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Amma’s stories on Family and relationships – Part 1 ( 5 stories)

 1.  Searching for?

Once a husband and wife had some bitter quarrel and they stopped talking to each other. None of them wanted to take the first step to bring back normalcy in relationship.

One week passed this way and not even a single word was exchanged between them. Finally, the husband was no longer able to bear with this stress. He thought of an idea.

He started searching for something in the house here and there, pretending as if it was too important a thing that he frantically needed. He looked and searched at every nook and corner of the house, expressing his tension seriously on his face. He bent down and searched under the cot; he opened every drawer in his table and searched. He opened every cupboard and searched. He climbed over the table and searched in the lofts.

Watching all these, the wife could no longer control herself. “What are you searching for?” she asked him.

That was precisely what the husband was eager to hear from his wife! He said, “Your sweet voice!”

When the wife heard such a sweet reply from her husband, she instantly forgot all her anger and complaints against her husband; her face brightened up and she smiled.

[Amma: “If only we could mutually excuse other’s mistakes and bear with them, we are sure to get peace and happiness in our lives.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.  Mental block

Once a young woman felt that she could not lift up her right hand. She became extremely concerned. She went to consult a doctor.  The doctor gave medicines and tried different treatment methods and yet she could not use her right hand.  Finally she decided to consult a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist engaged her in a long conversation. She inquired whether she had some bitter experiences in the past that disturbed her mind very strongly. The woman said:

“Yes. My mother died when I was a small child. My father married a second time. The stepmother started hating me once she had children of her own. She would find fault with me always and shout at me. A few weeks ago, her anger and censures became extremely unbearable to me.  Anger rose in me so strongly that I even felt like hitting her. With lots of effort, I controlled myself; only after that my right hand stopped functioning; I have not spoken a word to her afterwards”.

Listening to it, the psychiatrist said, “Even though you controlled your anger externally.  it has gone into your subconscious mind; such a deep mental disturbance can result in physical ailments. In your case, the same thing has happened and it is that suppressed anger that has caused failure of your right hand.”

Once the cause was identified. the woman understood that she should somehow get rid of her anger and hatred towards her step mother. She tried hard to set right her mindset and gradually she could succeed. Simultaneously, the mobility of her right hand too started returning.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.  Need one hour time

Once a father, who was normally very busy in his job, came back from his office. His little daughter was waiting for him at the entrance. She asked him, “Daddy, how much money do you get for one hour of work in your office?” .  The father said, “About 300 rupees per hour”.

The girl asked, “Daddy, will you give me two hundred rupees, please?”

The father thought that she wanted to buy a costly doll. He got angry. “Don’t trouble me like this. I don’t want to hear any more word from you”. He rushed into the house. His daughter was shocked at her father’s sudden outrage. With tear filled eyes, she went into her bed room and shut the doors.

After some time, the father felt bad about his behavior. He thought he should have been more patient; he should have spoken at least a few kind words to her. He went to his daughters room and asked “Have you slept, my daughter?”.

“No papa; I am still awake.” she said.

He went and sat  in her bed and said, “Did you feel hurt when I shouted at you earlier? I am sorry about it. Here, take this two hundred rupees. May I know what you intend to buy with this money?”

His daughter’s face brightened up instantly. She lifted her pillow and from there, picked up a hundred rupee note.  Putting this money too together she extended it  to her father and said, “Daddy,  now you have three hundred rupees.  Will you please spend one hour with me?”

[Amma: “Amid all the business and running around, do look at the world around you. Share a little time, friendliness, a patient listening and joy with your family members, friends and colleagues. Live in the present. Enjoy your living. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

4. Untrustworthy sons

Once a father had four sons. As the father god old, the sons wanted the family properties to be partitioned and given to them. Each one of them had a desire to construct a house of his own and hence they pressurized their father to yield to partition.

“We are here to take care of you during your old age; Don’t worry; We will take turns and take excellent care of you; you can stay with each of our families three months in a year; we will provide all the comforts you need” they promised.

When all the sons talked so in unison, the father felt very happy. He partitioned his properties equally amid his four children. One son got his house and garden. Other sons got equal share of his lands. The sons constructed their own houses in the lands they got.

At first the father stayed with his eldest son. He was taken care of very well initially. But, as days passed, he could feel negligence gradually. As days progressed further, the father could palpably see his son and daughter-in-law showing faces to him. With lots of patience he managed to pull along for about a month there. Before they would tell him to move to the next son’s house, he decided to move on his own.

He was welcomed pleasantly at the second son’s house. But he could hardly pull along for 15 days there. Unable to tolerate the negligence, he shifted to the third son’s house.

He could manage to stay only for 10 days there. Then he shifted hastily to his youngest son’s house. Hardly within 5 days of his stay there, he felt it obvious that unless he moved out, he was most likely to be chucked out of the house. He left their house totally dejected.

Thus the hopes of the father who distributed all his properties to his son believing that his sons would take care of him well got totally belied. It was simply a false hope. Within a span of just two months the planned arrangement of staying with the sons lifelong came to an end.

[Amma: “Children, this is the nature of people that we must all comprehend. People rear cows only for its milk. When the cows no longer give milk, we won’t hesitate to sell them to the butcher. If we do our karma expecting that someone would take care of us, we will only end up in suffering. It is indeed the duty of parents to take care of their children during their young age. That duty must be done happily without any expectations in return. Once the right time comes, our mind must be turned towards spirituality. Not expecting anything from the children, we must proceed firmly in the path of spiritual fulfilment. We should never get struck in attachments like “my son”, “my grandchildren” and so on.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 1)

5. Oh for the old purse

Once an old man was getting down from a train and he fell down in the platform.  Many youngsters came running to help him to get up and steady himself. The old man checked his pocket and said, “Oh, my purse, my purse! Where is it?”

The youngsters looked around for it. Once the train moved, the located the little purse on the track, picked it up and gave it to the old man. The old man hurriedly searched the purse as others watched him. He put it back with content into his pocked. An youngster, watching this asked him, “Grandpa, you don’t seem to have any money in that purse; then why were you so excited about losing it?”

The old man said, “There is a long story behind it. I will tell you.  This purse was gifted to me by my father when I passed my 10th class. It contained a nice picture of our God inside. Let me show it to you…” The old man showed the a small picture of Lord which was faded and wrinkled. He continued:

“At that age, I loved my parents the dearest. I removed the picture of God and kept my parents’ photo in the purse.  When I went to college, I fell in love with the girl. I removed my parents photo and kept this girls photo there.  She got married to someone and a few years later, I too got married. I kept my wife’s photo in the purse. Later, we had a boy child whom I adored more than anyone else. I removed my wife’s photo and kept my child’s photo there.

“My wife passed away, and my son became the centre of my life. As he grew up, I kept his youthful photo in my purse. He got married. Over a period of time, he and his wife wanted to build a palatial house for them and nudged me to bequeath my properties to him. He promised to take care of me throughout my life. He sold my properties and built his dream house. I too shifted there. Over a period of time, my son and daughter-in-law started neglecting me and I could understand that I was no longer needed in their life.  I had no option but to shift to an old-age home.  At that time, I understood that whomsoever I love can never be relied on; I understood only God is our permanent solace and companion. I removed my son’s photo and put back our lord’s photo back in the purse. I keep looking at it whenever I feel lonely and depressed. Only He gives me succor and solace. That’s how this old little purse and the picture of God in it became so indispensable to me now!”

[Amma: “No worldly relationship is permanent;  it is our relationship with God that is everlasting”.]

Amma’s stories on respecting and preserving Nature (2 stories)

1.  Self imposed limit

[Amma:Somewhere, we have lost the discrimination to differentiate essential need from extravaganza.  If we take anything more than what is absolutely essential for our needs from Nature, it is adharma. It is a sin.”]

Once, early morning, a social worker was brushing his teeth near a river. He had brought a vessel with him in which he gathered some water from the river for the purpose of washing his mouth after brushing. He was accompanied by a group of fellow social workers, with whom he was discussing some important matters seriously.  When he was about to wash and rinse his mouth and face finally, he noticed that he had already exhausted the water in the vessel. He said, “Oh God! How careless I have been! Even before I completed my washing, I have already exhausted all the water”.

Listening this, others could not understand why he was regretting like this. One of them said, “Why are you lamenting like this? Here is the river running full with water and you can always fetch some more water to complete your washing!”

The man said, “The river may be full; but I don’t have the moral authority to take more than what I truly need”.

[Amma:If only we all develop such a social awareness and moral stand as this social worker, we can definitely drive away poverty and deaths due to starving from the face of this earth”.]

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2. Very Old Technology!

Once a boy was going on a walk with his grandfather. The boy said “Grandpa, soon our scientists will find a technology to convert Carbon dioxide to Oxygen.”

The grandfather laughed and said, “It is a very old technology, existing almost ever since creation, my boy! It is called ‘Tree’!”

(From Amma’s 67th birthday message 27/9/2020)

Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 2 (4 more stories)

[If you have not read the previous 15 little stories of Amma under this topic, you can read them here:  Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 1 ]

1.  Insignificant victory

An young man received call for a prestigious job interview, which he was eagerly waiting to receive for months. He had to travel to a distant city where his interview was scheduled. For that, he had to travel by air and the travel plan involved changing a plane at an intermediate station. Once his first flight descended in the intermediate airport, the next plane was scheduled to depart after a gap of half an hour. As he was waiting at the departure lounge for the flight, he felt  hungry; he decided to utilize the time gap to have a quick bite.

He went to the Restaurant there and ate some fast food. When the bill came, he was shocked as the amount was Rs 500, which was too hefty for him.  He went to the cashier and argued with him: “Hey! This is very unfair. I have not eaten anything heavy to demand such a high payment”. After arguing for a while, the cashier decided to pacify the customer and offered a 100 Rupees reduction. But the young man was not happy. He kept on insisting that the bill was still unfair. He was very particular not to spend more than Rs 300. After lots of arguments, finally, the cashier agreed for Rs 300.-

The young man was very happy. He felt very proud of himself for arguing so strongly and smartly saving Rs 200.- in the bargain. He walked proudly towards the departure gate. There he came to know that the flight had departed about 5 minute ago!

Forgetting the very significance of his journey for which he had indeed been waiting for months,  the young man had wasted his precious time  in arguing, just for saving  a small amount of money!

[Amma: “Some people tend to complain that time was not favorable to them. The fact is, time is always favorable. Only we are not in tune with the time.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

2.  Why so excited?

A middle aged person and a young man were walking around a flower garden.

The young man asked his father excitedly in a loud voice, “Daddy! Isn’t this the flower called rose? Ah how beautiful it is!”

The father too spoke in an equally excited voice, “Yes my dear son! This indeed is the rose!’

“Is n’t its color known as pink, daddy?”

“Yes! Indeed!” said the father. The son pointed his hand towards the lawn and said, again loudly full of excitement, “Is it not the grass daddy? Isn’t its color called green?”

“Yes! My son. You are absolutely right!” The fathers voice too was equally loud and excited.

The young man continued to point one after other and they talked excitedly about each.  In a nearby bench, an old man was seated. He had come to the garden seeking silence and mental peace. He felt irritated by the loud-mouthed talking by the father and his grown up son. With obvious expression of his irritation and disapproval, the old man said, “I came to this garden in search of some mental peace. Many people who visit this garden too are like me.  When you two people talk so  loudly oblivious of your surrounding, people like me have lost peace. Your dull headed son keeps on asking insignificant things and you are so excitedly replaying “yes my son!” to all his questions! Why don’t you go to some doctor and find a cure for your son’s retarded behavior instead of coming here?”

Hearing this, both the father and son stood there, stupefied for a while. Then the father said, “I am sorry. My son is not mentally retarded.  He had been blind right from birth. Only two days ago his eyes were operated in order to bring eyesight to him. After the operation, at the time of removing his bandage, I had this desire to show him some really beautiful and heart-warming sights for the first time as he sees this world. That’s why I brought him here. This is the first time in his life that he is seeing all these beautiful things around here. That’s why he was talking so excitedly about them. I too was overwhelmed with joy when I my son has got his eyesight and naturally, when he asked the questions, I was equally excited and spoke so loudly.  Suppose we got back  the wealth that we had lost long back, how much excited we would become! In the same way, we totally forgot our surroundings; kindly excuse us”.

Hearing this, the old man felt extremely bad and ashamed about his hasty judgment and the way he had let out very hurting words against them. He immediately sought their pardon. He took a resolve that, in future, he would not get angry at others by framing his own preconceived judgements.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

3.  Revenge – Is it worth?

Once a person heavily drunk drove his car that ended up in an accident. A young man on the road got killed in the accident.

The mother of the young man who died started crying uncontrollably when she heard the news.  He was her only son and his loss at his prime youth was unbearable to her. Despite the passage of several days and months, her sorrow did not reduce. It soon turned to anger — anger against the person who killed her son in the accident. She want to take revenge on him. She wanted to kill him; her heart started boiling with such a desire.

A few days passed this way. Gradually her mind cooled down; she was able to think more logically into the idea of  avenging her son’s death. She thought, ‘What will I really gain by killing the drunkard? Will I ever get back my son? If my son’s accidental death could cause so much grief in me, then it will be natural that if I kill the drunkard, his mother and family too will grieve the same way. What will I gain by causing those innocent people to suffer mentally by my act of vengeance? Let them not face the same fate as I had faced’. Now her mind became calm.

She thought further: ‘What was the cause of my son’s death? Was it not the drinking habit of the person who drove the car? If he were to be a sober person, he would have driven the car carefully and my son would not have died. So the real problem is drinking and driving. If I could do something to make a few people aware of the evil consequences of drinking, to that extent the society would get benefited.’

She discussed the matter with some of her friends and wellwishers. They too came forward to support her enthusiastically. Soon she started a small Social service group through which she conducted sessions  with people to propagate the evils of drinking. She dedicated her time considerably for this mission. Within a few years she was running a large organization dedicated to propagate the evils of drinking across the nation.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

4.  A shift in mindset

[NOTE:  This is actually a real life story — from the life of  young Ramakrishnan (now Swami Ramakrishnananda Puri,  one of Amma’s seniormost sanyasis)  during the early days of his association with Amma.]

As a college student Ramakrishnan had a goal of studying medicine and becoming a doctor. Unfortunately, he lost the opportunity to join MBBS by scoring just one mark below the selection cutoff level in the entrance examination.  He became dejected and depressed because of it.  He had no interest in joining any other course. After few days, due to compulsion from his family, he applied for bank job. He got the job.

Even after joining duty, the frustration about not becoming a doctor as per his dreams continued to affect him.  He could not deal with his bank clients with courtesy or friendliness; he could not smile at others.  He understood that such a behavior was not right.

He went to his beloved Guru (Amma) and confessed about his mental turmoil. He said, “Amma, my mind is not in my control; even on petty matters, I get angry. I am not able to behave respectfully with the bank’s clients.  With this mental state, I don’t think  I will be able to continue in my job for long.  Amma. what should I do?”

Amma listened to him patiently. Then consoling him, she said, “My son. Suppose I send a person who is close to me, to you to the bank seeking some assistance from the bank, how will you deal with him?”

Ramakrishnan said, “Of course I will receive him warmly and offer all possible help to him”.

“If so, you must do one thing. Think of every customer who comes to you seeking Bank’s help as though he is a person sent personally by me. If you develop such an attitude, you will be able to behave friendly and nicely with every person approaching you”.

