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

1.  She gives, She takes

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

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

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

The king fell at his knees and cried uncontrollably.

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

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

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

2.   The right boon to ask

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.   Put it down

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4.   The thief who had the darshan of Krishna

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But Lord Krishna did not turn up.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.   Destroying vanity

[Amma narrates this story from Upanishad]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  Worshiping stones

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

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

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

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

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

7.  It is the state of mind that matters

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

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

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

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

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

8.  Why should I fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Upadesamritam-1)

9. True acceptance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. The broken doll and the bad omen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 2019)

11. Mother is there

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

12. True longing is missing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

13.  Faith and surrender

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyi Nokki-Tamil Vol 1)

14.   Feeling Krishna’s pain

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

15.   Make a start – good things follow

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

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

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

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

 

 

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  God comes at the call of the guileless

[Amma: “Children, guileless prayer and incessantly calling Him are sure ways to make God happy. You don’t have to be an educated and wise man. Even an unlettered forest can receive God’s grace”]

Once, a disciple of Adi Shankaracharya was very devoted to Lord Vishnu’s fourth Avatar, Narasimha. Desiring to receive the vision of his personal God, he went to a forest and started deep meditation contemplating on Lord Narasimha’s form. For days at a stretch he would sit on a rcock adjacent to his hut inside the forest and did meditation.

One day a forest dweller came by. The meditating sadhu did not notice him. The forest dweller somehow got attracted towards the sadhu. He started wondering: ‘Why is this person sitting all day like this with his legs locked like this? Why is he suffering like this?”

As the sadhu was meditating with closed eyes, the forest dweller thought that he was sleeping. As he was very eager to speak to him, he came there several times in a day and also on several days; he would wait for several hours there hoping that the sadhu would open his eyes and notice him.

Finally, one day, while he was waiting there patiently, the sadhu opened his eyes and saw the forest dweller standing reverentially in front of him. The forest dweller fell at the feet of the sadhu and asked very humbly, “Master, why are you always sleeping sitting cross legged like this? Why don’t you lie down and sleep more comfortably?”

The sadhu replied, “I am not sleeping; I am meditating on my personal God”.

The guileless forest dweller asked, “Master, what is meditation? What is personal God?”

The sadhu said, “You cannot understand all these. Take it that I am calling God and doing prayers in order to see Him”.

The forest dweller was surprised again. “How can you call someone sitting here? Why don’t you go out and search for Him?”

The seeker did not reply. He smiled, closed his eyes and resumed his meditation.

Days passed. The forest dweller could not restrain his curiosity. He badly wanted to know whom the person was searching and what the details were to find him out. He again spoke to the sadhu one day, “Master, May I know who the person you are searching is? May I help you to find him out?”

The sadhu was happy to see the sincerity and earnestness of the forest dweller. He knew he could not convincingly explain and make him understand about meditation and having a vision of God Narasimha. He simply said, “Look; I am not searching for a man. I am looking for a strange animal called Narasimha that has lion’s head and human body; it is extremely powerful”.

Months passed. The forest dweller and the sadhu became friends. The forest dweller was increasingly getting disturbed to see his master doing meditation most of the time sacrificing food and sleep. He wondered, “What sort of creature is that Narasimha? My master troubles himself so much to see him but that lion with man’s body does not bother! My master, poor fellow, is going leaner by the day on account of not eating properly. I must do something to help my master. I must teach a lesson to that Narasimha who does not come to respond to my master’s prayers”.

He sought permission from the Sadhu so that he can go around the forest in search of Narasimha. The sadhu felt amused. He thought, ‘Cranky fellow! He thinks my God is hiding somewhere in the forest!’ Thinking that there is no point in explaining about these things to the illiterate forest dweller, he thought ‘He is not going to find out Narasimha in any case; let he go and make a search as he wishes; it is not easy to make him see reason’. Thinking so, he gave permission.

