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Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 7 (10 more stories)

1. Finding fault with others

Once a ordered his subjects to make one statue from each family and bring them to him. On the due date, people brought the statues to meet him. The king ordered his minister to assess the quality of the statues and give prizes to people proportionately.

The minister could not find any appreciable quality in any of the statues. Each statue had some fault or other. The minister went to the king and said, “Nome of the statues look good. I don’t even find average ones”.

The king did not like what the minister said. He said, “Common people are not sculptors. They have made statues with whatever skills they possessed. There is nothing totally perfect in this world. There will be some fault or other in every creation. I really feel sorry for you as you are incapable of even finding one statue that you can consider reasonably acceptable, to give some little prize. You have no qualification to be my minister anymore. I am dismissing you from the minister’s post.”

Thus the man who could only find fault with others lost his job.

[Amma: “Children, every object in this world will have something good in it. We must have the eye to identify it. If you are a devotee of God, you must stop finding and speaking the faults of others. God can never live in the heart of those who find fault with everyone else. Strive not to find fault with others.   Since we have faults in us, we find faults in others. Never forget this truth. For a person who sees only goodness in others, chanting one japa will give the benefit of chanting it a crore times. Amma’s heart will melt at the thought of such a person. God will bless them with all their needs.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

2. Being in tune with the world

Once a sanyasi went to a village. The village people ridiculed him.  The sanyasi was a man possessing miraculous powers but he was impatient and egoistic. He got infuriated by the villagers’ behavior. He took out some sacred ash, uttered a mantra and sprinkled it into the village common well, with a curse that all those who drink it would become mad.

There were two wells in the village. One was used by the people and the other by the king and his minister when they visited the village officially.

The villagers drank water from their well and all of them became mad. People started talking all sorts of nonsense. They started singing, dancing and shouting.

The kind and the minister visited the village and were staying there on some time. As they drank water from their exclusive well which was not contaminated by the  curse of the Sanyasi, both of them remained normal.

However, the villagers observed that the king and the minister were behaving totally differently unlike all the other folks and hence they felt there was something seriously wrong with the duo. According to their perception, the king and the minister were mentally deranged! How can a country be ruled properly if both the king and minister are mad? The villagers felt that they were duty-bound to save the nation from the rule of mad people!

They decided to catch the king and the minister and tie them to a tree. Having come to know of their intentions, the king and minister started running; the people started chasing them.

As they were running to save their lives, the minister said to the king, “The whole of people of this village have become mad; in their eyes we two look to be mad people and that’s why they want to arrest us. I believe if we don’t  start behave exactly like these mad people, they will not leave us in peace. I am afraid the best way ahead of us is to start behaving madly like them; then we can think of finding some cure for these people to get relieved from their madness. It is like policemen disguising themselves as thieves to catch hold of thieves.” The king agreed.

Immediately, the king and the minister started shouting and dancing madly in the same way as others. The villagers felt happy. They thanked God for ‘saving’ the duo from a calamity!

[Amma: “Children, spiritual aspirants are like the king and the minister of this story. Spiritual practitioners would look like mad people in the eyes of common men. But the fact is, those who have no inclination at all in spirituality are indeed mad people. Saints have to come down to the level of common people to teach them dharma and lead them on the right path. They may have to do many things hand in hand with the common people; that is the way they could lead the people to know their true Self.’]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

3. Dissecting a poetry!

Once the wife of a scientist who was in a poetic mood wrote a verse describing the beauty of a woman by comparing her face with the full moon and s on. She gave it to her husband to read. The husband had no poetic inclination and showed little interest in reading it. But since his wife insisted, he went through it. The wife was very eager to get her husband’s feedback.

The husband said, “What nonsense have you written? Man had spent millions of dollars to go to the moon and explore it. What’s there in the moon except rocks and craters? There is no air too. If such a moon is kept on the neck of a woman, will not her neck break?…” Like this, he kept on criticizing each and every line in the poem!

Exasperated, the wife snatched the paper from his hands and said, “You can never understand poetry; give that back to me”.

