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Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 4 (15 more stories )

1.   Equal punishment?

Long ago, there lived a very rich landlord in a village. He was a miser and lead a life of utter selfishness with no compassion for the poor and the needy.

One day, he went to the village magistrate and made a complaint against another villager saying that he had stolen money from his almirah.

The person accused was extremely poor. When the magistrate summoned him and interrogated him, he openly admitted that he had indeed stolen money from the rich man’s almirah because of unbearable hunger in his family.  At the end of inquiry the magistrate gave a ruling that the stealer and the rich man should undergo imprisonment for equal period.

The rich man could not digest such a ruling. He made sure that a complaint about this reached the king of the country. The king called the magistrate for an inquiry. The magistrate spoke to the king, openly expressing his views without any fear, “Your majesty, while I punished the poor man for the act of stealing, I punished the rich man for his act of amassing money far beyond his needs and never coming forward to help the poor and the needy with his money and properties.  Even if he could not help the poor directly, he could have at least  come forward to donate money to charitable organizations who work for the downtrodden and the needy. He never did that too. Even though God has given eyes and ears to him, he could never see the suffering of hungry people; he could not hear the lamenting of the poor in need of help. That too is a crime according to me and that’s why I gave him punishment.”

The magistrate paused for a while and then continued: “Now I think it is wrong on my part to have given equal punishment to both the persons. I should have indeed given an additional punishment for the rich man for another crime — the crime of abetting a poor person to resort to stealing. Had he donated some money for the fellow villager whose family had been driven to extreme poverty and hunger, the poor man would no need to steal from the rich man’s house. This rich man indeed is the cause for creating a thief. That’s why he should have been punished for it too”.

[Amma:  “Accumulating more and more possessions is also adharma; it is a  sin. That’s why we should always negate pomp and extravaganza. By saving money being spent on such things, we should divert it to help the poor and the needy.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.   Compassionate request

Once a school girl took part in a prestigious competition and won the first place. The sponsors of the competition offered her a free trip to Visit USA as the reward.

At the award function, the anchor asked a question to the girl, “How happy are you feeling in winning the competition and getting the chance to visit to USA?”

The girl said, “I am indeed very happy to have won this competition; but I would be happier if I could get the award in cash equivalent to  all the expenses of sponsoring my trip to USA”.

“Why are you desiring cash? Are you not interested in visiting USA?” asked the anchor.

The girl said, “It is not so. My mother is a nurse. Last week I accompanied my mother to the hospital where she is working. There I happened to meet a girl of my age, and as I interacted with her,  we became friends. I came to know that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. It was shocking for me. My mother told me that her cancer  was in advanced stage and if at all she should recover, she should undergo more advanced treatment in a bigger hospital. Unfortunately, her parents are poor and they could not afford any costlier treatment. She would not survive for long in this condition. I felt very painful; such an young girl, who would have lots of dreams about her future, who is not still aware of her precarious condition, who believes she would soon recover, will be dying shortly because there was no money with the parents to save her.  Suppose this reward comes to me in cash, I want to give it to the girl’s parents so that they can use it for treating her. That would truly make my winning the  competition worthy”.

Hearing her speech, the organizers immediately took a decision to give the reward to her in cash and they made an announcement about it immediately.

[Amma:  “On this day of New year, let us all make a resolution to do at least one act that could bring happiness or comfort to others without any selfish motive.  Even if we are not capable of doing big things, it does not matter. A word of compassion, a friendly smile, a friendly heart that is ready to hear the sorrows of others — even such little things are good enough.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.   Compassion is more important than worship

Once a group of pilgrims were travelling to Rameshwaram after taking holy bath in the Ganga at Kashi.  They were carrying Ganga water in small pots for the purpose of doing abhishekam to Lord Shiva’s linga at Rameshwaram as per the traditional practice.

Somewhere at the middle of their travel route, they had to cross a dry landscape. It was a hot day and all the travellers were suffering from thirst. But unfortunately, they could not locate any source of water in the stretch. Since all of them were very particular to carry the Ganga water for Rameshwaram, they did not want to quench their thirst with the Ganga water in their pots. They somehow managed to bear with their thirst and moved on.

On the way, a donkey was lying on the road, breathing heavily. It was obvious that the donkey was fatigued by the hot sun and it was extremely thirsty.  One of the pilgrims felt pity on  the donkey which was at the verge of death. He decided to feed the donkey with his pot of Ganga water. The donkey hastily drank all the water in his pot and felt rejuvenated. The man felt extremely happy that he could save the life of a donkey with the water he carried.

However, the other pilgrims did not approve his act of charity. They said that it was totally wrong to ‘waste’ a whole pot of Ganga water which was really meant for doing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva. They said he lost all the punya of undertaking the pilgrimage.

The man said, “I don’t care if I lose all the good fortune of completing Kashi Yatra; saving the life of a poor creature by feeding it with Ganga water is far more more important to me than doing abhishekam to God at Rameshwaram; I saw God in that poor creature. Seeing its pitiable condition, it was just impossible for me to walk ahead without offering help.”

[Amma:  “Four things make an act of charity invaluable:  1)  Sacrificing one’s own possessions and comforts  for giving to charity (2) Donating  selflessly without expecting anything in return or without the intent of getting name and fame (3) donating to someone more deserving than oneself  and (4) Seeing God in the receiver, offering a donation with humility. We all must develop the above attitude and do good to others. If we do charity with this attitude, we will get satisfaction and prosperity in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

4.   Indebtedness

Once  a hunter shot an arrow tipped with poison on a deer. The arrow missed its target and hit the trunk of a large tree. Due to the effect of poison, the tree started withering. Soon, all the leafs in the tree dried up and the tree was dead.

There were plenty of birds, worms, insects, rats, and squirrels living in the tree all long. Once the tree dried up, almost all of the creatures left the tree in search of alternative places for their living. But one parrot that lived in the tree for long did not want to leave the tree, because of its indebtedness and emotional attachment to the tree that had supported it and nurtured it all along. Forgetting food and sleep, the parrot grieved for the death of the tree and continued to stay there. All the fellow birds advised the lone parrot that it was meaningless to keep attached to a dead and dry tree and urged it to move on along with them. But the parrot  stoutly refused.

The news about the parrot spread across the three worlds and it reached Heaven too. Lord Indra was surprised to hear about it. He wanted to test the parrot.

Indra came to the tree in the form of an old brahmin and asked the parrot, “Why are you so foolishly clinging on to this tree which has dried up totally?”

The parrot said, “I know by virtue of my austerities that you are none other than Lord Indra. You see, I was born in this tree. I grew up in this tree and this is where I acquired all my skills and instincts.  It was due to the protection given by this tree, I lived safely from the attack of predators. How can I discard this tree which has nurtured and protected me all along?”

Hearing this Lord Indra said, “I am extremely pleased to hear your words of compassion. I will offer you any boon you ask for”.  The parrot immediately said, “Lord, I will be extremely happy if you could bring this tree back to life and restore its original status”. Lord Indra agreed and sprinkled nectar on the tree.  Within moments, the tree started to grow fresh leaves and soon it attained its original condition bearing flowers and fruits.  Seeing this all the birds and animals which had discarded the tree earlier returned to the tree joyfully.

[Amma:  “If only all of us have the same attachment and indebtedness towards mother nature just like the parrot’s attachment to the tree in this story, preservation of Nature would become effortless. Let us develop such a mindset and pass it on to the coming generations.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.   Personal touch (1)

Once a new Managing Director joined his office.  He was welcomed by all the managers. The personnel Manager said, “Sir, we have arranged your room ready at the 20th floor. We have one exclusive elevator for your use, which will take you straight to your floor without stopping at intermediate floors”.

The MD took charge. After a few days, he called up the personnel manager and said, “Please shift my office from 20th floor to the ground floor”.