From that day onwards, there was a sea of change in Ramakrishnan’s behavior. He was able to see every person coming to him for banking help as though he was sent by God (his guru) and was able to serve them with courtesy. Anger and frustration left him once for all.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on humility and patience – (13 stories)

1.  Hanuman’s humility

After winning the war in Lanka, Rama returned to Ayodhya. Hanuman and a few other vanaras too came with him and attended his coronation ceremony. Out of their love and devotion to Rama, they opted to stay back with Rama.

After becoming the king, Rama allotted several jobs and responsibilities to his near and dear ones after seeking their opinion, willingness and tastes. Most of them took up respectable and responsible positions in the administration.

When Rama asked Hanuman, Hanuman opted to swat flies. He was humble enough not to seek any prestigious posts for him; he was quite content to do a mean job of swatting the flies! Rama smailed and allowed Hanuman to do such a job.

Everybody became busy with their jobs. People loved to take up their responsibilities and were quite serious in carrying them out. In the process, they were gradually getting distanced from Rama and hardly found time to visit Rama, meet him at his palace or enjoy his divine company.

On the other hand, Hanuman was happily swatting flies. He was keen to keep the palace of Rama free from the menace of flies;  hence he was mostly roaming inside Rama’s residence and being near Rama by fanning Him to ward off flies!

Thus by choosing such a mean job, Hanuman was blessed to be around Rama and enjoy his divine company most of the times!

(Amma satsang on 10/5/19)

2.  Fear of pride

Once there lived a farmer in a village. He was an extremely simple person, kind hearted and a man of virtues. He was loved and respected by other villagers. Pleased with his conduct, God appeared before him and said, “I am very happy about your behavior and I want to give you a boon; May I give you the a power by which if you touch a person with your hand, he will get cured of his diseases?”

The man said, “Oh, no. That will make me too proud and arrogant. I don’t want it”.

The God said, “Then I will make you a pundit so that you can teach others”. The man said, “No. It will make me a proud person who boasts about his knowledge. I don’t want it”.

The God said, “I will make you a Guru; you can be an example for others to emulate”.  The man refused it again and said “No. Others will start glorifying me and fall at my feet. I will get very proud if it happens”.

“Then choose what you want” said God. The farmer said, “Please bless me that wherever I am and whoever I meet, let goodness happen to others,  without my knowledge. Let people who get benefitted by my presence should not even know that it happened because of me”. God felt very pleased and he blessed him.

The man lived his life as usual. Wherever he went ane whomsoever he met good things happened around him. Neither he felt it nor anyone could sense that he radiated such a power.  But somehow people started calling him “shadow of compassion”.

[Amma: “However much a spiritual aspirant is advanced, he will have a seed of ego still existing deep inside him. Only he attains oneness with the Truth, that seed of ego will die. Till then it has the potential to sprout again. Every sadaka has to be very watchful to ensure that the ego does not sprout and grow to be a big tree”.]

(Amma Onam Satsang 11/09/19)

3.  The rounded stone

Once a man was on the lookout for a nice round stone for doing his puja.  He searched all around to locate such a stone. He climbed a large hill looking here and there for the type of round stone he was keen to get. Slowly he reached the top of the hill. No where could he locate a round stone; he got very frustrated.  He picked up a piece of rock and threw it down to vent out his frustration.

He climbed down the hill and reached its bottom. There, he suddenly noticed a nice piece of rock, neatly rounded and polished! He was sure that he did not notice that piece when he climbed up the hill earlier. He joyfully picked up the stone and took it along with him.

In fact it was the very piece of rock that he threw angrily from the top of the hill. That stone had fallen and rolled down again and again by hitting various rocks; in that process, it got all its sharp edges knocked off; repeated rolling and hitting caused abrasion on its surface making it smooth and round as it finally reached the foothill!

 

[Amma: “Children, had the stone remained at the top of the hill, it would never have had the chance to lose its sharp edges and become a stone worthy of puja. In the same way, only when we do our karma without attachment we attain humility. Our ego exists like the sharp edges of the stone; only when they are broken and smoothened, our mind will get the attitude of doing everything as God’s work without attachment. If we keep preserving our ego,  we can never get humility. Anything worthy is achievable in spirituality only through humility.”] 

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 1)

 

4.  Patience and forbearance

Once one of the stone slabs in the 18-steps of the Sabarimala temple was complaining: “I am a stone and the Lord Ayyappa’s idol in the sanctum sanctorum is also a stone. While people stamp over me with their feet and climb over, they worship the stone Ayyappa  there. Is it not unfair?”

Hearing this, Lord Ayyappa’s idol said, “You are just seeing people worshiping me now; but you don’t know my past when the sculptor hit me with his chisel lakhs of times so as to bring me to this shape. I patiently bore it and that’s why I have turned out to be an idol fit for worship by lakhs of people.”

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 1)

5.  Patient and pleasant Bus conductor

Once a person was travelling in a bus. He was very pleasantly surprised to see the behavior of the bus conductor. The conductor was  patient and had a smiling face. He behaved courteously with the travellers.  He stopped the bus at all bus stops and ensured that those who alight or get down do not face any inconvenience. He made sure that he gave back the correct change to those buying tickets.  His patience was not disturbed by large crowd nor by the unruly behavior of some of the passengers.

The person was highly impressed by the nature of the conductor. He inquired: “I have never seen such a conductor in any other bus. How is that you are so different? How do you keep your patience and speak with a smile despite the heavy crowd in the bus?”

The conductor smiled and said as follows:

“There is no big secret in it; My life taught this lesson.  Before I became a conductor, I was working in a factory.  I used to commute by bus. When I wait for the bus in my bus stop, many times it would go off without stopping. When it stops,  it will stop at a distance. When I run to catch it, it would start moving before I manage to get in. If I manage to get in with difficulty, the conductor won’t invariably pay the balance change when I buy the ticket. If I ask for it, he would flare up. Invariably I used to lose my patience and get worked up. But what to do? I had to travel by the same bus daily.  My frustrated anger will remain with me even when I reach my office. I will not smile at any of the coworkers nor will I move well with them. Because of it, I had no friends in the office;  I could not concentrate well on my work; because of this tension, I used to make mistakes in my job. It will lead to getting scolding from my boss.  I would carry all these and return home by evening…

“I would normally release all my pent up anger at home; I would shout at my wife and children unnecessarily. Hence there was no peace at home too. Thus I was getting isolated both at my home as well as at my office…

“One day, as I reached my bust stop, the bus had already started moving. As I ran to catch the bus, the conductor whistled and stopped the bus to enable me to get into the bus. There was a new conductor in the bus. There was no place to sit; the conductor allowed me to sit in his seat. As I was very tired, I dozed off there. The conductor did not wake me up till the bust stop at which I had to get down arrived. It was a totally new experience. The new conductor’s behavior was like getting cool water to drink for a person with a parched throat…

“With a joy that I had never felt before, I got down from the bus. I was a different, pleasant person when I reached my office. I smiled at my coworkers and they exchanged pleasantries with me. I did my  work with full concentration that day and my boss complimented me for the first time…

“In the evening I reached home with the same upbeat mood; I spoke pleasantly with my wife and joyfully with my children. They were so surprised to see my behavior and they showered their affection on me in return. I was very conscious of my different behavior and I could understand clearly that we get back only what we give to others. It became clear to me that it would not be possible for me to correct others’ faulty behavior but it is indeed within my capacity to change my own behavior for good. If I make a change in myself, it paves the way for triggering a change in others’ behavior towards me…

“Subsequently, I got the job of a conductor in this bus company. I immediately remembered that odd conductor who was behaving extremely patiently and nicely with the passengers. I decided to emulate him. I resolved to be patient pleasant and courteous to my passengers. I decided to do what little I could to foster friendship and brotherhood with others.”

[Amma: “Children, what we call as society evolves when all sorts of people live together in a community. The thoughts and actions of individuals give shape to the culture of the society. Instead of thinking “I will correct myself if everyone corrects himself”, we should strive to be good first ourselves. If our attitude changes, we will be able to see good all around the world”.]

(Source: Oliyi Nokki – Tamil – Part 2)

6.  The power of hatred

Once the king of Devas went to some far off place on some personal agenda.  He did not nominate anyone to rule his kingdom during his absence and the king’s throne was vacant for long.  Taking advantage of this a powerful Asura came into the kingdom and forcefully occupy the throne; he started ruling devas with an iron hand and there were no other powerful person who could thwart him in the kingdom.

The Devas were in deep trouble. The constantly cursed the new king and their hearts were full of hatred towards him; surprisingly, as the days passed on and the subjects’ hatred grew more and more, the new Asura King, who looked ugly earlier started becoming more and more handsome each day.  His power also grew more and more.  The devas were clueless as to how the new king was getting better looks and better power despite all the palpable negativity around him.

One fine day, the original Deva king was back at his palace.  He was immediately surrounded by the devas and all were vehemently complaining how an Asura managed to grab his throne and there were subjected to so much of hardship under his rule. All of them said they hated the new king from the depth of their hearts and they wanted the old king to overthrow the Asura and capture his throne back.

The old Deva king thought deeply about it.  Then he understood that the Asura king had indeed done a great penance and got a boon from God that whomsoever hates him and curses him would lose their good looks and energy and he would gain them from the haters. The old king understood that it was the secret of the Asura’ kings new handsome looks and ever growing power.

He went straight to the new king and prostrated at his feet and said, “Oh mighty king! I was the king of this country earlier. Now I totally understand how mighty you are and how you are the right person to rule this kingdom. Please take me as your servant. I will serve you sincerely with all my might and I pledge my love and loyalty to you”. Based on his gesture,  some of his astute followers too did the same and prostrated before the Asura king.

The asura king did not like this development. He thought it will be extremely dangerous to trust the old king and his henchmen. He shouted, ” No no! I don’t want any of you here. Go away immediately from here!”

But the old king was unperturbed. He again and again prostrated before the new king and kept on reassuring his outright surrender to him along with his love and loyalty.  Highly confused, the new king allowed the old king to stay.

As time passed, the new king started to look gradually less and less attractive. His power too started weakening. Taking the old king as an example, a lot more citizens curtailed their hatred towards the asura king.  Thus the new king, instead of gaining good looks and power from others, started losing his reserves.  He suspected that the new king is doing something secretly behind his backs. He started hating the old king more and more. He started hating all his subjects. Thus through his hatred, he kept on losing his good looks and powers.

In this process, he lost his self confidence to rule the kingdom.  The old king soon overthrew him and drove him out of the country. He reoccupied his throne and started ruling his country again.

[Amma: “Children, negative emotions like hatred drain our energy and we tend to lose our goodness gained through our spiritual practices through such negative emotions”.]

(Amma satsang on 29/4/20)

7.  Only God can help

After Mahabharata war,  Yudhishthira became the king.  Bheema, the powerful younger brother of Yudhishthira was held in very high esteem by the soldiers and the people alike on account of his physical power and prowess. As Bhima held the record of killing some of the most powerful people of his times like Bahasura, Keechaka, Duryodhana, Duschadana and Jarasandha, Bhima’s heart too swelled with pride. He started feeling that he was unassailable and his powers were unlimited.

Once Bhima was crossing a forest and was taking rest under a tree. At that time he noticed that there was a forest fire at the direction of East.  A pregnant deer was came running from the east which was obviously to escape from the raging forest fire. As the deer was planning to run further towards the west, it suddenly stopped. With its sharp instincts, it noticed that a hunter was sitting there with his bow and arrow, ready to shoot once the deer came close to him.

The deer turned direction and started moving towards south.  Unfortunately, a ferocious tiger was standing there behind a bush waiting to attack the deer. The deer noticed it and immediately back tracked. It moved towards the north and unfortunately there was a river there, flowing in full stream.

Bhima noticed that the deer was totally trapped and was at a loss to know how to survive. A deep sense of pity came to Bhima for the sake of the deer. He wanted to save the deer, but how?

The hunting the deer for his food was a basic need for the hunter as well as the tiger. He could not interfere in the ways of nature. He could not do anything to stop the river; he was totally powerless to put out the forest fire.  He could not take the deer to his custody too as it would get scared and run helter skelter if he tried to go near it.

At that moment, Bhima’s pride about his mighty power came to a naught. He felt humbled. He felt that only God could save the deer. He folded his hands closed his eyes and sincerely prayed to God to save the deer.

Very soon, dark clouds gathered at the sky and there was a severe thunder storm.  It started raining heavily with gusty winds.  The hunter dropped the idea of killing the deer and decided to run back to his hut in order to save himself from the rains.  The tiger too abandoned its plan to attack the deer and rushed back to the cave where it was residing.

The heavy rains quelled the forest fires completely.  The deer was now free to return to its forest from where it came.

(From Amma’s Vishu Satsang 14/4/2020)

8.  Bird in a ship

Once a Bird was sitting in the mast of a ship anchored in a port.  When the bird was resting and sleeping, the ship departed the port and moved in to the sea.

When the bird woke up, it was shocked to see only the sea all around and no land was in sight.  The bird got frightened. It wanted to return to the land. The bird left the ship and flew towards the east for a long time. It could not find any land. It returned to the ship and then started flying towards the west for a long time. Again there was no land at sight. Dejected, the bird flew back to the ship. After taking rest for a while, it flew towards south. Even after flying for long it could not locate and shore.  Then it flew towards north and got disappointed once again. The bird flew back to the ship.

It sat on the ship mast and rested. It dropped any more idea of flying in search of the shore.  It was resting and waiting peacefully. The ship journeyed further and within a couple of days, the ship returned to the port. Joyfully, the bird left the ship and flew to the land.

[Amma: “Human mind is like the bird in the story. The mind always goes behind desires and unfulfilled dreams. Once desire becomes ambition the mind loses all controls. Only compassionate and meditative mindset can  make the life smooth and meaningful. Never forget this truth when you are running all around with your desires.”]

9.  Borrowed stuff

Once a pundit went to a cobbler to stitch his footwear that got teared. The cobbler said “I will make it ready by tomorrow”. The pundit said, “Ensure that you will deliver it positively tomorrow”. The cobbler nodded. The pundit  left his footwear and returned home.

The next day, when the pundit went to the cobbler, the cobbler said, “The repair is still not over. Some stitches are still pending. I doubt whether I can complete it today. Please come tomorrow”.

The pundit got angry. “I have to go for a discourse this evening. Didn’t you promise to give my footwear mended by today itself?”

“Sorry sir, let us do one thing. I have got a pair of costly footwear with me. It is sparsely used. I will give it to you to meet your urgency. You can wear it for your today’s program” said the cobbler.

The pundit got worked up further when he heard this. He shouted: “What do you mean? Are you insulting me? Do you know who I am? Will I ever wear another person’s footwear?”

The cobbler smiled and said, “Sir, if you don’t get angry, may I tell you something? Are you not carrying the thoughts and ideas of so many other people on your head? When you make your living with that, what’s wrong in wearing the footwear used by another person?!”

[Amma: “Those who carry borrowed stuff from scriptures on their heads, do not necessarily get rid of desire, lust anger and such negative attitudes from their minds.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

10.  Valuing criticism

[Amma: “Children, most of us normally never like others criticizing us. Many people become very uneasy when hearing criticism; Some will feel bad; some will react vehemently; some will start doing counter attack. Everyone will start justifying himself. But these are not the right ways to face criticism. If we receive criticism with full awareness and evenness of mind, then the same criticisms will turn to be catalysts for our growth and excellence.”]

Once in a kingdom, there was a famous administrator in a province.  A news reporter started vehemently criticizing the Administrator and wrote articles in a secretly circulated yellow magazine. He  made serious accusations about the administrator and wrote lots of negative remarks about his activities.

