and watch him.

People keep coming one after another to the person. Most of them looked very poor and were crying. They had lots of difficulties in their life and they shared their woes with the man. He was listening to their words very compassionately and offering them kind words of consolation and hope. He wiped their tears.

Then he took the poor people to a hall inside his house, where he served them with food. The faces of the poor people brightened and they left the house as if their had unburdened all their sorrows.

The man then took a large bag and went out. The father and son followed him. The man went to the next village where another group of old, sick and poor people were waiting to see them.

He took out lots of medicines from his bag and based on the prescription slips they had given him, he stared distributing the medicines to all of them.

After this exercise was over, the father introduced his son to the man; the man spoke very pleasantly to the boy. It was time for the the father and son to depart. The son said to his father, “Dad, I don’t really feel like leaving this place. I feel so happy to be in the company of this person. He is so beautiful!”

[Amma: “External beauty is only skin deep. It is selfless love and compassion that one shows to fellow beings that make one really beautiful.”]

(Malayalam Matruvani June 2017)

5. The real test of Graduation

Once upon a time, in a Gurukula, several brahmacharis learned Shastras (Scriptures) for several years. They did well in their examinations and they were ready to get their “pass certificates”. At that point of time, their guru said to them, “You will receive your certificates from a Senior Monk who is in the other Ashram. You have to walk a few miles from here to reach that Gurukulam. Better you start now”. The Guru gave them directions on how to reach the other Gurukulam.

The brahmacharis started walking together chit chatting joyfully towards the other Ashram.  They had to walk across a forest along a narrow pathway. It was evening and the Sun was gradually approaching the western horizon. At one stretch along the path, there were lots of thorns found strewn right on the walkway. When the brahmacharis noticed the thorns, they started looking around for an alternative path to take a detour.  As they started to proceed on the alternative path, one among them did not join them.

He opted to pick the thorns from the path so as to clear it safe. When the others noticed it , they asked him “Hey! What are you doing? We have already found the alternative path; come on! Let’s move ahead fast; it is already getting late; we should reach our destination before dark”.

But the brahmachari refused to go with them. He said “No! I am not coming without removing these thorns. You may all proceed but I will come after finishing this. You are right. It is gradually getting dark. At least we could see thorns when we reached here and  we were not hurt. But think of the people who may come this way after some time when it would be dark. They may not notice these thorns and sure will get hurt. I can’t allow that to happen.” He proceed to remove the thorns. The other brahmacharis opted to leave him alone and proceed on their way.


At that point of time, a person hiding behind the trees came out. He was none other than the senior monk who was supposed to give them pass certificates. He came close to the brahmachari and hugged him. He said “I am so glad that you are the only one who has really passed the test of scriptures. You have truly grasped the essence of the scriptural knowledge!”

[Amma: “Those who remove the thorns in the path of others are indeed showering flower petals in their own path towards divinity.”]

6. The cracked glass pane

[Amma: “Amid our hectic way of life, we mostly forget to ‘live’. In the mad run behind our needs and desires, we fail to live in the present and think of others around us. Thus our life becomes mechanical and dry”]

Once a person bought a new car. He was happily driving it back home. Suddenly, a stone hit the glass pane on the door of the car and caused a crack in it. He stopped the car immediately. As the man had spent a fortune and bought the brand new car and been driving it with pride and joy, he could not contain his anger and anguish to see the damage done to it.

“Who is the rascal that hit my car like this?” so shouting he came out of the car and looked around.

One young boy was standing at a little distance away at the opposite side of the road. A middle aged man was lying on the road beside him. When the boy noticed the car owner staring at him angrily, he came running towards him and said, “Pardon me please, Sir! My father was taking me to the school in his bicycle; suddenly he seems to have got heart attack or something and he collapsed and fell down. If he is taken to any nearby hospital quickly, I hope he can be revived. I tried to stop several cars that passed by this road, but none came forth to stop their car and extend a helping hand; Without others’ help and a car, how can I take my father to the hospital?  Having no other option, I threw the stone at your car hoping that you will then stop the car definitely. I thought you may show some compassion on me if you know the truth”.

Tears flowed from the boy’s eyes when he spoke.

Without delay, the car owner lifted up the boy’s father and placed him in the car. The boy too got in. Quickly, he drove the car to a nearby hospital. Fortunately, as the sick person was brought at the critical time, doctors were able to revive him and his life was soon out of danger. Thus the poor boy’s family was saved from a catastrophe.

The owner of the car did not opt to change the cracked glass in his car immediately. He thought, ‘Let this cracked glass remain as it is, to keep reminding me not to forget the needs and sufferings of other people amidst the hectic selfish life that we lead’.

(Matruvani Tamil Dec 2016)

7. Sharing

Once a group of rich pilgrims were traveling to a holy place. On their way, they had to stay overnight at a small village. A poor family in the village extended hospitality to the pilgrims, facilitated their stay at their house and took extreme care to provide them with comforts.

The pilgrims were carrying many packets of foodstuff and eatables with them. Feeling grateful to the poor family, they gave several large packets of eatables to them.

The family members who received the gifts, immediately opened the packets; they made several small packets of the eatables and took them out of their house.

Seeing this, the leader of the pilgrims asked, “Why are you doing this? We will be extremely happy only if your family members eat them and relish them”.

The elder of the family said, “You see, we are poor people; we are very glad and thankful to receive food given by you; but there are so many families around us who are also poor like kus and suffer from hunger like we do.  How can we really enjoy sumptuous food that you have given to us, when so many neighbors are suffering without enough food to eat?  That’s why we are making several small packets out of what you gave us in order to share with our neighbors. We will also have our small share; that will be the right dharma for our family”.

8.  A change in mindset – Amma shares a real incidence

[Amma: “Most people lead their lives to fulfill their selfish desires. Living selfishly seems to give joy but actually one ends up in pain sooner or later. A dog finds great joy in chewing a bone. By doing so it injures its gums and blood starts oozing from its gums. Tasting it, the dog thinks that the blood comes from the bone. By eagerly chewing the bone more and more in order to taste the blood, the dog hurts itself more and more and ends up in severe pain.

“True joy comes only through selfless actions. Amma will now share with you what happened in the life of Amma’s one french daughter:”]

This french woman always loved a life of luxury. She had a fetish for fashion wear. She always fancied about wearing the costliest and latest fashion wear and would go to any extent to spend money on them. She worked hard to earn money and would spend all her income in buying the latest fashion wear. At times, shamefully, she even resorted to stealing money to satisfy her fetish. While this urge drove her like mad, she could not enjoy any real happiness. If she saw anyone else anything more fashionable and trendy, she would burn in envy and feel very disturbed. She could not sleep peacefully on such occasions.

She once got the opportunity to come to India and visit Amritapuri (Amma’s ashram). She stayed in the ashram for  few days. and she got greatly attracted towards Amma. She attended Amma’s satsangs. She could notice how so many people selflessly serve in the Ashram and lead a simple life. She felt impressed.

After she returned to France, her old habits too returned to her sooner. One day, she went to a watch shop to buy a very costly designer’s watch that would cost 30,000 Euros. As she was looking at various models, she also noticed a model costing 1000 Euros.

At that point of time, a thought ran in her mind: ‘Whether it is a watch costing 30000 Euros or 1000 Euros, it is in any case going to show the same time. Should I really waste such a huge amount to buy a designer’s watch?’ Suddenly the faces of so many poverty stricken people who she saw during her visit to India flashed in her mind. She remembered the simply way of living that she saw in Amma’s Ashram.

Her mind changed. She bought the watch costing 1000 Euros and decided to donate the rest of the money to charities. In a letter to Amma, she had written, “Amma, I cannot explain by words how much joy I felt that day when I took the decision. I never felt so much joy when I had bought and worn the trendiest fashion clothes earlier. THat night I had the most peaceful sleep of my life”.

9.    No you and me

One day an young man went to his lover’s house and knocked at her doors. From inside, she asked, “Who is it?”

The man said, “It is me”.

The girl said from inside, “There is no space in this house for you and me to live together; you can go”.

The young man felt devastated. He kept on thinking of the words of his lover. Several months passed this way. Suddenly something flashed in his mind.

He went back to his lover’s house and knocked at the door again. From inside, she asked, “Who is it?”

He said, “It is you”.

This time the door opened and his lover came and hugged him.

[Amma: “In true love there is no difference between ‘you’ and ‘me’. It is wholesome. Only ‘one’ can be there. It is non-difference. Where love flows continuously, you and I get dissolved and disappear. Only love remains.”]

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

10. How a beggar became king

Once, in a country, there was a practice of choosing the next king if the existing king did not have progeny. The royal elephant would be sent with a garland in its trunk to places where little children play. If the elephant garlands any one of the boys, he would be made the king.

Once the son of a poor beggar was playing on the streets and the royal elephant which came that way garlanded him. The boy was immediately made the prince. Over years he became the king; he ruled his country very well and he was loved by one and all in his country.

One day, a saint visited his palace. The king received him with lot of respect and extended the finest hospitality to him. During the conversation, the saint said to the king, “It is because of the great punya you accumulated in your previous birth, you are blessed to rule this kingdom”. The king asked, “Maharaj, How do you say so?”

The sage, who had the power to know past, present and future said, “Oh king! You were just a beggar’s son on the streets when you were a boy and now you are a great king, respected and adored by your citizens. How is it possible? It is because of a good deed you have done in your previous birth.

“In your previous birth, you were a poor hunter. One day, in order to hunt your food, you were roaming in the forest and you noticed a deer and its little fawn. When you tried to shoot the deer with an arrow, the deer noticed you and immediately took to its heels; but the little fawn could not run as fast as its mother and it fell down. You rand behind them and picked up the fawn. You thought that for that day’s food, the little fawn was adequate. Putting the fawn on your shoulders you walked back to your hut. On your way, when you looked back, you noticed that the mother deer was following you as it did not want to be parted with its baby; profuse tears were flowing from the deer’s eyes.

“Noticing it, you felt very compassionate towards the deer. You thought, ‘It is fine for me and my family to skip our meal for this day; let the crying mother  get united with her fawn and become happy”.  You put down the fawn on the ground and it ran happily towards the mother deer. The mother deer was emotionally very surcharged and it prayed to God for blessing you.

“As a hunter, your dharma allows you to kill an animal for your food and you won’t acquire any sin; yet because of  your compassionate heart, you did an extraordinary act of leaving the fawn back to the mother deer. It is this punya you acquired in your last birth has made you the king of this country in this birth”.

 

(Singapore Satsang 02/05/19)

11.  A simple act of love

Once a husband returned home late in the evening. He was jobless for quite some months. He had roamed around the whole day to find a job and was back at home with dejection.  As he went into the house, there was no light, except for a candle light shining at the dining table. Around the candle, there were several dishes, kept nicely decorated and garnished, ready to eat. His wife was sitting beside the table, waiting for his arrival.

Surprised, he came closer to his wife and exclaimed, “Oh! What is this surprise? What is so special today? How did you make all these?”

The wife smiled at him pleasantly and said, “Happy birthday to you! Please wash your hands and come; let us eat”.

“Oh! Is today my birthday?  With all my crowding worries, I never remembered it.” He want to the wash basin to wash his hands and pressed the light switch nearby. But no light was forthcoming. “Why isn’t the light burning? Is there no electric supply?” he asked.

The wife said “Forget it; let us enjoy the food first and then discuss”.

After they ate together joyfully, he asked, “Now tell me; why is there no electricity?”

The wife said in a mild voice, “Because we could not pay the electric bills and the Company has disconnected the power supply to our house”.

“Oh! If that is the case, where did you get the money for buying all these provisions and make this dinner for my birthday?” asked the husband.

The wife said, “I am sorry; I sold my costly marriage saree and some books I had with me, got the money, bought the provisions for cooking the dinner”.

The husband could not speak immediately. His eyes were moist and his throat choked with emotion. “Why, why are you showing so much love on me? I am not fit to receive it. I could not get a job; we are sinking in poverty and still …..”

The wife said, “Don’t worry darling. I know how sincerely you are trying for a new job. You are not slacking in your efforts. God will give the reward for your perseverance sooner.  Why should we spoil the joy of celebrating your birthday, just because of our temporary setbacks?”

The husband hugged his wife overwhelmed by her love and affection.

12. The compassionate husband

Once the husband of a family came and sat in the dining table along with his son to take the breakfast. It was already time for him to depart for his office. His wife hurriedly prepared Dosa and Chutney and served him. As his wife had hurriedly prepared the food, the dosa got fried excessively in heat and got blackened.  However the husband did not show face nor made any adverse comments and he ate it as if it was quite normal.

Seeing this, his wife became remorseful. She said, “Oh! Sorry! Don’t eat that blackened one; I will make a fresh dosa”

The husband said, “No problem; this itself is quite alright; in fact, I have a taste for such browned dosas”.

After eating, the breakfast, the husband left for his office, taking his son along so as to drop him at his school on the way. While travelling together, the son asked, “Dad, is it really true that you like blackened dosas?”

The father said, “Dear son, you know your mother was on night shift and she worked the whole night without sleep; right? It was dawn when she reached home. She must be extremely tired; yet, she prepared breakfast for all of us. There were umpteen occasions in the past when she made perfect and tasty dosas but we have not appreciated them even once, have we? Suppose we refused to eat those dosas just because they got a bit blackened, won’t she feel bad and pained? So, it is not a problem for me to eat the the blackened dosas since it will make her happy”.

[Amma:  “We must acknowledge the truth that no one is perfect in this world. In a family, all members should try to understand each other and adjust with each other; only then peace and cordiality will prevail in a family”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

13.  Sympathy and empathy

Once a disciple asked his guru, “Sir, what is the sign of right empathy and compassion?”

The guru took the disciple out of the ashram to a street nearby. He said to the disciple, “Watch that poor beggar from a distance for a while”.

After a short while, an old man passed by. He noticed the poor beggar and then dropped a coin into his bowl. After some time, a well dressed rich man came that way. He too noticed the beggar. After looking all around and seeing other people walking on the road, the richman  took out a fifty rupee note from his purse,  dropped it in the beggar’s bowl and walked away.

After a while, a little boy passed by. Noticing the poor man, he stopped next to him and smiled at him very pleasantly. He exchanged a few inquiries with the beggar in as if he was speaking to his own elder brother. It made the beggar obviously happy. Then the boy went away without giving the beggar anything.

Now, the guru asked the disciple, “Tell me, who was the most compassionate person amid the three”.

The disciple said, “It is the rich man”.

The guru said, “When the rich man gave money, there was absolutely no trace of sympathy or compassion towards the beggar in his action. He was donating money to show off, such that people around him notice that he is donating.  The old man gave a coin out of sympathy, but there was no compassion in his action. He had no emotional connection with the beggar and no intention to to help the beggar in any way to get him out of his poverty. But the boy’s action can be called compassion. His interaction with the beggar was as if he was a person related to him. Even though the boy did not help the beggar with money, there was indeed a heartfelt empathy visible in his action. Hence what the boy showed towards the beggar is true compassion.”

[Amma: ” What the world needs is not a transient expression of sympathy, but a compassion that comes from the heart.  It is from  the heart of the people who feel others pleasure and pain as their own that true compassion springs forth. It is from there that friendliness and eagerness to serve come. The only medicine that cures all the wounds of the world is compassion.”]

14.  Mother’s hands

Once an young man went to see a potential employer to seek a job. The employer was was a compassionate person who had come up in his life in the hard way. As he started interviewing the young man, he asked him about his family background.

The youngman said, “I have no father. It was my mother who brought me up all alone. We are poor. My mother struggled a lot and worked hard in life to educate me”.

“Do you help you mother in her chores? ” asked the employer.

“No” said the young man.

“I would now ask you to go back to your home, wash your mother’s hand and then come back as quickly as possible” said the employer. “Then we will decide whether you can get a job here or not”.

The young man felt confused. He could not understand why he should wash his mother’s hand as a preconditional test to get a job. Any way, he went back home. His mother was washing utensils.

He told his mother what happened and he took her hands to see how they are. It was after very many years,  perhaps after his childhood, that he was ever looking at his mother’s hands in such close quarters. He noticed that her palms had several cracks and small wounds and as he washed her hands with soap, she was squirming from pain.

The youngman felt extremely disturbed and sorry. He understood that for long years, his mother was toiling with her hands to make both ends meet and also give education to her son, bearing all the pain and suffering, but he had never been aware of her plight.

He said, “Mother, I am so sorry.  Please take rest. I will start helping you in your chores, I feel bad that I have all along be so selfish. I never developed the heart to serve others”. So saying, he forced his reluctant mother to take rest and started washing the utensils himself.

Only after finishing the work he returned to the employer rather belatedly.

The employer asked him what happened and why he got delayed. The youngman, with moist eyes, narrated what happened.

The employer shook his hands and said, “You are hired!”

15.   A few compassionate words

Once a very poor man was afflicted with a disease. He could not go for work on account of his sickness; without money, he suffered in hunger for three days. He became extremely weak and depressed.  He begged for food from others but nobody showed any compassion towards him.

He felt totally dejected in life and decided to commit suicide. Before he took that extreme step, he thought of begging food just one last time. He approached  a nearby hut. A lady was inside the hut. When he asked for some food from her, she requested him in a pleasant voice to be seated and offered a wooden plank for him to sit. She went into the hut. Unfortunately, a cat had stealthily partook some little food she had kept there and also had rolled down the vessels; whatever leftover food too had fallen on mud and was unfit for eating. The lady felt very sorry.

She came out and said to the poor man. “I am sorry that I am unable to offer food to you. I had some left over rice and curry which I wanted to give to you, but unfortunately a cat has spoiled all of them. I don’t have a single paisa to give to you. I request your pardon for having invited you to eat but failed to offer you anything”. Her face was writ with pain and sorrow.

The poor man said, “Never mind. You have indeed given something that I badly needed. As I had fallen sick, I was bedridden for a few days.  I begged many people to give me some food but everyone chased me away. No one ever said a word of compassion to me. I felt there is no point in living this world devoid of compassion. I decided to commit suicide, but since the hunger was unbearable, I came here to beg some food from you. It is unfortunate that you are not in a position to offer me something to eat. But your words of compassion indeed has given me some satisfaction. I gained confidence that the world does have compassionate people like you; it gives courage for a poor like me to gain trust in the world and try to live against odds.  I will not commit suicide any more. Today, I am experiencing a joy and satisfaction that I have never felt in my life earlier”.