The personnel manager humbly asked the MD, “May I know the reason Sir?  Are you not feeling comfortable there?  Have we missed giving any facilities there?”

The MD said, “No. The office and facilities are good. No complaints. All my employees are spread across the various floors down below in this building. I am not able to effectively interact with them”.

“Why Sir? If you call any of them to your room, they will always be glad to come and meet you there!”

The MD said, “No.  I don’t want to sit on a high pedestal and demand  their attention. I want to interact with them all in a more personal way.  I want to know about them, their hardships, their family problems and so on more freely. If I sit in the ground floor, all the people will have to pass through the ground floor only when they come to the office or leave the office and that way, I will have a better access towards them through casual meetings too.”

[Amma:  “In a similar way, Avatara Purushas come to the earth for the sake of the common people. They come down to the level of the common man and teach them in a way they can understand,”]

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

6.   Personal touch (2)

Once in an office, a departmental examination was conducted to select staff who are to be promoted to managerial posts in the organization.

While answering the question paper, a very odd question caught everybody’s attention:

  • What is the name of your Manager?
  • What is the name of the office assistant who does errands in the office?
  • What is the name of the tea boy?
  • What is the name of the sweeper in the office?

Practically all the people who wrote the exam wrote the Managers’ name correctly. Some people did not know the name of the office assistant. More people did not know the name of the tea boy. Most people did not know the name of the sweeper.

After the exam was over, they went and met the chief of HR department, who was in charge of setting up the question paper. “We wonder what is the need for that particular question. It is in no way connected with our technical skills, communication skills or knowledge of office matters and procedures which are essential for management.”  they argued.

The HR manager said, “In fact it is one of the most important questions that carries lots of weightage.  You see, when you people become managers, you are not just going to manage your work and responsibilities, but manage all the people who work under you. You have to be people-oriented and how you interact with your staff at human level is of paramount importance in your success as a manager.”

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

7.   Don’t take more than your need

Once the family of a rich man came to a famous hotel for a buffet dinner.

An old man sitting and eating in the next table, kept watching the rich man’s family. Most of the members from the family were picking up lots of varieties of food in excess quantities. They would try some items, eat a little here and a little there and discard the food. They would again pick up some more items and waste them if they were not to their liking.

The old man signaled to the head of the family and expressed his wish to talk to them. He said, “You people are wasting lots of food. This is not right. Take only as much as you could eat and not more. This is not a responsible behavior” he said curtly.

The rich man felt offended and angry. He retorted: “We have paid for the buffet for each and every one of our family. You know that buffet food is unlimited. So, it is totally up to us to take as much as we want; if we like something. we eat it; if we don’t like, we throw away. None can question us. It is our right”.

The old man said, “It is your right to eat to your stomach-full for the money you have paid. But it is not your right to waste food; by wasting food, you are depriving somebody else’s share of food. There are countless poor people in the outer world who don’t have the means to eat one square meal a day. Many people go to bed with empty stomach. The food you waste rightfully belong to the poor and you are depriving them indirectly by wasteful consumption”.

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

8. Avoiding Embarrassment

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village. As he had no money to sow for the upcoming crop season, he approached a rich man in his village for a loan. The rich man was quite kind hearted. He readily offered money to the farmer and asked him to repay it once he harvested his produce and sold them.  Thanking him profusely, the farmer collected the money and went about enthusiastically to raise the crops.

Unfortunately, by the time the crop was ready for harvesting, a heavy thunderstorm struck. His entire farm was flooded and the farmer lost all his produce.  He was crestfallen. How could he repay the loan?

With no other go, the farmer started avoiding the rich man. Whenever he saw the rich man coming in the opposite direction at a distance, the farmer would quickly take a detour and avoid meeting him. The rich man noticed what the farmer was doing and he understood.

One day, the rich man was walking on the road along with his friend. He noticed the farmer coming at a distance. Immediately the rich man quickly hid himself behind an adjacent tree. After the farmer went past, he returned to the road. Surprised to see his behavior, the friend asked, “What is this? Why are you hiding yourself from the farmer? Are you afraid of him for some reason?”

The rich man said, “No. I really feel pity for the farmer. I know he has lost his entire crop this year due to unexpected floods. In fact I had loaned him a heavy amount for raising this crop. He is a honest farmer and he feels extremely embarrassed to see me face to face out of fear that I may ask him to pay back the loan. So, he is always trying to avoid me.  Since I know his pitiable condition, I wanted to avoid any embarrassment for him in seeing me in front of him today. That’s why I hid myself behind the tree”.

(From Amma”s 67th birthday satsang 27/9/2020)

9.  For the sake of havenots

Once there lived a boy who used to notice a Home for the orphans on his way to school. He would feel very sorry looking at the children whose faces were always sad and forlorn.

Onam festival was round the corner. As usual, his father gifted him some money for the festival for him to buy toys or anything else that he was desirous of.  He thought, ‘I have parents who always but toys, news dress and other things for me and take good care.  But who is there for the poor children living in the orphanage? They don’t have parents and relatives. How sad is their condition!’

Thinking this way, he took a decision. He approached his classmates and said, “All of us are having pocket money now given by our parents for celebrating Onam. Let me suggest a thing. Let us pool the money together and buy some face masks and simple toys in bulk. Let us sell them to public from street corners. By using that money, we can buy more of them and sell more. Using that money, let us buy lots of toys and gift them to the orphan children. What do you say?”

Practically all his classmates did not show interest in his suggestion. They were keen to use their pocket money only for their own enjoyment. However only one boy agreed to his suggestion. They put their money together and bought some funny face masks and toys for children.  Both of them wore face masks, went to places where people gathered in large numbers and entertained them with their antics. Amused people gathered around them and watched them with glee. The boy announced, “Please buy some masks from us and gift them to your children. They will be happy to wear them and you too find joy in their entertainment. We see you are all laughing and enjoying. But remember for a moment that there are indeed people around us who do not know what joy is.  Please think of them and buy goods from us. The money you pay will be utilized for giving that joy to the deserving people”.

The boys’ entertainment and smart speech attracted the audience. They eagerly came forward to buy the masks and other toys from them. From that money, they bought more stuff and resold them. With the accumulated money they bought lots of funny masks and other toys and gifts for the orphans.

On the day of Onam festival, the two boys went to the orphanage. While the people outside ashram were all in festive mood, the children at the ashram looked furlorn. The boys called all the children and distributed the masks and other gifts to them. Suddenly, the faces of all the children lit up. The boys burst fire crackers; they lit sparklers and handed over to the children. Festive mood caught up inside the Home too. The children started jumping and screaming around in joy.

The boy who initiated this stood aside and watched all the merry. His eyes filled with tears of joy. He felt that the joy he felt at that moment, by not keeping anything for selfish enjoyment but sharing everything with others was far more intense and deeply satisfying than what he would have had otherwise.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

10.  The generous kid

Once a mother of two children went to a supermarket for buying essential needs for the week. She knew that if she took them around the supermarket, they would keep pestering her for buying many unnecessary things that they see on the shelves. As they entered in to the supermarket she gave some money to both the children and said, “Buy whatever you want or eat within this money and sit there at the chairs. Wait for me till I make the purchases and come back.”

The children gladly collected the money. The first girl bought chocolates for the entire money and started eating them by sitting in the waiting area.

The other girl looked around thinking what to buy for her. At one corner, many saplings of fruit trees were on sale. She bought one sapling. With the balance money she bought some biscuits. She too came to the waiting area and sat with her sister.

By the time she arrived there, her sister had already finished the chocolates. She was looking for eating something more, but she had already exhausted her money. The second girl opened the biscuit packet and started eating. She also shared a portion of it with her sister.