When this came to the attention of the administrator, he engaged secret police to locate the person who was writing such negative criticism. The police located him and brought him in front of the administrator.

The administrator spoke to him: “I used to read your articles in that magazine regularly. I know how critically you analyse my a activities and motives and write so elaborately in detail.  I have noticed that you have identified even such of my own limitations and shortcomings that I have never bothered to cognize myself.  I wish if you could become my secretary,  it would be immensely helpful for me to correct my mistakes and improve my administration”.

The news reporter was shockingly surprised to hear these words. He immediately accepted the offer to join as a Secretary to the administrator.

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

11.  You can’t be equal!

Once a king went to a temple quite early in the morning for conducting his prayers. When he reached the temple there was no other devotee around.

 As there was no one around, he bowed in front of the deity and talked openly to God,” My Lord, I am just nobody in front of you; I am meaner than the dust at your feet…”

When the king uttered this and stopped, he heard someone else too praying loud.The king looked back and noticed that there was one more person, who was simply repeating the same words that the king uttered and doing his prayer. The king did not like it.

He asked in a loud voice, “Who is there repeating “I am just nobody”? Who on earth has the courage  to repeat what I said to God?”. The king wanted to know who the other person was. He got up and went near him and found a beggar there!

The king said to him in a commanding voice, “I am the king of this country and when I say, ‘I am nobody’, no one has the right to repeat it; especially so when you are a beggar”.

[Amma: “Children, many times if we think we are humble, it is just an imagination. Our humility itself is like a veil to cover our egoism and ignorance. Hence we have to be aware about it always”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

12. The way for acceptance

Once in ancient India, people belong to a particular kingdom were attacked by foreign invaders; the invaders were extremely cruel and they created unsurmountable hardship to common people.

Unable to bear the tyranny of the invaders, a large group of people ran away from their country and sought asylum in an adjacent country.  The king of the country received them in his court. He heard the woes of the people and their request for asylum in his country. He brought a silver vessel filled with milk to the brim and gave  it to the refugees and said, “This is an example of the status of our country. Now tell me how will I add more?”

The leader of the refugees took out a packet of sugar from his bag and added a spoonful of it to the milk. The sugar got dissolved in the milk and it did not cause any spillage of milk from the vessel. By this gesture the leader conveyed a message that the refugees will mingle with locals and add sweetness to others’ lives, without causing any disturbance or inconvenience to the natives.

The king was pleased by this gesture. He immediately ordered to give space for living and other essential facilities for the refugees to settle in his country.

[Amma: “We may have our own habits, cultures, beliefs and points of view, which are different from the local people when we are to life in a different state of our own country.  While maintaining our cultures and uniqueness, we must also have the awareness to live in unity with others with a national spirit. The culture of the nation as a whole forms the basis of this unity.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13. Sustained effort

Once two laborers came to a wealthy man in search of work. The rich man engaged both of them to break huge rocks into pieces in his land. One of them was strongly built and the other was looking weak. Both of them went to the assigned site. While the weaker one started his work immediately, the stronger one rested for a while before beginning to work.

The employer suddenly visited the place to see how the work was progressing. He asked them to break the rock fast and he stood there, observing how they work.  As he watched, the strong one was hitting the rock with his sledge hammer again and again but the rock was not breaking. On the other hand, the weaker one broke the rock after a few hits with his sledge hammer.

The stronger one asked the other person with surprise, “How did you manage to break the rock so quickly right in front of the boss and caught his attention?”

The weaker one replied, “I had been hitting the rock many times earlier”.

[Amma: “Like this, we see some people finding their lives very hard while some others, it is easy. If it looks so, it is because of their karmas.  Whatever good fortunes we are enjoying today are due to the good acts we had done in the past.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol.1)

 

Amma’s stories on the Nature of God, Avatars and Mahatmas – Part 2 (16 stories)

1.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 1

[Amma:   Naranathu Branthan was an Avadhoota (Madman like sage) who lived in Kerala a few centuries ago. He was a self-realized yogi, whose behavior was known to be very weird. There are many stories associated with his life and Amma will narrate a few of them”.]

Once a spiritual aspirant wanted to become a disciple of Naranathu Branthan and follow him wherever he went. He approached Branthan and made this request. Branthan did not have any inclination to accept anyone as his disciple.  Hence he rejected the request. But the sadak was very adamant. He kept on pleading Branthan to accept him as a disciple.

Finally Branthan said, “Fine; you can follow me. But there is a condition for it. You should do whatever I do.” The sadak agreed very enthusiastically.

Branthan started walking. He walked and walked. One day passed; the second day passed and yet Branthan would not stop walking! The Sadak could not just cope up with Branthan’s walk. He cried, “Guruji, I have no energy left; unless I eat something, I will die”. Branthan did not reply.

After a short while they came across a smithy shop.  At that time they were melting Lead there. Branthan went inside, took a handful of molten lead in his hand and drank it. He called his disciple and said, “Come on, now drink this as much as you want and quench your hunger!”

The disciple gathered whatever little energy he had and ran away from the spot!

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

2.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 2

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’ means mad man. His behavior was beyond the comprehension of common men. Hence they called him mad. He accepted it without a protest.  He never tried to change the opinion of the people nor tried to teach them spiritual wisdom.  He never explained his behavior to people. In fact, he was least bothered about people and their opinions”.]

Branthan had the habit of cooking his food at cremation grounds using the fires of the pyre there. One night, he was cooking his food this way. At that time, a group of spirits, headed by a devata (celestial being)  came there. They had the custom of dancing around the burning pyres. Those spirits would not opt to display their dance in front of human beings. Hence the devata ordered Branthan to go away. However, Branthan was adamant and he would not budge. Soon there was heated argument between him and the devata.

The Devata argued, “It is customary for us to dance around the pyre. We shall not swerve from our practice”.

Branthan said, “Like you being firm about your custom, I am also very firm about my custom of cooking my food in the pyre. I will not move from here. Why don’t you move to some other cremation ground to locate another pyre?”

Noticing his adamancy, the spirits thought that, being a human being, he could be scared by them and chased away. They took up very gory and scary forms and made thundering noise and threatening gestures towards Branthan. But Branthan laughed seeing their antics and was busy with cooking.  So the head of the spirits stopped their antics and realized that Branthan was no ordinary human being, but a sage.

The devata saluted Branthan and said, “Sir, I accept my defeat; as told by you, we will go to some other cremation ground. However, having been impressed by your courage, I would like to offer a boon; Ask whatever you want”

Branthan said, “I need no boons; I have no needs nor desires; There is nothing that I need to accomplish. Just leave me alone so that I can concentrate on my cooking”.

But the devata was adamant. It wanted to offer something to Branthan.

Branthan said, “Fine. Tell me the date of my physical body dying in this world”. The devata told him the date and said, “This is not a boon at all. Ask something”.

Branthan said, “Okay. Just advance my date of death by a day, or postpone it by a day”.

“I don’t have that power to alter the date of your death; ask something else” said the devata.

Branthan took pity on the devata. He was suffering from elephantiasis and his left leg had been affected by it. He said, “Fine. Since you are so particular to offer a boon to me, you can change the elephantiasis from my left leg to right leg.” The devata did it. Branthan said, “Okay. I don’t need anything more. All of you leave from this place”.  The spirits left the place immediately.

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’s story clearly depicts the nature of a true Yogi who is totally surrendered to God. Even devatas and spirits are subservient to such a sage. Such a yogi never has fear; he has no curiosity or excitement; He is not worried about or disturbed about anything. While he is capable of changing the effects of prarabdha Karma himself, he is least inclined to do it and he accepts whatever pains and pleasures that come to him as per fate. He is beyond any vasanas and he he is able to laugh at anything and be a witness to all happenings”. You must also notice that Branthan did not express compassion too! We can’t say whether he was compassionate or not, because he is not concerned with the world or society, as he is immersed in a higher state of existence in unison with the ultimate”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 3 – Ambalapuzha temple

WHen the Ambalapuzha temple was built and the consecration ceremony was to be done, priests were invited for the installation of the main deity’s statue and do the related ceremonies. All of them were eminent scholars who could chant all the four Vedas by hear. In spite of their knowledge, they could not fix the statue firmly on the altar, however much they tried.

When the problem remained unsolved, the temple authorities made some astrological calculations in consultation with the priests. According to their calculations and predictions, a competent person to do the installation was sitting a few yards away from the temple compound.

When they went to the identified spot, they found a primitive and crazy-looking man siting there and chewing betel leaves, having just finished eating fried fish.  He was none other than Naranathu Branthan.

They brought him to the place where the installation was taking place, in spite of the priests’ mocking at him and making rude remarks to the temple authorities. They held their noses and spat on the ground to express their disgust seeing Branthan.

They thought, “What made these people to bring this ugly and low caste man here? What is he going to do?” Suddenly all the priests vomited, but what came out of their mouth was fish! Then the crazy man, who ate fish spat on the ground and out came basil leaves. Everyone was wonderstruck. Taking some betel leaves, he chewed them and spat on the altar; he uttered a few words in a scolding tone, “Hey Krishna, sit there!”. The statue became firmly fixed thereon.

[Amma:   “The name of the town Ambalapuzha originated from the word ‘tambulam’ (betel leaves, when chewed with arecanut and lime, which together are known in Sanskrit as tambulam). The town was previously knowns as Tambulapuzha. It was that illiterate layman’s spittle and his chiding of God that bore fruit and not the vedic chanting of priests. This was because the ‘crazy man’ was a Perfect Soul; whereas the priests were only after money. They did not have any spiritual power”.]

(From Awaken Children-Vol 2 )

4.  Forbearance – (1)

[Amma:   “The glory of the rishis and saints of our past is immeasurable. Without their compassion, the world have become a hell by now. It is their sacrifice and compassion that protect the world even today.  IT is their patience and love that compensate and balance the evil effects of the selfish acts of the people of the world.  We cannot fathom the depth of their compassion. Their compassion extends to those who intend to harm and eliminate them too”.]

A king brought his young son to get him admitted to a Gurukula. It was the practice in those days that whether one is a son of a king or the son of a poor man, children lived in the company of their Guru and learned Vedas, shatras, arts and also moral education. Children would not have contact with their parents during their period of stay at Gurukula.

When the king and the prince arrived, the place was calm and peaceful. There was nobody to be seen in the Gurukula. After searching for a while, the noticed a saint– the guru,  sitting under a tree. He was in deep state of samadhi.  The king and prince waited for some time for the saint to open his eyes. When he opened his eyes, the Guru noticed the king. He pleasantly welcomed the king and offered him a seat.

But the king was rather upset and angry that he was not properly accorded welcome at the Gurukula and that he had to search for the guru and also wait indefinitely till the guru finished his meditation. As a king, he was so much used to getting royal treatment wherever he went that he was angry about such a callous treatment meted out to him.

The guru asked respectfully, “Your majesty, may I know the purpose of your visit?”

The king bursted out. “Are you trying to mock at me? Instead of according me the proper royal welcome, you are asking me why I have come here! Where are all the students and disciples here? May I have the fortune of having a darshan of them?” he asked with sarcasm.

The guru expressed sorry and said, “This is a gurukula where we follow strict rules of discipline for the students; every student and disciple has a time schedule for study, work, worship, japa and other spiritual practices. As each of them follow their discipline, you could not see any of them outside. I too was immersed in meditation. That’s why we could not offer a formal reception to you”.

This explanation could not convince the king. “Do you intend to demean me?” he asked. Not knowing how to convince the king. The guru kept quiet. The king remembered that his purpose of coming there was to admit his son to this gurukula. This particular gurukula was most reputed in his kingdom for teaching knowledge and character to the students. Hence, the king controlled his anger and showing an external act of humility he sought forgiveness from the saint for his display of anger.  He then requested the Saint to accept his son as his disciple.

The guru instantly agreed and the formalities of admission were completed. The king left his son behind and departed; yet the sense of anger and hurt was still simmering in his heart.

The prince proved to be an excellent student. He was humble, had good conduct and character and also had devotion to God. The Guru was extremely happy with the boy and showered his love and care on him. The boy grew up to a youth in the Gurukula and he excelled not only in scriptural knowledge, but also in weaponry. His character remained impeccable.

The day of completion of his education came soon. With tear filled eyes, he stood before the guru with utter humility and said, “My respected master, I belong to you. I have nothing to claim as mine. In front of your greatness, I am nothing. There is nothing equivalent to the love, affection and care you took in grooming me. I want to give you something as my Guru dakshina (tuition fees). I am waiting to know your wish”.

The Guru touched the prince’s face with affection and said, “My son, your obedience, humility and devotion to me is the greatest Guru dakshina which you have already given to me. What else do I need?”

The prince insisted again and again. The guru said, “My child, Since I have no need at present, I will collect the Guru dakshina from you at the appropriate time of need. Don’t worry” and bid farewell to the prince.

The King was still nurturing the anger towards the saint and he was only waiting for his son to complete his schooling and return to the palace. Once the son came back, without his knowledge, the king sent his soldiers to the Gurukula and arranged to burn all the thatched huts, class rooms and residential places in the Gurukula. His soldiers also tortured the Saint and his disciples.  Leaving them to lurch for food, clothing and shelter, the soldiers returned to the palace and reported the matter to the king. The king felt very happy that he had done the long nurtured revenge on the saint.

Days passed. The king decided to crown the prince as the future king and retire. Before taking up the throne, the prince wanted to visit his guru and take his blessings. He went to his gurukula and was shocked to see the condition of the place. There were no huts, no class rooms, no facilities.

He frantically searched for the guru and finally found him meditating under a tree. He waited till the guru opened his eyes and then fell at his feet; impatiently he asked, “My master! What has happened here?”

The guru said patiently, “Nothing my son; there was a forest fire and all the huts got burned. That’s all”.

But the prince was shrewd enough to find out that the damage could not have happened due to forest fire and he suspected something fishy.  By that time, the other students and disciples gathered around the guru. He inquired them what happened and they told him the truth after a brief hesitation.

The prince was shocked beyond words. However the shock turned to anger and he roared, “Father, you coward! What a dastardly act you have done. I am going to finish you off.”  He gripped his sword with his right hand and the horse’s rope by the left hand and swiftly mounted it.

Immediately the Guru jumped in front of his disciple and stopped the horse from charging forward. He tried to convince him to drop his anger.  But the Prince could not be tamed; he wanted to take revenge on his father for having done such a horrible act of vengeance against his beloved Guru.

Having failed in his attempts to pacify the prince, the saint finally said, “Fine, my son! I will permit you to go. But before you leave, please give me my Guru dakshina”.

Immediately, the prince got down from the horse, saluted his Guru and said in a pleasant voice, “Oh! Thank you my master for conceding to my prayer at last . Please let me know what you want”.

The guru said, “My son; please drop your planned act of punishment to your father. This is the guru dakshina I want”.

The Prince was dumbstruck hearing this plea. He stood there stunned, looking at the radiant face of his great master. Tears rolled from his eyes. He slowly fell at the feet of his guru.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.  Forbearance – (2)

Once a saint was living the life of a traveling mendicant. One day he was resting under a tree. A ruffian came there and for no reason, without any provocation, he beat the saint with a stick in hand. It was a heavy beating at the shoulder of the saint. At the swiftness of the hit, the stick fell on the ground. The saint took it on his hands; fearing that he would hit him back with the same stick, the ruffian took to heels.

The saint too started running behind him with the stick in his hand.

Some people who witnessed the ruffian hitting the saint, came running to the scene and they caught hold of the ruffian.