[Amma: ” Children, if we don’t have anything to give, can’t we give a pleasant smile or  few comforting words?  Is it a costly affair?  It is enough we we possess such a compassionate heart. That’s the first step towards spirituality. Such people need not go anywhere or search anywhere for God. Where there is a heart full f compassion, there God will come running on His own.”]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

Amma’s stories related to Sadhana for sadhakas (Spiritual practices for Earnest seekers of God/ Self) – 14 stories

1.   The subtle vasanas

Once a spiritual aspirant who was a mendicant went for begging his food. A family invited him for lunch and served food to him in a silver plate. After eating the food, the mendicant washed the plate himself. Then he left the place and walked away. He carried the silver plate too along and the hosts did not notice it.

After going away for while, the mendicant suddenly realized that he had taken the silver plate with him instead of returning it to the hosts.  He felt shocked about himself. He never had any tendency to steal in the past. Feeling remorseful, he rushed back to the host’s house and returned the plate, profusely apologizing for his slip. He said, “I really don’t know how such an awful desire to slip away with the silver plate ever came to my mind unknowingly. I had never stolen anything in my life”.

The householder unquestioningly accepted the mendicant’s confession and bid him good bye. However he felt intrigued. What could suddenly cause a Sadhu to get a fleeting desire to steal? He called the cook, who was a recently appointed person. He started asking probing questions to the cook. Upon this inquiry, he came to know that the new cook, ever since he saw the silver plate, wanted to steal it and this thought occupied his whole mind when he cooked the food that day.

Amma:  The thoughts of a person cooking food in a subtle way goes into the food and it has the potential to affect the person eating the food. That is why it is advised that a person cooking food should do mantra japa while cooking so that good vibrations enter into the food.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

2.   The effect of company

Once a young man, who had no interest in seeing movies, was visited by his friend. During their course of chitchatting, he visitor said, “Have you seen such-and-such movie recently? It is a great picture! What a story, what a classic acting and photography! If you have not seen it so far, you have really missed something in life!” The young man listened to it and did not react.

After a couple of days, the friend visited again and this time too he spoke very highly of the movie and urged him to go and see it.

In a couple of more visits too, the friend kept on talking about the movie. The young man by now got very intrigued; he felt tempted to go and watch the movie.

He went to the theatre and watched the movie with curiosity. Indeed it was spectacular and he got very much attracted to it. He watched the movie a couple of times and gradually developed desire to watch other movies too. He started frequenting other theatres and soon became such a regular movie goer that the number of pictures that he watched every week outnumbered his friend, who originally tempted him to watch one movie!

Amma:  That is the effect of a company. Company with holy persons is the true satsang and through satsang one can develop good samskaras and habits. If the company is bad, one will only get into evil habits.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

3.  Single pointed mind

Amma:  Whatever excitement you get in Amma’s presence is indeed a focus on Amma. Instead of mentally getting disturbed on so many other things, your excited thoughts are only focused on Amma and it is good.

Once a Woman went to a Fair with her child. The fair was extremely crowded. There were plenty of stalls selling a variety of garments, food, ice-creams, snacks, fancy items, toys and so on. Music programs, dance and drama were going on several open venues and people were excitedly moving around in all the places, watching and enjoying. While the woman too was excitedly looking around and watching everything, she suddenly noticed that her child has last the grip of her hand. The child got separated from her in the milling crowd.

The mother was shocked when she realized the situation. She started frantically searching around for her child, crying out her name. ‘Where is my child? Where is my child?’ – this was the single thought that occupied her mind now and none of the goings-on the fair could distract her attention any more.

Amma:  If the entire focus becomes the guru, then all the worldly attractions fall away on their own.

(Monday beach Satsang 22/8/2016)

4.  The count of leaves in the tree!

Amma: For every earnest spiritual aspirant, getting self-realization is a very long drawn process. It requires lots of patience and effort. One cannot afford to slack efforts and abort one’s goal midway.

Once two spiritual aspirants were doing  sadhana under a banyan tree for quite some years. The Celestial Sage Narada happened to pass by one day. As Narada had his daily contacts with the Lord Narayana, the aspirants were eager to know from God when they would attain God-realization. They appealed to Narada to inquire about it when he would meet Lord Narayana the next time. Narada agreed.

A few days later, Narada came by. One of the aspirants eagerly asked whether Narada spoke to Lord Narayana and got the answer.  Narada said that he did and what Narayana told him was that this person would require as many births as the number of leaves found in the Banyan tree to attain his self-realization. The person who heard this was devastated. He felt highly infuriated. “I have been doing severe sadhana for so many years and still Narayana says I will require so many births? Oh! Then its all a waste of time. It’s all a mere humbug then; I would rather go back to the world and enjoy it instead of wasting my time here” . He left the place fretting and fuming.

Now the other aspirant posed the same question and Narada gave the same reply. Upon hearing it, the second aspirant was full of joy and started dancing in ecstasy! “O! Is it true that Lord Narayana indeed said that I would get my salvation after these many births, for sure? Oh! I am really lucky then! I am indeed blessed!” So saying, he continued to jump around and dance.

At that very moment, the second aspirant got his self-realization instantly.  Such was the reward he got for his mental attitude and patience.

5.  Be kind hearted, but have common sense first!

Amma:  It is not just enough if you are a good and kind-hearted person. You should apply your mind and act with presence of mind and shraddha; otherwise, your act of charity may become futile.

This is a real story happened in the Ashram as narrated by Amma:

Brahmacharnini L- in the Amritapuri Ashram is an extremely kind-hearted person, who loves to run to the help of anyone needing help and succor.

One day, a physically handicapped old man came to see Amma and was walking up the stairs with difficulty with his crutches. Brahmacharnini L- was so overwhelmed with the suffering of that person that she wanted to extend a helping hand to him and make him seated.

Saying “Aiyo paavam” (Oh what a pity) she received one of his crutches. While the man was struggling to stabilize himself with a single crutch, our Brahmacharini, in an excited state to somehow help the person to stabilize, extended her hand, saying another “Aiyo”  and took off the other cruch too, without applying her mind to catch hold of the person before removing the other crutch!

Right infront of her eyes, the old person, with nothing and none to support him collapsed on the floor, while our Brahmacharnini could only help crying out a big and louder “A-I-Y-Y-O…”

[Amma was at her mimicking best when she enacted all this with her actions and voice. The whole crowd burst into laughter!]

* * * *
This is yet another real story that happened in the ashram, as narrated by Amma:

Some time ago, a mentally disturbed person came to the Ashram with a purported desire of settling down as a  householder in the Ashram. His worried wife and mother too were there together with him in the darshan queue.

Even before he could open his mouth before Amma, the wife wanted Amma not to concede to his request because she has lots needs and desires to be met in the outside world. Amma reassured her that She would never take people just like that and started probing deeper into the man’s troubles. It was reported that he seemed to behave as though mentally disturbed, after a recent bout of fever, but Amma suspected a deeper and long existing ailment in him that caused his quirky behavior.  Amma suggested a thorough medical check-up for him and assured them that everything will be alright sooner. Amma made him sit behind her for a while.

After Amma retired to her room at the end of darshan , the person suddenly got very violent; he was shouting at his wife, started spitting at her and behaved uncontrollably.  Lots of people gathered around, including some brahmacharis, who wanted to intervene with good intentions.

One Ashram resident, assuming that the man was under fits, started frantically searching for a iron piece to be given in his hands (as there is a common erroneous belief that people affected by fits get calmed down when they grip a piece of iron). And lo, he could only locate a knife and without thinking a second time, he thrust the knife into the hands of the man in fits!

More chaos! (When Amma narrated this with her gestures, the whole gathering at the Beach Satsang was rolling with laughter). Then a group of brahmacharis somehow managed to pin down the violent man and snatch the knife from his hands.

And there, adjacent to the man was Brahmachari S, who was always known for his calmness and serenity, who was never seen expressing anger or outward emotions. And people saw him for the first time with eyes bulging out in anger and tell-tale facial expressions of pain, anguish and rage. Reason?

In an over enthusiastic attempt to prevent the man from spitting at others, he had put his hand over his mouth and the man caught the bramhmachari’s fingers with his teeth and was applying his full jaw pressure on the fingers; Brahmachari S- could not do anything to wriggle his fingers out from the man’s vice-like grip of the jaw and that pain and anguish came through his facial expressions.

[Amma, in her inimical way, with a doze of exaggeration perhaps, was emoting the facial expressions of the brahmachari to the utter entertainment of the crowd!]

Finally, when the Brahmachari managed to get his finger freed, it was bleeding and he had to be rushed to the hospital to have a few stitches and a bandage over the finger!

[Amidst all these fun and frolic, Amma made sure to drive home the point that one requires viveka Buddhi to handle such situations. How foolish it was to thrust a knife in the hands of a mentally disturbed person! How inappropriate it was to close the mouth of the person who seemed to be under the grip of fits!]

8.   In search of a soul mate

Once a young, beautiful and intelligent western woman wanted to get married to a person who would be most suited to her taste, preferences and temperaments. She searched for such a mate for years but she could not come across any male who could win her heart. She dropped the idea of getting married; she was still feeling restless in her heart; in order to get some peace of mind through mental diversion, whe undertook a travel across the globe visiting several countries.

She came to a distant eastern country on sight seeing. She took a room in a hotel in a large city in that country. One day, while she was eating in the restaurant, she chanced to meet a western guy. They started talking to each other. She developed a liking for him. They decided to meet again. As they started interacting more and more, both of them developed a mutual liking which soon blossomed into love.

As they exchanged details about their personal lives, she came to know that he too was from her home town from her own country. Inquiring further, they came to know that they had been living in the same street at neighboring houses all these years! Despite such a close proximity, they never had come across each other in their home town!

[Amma: Children, you may also go on searching for God everywhere, but you won’t find him because he is indeed unimaginably closest  to you! As long as you are steeped in ignorance, you think he is somewhere too far off in the heavens. Remove your ignorance. Get rid of your body consciousness and go beyond it. Awaken and remain in pure awareness. Then you will realize that God is closer than the closest to you.]

9.   Brainwashing

Once there was  a grand feast at night arranged by a rich man in his mansion. Several guests had arrived and the party was going in full swing. All the arrangements had been made impeccably and everyone was enjoying the good ambience and the food.

While the feast was going on, an uninvited person somehow managed to come into the mansion and join the gathering. He caught hold of the host and started talking to him. He said, “What sort of feast is this? It is so lacklustre and boring; Nothing is good or pleasent here….” He kept on criticizing and complaining about the food, arrangement etc. He was an extremely impressive and tactful talker. Through his forceful and persistent talking, he succeeding in confusing the host and making him to believe that the food was indeed horrible  the arrangements were poor.

Forgetting that it was he who hosted the feast and made all the arrangements, the rich man, who was so far enjoying the whole thing, started feeling very negative and he totally agreed with the views of the uninvited intruder. “Yes; you are right; this place is really disgusting; come, let us move out of here” he said to the stranger.

“That’s right. Let us go out. I shall host a grand feast exclusively for you tonight. By my honored guest. I will show how a really grand feast shall be”, so saying the visitor took the rich man along with him to his place. On the way, the person kept on bragging how his feast would consist of the rarest of all exclusive delicacies, grand decor, impeccable ambience and so on. The rich man was mesmerised by the visitor’s talk.

Finally they reached the visitor’s house. It was a godforsaken place, totally in disarray, dirty and ugly. No one else was there in the house. But the visitor kept on talking, trying to impress the rich and make him believe that they were indeed in a grand palace, wonderfully decorated. He insisted that all the preparations of food were going on already in full swing and the feast would start very soon.

Nothing happened. The rich man regained his senses. He understood that the visitor was indeed a mentally deranged person and a maniac. With lots of difficulty, he managed to interrupt the incessant talking of the mad person and said, “Stop, stop! This is enough”. The mad person’s face turned pale, “Why? what happened?” he asked in a jittery voice.

The rich man said, “What a fool I have been to come with you to this dirty place! I was actually giving a wonderful feast to my guests and all were indeed enjoying it thoroughly. My own mansion was so beautiful and wonderfully decorated for the function! How happy I was there before you came? Why the hell I forgot all about it and came behind you like an idiot!”

So saying, he started walking away from the house. The mad man tried his best to stop him but the rich man pushed him aside and rushed back to his mansion.

The feast was still going on and no one seemed to have noticed his absence for a while. With great relief and he joined the gathering once again.

[Amma: We are all like the host in the story. We have forgotten who we really are.We are blessed to enjoy creation and life in our own place. We are the source of the joy, like the host. But not knowing it, we allowed our ego, the uninvited guest, into us, who successfully hoodwinked us and made us lose our sensibility. Like sleep-walkers, we lost our awareness and went behind our ego; thus we lost the joy of the feast — our life.We forgot our true self — Atman and we became a pupper to our ego.

We should awake from our intoxicated state and realize that we indeed are the ‘host’ — the root cause of creation. Once we understand the wily machinations of our ego, we will understand that we have gone to a wrong place. We will immediately come back to our own house, where bliss is ever present.]

(Arul Mozhigal- vol 9  p 90-92)

10.  Dig deep at one place

Once there was a famous devotee. A man from the next village heard about him and therefore came to see him. The visitor waited outside the front yard of the house as the devotee was performing his worship inside the house at that time.

The man peeped inside and noticed that the devotee was sitting in front of his pooja shrine and doing the worship of Lord Ganesha. The visitor, seeing this dug a hole in the ground. The devotee then started worshiping his Guru. The visitor, now dug a second hole. After finishing the hymns praising the Guru, the devotee then started worshiping Lord Muruga. The visitor dug a third hole.

As the devotee then proceeded to worship Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Shiva, Goddess Kali and so on, the visitor too dug one hole each corresponding the the God worshiped.

After finishing the puja, the devotee came out and he was surprised to see so many holes at his yard. He shouted at the visitor: “What is this? Why have you dug so many holes in my yard?”

The visitor said, “I wanted to get some water and so I dug one hole. Since I didn’t get water there, I dug the next one and the next and so on. I have dug everywhere but could not get any water. Had I dug at one place deep enough, I would have got the water by now and need not have wasted my time”.

The devotee understood immediately. Had he surrendered to  any one of the Gods wholeheartedly and concentrated worshiping him, he could have become a liberated soul by then.

[Amma: The Gods and Goddesses have diverse forms, but in reality all are one. The various names and forms are only to help us in our spiritual practice to suit our diverse tastes. Each one can choose a deity according to his taste and mental make up which will serve as the ladder to reach the supreme.]

[Source:’Awaken Children’ – Vol.2 ]

11.  A Mahatma among you

Once there was a Mutt where a saint lived there as guru; several disciples were living with him in the mutt and practicing spiritual austerities. They were extremely sincere, earnest and focused in their spiritual practices. An excellent, spiritually surcharged atmosphere was present in the Mutt that attracted countless people from near and far to the mutt. People found peace and solace in the ambience of the mutt.

The Guru passed away. The disciples felt orphaned and were in grief for some time; however, they continued to stay in the mutt and continued with their spiritual austerities.  However, as time passed, gradually their enthusiasm and commitment to spiritual life and practice started waning and then deteriorated considerably. The arrival of visitors seeking peace and spiritual guidance from the mutt too deteriorated and then stopped. Now new spiritual aspirants joined the mutt. The inmates of the Mutt felt very disturbed. There were lots of fights among themselves. Love and devotion dried up in their hearts.

The eldest of the disciples felt very bad about the sorry state of affairs at the mutt. He deeply felt the urge to revive  the relevance and reputation of the mutt. He came to know that a Mahatma was living in a forest adjacent to the mutt. He felt he should go and seek his counsel on this matter.

He went to the forest and prostrated before the Mahatma. He explained the current state of affairs of the mutt to the saint and sought his guidance.

The saint smiled and said, “One among your present residents of the Mutt is indeed a Mahatma. But he is intentionally hiding his true status; he will not express it outwardly.  Since no one ever understood him and extended love and respect to him, your mutt has come to such a sorry state”. Immediately after saying this, the Saint closed his eyes and went deep into samadhi. Hence the visiting disciple could not get any more information on who that Mahatma among them was”. He prostrated before the saint and walked back to the mutt.

On his way, the disciple kept on wondering who that Mahatma could be, living in cognito among them. “Could it be that sanyasi who does washing of clothes? No. He is extremely short tempered. Is it the sanyasi in charge of the kitchen? Oh! He does not even know how to cook properly….” the disciple kept on mentally analysing and judging each resident in the Mutt but he was only finding faults in almost all of them. “But the saint said that only one among all these people is the Mahatma. Since I am only looking at each one’s fault, I am not able to grasp who that Mahatma is.  As the saint said, it is quite likely that the Mahatma could be intentionally showing weird behavior in order to hide his saintliness from others’ eyes” he thought.

After reaching the mutt, he called the meeting of all inmates and announced what the saint had said. Everyone was very surprised; they looked at each other’s face to see the signs of a saint! At the same time, each of them consciously knew that he is not the person fit to me a Mahatma. Everyone else too looked to be faulty enough not to fit to the mold of a Mahatma! The discussed among themselves but could not decipher the mystery.

Finally they resolved to themselves that since it is not at all right to insult a saint who could be one among them, it is best to treat each one with respect and love.

The put their resolution into daily practice. By trying to love and respect one another, they were also looking at the good things in others and started wondering whether the person in front of them could be a Mahatma. In this process, soon they started loving each other.  Gradually, their evil and negative tendencies started dissolving. They came to a stage where each one could see a Mahatma in each other. It became so strong that soon they could see Godliness in anything and everything. They all became jivan muktas (liberated while living).  The very atmosphere of the Mutt thus underwent a sea change. Outside people started noticing the divine glow in the face of the inmates.  People gradually started visiting the mutt again to benefit from the company of holy people.

[Amma: “This story tells us that love and liberation are interdependent. For the love to spring up, the mind should be freed of ego.”]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

12.  The sign of dawn

Once a Guru asked his disciples: “How will you know that the night has ended and dawn has happened?”

One disciple said, “If you can identify whether a person coming at a distance is a male or female, it means it has dawned”. The guru did not give his nod of approval to this answer.

Another disciple said, “If you can identify whether a tree at a distance is a mango tree or a neem tree, it indicates it has dawned”. For this answer too, the guru did not give his approval.

The disciples wanted to know the correct answer from the guru. The guru said, “Only when you can see every man as your brother and every female as your sister, one can say the darkness of the night has ended and the light of the dawn has come. If this attitude does not come, even if it is midday, you are still in the darkness of the night only.

The disciples now understood the inner meaning of the Guru’s question and the answer too.

[Amma: “Children, this is an important story to remember. Only when you are able to love one and all on equal measure, you are blessed with the light of realization.“]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

13.  Usage that never was

Once there lived a sage, who gave an instruction to his wife soon after they got married: “Whenever I sit to eat, make sure to keep a needle and a cup of water next to me”. The wife did so. She did not ask for the reason. It became a routine that the wife never missed across many years of their married life.