[Amma:  “Most of us, like the first girl in this story, live a selfish life, intent only on satisfying our desires. But the second girl is the example of how we should rightly live in this world. For the sake of the world, she bought a sapling, which will grow to a tree in future and be useful to many. For her own enjoyment, she bought biscuits and that too she shared with others gladly.”]

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

11.  The most difficult job

Once a king posed this question at his court: “What is the most difficult job on earth?”

In order to make the king feel happy, practically all those gathered there said, “Being a king and ruling a country”. The king was quite satisfied with the answer. But the court jester stood up and said, “The job of a mother is the most difficult one in the world”.

The king did not like it. He wanted the jester to convince him with facts.  The jester said, “Your majesty, I will arrange to send a mother with a 3 year old child to the palace. Please watch her for one or two days and you will come to know.”

The king agreed.

A mother with her 3 year old kid arrived. The king arranged a person to observe the mother and report to him all that happened.

The next day, the person came and reported to the king the following.

After the mother and child settled there at the previous night, the child wanted to eat some chocolates. The mother gave a small piece of chocolate to the child and it ate the piece with great relish. The child wanted more, but the mother refused to give. The child started crying and demanded more.

The mother said to the child, “You can eat only this much chocolate in a day. If you eat more, it will cause toothache and stomach ache.” She tried to divert the attention of the child but the child was too adamant. It cried more and more; it threw up tantrums.  But the mother was extremely patient and tried to pacify the child, but to no avail. The child kept on crying and the mother did no further effort to calm her. She simply let the child cry.  Getting tired, the child slept off. The mother too slept.

On the next morning, the child woke up. It immediately remembered about the chocolate and started crying for it again. The mother now took out a piece of chocolate and gave it. But the angry child was in no mood to compromise. It cried saying, “I want only yesterday’s chocolate, but you are giving me today. I will not agree. I want it yesterday!”

The mother patiently said, “It is still yesterday, darling! Since you slept off, you are mistaken that one day has passed. Now eat this. It is still yesterday only!”  The child stopped crying and stared relishing the chocolate.

When the king heard this, he turned to the court jester and said, “Yes man. I agree! A mother’s job is the most difficult to handle!”

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

12. The right king

Once a king by name Jayadev was ruling the country of Magadha. He had 3 sons. As the king was getting old, he wanted to crown one of his sons as the king. Even though it was the norm to appoint the eldest son as the king, Jayadev was however not keen on following the custom, as he was a very compassionate king, who had all along ruled the country unselfishly with the only motive of taking care of welfare of the subjects. He wanted to ensure that the next ruler too continued to be compassionate towards the people.

He called all his sons and inquired: “Have you done any good deed in your life, recently?”

The eldest son said, ” Yes, I did one recently. One of my friends, before undertaking a pilgrimage, gave me a huge collection of precious stones and he asked me to keep them in my safe custody till he returns from his journey. I did take care of them and returned all of them safely without even touching one of them once he came back.”

“What is so great about it?” asked the king.

“If at all I had desired, I could have stolen one from them. I never did so” said the prince.

“Why didn’t you steal?”

“Had I stolen, my conscience would keep pricking me afterward. That’s why I did not steal”.

“It means you restrained yourself just to safeguard yourself from future trouble”.  The king turned towards his second son and asked him what good deed he had done.

He said, “Recently, I was walking along a river bank. Lots of people had gathered there and making lots of noise. I  came to know that one man who got into water for bathing had sunk in the river just then. That area in the river was infested with lots of crocodiles. So, no one was willing to save the person, risking their life against crocodiles. When I came to know this, I jumped into the river and saved the man”.

“That was indeed really good. What motivated you to do so, risking your life?” asked the king.

“People gathered there knew that I was the prince. If I had not come forward to save the sinking man,  they would start talking “Oh, the prince ran away fearing his life!’. Will they not label me a coward? That’s why I risked my life to save the man”.

The king said, “It means you did not jump into river out of compassion for the man, but only to save your honor; you wanted the people to praise you; right?”

The king asked his third son about any good deeds he had done recently.

The third son replied, “I don’t remember having done any such thing”.

The king was disappointed. However, he sent his messengers to find out from common people whether any of them knew any good deeds done by the third son.

Soon the king came to know from his messengers that the third son was indeed doing many philanthropic activities. Many people told that the prince would always inquire about their well being whenever he interacted with them, and would encourage them to share their problems and difficulties with him. Some poor people said that the prince always gave them food and money if he came to know that they were hungry and had no means to eat. Some people said that he helped them to build houses for them when he came to know that they were roofless. The prince was thus engaged in countless welfare activities but he would always tell the beneficiaries not to mention about him to others.”

The king embraced the third son and said, “You are the right person to rule this kingdom after me”. Soon he crowned him as the king and retired from active life.

[Amma:  “Children, when we do a good deed, the idea ‘I am the doer’ should not rise up its head. Extending help to others should never be for the sake of getting fame. Every act of seva should become a worship of God. We are just instruments in the hand of God.  The power to act through us is His. Never forget this.”]

(Source: OLiyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

13. Take the right example (1)

Once a forest dweller was going through the forest. At a particular place, he noticed a fox lying. The fox had broken its two legs and was lying there unable to move. He felt pity on the fox. He thought, “Who will feed this fox? Oh! God is sometimes cruel”. Then he wondered, “This fox cannot move but it looks healthy. Does it mean someone is feeding it?” He got curious. He wanted to know how the fox was getting its food.

After a while, a tiger came there. It was carrying a large piece of meat in its mouth. It ate half of it sitting there and left the remaining half for the fox to eat. The forest dweller was very surprised. He wanted to know whether the tiger would be coming again the next day too to feed the fox.

Promptly, he came to same spot at the same time and hid himself behind a tree to watch what wasp. Like the previous day, the tiger came there, ate some meat and left the balance for the fox to eat. It was happening daily.

The forest dweller thought, “It means God is there to take care.  So, let me too stop running around and work for my food. God will surely arrange someone to feed me”.  He  went and sat at one place and waited. The whole day passed. No one brought any food for him! He waited for the second day too. Nothing happened.  He felt very weak. He was about to lose faith on God. At that time, a divine voice was heard by him from the sky: “My son! Don’t be like the lame fox. Aspire to be like the tiger who feeds the fox out of compassion”.

[Amma:  “Children, don’t think ‘let others do the service; let somebody extend help’. Sitting idle without doing anything is a crime committed against God.  God has given health to us only for serving the poor with constant remembrance of God. We should always develop the attitude of helping those who are suffering.”]

(Source: OLiyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

14. Take the right example (2)

Once in a gurukula, the guru was teaching his disciples about the differences in the nature of people in the world.

The master kept four glasses with water on the table. In the first glass, he put a few pebbles of stones. The stones sank to the bottom and nothing more happened.

In the second glass, the master dropped a lump of mud. Soon the mud got dissolved in water and made the glass of water dirty.

In the third glass, the master put a piece of sponge. The sponge quickly absorbed all the water in the glass.

In the fourth glass, the master dropped a sugar candy. The candy dissolved in the water. The water continued to look clear but the water turned sweet to drink.

Now the master explained.

“There are four types of people in this world. There are lots of  people who are like stones in the first glass. They are good for nothing. They live in the society, but they don’t contribute anything for the good of the society. Some people are like the lump of mud in the second glass. They don’t do anything good for the society but they spoil others with whom they interact. Thus they are harmful to the society.

There are the third type of people who are hopelessly selfish.  They are like the sponge put in water. Like the sponge absorbing the water, they will try to grab whatever others have or they will exploit nature for satiating their selfish needs and greed. They will earn and hoard far more than what they need, thus depriving the genuine needs of have-nots.

And there are only a few people in society who are like the sugar candy in the fourth glass. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of others and bring sweetness to others’ lives.