The saint came near him and said to him, “Here is your stick; I came behind you only to return this to you!”

Hearing this, those who to the help of the saint to catch the ruffian were terribly surprised.  One of them said, “What are you saying, Swami? W all saw this rascal hitting you with the stick for no reason at all; you should definitely thrash him — not once, but many times. He deserves the punishment”. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

The saint smiled and said, “Why should I beat him?  I cannot do it.  It is true that he beat me with that stick and I believe it happened by God’s will only. Suppose, instead of this fellow hitting me, what would I do if a branch from the tree got broken and fell on me? SHould I hit back the tree?  I take it that this is a punishment I am receiving at the present time, for some crime I must have done in some previous birth. It means that I am only receiving the fruit of my karma and this fellow is just an instrument for it.  Hence there is no meaning in hitting him back. If I do so, it will only end up adding to my bad karmas, instead of cancelling out the past karmas”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

6.   The story of Poonthanam – Krishna’s devotee

Poonthanam was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in Kerala some 4 centuries ago. His life was marked by several tragic happenings, but he lived a life totally dedicated to Krishna and accepting all the unfortunate happenings in his life as the divine play of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur.

He was extremely sattvic (full of pure qualities) and lived a righteous life. He was simple and humble. His only child, born after lots of yearning and prayer to Lord Krishna died an unfortunate death. How did it happen?

His house was full of relatives who had gathered for the function. Poonthanam was celebrating the third birthday of his son; the celebrations and ceremonies extended till mid night.  Finally, they all retired to bed in a hurry. Suddenly at that time a powerful storm occurred. All the oil lamps in the house got extinguished in the wind. After the winds subsided, the lit all the lamps again.

Only then they noticed that Poonathanam’s child was missing. Everybody started searching for the child in panic in all nook and corners of the house but could not find him. Suddenly one of the relatives noticed a huge heap of sleeping mats dumped at a corner of the house.

Actually, Poonthanam’s boy was sleeping at that corner.  When all the lights got extinguished, people who who woke up rolled their sleeping mats and threw them at the corner one after the other in the darkness.  Thus it became a huge heap under which the child got caught and was suffocated to death. When the mats were removed, the dead body of Poonthanam’s child was underneath.

Think of the extreme shock and pain that the couple had to undergo.  Poonthanam too cried. But soon he was able to gather himself and recover from the ill fate. How? The unwavering faith and surrender Poonthanam had on his beloved Lord Krishna elevated his mind spiritually and that  mindset taught him to wriggle out of the sorrowful calamity. As a poet, he sang,  “While little Krishna is dancing in our hearts, do we need little ones of our own?

But Poonthanam’s wife could not easily recover herself from her shock. She thought her husband must be a lunatic and she hated him. Once when Poonthanam was travelling to Guruvayoor, he was attacked by robbers on the way. He had many such unfortunate things happening in his life. Yet, his devotion to his beloved Lord never changed.

[Amma:   “When measured purely from worldly angle, Poonthanam’s life was a tragedy. But he was always in bliss. How was it possible? The answer lies in the above song. Once you establish God in the temple of your heart, then what remains is nothing but bliss. That bliss will be both inside as well as outside”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-3 Tamil)

7.  Form and formless God

[Amma:   “Saguna (with form) and nirguna (without form) are not two different Realities. Ordinary people can reach Formless Being only through some kind of medium. For those who don’t know how to swim, a boat is necessary to cross the river, isn’t it? Mother is not saying you should stay in the boat for ever. After reaching the other side, you should get out”.]

Once there was a disciple, sitting at the banks of a river in the Himalayas, thinking “I see God in the form of my Guru but he says that he is not the body. Yet how can I believe him? How can one be with and without form at the same time? Doesn’t he talk to me and do all the other actions like ordinary people?”

While the disciple was brooding over the matter, a block of ice suddenly crashed into the river. As the disciple looked at it, a squirrel jumped onto the ice which floated across the river. Upon reaching the other bank, the squirrel got off and gingerly jumped away.

Seeing this, the disciple thought, “No doubt the ice is only water. But without it, the squirrel could not have crossed the river. THe formless water became ice and will eventually lose its form and river to its original formless nature as water, but the form serves a purpose. Likewise,  Nirguna becomes Saguna for taking us across the Ocean of Samsara. Henceforth, I will look upon my Guru as the embodiment form of the formless Absolute”.

[Amma:   “All forms have limitations. There is no tree which touches the sky, and there is no root which touches the netherworld. This means the names and forms are finite. We should go beyond all names and forms. Even though God is beyond all qualities and all-pervading, He will come in a form according to our sankalpa“.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

8.  What exist there is here

Once a group of devotees from Kerala planned to make a holy pilgrimage to Kashi in North India to bathe in the Holy river Ganga.  When they asked an old, saintly devotee in their village whether he would like to come, he said, “I am too old to make this journey. Please take my walking stick and after dipping it in the Ganga, return to me”.

When the devotees reached Kashi and bathed in Ganga, they dipped the old man’s stick in the river. Unfortunately the stick slipped and got washed washed away by the river’s swift current.

On returning to the village, they informed the old saint that they had lost the stick.

“Did you lose it in the Ganges?” he asked. “Yes; in the Ganges” they replied.

“Then it is no problem” he said; going to the backyard of his house, the saint waded into the pond there and pulled out his stick!

[Amma:   “For a knower of the Self, there is no good or bad, pure or impure. For him, there is  Purity alone. As for as he is concerned, there is no difference between the Ganges water and the water in the pond. But for ordinary people, all these differences do exist”.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

9. What God looks for

[Amma:   “A true karma yogi is one who keeps his mind on God while being engaged in any work. We must have the mindset of accepting everything as God’s act. That is  true bhakti. If one is engaged in puja, but the mind is wandering on all external matters, that puja can not be taken as bhakti yoga. At the same time, if a scavenger does his job of cleaning by chanting God’s name and believing his work as a service to God, it is truly bhakti yoga as well as karma yoga”.]

Once there lived a woman in a street, who was very devoted to Lord Krishna. Whatever works she did,  she would dedicate it to God, saying “Krishnarpanamastu“. Whether she was sweeping her courtyard or bthing her child, she would not forget to say ‘Krishnarpanamastu‘.

There was a temple adjacent to her house. The priest in the temple did not like the woman always chanting Krishnarpanamastu.  He could not bear her saying it while throwing the garbage. He used to scold her for her behavior but she did not react.

One day, the woman through a handful of cow dung away from her house and unfortunately, it fell inside the temple front yard. The priest heard her saying Krishnarpanamastu while the cow dung fell in the temple. He got very furious. He caught hold of the lady and dragged her into the temple; he made her cleanup the dung and wash the area. Then he gave a few beatings to the women and chased her away.

When the priest woke up from the bed the next day, he could not move his hand. He was shocked. He cried in pain and prayed to God to cure him. That night, God appeared in his dream and said, “I cherish the cow dung thrown by the woman more than the sweet pudding you offered to me; what you do in the temple for me is not puja, but whatever the woman does is indeed puja for me. I cannot bear the woman suffering under your ill treatment. Only if you fall at the feet of the woman and beg her parden, your hand will get alright”.

10. Nature of God

Once a king and his minister were discussing about Puranas. Referring to the Story of the Elephant King Gajendra, whose life was saved by Lord Vishnu from the clutches of a crocodile, the king asked the minister rather mockingly, “I don’t understand why Lord VIshnu has to come personally to save Gajendra. Was he not mighty enough to send some of his soldiers to save Gajendra?  Rather, he could have dispatched just his Sudarshan Chakra right from his abode at Vaikuntham to kill the crocodile?  Why all the fuss to rush personally to save an elephant just because he called out by name?”

The learned minister did not respond immediately.  He waited for the right opportunity to explain it to the king.

Ther minister was very fond of the Little Prince (the son of the king) and he used to spend some time with the kid to play with him. The minister secretly got an idol of the prince made that looked exactly like the prince.

One day, the minister and the prince were playing at the Palace gardens. The king was standing at the balcony of his palace and he could notice the two playing at some visible distance away from him.  There was a well in the Garden. As the two were playing, suddenly the king saw his little son standing at the brim of the well and then suddenly falling into it. He was utterly shocked. But the fact was that the minister had indeed arranged to keep the idol of the prince there and pushed it into the well, knowing well that the king was noticing it from a distance.  The king was unaware that it was just the idol that was pushed into the well.

Gripped by anxiety and agony, the king got down swiftly from the Balcony and came running to the  garden, shouting for help.  When he arrived at the spot, he was surprised and relieved to see his little son there, holding hands with the minister.

“Oh! What happened here? I saw my son falling into the well and hence I came rushing” said the king.

The minister said smilingly, “Oh revered king, what is the need for you to personally come rushing here to save your son? Won’t it be enough if you call your security guards and send them to save your child from drowning?”

The king said, “What do you mean? How can I remain cool and issue order my soldiers to do something when my own son is drowning here?”

The minister said, “That is precisely what Lord Vishnu did when he heard the cries of the elephant Gajendra!  For the lord, Gajendra was just like a son! Every living being is like His son and daughter! When any of them cry to Him for help, how can’t he help but to rush personally for saving him/ her! That is the nature of God”.

11. What God looks for (2)

Once there lived a poor laborer who was a deep devotee of Lord Krishna.  It was his regular habit to visit the temple of Lord Krishna adjacent to his house every evening after his daily jobs were over.  He would promptly present himself at the time of deeparadhana (vesper service) and would feel spiritually surcharged; he would not miss this habit.

One day, due to extra work, he was held up late at his workplace.   When he rushed to the temple, the deeparadhana had been completed and the priest was coming out. The laborer felt very disappointed for having missed to see the deeparadhana.  He stood there with a sunken face.

The priest noticed the man’s disappointment. He knew that he was a very regular visitor to the temple who was always present at deeparadhana time and watched it with rapture. The priest was deeply impressed by the devotion of the poor laborer.

He went close to him and said, “I am doing deeparadhana daily to the Lord. I will give all the punya (accrued merits)  of doing this service for lord to you. Will you please give me the punya of your longing for God to me?”

The laborer happily agreed to this proposition.

On that night, Lord Krishna appeared in the laborer’s dream. He said, “To day, you have done a foolish thing. Why did you exchange the punya of your deep love on me to that priest for his act of doing deeparadhana? After all, he is doing it as a part of his job as a priest. His merits of doing this procedural service to me can never equal the love and devotion that comes from your pure heart.”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

12. What God looks for (3)

Once there lived a Brahmin who was well versed in scriptures and he was a deep devotee of Divine Mother. Wherever he went, Devi too would go with him. Though others could not see Devi, the Brahmin would see her and even converse with her.

One day, he was undertaking a pilgrimage and Devi too was following him. At one place, the Brahmin happened to see whether Devi was coming behind him as usual, he was surprised to notice her missing. He started walking back in search of Devi. After going back some considerable distance he noticed that Devi was sitting in a platform inside the hut of an untouchable man.  The untouchable was actually worshiping Devi by placing a sword and Trishul on the platform, deeply involved in his prayerful worship. Devi was patiently sitting in front of him as long as his worship was continuing and was blessing him by accepting his worship with a smiling face. Once the pooja ended, Devi came out of the hut to be with the brahmin.

The Brahmin said, “Mother, I know how stressful it would have been for you to sit  so long in front of that untouchable low caste person who did some dubious worship without knowing any mantra or tantra. Please do not do such things again”.

Hearing this Devi smiled and said, “I have been with you all along and still you have not understood my nature.  I always look at the heart of the devotee. I have no discrimination based on someone being higher or lower in social order. Whosoever calls me with total love and devotion, I would go there.  I value pure, guileless love more than scriptural knowledge. I don’t want to follow you hereafter as you have not even grasped this basic nature of mine”, So saying Devi disappeared.

[Amma:   “The moment egoism and differentiation rises up in a devotees’ heart, he gets distanced from God immediately.”]

13. Your responsibility

Once a person who lead a life of righteousness and accumulated punya (fruits of good karmas) in this world died and went to heaven on account of his goodness.

There one day he noticed a strange shop; the shop carried a board :”All goodness and wealth are available here for buying free of cost”. The God himself was the seller in the Shop. The man went inside the shop, bowed to God and said, “May I get happiness and peace for all the people of mankind from this shop?”

The God immediately gave him a bag full of seeds. The man said, “Well, I am afraid I have not asked for any seeds”.

God smiled and said, “My son, whatever you have asked for is available here, but only in seed form. It is up to you to put all efforts to grow them into trees and then pluck the fruits of happiness and peace from them!”

[Amma:   “All of us in this world possess the seeds of goodness inside us, given by God.  They are indeed in the form of ‘bija’, the seed . It is up to us to sow them, give water and nourishment and and take due care of them, they will grow big and flower one day. Then the fragrance will spread all around and the life will be blessed. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14. The right person

Once there lived a Sadhu, who was a great devotee of God. He was extremely humble and lived a life immersed in the bliss of devotion to God. Lots of people came to him in search of peace; they became his disciples and devotees.  He was extremely popular and revered in that locality.

One day a Pundit came to see him.

The pundit too was somewhat famous for his scholarship and his knowledge of the scriptures. He was a very proud man; he was extremely argumentative and he loved engaging others into arguments. He derived lots of joy in defeating them in intellectual arguments based on kis knowledge on scriptures.

The pundit did not like the popularity of the Sadhu, who, according to his judgement, would not even have rudimentary knowledge of scriptures.  He wanted to establish his superiority there.

He spoke the Sadhu: “Swamy, I will be glad to have a debate with you on the matter of God”. The sadhu said with folded hands, “O revered Pundit, I have the least knowledge about scriptures. You are a great scholar, I cannot even stand before you and talk on the matters of spirituality. What do I know? I know nothing.”

The Pundit felt proud and happy. He said: “If you are not inclined to debate with me, will you give me a letter stating that you have accepted defeat from me on the matters of God?”

“Definitely” said the Sadhu. He got a letter prepared as wished by the pundit, signed it and gave it.

The Pundit went to attend a large Conference of scholars and spiritual seekers where various matters of scriptures were being expounded.  There were seminars, panel discussions and debating sessions. The pundit spoke in a session and said, “Perhaps you people are already aware of my extensive knowledge in our holy scriptures. In fact very recently I met this Sadhu in such and such place. I don’t know why, so many people throng to him and show lots of reverence to him. When I met him, this sadhu really got scared of me! He gave me a letter stating that he has accepted defeat from me on the matters of knowledge about God! Here is the letter signed by him!’

He circulated the letter amid his audience. People went through the letter and started talking very excitedly amid themselves. Some of them laughed.

“Why are you feeling so excited? Why do you laugh?” asked the pundit.

Some of them got up and said, “Sir, we are indeed extremely glad to see this letter. All along, we have been searching for the right person to guide us on spiritual matters. We are glad that we came to know who it is, today”.

“Good. You have understood that it is me. Right?” said the pundit.

“No Sir; Not you. We meant the Sadhu who gave you the letter. Even though we have been studying and discussing scriptures, we also know that God cannot be found through scriptures. We know that knowing God by real personal experience is what really matters, and for such a realized person, scriptures are not really of any value. Humility is the hallmark of such a person.  At last, we have now understood that the Sadhu must be the true knower of God! We are all eager to go and meet him and get his blessings!” said the people in the gathering.