The forest dweller started searching for Narasimha. He went into every nook and corner of the forest. He peeped into the caves; searched through dense bushes; climbed hills. He shouted aloud, “Where are you O lion with human body? Come to me! Come to me!”. Somehow he was madly gripped by an overpowering desire to search and locate the elusive Narasimha; he too forgot eating food and drinking while doing the search like a mad man. He too lost weight and became like a skeleton.

His frequent loud cries , “Oh my Master’s Narasimha, come to me; where are you?” reverberated through the entire forest. They created powerful spiritual waves. Even the nature came to a standstill hearing his cries.

Soon his cries ceased; his physical search ceased. His heart was full of single thought – of seeing Narasimha. He sat in one place, totally immersed in silence. A powerful wave of divine yearning emanated from him like fire and travelled up to Vaikuntam (The abode of lord Vishnu) and heated up the Lord’s place. Lord Vishnu could not but yield to his silent the deeply powerful prayer.

He took the form of Narasimha and appeared before the forest dweller. The man was overwhelmed with joy to see Lord Narasimha standing right in front of him calmly. He tied a creeper around the neck of the lion like a rope and dragged Narasimha to the place where the Sadhu was meditating. The lion-man calmly came with him  like a cow!

“Master! Open your eyes! See whom I have brought with me! I have caught Narasimha and brought him for you!” He shouted in front of the sadhu who was meditating at the rock. The Sadhu opened his eyes. He could not believe what he saw! Holding the creeper rope in one hand, the forest dweller was feeding it with a bunch of grass!

“Come down master, don’t be afraid! This line is not ferocious at all! It is very soft and friendly!”

The sadhu came running down from the rock and fell at the feet of Lord Narasimha and the forest dweller. He cried seeking pardon. He was very confused. How could his lord appear so easily and come so freely with the forest dweller? Lord Narasimha spoke, “My son! Get up and cheer up. Whomsoever calls me with total love and dedication, who longs for me in and out – only he is the most dear to me. Where there is true love, there won’t be a trace of ego. Where there is guileless love, I will easily make my abode there”

The lord placed his hand on the head of the forest dweller and granted him moksha instantly. He blessed the sadhu saying, “You too will attain realization in this birth itself”. The seeker was freed of his pride and he became very humble.

2.  Childlike faith

[Amma:  One requires a child-like faith in the word of one’s guru. It is such a faith that can bring grace.]

Once a particular province in a country was suffering from draught. A couple of monsoons failed and people were suffering without rainfall. The several villagers decided to conduct a Yagnya to pray to Rain God.  People enthusiastically came forward to contribute the necessary materials, invite knowledgeable priests to conduct the yagnya and so on. On the day of the yagnya people from several villages gathered in thousands to witness the yagnya.

As a couple with their little daughter started from their home to go to the place of yagnya, the little girl said, “Father, let us take the umbrella”.  The father said, “Why do you want to carry an umbrella? Don’t you know that we have not received rains for many months now?”

“But father, we are conducting prayers today for getting the rains! Sure it will rain!” said the daughter. The father reluctantly allowed the girl to carry an umbrella and they reached the venue. Virtually the little girl was the only person who had brought an umbrella.

The yagnya was conducted as per prescribed rituals.  At the end of it, the Rain God sent forth clouds to bring rains to the venue. Even though it was not destined to rain there imminently, the God brought showers there, moved by the utter faith of one little girl who brought the umbrella amidst all others who had gathered there without such a conviction.

(Amma Tuesday Satsang – 12/9/17)

3.  Manasa Pushpam

Once a very proud and arrogant rich man wanted to make a grand food offering to God. Engaging very talented cooks, he prepared a grand feast consisting of varieties of tasty sweets and savories, curries and multiple other food items. He brought varieties of flowers and fruits too as offerings. Lining them up in front of the altar, the rich man prayed “My dear God, I am offering you whatever best I could prepare and get;  I seek your blessings. If you need anything more from me, please don’t feel shy to ask; Ask me and I will get them for you”.

He heard a heavenly voice: “Dear son, if you could offer me Manasa Pushpam, I will be satisfied. Nothing more is needed.”