It is the fourth type of people that we should take as examples for us to emulate in our life. If we follow their lives, we too will gain sweetness in life. Gradually, we too will become capable of giving sweetness to others’ lives.”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

15. Child’s heart

It was the annual day festival in a charitable trust where mentally retarded children are taken care of.

As part of the festival, a drama enacted by children was in progress on the dais. In the scene, a poor beggar, scantly dressed,  was going in search of a shelter for an overnight stay on a very cold night. He goes to a bungalow and begs for permission for staying over night there as could not bear the cold outside. However, the house owner scolds him harshly and forces him out of his compound.  The beggar, hurt and sad, walks out shivering in cold.

Watching this scene, a mentally retarded little boy from the audience ran up to the dais. He said to the ‘beggar’, “Please don’t cry. I will take care of you. I have space in my room for one person to sleep; you can come with me to my house”.

Watching such an innocent behavior of the boy, the entire audience stood up and clapped. Emotionally moved by the boy’s spontaneous expression of compassion,many people wiped their wet eyes.

[Amma:How many of us, who possess fully developed mental faculties, have the compassionate heart that the mentally retarded boy had?“]

 

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  The difference

Once a rich man happened to meet his boyhood friend after many years. Both felt very happy at seeing each other. The rich man said, “Come! Let us go to the Park nearby and chitchat for sometime”.

As they walked, the rich man noticed that his friend’s looks did not have any signs of affluence. He said, “In the good old days we played together; we studied in the same school; but today, there seems to be big difference between the two of us”. His friend did not say anything.

On their way, the rich man stopped suddenly. He bent down and picked up a 5 rupee coin from the street. Extending it towards his friend, he said, “This coin fell from your pocket.”

They walked further. Now the friend stopped suddenly. His attention went to a thorny bush nearby.  There was a butterfly, caught somehow amid the thorns,  fluttering its wings frantically and trying to escape from there.  The friend went close.  He carefully and leisurely used his fingers to push aside the thorny stems of the bush so that the butterfly gets freed. The butterfly escaped and flew away from there. The friend stood up and started walking again.

The rich man asked, ” I really wonder how this butterfly caught your attention!”

The friend said, “Did you not say a little while ago that there is a big difference between the two of us? That’s it. While you heard the sound of a 5 rupee coin, I heard the sound of the heart of the butterfly that got caught in the bush”.

[Amma:Look at the difference in the mental attitude of these two persons. Our thoughts and actions determine our tendencies and personality. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

17. Eye of Compassion

A couple of persons from a Social Service Organization went to meet a rich businessman.  Their intention was to convince him to donate a good amount for their philanthropic activities for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden.

But the businessman was very arrogant. He was least interested in parting with any money for good a cause. Even though they explained the extent of difficulties the poor people were facing and to what extent their activities were sincerely benefiting them, the rich man did not budge an inch.

As the visitors got up to leave, the rich man suddenly said, “Wait. Let me see whether I could do something to help you. But you have to correctly answer my one question and if you do it, I will donate some money.”

The visitors were ready to take the question.

“I have eyesight only in one eye. The other eyeball is actually made of artificial material. If you correctly tell me which one is artificial, you will get the amount”.

The visitors looked keenly at both his eyes. One of them said, “Your left eye is artificial”.

The business man was very surprised. “How did you find out? So far,  no one I challenged could find it out. It was made of a very costly material and crafted by experts. Tell me how you could decipher it”.

The person said, “I was searching for some of light of compassion in your eyes. I noticed that your left eye had at least a trace of compassion in it, while the right one didn’t have any. It looked like a stone. From that I felt your right eye indeed is your real eye”.

[Amma:This businessman is a real representative of  our present times. Nowadays we possess heads heated up with egoism and hearts turned cold by selfishness. What we need is the opposite.  Our heart needs the warmth of love and compassion. With that, the head should also be cool with expansive understanding.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on the Power of Love – (3 stories)

1. The lonely child

[Amma: If there is some thing that can rid us of fear and give us the power to move forward overcoming all hurdles, it is love.]

Once there lived in a village a widowed milkmaid with her little daughter. She sold milk to the residents of a kingdom who lived inside a well guarded fort. The fort was on top of a small hill and her village was situated outside, at the foothills.

One evening, after she finished selling milk inside the fort, she got delayed. As she returned to the exit gate, she found the gates locked. She appealed to the guards to open the gates for her, saying, “I have left my little child alone in my hut. It is already late in the evening. If I don’t return before dark, my daughter would be gripped in fear and start crying; if something happens to my daughter, there is no point in my living any more; please take pity on me; please allow me to go out!”

But the guards were extremely rigid and they refused to open the gate for security reasons. They told her to stay somewhere inside for the night and leave once the gates open early at sun-rise.

Overwhelmed by disappointment and grief, the woman left the place and started frantically searching for some way or means to escape from the walls of the fort.

In the next day morning, the guards opened the gates. They were surprised to see the milkmaid waiting outside the gate with her milk cans to enter into the fort! They were taken aback. How on earth did she manage to sneak out of the walls of the well protected fort on the previous evening?

The took her to the king.Upon inquiry, the milkmaid explained her predicament and anguish on the previous evening. She told the king that after a thorough search, she found out a small crack on the wall of the fort through which she escaped. The king was curious to know where the weak spot was and he went along with the maid to see the location.

The king was extremely surprised to notice that it was almost impossible to notice the existence of such a small crack in the wall through which a person can escape with difficulty. It was indeed a very dangerous endeavor to climb the wall to that cracked area; further, on the other side, the slope of the hills were really treacherous and it was indeed a very dangerous task to descend the hills that way. It really looked to be a superhuman effort to accomplish it.

The king asked her, “Were you not gripped by fear to escape through this extremely dangerous path in darkness?”

The milkmaid replied, “There was only one thought in my mind last evening. I have got to got out somehow or other from here and reach my little daughter. I know how scared she would be if I were not to reach her before night. I totally forgot about the safety of my own life; there was no place for fear in my heart at that time”.

2.  Tuned mind

[Amma: “True love or relationship depends on the depth of inseparable sense of togetherness. Such a deep emotional bond happens in the mind and hence it cannot be measured. In proportion to that feeling of togetherness, it manifests in the outer physical plane too. People having such a deep love on each other will have resonating thoughts too. A husband will understand the wife thoughts even before she expresses them; so does the wife.”]

Once a husband was sitting in his room at his house deeply engrossed in some office work that he had brought home on a holiday. He was feeling tired and wanted to relax for a while. However the work was so urgent that he had to finish it off and hand over it to the office the next day.

He was fighting sleep and trying hard to concentrate. He thought, “If only I get a good cup of coffee”. He knew his wife was busy cooking at the kitchen. It was an odd time when he did not normally drink coffee. He did not want to disturb his wife.

As he resumed work, his wife appeared in his room with a hot cup of coffee in her hand! The husband was surprised! “How come you know that I longed for a cup of coffee?”. The wife said, “I just felt you needed a cup of coffee; that’s all!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

3. For her sake

One young man used to go by his motorbike to meet his lover regularly.  Driven by the urge to meet his beloved girl, the young man used to drive rashly, without bothering to obey traffic rules. Even if he sees Red light at traffic signals, he would just ignore it drive ahead without stopping. Many times he met with small accidents on account of his rash driving.  But he never bothered about them.

One day, he was driving his bike with one of his friends sitting at the pillion. His friend knew about the man’s rash driving habits. On that day, the young man stopped his bike at one of the traffic junctions when he noticed red signal. He took out his girl friend’s photo from his pocket and looked at it lovingly while waiting for the signal to turn green.

His friend was really surprised. ! “Hey! What happened to you? I have never seen you stopping your bike at signals?”

The young man replied, “All these days, due to my excitement to meet her, I drove fast, ignoring signals. I never bothered about traffic rules or other vehicles. The only thought that occupied my mind was to meet her as fast as possible. But of late I have started thinking: ‘If, because of my rash driving, I were to meet with an accident, will it not throw her into grief?’. Now, with such a thought arising in me, I have started to drive responsibly, obeying traffic rules!”

