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

1. When money comes in excess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Forbearance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Setting example

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai nokki-Tamil-Part 1)

5. Never lose hope

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

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

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

6. Gaining attention

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

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

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


7. The little boy and the pilot

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

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

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

(Amma Onam Satsang 11/9/19)

8.  Donated Air?

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

9. Selective hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya-Malayalam- Vol 1)

10.  The signature signifies…

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya-Malayalam- Vol 1)

11. Judgement depends (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s Onam satsang 14/4/2020)

12. Judgement depends (2)

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

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

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

The woman said, “I don’t know”.

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

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

13. Two beggars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)

14. Which world?

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

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

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

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

Man: “How?”

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

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)

15. Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyi Nokki – Tamil Vol 3)


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

1.  Being in the present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.  Be happy with what you have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The God permitted them to do so and disappeared.

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

3.  There is purpose behind inequality

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

4.  “My life is best”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

5.   Ignoring sane advice (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

6.   Ignoring sane advice (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

7.   Bad omen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(from Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

8.  Destructive mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

9.  Priceless indeed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

10.  The Solution!

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

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

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

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

What do you intend to do with him?”

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

11.  The dress makes difference

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

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

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

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

(From Awaken Children-2)

12.  Pride and its effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Awaken Children-2)

13.  Too busy!

Once a man returned from office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Monday Satsang 16/12/19)

14.  The hidden treasure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)

15.  The nature of children

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

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

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

Someone reported the matter at the police station.

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)




Amma’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 ]