(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

15.  For the fun of it

Once a prince was playing hide and seek with his friends in the garden adjacent to his palace. At one point of time, the prince was the catcher. He kept his eyes closed and all his friends ran away to hide themselves in different places. The Prince started looking around for them. One by one, he caught a few of the boys from their hiding places. But a couple of them could not be easily located. The prince was frantically running around here and there to find out where they were hiding.

Watching this, one of the guards said, “Your majesty. You are a Prince and if you can’t find your friends, it is enough if you just issue an order loudly and they will have to come out of their hiding places. Why should you waste your time running in search of them like this?”

The prince said, “What you say is true. But there won’t be any fun in the game if I do so!”

[Amma:   “When God takes an avatar, he accepts the nature of human beings and comes in such a form to earth.  It is his lila (divine play) to be among the human beings. He tends to demonstrate knowledge and ignorance, power and weakness in this divine play.  We can observe that these avatars too undergo pains and pleasures, problems and resistances in their lives like ordinary human beings. Only then they could mingle easily with others  and relate with them. Once they have opted to play this game, they should change the rules in between, should they?”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  The hands

Once  in a village, there was a prominent statue of a famous saint. The statue was sculpted in such a way showing the saint extending both the hands. An inscription at the base of the statue read “Come into my hands”.

As years passed, both the hands of the statue got broken.  The villagers felt bad about it. Even though the hands were broken, the inscription below the statue was still prominent and clear. Some villagers felt that the old statue should be removed and a new one of the saint with extended hands must be installed again there. Some other people said, “There is no need to discard this statue. It is enough we we repaired it to attach two hands.”

An old villager came there and intervened in the arguments. He said, “There is no need either to change the statue or fix new hands.”

If we don’t do it, then the inscription saying ‘Come into my hands’ looks meaningless and awkward” said some people.

The old man said, “That’s okay. It is enough if we add another sentence under it like this: “I have no other hands except yours. My hands are nothing but your hands”.

[Amma:   “God has no separate hands other than ours. He acts only through us. Hence we should bring God in our hands; in our legs; in our tongues and in our hearts. This way we must transform ourselves to God.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol.2)

 

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1. There is no point in carrying

[Amma: “The past is like a cancelled cheque. It has no value. It is futile to keep brooding over the past worries, hurts and pains and making the present miserable.”]

Once a disciple went to his spiritual master and cried, “Guruji, I have so much of difficulties and pains in my heart that I have been carrying from the past and I could not get rid of them. Please help me to attain mental peace.”

The guru gave him various spiritual advices but the disciple could not grasp them well and put them into practice; he continued to suffer from the thoughts of the past and he kept complaining to the Guru again and again.

Then, the Guru gave him a sack load of vegetables weighing about 15 kilos and said to the disciple, “You carry this on your shoulders all the time; even when you are lying down for resting or sleeping, you should hold it on your chest. Do this till I give further instructions”.

The disciple obeyed the guru and carried the sack load of vegetables all the time on his shoulders or on his head. It was very painful and tiring for him. During nights, he kept the sack on his chest and slept. He could not sleep well.

He kept on doing this for the next few days. The vegetables started decaying and soon afoul smell started emanating from the sack. As they decayed further, liquid started dripping from the sack he felt it irritating and itchy.

Unable to bear the pain and discomfort any longer, he ran to the guru and sought his permission to throw away the burden. The Guru gave his permission and said, “This is precisely what I was advising you with regard to your carrying the mental burden of  the past too! That too was heavy, painful, irritating and itching in your mind! If only you could throw them away like the sack that you did now, you will be relieved!”

(Beach Satsang 2/1/2017)

2. The enlightened disciple

[Amma: “Amid spiritual aspirants living with a Sadguru, there are some whose nature is more feminine. They have no desire for lecturing; they care the least for fame or respect. They may not even aspire for self-realization. They are just content to be with the satguru and do His service. That’s their austerity. They don’t know any higher level of spirituality. They have nothing greater to aspire than the company of their sadguru. This devotion cannot be explained intellectually or logically. Their condition can be equated to the devotion of Gopi’s of Vrindavan on Lord Krishna.”]

One of the disciples of Lord Buddha was suddenly missing.  Over a week, everybody was searching for him but he could not be located, nor his whereabouts known. 

One day Lord Buddha located him. He was hiding himself by sitting in the roof of an Ashram shed. Buddha however knew that he was hiding there; he also knew that the disciple had obtained self-realization and was hiding himself after attaining it.

He made the disciple come down. Holding his hands, Buddha said, “I know you have attained your goal”.

The disciple said, “My lord, Even before you told me this, I knew that I have realized the goal of my life. In fact I was hiding from your view only because I feared that you will declare that truth.  I was afraid that you would then say, ‘Now that you have attained it, go out of this ashram and teach the world.’ But, my dear master, I would be happy only to remain unrealized and just be in your joyous company for ever. I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to go out and teach the world as a person of self-realization”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

3. The essence of true knowledge

[Amma: “Explanations and interpretations (of scriptures or spiritual knowledge) actually become a hurdle in turning the mind inward and experience the Truth. In fact, our mind and thoughts become hindrance to real experience. If one has to experience the beauty of flower, all thoughts related to explaining the flower must stop. Likewise, only when the mind becomes silent, one can grasp the true meaning of scriptures. Do read scriptures; but never assume that you don’t have to do anything else over and above it. Only when one attains a childlike mind that says, “I don’t know”, one can really progress in spirituality.

Once a young man went to a saint and became his disciple. The saint said to him: “You write down whatever you have known and learned about religion and spirituality. It will benefit you. Then come and show it to me”.

The disciple, heeding fully to the Guru’s command, started writing in a big notebook whatever he knew so far in life about religion and spirituality. It took one year for him to complete it. He brought the notebook and handed over to the Guru.

The saint opened the notebook and glanced over several pages for a while. Then he said, “This is indeed written with clarity and mental focus. It can really give the reader the needed spiritual phillip to tread the path of spirituality. Your one year of hard work is reflected in the contents. However, it is rather too long. Can you please do a precis writing and reduce the length?”

The disciple agreed and went back. It took five years for him to condense his ideas and reduce it to half of its original length. He brought it to his Guru. The guru leafed through it and said, “Well done! Ideas are very clear and the writing style is excellent! However, I want you to make it considerably more brief”.

The disciple was disappointed when he heard this. However, bowing to the Guru’s wish, he started rewriting it. It took 10 years for him to finish the task of condensing all his ideas to just 5 pages. He submitted it to the Guru saying, “Master, I have condensed all that I have understood on spirituality in these 5 pages. I am thankful to you for making me fit for grasping this truth”.

The guru went through the five pages fully and thoroughly. Then he said, “Extremely well written! YOu have achieved it purely through your concentration and spiritual austerities. Yet, there is a little shortcoming in this. Try to rectify it”.

Years went by. The guru was getting old. He became bed ridden. The time had almost come for the guru to leave his mortal body. The disciple came to the guru and prostrated before him. He handed over a piece of paper to the guru. The guru glanced it. There was nothing written in it. Immediately, the guru placed his hand on the disciple’s hed and blessed him, saying, “Now you have grasped the truth fully. Let the truth henceforth be revealed to you and shine in you”. In that very moment, the disciple attained enlightenment. He sat silently at the feet of the guru. The guru left his mortal body and merged with the infinite.

 

 

[Amma: “Children! If you attain a mind that says, “I don’t know anything; I am nothing”, you will attain your goal. Only when you get that mindset, God’s grace will flow into you”]

(From Arul mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4. Relinquishing is not easy

[Amma: “Spiritual journey, in fact, is not a journey forward; it is rather travelling backward i.e. we travel back to reach our real source. In this process we have to drop off our attachments and vasanas (inborn tendencies) and it is painful. A person desirous of climbing a mountain and reach its top has necessarily leave behind his possessions down below. Else, the upward travel would be too taxing and difficult. If one does not relinquish attachments whole-heartedly, pain cannot be avoided. Amma will now share a story she had heard:”]\

Once a rich man, though possessing all objects of enjoyments that his money could buy, found his life empty and meaningless. He wanted to get rid of his worldly attachments and desires and lead a stress-free and peaceful life. He decided to seek counsel from a Sadguru.

Having known about a famous saint living in a village a few miles away, the rich man started to meet him. As he was about to depart, he thought, “What is the use of all the money that I have kept hoarded in my vault? Let me take all my gold coins, place them at the guru’s feet and forget about them”. He put all the gold coins in a bag and carried the bag with him.

After travelling the whole day, he reached the village where the guru was living. He found the guru sitting under a tree at the outskirts of the village.He rushed to the Guru, placed his bag at the guru’s feet and prostrated before him. When he rose up, he was shocked to see the Guru picking up the bag and running away!

For a moment, he was confused and shaken by the weird act of the guru. Instinctively he felt he should get back his bag containing the gold coins at all costs. He started chasing the Guru. The guru ran pretty fast; he ran across paddy fields, crossed streams, passed through thick bushes, climbed up and down a small hill and wound his way through the narrow lanes and bylanes of the village. With lot of difficulty, the rich man too ran behind the guru in order to catch him.

As the guru was very familiar with the local terrain, he could run through all nooks and corners of the village even in the dim twilight. Soon, the rich man lost track of the Guru. Dejected, he slowly walked back to the tree where he originally met the guru.

A surprise was waiting for him there. His bag was lying at the foot of the tree! The guru was not visible anywhere around. In fact, the guru was hiding himself behind the tree and watching what the rich man was doing. The rich man jumped forward to pick his bag and opened it eagerly to see whether the gold coins had been stolen. He felt very relieved and overwhelmed with joy to see that all the coins were intact.

From behind the tree, the Guru asked: “How are you feeling now, my son?”

Impulsively, the rich man replied, “Oh! I am extremely happy. This is one of the happiest moments of my life!”

The guru said, “My son, in order to gain real happiness, one has to undergo real pain!”

[Amma: “Children! You may run around behind worldly enjoyments. But unless you return to your starting point, you will never get true happiness. That is another important message from this story”.]

(From Ammavin Anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

5.  Wider vision

[Amma: “When man thinks of himself and his desires alone, he becomes narrow minded. He becomes blind to things other than his self-interest”.]

Some youngsters went to a sage and expressed their desire to become disciples to him. The sage took them to a well nearby.He asked each of them to look into the well and tell him what they saw inside.

One youngster looked inside and said that he saw his own reflection in the well water. The sage asked “Did you notice anything else?”. The youngman said, “No”.

Almost everyone else, after looking into the well said the same thing.

The last younster said, “Swami, I see my reflection and also the reflections of trees and creepers that have grown tall all around me reflected in the well water”.

The sage accepted the last person alone as his disciple. He said to others, “You were all able to see just your reflection only. It indicates that each of you think about yourself only. Only this person saw trees and creepers too. It means he is not a person who thinks of himself alone. His outlook is clearer and wider than yours. Hence I am taking him as my disciple”.

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

6. Who is the right person to take charge?

Once a guru had two disciples. He used to give the responsibility for most of the important activities of the Ashram to one of these two disciples; the other one was unhappy about it.  The reason for his displeasure was that he was the senior among the two in joining the ashram. Hence he got angry with the other disciple who got more prominence than him.

One day, he went to the guru and asked, “Master, why are you not giving ashram responsibilities to me? I can do them better than your other disciple”.

After listening to his complaint, the Guru called both the disciples together and gave them an assignment: they have to visit an adjacent village and assess the nature of people living there.

The first disciple, on his way close the village, noticed a man pacifying a crying child by offering a chocolate to him. As he inquired, he came to know that the person offering the chocolate was a murderer. The disciple was impressed to see the good attitude of the person who was keen on pacifying a crying child, despite being a murderer.

As he walked further, on the way, he noticed another person attending to an old man suffering from hunger due to utter poverty. The man was helping the old man to drink some water. Upon inquiry, he came to know that the person helping the old man was a robber; the disciple felt glad to see compassion in the heart of the robber.

Next, on his way, he noticed a woman wiping the tears of another woman and offering her solace. That woman, he came to know, was a prostitute. He was so glad to notice the good heart of the prostitute in offering emotional comfort to a distressed woman.

The disciple came back to Guru and explained what he saw. He was full of praise about the goodness in the people despite being anti-social.

The senior disciple too returned from the village by that time.

When the guru asked him what he saw, he said, “I saw a man beating an young boy; I saw another person shouting at a poor beggar; I also noticed a nurse severely scolding a patient. I could only hate  such people, who have no compassion in their heart.”

The guru arranged to investigate the cases reported by the senior disciple and then explained the real background to those incidences.

The man who beat the boy was a good samaritan; he was providing food and clothing to several destitute children. The boy who got beaten by him had a habit of stealing. No amount of good counseling could help to correct his behavior. As a last resort, the man, purely with the intention of correcting the erring boy, gave physical punishment. Hearing this, the disciple said, “I can’t accept such a behavior. However good the man be, what right has he got to beat a young boy?”

In the second case too, it turned out that the person who scolded the beggar was a one who donates generously for humanitarian activities. He was scolding the beggar because the latter was hale and healthy who could earn his living by working, instead of idling and living by alms. Even this was not acceptable to the second disciple. He quipped. “However generous the man may be, why should he scold a beggar? If he could give some alms, let him, else let him say ‘I can’t give you anything’. He has no right to scold the poor person”.

In the third case, the nurse was known for her dedicated service to patients day and night. She used to treat the man for a severe wound and she dressed it up with  bandage. But the man had the bad habit of removing the bandage and it delayed the process of curing of the wound. The nurse censured the patient for his foolish behavior. When the guru explained this, the second disciple said, “The nurse might have made the bandage too tightly; she might have hurt him and caused pain and irritation to him while doing the bandage. That could be the reason for the man to remove it. Just because she was a nurse who attended to him, she has no right to scold her patient”.

The guru called both the disciples together and said, “None in this world is totally bad or evil. However evil a person may be, he would still have some good qualities in him. The first disciple could see only the good qualities in a murderer, thief and a prostitute.  If we possess good qualities in us, we will only see goodness in others. We are all in need of only such eyes that see only goodness in others”.

Looking at the second disciple, he said, “My son, you only noticed your own mental tendencies in others too. You could only ‘find’ some evil even in good people. Only when your attitude changes, you will be able to see goodness in others and then you will  naturally become eligible for taking up ashram responsibilities”.

[Amma: “Most of us nowadays have the attitude of the second disciple only. Even if someone possesses thousand good qualities, we don’t notice them. If we find one mistake, we would notice only that. But God sees only good qualities in others.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

7. Camel is my right guru!

[Amma: “Some people say that your Guru is within you and your own mind can guide you as a Guru. They ask, “what is the need to surrender to a third person as a Guru?” Of course it is true that there is an inner guru; but right now, it is like a guru enslaved by our own unbridled and evil tendencies. Our own mind is not within our control. It is totally at the grip of vasanas. If we go as per the whims of such a mind, it will only lead us to danger.”]

Once a man went in search of a guru. He went to several masters one after the other. Each one advised him about the need for humility and faith. It was not to his liking. He believed that he cannot be a slave to another person. Thinking so, he rested at the side of a road. He thought, ‘None of these gurus are fit enough to guide me through the right path’. As such a  thought passed in his mind, he saw a Camel which was grazing in front of him nodding its head. He was surprised to notice it. ‘Oh! This camel is capable of reading my thoughts! That’s why he nodded his head in approval! This must be the right guru I was searching all along!’ he thought.

He went close to the camel and asked, “Are you willing to be my guru?” The camel nodded his head. The man felt extremely happy.

Afterward, he made it a habit to take the camel’s permission for all his plans and actions. Whatever he asked, the camel would nod its head which he would take as his guru’s approval.