[Amma: “Like this, if we are driven only by our selfish likes and dislikes, we feel rules and regulations are unnecessary. But when we take into consideration others’ interests and concerns, we get awareness and patience; then we understand the need to follow rules and regulations.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

Amma’s stories on Karma / Fate – Part 1 (7 more stories)

1.  The fruit of Karma returns anyway

[Amma: “The fate or the fruit of your past karma is like an arrow that you shot to hit a target and return. When the arrow comes back, invariably, you fail to catch it and it attacks you too. The only difference may that the return of the arrow (the fruit of your karma) may not happen immediately. It may come late, but sure it will.”]

Once a farmer worked very hard in order to own a big farm, so that he, his sons and grandchildren could live very comfortably. He bought a barren land and toiled very hard to make the soil fertile. Fighting against draught, pests and storms, he protected his crop. He could get great yields. After years of hard work, he could really become quite rich. He got old. He thought the time has come for him to rest and he handed over the responsibility of managing the form to his son,

Once the son took charge, the old man felt very relaxed. He used to lie down in front of his farm in an easy chair and enjoyed his rest and leisure.

The son who took full charge of the farm initially felt very happy and proud. He too worked hard. But as days passed, his enthusiasm waned. He started feeling unhappy about his father. “While I am working so hard and straining every nerve and muscle of mine in the farm, how come this old man is spending the whole day idling and playing with grand children? This is so unfair” thought he.

As he was frequently gripped by such thinking, he started hating his father. ‘This old man is simply eating, doing nothing and enjoying his life from my hard labor’. He started feeling that his father was a burden on his head. ‘He might have worked hard in the past; so what? Times are changing; I must ensure well being of my family and my children. Why should I take care of this idle old man?’ so thinking, he was overpowered by a desire to get rid of his father once for all.

He made one large wooden box that can fit his father. He placed it on a cart. “Go and lie inside the box” he ordered his father. The old man obeyed without any protest. The son closed the box and drove the cart up over an adjacent hill. Upon reaching the summit, his plan was to push the box down a steep cliff to kill his father once for all.

When he was trying to push and and roll the box, he heard heard a knocking sound from the box. He shouted, “What do you want?”. The father replied from the box, “I can understand what your intention is. You are thinking I am old, and useless and you want to get rid of me once for all. Fine. But open the box. I will come out and you can push me from the cliff. Thus you need not waste this wooden box. Keep it safe and it could be handy for your son in in future!”

[Amma: “In this story, when the old man said that the box could be useful for his son in future, he meant that the account of karma for his present act would be tallied by his son in the future. You should also note that the old man too must be reaping what he sowed. He must have treated his own father or someone else like that in the distant past.”]

2.  The lost wealth

Once a building contractor at a project at site temporarily engaged an accountant locally to handle the money matters. Every month end, he used to give  a small bunch of currency to the accountant and ask him to keep it safe under a separate account-head. First time, the accountant asked, “For whom is the payment meant?”

The contractor said, “I am setting off this money for a good cause — something like giving to an orphanage, or for educating the poor children which I will decide at the end of this project”.

The accountant thought: ‘Why give away the money to unknown beneficiaries? Let me misappropriate the money and enjoy life’. Without following the instruction of the contractor, the accountant pocketed the money himself every month and wasted it away in drinking and gambling at week ends. He was otherwise an efficient man at his duty.

Over a period of time, the specific contract work came to an end. The contractor wanted to settle the accounts of temporary employees at the site and move to the next project.

He called the accountant and said, “It is time for us to part; you have done your job well; I want to reward you specifically for your efficient work. You know I was giving you an unspecified amount every month to put it in a separate account for donating to a good cause. Actually, I had planned that money as a bonus for you. You can bring that money and take it as a gift from me; please get that money and we will settle and close that account.”

The accountant was shocked to hear it.

[Amma: “By engaging in bad karma, we ourselves block the way of good karma in reaching us in future”]

3.  What is the real cause?

[Amma: “Karma and its effects are very complicated to comprehend. There could be so many indecipherable causes behind effects and it is beyond the comprehension of common people. One should not jump into conclusion in passing judgement about others. “]

One a very benevolent king was ruling a small country.  He had great respects for sannyasins and mendicants. He built a huge dining hall to feed renunciates and brahmacharis on a daily basis. He would personally visit the place and even serve food with his own hands with reverence and  humility to the travelling mendicants. This practice was going on for long.

One day, after partaking the food in the dining hall, many of the mendicants fell sick and several of them died.

The king was shocked beyond measure when such a calamity happened. He could not grasp why such a calamity would strike for a benevolent act that he had been doing with utter sincerity and commitment. He felt that a great sin would befall on him for causing death to somany pious sannyasins. He started to undertake a fast and he was even prepared to die as  atonement of the sin.

Nobody could find out how the food poisoning happened.

In order to find out the truth and apportion the sin of  killing so many innocent mendicants, the God sent a messenger for investigation.

The messenger conducted a thorough inquiry amidst the working staff, the cooks and other servants working in the dining hall. He also did a thorough physical inspection of the dining hall. In this investigation, as directed by the messenger, a workman was made to climb up to the ceilings of the tiled hall and check the tiles and the beams. There, right above the place where food used to be kept ready just before serving, a dead snake was found in between some tiles and the beam.

From further inquiries done on eye witnesses, he came to know that on the fateful day, an eagle was found attacking a poisonous snake above the roof of the building. The wounded snake seemed to have escaped the clutches of the eagle and somehow sneaked through the gaps in the tiles and entered into the underside of the hall roof.

The snake was almost dying and just before it breathed its last, it had opened its mouth and ejected poison. It was exactly at that moment the lids of the vessels carrying the food items were opened for serving right below and the droplets of poison fell into the food and got mixed with the food.  It was by eating that poisonous food that the mendicants died.

The messenger made a mental analysis: The king was not definitely responsible for this happening. The sin cannot be apportioned to the eagle because it is its basic nature to attack and kill snakes. It was not responsible for the snake’s escape. The snake too was not responsible because it was not spitting venom intentionally. The servers were not responsible for they were not knowledgeable about a snake right above vessels spitting venom at the  point of opening of the food vessels.

The messenger was at a loss. God had given him the responsibility of  apportioning the sin of the death of the mendicants on the right recipient. Whom to give it?

Thinking deeply, he was walking at the outskirts of the city. He saw a group of travelling mendicants coming into the city. They were inquiring a woman vendor at the street about the location of the king’s dining hall where mendicants were served free food.

The woman said to them: “Oh! No, no. Please never go there to take your food. The king is evil and very wily. He is poisoning and killing saintly people who come and take food there!”

The messenger heard the conversation. He decided to assign the sin of killing of the mendicants to the lady vendor who was spreading rumor by unjustly blaming the king without any basis of truth.

(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)

4.  Escaping death?

[Amma: “Death is always stalking us. It is always behind us like our shadow. If one can clearly understand that death is inevitable and it can come at any time, then one can get the determination to know God before the body falls. No one can ever predict at which moment one would die.”]

Once a king was very curious to know when he would die. He called an expert astrologer, who was extremely reputed for correct predictions about future, to his court for this purpose. The astrologer analysed the king’s horoscope in detail and finally said, “I am sorry to say this, your majesty! As per my calculations and observations, you are bound to die today itself immediately after sunset.”

The king felt devastated hearing this shocking revelation. He could not digest it. He frantically wanted to escape death and immediately called learned pundits and experts in Shastra to his court. He asked them to suggest ways and means to escape death.