“God, please tell me where I can get it and I will immediately arrange to fetch it for you” said the rich man.

The voice said “It is quite close by”

The man went out and asked his neighbors “Have you ever seen Manasa Pushpam? I understand it is somewhere nearby only. Can you help?”

Everyone said they have no idea. The man went around asking every one. He sent his messengers around to inquire in all the localities in the town. But he could not get any information.

Feeling lost, defeated and exhausted, the man came back to his house. Kneeling in front of the altar, he said “My lord, I accept my defeat. I feel humbled. I surrender to you. I have nothing more to offer except my heart”

The heavenly voice said :”That is precisely is the Manasa Pushpam I wanted”

[Amma:  God needs nothing except purity of heart from us.]

4.  The hidden help

[Amma:  “At times, our problems in life may look unsurmountable and we may feel depressed and helpless. But if you have a firm faith that God is with us and his grace will be with us to overcome our problems, we will get the needed boost in our mental energy to come out of our woes”.]

Once a man was driving his car  through a narrow pathway, the car got struck in a pool of slush and could not move out.  The man looked around for help.  He saw a farmer coming there in a cart, pulled by a horse. He sought help from the farmer to pull his car out of the slush and the farmer agreed. He brought his horse name Sunny along with a rope. He connected the rope to the car’s bumper and tied the other end to o his horse. He goaded the horse to pull the car out, shouting “Come on Sunny, pull, pull; pull hard; you can do it!” The horse tried to pull the car but as the load was too much for it, it stopped pulling and did not react to the shouting of the farmer any further.

However much the farmer goaded the horse, it did not make any further efforts. The farmer thought for a while as to what to do. Suddenly he thought of an idea. He moved away from the spot for a brief while, came back and then shouted, “Now, come on Bunny, you can do it; Pull, pull…!”

Now the the horse Sunny started pulling with enthusiasm and the car came out of the pit!

The owner of the car was very surprised. He asked the farmer, “How come when you shouted Sunny he did not pull after trying for some time, but when you said “Bunny, pull pull” your horse pulled it? I don’t understand this. Can you explain?”

The farmer said, ” My horse name is Sunny only. He is blind. Initially, he pulled the car,  but having found the load too much for him, he did not put enough effort subsequently.Then I thought of this idea. When I shouted “Bunny, pull pull”, he thought that I have brought another horse by name Bunny to assist. Since he is blind, he did not know there is no other horse. He thought that he can put effort again, since there is one more horse assisting him and his load will be shared! This time, he managed pull the car out!”

5.    Escape from the floods

Once a mendicant was crossing a river late in the evening. Due to heavy raining at catchment area, the river suddenly started flooding. Water level increased and also the flow was very forceful and turbulent. Though the mendicant knew swimming, he could not really manage to swim across the river. He was getting forcefully dragged by the fast currents and he was struggling to keep himself afloat.

Soon it became pitch dark. Somehow he could manage to catch hold of a log of wood. He felt the wood log must have got stuck somewhere and it was not moving. He gripped the log tightly as water was flowing neck deep underneath. He was fervently praying to God to save him.

Gradually, as the time passed, his hands became very painful and numb. It became increasingly difficult for him to keep holding the log of wood. By that time, the water flow too somewhat reduced and the water level came to his waist. But he could not hold on any further. He made his fervent prayer: “My lord; I have tried my best to hold on. I cannot do any more. Let your will be done. It is up to you to keep me alive or dead. I surrender to your will” So saying, he released his hands from gripping the wooden log.

 

As he sunk into the water by about a foot length or so, his legs touched the river bed and his head was still above the water level! Then it stuck to him that what he was holding all along was the branch of a tree which has grown bent towards the river from the adjacent river bank! He was hardly a few feet away from the river bank all along and he could not know it because of utter darkness!

Amma: “that this is how grace comes when all our efforts come to an end and a sense of total surrender comes.”