One day he asked the camel, “Today I saw a beautiful woman. May I start loving her?” The camel nodded.

A few months passed. He came and asked, “May I now marry that woman?” The camel nodded.

A few days passed. He came and asked the camel, “May I start consuming a little liquor?” Again the camel nodded. Then gradually drinking became a habit. His wife started severely criticizing him for it. He came to the camel and asked, “Shall I fight with my wife?” Again the camel nodded. He went and started fighting with his wife.

He rushed back to the camel and asked, “I just cannot tolerate her arguing and fighting with me like this, as she is bent upon stopping me from drinking. Shall I stab and kill her?” The camel nodded as usual.

He ran back to his wife and stabbed her. She died on the spot. Soon the news spread; the policemen came and arrested him. After trials, he ended up in jail with a life imprisonment.

[Amma: “Our mind is exactly like this Camel guru! It has no issue with right or wrong. Whatever we desire, the mind will give its total concurrence forgetting future consequences.   Thus, if we surrender to our mind which is a slave to vasanas, we will become slaves to our attachments.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

8.  Obedient Disciple

[Amma: “A tree is no doubt contained in a seed; but only when the seed goes into the soil,  it can sprout and grow into a tree. Even an elephant can be tied to a tree once it is grown up. But if the seed is not cared, it will become food for bird. The truth of advaita is indeed inside us. But only when we develop humility and simplicity, read and contemplate deeply on the what we read, it could become our true experience.”]

Once an youngster went to meet a Guru and requested him to take him as his disciple. There were already many disciples in the ashram.

“Living in an ashram is not easy for everyone; please go back now and come later” said the guru.

The young man felt very disappointed. Noticing it, the guru said, “Well, are you good at any job?” He then proceeded to mention the various activities in the ashram to know whether he could fit into any of them. The youngster was clueless about all of them. Then the guru asked, “We have several horses in the ashram; will you be able to take care of them?”

“Yes, Sir, if you wish so” said the young man. The guru sent him straight away to the ashram stable to take care of the horses.

The new disciple engaged himself wholeheartedly in feeding the horses, bathing them cleaning the stable and so on. Soon, on account of his sincere  and abundant care, the horses grew fat and healthy.

The guru hardly ever gave any teaching to the students. Every morning he would call them and tell them a sloka (verse). He would ask them to keep contemplating on the meaning of the sloka the whole day to grasp its inner purport and put it into practice in their life. That was his mode of teaching.

One day, the guru came earlier than normal, gave the sloka to the disciples and departed somewhere on  a horse. The new disciple who was immersed in the job of attending to the horses came running. He did not get his sloka for the day from the guru.

“Master, what is my sloka?” He asked the guru, running behind his horse.

“Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?” chiding him so, the guru went away. The disciple started memorising these words of the guru again and again: ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?

The guru returned in the evening. All the disciples were there to receive him except the new one. “Where is he?” asked the guru. The other disciples said in a mocking voice, “That fool is is mumbling something like  ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?‘ the whole day!”

The guru understood. He called the disciple and asked him, “What are you doing?”

He said, “I am repeating and contemplating on the sloka that you uttered this morning while leaving”.

The guru’s eyes filled with tears. He called the disciple close to him, placed both his hands on his head and blessed him. The other disciple got very displeased with what the guru did.

“Master, we are with you in this ashram for so many years and yet you are showering your blessing to that foolish newcomer! It is unfair” they said.

The guru said, “Go, buy some narcotics and bring it here”.

They did. He mixed the narcotic drug in water, poured a mouthful in each disciple with a strict instruction that they should not swallow it, but spit it out. They obeyed.

“Do you feel intoxicated?” asked the guru.

“No master! How can we? We never drank it!”

The guru explained: “You too were only receiving my words in a similar way. You listened to them and immediately forgot about them. But look at him. He did not do so. Without trying to find fault in my words,  he simply accepted it. He has such a guileless heart. It is not just that. I had given the job of taking care of the horses to you people earlier; none of you took care of them properly; you never fed them in time nor bathed them properly; they were looking lean and impoverished during your days. They were also behaving very restless and unruly. But, after he took charge, the horses became hale and healthy. They not only received good feeding but also his love and care; hence they lost their aggressiveness and became friendly with people. He worked wholeheartedly; he did karma for the sake of karma. Above all, he could take my words totally as I uttered without questioning.  That’s how he became eligible for my blessing”.

[Amma: “Children! We should also strive to be like that disciple. One should not find fault with the words of the guru. He should accept them as such, take to heart and practice what he preached. Then none including the guru himself cannot stop the grace of the guru from flowing to him.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9. Guru’s tests could be toughest

[Amma: “Children! There is no difference between a brahmachari or a householder in the holy presence of God or Guru.  A disciple should always keep his mind on God and do his duties. What is important is the total, unwavering surrender to the will of God or Guru.”]

Once a guru went to a village accompanied by his disciples for conducting a series of discourses. A householder came regularly with his family to attend the discourses daily; he was highly impressed by the Guru and his teachings. He wished to join the ashram along with his family.

 After the discourse program was over, he went to Guru’s ashram with his wife and children and prostrated at the feet of the guru. He expressed his desire to join the ashram permanently and serve the guru.

The guru explained to him the hardships involved in living in the ashram in order to dissuade him from his desire. However, the householder was quite firm in his resolve. The guru permitted him to stay in the ashram with his family. Soon, the man shifted his residence there.

He engaged himself earnestly in all ashram activities and was very dedicated in his work. However, the brahmacharis in the Ashram were not happy to have a householder amid them. They found all sorts of faults with him and complained to the  Guru. The guru knew well that the householder was extremely dedicated and sincere. He decided to demonstrate it to the brahmacharis and make them understand.

He called the householder in the presence of other brahmacharis and said, “You have relinquished your home, hearth and job and come here to stay with us permanently. The ashram has very limited resources and somehow we have been managing things with only brahmacharis here.  If you are a single person, we could manage, but we are now burdened with the expenses of  your wife and children too. Hence you should go out, work and earn money to meet the expenses of your wife and children”.

The man started going out from the very next day to an adjacent town, did some labor work from morning to evening, collected his daily wages and gave it to the ashram for meeting their expenses. A few days passed.

The other bachelor disciples started finding new problems with the man and complained to the guru again.

The guru called the man and said, “The money you are giving hardly can meet your expenses. All these days, only ashram has been spending for your family. Consider it as an accumulated debt; you have to compensate it; work hard, earn double the amount and pay to the Ashram. Only afterward you can take food from the Ashram”.

The man explained the matter to his family and said, “You should not eat hereafter from the Ashram kitchen. Wait till I comeback from my work; I will buy and bring food for you when I arrive at night. Only then you should eat”. His family members agreed.

The man started working from early morning till late in the evening. He collected the wages and gave it to the Ashram. Whatever little money he was left with, he would buy some food and bring for his family. There were days when his earnings were inadequate and they would go hungry on such days.

Even after subjected to such hardships, the householder did not venture to move out of the ashram. The brahmacharis were very much surprised to see this. Yet they were unhappy. They created new reasons to complain. They said to the guru, “He is working from day to night in his own business and earning quite a lot of  money; he is giving only a portion of it to the ashram and  living comfortably otherwise, leaving the family inside the ashram”.

The guru called the man and chided him:”You are a cheat. You have left your family here in the ashram, earning big money outside, but giving only a little to the Ashram. You are a liar; a fraud”. The disciple did not even a speak a word against his guru. He hung his head and went silently back to his room.

That night the guru called his disciples and said, “Tomorrow there is going to be a big feast in the ashram. We don’t have enough stock of firewood with us. Some of you should go to the forest right away and bring dry firewood; make sure that it is finished before dawn”. He went to sleep after giving this instruction.

The disciples were too unwilling to go to the forest at night to bring firewood. They went to the householder’s room and woke him up. They said, “There is going to be a big feast in the ashram tomorrow and our guru wants you to get enough dry firewood urgently, right now”.

The man felt happy that guru had given him such an urgent task. He immediately left for the forest and the other disciples went to sleep.

Even after dawn the next day, the guru could not see his householder disciple in the ashram. He inquired where he was. The disciples said, “Last night, he went to the forest for bringing firewood”.

The guru immediately started walking towards the forest and his disciples followed him. The went through the forest in search of the man. They shouted his name aloud again and again. After a long search, they could finally hear his feeble voice calling them back from somewhere. Searching in the direction from where his voice came, they finally located a dilapidated well from where the sound was coming.  It was a shallow well with a little water inside it. While the man was tracing his way through the forest the previous night, he had fallen into the well.

It was still dark inside the well. The guru wanted other disciples to pull the man out immediately. Some of them lied down on the ground and extended their hand inside the well. What they felt first with their hand was a bunch of wood. They asked the man to extend his hand so that they could hold it and pull him out. The man shouted from the well. “You see, I am carrying the bunch of firewood on my head and holding it firmly with my hand; if I remove my hand, the firewood will fall into water and get wet. Please lift up the firewood first, which is essential for cooking the feast; please deliver it first to the Guru and you can come later and pick me up from the well”.

The Guru’s eyes became wet to hear his words reflecting the man’s total faith and surrender to the guru. Only after the firewood was picked up, the man extended his hand for getting lifted up from the well. As the man came out, his wet body was shaking in cold. The guru embraced the man lovingly, placed his hand on his head and gave him self-realization at that very instance, as the other disciples watched it with their faces dark in shame.

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

10. Spiritual life is no cakewalk

[Amma: “A life dedicated to spirituality is meant for people with power and tenacity. It is the path of the bold and not the weak-kneed. If some people get disappointed with life suddenly jump into a life of renunciation wearing a saffron cloth without weighing the pros and cons, life would become very disappointing for them. It is enough if a house-holder takes care of his wife and a couple of children; but a true renunciate will have to bear the burden of the entire world. He could never be fickle minded, sensitive to criticism or emotionally weak.  Without discrimination and dispassion, none can live a life of spirituality”.]

Once there lived a husband and wife in a village. However much the husband worked hard and brought more and more money, his wife would keep on complaining, saying “This is not sufficient”. Because of her nature, the husband felt miserable in life. Since he had no courage to commit suicide, he decided to take up sanyas and left home.

He travelled long and finally ended up at the place of a guru. He requested the guru to give sanyas to him and take him as his disciple.

The guru asked. “Are you seeking sanyas just because you left your home and hearth out of dejection in your family life or have you really got dispassion?”

The man replied, “I have a strong desire to become a sanyasi. That’s why I left my home”.

“Don’t you have any desire for material things?”

“No; I have no desire at all”

“Don’t you want name, fame and wealth?”

“No; I don’t want any of them. I have no liking or attraction on them”.

“Are you sure you want to become a total renunciate?”

“Yes; I want to renounce everything”.

After interviewing him like this, the guru accepted him as his disciple and gave him a kamadal (water pot) and yoga dhanda (wooden staff).

Days passed. They set forth for visiting many holy places by walk. On the first day, after walking for long, they felt tired and rested at the bank of a river. The disciple wanted to take bath. He left the kamandal and yoga dhanda at the river bank and went to take bath in the river. When he returned, he was shocked to find the kamandal missing. He searched here and there but could not find it. He got very disturbed and angry.

The guru said to him smilingly, “You said you have no attachment for material things, but you seem to be very agitated for losing the kamandal! Let it go. Let us move on”.

The disciple retorted, “How will I have drinking water without a kamandal? We don’t have any other vessel with us”.

The guru said, “You are a man without desires and why are you carrying this small attachment to your drinking pot? Accept that it is by God’s wish that the kamandal has been lost”.

But the disciple continued to me in a dejected mood. It was time for lunch.  The disciple was feeling very hungry. But the guru did not offer anything to him to eat. The disciple started murmuring.

Hearing it, the guru said, “Persons choosing a life of spirituality must have patience and forbearance. Should you not learn to be active even if a whole day passes without food to eat?   If you become so weak due to hunger even at twelve noon, what can be done? A spiritual aspirant must learn to renounce attachment towards food as the first discipline.  You have to shrink your stomach first in spiritual life”.

However, after some time, the guru gave a little nutritional flour for the disciple to eat. But it was not at all tasty. The disciple could not eat it.  As it was bitter too, he started vomiting after eating a little.

That was the last straw! The disciple was ready to relinquish the life of sanyas! He somehow wanted to return to his old family life. He sought permission from the guru to leave.

“What was your idea of sanyas when you came to me with that request?” asked the guru.

The disciple said, “I never thought a life of sanyas will be so tough. I was thinking that if I take bath, smear my forehead with ash and kumkum and sit at a place with closed eyes, people would come and fall at my feet; they would offer food to me with reverence. I thought I will be fed on time thrice a day by devotees and I can lead a life of comfort without doing any work! Now I understand this sort of life by following you is worse than the scolding of my wife. Enough is enough”.

So saying, the disciple left the guru in a hurry.

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

11. The final test

Once in an ashram a few disciples learned scriptures and spiritual practices under the guidance of the Guru.  Once their learning was over, the Guru wanted to send them out to the world so as to guide people on scriptures and lead a worldly life if they so wish. He called the disciples and said, “As a last test to gage how far you you have acquired the required disciplines, I want you to climb up the nearby hill and fetch me the fruits from the sacred tree at the top. You must not return without bringing the fruits”.

The disciples climbed up the hill and reached the top. There the tree was there, but it was well fortified by tall compound walls all around it. They could locate only one entrance in the wall but it was covered with a massive rock.  The disciples, tried to push the rock away, but it was too huge. They inspected the wall all around and found no way to climb over it and jump inside.

All the disciples except one, decided to return empty handed since it was practically futile to attempt any entry into the compound and reach the tree.  But the solitary disciple said, “Our guru has given specific instruction to fetch fruits from this tree. It is my duty to keep trying and put my best efforts to somehow gain an entry into this place. I will keep trying; you people can go if you like”. So saying, he resumed his efforts to push the rock away from the gate. He was straining every limb but could not even shake the rock by an inch. But he did not slacken his effort.

The other disciples laughed at his foolishness; they came back to the ashram and reported the matter to the guru. The guru noticed that one of the disciples had not returned. “Where is he?” he asked. They said, “We all tried to roll the rock away from the gate, but we could not succeed in our joint effort; yet, like a fool, he is trying all alone to accomplish the task” said they.

“Come, let us go up and bring the fellow back”.

Along with the guru, all of them climbed up the hill once again.

When they reached the top, the noticed that the disciple was sweating profusely and still attempting to move the rock by some means or other.

“Why are you still attempting to do the impossible, my son?” asked the guru.

“Master, you had instructed that we should not return without fetching the fruit from the tree. I have put all my efforts and now you are here already; will not the impossible become possible with your grace?”

Pleased, the guru placed his hand on top of the rock. Instantly, the rock split into two and gave way. Opening the gate, all of them went inside. Under the tree, there was a box containing gold coins and jewels. The guru took them and gave it to the disciple.

He said, “You are the person who has fully grasped the core teaching in spirituality — that one should obey his guru with unwavering faith and surrender, in order to become eligible for receiving the abundant grace of the guru. Take this wealth and go to the world; Lead a happy life and serve the world with the wealth as well as your spiritual teachings”.

(From Amma’s Gurupurnima message 16/7/2019)

12. Not ripe yet

Once the king of a country came and surrendered to Saint Kabir. He wanted to relinquish his kingdom and take up a life in quest of spirituality. After warning the king about the extent of sacrifices he had to make and extent of  surrender he has to possess in order to reach his goal, Kabir however took him as his disciple. He assigned the former king all sorts of sundry and unpleasant works and the king did them all without  murmur.