The pundits started brainstorming to find out ways to escape death. One pundit suggested to perform a particular ritual and chanting of mantras. Another pundit would oppose it and suggest some other means.  That suggestion would get vetoed by a third pundit. Thus arguments and counter arguments went on and on amid the learned pundits and the clock was running too. It was already past noon. Unfortunately, the pundits could not come to any consensus on the right method to escape death by the king. The king was getting more and more tensed up and desperate to get a solution.

Watching this, one old, wise man in the king’s court came and whispered in his ears: “YOur majesty, Never trust these pundits. They are incapable of finding any solution to your problem. If you want to save your life, fetch a strong horse that can run the fastest, mount on it and leave from the capital as far off as possible. Don’t waste your time! Quick!”

For the confused king, that advice appeared to be a good solution. He fetched his best horse from his stable, and rode on it as fast as possible, as far as possible from his palace so as to escape death. By evening, the king had travelled many miles away from his capital. Both the horse and the king were extremely tired. He stopped the horse and lied down under a tree for rest.

All the happenings of the day ran through his mind. He felt relieved that he could travel so much far away from his palace before sunset. He felt confident that by doing so, he had managed to hoodwink death. He closed his eyes peacefully and soon dozed off.

The sun set at the west and soon darkness started engulfing the place. Suddenly the king woke up. At that very moment, up from the branches of the tree, the messenger of death jumped down and landed adjacent to the king.  Laughing aloud, he said, “I know you will come here; I was waiting in this tree for your arrival for quite some time. I was even wondering whether, by any chance, you may not end up at this place!  Any way, thank you, you have arrived in time!”

He caught hold of the king and instantly the king fell dead!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

5. Destined to happen

Amma narrated the following real incidence.

During the time of tsunami disaster,  a group of Ashram brahmacharis were engaged in relief and rehabilitation work at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. One of the brahmacharis wanted to visit and pray at the famous Shaneshwara temple at Thirunallar nearby. When he went to the temple, it was extremely crowded. A very long queue was waiting to have the darshan of Lord Shani at the temple.

The brahmachari too joined the queue.  He was rather impatient and was getting exasperated by the slow moving queue. Restlessly, he was looking this way and that way, getting out of the queue and joining the queue and causing disturbance to others due to his impatience. The policemen on duty to control the crowd somehow felt suspicious of the brahmachari’s movements; they suspected that he could be a pickpocket! They grabbed him and started enquiring him. Somehow they were not convinced; they took him to the police station and retained him in the lockup overnight.

The other brahmacharis who noticed that this person was missing in the night, got worried. After inquiring here and there, they came to know that the person had ended up in the lock up at the police station. They met the sub-inspector and explained to him about the brahmachari and the purpose of their staying in Nagapattinam. The sub-inspector immediately released the Brahmachari from the lock up and allowed him to go.

The Brahmacharis reported the matter to Amma. They were somewhat restive and asked Amma why a person, engaged in good social service and also visiting a temple for prayers get into trouble like this.

[Amma: “There are certain untoward incidents that are destined to happen will happen, even when one is engaged in actions with good intentions. If you ask why should it happen to such a good person at such a time, we could only say that there are certain unfavorable positions of planets in one’s life when such things do happen. The destiny might be that he should end up in jail for long. But an unknown divine grace on account of his punya may also behind it in such a way that the evil effects of his prarabdha are lessened and he is relieved by just a night of stay and suffering in a police lockup.”]

6.  Pitying the queen!

Once a new servant maid was engaged in cleaning the Queens’ room in the palace. The servant maid who was seeing the queen’s room for the first time was awestruck at the grandiose furnishings seen in the room. The furniture were finely carved, smooth and impeccably polished; the carpets, the window drapes, and other artefacts were extremely fine. The servant maid touched them and felt thrilled. She pressed the queen’s bed and wondered how soft it was.

Suddenly she had an unstoppable urge to lie down at the bed and have a feel of it. She looked around to ensure that there was none else in the room. She lied down on the bed and felt exhilarated.  Suddenly, quite unexpectedly the queen opened the door and entered into the bedroom.  She saw the servant maid lying in her bed.

The queen got extremely angry.  The servant maid was shocked to the core. She jumped up from the bed and stood there shivering. The queen took the broomstick and started beating the servant maid left and right. She called out her guards and commanded to them to arrest the maid and put her behind the bars.

Instead of crying for the beating she received and the punishment meted out to her, the servant maid started laughing. The queen was surprised. “Why are you laughing?” she shouted.

The servant maid said, “Your highness, just for the small mistake I did, you have beaten me so hard and also ordered to put me in jail. If such a severe punishment is meted out to me for such a small mistake, I thought what sort of punishment God will be giving you later, for all the various acts of arrogance and hatred you would have committed in life on account of your royal status as a queen. I could not control laughing!”

(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami Satsang 10/9/2020)

7.  Cyclic reaction!

Once a Court Jester was telling some funny stories in the king’s court. There were a couple of jokes for which everyone was laughing but the king could not understand them. He thought that the Court Jester was mocking at him; out of anger, the king slapped the jester. The jester felt an unbearable pain. Anger rose up in him but he had to control it with difficulty. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he could not question the king’s action.

In order to vent out his anger, the jester slapped a person standing next to him. That man asked “Why are you hitting me? I have not done anything to you”.

The Court Jester replied,”It doesn’t matter. You can give a slap to the person next to you. This world is like a huge wheel. When it revolves, everyone gets his due share. Now don’t hesitate; give a slap to the person next to you!”

[Amma: Every good or bad action done by us can affect many people. Nowadays we see similar things happening around us. People tend to vent out their frustrated anger and enmity on people around them.  In reality, the person affected by our outburst of anger might not have anything to do with it.  Anyway, whatever we do unto others will come back to us one day or other.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil  Vol 2)

7.  The ropes

Once a businessman was traveling across a dense forest where dacoits usually roam about.  The businessman was unfortunately caught by a group of dacoits.  They robbed him of all his possessions. To ensure that he would not make any trouble, they bound his libs and threw him inside a dried up well.

Fortunately, the well was not too deep and there was a thick growth of bush inside the well. So, he was not injured. After the dacoits left, he started shouting in full throat asking for help.

After a while another traveler came along the path. He heard the shouts of the man and started looking around. He noticed that the voice was coming from the well. As he peeped into the well, he saw the man shouting from inside. He noticed that the man was bound by ropes. The traveler had a big rope with him. Tying its one end to a tree, he got down into the well. He untied the ropes from the man’s limbs and both of them climbed up using the other rope hung from the tree.

Thus the businessman’s life was saved by the traveler.

[Amma: “In this story, the businessman got tied by a rope; but he was also saved by another rope.  Our karmas are just like ropes. Our selfish actions bind us. Actions done with unselfishness and compassion, with dedication to God unbind and release us. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 3 (7 More stories)

1.  How golden shower tree came in to being

[Amma: “The ‘Vishu’ signifies beginning of a new year when we submit all that we have to God and  pray for his blessings. Surrendering to God brings us all prosperities. The golden-shower flowers (Konnai), cucumber and a pot full of coins represent beauty and prosperity. The blooming of golden shower trees everywhere during this period is such a feast for eyes. When nature is rich, it reflects richness in our lives too. There is a folklore associated with the Golden shower tree and the Vishu festival:”.]

Long ago, there lived a brahmin boy who was deeply devoted to Lord Krishna. He would get up early in the morning and go to a nearby temple daily for worship of his beloved lord. He would do archana with flowers.

The boy’s family lived in utter poverty. His mother was always sick and bedridden. Some times, he would cry his heart out to Lord Krishna about the pitiable state of his family.  One day he returned home after completing his prayers in the temple. He was feeling very hungry and was extremely tired too.  He lied down on a mat for resting and soon went into deep sleep.

He had a dream. Lord Krishna came to him and smiled at him enchantingly. He played the flute to entertain the boy. He stroked the boy’s face and back with his hands to soothe him. Then Krishna took out a little bell from his golden waistband and put it in the boy’s palms. Krishna disappeared immediately.