The husband got old. Death was nearing him. Then he asked his wife, “Do you wish to ask something from me?”

The wife said, “I have nothing to ask from you. But I am curious to know about a matter. You had instructed me to keep a needle and a cup of water next to you whenever you sat to eat and I have been ceremoniously doing it all these years. May I know the purpose for which you asked them to be kept?”

The husband said, “Suppose while you serve me or while I eat, if a grain of rice falls outside the plate, I thought I should pick it with the needle, wash it in the cup of water and put it on my plate; But as both of us were extremely cautious, there was not even a single occasion when a grain of rice fell outside the plate; hence there was never a need for using them!”

[Amma: “Children, notice how much awareness the couple had while eating to prevent even  a single grain of food from falling outside the plate! It is persons with such a high degree of shraddha who have turned out to be saints!”]

14.  Meditating – Oh, really?

[Amma: “My son,  Once you sit for meditation, yous should make your whole mind dwell on God.  YOur mind should not wander to external things. Only your personal God should occupy your entire mind. THat much of dispassion is needed”.]

Once a Sanyasi was sitting in meditation. At that time,  a man rushed right in front of him, making noises that disturbed the sanyasi.  The sanyasi did not like it, as he felt disturbed by the commotion.

After a while, the man returned by the same path, with a little boy.  Seeing him, the sanysi said angrily,”Didn’t you notice that I was meditating here? Can’t you have some self-restraint in not disturbing me in this place?”

The man replied politely, “Sir, I am sorry that I did not notice you”.

“Why? Are you blind?” asked the sanyasi.

“My son was missing for quite some time; he had gone to play with other boys. I was disturbed and started wondering whether he had fallen into the adjacent pond; my mind disturbed in such a though I rushed in search of him and that’s how I missed you sitting here in meditation; I am sorry about it”. But the Sanyasi was unrelenting.

“Mind you, it is totally an unacceptable behavior to disturb me while I am meditating” said he.

The man replied, “Sir, you were immersed in meditation and yet you saw me running in front of you. At the same time, I was running in search of my son but did not see you. I wonder why you did not have even that much of attachment I had on my son on the God you were meditating! What sort of meditation is it? If you don’t have patience and humility, what is that you will gain by meditation?”

(From Upadesamritam-2 Tamil)

15.  Nothing is useless

[Amma: “In nature, everything has its place and relevance.  One should know the place and value of each and utilize it accordingly.  If used so judiciously, one will know that nothing is useless. If we realize this and act, we can convert natural wastes to natural manures. If we act with discernment, what is considered a waste will find a reuse”.]

Once a disciple went to Sri Buddha and asked for a new cloth to wear as his old one had been soiled on account of long usage. Buddha immediately agreed. After some time, he asked the disciple, “Is the new cloth good enough for you? Do you need anything more?”

The disciple said, “Yes, Master, the new one is fine. I don’t need anything more”.

“What did you do with your old cloth?” asked Buddha.

“I am using it as my bed spread, Master”.

“Does it mean you threw away your old bed spread?”

“No master; I am using it as a curtain cloth for my window”.

“What happened to the old curtain cloth?”

“As it had soiled too much, I am using it as a cleaning cloth in my kitchen”.

“What happened to the old cleaning cloth?”

“Since it had torn too much, I have teared it into thin pieces and using those pieces as a wick for my oil lamp Master”

Buddha felt very satisfied with his responses. He smiled and blessed his disciple.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.   The flow of compassion

[Amma:  The presence of qualities like humility, surrender, unselfishness and sacrifice in a disciple makes a Guru’s grace and love flow involuntarily towards him]

Amma narrated the following real incidence that happened several years ago in the Ashram at the Kali Temple.

On a Darsan day,  a couple with a child was standing in the darshan queue. Suddenly the child vomited on the spot. The embarrassed parents left the place immediately. People standing in the queue started closing their nose to ward off the bad smell.  People moved away from the spot or jumped over the place to cross it.

Several people complained that the Ashram premises are not being kept clean.  Some people walked away in disgust, without even coming for darshan. Some people, upon reaching Amma complained about the issue to Amma.

As Amma wa watching, one young boy  about 12 years old, who was standing in the darshan queue, quietly slipped away, went somewhere to fetch a bucket of water, a mug and a waste cloth. he returned to the dirtied spot and cleaned the floor with the cloth and water.  After mopping the spot and washing the cloth a couple of times, he rinsed the place, went back to return the bucket and then quietly re-joined the queue.

Amma felt extremely happy to see the boy’s actions and as he moved closer and closer, Amma could not help but keep looking at the boy with love again and again. Finally, when he reached her for darshan, Amma gave him a long and loving hug, blessed him by giving him an apple, and asked him to sit beside her for a while. His unselfish and humble act moved Amma so much that she kept on throwing her loving glance at him and smiling at him frequently.

Even after the darshan was over and Amma returned to the room, Amma kept remembering about the boy again and again.

Amma says “It is such an act of unselfishness and sacrifice from the boy that made my love and compassion flow to him automatically. Amma felt  ‘If only there are more and more boys like him, how wonderful the world would be!’

2.  Sharing

[Amma:   Even worms take birth, eat, procreate and die. If Human beings too eat, procreate and die, what is the worth of a human life, which is considered to be the supreme among all creations? Only by sharing what we have with others, humanity is sustained and elevated. There are three classes of people – the Prakruti type, the Vikruti type and the Samskriti type.  The Prakruti type of people consume what they get and are not concerned about others; the Vikruti type consume what they get and also forcefully take away what others have and consume it too; it is the Samskriti type who consume part of what they have and share the rest with others. The goal of life should be such that the Prakruthi and Vikruti type of people should learn to elevate themselves to become Samskriti type.

Amma narrated the following real incidence from her childhood:

When Amma was studying in 4th standard in the nearby village elementary school, there were 2 sections, each with about 60 students. Children from near 3 kilometers from south and 3 kilometers from north will come to this school for their education as there was no other school available in the vicinity.

In Amma’s class room, during lunch time, about 20 students will bring their lunch box; about 20 students who were residing in houses nearby will go to their houses for eating lunch. The remaining 20 students were so poor that they had no wherewithal to bring lunch to the school.  During lunch time, while other children go out of the class and eat their food, these poor children will remain hungry. When Amma saw this, she could not remain selfish to each from her lunch box. She called one of the girls sitting hungry and shared a portion of the food she had brought.

Seeing this, the other girls too started sharing their food from their lunch boxes with other students.  Seeing their example, the children from the other class room also started sharing their food. The children actually felt the joy of sharing to be  much more fulfilling than eating their food selfishly.

Thus, by setting an example, Amma could motivate other children towards sharing. What Amma started in a small way at that young age was perhaps  a beginning of her philanthropic activities in future.

3.   The compassionate daughter

Amma: Qualities like love and compassion must be cultivated by effort.  It is developing such a mental attitude that one can gradually get over likes and dislikes on others.  

Once there was this young girl of a rich landlord, who was always found playing with the physically handicapped little daughter of the servant maid. 

 The landlord did not like to see his daughter playing with a lowly servant maid’s child. He scolded her several times on this issue, but to no avail. In order to wean her away from that habit, he brought to home a nice child from the family of another rich landlord befitting his status. His daughter exchanged pleasantries with the new girl just for while, but she went back to playing with the handicapped child again.

This infuriated the landlord.

He said “Look my child. I have brought a nice and decent company for you befitting our social status. I don’t understand why the hell you are bent upon playing with that dirty servant maid’s lame daughter”

The daughter replied:  ‘Father! This nice, rich girl whom you brought to play with me can get any number of friends to play with her. But what about this handicapped little girl? No one except me is willing to play with her; she finds so much of joy when I spend time with her; that’s why I play with her always”.

4.   The Compassionate Shopkeeper

Amma: Love and compassion shown at the right moment can create a lasting impression on the receiver.

Once a mother of two children had to visit a doctor to consult for her ailment. As she had no one at home to look after the children at the time of her visit to the doctor, she took the children – a young boy aged 8 and his younger sister aged 4 – along with her to the dispensary. When the mother’s turn came to go in and see the doctor, she said to her son, “You wait here till come back; take care of your sister”.

The children kept waiting. As it took a longer time, they decided to come out and visit the toy shop just opposite to the dispensary. The children went around the shop and got excited to see the various dolls and toys there.

The shop owner kept watching the two children. He was attracted by the way the elder brother was talking to his sister, holding her hands and guiding her. He appeared to be a matured and responsible boy who was full of affection to his sister, The little girl picked up a toy and asked her brother “I like it very much! Can you buy it for me?”

The boy said, “Sure I will; bring it. Let us go to the shop keeper”.

As the shop keeper watched them with amusement, the boy came and asked “Sir, I want to buy this. How much is it?”

“How much do you have?” asked the shop keeper.

The boy put his hand into his pocket, fished out a bunch of sea-shells and placed them on the table! The shop keeper, with utter seriousness, counted the shells, picked up a few and said, “This much is enough; you have excess money. Put the balance back to your pocket”. He handed over the toy to the girl and with a big grin, waved a good buy to them. The children ran out of the shop excitedly to the dispensary.

Another customer in the shop who watched the proceedings,  was very surprised. He came to the shop keeper and asked, “I am really surprised! You are a businessman and you are giving the toy in exchange for  worthless seashells! Why? I could not understand”.

The shopkeeper said, “I have come up in life after undergoing utter poverty in my childhood. When I was a little boy, I too had a little sister. We went to a shop one day together and my sister wanted to have a toy for her. I was penniless and how could I ever buy it for her? I somehow made some excuses, diverted her attention and came out. The pain of my inability to satisfy a simple desire of my loving sister got deeply imprinted in my memory. When I saw this boy and girl, I remembered my childhood. So, I wanted to give the joy of buying a toy for his sister to that boy that I missed as a little boy.”

“But why collect those worthless seashells?”

“You see, as a little boy, he imagines that his seashells are worth like money. He did not want to get the toy for free, but he wanted to “buy” it with his “money” for the sake of his sister. Doesn’t it look very lovable? The boy will grow up and very soon he will understand that his seashells are worthless. Then he would start wondering: ‘Why did the shop owner give the toy for the worthless seashells?’ Then he would understand that I had done it out of compassion. It will make a deep impression in his mind that the world is still a good place, where good and compassionate people are very much around. There is every chance that this boy grows up to be a compassionate person in future”.

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

5.   Compassion, Punya & Selfishness

Amma: Unselfishness is the greatest virtue. Selfishness can potentially take away whatever merits we gain by doing good actions.

Once a there lived a very stingy lady who would not give anything to anyone. If asked for a little money, she would say “Come tomorrow, I don’t have any change” even though she may have plenty of money in her purse.

One day she went to the grocery and vegetable shops, bought a bagful of her cooking needs and was walking home. On her way, a poor man by the side of the road cried ‘Oh mother, I am so hungry; I haven’t eaten in a week. Please give me something.”

He could see the vegetables sticking out of the lady’s bag. Watching his eye movement, the lady grudgingly took out a carrot from the bag and threw at him with great contempt. “Here, take it and leave me alone!” She was such a miser that even parting with one carrot was a painful experience for her.

When she finally died, her soul went to the other world, where she met Lord, Yama, the god of death, who judges every soul to decide where it would end up – in heaven or hell. Yama called his secretory Chitragupta sand said “Pull out her account; did she do any bad actions?”

Chitragupta said, “Did she do any bad actions? That’s all she did all her life!”

“OK. Take her to the hell” Ordered Lord Yama. The lady cried pitiably and begged for mercy.

Lord Yama softened a bit. “Wait. Just check once again, Chitragupta; has she not even done one good action?” 

“Let me take a closer look,” said Chitragupta. Finally he located the incidence when she gave a carrot with contempt to a beggar.

Yama said “Alright; call the carrot here”.

The carrot came and stood in front of the lady.  Yama said to the lady, “Okay, Now catch hold of the carrot. Let us see if it is going to take you to the heaven; that one little good action you did, even though it could be hardly rated as good, is going to take you upward.”

Joyously, the lady caught hold of the carrot and the carrot started lifting upward. She was going up and up and finally she was about to reach the gates of heaven; suddenly she became aware of some heavy sensation at her foot – as if something is catching and hanging from there. She looked below and saw a chain of souls who were hanging on to her, stretching all the way down to hell. This one carrot was able to lift up so many!

Seeing them, she shouted, “Hey, you guys, this is MY carrot! You have no business to come with me. Leave me alone!” At that very moment, the carrot vanished and she went tumbling down to the hell along with all the other souls!

(Amma Friday  Satsang – 08/9/17)

6.  For the sake of others

Once a villager saw an old man at his nineties digging earth and planting saplings, despite all the strains of his advanced age.

Laughingly, the villager asked “What are you doing, grandpa? You are already too old and death may come and take you away at any time. Still you are planting saplings! Do you believe you will live so long to enjoy thre fruits?”

The old man said “No. I have eaten the fruits from the trees that my grandfathers had sown; they did not plant them for their own benefit, but for the benefit of their future generation. I am doing the same thing – let the fruits be enjoyed by my children and grandchildren!”

Amma:  The effect of doing good karma is also like this. The fruits of good deeds done by us will also benefit our children and grandchildren.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

7.  The Dead dog

Amma: For getting the visa of self-realization the passport of selfless service is essential. Only through selfless service one gets the purification of heart which is essential for gaining self-knowledge.

Once in a village there was a large common well. All the villagers use to fetch water from this well for their daily needs. Suddenly, one day, the water started having foul smell. Even after a couple of days, the foul smell remained in the well water. People got worried. They did not know what to do. Some went to the temple and made special prayers and poojas to the deity, praying for purification of water. They brought the sacred water given by the temple priest and poured it in to the well. However nothing changed.  A few people thought that some people antagonistic towards the villagers might have done some black magic to pollute the water. They brought a black magician, asked him to conduct necessary rites and chase away the evil that had befallen on the well. He gave handfuls of sacred ash after doing his rites which was reverently dropped into the well water. Still the water continued to smell foul.

They approached a wise man for advice. He said to them “Better drain out all the old water from the well; when new spring water rises up, the bad smell may go off”. They agreed and arranged to flush out all the stagnant water inside the well. Fresh spring water started rising in the well, yet the bad smell did not go.

They villagers were in a fix. They did not know what to do further. They went to a sage in the nearby village, prostrated before him and explained their problem. The sage asked “Did you find anything at the bottom of the well when you drained out all the water?”

“Yes swamy; there was the carcass of a dead dog at the bottom”

“Did you remove it?”

“No Swamy”

“Ah! That’s your problem! Unless you remove the carcass, how can the water become pure?” said the sage.

Amma:  All of us have a dead dog in our mind that is the cause of impurity in our heart. Only by doing selfless service, the dead dog can be removed so that our mind gets pure.

8.   Success and failure

Amma: Never be afraid of failure. Never laugh at a loser. For a person who failed, we should always give another chance to try and come out successful. Life is not meant just for those succeed; it is for losers too.

A few years ago, a sports competition was held exclusively for physically handicapped and mentally retarded children. There was a running race of 100 meter dash.  All the handicapped participants were ready at the starting line. Once the whistle was blown, all of them started running with enthusiasm. Every child was desirous of getting the first prize; for that purpose, most of them practiced hard over several months. After a few minutes of start of the race, one of the children lost her rhythm and balance and fell down. Unable to bear the shame and pain of falling, the child started crying aloud.

Hearing it all the other running children looked back to see what happened. When they remained confused on what to do, one girl child among them ran back to the fallen child, extended her hand and helped the fallen child to rise up. Then she said in a very consoling voice, “Don’t worry; let us hold our hands together and run together”. Then holding their hands together they started running again. Seeing this, all the other children joined hand to hand and ran together along with these two children.

Seeing this act of magnanimity, the entire audience stood up and clapped hands very enthusiastically. All the children reached the finishing line together.

Amma: Perhaps this may not really be a real life story, yet it contains a great lesson for elders to learn from children. Though seeking success in life is necessary, we should all the same develop a heart for sharing the pain of others’ failures and extending a helping hand for them to attain success in their lives too.

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2017)

9.  The 3 magic words

Amma:  God has created this world and made our living possible by providing every basic thing in the nature for our happy existence. We must have a sense of gratitude for it. What is given to us by nature must be shared with all for the good of all. Unfortunately, man resorts to destroying nature for his own selfish purpose. Only when we have the sense of gratitude for whatever we have received, life is sustained.

Once a sick father lying at his death bed summoned his son and handed over a pouch containing gold coins. He said “Use them wisely. When this pouch gets empty, say the three magic words and the pouch would get filled up again…”

But before he could convey the 3 magic words to his son, he breathed his last.

The son was rather disappointed that he could not get the key words that will ensure constant filling up of his pouch with gold coins forever.  However, he lead a smooth life free from care and worries by selling the gold coins as and when needed and getting enough money through it. Years passed this way.

One day when he needed money for spending for his daily needs, he noticed that just one last gold coin was left in the pouch.

He thought of his father and his statement about the 3 magic words that had the potential to recharge the pouch. He thought: “Alas! It must indeed be God’s wish that I should not turn out to be a greedy and lazy fellow leading an easy life with my father’s money. Let me at least give this last coin to some needy person; let me at least do one good, unselfish act from my father’s gift to me”.

He saw a frail and impoverished person approaching him for alms. He took that gold coin and dropped at the beggar’s hands. The beggar could not believe his eyes! When he was just looking for a rupee or two to buy and eat something to appease his hunger, he had been gifted with a gold coin worth thousands of rupees! With that money, he can spend days and days without begging for alms! Choking with emothion, the begger folded his hands and said, “Thank you, God!”

Instantly, the son noticed that his pouch was filled with gold coins again! He immediately understood that the thee magic words were really “Thank – You – God”

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

10.  On a bitterly cold night

Amma: Religion and spirituality are the keys to open our hearts and see everyone with compassion. But, blinded by our selfishness, our minds have lost their proper judgement and our vision has become distorted. This attitude will only serve to create more darkness. Using the same key meant to open our hearts, our indiscriminate mindset is locking it shut.

There were once four men who had gone to attend a religious conference and had to pass the night together on an island. It was a bitter-cold night. Each traveler carried a matchbox and a small bundle of firewood in his pack, but each one thought that he was the only one who had firewood and matches.

The first man thought, “Judging from the medallion around that man’s neck, I would say he is from some other religion. If I start a fire, he will also benefit from its warmth. Why should I use my wood to warm him?”

The second man thought, “That person is from the country that has always fought against us. I wouldnít dream of using my wood to make him comfortable!”

The third man looked at one of the others and thought, “I know this guy. He belongs to a sect that always creates problems in my religion. Iëm not going to use up my wood for his sake!”