6.  The hidden treasure

[Amma: Everyone of us have the potential to know our true self inside us. The self is all powerful, but we are not aware of it. In order to remind us of our true powerful self, the help of the sadguru is needed.]

Once a stranger told a beggar, “Hey! Why are you going around begging like this? Listen; you are neigther a beggar nor a mendicant; in fact you are indeed a millionaire!”

The beggar did not believe him. He ignored what the stranger said and walked away. But the stranger would not leave him in peace. He kept coming behind the beggar and kept on saying, “Believe me; I am your well wisher. I really want to help you. I know this secret.You are the owner of a huge treasure and it is within your easy reach!”

The beggar now got intrigued. “Is that so? Where is that treasure?” he asked.

The stranger said, “Go and dig inside your hut” and went away.

The beggar rushed to his hut, took a crow bar and started digging at the floor of his hut. Soon he hit a huge pot buried inside the ground. when he managed to clear the soil and opened the pot, it was full of gold coins, ornaments and precious jewelry. The joy of the beggar knew know bounds. He thanked the stranger profoundly from his heart.

[Amma: In this parable, the stranger is the sadguru. He gives necessary spiritual instructions to the disciple (the beggar) and encourage him to dig deeper within himself to get the hidden treasure of his true Atman.]

7.  The 3 orphaned boys

Once there lived 3 boys who were orphaned at much young age. Since no other relatives came forward to take care of them, they had to somehow fend for themselves. They roamed around and some times begging for food and sometimes doing odd jobs to earn money for their livelihood. They grew up to become youths this way.

One day, they were sitting under a tree near a road. A rich man who was travelling by car passed by and duddenly his car got into trouble and stopped near the tree. The rich man came out of the car and looked around helpless as to what to do further. The tree young men came forward help. They had learned a little of car mechanic skills in one of their earlier jobs in a garage. Hence they could do something and managed to get the car started.

The rich man felt very happy with the youngsters and inquired about them. He wanted to help them and took them along in his car.

He gave some clerical jobs to them in his factory and provided them with food and simple accommodation too.

The three started working happily in the factory.

The eldest brother was very sincere and hard working. At the end of the month, he said to the rich man, “I am extremely thankful to you for giving me a livelihood. You are already giving me food and shelter. What more do I need? I don’t really need a salary. I will continue to work here”

The second brother too was good at his work, but at the end of the month, he  would go to his manager and wanted his salary to be paid promptly.

The third brother was not so good at  his work. He started finding ways to embezzle the company’s money through wrong means and enjoyed his life. Within a few months, the frauds committed by him came to light and the rich man immediately depromoted him and made him a peon.

The second brother was rewarded with a promotion after a few months.

Years passed this way. One day the rich man died.  He had no family. In his will, he had mentioned that the entire factory and al his properties should be given to the eldest brother.

[Amma: Every karma has its fruits connected with it. Even if one works without expecting any fruits, the efforts of good actions will definitely accrue to the doer of good.]

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 20/9/16)

8.  The right mindset

Once there lived a saint who had attained self realization. He was a good orator and his speech had the power to awaken spiritual wisdom in others. His high spiritual knowledge and stature became widely known and people sought after him to visit places and give satsangs.

People in an adjacent village wanted to listen to his spiritual discourse. Their representatives went to meet the saint and cordially invited him to visit their village and address the people there. The saint agreed.

On the day of his visit, hundreds of people had assembled in a maidhan and they reverentially welcomed the saint. The saint took his seat in the platform and he was garlanded. He rose to speak. He posed this question to the gathering: “Do you know the subject matter that I am going to talk to you?”

“Yes, we know Swamy!” shouted several people enthusiastically.

Looking at the crowd silently for a while, he said smilingly, “So, there is no need for me to talk to you because you know the subject already!” He got down from the dais and left the village!

The villagers got very disappointed. They went back to his ashram after a couple of days and begged him to come again to the village and deliver his talk.

He agreed and visited the village on the appointed date once again. This time too he posed the same question to them. The villages replied in quorus “We don’t know anything about what you are going to speak, Swamiji!”

