PREFACE: While most of the stories of Amma are short and crisp, this particular story is rather the longest from Amma and also one of the very emotionally moving stories told by Amma. This story is found recorded in the (Tamil) Book Arul Mozhigal – part 4. (English Original: Awaken Children – Part 4) as part of the happenings in Amma’s life on the day May 7th, 1984 at Amritapuri.
While Amma generally repeats many of her stories in various satsangs, perhaps this long story was narrated by Amma only once; in the book, the editor Swami Amritaswaroopnandapuri records that Amma became very emotionally surcharged while narrating this story; She was moved to tears a couple of times and the listeners too were moved to tears hearing her narration.
[Amma: “Ordinary human love may be very beautiful and vibrant at the start; but gradually its beauty and intensity would wither and finally it may end up in despair, hatred and deep pain.
“On the other hand, a spiritual love starts beautifully and peacefully, but as it grows, the love would turn in to painful longing and this longing would grow stronger, deeper and more painful, eager for the union with God; this love would gobble up everything in you.
“Very rarely, even a pure love between a man and woman too has the potential to attain the status of divine love…. Where there is absolutely pure love, there is no scope for lust. It is said that where Rama is there, Ravana cannot exist…. Pure love is beyond body consciousness; it happens between two hearts. In fact, there is no connection between body and pure love…. Amma will tell you a story to explain this…”]
Once there was a king named Shakti Varman ruling a small country. He had a beautiful daughter called Manohari who was full of virtuous qualities.
A servant maid in the palace named Arundhati had a son called Arun. Since Arundhati’s husband passed away, little Arun was always with his mother.When Arundhati came for work, Arun too would come with her to the palace. Since Arun and Manohari were little children, they used to play together; they became friends. None objected to the children playing together for long, since they were young and innocent.
As years passed, the friendship between them was growing stronger. They spent time together talking, exchanging their feelings and opinions. They had deep trust in each other. When Arun came to the palace, Manohari would tell him various happenings there; “Arun, my mother has ordered a special cushioned bed made of silk and studded with rare and costly gems for me!” “Look at this dress of mine! It has borders woven with filaments of gold! My father presented this to me; very soon, my mother is going to create a very beautiful flower garden exclusively for me; once it is ready, we will play together there, right?” Manohari would keep talking with him like this and Arun would listen intently and share her joy.
He would also narrate to her how his mother was toiling day and night fighting poverty to raise him and the family comfortably in the absensce of his father. Since Manohari was a girl of good virtues, she would feel sad to know the sorry state of Arun’s family.
Time passed. Both of them attained their puberty.
The childhood bond they had all along metamorphosed into a deep love between them. As they were grown up teenagers now, naturally they were not allowed to meet or interact with with each other. The love between them was so strong that they felt extreme pain in remaining away from each other. Pulled by the strong attraction they had on each other, they somehow managed to meet secretly whenever possible.
When they get rare opportunities to meet stealthily, they would exchange words of love; many times, they would simply sit silent looking deeply at each others eyes, feeling no need to talk. They would sit like this for long, totally oblivious of the world around them.
When they were not physically together, their thoughts would be entirely woven around the other…’Where will be my beloved now? What will he/ she be doing right now? Will he/ she be thinking of me just like I am?’ They would find difficult to bear the pain of separation.
As the bond of love grew stronger and stronger, their rare meetings became virtually speechless; their eyes and hearts did all the communication.They would not even touch each other.They enjoyed the bliss of pure love, totally devoid of sexual craving.
Soon, situations turned so tight that it became impossible for them to meet each other. Days and weeks passed this way. The pangs of separation became unbearable for both of them. Manohari was confined to her room always and she felt as if she was burning in fire. Arun turned like a mad person, with no thought other than Manohari; he was encircling the palace longing to get a glimpse of his beloved Manohari.
Manohari was becoming leaner by the day. She became aloof, furlorn and non-communicative.Her parents got worried. They started to inquire why the condition of their daughter was turning out to be like that. Soon the secret of the love affair between the princess and the son of the servant maid came to open. It became the subject of gossip in the palace.
The King became very angry. He issued order to arrest Arun and transport him to a far off island. He gave secret instructions to his soldiers to poison him and bury his dead body in the island.
King’s soldiers arrested Arun and transported him to the island. They gave him a drink mixed with poison. When he fell unconscious after he drank it, they put his body in a wooden box and buried the box at mid night.
Some dacoits who were staying in the island noticed that some soldiers were burying a wooden box at night. They suspected that the soldiers must have looted money and gold from somewhere and were burying them secretly in the island for repossessing them at a later time.