The last man thought, “This guy has a different skin color than mine, and I hate that! There’s no way Iím going to use my wood for him!”

In the end, not one of them was willing to light his wood to warm the others, and so, by morning they all froze to death.

Amma: Similarly, we quarrel in the name of religion, caste, nation, and color, without showing any compassion towards our fellow beings.

(13.7.2004   Amma told this at Parliament of World religions, Barcelona, Spain)

11.  Left behind

[Amma: “If our actions are compassionate, they will have influence on others too”]

Once an old man was eating in a restaurant alone. He was not well. He was shivering uncontrollably and spilled food over his shirt and on the table while eating. Many people sitting around and eating there felt very uneasy and some of them looked at him with contempt.

One young boy came forward; he held the old man’s hand to arrest the shaking. He took the old man to the wash basin and cleaned his dress. He then helped the man to make the payment and leave the restaurant.

Many people were watching the boy extending a helping hand to the old man. As the young boy was about to leave, one of them said, “Young man, have you left anything behind?”. The boy said, “No”.

Then the man said, “No, you have really left two things for us behind — an ‘example’ for the young and a ‘hope’ for the old!”

(Amma’s New year day Satsang 2016)

12. Deserving the gift of an apple from Amma

[Amma narrated this true story connected with the little children in the Ashram in her satsang on 24/12/13 Tuesday]

[Amma: Being in the company of holy helps people to develop noble qualities in them. Satsang is so beneficial.]

Some children in the ashram make small handicrafts like malas, bracelets etc and sell them and give the money for her to use them for a good cause. Once a boy brought some money and gave it to Amma saying that he did not eat icecream for a year and saved the money to give to Ama. Amma felt very happy and gave an apple to the boy as a gift.

His younger sister became jealous of him on seeing this. During her birthday, she too brought some money saved from the pocket money her parents gave to her by not eating icecreams. While giving the money to Amma she confessed that she had felt jealous of er brother when Amma gave him an apple last time. Amma hugged her and said “Why? If you had told me at that time, I could have given an apple for you too!’.

“No Amma, I can’t accept it. Only when I sacrificed my own ice-cream and saved the money to give to you, I too can expect an apple from you”

Amma: See, this is how little children learn values of life by being in the satsang.

13.   The book on Compassion

Once a saint wrote a book titled “Compassion in life”. He wanted to get it published. He sought financial help for it from persons well known to him. They too offered money. When he was about to give it for printing, there came a famine in the country. Several people died out of hunger.

Without a second thought, the saint gave away the money collected for printing the book for preparing food and serving the hungry. Many of those who helped him financially for printing the book did not like his action.They said, “What are you doing? How will you get the money again? Hunger and poverty are common occurrences in the world; life and deaths are happening all over the world all the time; it is not right to spend such a large amount collected for a different purpose for feeding the hungry”.

The saint simply smiled and did not give a reply.

Several months passed; the saint again mada an appeal to his well wishers and followers seeking financial help to print the book again.Though they were reluctant, they nevertheless came forward and donated the needed amount.

The day before he was to give the money to the printer, the town was affected by an unprecedented flood. Hundreds of people perished. Countless people lost their houses and belongings. This time too, the saint gave away the money for flood relieve works. Those who donated money to him did not like his act of charity at all.They spoke critically about it; he patiently listened to them and smiled.

Again months passed. With lots of difficulty, the saint managed to collect the money for printing the book again. This time, he could get the printing done.When the book came out, the donors noticed that it was mentioned as “Third edition” in that book. They were surprised and irked; they asked him “You are a saint and how come you are so blatantly lying that this book is its third edition? Where are the the earlier two editions then? Are you taking us for a ride?”

The saint laughed and said, “Yes; this indeed is the third edition of the book. When the famine came, the first edition of compassion in life came out; when the floods came, the second edition of compassion in life did come out. My dear friends, by reading  a printed book, you only get a bookish knowledge on compassion; the first two editions showed how compassion should be put into practical effect in life. If a living human being is throwing up his hand desperately seeking help from a flooding river and if we are not able to pull him out of the river to the banks, what is the use of writing an eloquent book on compassion?”

(Matruvani – Purattasi – 2008)

14.  The dying mother

Once a military man on duty received a telegram from a hospital in his native place stating that his mother was in death bed and she was longing to see him as her last wish.

The military man obtained permission from his officers to leave immediately and he travelled to his native place without losing time. He rushed to the hospital straight away from the station. The nurse on duty took him immediately to the bed where the old lady was lying. She shook up the patient and shouted loud in her ears, “Wake up, Ma, wake up. Your son has arrived”.

Gradually, the lady became conscious; she slowly opened her eyes and looked around for her son. Her eyesight was blurred. The military man came close to the bed, caught hold of the lady’s hand and said, “Mother, I have arrived; don’t worry; I am here to take care of you; you will get alright soon…”

The old lady shed tears of joy; she kissed his hand and touched his face and head. In a trembling voice, she said, “No my dear son, I will not be alive any more; I am so glad that you have come here to see me before I passed awa; I am so thankful to God…”, so saying she breathed her last.

The doctor came, checked her  and declared her dead. He asked the military man to make arrangements for taking the body to his home and doing the final rites.

The military man said, “I don’t know her home address. Please find it out”.

The doctor and the nurses were surprised to hear it. The man said, “Let me tell you the truth; this lady is not my mother. You seem to have made some mistake somewhere”

“Then why did you behave so far as if you are her son?” they asked.

“I could understand her dire wish to see her son at her last moments; When her senses have almost failed, what is the point in telling her that I am not her son? At least I could give her the joy that her son was back with her at her last moments. Hence I pretended to be her son to give her the peace to breathe her last”

15.   Where is God?

Once a spiritual seeker went everywhere in search of God; he could not find God in any place. Exhausted, he sat down under a tree. He noticed a husband and wife walking happily. Seeing the joy on their faces, the man became curious to find out where they were going.

He followed them.

They went to a colony of lepers. They went from hut to hut, washed and cleaned the lepers’ wounds, wiped them dry and applied medicines on them. The couple also served food that they had brought. They spoke kind words of consolation to the lepers and cheered them up. Seeing these happenings, the seeker of God could not suppress his joy! He shouted exclaiming “I have seen God today!” and walked on the roads happily laughing. People who saw him thought he was mad. They stopped him asked him “Where is God?”

He said, “Where there is compassion, there God is!”

(English Matruvani Sept 2016)

Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  Same roses, but …

[Amma:   In God’s creation, there is perfect harmony and it is the human mind that brings disharmony. People’s different mindsets and emotional surges make them see things differently.

Once, two people visited a rose garden.

Large and beautiful roses were in full bloom there.

When the first person saw the roses,  he was lost in the thoughts of his girlfriend. ‘How nice will it be if I offer this flower to her? How happy will she become?’ With such pappy thoughts he enjoyed the sight of the flowers.

On the other hand, the second person felt very upset upon seeing the roses. He thought, ‘How many such flowers have I offered to my girlfriend? And still she eloped with somebody else!’

He plucked some of the roses and trampled them under his feet, surcharged in anger.

2. Like the patient in ICU…

[Amma:   In order to receive God’s/ Guru’s grace, first of all we should have our own inner grace to become qualified to be the recipient of the grace.  Emotions like anger and hatred prevent us from receiving the grace. Satsang is very valuable. Being in the company of holy kindles noble qualities in us.]

Amma narrated the following real incidence:

Once an American lady devotee of Amma wanted to visit Amritapuri and spend a few days in the company of Amma in the Ashram. She saved money over a couple of years for this purpose and finally made the trip to India and landed in Amritapuri. At the earliest opportunity, she came for Amma’s darshan  and was coming in the queue.

When she reached closer to Amma, Amma could notice that her face looked forlorn; even after getting Amma’s hug (which she was eagerly looking forward to all along) and getting the prasad from Amma’s hands, there  was no joy on her face.

For the next few days, she was coming to Amma and sitting close to her but she continued to remain depressed , sad and pained. Amma asked her why she was so.

The lady replied: “Amma, When I came for darshan after my arrival, as I was coming closer to you I noticed that my neighbor was sitting next to you; Amma, you know pretty well about her; you know how antagonistic she is against me and how much trouble she gave to me in my life; she even filed a legal case against me. I could not tolerate such an evil person sitting close to Amma and enjoying Amma’s company. I felt so angry; I felt angry on Amma too”

Amma advised the lady to get rid of her jealousy and hatred so as to derive the joy of being with Amma. In order to comfort her Amma said to her: “You see, only extremely serious patients are admitted into an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and are kept directly under doctors vigilance and care all the 24 hours.  A patient in the general ward does not require such a constant attention of doctors. Likewise, your neighbor needed an active treatment by Amma. That’s why I kept her close to me”. This statement could console the lady to some extent!

[After narrating this incidence, Amma continued jocularly:  “From now, Ashramites will start talking about those people who are closely around Amma most of the times — ‘They are all like patients in ICU!’ Don’t talk like that! I gave the ICU patient example only for consoling the lady and it is not applicable to all!”]

3.   Delaying the response

Amma: “A physical wound caused by you may heal, but a wound caused by angry words would take quite a long time to heal. One approach to expressing anger could be to treat the target person of your anger as your own child. With our child, even though we may get angry, the anger would not be venomous not would it last long.

“Another approach is to consciously delay our response when we are provoked. Instead of reacting with anger on face, we can write down our feelings and emotions in a piece of paper. That would really prove to be a good emotional outlet for us and we may feel far less relieved by doing so. Once our initial and immediate reaction is curtailed, we get an opportunity to cool down and then review the matter in a more objective manner. At that point of time, we may not really feel the same intensity of anger and we could even appreciate the offender’s action.”

Amma narrated the following story to explain this:

“Once a famous professor gave a lecture at a gathering. The next day, he received a letter from one of his audience. It mentioned that what the professor lectured that day had a few mistakes and adivised the professor to avoid such mistakes in his next lectures.

“The professor became very angry. He felt ‘I am such a knowledgeable and experienced person in this field; I am so much respected and people throng to my lectures to hear what I say; how dare this person find fault with me! What an arrogance! No. I cannot allow this to happen’.

“The professor thought of filing a defamation suite against this person; he even wanted to engage thugs and give a physical beating to that critic!

He took a piece of paper and wrote a very strongly worded reply to the person. Unfortunately, before he could post it, the time for that day’s mail was over. The professor kept that letter beside his bed so that he can remember to post it early next morning.

Next morning, when he woke up, he felt like reading his letter once before posting it. After going through it, the professor felt that the letter was too harsh; he sat down to rewrite it to make it more sober. As he was about to post it, he thought “If my mind could change so much over a day, why not I postpone sending this letter for another day and make a fresh review tomorrow?” He retained the letter on his table.

The next day, the professor re-read the letter that he had received from the critic and also his re-written reply. He now felt “Oh! The mistakes that this person found in my lecture are true indeed; why should I write negatively to him then? I should actually be thankful to him for bringing my slips to my notice”. He sat down to write a fresh letter thanking the person for pointing out his mistakes; he invited the person for lunch in a restaurant as he wished to meet him in person.

The other person obliged. It was actually a woman and as they met and talked to each other they developed liking for each other. Soon, it blossomed into love; the professor proposed to her and she accepted; soon they got married!

4.  Misguided anger -1

Amma: When we truly understand that it is only one Atman that exists and its effulgence shines through all the living beings, then there will not be any reason to hate someone. Many times we may hate others and develop anger on them because of misguided assumptions; when truth dawns, we may realize that how foolish it was to get angry.

Once a boat was travelling fast from east to west in a lake.  Suddenly the boat man noticed that another boat was moving from east to west ahead of him. The movement of the other boat was slow, but it was such that if it did not stop, it would cut into the course of his boat leading to a collision.

The boat man stood up and waved towards the other boat which was at a distance. He did gestures asking the other to stop or turn direction so that collision would not occur. However, nothing happened. The other boat kept moving slowly and steadily towards west. As the boats started nearing each other, the boatman shouted at top of his voice “Hey! Who is there? Don’t you see that you are sailing dangerously close?Listen to me; turn your direction immediately!”

But nothing happened. The boatman became very furious. He started showering abusive and filthy words of curse towards whosoever was on the other boat. At the same time, he did his best to slow down his own boat and just managed to stop the collision. The boats just touched each other. Full of anger the boatman jumped into the other boat, crying “You idiot! Are you blind? Where are you hiding yourself? Come on, I will hit you and kill you right now for having caused such an emergency to my precious boat!”

He searched here and there. He peeped into the other boat’s cabin but no one was really there. Then it dawned to him that the boat had somehow got unleashed from the shore and started sailing and drifting in the lake by the blow of wind. His anger instantly subdued. He started laughing for having shouted so much abusive words towards a non-existing boatman!

5. Misguided anger – 2

[Amma: “Nothing is insignificant in God’s creation. A plane will not fly if the engine is in repair. The plane will not also fly if a small vital screw is missing. This human birth is rare and we should not abuse our body. We should not do- self condemnation and develop a lowly negative opinion about ourselves.”]

Once people from all walks of life visited their king in the palace on his birthday. Every one carried some gift for the king according to their capacity or means. A poor farmer from a nearby village also went to greet the king on his birth day. He carried a basketful of cereals and vegetables that he grew in his land as gift to the king.

The king too was very benevolent.  He made sure that everyone who came to see him was given a gift back. The king was caring enough to give the most appropriate gift to each person based on his need and stature.

The farmer in his heart that if the king could gift him a horse, it would be very beneficial to him.  However, the king presented him with a donkey.

The farmer was very disappointed in receiving the donkey. Several other farmers too received donkeys as gifts.  “What is the use of this slow and sluggish donkey? Now the king has added a burden to me; I have to feed this donkey too now in addition to feeding my family”.

Next day was the weekly market day. He loaded his farm produce over the donkey’s back. He also sat over it. The donkey walked very slowly and the farmer became very impatient. He beat the donkey to move faster. He thought, “If only had the king given me a horse, I would have reached the market by this time”.

When he reached the market, several fellow farmers noticed his donkey. They said “Hey! You have got a nice looking donkey! It looks strong too!”  The former remained nonplussed. “Oh! The king gave me this as gift and I am now burdened. He eats so much and walks so slow. I think I will become bankrupt one day by virtue of feeding him.”

The farmer continued to remain very happy with his donkey.  He did not give enough food to it and soon it started becoming thin and weak.

When it was time to go and sell his produce in the market, the farmer again loaded the donkey with his harvest and also sat over it. The donkey having become very weak could not even move. The farmer got down and started beating the donkey and forced it to move forward. He walked along side, beating and cursing the donkey again and again. Several people who saw him on the way said, “Poor thing! Don’t beat is like this; it will die”. The former replied contemptuously “I will be really happy if he dies.”

Starving and beaten severely, the donkey died one day.  During the next visit to the market, the poor farmer had to carry the entire load of his produce for selling on his head and walk alone. The journey was very tiring. He had to stop in between several times to unburden himself. By the time he reached the market it was past 11 AM. The market normally remained open from 8 AM to 11 AM. So, when he reached there, everyone was already packing off.  He could not sell his produce at all.

Fellow farmers asked him why he was late and what happened to his donkey. He said, “Oh! At last he died saving me from the burden of taking care of him”.  Others said, “But you see, it was helpful to you in previous weeks to bring your produce here and sell them. If you had taken proper care of it, it would have benefited you immensely. All the other farmers who got donkeys as gifts from the king are really making the best use of their donkeys and they are indeed prospering in their lives!”

[Amma:  “In this story, the donkey represents our own body and mental faculty. Any negative self-image and consequent self-hatred and self-condemnation can only lead to more suffering.  God has given us this birth as human being and we should make best use of it and not condemn and abuse it.”]

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

6.  Where is the enjoyment?

Amma:  Peace of mind really means mind not wandering around behind unnecessary things.  It is the nature of mind to wander around with thoughts. By associating ourselves with thoughts like envy, hatred, finding fault, criticizing others and so on that we give strength to evil thoughts and in this process, we lose our peace of mind. Awareness is required to watch our thoughts and arresting them. The bird can fly above our head alright, but we should not allow it to sit on our head and build a nest there!

Once a very rich woman went to attend a famous music concert. The artist was an extremely accomplished and popular. It was not easy to get tickets. She spend quite some money to get a first class ticket so that she can sit in the front row and enjoy the program.

The program was about to start. The rich lady, comfortably seated, looked around to see which are the other VIPs sitting in the first class. Suddenly she was shocked to see there a woman whom she knew of. That woman was from a lowly class and she was the daughter of her erstwhile servant maid. The woman still had impoverished looks and her dress was rather shabby.  Seeing this, the rich lady got mentally disturbed: ‘How come this woman of a low class, the daughter of my servant maid could come to attend to this concert, that too sitting in the first class area which is really meant for rich connoisseurs like me? What a disgrace!’

Such a disturbing thought came rising again and again in her mind.  She would frequently look at the side of the woman and throw a contemptuous look.

Suddenly, she heard a thunderous applause and then playing of National Anthem.  Then only she realized that the concert was over! Her entire mind was so occupied by the negative thoughts about the poor woman throughout the music concert that she could not even enjoy a single moment of it!

(Monday beach Satsang 22/8/2016)

7.  Being in the present

Once a Businessman, whose business was not running profitably was rather mentally disturbed about his status. One evening, he went to a Shopping Mall. He wanted to relax for a while, sat in a restaurant in the mall and ordered an ice cream. As he started eating it, he thought “I have this nagging headache since last night and it is not going away. It must be due to a stomach upset. It must be due to the food I ate last night at a cheap food joint. Perhaps some lizard has fallen into the food or the food had been poisoned by lizard droppings.  That’s why this head ache is not going away…”

Just then he saw a very rich man alighting from a costly foreign car. He was extremely well dressed in suits and was wearing a costly watch and diamond rings. He was going in for shopping.

Seeing him, the business man thought, “Ah! Man! How rich this fellow is! He must be from an aristocratic family and making millions! See my condition. Right from childhood, I suffered in poverty; my parents did not bequeath me any money or property. I struggled hard all my life and my business is now in bad shape. I am really worried as to where I will end up tomorrow. When will I make enough money? Will I ever be able to become a rich man like this fellow?”

Thus his mind was crowded with thoughts of the past and the future. Suddenly he noticed that the ice-cream cup was empty. He realized that he had eaten it up without enjoying even a spoonful of it!

Amma:  We should learn to live in the present and enjoy what we have in hand. Lamenting about the past or worrying about the future will not in any way help to change the present moment.

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

8.  Don’t try to escape from unpleasant situations!

Amma: Acceptance is an important qualification that a Spiritual aspirant has to develop. Do not try to escape from unpleasant situations; you may end up with more difficulty than what you would have escaped!