He stood there silently for a while. Smiling mischievously, he said, “What is the point in talking to people who do not even know even a little of what they are going to learn?” So saying he got down and returned to his Ashram!

The villagers got very confused. What should be the correct approach to make the saint speak? They discussed amidst themselves and arrived at a strategy: When the saint poses the question next time, some of them should say yes and some should say no.

Again they went to invite the saint to lecture at their village and again he agreed.

This time, when he posed the same question, the responded as per their plan —  half of the people got up and said yes and the other half said no. But the saint was smarter! He said, “Good. Those who know can teach those who don’t know”. So saying he left the place once again.

The disappointed villages discussed and argued among themselves once again as to what should be the right strategy to deal with the saint. One old man got up and said, “Whatever strategy we scheme and follow only fails.I feel it is better to be silent when he asks the question next time”. All agreed.

Finally, the saint was brought back next time with lots of cajoling. When he rose up and asked “Do you know what  subject I am going to speak?” there was a dead silence.

The Saint smiled with satisfaction and he started speaking gems of wisdom to the people and the villagers felt extremely blessed and benefited by his talk.

[Amma: When people said “Yes, we know” during his first visit, it was a sign of egoism. When the intellect is full with so many knowledge, nothing new can enter. It is like a glass already filled with water. If you try to add anything, it will only overflow. It will not hold anything new.

When people said “We don’t know” during the second visit, it is a sign of a negative and closed mind set. To receive spiritual teaching, the mind should be open. This is like keeping glass upside down; you cannot pour anything into it.

The third answer of mixed yes and no is a sign of a confused and unsteady mind. It is like a glass already half full with dirty water. If you pour any fresh water to it, it will get mixed with dirty water and will not be usable.

The last response, silence is the right response. When the mind is open and free without any preconceived ideas, it can easily and freely grasp what is taught. It is like keeping an empty glass open to receive fully whatever that is being poured.]

(Arul Mozhigal – p. 77)

9.   The Farmer’s devotion

Sage Narada once felt proud that he was a great devotee of Lord Narayana as he was constantly chanting the lord’s name. One day, Lord Narayana called Narada and said to him: “There is a farmer in earth who is far more devoted to me than you”.

Narada could not believe it. He came down to earth to personally verify the matter in person. He observed the farmer for a couple of days and noticed that the farmer was chanting the Lord’s name only thrice a day. Narada wondered how this farmer could ever be a better devotee than him?

He went back to Vaikuntha and asked Lord Narayana about his doubt.

God gave him a bowl of oil filled to the brim and said, “Narada, you have to keep this bowl on your head and cicum ambulate that Hill once. Mind you, you should not spill even a drop of oil”.

Narada took up the challenge. He took one full round of the hill extremely carefully without spilling even a drop of oil and came back to the lord, beaming.  The lord asked, “Now tell me Narada, how many times did you chant my name when you walked around the hill?”

Narada thought about it and realized that he did not chant the lord’s name even once, because his entire concentration was in walking carefully without spilling the oil.

Lord Narayana said, “Now do you understand? That farmer has to toil in his field for the whole day; he has to take care of his family and find means to feed them daily. Amidst such a busy engagement, he still manages to chant my name thrice in a day! Is he not a better devotee than you?”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

10.   God’s test

[Amma: “God will come in the form in which we think of Him. God will also come in different forms in order to test a devotee’s depth of devotion and renunciation”]

Once there was a devotee who did a severe penance to realize God. One day, a stranger came to his house and said, ‘It seems you are a great renunciate. If so, let me see your depth of renunciation. Give your wife to me”.

Without any hesitation, the devotee gave his wife to the stranger. The wife started crying but the stranger took her along and walked out of the house. As he was leaving the compound, some friends of the devotee saw the stranger taking the sobbing wife of the devotee along and going away. They mistook the stranger to be a miscreant who was forcibly taking the woman along. They came rushing, caught hold of him and started beating him severely.