The husband had only an intellect that dissected the poetry scientifically. He could only see rocks and craters in the moon. He was devoid of the heart to appreciate the beauty of the poetry.

[Amma: “One who says that he would believe only those perceived with sense organs has lost the purity of heart.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

4.  The protector

[Amma: “Diversity is the hallmark of  creation. Most creatures in earth accept this diversity and live in peaceful coexistence. But only man refuses to accept the diversity in creation and fight with each other in the name of country, language, religion, claste, creed and so on. Unfortunately, man looks with suspicion and fear at those who are different from him and develop hatred on them”.]

Once three persons were undertaking a long pilgrimage. After crossing several rivers and hills they arrived at the foot of a mountain. Their next destination was a holy shrine at the top of the the mountain. A sadhu whom they met there wanted to join their group so as to undertake the arduous journey with company. The sadhu had very strange looks and he was from a different country too. The three travellers did not develop a liking on him and were not too keen to take him along, but they nevertheless agreed out of basic human courtesy.

After the sadhu joined their group, somehow their onward journey up the mountain,  ceased to be a smooth one, unlike their earlier experiences. Their journey became more and more arduous as they proceeded. It started raining heavily. Thunder and lightning too was severe. There were no inhabitants on their way and they suffered from lack of food and drinking water.

The three travelers started thinking that the new Sadhu who joined them was the cause of all the hardship they were facing. The raining became more and more severe; thunders were deafening. They noticed a dilapidated hut en route and decided to take shelter under it till raining stopped.

One of the three persons said, “I am afraid the hardships we are facing now must be due to the evil fortune and sins of one of us in this group. God appears to be angry at him. That’s why we have been undergoing so much of hardship in this journey. Let us do one thing. One after another, let us go out of the hut and stand in the open at a distance from here.  When the person on whom God is angry stands alone in the open, God is sure to punish him. Then the rest of us can proceed with our journey without trouble”. All of them agreed.

The person who proposed the idea went first to stand alone in the open. He stood there for a while and nothing wrong happened to him. He returned to the hut and the second person went out. He too returned safely to the hut. Then the third person went out and stood alone. He too returned safely. Now it was the turn of the stranger. He walked out and stood in the open.

That very moment a lightning stuck at the hut where the three persons stood and within no time the hut turned into ashes, killing all the three.

Thus it turned out that the good fortune of the stranger was indeed saving the rest of the three from calamities all along their travel in the mountain!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.  Earning a livelihood

[Amma: “If there is something that destroys all goodness in a human mind and makes all his capabilities to a naught, it is poverty. Poverty is the most unfortunate happening in any human life. When Amma tours to various countries abroad, children coming to meet Amma would bring with them pictures drawn by them to show to Amma. In one country, a group of children came to receive Amma’s darshan. They too brought pictures drawn by them to show to Amma. (Amma narrated further on what happened: “]

Practically all the pictures drawn by these children contained tanks, warships, bombs and guns. In one of the boy’s picture, he had drawn Jesus Christ with a gun in hand. Upon inquiring about those children, Amma came to know that there were all poor kids from the ghettos.

Amma asked them, “Why have you drawn a gun in Jesus Christ’s hand, my children?”

One boy replied: “If Jesus Christ feels hungry, doesn’t he need food? He has to earn it. isn’t it? That’s why he needs a gun”.

“Will people give food only if he shows a gun?” asked Amma.

The boy said, “Our father grew us up only by showing gun at the face of others to earn money” they said.

“Why? Doesn’t your father have good health to do some work and earn money?”

“He is quite healthy. But when our father searched for jobs, the employers asked him where he was living. When he mentioned that he lived in a ghetto, none would offer a job to him; then our father started earning money by threatening others with a gun.”

[Amma: “These sort of experiences go deeply into young children’s hearts. Thus poverty combined with bad examples in life kindle violent tendencies in them. This is where there comes the need for expression of love and compassion towards such people.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

6. Dawn of Wisdom!

Once there lived an young man, who was called an idiot by everyone. As he was rather dull headed right from his childhood, everyone considered him an idiot. Whatever he said or did, his father would call him an idiot. He received the same treatment from his mother and brothers too.  Since his own family members called him an idiot, all the villagers did the same.