Once a person relaxing at home got a phone call from one of his relatives. The caller was a retired Colonel in the army, who said that he was on his way to meet him at home for a chitchat; the colonel was a very boring person, who would reel out his past war experiences for hours if he caught hold of a hapless listener. Since this person had already heard the colonel’s stories umpteen times in the past, he was in no mood to meet the visitor and waste his time listening to him.

He thought “Let me escape from the colonel this time. It is better I sneak out from the back door of my house and take the shortcut to reach the main road so that I need not encounter him”.  Unfortunately, while he was going through the shortcut, the colonel was too coming to his house through the short cut. Seeing him, the colonel greeted “Oh! Good after noon! It is so nice of you to come all the way to receive me en route! Okay let us walk further and I can narrate to you some of my life experiences during war time….”

The man had no alternative but to smile sheepishly and walk along. He thought, ‘The sun is very hot today and there is no shade nearby. In my hurry to escape from him, I forgot to take the umbrella too. If I had patiently stayed at home, at least we will be under a shade. I am feeling very thirsty. At home, I could have had a glass of water or soft drink from the fridge to appease my thirst. Now I have to walk in this hot sun listening to these stories; Had I been at home, at least I could have relaxed in the sofa and pretend to listen to his stories and diverted my mind elsewhere. Now I have to suffer doubly on account of my foolish impulse to escape from this colonel!’

(Friday Satsang 04/08/2017)

9. Consoling others

Once a lady came to know that the husband of a woman in the neighboring house died. She heard wailing and crying from the adjacent house. She went to the house, sat close to the woman who lost her husband and started consoling her. The widowed woman was crying uncontrollably.  The lady, in a very dignified tone, started consoling the grieving woman saying, “Please gather yourself; What is born has to die one day. That is the law of nature. You know, the physical body made of five elements only perishes and the Atman that reside inside is indestructible; Atman is never born nor will die”. The widowed woman listened to these words of wisdom from Vedanta and to a little extent it helped her to gather herself.

After a couple of months, the lady’s husband fell sick and died unexpectedly. She started crying so loud that the entire people in the street gathered into her house. Now the widowed neighboring woman came and sat adjacent to the wailing lady. She said, “Madam, while I am sorry that you lost your husband, I am rather surprised to see you crying so loud; hardly a few months back when my husband died, you taught me so much Vedanta about Atman being imperishable and that only the body dies! How come you are so much immersed in grief now?”

Pat came the lady’s reply: “That day, it was YOUR husband who died. Today, it is MY husband”.

Amma:  It is the attachment to me and mine that causes grief.

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

10. Showing anger or getting things done – Which is better?

Amma:  It is the nature of life that things are bound to happen contrary to our expectations or liking.  Most of us will get very unhappy at such a situation. We will lose our self-control and show our displeasure to others around us. It will only result in others, who are normally nice to people, to react adversely towards us on account of our behavior.

In an airport, the time came for a plane bound for New York to depart. People were waiting impatiently in a queue in order to board the plane. Suddenly an announcement came in the airport speakers: “The 10AM flight scheduled for New York gets cancelled due to an unforeseen problem in the engine; we regret for the inconvenience caused to the passengers…..”

Hearing it, there was lot of commotion amidst the passengers waiting in the queue. A businessman who was to travel in the flight got very agitated. he rushed to the Service Counter and started shouting at the person manning the counter: “Hello, do you know that I will be losing millions of dollars worth of business if I am not going to be present in the meeting scheduled for tomorrow at New York? Who will compensate me for this loss? I am going to sue you and your Air Service for a huge sum for having cancelled this flight at the last minute.We will meet in the court; Okay?”

The counter staff tried his best to give some reply politely to this angry businessman, but he was in no mood to listen. He shouted “No; no. I don’t want any explanation. Do you know who I am? I am not going to stop till I get you removed from this post”. He banged the counter table with his fist and then stormed out.

The next person standing in the counter then approached the counter staff with a smiling face. “Good evening! Sorry to trouble you amidst all the tension you are facing now. Ca you do me a small favor? There is really an urgent need for me to attend a crucial meeting at New York tomorrow. I will be extremely thankful if you could suggest me some alternative travel plan so that I somehow reach New York before tomorrow morning”.

The counter clerk looked into his computer and said “There is just one seat available in a flight going to Washington scheduled to start in the next 30 minutes. If you take it, there is a connecting flight to New York at 5 AM tomorrow morning”.

“Oh! Wonderful! Will you please book that seat for me? I am extremely thankful for this gesture. I will not forget this help from you in my lifetime” said the passenger.

The fact is that both the travellers were scheduled to attend the same meeting. Due to the impatience and anger of the first passenger, he lost the opportunity to make the journey; on the other hand, the second traveller could get a seat in the alternative flight only because he was patient and spoke nicely with the counter clerk thereby creating positive vibes in the clerk to extend a timely help to him.

Amma: It is the capacity to keep mental balance and face the situations with equanimity that is far more important than our brilliance or abilities  in bringing success in our life always.

11.  The count of nails

Once there was an Ashram where lots of people visited daily. There was a Brahmachari living there as an inmate, who was well known for his short tempered-ness. The responsibilty of handling the reception of visitors to the ashram had been given to him. He used to get irritated and angry with visitors even on petty matters.

The Guru was aware of this weakness of the disciple. He thought of an idea to change this behavior of short tempered-ness from the disciple. He called the disciples and handed over to him a packet of nails. He said, “Each time you get angry with any visitor, you must immediately strike a nail on the trunk of the banyan tree at the front of the Ashram; at each night you should count how many nails you have inserted there on that day”. The disciple agreed.

From the next day, the disciple started striking one nail at each time he got angry with visitors.At the end of the day, when he counted, there were some two hundred nails. There were about thousand visitors to the ashram that day and the disciple had behaved angrily with some two hundred of them! The disciple felt bad about his weakness. The next day, the disciple tried his best to control his anger; that night, when he counted the nails he had inserted that day, the count was a hundred and fifty.

Gradually, day by day, there was perceptible improvement in the disciple’s behavior. Over a period of time, there were days when not even a single nail was striken on the trunk of the tree!

The disciple went to the Guru, reported the status and asked, “Maharaj, what should I do hereafter?”

“That’s good. Just because you developed awareness about your weakness and behaved with self control, you could bring about such a change in your behavior. Now start doing this. At each instance when you consciously control your anger, go and pluck out one nail each from the tree’s trunk and take a count”.

From the next day onwards, on each time anger rose up in his mind and he succeeded in controlling it,  he ran to the Banyan tree and pulled out one nail.

After several days, the disciple noticed that he had plucked out all the nails from the tree’s trunk! He felt happy that he had attained full success in controlling his mind from anger. He went to the guru and reported the matter, “Guruji, Nowadays, I don’t get angry on anyone; whenever anger rises up in my mind, I am able to watch it myself. I am able to smile and laugh with people and deal with them very friendly nowadays; because of it, I am able to enjoy peace of mind”.

The guru took the disciple along with him and went to the banyan tree. He pointed out the trunk to the disciple and said, “My son, just look closely at the trunk; even after removing the nails, don’t you notice the tiny hole marks that were caused by the striking of the nails on to the trunk? Likewise, in the minds of all the people on whom you had expressed anger, you would have created a wound. Even if those woulds got dried over time, the marks, the impressions of them would not go easily and remain for a long time. A wound caused by a sharp knife can get healed, but not the wounds caused by sharp words. The hurt of those sharp, angry words would keep lingering in them for quite long. That’s why, we should be extremely careful in uttering every word towards others”.

[Amma: “In our life, knowingly or unknowingly, we cause hurt in the heart of other people through our actions and words. There is no way to turn back the time and cancel what we did in the past.Whatever we do out of carelessness and egotism cause pain and sorrow to others as well as to us. That’s why it is very important to develop discrimination in out minds. When selfishness and ego rise up their ugly heads inside us, we should consciously control our minds. Only the person who does every activity wakefully and carefully will be able to enjoy peace and happiness in life”.]

(Tamil Matruvani May 2017)

12.  Buying free!

[Amma: “If somebody abuses you, you must laugh knowing that it is their mental vasanas (inbuilt tendencies) that come out this way. Actually, you should appreciate them. You should try not to utter anything against them. You should also try to develop an attitude of not nurturing hatred or negative thoughts about them. Only if you don’t react to their anger, you can go deeper inside yourself”.]

Once a guru advised his student to practice self-restraint for three years. He told him that he should not react to anyone who insult him. Further he should give some money to the person who abuses him.

The disciple followed this advice in letter and spirit. Whenever he received insult or abuse or angry verbal deluge, he was paying money to the person who did it.

After practicing this discipline for three years, he came back and fell at the feet of his guru.

The guru felt very pleased with his disciple. He said, “Now you can go to the World of Wisdom and attain spiritual knowledge”. The disciple left and reached the entrance of the ‘World of Wisdom’. An old wise man was guarding the gate. He had the habit of scolding anyone who attempted to pass through the gate. As the disciple attempt to enter into the gate, the Old wise man started abusing him in a verbal tirade. Hearing it, the disciple laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” asked the old man.

“Actually, for the past three years, I had to pay money to those who abused me, as per the instructions given by my guru. From today, my guru has freed me from this commitment and you are giving me your abuses free of cost! When I thought about it, I could not control my laugh!”

The wise man too laughed along with him and said, “I can now permit you inside. You are quite fit enough to enter the World of Wisdom!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6  Tamil)

13. Belated Remorse

Once a person bought a new car. He was so proud of it and was extremely possessive about it.  One day, as he went to the garage to take his car, he was shocked to see his little son playing with a hammer there. His son was breaking the car’s glasses and also denting its surface with the hammer as a matter of child play.

The man felt extremely outraged to see his brand new car getting damaged right in front of his eyes. He rushed towards his little boy, grabbed him and pushed him forcefully away in uncontrollable anger. The boy fell over a lafe stone and his fingers got crushed between the stone and the hammer in his hand.  The boy started crying aloud in pain and was bleeding profusely from his hand.

The father was rattled to see this happening. He immediately took the son to the hospital. The son was rushed to the operation theater.

After a long, tension filled wait, the doctor came out and said, “The impact on his fingers was so strong that the bones have crushed considerably. We had no option but to remove three fingers from his hand. Sorry about that”.

The man cried uncontrollably. After the boy was shifted to bed, the man sat beside his son and kept crying. The boy hugged his father and said, “Papa! I am extremely sorry that I damaged the car. Please don’t feel bad; You can get it repaired, no?”. Then looking at his bandaged hand, he asked innocently, “How long will it take for my fingers to grow again, Dad?

[Amma: “There are certain things in life that can be set right. But damage caused to others through expression of anger is extremely difficult to set right”.]

 

14. Handling Anger

[Amma narrated a real life story about an ashramite in one of her satsangs as below:]

One day, a group of Ashramites came and met Amma to complain about a western woman who too was a resident of the Ashram. “Amma, this woman is extremely rude with others; she has uncontrollable anger and at times she hits other people too. None of us could bear with her severe mood swings. We just cannot work with her any more; Amma, we request you to send her out of the Ashram”.

Amma called the western woman right away and said to her, “Why do you behave so angrily with others? Don’t you know that this Ashram is supposed to be a place for peace and dedicated seva? What is troubling you?”

The woman said, “Amma, I am unable to control my anger because of an incidence that happened in my young age. My father and mother had an abusive relationship. My father was an extremely angry person; One day, out of rage, he shot my mother right in front of my eyes and killed her. I swooned and I was then admitted in the hospital. On account of this incidence, I became very depressed and had to be on medication.  I underwent a very tough life of growing up afterward. I have been in constant mental turmoil; I could not love any person; I have absolutely no desire to live. In fact, only after seeing Amma, I saw some meaning in living. If Amma too abandons me, I will simply commit suicide”.

She narrated all these in front of those who complained about her. Hearing this, all of them were in tears and they agreed to bear with her somehow or other so that she can continue to live in Ashram. Amma said to her, “My daughter, you have seen the evil effect of your father’s anger and how it has damaged others’ lives. Should you not learn a lesson from his life and correct your fault? What is the point in living a similar life like your father by hating others and behaving angrily with others? Don’t you think you have to change your attitude to get peace in life?”

The woman listened to it patiently. She said, “Amma, I will try my best to correct myself”.

[After narrating this incidence, Amma added that over a period of time, a slow but gradual change in behavior is taking place in that woman.]

15.  Medicine for curing anger

Once a woman was talking to her friend. “Practically every day when my husband returns from office, invariably, we get into some argument and fighting.  Is there any way I can avoid it?”

Her friend said, “Don’t worry. I have a medicine for it. When the husband returns from office and starts any argument with you, you have to take a mouthful of this medicine and retain it in your mouth without swallowing. That’s all”. After giving this instruction, she gave a bottle of the medicine to her friend.

That evening, after her husband returned from office and started an irritating issue to argue with her, she immediately took a mouthful of the medicine and retained it in her mouth. After a while, the husband became peaceful. She then swallowed the medicine and proceeded with her chores.

For next couple of days, she did the same thing. It was really a wonder. She went to meet her friend and said, “What a wonderful medicine you have given! For the past few days after I started taking this medicine regularly, there has been no fight between us! If you can tell me the ingredients of this medicine, I will prepare it at my home myself”.

Her friend said, “Sure I will. But wait for 6 months”.

Six months passed. There was no longer any fight between the couples in those days. Peace and mutual love returned in them. The woman happened to meet her friend again and shared the good news to her.

This time the friend said, “It is now the time for me to reveal the secret of the medicine. It is just plain water with no ingredients! When you took this water-medicine in your mouth and retained it, you were unable to talk. Since there was no counter argument, your husband too became peaceful. Since your husband became cool, your anger too got subsided. That is the secret!”

[Amma: “When we get angry, we should not speak whatever that comes in our mouth.  We should not  go about implementing any decision that we take when we are in the grip of anger. Anger is like a wound in our mind. We should give time for it to dry.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

[To continue reading  little stories of Amma under the same topic, you can proceed to:  Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 2 ]

Amma Tells stories from Itihasas & Puranas – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  Effect of Bad Company

[Amma: “Satsang (company with the holy)  is very important for us to develop the right mental attitude and to get awareness about what is right and what is wrong.  We should shun bad company. ] 

In the story of Ramayana, when the King Dasaratha took a decision to coronate Rama (his eldest son, born to his first wife Kausalya) as the king, a servant maid brought this news  to Kaikeyi, the third wife of Dasaratha.

At that time, Kaikeyi was in possession of such a good heart that she rewarded the servant maid with a diamond necklace when the maid brought the news. 

But Mandhara, the hunch-backed old servant maid of Kaikeyi, who was full of evil mindset was not happy to hear the news.   Mandhara stated giving evil counsel to Kaikeyi.  She said that once Rama became a king, he would not respect Kaikeyi;  that Kaikeyi’s own son Bharata would virtually become a servant of Rama and he would have no stakes to the kingdom; that Kausalya would become too proud and would not hesitate to humiliate Kaikeyi. All these evil counsel drilled into Kaikeyi’s ears by Mandhara finally made Kaikeyi to turn totally negative towards Rama.

Kaikeyi  made use of the promise of two boons offered to her long back  by Dasaratha at the present juncture and succeeded in forcing her husband Dasaratha to send Rama on exile to forest for 14 years and make her son Bharata as the King of Ayodhya.

That is the power of evil company.

2.  Rama – Hanuman war!

[Amma: “The mind is like a monkey. Like the monkey keeps jumping from branch to branch, the mind also keeps jumping from thought to thought. However, even the monkey-mind can be tamed through total surrender to God. Hanuman’s life exemplifies this. How, even in an extremely bizarre situation, this surrender can come to one’s rescue is understood through the following story of how Hanuman had to wage a war against his beloved God Rama.”]

Once a Rishi was doing his morning by standing in waist deep water in a river and was making his offering to God by taking palms full of water and rising his hand up. At that moment, a Gandharva (a celestial being) was flying over his head in the sky. Goaded by a sudden impulsive thought of mischief-making, the gandharva spat on the handful of water and flew away laughing.

The Rishi was very upset. He felt extremely angry over the gandharva for his objectionable act. He went to Lord Rama who was ruling Ayodhya and requested for punishing the gadharva. Sri Rama agreed to punish the Gadharva. He set out for waging a war with him.

In the meanwhile, the Gandharva, belatedly realizing that he had done wrong, sensed that he would have to face the wrath of the angry Rishi. He thought he needed protection from somebody very powerful. He went and surrendered to Anjana, the mother of Hanuman. Through his smart and persuasive  talking, he managed to get a promise from Anjana to get the support of Hanuman to protect him in case of any danger. Hanuman could not refuse to heed to his mother, as she had already given her promise to the Gandharva. He promised to protect the Gandharva in case he faced any threat from the Rishi.

When Rama came fully armed to attack the Gadharva, the later came running to Hanuman to seek his protection. Hanuman asked Gandharva to hide behind his body, and stood up fully charged to face the attacker. When he saw Rama as his adversity, he was totally taken aback. How could he fight with his own beloved master? At the same time, how could he go back on his word of promise?

Hanuman stood boldly in front of Lord Rama, fully determined to protect the Gandharva. When Rama asked Hanuman to handover the Gandharva, Hanuman politely refused, citing his promise. Rame had no option but to wage a war against his dearest devotee Hanuman. Rama took his bow and started shooting arrows against Hauman. Hanuman stood like a rock, with folded hands, chanting “Rama, Rama, Rama….” All the arrows that came to attack Hanuman took a U-turn, returned to Lord Rama, turned to flowers and fell at his feet!

Thus Rama stood there helplessly, overwhelmed by Hanuman’s staunch devotion to Him. Seeing this wonderful display of Hanuman’s determination coupled with devotion and the divine relationship that existed between Rama and hanuman, the Rishi decided to withdraw his request to Rama to punish the gandharva. The Gandharva too fell at the feet of the rishi and sought his pardon.

Amma: In a Sanskrit verse, Hanuman explains his relationship with Rama thus: “In the plane of duality, Rama is my master and I am his servant. When I am turned inward, Rama is the soul of my soul. In the plane of non-duality, I and Rama are one”.

(Tuesday Satsang 01.08.17)

3.   True study

Amma: The purpose of any learning must be to put them into practice in life.

When Pandavas and Kauravas were young, they were studying together in gurukulam, under the tutelage of Dronacharya.  Dronacharya taught them various dharma in addition to use of weapons. After giving them lessons for a while, he asked the disciples to study all the chapters he had taught so far well. The first chapter was on Kshama (Patience). After a few days, he asked Duryodhana the senior most boy of Kaurava whether he has studied the all chapters fully. Duryodhana said, “Yes master, I have studied it” and he recited them well. Others too could recite the lessons correctly.