Several years passed. Kabir’s wife was observing the former king’s behavior and she felt very happy about his humility and dedication. She said to her husband, “That ex-king disciple is a gem amid your disciples; it is high time you bless him with self-enlightenment”.

Kabir said, “No. He is not ready, yet”.

But his wife was adamant. She felt sure of her judgement. Kabir said, “Okay! Let us do a test on him. Tomorrow, when he enters into the ashram, you throw a bucketful of rubbish on his head from the terrace”.

Guru’s wife did so. The moment the rubbish fell over him, the king looked up angrily, noticed his Guru’s wife and said, “If this had happened in my kingdom, I would have shown who I am”.

The wife reported the matter to Kabir. Kabir said, “Did I not tell you? He is not yet ripe”.

A few more years passed. Again, the guru’s wife had a strong urge to give her recommendation once again. “Okay. this time, you pour more filth, cow dung etc on his head and see what happens”.

Guru’s wife did the same. This time  the ex-king looked up, smiled at the lady and said, “Thank you, Mother! This is the what I deserve. My ugly ego does require such a treatment indeed!”.

When the wife reported the incidence to Kabir, he said, “Yes! Now he is ripe. Call him in and I will bless him”. When the king came, Kabir placed his palm on the head of the ex-king. Instantly, the king experienced self-realization.

(From Amma’s Gurupurnima message 14/7/2019)

 

13. Sakshi bhavam (Attitude as a witness)

Once a disciple went to the master and said, “Master, you are always emphasizing the need to have the attitude of a witness in handling all our emotions. But I find it extremely difficult to practice it. How do I practice it?”

The guru did not give a reply immediately.

In the meanwhile, the disciple committed a few mistakes in his actions and behavior inside the ashram. The guru called him and naming some other disciple, he explained him that such and such mistakes were committed by that particular disciple which were objectionable. The disciple heard them smilingly as it was meant to be about some other disciple.

Suddenly the Guru said in a stern voice, “Now I tell you, those mistakes were not done by that person, but were indeed committed by YOU”.

The disciples face turned very grim. He hung his head. He felt very agitated inside.

The guru said, “When I said that the mistakes were committed by you, you are feeling sad and disturbed. But earlier, when I said that they were done by some other disciple, you were able to receive them with an attitude of a witness! It means you do possess the capacity to remain as a witness. But when this subject “I” comes into picture, the trouble comes! If you consider this “I” in you as not your true Self, you can remain a true witness. We do possess the capacity to control our own thoughts and actions; if only we nurture and strengthen this capacity, then it is really possible to maintain the attitude of a witness in all circumstances and accept things with a smile. The mind will not get weakened under all circumstances.”

14. Guru’s teaching

Once a disciple went to the master at night with the intention of asking his guru’s spiritual advice specific for him. When he went there, the guru was busy writing a letter in candle light.

The disciple prostrated before the guru and asked, “Sir, I have come to you to seek your spiritual advice for me”.

The guru did not reply. He was steadfast in continuing to write the letter. After waiting for a while, the disciple asked the guru once again. No reply.

After a while, the guru finished writing the letter and instantly the flame in the candle too went out as it had burnt its full.

Now the disciple reminded his guru once again. The guru said, “I have already given you the instruction”.

The disciple was shocked. “Swamiji, I have been asking you a few times and you did not utter a word!”

The guru said, “Didn’t you notice what I was doing? The candle was burning almost close to its end; I had to finish writing this letter before the flame went out and that is what I did; that is precisely the instruction for you to comprehend too — The life is short and fickle. It might end at any time; you have to make the best use of it and attain your goal before your death.”

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

15. Guru’s only advice

Once there lived a Mahatma, who had many disciples and devotees. A constant stream of devotees would come and meet him and keep on pouring their many woes — need for money, health problems, family problems and so on. Hardly anyone would seek his advice on spirituality.  But the Guru would always give a single advice to them all: “You wake up”. That’s all.

A disciple who was always nearby the Guru asked him, “Maharaj,  why are you giving the same advice to all these people? Won’t it be better if you give different advices to different problems?”

The guru said, “Suppose many people are sleeping in a hall; all of them are having different nightmares in their dreams and were tossing and turning in their beds troubled by their dreams. What will you do to help them?”

The disciple said, “I will shout ‘wake up, wake up’ and goad them to wake up from their dreams”.

“That’s precisely what I am doing” said the guru!

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

 

 

 

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 managing anger and other emotions – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  Same roses, but …

[Amma:   In God’s creation, there is perfect harmony and it is the human mind that brings disharmony. People’s different mindsets and emotional surges make them see things differently.

Once, two people visited a rose garden.

Large and beautiful roses were in full bloom there.

When the first person saw the roses,  he was lost in the thoughts of his girlfriend. ‘How nice will it be if I offer this flower to her? How happy will she become?’ With such pappy thoughts he enjoyed the sight of the flowers.

On the other hand, the second person felt very upset upon seeing the roses. He thought, ‘How many such flowers have I offered to my girlfriend? And still she eloped with somebody else!’

He plucked some of the roses and trampled them under his feet, surcharged in anger.

2. Like the patient in ICU…

[Amma:   In order to receive God’s/ Guru’s grace, first of all we should have our own inner grace to become qualified to be the recipient of the grace.  Emotions like anger and hatred prevent us from receiving the grace. Satsang is very valuable. Being in the company of holy kindles noble qualities in us.]

Amma narrated the following real incidence:

Once an American lady devotee of Amma wanted to visit Amritapuri and spend a few days in the company of Amma in the Ashram. She saved money over a couple of years for this purpose and finally made the trip to India and landed in Amritapuri. At the earliest opportunity, she came for Amma’s darshan  and was coming in the queue.

When she reached closer to Amma, Amma could notice that her face looked forlorn; even after getting Amma’s hug (which she was eagerly looking forward to all along) and getting the prasad from Amma’s hands, there  was no joy on her face.

For the next few days, she was coming to Amma and sitting close to her but she continued to remain depressed , sad and pained. Amma asked her why she was so.

The lady replied: “Amma, When I came for darshan after my arrival, as I was coming closer to you I noticed that my neighbor was sitting next to you; Amma, you know pretty well about her; you know how antagonistic she is against me and how much trouble she gave to me in my life; she even filed a legal case against me. I could not tolerate such an evil person sitting close to Amma and enjoying Amma’s company. I felt so angry; I felt angry on Amma too”

Amma advised the lady to get rid of her jealousy and hatred so as to derive the joy of being with Amma. In order to comfort her Amma said to her: “You see, only extremely serious patients are admitted into an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and are kept directly under doctors vigilance and care all the 24 hours.  A patient in the general ward does not require such a constant attention of doctors. Likewise, your neighbor needed an active treatment by Amma. That’s why I kept her close to me”. This statement could console the lady to some extent!

[After narrating this incidence, Amma continued jocularly:  “From now, Ashramites will start talking about those people who are closely around Amma most of the times — ‘They are all like patients in ICU!’ Don’t talk like that! I gave the ICU patient example only for consoling the lady and it is not applicable to all!”]

3.   Delaying the response

Amma: “A physical wound caused by you may heal, but a wound caused by angry words would take quite a long time to heal. One approach to expressing anger could be to treat the target person of your anger as your own child. With our child, even though we may get angry, the anger would not be venomous not would it last long.

“Another approach is to consciously delay our response when we are provoked. Instead of reacting with anger on face, we can write down our feelings and emotions in a piece of paper. That would really prove to be a good emotional outlet for us and we may feel far less relieved by doing so. Once our initial and immediate reaction is curtailed, we get an opportunity to cool down and then review the matter in a more objective manner. At that point of time, we may not really feel the same intensity of anger and we could even appreciate the offender’s action.”

Amma narrated the following story to explain this:

“Once a famous professor gave a lecture at a gathering. The next day, he received a letter from one of his audience. It mentioned that what the professor lectured that day had a few mistakes and adivised the professor to avoid such mistakes in his next lectures.

“The professor became very angry. He felt ‘I am such a knowledgeable and experienced person in this field; I am so much respected and people throng to my lectures to hear what I say; how dare this person find fault with me! What an arrogance! No. I cannot allow this to happen’.

“The professor thought of filing a defamation suite against this person; he even wanted to engage thugs and give a physical beating to that critic!

He took a piece of paper and wrote a very strongly worded reply to the person. Unfortunately, before he could post it, the time for that day’s mail was over. The professor kept that letter beside his bed so that he can remember to post it early next morning.

Next morning, when he woke up, he felt like reading his letter once before posting it. After going through it, the professor felt that the letter was too harsh; he sat down to rewrite it to make it more sober. As he was about to post it, he thought “If my mind could change so much over a day, why not I postpone sending this letter for another day and make a fresh review tomorrow?” He retained the letter on his table.

The next day, the professor re-read the letter that he had received from the critic and also his re-written reply. He now felt “Oh! The mistakes that this person found in my lecture are true indeed; why should I write negatively to him then? I should actually be thankful to him for bringing my slips to my notice”. He sat down to write a fresh letter thanking the person for pointing out his mistakes; he invited the person for lunch in a restaurant as he wished to meet him in person.

The other person obliged. It was actually a woman and as they met and talked to each other they developed liking for each other. Soon, it blossomed into love; the professor proposed to her and she accepted; soon they got married!

4.  Misguided anger -1

Amma: When we truly understand that it is only one Atman that exists and its effulgence shines through all the living beings, then there will not be any reason to hate someone. Many times we may hate others and develop anger on them because of misguided assumptions; when truth dawns, we may realize that how foolish it was to get angry.

Once a boat was travelling fast from east to west in a lake.  Suddenly the boat man noticed that another boat was moving from east to west ahead of him. The movement of the other boat was slow, but it was such that if it did not stop, it would cut into the course of his boat leading to a collision.

The boat man stood up and waved towards the other boat which was at a distance. He did gestures asking the other to stop or turn direction so that collision would not occur. However, nothing happened. The other boat kept moving slowly and steadily towards west. As the boats started nearing each other, the boatman shouted at top of his voice “Hey! Who is there? Don’t you see that you are sailing dangerously close?Listen to me; turn your direction immediately!”

But nothing happened. The boatman became very furious. He started showering abusive and filthy words of curse towards whosoever was on the other boat. At the same time, he did his best to slow down his own boat and just managed to stop the collision. The boats just touched each other. Full of anger the boatman jumped into the other boat, crying “You idiot! Are you blind? Where are you hiding yourself? Come on, I will hit you and kill you right now for having caused such an emergency to my precious boat!”

He searched here and there. He peeped into the other boat’s cabin but no one was really there. Then it dawned to him that the boat had somehow got unleashed from the shore and started sailing and drifting in the lake by the blow of wind. His anger instantly subdued. He started laughing for having shouted so much abusive words towards a non-existing boatman!

5. Misguided anger – 2

[Amma: “Nothing is insignificant in God’s creation. A plane will not fly if the engine is in repair. The plane will not also fly if a small vital screw is missing. This human birth is rare and we should not abuse our body. We should not do- self condemnation and develop a lowly negative opinion about ourselves.”]

Once people from all walks of life visited their king in the palace on his birthday. Every one carried some gift for the king according to their capacity or means. A poor farmer from a nearby village also went to greet the king on his birth day. He carried a basketful of cereals and vegetables that he grew in his land as gift to the king.

The king too was very benevolent.  He made sure that everyone who came to see him was given a gift back. The king was caring enough to give the most appropriate gift to each person based on his need and stature.

The farmer in his heart that if the king could gift him a horse, it would be very beneficial to him.  However, the king presented him with a donkey.

The farmer was very disappointed in receiving the donkey. Several other farmers too received donkeys as gifts.  “What is the use of this slow and sluggish donkey? Now the king has added a burden to me; I have to feed this donkey too now in addition to feeding my family”.

Next day was the weekly market day. He loaded his farm produce over the donkey’s back. He also sat over it. The donkey walked very slowly and the farmer became very impatient. He beat the donkey to move faster. He thought, “If only had the king given me a horse, I would have reached the market by this time”.

When he reached the market, several fellow farmers noticed his donkey. They said “Hey! You have got a nice looking donkey! It looks strong too!”  The former remained nonplussed. “Oh! The king gave me this as gift and I am now burdened. He eats so much and walks so slow. I think I will become bankrupt one day by virtue of feeding him.”

The farmer continued to remain very happy with his donkey.  He did not give enough food to it and soon it started becoming thin and weak.

When it was time to go and sell his produce in the market, the farmer again loaded the donkey with his harvest and also sat over it. The donkey having become very weak could not even move. The farmer got down and started beating the donkey and forced it to move forward. He walked along side, beating and cursing the donkey again and again. Several people who saw him on the way said, “Poor thing! Don’t beat is like this; it will die”. The former replied contemptuously “I will be really happy if he dies.”

Starving and beaten severely, the donkey died one day.  During the next visit to the market, the poor farmer had to carry the entire load of his produce for selling on his head and walk alone. The journey was very tiring. He had to stop in between several times to unburden himself. By the time he reached the market it was past 11 AM. The market normally remained open from 8 AM to 11 AM. So, when he reached there, everyone was already packing off.  He could not sell his produce at all.

Fellow farmers asked him why he was late and what happened to his donkey. He said, “Oh! At last he died saving me from the burden of taking care of him”.  Others said, “But you see, it was helpful to you in previous weeks to bring your produce here and sell them. If you had taken proper care of it, it would have benefited you immensely. All the other farmers who got donkeys as gifts from the king are really making the best use of their donkeys and they are indeed prospering in their lives!”

[Amma:  “In this story, the donkey represents our own body and mental faculty. Any negative self-image and consequent self-hatred and self-condemnation can only lead to more suffering.  God has given us this birth as human being and we should make best use of it and not condemn and abuse it.”]

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

6.  Where is the enjoyment?

Amma:  Peace of mind really means mind not wandering around behind unnecessary things.  It is the nature of mind to wander around with thoughts. By associating ourselves with thoughts like envy, hatred, finding fault, criticizing others and so on that we give strength to evil thoughts and in this process, we lose our peace of mind. Awareness is required to watch our thoughts and arresting them. The bird can fly above our head alright, but we should not allow it to sit on our head and build a nest there!

Once a very rich woman went to attend a famous music concert. The artist was an extremely accomplished and popular. It was not easy to get tickets. She spend quite some money to get a first class ticket so that she can sit in the front row and enjoy the program.

The program was about to start. The rich lady, comfortably seated, looked around to see which are the other VIPs sitting in the first class. Suddenly she was shocked to see there a woman whom she knew of. That woman was from a lowly class and she was the daughter of her erstwhile servant maid. The woman still had impoverished looks and her dress was rather shabby.  Seeing this, the rich lady got mentally disturbed: ‘How come this woman of a low class, the daughter of my servant maid could come to attend to this concert, that too sitting in the first class area which is really meant for rich connoisseurs like me? What a disgrace!’

Such a disturbing thought came rising again and again in her mind.  She would frequently look at the side of the woman and throw a contemptuous look.

Suddenly, she heard a thunderous applause and then playing of National Anthem.  Then only she realized that the concert was over! Her entire mind was so occupied by the negative thoughts about the poor woman throughout the music concert that she could not even enjoy a single moment of it!