The young man was very sad about it. He used to think, “Since everyone calls me idiot, it must be true that I am really an idiot”.  Yet, he  repeatedly tried his best to prove to others that he  did possess brian and intelligence, all his efforts never yielded any result. He was considered a worthless fellow both inside and outside his house.

As life went on like this for the youngman, one day a Mahatma came to his village. The young man went to the Mahatma and prostrated before him; he conveyed his mental anguish and cried. The mahatma felt very compassionate towards him. He consoled him and instructed him  as follows:

“Don’t grieve. Do one thing from today onwards: Whosoever tells you anything, you should  object to their statement and oppose it. For example, if someone says, ‘Look at that flower. see how beautiful it is’, you must immediately say, ‘Nonsense! Who said that flower is beautiful? Can you explain what beauty is?”. Suppose somebody talks to you about the greatness of love, you should argue: “Love? What is really love? Is there anything really existing as love? Don’t simply say some nonsense about love. Where is the proof that love really exists?”. Likewise, without looking back or doubting, you confront everyone with a negative or counter argument; never waste any opportunity; question them, oppose them, criticize them, and demand their explanation! Nobody will be able to explain these sort of things coherently and consequently they will look like idiots! By questioning everything, you will become an intellectual….!”

The young man immediately agreed.

After a few years, the Mahatma came to the same village once again. Villagers who met him spoke to him with reverence and wonder, saying, “Maharaj, last time when you visited, you have really done a miracle in our village! By your sheer blessing, a rock-hard idiot in our village suddenly turned to be a brilliant fellow! He is now a very smart person and an intellectual! It is a wonder beyond words!”. The Mahatma immediately understood whom they are talking about. Soon the young man too came to meet the Mahatma. He said to the mahatma with heartfelt gratitude, “Maharaj, What you said did come through! Now everyone in this village consider me a very brilliant person!”

The mahatma said, “Fine. Make sure that you never reveal the secret to anybody!”

 [Amma: “Amma does not mean to say that logic and intelligence are not needed nor they are to be discarded. Amma only wants to convey that they alone cannot be considered the ‘be all and end all’ “. Where intelligence and logic are essential, do make use of them. But there are countless situations in life where the heart has to be given the prominence.  In such situations one must use the language of  love, faith, patience etc.” ]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

7. Demanding thankfulness?

Once a very rich man went to a temple to do worship. Once the puja was over, the rich man gave an unusually large some of money to the pujari.  But the pujari neither expressed thanks nor did he show any extraordinary courtesy or humility to the rich man. Noticing this, the rich man felt somewhat offended. He started loudly boasting to the priest saying that none would have ever given such a large amount of money to a pujari like him. He continued to boast about his largehearted-ness and his philanthropic mindset.

The priest kept listening it patiently for some time.  But since the rich man did not stop his self-boasting, he intervened and said, “Why are you explaining so much to me? Do you want me to say “thank you” for your donation?”

The rich man said, “Ah! Why not? What is wrong if  I expect a ‘thank you’ from you when I have given such a large amount to you?”

The priest said, “Actually, it must be you who should say ‘thank you’ for my accepting this amount from you. In fact, this is only a small amount when compared to the huge wealth you have amassed which truly belongs to God! Only if you could  surrender this amount without any  pride, you will become a recipient of God’s grace. YOu must in fact feel thankful that you have now got the opportunity to serve God and his devotee with your money. If you can’t do it, it will be better if you take back the money with you”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

8.  False pride

In the court of king Bhoja, a Congress of Poets was going on. Poets vied with one another to sing accolades about the king.  One poet sang a poem comparing king Bhoja with Lord Rama and his rule to be identical to Rama Rajya ( The rule of Rama which was considered a golden period).  Everyone in the assembly clapped their hands and king Bhoja was proudly acknowledging all the praises. Suddenly a crow flew into the court and defecated at the head of the poet who sang comparing King Bhoja with Lord Rama.