When the turn of Yudhishthira came, he could recite just the first chapter well and then said “Master, so far I have studied the first chapter to a fair extent and as for the second chapter, I have not studied even that much as the first chapter ”. The Guru felt exasperated. Being a strict disciplinarian, Dronacharya picked up a stick and beat Yudhisthira strongly, saying “When Duryodhana can study all the chapters, why you have studied only two, that too the second chapter only partially? It means you are lazy and not serious in your studies. This is not good; I can’t accept it”. He beat him a couple of more times.

Yudhishthira with his face down,  was accepting all the beating without reacting.   After a while, Dronacharya felt bad for having beaten Yudhishthira who was a very nice and obedient boy.  He said, “I am really amazed to see your patience and forbearance, my son! You are a prince and you could have easily commanded some of your guards to stop me from beating you. Did you not get angry when I beat you so hard?”

Yudhishthira said, “Sir, actually, to tell you the truth,  I felt a bit angry when you beat me, but somehow managed to control my anger”

When he was saying it, the Guru’s eyes fell on the bunch of palm leaves that contained the lessons in the hands of Yudhishthira. The first chapter was titled  “Kshama” (Patience) and the first line in it was “You should be patient at all circumstances”.  In the second chapter titled “Truth”, the first line was, “You must always speak truth”.

Tears started flowing from Guru’s eyes. He held the hands of Yudhishthira and said, “You are indeed such a great person, Yudhishthira! Even I have not yet mastered the first chapter! How angry I became and hit you with the stick when you told me the truth! Indeed you have also mastered the second chapter too!”

(Tuesday Satsang 15.8.17 / Oliyai Nokki – Tamil -Part 2)

4.   To speak or not to speak truth

Amma: People from different countries with different cultural background come to Amma. Each country has its own dharma and laws; people of different countries have different samskaras. What Amma speaks in general are all based on what is followed in Sanatana dharma. When Amma is asked questions about what is right and wrong on certain social practices, Amma cannot openly say something that might be against the sentiments of people of other countries and origins. Amma will not thrust her view on others. Sometimes Amma feels herself to be in the situation of Sathyaavratha in the following story:

Once a king was ruling his country righteously and all his subjects lived happily under his rule. However the kind did not have any offspring to rule the country after his time; hence, desirous of continuing with his progeny, the king conducted yagnya (fire sacrifice) to pray to celestial Gods to bless him with a child. At the end of the ceremony, the king heard a divine voice that told him that as per destiny, the king was not supposed to have issues, but if he so wished, a male child would be born and he would grow up to be a rogue and an antisocial element in future.

Despite this warning, the king could not contain his desire for having a child and the wish was granted. Soon a male child was born to the queen. As the boy grew up, it turned out as predicted – the boy developed all undesirable habits and was utterly uncontrollable. He stole, did antisocial activities and committed murders. Every one hated him.  Since he was the prince, many people had to tolerate his atrocities. The king was exasperated with his behavior and he distanced himself from his son.

Only his mother was showing consideration for her son and all her efforts to advise him and bring him to the righteous path failed. At last, due to mounting complaints from the public, the king finally decided to excommunicate him from his country. As per king’s orders, the soldiers took him and discarded him in a wild forest.

The youngster roamed around the forest alone and he had to suffer from hunger. His life was extremely difficult as he had to protect himself from the wild animals and survive against all odds. Gradually he realized that all his suffering was due to his own making. He took a resolve to turn a new leaf; he took a vow that he would only speak truth for the rest of his life and spend his life in austerities to realize god.

Forest dwellers and hunters soon came to know of him and they found him to be a very nice person, always speaking truth and engaged in spiritual practices and following austerities. They named him Satyavratha.

Sayavratha built a hut for him inside the forest and was mostly seated there engrossed in meditation.  One day, a hunter was chasing a deer and he hit it with an arrow. The wounded animal came running and entered into Satyavatha’s hut to hide itself. Satyavratha saw the deer and he took pity on it. He wanted to protect it. Soon the hunter, following the trail of blood drops cane near Satyavratha’s hut.

Seeing Satyavratha standing outside the hut, the hunter asked “Has the deer that I shot with an arrow come here?”

Satyavratha kept quiet. The hunter asked again “Sir, please tell me the truth. I am a hunter and this deer is my food. I don’t know any other means to appease my hunger; please tell me where my deer is”.

Satyavratha was in a fix. On account of his change of heart and new way of life, he had become very compassionate towards all living beings. He felt that the deer, by entering into his hut, had sought his protection and it won’t be his dharma to allow it to be taken away by the hunter for his food. At the same time, due to his vow of speaking truth always, he could not tell a lie to the hunter too. He immediately closed his eyes and prayed to divine mother to help him in that tight situation. Divine mother’s grace came to him in the form of a sloka that Satyavratha uttered involuntarily: “What is said is not the truth and what is truth is not said”. Having said this, Satyavratha closed his eyes and went into meditation.

Hearing this, the hunter got confused. He was not sure whether the deer was there or not. He hesitantly left the place.

Amma: Sometimes Amma has to say something vaguely like Satyavratha so as not to hurt the sentiments of different people who come here!

(Friday  Satsang 18.8.17)

5.  God is closest

Amma: When feelings of me and mine are totally left and when one depends totally on God’s grace, God, who is present as indweller inside us showers us with grace.

In the court of Dridrashtra, Draupathi was forcefully brought after the Pandavas lost everything they possessed and owned to Duriyodhana in the game of dice, Duriyodhana ordered hie brother Duschathana to disrobe Draupati.  None of her 5 husbands could come to her rescue. Elders like Bhishma, Dridrashtra and Drona were sitting as mere witnesses, unable to stop the atrocity.

When Duschathana started to disrobe her by pulling her saree, Draupathi cried aloud for help tightly holding her saree over her chest. She understood that only Lord Krishna (who was then in the city of Dwaraka far away from Hasthinapuram) . She threw up her one hand skyward and cried “Oh Dwarakanatha, please come to my rescue”, holding her saree with one hand over her chest. Lord Krishna did not come.

Helpless and with total surrender she cried “Oh Krishna, my Hridaya natha (my indweller in heart), please save me from this humiliation”. She threw up both her hands skyward and prayed.

Instantly, her saree started growing. However much Duschasana pulled her saree, the saree kept on growing and he could not succeed in his effort to disrobe Draupati.

When Pandavas subsequently were living in the forest, lord Krishna visited them. At that time Draupati asked Krishna “My lord, when I cried out for you why did not come immediately for help? Why did you delay, causing me so much agony?”

Lord Krishna replied smilingly, “You thought that I was far away at Dwaraka by crying out “Oh Dwarakanatha”; Will it not take time for me to come all the way from Dwaraka? Further, you were in any case holding tight your saree with your hand, thus trying to protect yourself with your own effort. But when you called me out saying Hridayanatha by throwing out both your hands, I was just closeby at your heart to hear it and could offer instant help!”

(Tuesday Satsang 15.8.17)

6.  Effort should be put

Amma: One has necessarily put one’s best efforts without having attachment towards the results. Even Lord Krishna, who was the knower of past present and future did never shy away from making efforts knowing pretty well that his efforts would only be futile.

When all efforts of Lord Krishna to negotiate with Kauravas to get Pandavas their rightful share of land failed, the war became inevitable. Both the parties started seeking supports of various kings to take part in the war at their side.  

Krishna knew well that Karna (who was the king of the country Angha) had an unshakable loyalty towards Duryodhana; Krishna knew that Karna was a very powerful warrior and if at all he could be made to disassociate with Kauravas, it could be very advantageous for the victory of Pandavas.

Krishna wanted to make an effort to speak to Karna and appeal to him to switch sides. As the all-knowing Krishna was aware that Karna was the eldest son of Kunti (the mother of pandavas); Karna was abandoned by Kunthi immediately after his birth as he was born of her association with Sun God due to her childish act to test a boon she had received from a saint.

Krishna knew that Karna was indeed a great valor and had all the potential to oppose the mighty Arjuna; he had obtained a few divine missiles that could potentially cause grave threat to Pandava’s success in the war.

Krishna felt that by virtue of being the eldest brother of Pandavas, Karna too deserved some protection from getting annihilated in the war.

So, Krishna went to meet Karna. He explained to him about his birth and the fact that he was the eldest brother of Pandavas. He emphasized the need to be on the side of dharma and pointed out the evils ahead of him on account of his association with the unrighteous Duryodhana and his brothers.  He also offered him kingship of Hastinapur (instead of Yudhishthira) once Pandavas succeed in the war, which was sure to happen.

However, as Karna’s loyalty towards Duryodhana and enmity against Pandavas were so strong that he rejected Krishna’s proposals.

Lord Krishna later said “It is not that I didn’t know Karna would surely reject my proposals. However, it is my duty to make every effort to wean Karna from the association of the evil Kauravas and give him a chance to mend his ways and turn to the side of dharma.”

7.  What we speak and do have their repercussions

[Amma: Awareness is very important in facing life and its experiences.What we speak and do have their repercussions; hence we have to be very watchful].

In Mahabharata, the Kauravas came to Indraprastha, the newly built capital of Pandavas’ kingdom. Pandava’s palace had been a creation of the celestial Architect Mayan and it was a wonderful and magnificent creation, containing many intricacies and magical beauties.

In some places, the flooring looked as if it is a pond containing water. In some places, what looked like a floor was actually a pool of water! The surroundings looked as if they were creations of a dream.

Lead by their elder brother Duryodhana, the hundred Kauravas were walking around the palace wonderstruck by its grandiose.At one place near the flower garden, they saw what looked like a swimming pool. When they readied themselves to jump into it learned to their surprise that it was just a flooring and no water was there.

They walked further to a place where there was really a swimming pool that looked like normal floor. They fell into it and got drenched. Watching them from the upper quarters and seeing their predicament, Panchali, wife of the five pandavas laughed loud.  Hearing her laugh and looking up, the Kauravas felt very ashamed and humiliated. Their heart filled with rage as they thought that Pandavas had intentionally invited them to show all their grandior and make fun of them and humiliate them.

These happenings added fuel to their envy and anger burning deep in their hearts against the Pandavas. Thus the laugh of Draupadi in a way lead to the Mahabharata war and caused unsurpassed destruction at the end.

8.  Fruits of Karma and surrender

[Amma: “While the effects of past karma are bound to come back to you as fate, it is not the one cannot do anything about it. Instead of being proud of your strengths and capabilities, you should rather humbly surrender to God and seek His grace to face the effects of karma. Only by surrendering to God, you can get His protection. Surrender is nothing but humility and faithful devotion. When you humbly fall at the feet of God, the effect of your karmas would not attack you easily. Humble surrender is the only way to escape from Karma’s reactions”].

Amma will tell you two incidences from Krishna Avatar to highlight this point. Both the incidences took place during Kurukshetra war.

When Dronacharya, the teacher of Archery to Pandavas and Kauravas was slain in the war, his son Ashwatthama became extremely angry. For having killed his father by treachery, he wanted to annihilate the pandavas. He had the powerful Narayana Astra with him that he launched against the Pandavas.

Narayana Astra was extremely lethal. Spitting fire, it came across the sky, producing multiple weapons on its way. The weapons killed thousands of soldiers on its way and the missile was advancing towards the Pandavas.

Lord Krishna knew how to tackle Narayana Astra. He ordered Pandavas and their soldiers to drop all their weapons and prostrate on the ground. The nature of Naryana Astra was that it would not kill those who surrender to it.

But Bhima was very proud of his prowess and felt it was infra dig for him to drop his weapons and surrender before the enemies weapon. He wanted to fight it out with his astras. Instead of heeding to Krishna’s advice, he stood straight and started verbally abusing Ashwatthama. The astra approached fast towards him showering fire all around.

Sensing the danger that Bhima was facing, Krishna and Arjuna rushed towards him and pleaded to him again and again to drop his weapons and surrender, but Bhima would not listen.

Finally, with no other alternative left, Krishna and Arjuna forcefully stripped Bhima of his weapons and pushed him to the ground. The Narayana Astra retracted without attacking Bhima.

[Amma: “Children, in this story, the Narayana astra represents the fruits of our actions; even great warriors like Bhima cannot escape its attack. Only by surrendering one can really escape. It was lord Krishna’s intervention that protected Bhima from destruction and his pride and power could not come to his rescue. It is by obeying the Guru and God that one can get protection from the evil force of fate.”]

The second incidence in Kurukshetra war is the head-on fight between Arjuna and Karna.

Karna, at a crucial time of the fight, was having an upper hand over Arjuna. With an intention of chopping off Arjuna’s head, Karna sent out his powerful Shakti missile. Lord Krishna, who was the charioteer of Arjuna noticed it.  In order to save Arjuna, Krishna pressed the footboard of the chariot with his toe. Unable to withstand this pressure, the horses kneeled down and the the wheels of the chariot too dug into the earth. The arrow that was aimed at Arjuna’s neck now hit Arjuna’s crown and took it away instead of Arjuna’s head.

[Amma: “Children, there are several things to be learned from this story.  First of all, God Himself was Arjuna’s charioteer. It happened so because Arjuna was full of faith and surrender to Lord Krishna. Earlier, before the commencement of war, Krishna offered his army on one side and Himself  without taking up arms on the other side, leaving Arjuna and Duryodhana to make their choice. Arjuna was given the first opportunity. He immediately chose Lord Krishna to be on his side. It was such a trust and surrender that made him a true recipient of God’s grace. It was this grace that protected him against Karna’s shakti astra.

Further, Arjuna was a great warrior, but he was not as fierce as karna. Arjuna represents human effort where as Karna represents fruit of Karma. Arjuna (human effort) alone cannot protect himself from Karna (fate) without Krishna’s (God’s) grace”.]

9.   Put your effort, grace will come

[Amma: “In  one’s spiritual sadhana, every little effort helps to get closer to the goal and become recipient of divine grace”]

When Lord Rama was building a bridge across the seas to go to Lanka for rescuing Sita,  a squirrel wanted to contribute to the holy mission in whatever way it could do. He dipped himself in sea water to make his body wet, rolled over the sand and then shook his body at the construction area to deposit whatever sand sticking to his body. He kept on doing it again and again.

Lord Rama noticed what the squirrel was doing. Out of deep compassion, he took the squirrel in his hands and ran his three fingers affectionately on its back. The legend goes that this caused the three patches on the squirrel’s body and by this show of his love for the effort the squirrel put for a good cause, the entire future generations of the squirrels got the three-line marks on their bodies.

10.  The story of Valmiki before he became a saint

Valmiki Rishi, who wrote the Itihas Ramayana was a dacoit in his previous life before he became a saint.  His name was Ratnakaran. He was a forest dweller.

He used to way-lid people travelling across the forest paths and take away all their possessions at knife point. He had no qualms about wounding or even killing people.

One day a group of travellers including a few sadhus were travelling across the forest. Ratnakaran stopped them on the way and threatened to kill them if they did not part with all their possessions. The sadhus, who were not afraid of such a fiery dacoit, spoke to him softly: “Why are you doing such a heinous crime? Don’t you know that stealing and killing people would get you sin and you will have to suffer its evil consequences in future?”

Showing some respect to the sadhus, Ratnakaran said, “What to do? This is the profession I know; I have my family to feed and take care of; this is what I have been doing all along to for the sake of my family.”

The sadhus said, “If your family members are being benefited all along by the earnings you bring by robbery, will they be sharing the punishment of your sins too in future? Will they take up your sins and save you?”

Ratnakaran was confused. He did not know what to reply. The sadhus said, “Please do one thing; before taking away all the possessions of these people, you go back to your family and check with them whether they are willing to take up your sins too; we will wait for you till you come back and tell us their response. Don’t worry; we are sadhus and we will keep our word. We will not run away from here, but wait till you return”.

Ratnakaran agreed. He rushed to his home and told his family members what happened. He asked: “Will you not share the punishments for my sins too, since I have been doing the crime of stealing and killing people as part of my dacoity?”

His parents, wife and children — all said: “No, no! Why should we share your sins? Did we ever tell you that you should feed us only by engaging in dacoity? As a householder, it is your duty to take care of all of us and it is upto you to choose whatever means to earn your livelihood. You chose dacoity and we will never share the sins you have acquired.”

Ratnakaran was shocked and shattered. He felt how thankless his own kith and kin were for all the hardship he had undergone to take care of them.

He went back to the place where the travellers were waiting for him. With his head hung in shame, he went and told the sadhus that his family members had refused to share his sins. “Revered sirs, please tell me what to do now; my eyes have been opened by you. I understand it is foolish to keep stealing and looting when my own family members don’t acknowledge my evil acts”. He fell at their feet and cried.

The sadhus took pity on him. They said, “It is time for you to develop dispassion on worldly life and think of God; it is by taking up God’s names in your lips and constantly chanting it will you get purified of your sins and attain God”.

“I don’t know anything about God or his name” said Ratnakaran.

The sadhus thought for a while and said, “As a forester you know the tree called ‘Mara maram’. (Amma said, as per folklore,  ‘Aa maram, ee maram‘ in Malayalam meaning “that tree and this tree” as the mantra given by the sages). Just keep on repeating the tree’s name incessantly. That will do”. They blessed him and the caravan passed along.

Ratnakaran went to a secluded place, closed his eyes and started chanting “Mara maram” (aa maram, ee maram). As the chanting continued incessantly, it turned out to be “Ram Ram Ram Ram….” . Thus, the most powerful mantra automatically entered into the mouth of the unlettered forest dweller through the grace of the sadhus.

Ratnakaran, by divine grace, soon went into deep trance in chanting the mantra day in and day out, sitting at the same place, forgetting food and drink. Soon and anthill got formed around his body and over days and months, his whole body got covered by the the anthill (known as Valmikam in sanskrit).

Through this severe tapas (austerity) Ratnakaran received the divine vision of Lord Rama.  He became a realized sage and came out of the anthill. That’s how he got the name Valmiki. In future, he came to know of the story of Lord Rama from Sage Narada and then wrote the epic Ramayana.

11.  The story of Vishwamitra

Vishwamitra, before he became a great sage, was a king. Once he went to a forst with his soldiers for hunting. After engaging in hunting for long, he and his team got very tired.He knew that saint Vashishta’s hermitage was in the near vicinity in that forest. He wanted to go there and relax for a while. Hence he visited the hermitage with his soldiers.

Sage Vashishta welcomed them all very cordially. Vashishta had a divine cow called Nandini that can produce whatever the sage wished. Vashishta, through the divine power of Nandini got a rich feast produced and served the king and his soldiers sumptuously to their fullest satisfaction.