(Monday beach Satsang 22/8/2016)

7.  Being in the present

Once a Businessman, whose business was not running profitably was rather mentally disturbed about his status. One evening, he went to a Shopping Mall. He wanted to relax for a while, sat in a restaurant in the mall and ordered an ice cream. As he started eating it, he thought “I have this nagging headache since last night and it is not going away. It must be due to a stomach upset. It must be due to the food I ate last night at a cheap food joint. Perhaps some lizard has fallen into the food or the food had been poisoned by lizard droppings.  That’s why this head ache is not going away…”

Just then he saw a very rich man alighting from a costly foreign car. He was extremely well dressed in suits and was wearing a costly watch and diamond rings. He was going in for shopping.

Seeing him, the business man thought, “Ah! Man! How rich this fellow is! He must be from an aristocratic family and making millions! See my condition. Right from childhood, I suffered in poverty; my parents did not bequeath me any money or property. I struggled hard all my life and my business is now in bad shape. I am really worried as to where I will end up tomorrow. When will I make enough money? Will I ever be able to become a rich man like this fellow?”

Thus his mind was crowded with thoughts of the past and the future. Suddenly he noticed that the ice-cream cup was empty. He realized that he had eaten it up without enjoying even a spoonful of it!

Amma:  We should learn to live in the present and enjoy what we have in hand. Lamenting about the past or worrying about the future will not in any way help to change the present moment.

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

8.  Don’t try to escape from unpleasant situations!

Amma: Acceptance is an important qualification that a Spiritual aspirant has to develop. Do not try to escape from unpleasant situations; you may end up with more difficulty than what you would have escaped!

Once a person relaxing at home got a phone call from one of his relatives. The caller was a retired Colonel in the army, who said that he was on his way to meet him at home for a chitchat; the colonel was a very boring person, who would reel out his past war experiences for hours if he caught hold of a hapless listener. Since this person had already heard the colonel’s stories umpteen times in the past, he was in no mood to meet the visitor and waste his time listening to him.

He thought “Let me escape from the colonel this time. It is better I sneak out from the back door of my house and take the shortcut to reach the main road so that I need not encounter him”.  Unfortunately, while he was going through the shortcut, the colonel was too coming to his house through the short cut. Seeing him, the colonel greeted “Oh! Good after noon! It is so nice of you to come all the way to receive me en route! Okay let us walk further and I can narrate to you some of my life experiences during war time….”

The man had no alternative but to smile sheepishly and walk along. He thought, ‘The sun is very hot today and there is no shade nearby. In my hurry to escape from him, I forgot to take the umbrella too. If I had patiently stayed at home, at least we will be under a shade. I am feeling very thirsty. At home, I could have had a glass of water or soft drink from the fridge to appease my thirst. Now I have to walk in this hot sun listening to these stories; Had I been at home, at least I could have relaxed in the sofa and pretend to listen to his stories and diverted my mind elsewhere. Now I have to suffer doubly on account of my foolish impulse to escape from this colonel!’

(Friday Satsang 04/08/2017)

9. Consoling others

Once a lady came to know that the husband of a woman in the neighboring house died. She heard wailing and crying from the adjacent house. She went to the house, sat close to the woman who lost her husband and started consoling her. The widowed woman was crying uncontrollably.  The lady, in a very dignified tone, started consoling the grieving woman saying, “Please gather yourself; What is born has to die one day. That is the law of nature. You know, the physical body made of five elements only perishes and the Atman that reside inside is indestructible; Atman is never born nor will die”. The widowed woman listened to these words of wisdom from Vedanta and to a little extent it helped her to gather herself.

After a couple of months, the lady’s husband fell sick and died unexpectedly. She started crying so loud that the entire people in the street gathered into her house. Now the widowed neighboring woman came and sat adjacent to the wailing lady. She said, “Madam, while I am sorry that you lost your husband, I am rather surprised to see you crying so loud; hardly a few months back when my husband died, you taught me so much Vedanta about Atman being imperishable and that only the body dies! How come you are so much immersed in grief now?”

Pat came the lady’s reply: “That day, it was YOUR husband who died. Today, it is MY husband”.

Amma:  It is the attachment to me and mine that causes grief.

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

10. Showing anger or getting things done – Which is better?

Amma:  It is the nature of life that things are bound to happen contrary to our expectations or liking.  Most of us will get very unhappy at such a situation. We will lose our self-control and show our displeasure to others around us. It will only result in others, who are normally nice to people, to react adversely towards us on account of our behavior.

In an airport, the time came for a plane bound for New York to depart. People were waiting impatiently in a queue in order to board the plane. Suddenly an announcement came in the airport speakers: “The 10AM flight scheduled for New York gets cancelled due to an unforeseen problem in the engine; we regret for the inconvenience caused to the passengers…..”

Hearing it, there was lot of commotion amidst the passengers waiting in the queue. A businessman who was to travel in the flight got very agitated. he rushed to the Service Counter and started shouting at the person manning the counter: “Hello, do you know that I will be losing millions of dollars worth of business if I am not going to be present in the meeting scheduled for tomorrow at New York? Who will compensate me for this loss? I am going to sue you and your Air Service for a huge sum for having cancelled this flight at the last minute.We will meet in the court; Okay?”

The counter staff tried his best to give some reply politely to this angry businessman, but he was in no mood to listen. He shouted “No; no. I don’t want any explanation. Do you know who I am? I am not going to stop till I get you removed from this post”. He banged the counter table with his fist and then stormed out.

The next person standing in the counter then approached the counter staff with a smiling face. “Good evening! Sorry to trouble you amidst all the tension you are facing now. Ca you do me a small favor? There is really an urgent need for me to attend a crucial meeting at New York tomorrow. I will be extremely thankful if you could suggest me some alternative travel plan so that I somehow reach New York before tomorrow morning”.

The counter clerk looked into his computer and said “There is just one seat available in a flight going to Washington scheduled to start in the next 30 minutes. If you take it, there is a connecting flight to New York at 5 AM tomorrow morning”.

“Oh! Wonderful! Will you please book that seat for me? I am extremely thankful for this gesture. I will not forget this help from you in my lifetime” said the passenger.

The fact is that both the travellers were scheduled to attend the same meeting. Due to the impatience and anger of the first passenger, he lost the opportunity to make the journey; on the other hand, the second traveller could get a seat in the alternative flight only because he was patient and spoke nicely with the counter clerk thereby creating positive vibes in the clerk to extend a timely help to him.

Amma: It is the capacity to keep mental balance and face the situations with equanimity that is far more important than our brilliance or abilities  in bringing success in our life always.

11.  The count of nails

Once there was an Ashram where lots of people visited daily. There was a Brahmachari living there as an inmate, who was well known for his short tempered-ness. The responsibilty of handling the reception of visitors to the ashram had been given to him. He used to get irritated and angry with visitors even on petty matters.

The Guru was aware of this weakness of the disciple. He thought of an idea to change this behavior of short tempered-ness from the disciple. He called the disciples and handed over to him a packet of nails. He said, “Each time you get angry with any visitor, you must immediately strike a nail on the trunk of the banyan tree at the front of the Ashram; at each night you should count how many nails you have inserted there on that day”. The disciple agreed.

From the next day, the disciple started striking one nail at each time he got angry with visitors.At the end of the day, when he counted, there were some two hundred nails. There were about thousand visitors to the ashram that day and the disciple had behaved angrily with some two hundred of them! The disciple felt bad about his weakness. The next day, the disciple tried his best to control his anger; that night, when he counted the nails he had inserted that day, the count was a hundred and fifty.

Gradually, day by day, there was perceptible improvement in the disciple’s behavior. Over a period of time, there were days when not even a single nail was striken on the trunk of the tree!

The disciple went to the Guru, reported the status and asked, “Maharaj, what should I do hereafter?”

“That’s good. Just because you developed awareness about your weakness and behaved with self control, you could bring about such a change in your behavior. Now start doing this. At each instance when you consciously control your anger, go and pluck out one nail each from the tree’s trunk and take a count”.

From the next day onwards, on each time anger rose up in his mind and he succeeded in controlling it,  he ran to the Banyan tree and pulled out one nail.

After several days, the disciple noticed that he had plucked out all the nails from the tree’s trunk! He felt happy that he had attained full success in controlling his mind from anger. He went to the guru and reported the matter, “Guruji, Nowadays, I don’t get angry on anyone; whenever anger rises up in my mind, I am able to watch it myself. I am able to smile and laugh with people and deal with them very friendly nowadays; because of it, I am able to enjoy peace of mind”.

The guru took the disciple along with him and went to the banyan tree. He pointed out the trunk to the disciple and said, “My son, just look closely at the trunk; even after removing the nails, don’t you notice the tiny hole marks that were caused by the striking of the nails on to the trunk? Likewise, in the minds of all the people on whom you had expressed anger, you would have created a wound. Even if those woulds got dried over time, the marks, the impressions of them would not go easily and remain for a long time. A wound caused by a sharp knife can get healed, but not the wounds caused by sharp words. The hurt of those sharp, angry words would keep lingering in them for quite long. That’s why, we should be extremely careful in uttering every word towards others”.

[Amma: “In our life, knowingly or unknowingly, we cause hurt in the heart of other people through our actions and words. There is no way to turn back the time and cancel what we did in the past.Whatever we do out of carelessness and egotism cause pain and sorrow to others as well as to us. That’s why it is very important to develop discrimination in out minds. When selfishness and ego rise up their ugly heads inside us, we should consciously control our minds. Only the person who does every activity wakefully and carefully will be able to enjoy peace and happiness in life”.]

(Tamil Matruvani May 2017)

12.  Buying free!

[Amma: “If somebody abuses you, you must laugh knowing that it is their mental vasanas (inbuilt tendencies) that come out this way. Actually, you should appreciate them. You should try not to utter anything against them. You should also try to develop an attitude of not nurturing hatred or negative thoughts about them. Only if you don’t react to their anger, you can go deeper inside yourself”.]

Once a guru advised his student to practice self-restraint for three years. He told him that he should not react to anyone who insult him. Further he should give some money to the person who abuses him.

The disciple followed this advice in letter and spirit. Whenever he received insult or abuse or angry verbal deluge, he was paying money to the person who did it.

After practicing this discipline for three years, he came back and fell at the feet of his guru.

The guru felt very pleased with his disciple. He said, “Now you can go to the World of Wisdom and attain spiritual knowledge”. The disciple left and reached the entrance of the ‘World of Wisdom’. An old wise man was guarding the gate. He had the habit of scolding anyone who attempted to pass through the gate. As the disciple attempt to enter into the gate, the Old wise man started abusing him in a verbal tirade. Hearing it, the disciple laughed.

“Why are you laughing?” asked the old man.

“Actually, for the past three years, I had to pay money to those who abused me, as per the instructions given by my guru. From today, my guru has freed me from this commitment and you are giving me your abuses free of cost! When I thought about it, I could not control my laugh!”

The wise man too laughed along with him and said, “I can now permit you inside. You are quite fit enough to enter the World of Wisdom!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6  Tamil)

13. Belated Remorse

Once a person bought a new car. He was so proud of it and was extremely possessive about it.  One day, as he went to the garage to take his car, he was shocked to see his little son playing with a hammer there. His son was breaking the car’s glasses and also denting its surface with the hammer as a matter of child play.

The man felt extremely outraged to see his brand new car getting damaged right in front of his eyes. He rushed towards his little boy, grabbed him and pushed him forcefully away in uncontrollable anger. The boy fell over a lafe stone and his fingers got crushed between the stone and the hammer in his hand.  The boy started crying aloud in pain and was bleeding profusely from his hand.

The father was rattled to see this happening. He immediately took the son to the hospital. The son was rushed to the operation theater.

After a long, tension filled wait, the doctor came out and said, “The impact on his fingers was so strong that the bones have crushed considerably. We had no option but to remove three fingers from his hand. Sorry about that”.

The man cried uncontrollably. After the boy was shifted to bed, the man sat beside his son and kept crying. The boy hugged his father and said, “Papa! I am extremely sorry that I damaged the car. Please don’t feel bad; You can get it repaired, no?”. Then looking at his bandaged hand, he asked innocently, “How long will it take for my fingers to grow again, Dad?

[Amma: “There are certain things in life that can be set right. But damage caused to others through expression of anger is extremely difficult to set right”.]

 

14. Handling Anger

[Amma narrated a real life story about an ashramite in one of her satsangs as below:]

One day, a group of Ashramites came and met Amma to complain about a western woman who too was a resident of the Ashram. “Amma, this woman is extremely rude with others; she has uncontrollable anger and at times she hits other people too. None of us could bear with her severe mood swings. We just cannot work with her any more; Amma, we request you to send her out of the Ashram”.

Amma called the western woman right away and said to her, “Why do you behave so angrily with others? Don’t you know that this Ashram is supposed to be a place for peace and dedicated seva? What is troubling you?”

The woman said, “Amma, I am unable to control my anger because of an incidence that happened in my young age. My father and mother had an abusive relationship. My father was an extremely angry person; One day, out of rage, he shot my mother right in front of my eyes and killed her. I swooned and I was then admitted in the hospital. On account of this incidence, I became very depressed and had to be on medication.  I underwent a very tough life of growing up afterward. I have been in constant mental turmoil; I could not love any person; I have absolutely no desire to live. In fact, only after seeing Amma, I saw some meaning in living. If Amma too abandons me, I will simply commit suicide”.

She narrated all these in front of those who complained about her. Hearing this, all of them were in tears and they agreed to bear with her somehow or other so that she can continue to live in Ashram. Amma said to her, “My daughter, you have seen the evil effect of your father’s anger and how it has damaged others’ lives. Should you not learn a lesson from his life and correct your fault? What is the point in living a similar life like your father by hating others and behaving angrily with others? Don’t you think you have to change your attitude to get peace in life?”

The woman listened to it patiently. She said, “Amma, I will try my best to correct myself”.

[After narrating this incidence, Amma added that over a period of time, a slow but gradual change in behavior is taking place in that woman.]

15.  Medicine for curing anger

Once a woman was talking to her friend. “Practically every day when my husband returns from office, invariably, we get into some argument and fighting.  Is there any way I can avoid it?”

Her friend said, “Don’t worry. I have a medicine for it. When the husband returns from office and starts any argument with you, you have to take a mouthful of this medicine and retain it in your mouth without swallowing. That’s all”. After giving this instruction, she gave a bottle of the medicine to her friend.

That evening, after her husband returned from office and started an irritating issue to argue with her, she immediately took a mouthful of the medicine and retained it in her mouth. After a while, the husband became peaceful. She then swallowed the medicine and proceeded with her chores.

For next couple of days, she did the same thing. It was really a wonder. She went to meet her friend and said, “What a wonderful medicine you have given! For the past few days after I started taking this medicine regularly, there has been no fight between us! If you can tell me the ingredients of this medicine, I will prepare it at my home myself”.

Her friend said, “Sure I will. But wait for 6 months”.

Six months passed. There was no longer any fight between the couples in those days. Peace and mutual love returned in them. The woman happened to meet her friend again and shared the good news to her.

This time the friend said, “It is now the time for me to reveal the secret of the medicine. It is just plain water with no ingredients! When you took this water-medicine in your mouth and retained it, you were unable to talk. Since there was no counter argument, your husband too became peaceful. Since your husband became cool, your anger too got subsided. That is the secret!”

[Amma: “When we get angry, we should not speak whatever that comes in our mouth.  We should not  go about implementing any decision that we take when we are in the grip of anger. Anger is like a wound in our mind. We should give time for it to dry.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

[To continue reading  little stories of Amma under the same topic, you can proceed to:  Amma’s stories on managing anger and other emotions – Part 2 ]