The boy woke up immediately. He was surprised to see a little golden bell in his palm. He could not believe his eyes. With unabated excitement, he ran to his mother and said. “Ma, Krishna came to me in my dreams and gave me this golden bell!”

His mother did not believe him. She was angry at him thinking that he might have stolen the golden chime from the ornaments of lord Krishna at the temple and chided him for his misdeed.

The boy felt extremely upset and he threw away the bell. It fell under a tree in their courtyard.  What a surprise! The tree immediately blossomed.  It bore bunches of flowers in golden color, each looking exactly like the little golden bell that the boy threw away. It was indeed the ‘Konna’ tree (Sarakkondrai – Golden Shower tree)!

Seeing this, the mother was struck with wonder. Then a divine voice was heard. It said: “From now onward this tree will bear these golden yellow flowers every year on this same day. Those who look at it first in the morning will be bestowed with all prosperity. ”

From that day, the boy’s family started prospering. The mother got cured of her illness.  The day was called ‘Vishu’ and this day signifies the arrival of divine blessings to those who pray with sincere and pure heart.

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki – Vol 3)

2.  Real devotion (1)

Once a king, who was a great devotee of Shiva built a magnificent temple for Lord Shiva. He made elaborate arrangements for the ritualistic consecration of the main deity. The date was also set for the ceremony.

On the day before the consecration ceremony, Lord Shiva appeared in the king’s dream and said, “My son, I am very satisfied with your devotion and all the efforts you have put to construct a nice temple for me.  However, I am sorry that I will not be available in your temple tomorrow at the time of the consecration ceremony.  I have to go to another temple’s consecration ceremony arranged at the same auspicious hours tomorrow, because that temple and all the preparations done for the ceremony are far more grander than yours”.

Lord Shiva also told the king the name of the devotee (Poosalar Nayanar) and his address in a village where the consecration of the temple built by him was to take place the next day.

The king woke up at that moment. He thought, ‘Is that temple far more grander than what I have built? Then I must have a look at it’.

The next day morning, surrounded by his royal entourage the king went to the village. To his surprise, he did not find any new temple there. He inquired about the person (Poosalar)  that Lord Shiva had mentioned to him in the dream and went in search of his house. Another surprise awaited him there. It was actually a very dilapidated hut.  As the king peeped inside, he saw a poor man in tattered clothes sitting there and immersed in deep meditation.

The king felt amused. “Oh! Is this poor man the great devotee that built a temple?” he thought. He prayed to Lord Shiva to clarify his doubt.

At that time,  Lord Shiva blessed him with a vision by which he could get a projection of what was going in the poor man’s mind in his deep meditation.

What he saw in the vision was a great, grand temple, far more wonderful than the temple built by the king. People holding thousands of pots of Ganga water were performing abhishekam to the deity in the temple. He could here blowing of conches and loud chanting of vedic mantras. Many saints and sages and celestial Gods were present there to watch the holy ceremony. In the Shivalinga being consecrated, Lord Shiva was present and he was blessing all the devotees gathered there.

On seeing it, the king’s pride crumbled.  He understood the intensity of devotion the poor villager had on Lord Shiva. He fell at the feet of Poosalar with reverence and humility.

[Amma: “Children, we must indeed establish and consecrate God in our heart. Not understanding this, most of us give too much importance to external austerities and aggrandisement of worships and rituals. Our heart must be filled with devotion and purity. Mind should become one pointed on God; then God will shine there for ever.”]

3.  True faith

Once a man was travelling with his wife in a ship.  Oneday, there was a sudden change in climate. The sky was covered with thick dark clouds. It started raining and soon the wind started blowing very powerfully. The ship started swaying dangerously on account of the storm.

All the travellers in the ship got extremely scared. They started shouting and crying.  While the man’s wife too started weiling out of fear, the man was keeping his cool.  He was trying his best to comfort his wife but he could not succeed. All his efforts to assuage her anxiety and tension did not yield any result. The man lost all his patience.  He opened his baggage, took out a pistol and holding it at her temple he shouted, “I am fed up with your cries. If you don’t stop immediately, I will shoot you”.

The wife was least disturbed by seeing the pistol nor by his threat.  She said, “Do you really think I will get scared by your threat? No way!”

“Are you not afraid seeing this pistol, with my finger ready to press the trigger?” asked the husband.

She said, “I know that with a single shot the pistol can kill me. But as long as it is in the hand of my beloved husband, I have the least fear about it. I know pretty well that you will not think of doing even a minor harm to me!”

The man said, “In the same way, I know pretty well that the control of this storm is in the hands of God whom I always worship.  I have complete faith that God will not do anything harmful to me. That’s why I am least disturbed about this storm; whatever comes I will face it boldly, because I am under His protection always”.

[Amma: “Children, whatever difficult situations we come across life, we must have the firm faith that God’s hands are behind it; if we have that conviction, then we can face the situation without any fear. This does not mean that we don’t have to make any effort on our part. Whatever we could do within our capacity, let us do it; anything beyond it, leave them to God’s will and accept whatever He deems fit. If we develop such an attitude, we can always live with mental peace in our life”.]

 (Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

4.  Real devotion (2)

Once a king, went to a forest for hunting, along with his soldiers. While chasing some wild animals, he lost his way and got separated from the accompanying soldiers. As he started searching for the path. it started raining heavily. The king got drenched fully; he started shivering in cold. Finally, after walking for long, he located a small Krishna Temple. There was also a hut adjacent to it.  He went to the hut; an old priest and his wife were staying alone in the hut.

They welcomed the guest and offered him a towel to dry himself. They offered him simple clothing so that he could remove his dress soaked in rain.  They offered food to the king and offered him bed to sleep for the night.

Early next morning, the soldiers came there in search of the king and were very happy to see him there in the hut safe and alive. The king was extremely pleased with the care and comfort offered to him by the old couple. He wanted to present them with 100 gold coins. The old priest politely refused to accept it.  He said, “God is giving us whatever is essential for us to lead a peaceful life.”

The king was extremely surprised to hear this. He said, “You both are now old. What will happen if you fall sick? I will do one thing. Let me build a new house for you. I will engage someone to take care of you and serve you”.

But the old priest again refused to accept any of them. He said, “We have no thought or worries about falling sick.  Our God, who is verily Dhanvantri (Vishnu’s form as God of Medicines)  is always with us and protecting us.”

Despite being poor, the face of the old couple glowed with contentment and unfailing devotion to God. The king bowed his head in admiration of their conduct and took leave of them.

 (Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

5.  Not from books

Once there lived a doctor, who was quite an experienced person who commanded lots of respect from the his patients for his treating skills.

One of his junior doctors called him over phone and said in a frantic voice, “Doctor, I need your urgent advice. Here is a boy who has swallowed a small ball; he is in deep trouble and find it difficult to breathe. I have tried my best to pull out the ball but I could not succeed. Please suggest me some solution; it is very urgent”.

The doctor said, “Do one thing; pick up a feather of a peacock and start tickling him”.

The junior could not believe his ears. “Doctor, are you sure this is the treatment?  I have never studied such a thing in the medical books!”

The doctor said, “Go ahead and try what I said. Don’t delay” and he hung the phone.

Having no other recourse, the junior doctor did what the senior advised.

After a while the senior doctor’ phone rang again. The junior spoke in an excited voice: “Doctor! What a wonder! I did as you said; initially the boy was looking scared; then once I started tickling him, he started giggling and laughing and gradually the ball came out! Doctor! Where did you read about such a treatment?”

The Doctor said, “If I have no other recourse to solve the problem, I always try something simple and also out of the way. It is my maxim” .

[Amma: “Even if we are not able to do any great things, just as the boy was saved by a little thing in this story, we can always do something small within our capacity and it can lead to great things”.]