Vishwamitra was amazed to see the power of Nandini. He felt that such a divine cow should rightly be with the king of the country since it can benefit lot of people, whereas for a saint like Vashitha living in a forest, needs were minimal. The king conveyed his intent to Vashishta and the sage was neither in favor nor against the demand. He told the king to take Nandini, if the cow was willing to go with him.

But the cow Nandini was not inclined to go with the king. When the king commanded the soldiers to forcefully take the cow, Nandini instantly produced several warriors and they fought the king’s soldiers and defeated all of them.

Vishwamitra, in a fit of rage, thought that the sage Vashishta had instigated the cow Nandini to fight against him. He challenged Vashishta to fight against him and he started shooting powerful weapons against Vashishta.  Vashishta stood smiling, keeping his yoga danda (wooden staff) in front of him. All the astras (divine missiles) sent by the king that came to attack Vashishta got absorbed by the danda of the saint.

Vishwamitra exhausted all his weapons and stood there totally defeated.  He felt greatly ashamed and insulted. He understood that his mighty powers as a king and possession of powerful astras could not just stand against the yogic powers and austerities that a rishi possessed.

Boiling with rage, he returned to his palace. The only thought occupying his mind was that he should take revenge on Vashishta. He understood clearly that in order to achieve it, he has to acquire divine powers by undertaking severe tapas (austerities).

He relinquished his kingdom, went to a forest and undertook severe penance with a single motive of avenging Vashishta.

After undergoing severe austerities for long, he was blessed with divine powers. With that, he went and challenged Vashishta but he was defeated again. Again, he undertook much more severe austerities and did penance for longer duration and each time he lost his gains of austerities by exhausting them in challenging Vashishta and getting defeated again.

He also gained Siddhis (powers to perform miracles) and once out of vanity to display his prowess, he tried to create a new heaven too; even this effort was motivated to oppose Vashishta. In the process exhausted his powers once again.

However, across time, gradually there came a change in his mindset. He succeeded in eradicating his egotism and anger ; he left behind the attitudes of ‘I and mine’; he got rid of his ambition revenge against Vashishta. Finally He succeeded in getting Self-realization and attained the status of Brahma Rishi, equivalent to that of Vashishta.

[Amma: “In this story, we should specifically observe two aspects. First we see the greatness of Vashishta. He was a self-realized sage having all the divine powers at his command, but he was totally egoless. Even when Vishwamitra humiliated and attacked him on umpteen occasions, he did not hate Vishwamitra. On the contrary, he appreciated Vishwamitra’s determination and final spiritual attainment.

Second aspect of this story is how Vishwamitra was totally opposite to Vashistha in his conduct and character at early stages of his spiritual quest. Despite receiving lots of divine powers and siddhis on account of his severe austerities, his mind was full of hatred against Vashistha.  That’s why it took such a long time and effort for him to attain spiritual perfection.”]

12.  Urmila’s sacrifice

[Amma: “Our ancestors have taught us how important it is to appreciate and acknowledge the good deeds done by others. In one of the versions of Ramayana, the following incidence has been narrated.”]

Urmila was the wife of Lakshmana. She was full of love and affection towards her husband. When Rama was in exile at the forest for 14 years, Lakshmana chose to go with elder brother in order to serve him. He left his loving behind and was separated from her for 14 long years. While Rama’s wife Sita managed to go to forest with her husband, Urmila did not get the chance to do so.

Urmila spent lonely days and nights, sulking the pangs of separation from her dear husband for such a long period. It was a great sacrifice indeed.

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita returned to Ayodhya after 14 years.

One day Rama walked towards the private quarters of Urmila. Lakshmana, by chance, happened to notice Rama going there. Without Rama knowing, Lakshmana followed him at a distance. When Rama went inside, Urmila was sleeping in her bed. Without making any noise, Rama, with folded hands, circumambulated the bed 3 times. Then facing her foot, rama did a full bodied prostration to her on the floor. Seeing such an act of humility in Rama, Lakshmana could not control tears flowing from his eyes.

Later Lakshmana asked Rama why he did so.  Rama said, “Urmila deserves my full respect and appreciation. I have no words to describe her great patience and sacrifice; I wanted to express my indebtedness to her in some way. I also wanted to do it in a way she would not know, because if I try to do so openly, she would never permit me because of her reverence to me. Hence I showed my respects to her while she was sleeping”.

12.  Where Rama is, Kama can’t be

[Amma: “Where there is pure love, lust won’t be there. When Rama is there, Ravana cannot exist.”]

When Ravana abducted Sita and kept her confined in the Ashoka vanam, he tried in many ways to lure Sita to yield to his lust. But he failed miserably in all his attempts. Sita was there chanting her lord Ram’s name all the time. Her mind was totally immersed in Ram.

Even though Ravana was a heartless demon, his wife Mandodari was a good natured woman who was very obedient to her husband and she wished for his happiness always. She wanted to cheer Ravana and she suggested ways to lure Sita to her husband. She said, “My lord! You have the divine power to take any form you like; you better take the form of Rama and go to Sita. She will immediately yield to you”.

Ravana replied: ” The moment I take the form of Rama, all the lust in my mind gets wiped out. Then what is the point in approaching Sita in that form?”

13.  Mayuradhvaja’s  sacrifice

[Amma: “Desireless love, compassion, patience and sacrifice are some qualities that should become part and parcel of our lives. Coupled with unwavering faith in God, a person who lives by such values based on spirituality will be ready to forgo even his own life in order to hold on to his convictions. Let Amma narrate a story from Mahabharta:”]

As a prelude to conducting Ashwamedha yaga (horse sacrifice) the Pandavas sent a horse all over India. Any king that welcomed the horse into his land was understood to be subservient to Yudhishthira (The eldest son of Pandavas and the king of Kuru Kingdom) acknowledging him him to be the emperor.

If any king tied the horse, it was an indication that he was not conceding to the emperorship of Yudhishthira and he was ready to wage a war.

King Mayuradhwaja was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. He was full of virtual qualities. He had deep knowledge in scriptures and he was very respected for his qualities of compassion and sacrifice. When the sacrificial horse came to his country, he caught hold of it and tied it.

Arjuna was following the horse with a huge army. He got ready to fight the war against Mayuradhwaja. However, Lord Krishna was not in favour of Arjuna fighting with Mayuradhwaja. Krishna wanted the Pandavas to understand the sterling qualities of Mayuradhwaja. He also wanted to subdue Arjuna’s pride about his power, valor and devotion to Krishna.

At the advice of Krishna, Arjuna agreed to accompany Krishna to meet the king, with both taking up the disguise of brahmins. When they went to the king’s court, Mayuradhwaja received the brahmins with respect and extended warm hospitlity to them. He arranged a grand feast for them. Before partaking the food, Krishna narrated a concocted story about his life.

“Oh, great king! When myself along with this friend were passing through a forest in order to come here and meet you,  ferocious tiger came and caught hold of my friend’s only son who accompanied us.  The tiger dragged the boy’s body away swiftly and was soon out of sight. Grief stricken, both of us went in search of the tiger; finally when we located it, it had already eaten half the body of the boy.

Seeing our sorrow, the tiger took pity on us and and it promised to return the son back to us alive and full, if we did something….”

Krishna stopped his narration and expressed hesitation to state what the tiger wanted. THe king became very anxious to know what happened further; he pressed Krishna to revel the tiger’s demand. Krishna said, “I am sorry to state this O king; the tiger actually wanted half the body of the purest person in this country and we know it is none other than you, the king of this country! Think of it, O great king, if we promise the tiger to give what he wanted, this brahmin will get back his only son alive; however, how can we make such a selfish appeal to you, the most revered king of this country that people adore so much!”

Hearing this story, the king, without any hesitation, came forward to offer half of his body with pleasure. Once the feast was over, the king lied down and asked his son and wife to cut his body into two using a saw. The son and wife obeyed. Holding the saw on either side, they started cutting the king’s body along the length to right and left halves.

The two brahmins were watching it wonderstruck.

At that time, Lord Krishna noticed that the king’s left eye was welling up with tears. He said, “I could see that your are crying; it means that you are offering your body unwillingly.What is donated unwillingly shedding tears cannot be received by me as gift”.

The king said, “Revered Brahmins, If I am indeed giving my body unwillingly, will I not be shedding tears from both the eyes? Only me left eye is shedding tears because, as you require only half of my body, the auspicious right side will be taken by you, by discarding the left side; As the left half of the body is not useful for a noble cause, the left eye is shedding tears as it is a misfortune”.

Hearing this, Lord Krishna revealed his divine form to King Mayuradhwaja and blessed him with everlasting bliss and peace. Arjuna felt very humbled seeing the greatness of the King Mayuradhwaja. Bowing to Krishna, the king also extended his friendship to Arjuna and magnanimously agreed to be subservient to Emperor Yudhishthira.

(From Arulmozhigal-4 Tamil)

13.  Krishna’s duplicate

[Amma: “Spiritual seekers must be extremely watchful about their ego.  If they are gripped by desires of fame, recognition, appreciation etc., their behavior itself may undergo change. They may even start acting foolishly to gain fame.  When people happen to adore them and respect them, they start believing that they are really great. They think that unless they behave in a particular style, others may not respect them and this way, they start acting foolishly. Even if a well-wisher advices them or warn them of their deviant behavior, they would refuse to heed. Do you know the story of Paundraka Vasudeva, who acted like Krishna?”]

When Lord Krishna was living in Dwaraka, Paundraka Vasudeva was ruling his country called Karusha. He was very much attached to his kingly status. He wished that his subjects should worship him like God. He and the king of Kashi had developed hatred against Lord Krishna and they considered him their enemy.As Krishna was worshiped as God by the people of Dwaraka, they were extremely jealous of Him.

Gripped by burning desire for fame, Paundraka Vasudeva schemed a plot against Lord Krishna along with the king of Kashi. They declared that Krishna of Dwaraka was not an Avatar but only Paundraka Vasudeva was the real Avatar of Lord Vishnu.

Hearing this, people in his country said that if it were indeed true, then Paundraka must be sporting four hands and bear Shanku, Chakra, Gadha and Lotus in his hands. In the meanwhile, Paundraka himself started believing that he was the avatar of God. He wore two hands made of wood on his shoulders and carried Shanku, Chakra etc. He also made a Garuda Vahanam (Eagle vehicle) out of wood. Since this wooden Garuda could not fly, he arranged a chariot to carry the Vahana. He his wife dress up like Goddess Mahalakshmi. They would sit in the wooden Garuda and the chariot would be driven around his country. Thus Paundraka Vasudeva, the ‘avatar’ of Vishnu would bless his people along with his divine consort!

People laughed at these antics of Paundraka. They thought he might have been mentally deranged.

Even in his country, there were several people who were devotees of Lord Krishna. They felt very hurt to see their king acting lunatically in the guise of an Avatar. But they could not do anything about it directly. Hence when the king came on his rounds, they talked loudly in a way he could hear: “Ah! Our king really looks like Krishna! However, a few things seem to be amiss.  He is not wearing a crown adorned with the peacock feather; he is not carrying the flute like Krishna; Krishna is dark in color while our king is not. Since our king is the real avatar, Krishna of Dwaraka has no right to have Shanku and Chakra. Our kind should demand from Krishna to surrender them to him, since these are divine symbols”.

Paundraka heard his people talking like this and soon, some royal family members close to him too started talking in the same tone. Hearing this, Paundra started painting his skin in dark blue color. He dressed himself like Krishna; though he knew nothing of flute, he started carrying one! At times, he imagined himself to be Krishna and at times, to be Vishnu.

He did not stop at that. He sent a messenger to Dwaraka with a warning message: “You cowherd! You are a fake avatar while I am the true one; You have no business to keep the Sudarshan Chakra and all the other divine symbols. Unless you return them to me, the real owner, you will get killed by me in a war”.

Hearing this message, Krishna smiled and said, “It is fair; I must return those divine symbols to him. Please ask your majesty to come in person and collect them from me”. Krishna decided to teach a lesson to the arrogant Paundraka.

Upon receiving Krishna’s message, Paundraka decided to meet Krishna and he proceeded to Dwaraka along with his army. Krishna was waiting for him. When he saw Krishna, he said, “You, the fake one! Never try to play with me with your tricks and maya. Better return to me all your divine symbols, or else get killed in my hands!”

Krishna came forward to wage a war with him. In the war, He annihilated the entire army of Paundraka. Finally, sporting his Sudarshan Chakra in his little finger, Krishna said, with a mischievous smile on his face, “Here comes my Chakra, Oh Paundraka! please collect it!” and sent it across. The wheel swiftly charged towards Paundraka and sliced his head. He fell dead on the battle field.

Thus Krishna decimated Paundraka’s pride, arrogance and desire for fame.

(From Arulmozhigal-4 Tamil)

14. The real Sacrifice

[Amma: “A true sanyasi has no attachment otr sense of possession to things under his custody. He could disassociate himself from anything. But a householder cannot easily have such a sense of detachment. However, he should strive to develop such and attitude always. With all the pressing problems, conflicts and responsibilities in a family life, the householder too can strive to attain inner peace.  Many of our ancient rishis were only grihasthas (householders). They could do it. We can also do it if only we strive for it. Amma will narrate a story from Mahabharata to explain how an ideal house holder should be:”]

After Mahabharata war, Yudhishthira, the eldest son of Pandavas and the king of Hastinapur conducted a grand yagnya. He gave countless gifts to the poor and needy, physically handicapped people, brahmins and vedic scholars. All who had gathered were served with delicious and sumptuous food for many days and it ws done with lots of care, respect and dignity.

People praised the king for his generosity and dedication. When the yagnya was going on like this, a mongoose came to the yagnja sala (The place where fire sacrifice rites are done).  It had a strange and different look. While half of its body looked normal, the other half was glowing with a golden hue.  The mongoose came and rolled over the floor of the yagnya sala here and there for  while. Then addressing the priests and brahmins, who were conducting the ceremonies, it spoke “Respected Brahmins, please listen to me. I don’t find this yagnya as great as the one conducted by an impoverished brahmin family I knew of”.

Hearing this the brahmins and priests got agitated. They retorted angrily: “How dare you find fault with this grand yagnya where we have conducted everything strictly as per norms; all of us are quite erudite in our field of knowledge and we are quite sure we have done everything perfectly as per scriptural guidelines, if you are so confident to find fault with the yagnya and if you are better knowledgeable than us, please explain what is wrong and we will accept if it is true. Now tell us what you saw in the Brahmin’s yagnya that you saw”.

The mongoose started narrating his anecdote:

“Once there lived a poor brahmin’s family, consisting of his wife, son and daughter in law. They lead a life of simplicity and austerity. Even if they had enough provisions, they would only eat a single meal a day, that too consisting of plain cereals.

Once a great famine gripped the country. Rains have totally failed and even grass and shrubs did not sprout.The brahmin’s family could not get anything to eat on many days. One day, the brahmin managed to get some grains of paddy. His wife pounded the grains to get flour,  made the flour into four equal parts and the family sat to eat it. Just at that time a guest knocked at the door.

Even under such a pitiable condition of poverty and hunger without having food for a few days, the Brahmin welcomed the guest into the house with respect. He washed the visitor’s legs and offered a seat to sit. He respectfully invited the guest to have food with them. The brahmin gave his share of flour to the visitor and said, “Sir, please pardon me; I have nothing else to offer to you except for this lowly handful of flour; please be kind enough to accept it”.

The guest too was apparently starving for days and he hurriedly ate the flour. Within no time, he finished it and begged the brahmin to give him some more as his hunger was hardly appeased with that little flour. The brahmin was at a loss as to what to do. He had sacrificed his share already and he knew how the other family members too are starving for days. How could he ask them to sacrifice their dire need for the sake of the guest. He thought of seeking excuse from the guest, even though he felt very bad about the inability to serve the visitor.

At that point of time, his wife came forward willingly to offer her share of flour to the guest.  The guest ate it too and still could not feel satiated.  Now the son came forward to give his share. Finishing it, the guest still looked eagerly if he could get some more to eat. Without any hesitation, the daughter in law came forward to give her share and asked the guest to eat it.

Surprisingly, the guest said, “No. What I had is enough”. Looking smilingly at all the four, the guest said, “You have successfully passed the test I did on you. Your conduct gives me immense pleasure; in order to hold the grahasthasrama dharma (the right conduct prescribed for householders) in its highest esteem, you have all come  forward to sacrifice even your life. When gripped in hunger, one normally loses right thinking and right action. But even when you are about to die in hunger, the way you all demonstrated sacrifice and determination caused me great wonder and satisfaction. Those who conquered hunger have already got a place reserved for them in heaven. Now I al taking you all to heaven!”

Thus saying, the guest revealed his true form; there stood the Lord of Dharma in his glorious divine form. A celestial chariot instantly descended from the skies. The lord took all the members of the Brahmin’s family in the chariot and ascended to heaven.”

After narrating the above incidence, the mongoose continued, “I was present in the Brahmin’s house when this incident took place and personally witnessed all the happenings. When the Lord and the family ascended to heaven, I went to the spot where the guest was sitting and eating. I noticed some flour fallen on the floor there.  I rolled over that place; I was surprised to notice that the half of my body which was touched by the grains of the flour became  golden in color!

“From that day onward, I have been gripped by a desire to make the remaining portion of my body also to look like gold! Hence I made it a point to visit all the places where yagnyas are conducted because these places are known to be locations of great sacrifice. I used to roll over such places where the rituals are conducted. I have not been successful in making the other half of my body golden so far. I could not find a single place where the greatest of sacrifices are being done by great emperors, but none could match the sacrifice of the poor brahmin family!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

15.  The devotional love of Vidura’s wife

Vidura was the brother of the blind king Dhritarashtra . Vidura was also a minister of Dhritarashtra. Once Lord Krishna came to Hastinapur to meet the king. He had agreed to visit Vidura’s house to partake his lunch.

Vidura’s wife was virtually floating in air for she felt so blessed to receive Lord Krishna as her  beloved guest. She had made all arrangements to give a warm welcome to her lord. After making sure that everything was fine and ready, she went to take bath.

Unexpectedly, Lord Krishna arrived at her house much earlier than the scheduled time. The matter was conveyed to Vidura’s wife who was in the bathroom. She hurriedly finished her bath, wrapped herself up in a saree and came running to receive her beloved Lord with a chaotic excitement.

She offered a seat to Krishna and rushed to the kitchen to bring the food for Krishna. She wanted to feed a banana to Krishna with her own hands. Krishna understood her desire and nodded to her to do do it, by opening his mouth. She came close and looking at the beautiful face of Lord Krishna  she removed the skin of the banana. She was dazed by the captivating eyes of Lord Krishna; instead of feeding the fruit into his mouth, she absent mindedly fed the skin of the banana into his mouth!