Once the soldiers left the place, the dacoits eagerly came out of their hiding places and dug the earth to expose the wooden box. As they opened the lid of the box, they were disappointed to see the body of a person inside and no money or jewels there. At first they thought it was a corpse; but they noticed some movement in the body and as they checked intently, the person was seen breathing very feebly.
They sprinkled water on Arun’s face. Arun opened his eyes. They fed a little water into his mouth and helped him to come out of the box. After drinking more water, Arun started vomiting. He vomited again and again till all the poison he had drunk came out.
Arun blinked and looked all around. He was really surprised that he was still alive. The dacoits questioned him; but Arun looked dazed; he had nothing to tell them. Taking pity on him, the dacoits left him alive there to fend for himself and departed from the place.
In the meanwhile, at the palace the king ordered everyone including the queen who knew of the conspiracy of transporting Arun to the island with the agenda of poisoning and kill him, not to reveal this secret to anyone. Hence Manohari did not know of any of these happenings. However, surprisingly, she felt her pain much deeper when Arun was transported to the far of place.When he was poisoned and put into the box, Manohari felt suffocating and was herself struggling to breath.
Not knowing the fate of Arun and continuing to suffer from her long pangs of separation, Manohari was sinking day by day. She started losing weight and soon got reduced to skin and bones. She could not eat or drink; except for her eyes that shone bright by her all consuming love of her beloved, she became virtually like a corpse, permanently bedridden.
The king and queen became extremely worried. They called expert physicians frons from nooks and corners of their country and also from neighboring countries to treat their daughter. None of their treatments could change her condition.
At the island, left alone, Arun wandered here and there like a mad man. Possessed by just one thought — that of meeting her beloved Manohari, he walked up and down the hills crying out “Manohari! Manohari!”. He forgot eating and sleeping. He became lean and impoverished. With long hair and beard, he really looked like a mad man. He would talk to the animals and trees inquiring about his beloved Manohari. Being soaked in such a pure love, an aura of love encased him and that aura influenced all who came into contact with him to like him and care about him, irrespective of his mad looks and strange behavior.
Even wild animals like tiger and and lion became friendly with him. In his presence, even wild animals remained friendly with rabbits and deers that they hunt otherwise for their food. Arun would cry in their presence yearning for his beloved Manohari and the animals would shed tears with him. Some times Arun would dance in ecstasy and the animals too would dance with him!
In such a madness, Arun would run blindly here and there, hit the trees, thorny bushes and rocks and fall down! He will get bruises, scratches and cuts on his body but would never mind about them.
Very strangely, Manohari who was bed ridden at her palace would toss and turn on her bed and fall down; cuts and bruises would suddenly erupt in her outer skin for no reason! She would cry and laugh! The doctors were totally clueless how such eruptions appeared in her skin. She would whisper “Arun Arun…” and fall unconscious. The power of true love between Arun and Manohari was so strong that it was at the same instance when Arun received cuts and bruises at his skin, Manohari too got them at her body too!
At this point of time, a saint visited the palace. The king received him with all respects. He extended the best hospitality to the saint. The king opened his heart out to the saint and told him about the pitiable state of his only daughter and sought the saint’s grace to save Manohari.
The saint asked the king to take him to his daughter. He kept looking at her straight for a while, closed his eyes and went into deep samadhi. He opened his eyes after some time and said to the king: “Your daughter can be cured; she is in deep love with a person; if that person is brought back here and he touches her, she will become normal”.
The king cried and confessed to the saint that he had arranged to kill Arun, the lover of Manohari. The saint, after sitting in meditation for a while said, “Don’t worry; that person is still alive; get him from the island and bring him here.”
King’s soldiers were despatched to the island immediately. After inquiring all around, they came to know of a madman who always kept shouting “Manohari, Manohari”. Soon they located him amidst wild animals. They somehow caught hold of him and brought him to the king’s palace.
He was taken to Manohari’s bedroom. When he stood there, a light emerged from his body and lighted up manohari. It looked as if a life-force of energy was injected into Manohari’s body from the light. He touched Manohari and instantly she opened her eyes. Arun smiled at her and she smiled back. Their eyes met with each other and remained as if frozen in deep love, needing no words of love for exchange. It looked as if they were never separated; the fact was that they were never separated.
The king and the queen shed tears of joy; the entire staff in the palace felt jubilated.
But the united couple who were bonded into one divine love had no desires whatsoever. They did not want the palace nor the kingdom. Their world was the world of eternal love. They left worldly life and took up sanyas.