Hearing the uproar, the devotee came out of the house and saw the stranger getting beaten black and blue.  It looked the stranger was about to breath his last. He was shocked. With unbearable pain in his heart, the devotee said, “What is this? What have you done to this poor man? I willingly gave my wife to him”. He knelt down and prayed: “Dear lord, please forgive my friends; please save this man; he should not die; please take away my life and give the life to him instead”.

As soon as he uttered these prayers, the stranger disappeared and God Himself stood in front of the devotee and blessed him. It was God indeed who came in the guise of the stranger to test the devotee.

[Amma: “God was testing whether the devotee had any selfishness. The lord did not appear when he gave up his wife willingly; but only when he showed his willingness and mental attitude of sacrifice to even give his life to save the life of stranger, God appeared before Him”]

(Source: Awaken Children – Vol 2)

11.  The king’s test

Once, in a kingdom, the aged minister of the King passed away.  He was a man of wisdom and righteousness. The king wanted to select a new minister for the post and he invited aspiring persons to meet him. He told them that he would conduct  a test for them and if they pass it successfully, he would make them the minister.

The aspirants were taken to a small pond nearby. Each of them were given a pot with holes at the bottom. The test was that they should empty the whole pond with that pot.  After hearing the condition, many of the aspirants dropped away saying that such a test was foolish and did not behove with the knowledge and wisdom they possessed.

Some of them took up the challenge and as they filled water in the pot from the pond and took the pond a few yards away to drain into a nearby canal, considerable water leaked through the pot and it became a task of indeterminable time scale to finish off. Practically all except one person dropped off from the test.

One middle aged person was alone kept doing the job of taking the water from the pond and draining them pot by pot into the nearby stream. He judiciously used his hand to cover some of the holes in the pot so that wastage was reduced to the extent possible. He kept doing the work tirelessly day in and day out for the next couple of days.  Finally, after tirelessly working like this, he virtually emptied the pond. Only a few pots of slush was left out at the bottom of the pond. As he cleared the slush too, he found a large cloth bundle at the bottom. He untied the bundle and found plenty of golden ornaments, gold coins and precious stones inside.

He bundled them up and went to meet the king. He said, “My lord; I have completed the task of emptying the pond and I found this treasure too inside; kindly take it to your safe custody”.

The king was extremely pleased. He immediately appointed the man as his minister and presented the entire bundle of the treasure him.

[Amma: Shraddha (attentiveness) , Kshama (patience) and Utsagam (enthusiasm) are the three ingredients for one to reap success in all the endeavors.”]

(Amma’s birthday satsang 2016)

12.   Even a little is worthy

Once a person wanted to visit a very holy place. It was a very popular religious center and thousands of people thronged that place every day and visit the holy temple there.

With such a huge crowd gathering there every day, the place naturally turned to be a tourist spot too. There were lots of shops selling varieties of food, eatables and snacks, flowers fruits and other sundry items for worship, utensils, silks and garments, fancy items, gift items, electronic gadgets and so on. There were also music shows, discos and film theatres.

The visitor arrived at the holy place and started going all around.  Everywhere he saw people all around, eating rich food, shopping, engaging in fun and frolic at various places of entertainment and so on.  The visitor kept talking, loudly criticizing all these: “What is so holy about this place? You people are only roaming around and enjoying yourself in all sorts of worldly pleasures! Where is spirituality here? Where is holiness?”

At that point of time, he heard a heavenly voice: “All these people are engaged in these activities after visiting the holy shrine here and doing their worship and prayers; but you have not done even that and you are criticizing all the others”

Amma:  Even a small amount of spiritual practices done has its benefits and they carry the value across births. The benefit is never lost.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

13.   Your effort is needed

Once there was a choultry in a village, where travellers, poor and the needy will be served with free food once a day.  The food serving would stop exactly at 12 noon and the doors would be shut. However, for the convenience of any traveller arriving late, there was a bell hung near the entrance. If the visitor rings the bell, someone would come out and give them food.