Lord Krishna sensing her emotional condition and her guileless nature, joyfully ate the skin, reciprocating her love as if he too forgot himself!

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 2 ( 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 fifteen more such little stories:

 1.  The lucky bowl!

[Amma:   Many people think of themselves as very smart and they believe they can easily hoodwink others to get away with what they want. But there are always smarter people around ]

Once an antique dealer was travelling by the countryside. In a farm, just outside a farmer’s hut, there was an old cat, drinking milk from a very old bowl. The moment the antique dealer saw the bowl, he felt sure that it was an extremely old piece of antique that could fetch very high price in the market. He thought of a smart plan to buy the bowl at the cheapest price from the farmer.

“Hey! Your cat looks very nice. I want to buy it. Can you sell it to me?” said the dealer to the farmer.

“Of course everybody likes my cats.  How much can you pay?” asked the farmer.

“Two hundred rupees!” said the antique dealer. The farmer refused. The negotiations went on for a while and finally the dealer offered a price of 4000 rupees and the farmer agreed.

Now the dealer started his smart move. “Hey! I am definitely paying a hefty price for your old cat. Anyway, since I am taking it, why not I take that milk bowl too along? It is old and dirty and you won’t need it anyway once the cat is gone”

“No. I can’t give it. It is a very lucky bowl for me. I can’t part with it” said the farmer firmly.

“Why? In what way it is lucky?”

“You see, using that bowl as the bait, I have so far sold 8 old cats at very good price to antique collectors like you!”

 

2.   The speaking Parrot

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil – Page 43)

[Amma:  What is the point in reading scriptures for years and not understanding them nor grasping their purport? Any mere reading of scriptures is only feeding the ego; If you read sastras like this, your ego grows bigger and bigger but the real ‘you’ starves; when you start talking on sastras based on such bookish knowledge, it is like parrot that keeps repeating what it has been taught to speak]

A rich man had a hobby of rearing different types of birds; he was very proud of his winged possessions. Whenever friends came to meet him he would take them around the various cages in which he kept a variety of birds and talk proudly about them.  One day, a friend commented “It’s all fine, but you don’t have a talking parrot with you”.

The first thing the rich man did once the  friend left was to visit a bird dealer and ask for a talking parrot. The dealer pointed out a cage in which a parrot was sitting. When the rich man asked “Will it speak?”, the parrot itself spoke: “There is no doubt”, even before the bird dealer opened his mouth! Very impressed, the rich man bought the parrot, ignoring something that the bird dealer wanted to say.

The rich man sent a word to the friend and invited him to come and see his talking parrot. The friend arrived; they went close to the parrot’s cage. The friend asked, “Will it talk?” . The parrot said instantly: “”There is no doubt”. Amused, the friend asked “That’s nice What’s your name?” The parrot said “There is no doubt”.  For a couple of questions posed again, the parrot simply repeated “There is no doubt”. It became clear that the parrot cannot speak anything else and the rich man’s friends made a fun of him for having bought such a parrot.

Ashamed and angered, the rich man opened the cage to let out the parrot, saying “I have made a fool of myself…”. The parrot said “There is no doubt” and flew away!

3.   Hubby’s girl friend

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil – Page 53)

[Amma:  An angry husband and a jealous and doubting wife can mar a good family; they will bring gloom to their own and their children’s lives too. Their fighting and anger can cause bad influence on those who come to contact with them too. Unnecessary doubting and fighting will become their past time]

There was this wife who always suspected the character of her husband and would find issues to fight with him every day.  Every evening, immediately after her husband returned from office, she would smell his shirt; inspect his dress thoroughly. If any hair is found stuck at his dress, she would inquire how it came; she would check his pockets. When she did all these, she would keenly observe his eyes and facial reactions to see whether he displayed any fear or guilt. She would read his diary; if she found any new number in his mobile phone, she would inquire who was it. She would torture him like this, shout at him, cry and fight with him. It became almost regular.

One day, she could not find any reason to make a fight with him. She could not locate even a bit of hair in his dress.  She slumped to the ground and started crying aloud. Surprised, her husband asked “Why this drama? You have not found even a bit of hair in my dress.  What is your problem?”

The wailing wife replied; “I know, I know. You have now befriended a totally bald woman and you are returning home after spending joyful time with her. I know, it will happen like this one day” and cried aloud!

4.   The Apology

Amma: Human life is short. No one knows when the death would come and sniff away all that we had. Why not spend the life purposely by loving and serving others instead of negativity and hatred? However, our emotions and ego are so strong that we cannot accept words of wisdom so easily.

Once two brothers had a serious fight between themselves. Very hot and hurtful words were exchanged between them and they stopped talking with each other.

One of the brothers, mentally disturbed on account of this fight, went to his guru and told him all about the fight. After listening to him patiently the Guru advised: “After all he is your close blood relationship; what is the point in maintaining so much hatred? I am sure you too would have spoken very harshly with him and hurting him very emotionally; Human life is short and unpredictable; who knows when death will knock at the doors? Think of this: Suppose your brother dies this night, won’t you feel bad that you have developed antagonism against him for not so serious a matter? Won’t you be suffering from guilty consciousness for having hurt him so much?  So, I suggested that you go to your brother immediately and seek his pardon; mend your relationship with him immediately”.

The man brooded over what the guru said. Though he was not so much convinced of the need of seeking pardon from his brother, he however felt that he should not ignore what his guru had advised. So he went to meet his brother. With a stiff voice he said, “Hey! I thought I should seek your apology for whatever happened between us.  I am sorry for it. But, remember. This apology is valid only if you are going to die tonight. Otherwise it is null and void!”

(Tuesday Satsang 8.8.17)

5.   “You are fired! (1)”

Amma: There are two types of people in the world – those who act without thinking and those who think but don’t act. Doing things in haste without thinking would normally lead to problems and failures. One needs patience and discrimination as a virtues for proper thinking and acting.

Once a company was running under loss; the company owners appointed a new manager and entrusted him with the task of turning around the company. The new manager was very enthusiastic.  He went around the company and started observing and overseeing people in order to make them perform better. He was intent on weeding out non-performers. On his rounds he noticed a person standing in the corner of the office and doing nothing.  Observing him for a while, it appeared certain to him that he was doing nothing.

He went close to the person and asked him “What is your salary?” The man replied “Seven thousand rupees a month”. The manager said “OK. I will give you two month’s salary to you right now. You are fired immediately; I don’t wish to keep you here”. The man did not rise any objections. The manager prepared a cheque in his name and gave to him. The man left immediately.

The manager, with a look of authority on his face, said to others in the office “You see, this is what is in store for idle persons and non-performers hereafter.  By the way what was this person’s assigned job?”

One person in the office replied “Actually, he is not our employee; he works in the adjacent tea shop and brings tea for us. You have paid him Rs 14,000.-  unnecessarily!”

(Monday  satsang 14.8.17)

6.   “You are fired! (2)”

Amma: “We need full awareness in what we do. When listening to others, listen fully”.]

Once the owner of a Supermarket was overhearing the conversation between on of his salesmen and a customer. To something that the customer was asking he heard the salesman saying, “We didn’t have it recently. Perhaps we cannot expect it in the coming days too”.

Hearing this, the proprietor got worked up. He rushed towards the customer and said, “Excuse me, please don’t take his words; we have ordered the item and they will arrive within one or two days”. The customer looked confused upon hearing this and he moved away, shaking his head.

The proprietor started shouting at the salesman. “How many times have I told you that whatever a customer askes fr something not found here, you should never say ‘we don’t have it’; you should say, ‘the item is coming and expected anytime’. YOu never seem to learn this basic business tactic. I am fed up with you; you are fired!”

The salesman was trying to intervene and explain something but the angry proprietor would not allow him to open his mouth. Dejected, the salesman started leaving.

As he moved away towards the entrance, the proprietor called him and asked him, “Hey, before you go, tell me what did that customer want so that I can order the stocks”.

The salesman said, “He asked ‘Do you get rains here in this time of the month?’ ”

(Amma US Satsang 17/6/2017)

7.   Doing what Guru says

Amma: A disciple should have enough discrimination to understand what Guru instructs and do accordingly in letter and spirit. Blindly taking the words of Guru and acting without using common sense would only lead to disaster.

Once a guru was travelling along with his disciple in a bullock cart. They have their belongings too loaded in the cart. The Guru said “I am feeling tired as I could not sleep well last night; let me have a nap; please keep an eye on the belongings”. “Yes, Maharaj. Don’t worry; I will be watchful; please take rest” assured the disciple.

As the cart moved on a bumpy path, the guru heard something falling. However he did not open his eyes as he though the disciple would take action. However, as the cart kept moving,  guru opened his eyes and said “I heard the noise of something falling down. What was it? “

The disciple replied “It was your yoga Danda master (The wooden staff the guru uses to support his hand).

“I told you to be watchful. Have you picked up the stick?” asked the guru.

“No Maharaj, as advised by you I was quite watchful and saw how the danda fell down”.

Exasperated, the guru said “You idiot! Hereafter you should pick up anything that falls down from the cart”.  “Agreed” said the disciple.

The guru closed his eyes and dozed off for a while.  Suddenly he woke up as something fell on his face, smelling foul.

“Hey? What is this? What happened?” asked the guru, sitting up, confused.

“Master, don’t worry. I sincerely followed your instructions. A while ago, the bullock eased his bowels and the dung fell on the road. Remembering your instruction that if anything falls down I should pick it up, I stopped the cart, picked up the dung and threw it back into the cart!”

The guru went speechless. Controlling his anger, he said “Okay. I now understand how difficult it is to make you develop some common sense. Let me at least do my best. I will write down a list of things that you should pick up if any of them happens to fall down from the cart. He wrote a list and gave it to the disciple. He relaxed again.

The road was turning bumpier. There were many pot holes in the road. The cart’s wheel got into one large pothole and the guru fell down from the cart. However the cart managed to move forward. The disciple noticed falling of his guru. He immediately took out the list of items that the guru had given to him and checked it. As the Guru’s name was not given in the list, the disciple decided to move ahead. The guru who fell on the road was shouting aloud for help but the bullock cart moved away farther and soon went out of sight.

Fortunately, heeding to the guru’s cries some people came running around and picked him up from the pothole. They helped him to get back to his residence.

The guru was burning with rage, seeing his disciple relaxing there.  “You idiot! I fell down from the cart and I was crying aloud. You never bothered to come and pick me up. Why, why?”

The disciple said, “I was strictly following your instructions, Maharaj. The moment you fell down, I checked whether you have mentioned your name in the list; since it was not there, I did not find it necessary to pick you up. Master, at least I hope you now understand how meticulous I am in following your instructions”

8.  Short vision!

Amma: Most of us are concerned with issues and problems within our closer circle; we do not look beyond and think about what is the real goal of life.

Once a scientists and a Nambudiri were staying together in a lodge. The lodge room was very hot and they could not get sleep. They decided to go to the terrace and sleep there in the natural coolness of air. They took sleeping mats and a mosquito net with them, went to the terrace and lied down. Both soon went to sleep.

When it was midnight, the scientist suddenly woke up. Right in front of his eye, dark and vast sky above was clear without any clouds and myriad stars were blinking with beauty.  The scientist was deeply immersed in thinking. He suddenly noticed that the Namboodiri too was awake.

The nambudiri asked him “You too are awake? What are you staring at?”

“I am really feeling amazed at the vastness of the sky and the millions of stars and galaxies above our head. I was thinking that there would surely be planets with living beings like us in some of the stars over there. I was wondering whether we could see the beings from other galaxies one day. By the way, what were you thinking?”

The nambudiri said “I too noticed the clear skies first. But I have not gone that far as you did. I was concerned about this: our mosquito net has been stolen when we were in deep sleep some time ago!”

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

9.  Faith

Amma: Total surrender to god or Satguru can come only through faith. It is not easy to get cent percent faith as our mind keeps on doubting. It is the nature of the mind.

Once a person went to a psychiatrist with a problem. He explained “Somehow I have a feeling that I am just a mouse. I am so scared of seeing cats”.

The psychiatrist showed a mirror in front of him and started counseling him “Just look at your image. You are a strong human being; you have all the features of a human being and nothing whatsoever to resemble a mouse. You are so big and strong and why should you think you are a mouse?”

After a long counseling session, the man got some confidence and conviction that he was a man and not a mouse. He thanked the doctor, paid his fees and came out. On his way to the parking lot, he saw a cat coming in front of him. Forgetting all his newly found convictions, he got scared and went running back to the psychiatrist’s clinic.

“Why are you so scared? What happened?” asked the psychiatrist.

“Doctor, I saw a cat on my way!”

“Why afraid of it? You know pretty well now that you are a human being and not a mouse. Don’t you? Are you still not convinced?”

The man said, “I know I am not a mouse; but what if the cat thinks I am only a mouse?”

(Friday  Satsang 25.8.17)

10. Relief from bad times?

A person was suffering from one hardship after another in life and got very much dejected. He went to consult an astrologer to know what he holds for the futute.

The astrologer, after going through the horoscope said “ Your planetary positions are too unfavorable.You will have to go through sufferings till your age of 55”.

The man felt somewhat relieved. He asked eagerly, “It means I will lead a smooth and happy life after that, right?”

The astrologer said, “No. You will get used to facing troubles!”.

Amma :  ‘para sthithi’ (external circumstances) cannot be changed easily, but with effort, it is possible to change our ‘mana sthithi’ (state of mind). When, by spiritual effort, we manage to acquire mental strength and balance, we will be able to face joys and sorrows with lots of equanimity. We will not get over joyed in moments of fortune, nor get too disturbed and depressed against adversities.

11.  God’s call

Once God knocked at the door of the devotee. The devotee came out. The God said “I have come to grant you liberation; will you come with me right now?”

The devotee replied: “God, not immediately please. I am watching my favorite TV show; will you come back after some time please?” God went way smiling.

A few days later, God came back and knocked at the door again. The devotee opened. The God said in an excited voice: “Your house is on fire!”

The devotee, who was watching TV,  immediately rushed out of the house forgetting everything!

12.    Just a simple test paper!

Once four rich boys, on the day before their exams, went on a jolly trip to an adjacent town in a car. They took a room in a lodge and drank heavily. By the time they woke up the next morning, it was already too late to return to the college and attend the exam.

However they vacated their room and rushed back in their car to their college. They went straight to the examiner. They said, “We went to the next town on an urgent personal work yesterday. We got held up there and could not return yesterday. Today we started early, but on our way, our car tyre got punctured on the midway. We did not know what to do. We had to search around for a car mechanic and finally we located one mechanic shop and brought the person to replace the punctured wheel;. That’s how we got so much delayed to reach here and attend the exam. Kindly excuse us; please permit us take the exam as a special case; otherwise our future will be spoiled”.

The examiner, who knew about the background of the boys, listened to them patiently and then said, “Since the exams have already started and we are nearing the closing time now, there is no point in allowing you to write the exams. I will conduct a special exam exclusively for you four boys tomorrow and if you pass the paper, then I will take those marks for today’s exam and settle your case”.

The boys were very happy that their drama had worked.

The next day, they came to attend the special exam at the appointed hour. The examiner put each of them in 4 separate rooms and handed over the question paper to them. The paper contained only two questions:

1) What is your name (2 marks)

2) Which wheel of the car got punctured yesterday? (98 marks).

No need to mention that the boys wrote different wheels in their replies that would, on immediate comparison, would expose them of their blatant lie! Thus the intelligent examiner taught an apt lesson to the undisciplined and irresponsible boys!

13.  The patient and his patience!

[Amma: Why has God given two ears and one mouth? What is the purpose? God expects us to listen twice as much as we speak. But what we do is just the opposite. Without bothering to listen properly, we keep on talking.]

Once there was a busy merchant who was always thinking about his business all the time.Once he had to visit a hospital to meet his friend who was lying on a sick bed.

Sitting next the the bed, the merchant asked the usual question: “How are you feeling now?”

“Very bad” said the patient; “Everyday I seem to sinking from bad to worse”

The merchant did not listen to the reply at all. He presumed the normal response that people give when asked such a question (“yes, feeling better”) and said, “Oh! Glad to hear that. Which medicines are you taking?”

The patient got irritated. He said, “Poison. Just poison is what I am taking”.

Again the merchant never bothered to listen to the words of the patient and mechanically proceeded: “That’s really a powerful medicine! Well, who is the doctor attending to you?”

The patient got fed up; he shouted “Doctor? Lord Yama. Yes, it is Lord Yama (The lord of death) who is treating me!”

The merchant said nonchalantly, “He is indeed the best doctor in the town; you don’t have to have any worry!”

Seething in anger, the patient pulled out the various tubes inserted in his nose and ankle, rose up from his bed, caught the merchant’s neck by  hand pushed him out of the room!

14.  The split second decision!

[Amma: We should always go to root cause of the problem and try to remove it. Mostly what we do in order to obviate a current problem is to replace it with another problem]

Once a person working in a press met with a serious accident. His left hand got almost cut. He was immediately rushed to the hospital; almost half-cut, his left hand was hanging precariously as he was taken to the operation theatre. The doctors attended to his case immediately; they joined and stiched the hand together and fortunately, he was saved from totally losing the hand. However, he would have to go through a long haul of treatment before he could be fully active with his left hand.

After he regained consciousness, the doctor was talking him to him as a way of consolation: “Thank God! It is only a left hand. You would have felt extremely miserable if you had cut your right hand, isn’t it?”

The man said, “Yes, doctor! That’s where my presence of mind and intelligence came to my rescue! As I was working in the machine,  I noticed that the huge mechanical blade was falling down. At that point of time, actually, my right hand was inside the machine. I immediately withdrew my right hand and put my left hand instead! That’s how I saved my right hand!”

(Amma 2003 Birthday Satsang)

15.  In search of the the perfect mate

[Amma: If one makes himself/ herself perfect, then one will be in perfect harmony with the partner, whether perfect or imperfect]

Once a man was looking for a perfect woman to get married. He had his specifications:  she must be five ft six inches tall, slim, with curly dark hair, blue eyes, white skin and so on. He was searching for such a partner everywhere, but he could not succeed for long.

One day, he saw a woman who was perfectly fitting into his specifications and he got very excited. He went and met her,  somehow befriended her and kept meeting her once a while.

Finally, when they became comfortable with each other, he proposed to her.

The next day, his friends saw him in a sullen mood. They knew about the man’s interest in the new girl and asked him what happened. He said, “I proposed to her alright, but she rejected me saying that she is looking for a perfect man!”.

(Beach Satsang Fri 6/2/2015)