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Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 3 ( 15 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: “Discipling 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.”]

 

 

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

1.   Sacrifice for higher purpose

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

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

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

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

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

(Matruvani May 2009)

2.  Natural action

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

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

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

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

3.  I too will

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2018)

4. The most beautiful person

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Malayalam Matruvani June 2017)

5. The real test of Graduation

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

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

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

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


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

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

6. The cracked glass pane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Matruvani Tamil Dec 2016)

7. Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.    No you and me

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

The man said, “It is me”.

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

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

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

He said, “It is you”.

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

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

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

10. How a beggar became king

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(Singapore Satsang 02/05/19)

11.  A simple act of love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. The compassionate husband

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

13.  Sympathy and empathy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Mother’s hands

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

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

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

“No” said the young man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15.   A few compassionate words

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)