Amma’s stories on humility and patience – Part 1
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)