The poet felt very disturbed.  The king ordered his guards to catch the crow. The crow started speaking thus: “O Majesty, since this poet said falsehood, I defecated at his head. Neither you are  equal to Rama nor your kingdom equal to Rama Rajya. I can prove this to you, if you could kindly follow me.”

The king, minister and the poet decided to go behind the crow. The crow flew out and went to cave outside the city.  The crow flew inside it. Others followed. The crow wanted the soil inside the cave to be cleared. The minister and the poet engaged themselves in clearing the sand layer, there were thousands of gemstones underneath!

The crow said, “During Rama’s rule, there was a rich man who had no children. He prayed within his heart to Lord Rama to bless him with a son and he made a owe to donate a potful of gemstones to the king if his prayer was answered.  By God’s grace, a male child was born to the rich man. He felt extremely happy and went to meet king Rama with a pot of gemstones. When he told the matter and kept the pot under Rama’s feet, the Lord was not willing to receive it. He said, “I have no need for these gemstones in my treasury. You may please distribute it to the poor and the needy”. As the rich man went in search of poor people, he could not find anyone in the country. When the rich man reported this matter to Rama, the Lord asked him to freely distribute it to others.  But in the land of Rama, no one was willing to receive any free gifts saying that they cannot take anything for which they had not worked for.  The rich man finally left the gemstones in this cave. These are precisely the same gemstones”.

After narrating it, the crow said, “O king, will you now ask your minister and poet to open up their palms?”

When the king ordered so, the minister and the poet reluctantly opened their fists and each of them had handfuls of gemstones that they had collected secretly for themselves when they found the gemstones there! The crow said, “O king, isn’t it now absolutely clear that your kingdom is not equal to Rama rajya?”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

9.  Reserved judgement!

 [Amma: “Children, most people, knowingly or unknowingly,  form opinions about others with preconceived notions. Because of this, one does not correctly understand another person.”]

Once, in a courtroom a case was in progress. The advocates of the plaintiff and the defendant were very strongly arguing the case in favor of their parties. Unfortunately, the magistrate was dozing off in his seat and he did not listen to the legal arguments from them. After a while, he woke up. Seeing his condition, the court clerk politely spoke to the magistrate, “Sir, I am afraid you dozed off; you have not listened to the arguments presented by the lawyers”.

The magistrate said coolly, “Oh! It does not really matter.  I have already decided the final ruling for this case”. So saying, he resumed his sleep!

 [Amma: “If we do things with preconceived notions, just as the magistrate in this story, we may sacrifice justice and truth. On account of it, sume people may get unjust advantages and some may be put into unjust difficulties.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

10.  What went wrong?

Once a rich man wanted to celebrate his 50th birthday on a grand scale.  He arranged to print very attractive  invitation cards by selecting a very costly design and quality of paper.

He got his whole house painted afresh. He bought a costly chandelier to decorate his reception room.  He kept himself very busy in making his house and surroundings clean and beautiful.  In order to project a rich look on his birthday,  he bought very costly dresses for himself. He bought a thick golden chain and a diamond ring.  In order to prepare a variety-rich and tasty feast, he engaged a very famous cook.

Finally his birthday arrived. As the time for arrival of the guests came, he dressed himself up with the new clothes and wore the chain and ring. The chief cook and his uniformed staff were busy readying a variety of tasty dishes and were all ready to do the serving.

The rich man came and sat in the reception awaiting the guests but surprisingly, no one turned up. The evening went pst and the night was advancing. Yet, no guest was at sight. The rich man started worrying and wondering. What happened? What went wrong? How come not a single fellow had turned up?

Impatiently, we walked to his table and he noticed something there. The big bundle of invitation cards was still lying there! Now it became obvious. He had been so busy and engrossed in making all the preparations for celebrating his birthday on a grand manner that he totally forgot to send the invitation cards to all his friends and relatives and acquaintances!

 [Amma: “Like this, in our pursuits behind all the petty things in life, we are engrossed so much that we have totally forgotten our goal of human birth.  Because of it, we are not able to enjoy the right peace and joy in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

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”.]