(Source: ‘Amrit Ganga’ Telecast – Season 1 episode 6)

6.  Unconditional compassion

Once a man was walking across a dense forest alone. The man saw a tiger watching him from a distance. He got scared and started running. The tiger too started chasing him. In order to save himself, the man quickly climbed over a tree.

The tiger came near the tree and stayed put there, hoping to catch hold of the man somehow or other.

There was another shock waiting for the man at the treetop. He saw a huge bear sitting there! He was extremely scared. What to do now? Should he remain on the tree and get eaten by the bear or jump down from the tree to escape the bear but get caught by the tiger?

Seeing him shaking in fear, the bear spoke to him: “O man! Don’t be scared. I will not kill you. You are my guest.”

The tiger was still waiting below. The man felt very tired and was about to fall asleep. It was getting cold too.  The bear said, “If you sleep off sitting there in the branch, you may fall down and the tiger will eat you. Come and hug me to ward off the cold and then sleep. I will keep awake across half of the night. Then during the second half of the night, you keep the vigil and I will sleep.”

The man had no option but to agree. He hugged the bear and felt very warm. He slept off peacefully.

Noticing this, the tiger said to the bear, “ Never trust a human being. Humans are highly selfish and have no sense of dharma.  They never hesitate to kill ferocious animals like us for the fun of it. At least we animals kill only for the sake of food and it is our dharma. So, I suggest you to drop the man. I will eat him and satiate my hunger.”

But the bear refused. It said, “He has taken refuge in me. I cannot betray him. You better go away.”

The tiger did not move. It opted to wait.

During the second half of the night, the bear woke up the man and then it started sleeping.

The tiger, noticing it, said to the man: “You are a fool. Never believe this bear. He is not feeling hungry now and that’s why he has not killed and eaten you. But he is sure to consume you for breakfast tomorrow. I suggest you roll the bear down; I will eat him for dinner. I will go away from here after eating him so that you can run away safely from here”.

The man believed what the tiger said. Without any hesitation, he rolled the sleeping bear from the tree top. But the bear woke up mid fall and held on to a branch and started climbing back towards the man. The man, who saw this, was extremely frightened; however,  the bear said to him “You had sought refuge in me, I wouldn’t harm you. Even though you betrayed me, I forgive you. You can leave from here tomorrow after the tiger moves away“.

[Amma: “This is the nature of mahatmas.  Once they offer refuge to someone, it is unconditional.  Even if the person who came into his fold by surrendering to him betrays him, the Mahatma does not forsake him. He bears no ill will. “]

7.  What’s God doing?

[ Amma: “We should have śraddha in each action. That śraddha is a part of the prayer; it makes the prayer complete—śraddha as well as proper effort.”]

Once a devotee of God was driving his car on a country side. The road was in a bad condition with lots of potholes and also very narrow.  The car’s wheels got stuck in a muddy pit.

The man came out of the car.  He did not know what to do. He decided to pray to God for help. He took out his meditation mat from the car and walked up to the top of a small hill nearby. He spread his mat on a flat rock, sat in padmasana posture and started praying to God with closed eyes. He prayed deeply to get the car out of the pit.

After a while, he opened his eyes a little  to see whether the car has come out of the pit by God’s grace. Seeing it had not, he immediately began blaming God, “What’s the point of praying to you?” he said angrily.

Suddenly, a voice resounded from the skies, “Son, try pushing the vehicle as you pray.”

 

(From Amma’s New Year Satsang 2021)

8. The new Mandapa

There was one very famous Temple complex in  a town, which was a holy place of pilgrimage and also historically very old.

There was a mandapa (multi-pillared pavilion) in the temple complex which was centuries old and was in a very dilapidated condition.   The temple administrative committee was concerned that it was becoming an unsafe place for people to use it as the structure may fall at any time and cause damage.  However, considering the holiness of the place and its archaeological significance of the structures, there were differences of opinion amid the committee members on what to do with it.  Finally, a draft resolution was made by the committee taking into account all the view points of the members. It read:

1) It is decided that as the existing Mandapa is very dilapidated, it will be demolished.

2) A new mandapa will be built in the same place in line with the architectural features of the old mandapa.

3) The stone pillars, statues and carvings from the old mandapa will be carefully dismantled and they will be utilized for the new structure.

4) Considering the holiness and history of this sacred place, the old mandapa shall not be disturbed.

So, it became obvious that no purposeful action could be taken based on the resolution of the committee!

[ Amma: “There is no point in making grand resolutions unless the hurdles in implementing them are removed.”]

(From Amma’s New Year Satsang 2021)

 

 

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

1.   Compassion is the measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

2.   The lame puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

3.   Something more valuable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.   For the sake of others

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

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

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

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

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

He walked away with satisfaction.

5.  Not official

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

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

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

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

6.  How to have real enjoyment

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  It is with you

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

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

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

“No,” replied the boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  The story of Pakkanar, the saint

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  A helping hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Take only as much

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

 

11. Honesty to the core

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nolli-Tamil-Vol 3)

12.  Unwanted poison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.  Cancelled pilgrimage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Compassionate boss

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 14/7/2020)

15.  Awareness about wastage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.  More prayers?

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s satsang dt 12/12/2020)

 

 

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

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

1.  Amma Rows a boat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Not one extra leaf

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Atithi Devo bhava (Guest are Gods)

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 21/7/20)

4.  Amma shares her food

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

 

 

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

1.  King Ambarisha and Sage Durvasa

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

2.  What is Brahman?

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

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

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

The son said, “It taste sweet.”

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

3.  Sita’s magnanimity

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

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

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

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

4.  Three different prayers

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Krishna’s intervention

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Draupadi’s compassion

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki- Tamil – Part 3)

7.  The boon that Kunti had

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya- Malayalam – Vol 2)

8.  Arjuna constructs a bridge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The monkey agreed to what the brahmin said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus the lord taught a lesson to both.

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

9.  Learning from Mahabali’s story on Thiruvonam

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

9.  Karnas’ vanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

 

 

 

 

 

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

1.  Nothing can come with you

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

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

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

He took a resolution.

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.   Priceless than diamond?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.   Do it before mind changes

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

4.   Fire in the factory

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hearing this, the owner started crying again!

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

5.  Bondage is only in imagination

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

6.  Guru’s note on wisdom

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

7.  Renunciation – not easy

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

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

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

“What are they?” asked his wife.

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

“Agreed” said his wife.

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

His wife could not agree to this condition.

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

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

(From Awaken Children-2)

8. Counting stones?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several months passed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9.  Real Sacrifice

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No. It can never be said so”.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Tamil Matruvani July 2019)

10.  Always happy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam- Vol 1)

11.  Discrimination must come at right time

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

12.  The miser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

12.  Self restraint

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13. Misguided self-rightism

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

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

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

Listening to his lecture, the pujari replied:

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.  Significance is gone

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

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

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.  What did he gain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.  Remaining thankful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The minister bowed to the king with all humility.

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

(From Amma’s satsang 10/10/2020)

 

 

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

1.  She gives, She takes

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

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

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

The king fell at his knees and cried uncontrollably.

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

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

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

2.   The right boon to ask

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.   Put it down

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4.   The thief who had the darshan of Krishna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Lord Krishna did not turn up.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.   Destroying vanity

[Amma narrates this story from Upanishad]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  Worshiping stones

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

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

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

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

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

7.  It is the state of mind that matters

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

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

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

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

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

8.  Why should I fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Upadesamritam-1)

9. True acceptance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. The broken doll and the bad omen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 2019)

11. Mother is there

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

12. True longing is missing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

13.  Faith and surrender

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyi Nokki-Tamil Vol 1)

14.   Feeling Krishna’s pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

15.   Make a start – good things follow

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

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

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

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