One day, an orphan boy, who used to eat his daily noon meal regularly at the choultry arrived late. The doors were already shut. He was a short boy. The bell was hanging at a higher level beyond the reach of the boy. The boy jumped and jumped but he could not touch the bell.

He searched here and there and located a short wooden stick; he tried to hit the bell with the stick but it was still a little short in length. The boy was disappointed but still he did not give up; he kept jumping again and again with the stick in hand, attempting his best to hit the bell.

A passerby happened to watch the repeated efforts of the boy to hit the bell. He took pity on him. He was a tall person and he came to the doors and rang the bell with his hand.

The authorities came out, noticed the boy and then served him a pack of food.

[Amma: “God’s grace would come to the person who makes sincere efforts.”]

(Tuesday Satsang 20/12/2016)

14.  Lord Shiva’s test

[Amma: “One must develop totally guileless faith in God. It means a faith without even a trace of doubt. Our heart is the centre of faith while our intellect is full of doubts and questions. Any superficial knowledge without deeper faith in scriptures is dangerous. A child-like faith is needed. Where there is love, there your will get guileless trust.”]

Once Devi Parvati had a doubt. Though it is widely known that taking a bath in the river Ganga absolves one from all the sins committed, she knew that it does not happen like that always. She asked Lord Shiva why.

Lord Shiva said, “People take bath in Ganga ceremoniously, without deep faith  in the power of Ganga in cleansing them off all their sins. That’s why”.

Parvati could not believe it. Lord Shiva said, “Okay; Let us go to the earth and I will show you the truth of my statement”.

Lord Shiva and Parvati took the guise of an old man and his wife. They went to the bank of river Ganga. Lord Shiva gave instruction to Parvati on what she should do and he dropped himself into  deep pit containing clay and slush.

As instructed by Shiva, Parvati beat herself on her chest and cried aloud begging at the passersby to save her husband. She said to the people returning from Ganga after their bath. “Please, please save my husband. Due to a major sin committed by him, he has been cursed to fall into the pit. Unless he is extracted from it before sunset,  he would die as per the curse. O beg you, please save my husband…”

Moved by the pitiable weeping of the old lady, many people came forward to pull the old man off the pit. Parvati, as if she remembered something that she forgot earlier, said. “Wait, wait! As per the curse, the person who attempts to save my husband must be totally free from any sin; else, the person who pulls my husband will also fall into the pit and die; his head will break into thousand pieces”.

Hearing this, those who came forward retracted their steps quickly and excused themselves from the place. No one was willing to take any risk.

After a while, a young man came there. Parvati explained her predicament to him. He said, “I have no problem; I can help you; I am coming here straight after taking bath in Ganga and hence I am free of any sin.”

He jumped into the pit and brought the old man out.

(From Tamil Arul Mozhigal-4)

15.  God’s Will be done

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village who was an earnest devotee of God. He lived there in a hut with his wife and a son. He owned a horse that would help him in his farming activities.

One day, his horse was missing. The farmer desperately searched for his horse everywhere, but he could not locate it. The other villagers came to know of his loss and visited him to inquire about it. They said, “How unfortunate you are to lose such a nice horse”.

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer went into a nearby forest to fetch firewood. He saw his horse grazing there along with a female horse! He tied both of them and brought them home.

Villagers, seeing this now said,  “How fortunate you are to get back your horse and a mate for it too!”

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is fortunate or unfortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer’s son wanted to ride the female horse. When he tried to mount on it, the horse threw him off to the ground. The son broke his leg.

Again the villagers came to his house and lamented saying that it was really unfortunate that the farmer’s only son had to have a fracture and be bed ridden.

The farmer again said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

A couple of days after it happened, king’s army men came to the village. As the country was at the verge of facing a war, they were recruiting able bodied youngsters for serving in the military mandatorily. Since the farmer’s son was lying with a broken leg, he escaped from military recruitment.

When villagers again came to him and said that he was fortunate to have his son saved from joining the military, the farmer repeated his usual statement!

(Vijayadasami Satsang from Europe 19/10/18)