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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 Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. There is no time for japa

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Some, 10-12 steps, Swamiji”

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

“It is about 30 feet, Swamiji”

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

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

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

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

2.  The virtue of patience

(From Upadesamritham-2 Tamil – Page 245)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.   The Power of Authority

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Arul Mozhigal-9  p. 53)

4.   A lesson from dirty water

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

A few days went by.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

5.   The obedient disciple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

6.  The secret kill

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma Satsang – Fri 26/8/16)

7.   Shiva – the Guru

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I am hearing the sound of ‘OM'”

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

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

8.   Guru only knows

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  Prevention is better

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

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

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

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

 

10.  Put it into practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

11.  Looking at the good side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: ‘Oliyai nokki’- Tamil)

12. Money for abuse!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13.  The power of concentrated mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

14. The Guru Reveals the Real You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

15. The Lazy disciple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

1. The 4 wives

Once a king had 4 wives.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * * *

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

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

That is the reality of our course in life.

* * * * * * *

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

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

3.  It’s all for good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil – Page 16)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  The suitcase

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday satsang 8.8.17)

7. Guru teaches through action

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 01.08.17)

8.  Visitor

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

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

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

“Who are you?” asked the saint.

“I am just a visitor” said the man.

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

(From the book: Ammavin anbu ullathilirunthu“)

9. Surprise Test

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

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

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

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

10. The Beggar King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11.  The caretaker

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

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

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

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

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

(Satsang – Tue 23/8/16)

12.  Dying Consciously

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

13.  Over dependence

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Fr0m Ammavin anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

14.  Discrimination must come at right time

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

15.  The miser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

1.   The subtle vasanas

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

2.   The effect of company

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

3.  Single pointed mind

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

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

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

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

(Monday beach Satsang 22/8/2016)

4.  The count of leaves in the tree!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.   In search of a soul mate

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

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

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

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

9.   Brainwashing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Arul Mozhigal- vol 9  p 90-92)

10.  Dig deep at one place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Source:’Awaken Children’ – Vol.2 ]

11.  A Mahatma among you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

12.  The sign of dawn

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

13.  Usage that never was

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Meditating – Oh, really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Upadesamritam-2 Tamil)

15.  Nothing is useless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened to the old curtain cloth?”

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

“What happened to the old cleaning cloth?”

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

The dire need for using discrimination (Viveka Buddhi)

                                          Meditation with Amma at Amritapuri beach

29th September 2012- Saturday

Saturday is not the day of Amma’s Satsang at the beach. But Amma, out of her compassion to meet the inmates, which she does on every Mondays (at evening at beach), Tuesdays at Kali Temple and Fridays (at evening at beach), perhaps wanted to compensate her absence on Friday. The whole of Thursday (27th September, her birth day) right from 9:00 AM till the next day 10:10 AM, Amma had spend more than 25 hours at a stretch at the Special birthday venue at the University grounds. Right from 3 PM on 27th she was giving non-stop darshan to several tens of thousands of devotees.

Leaving behind all the stresses and strains like a child play, Amma was at the beach on Saturday, and she was at her jubilant best too.

After the usual Ma-Om Dhyanam session of about half-an hour duration with the inmates,  Amma continued with the current subject of discussion that has been going on for the past 2-3 satsangs. It was about the importance of spiritual seekers saying “no” when the situations demands (and “yes” under different circumstances) based on viveha (discrimination)Amma was emphasizing that an earnest seeker should always be vigilant; he should always have shraddha (watchful awareness) and he should know what is right to do and what is not.

Amma said just to please someone or to get acceptance in a company or by succumbing to peer group pressure, if an youngster says “yes” to smoking, it may lead him to other vices one after the other — drinking, drugs and what not and his whole life may get shattered.

For the past several satsangs, Amma has been reiterating the dire need for shraddha and viveka buddhi for the Ashramites. You may be a very nice person otherwise, but if you are not vigilant enough, you may get into trouble.

Amma started hilariously describing a recent happening in the Ashram, with her dramatic facial expressions and actions that created peels of laughter in the gathering.

Amma said that a few days ago, a mentally disturbed person came to the Ashram with a purported desire of settling down as a Vanaprastha householder in the Ashram. His worried wife and mother too were there together with him in the darshan queue. Even before he could open his mouth before Amma, the wife wanted Amma not to concede to his request because she has lots needs and desires to be met in the outside world. Amma reassured her that She would never take people just like that and started probing deeper into the man’s troubles. It was reported that he seemed to behave as though mentally disturbed, after a recent bout of fever, but Amma suspected a deeper and long existing ailment in him that caused his quirky behavior.  Amma suggested a thorough medical check-up for him and assured them that everything will be alright sooner. Amma made him sit behind her for a while.

Amma mentioned that after Amma retired to her room after darshan was over, the person suddenly got very violent; he was shouting at his wife, started spitting at her and behaved uncontrollably.  Lots of people gathered around, including some brahmacharis, who wanted to intervene with good intentions. One Ashramite, assuming that the man was under fits, started frantically searching for a iron piece to be given in his hands (as there is a common erroneous belief that people affected by fits get calmed down when they grip a piece of iron). And lo, he could only locate a knife and without thinking a second time, he thrust the knife into the hands of the man in fits!

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

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

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

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

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