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Amma’s stories on Nature of the human mind – Part 2

[If you have not read the previous 20 little stories of Amma under this topic, you can read them here:      Amma’s stories on nature of the human mind – Part 1]

1. Who will win?

Once a grandfather and his grandson went to visit a zoo. They were looking at the various wild animals kept in cages in the zoo.

At one place there were two lions, kept in two separate cages. One of them was rather sober and non-aggressive. When people came close to the cage or even risked extending a hand inside, the lion did not react. It seemed to be at peace with the people. On the other hand, the lion in the adjacent cage was very aggressive and ferocious.  If anybody came closer to its cage, it will roar and swing its front legs towards them to scare them away.

The grandfather asked the grandson, “Suppose these two lions were left to fight with each other, which one do you think would win?”

The grandson said, “Maybe the second one that looks very ferocious. I am not sure, though.”

The grandfather said, “One cannot be sure. But I can definitely say that the one which is constantly fed well will win”.

[Amma: “The thoughts that rise up in our minds too are similar; the more we feed our mind with evil thoughts, the more will they gain strength. Our mind will get filled with anger, egotism, etc and they would win over good thoughts “.]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 3)

2. Impossible to fill

Once a king was enjoying solitude in his garden. He was roaming around leisurely, enjoying the beauties of nature. He was in a very happy mood that day. At that time, the beggar somehow managed to sneak into the garden without the notice of the guards. He came in front of the kind and saluted him. The king was surprised to see a stranger there, looking impoverished and in tattered clothes. “Who are you? What do you want from me. Tell me quickly and leave this place. Don’t disturb my peaceful mindset now”.

The beggar said, “I am a poor beggar, your excellency. I just want one thing from you. Please rescue me from my poverty by filling my begging bowl totally”. The king took pity on him. As he was in a good mood that day, he called his Minister in charge of his treasury and said, “Please fill this beggar’s begging bowl fully with gold coins, gems and precious stones”.

But very surprisingly, whatever amount of pearls, gems and gold coins that the minister put into the begging bowl did not fill it fully. Things disappeared into the bowl and it could never be filled to the brim. Soon, an awkward situation came wherein the treasury became almost empty; there was no more gems and gold coins left in the king’s stock.

The king felt shocked and ashamed. He said to the beggar, “Please excuse me. I am unable to keep up my promise to you. I have given whatever I had in the treasury. I have no more wealth to drop into your begging bowl. Your begging bowl seems to be having magical powers.  May I know what is the secret behind this bowl?”

The beggar smiled and said, “Don’t feel bad, O King. Actually, this begging bowl is made of the skull of a human being.  Because of it, it has the typical tendency of humans who never get satisfied with what they get and keep on wanting more and more always.  It knows only one thing: “Not enough; want more”. However much you fill this begging bowl, it will never get filled up! It works exactly as the human mind”.

[Amma: “As long as desires exist, there is no peace of mind.  When one desire is satiated, the mind gets some joy, but it is only short living. The next moment, the mind will want more “.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2. Nagging doubt

A boy and girl from neighboring houses were playing together. The boy had some money with him and the girl had some chocolates with her.

The boy said to the girl, “I will give you some coins; will you give me some chocolates in exchange?”

The girl agreed.  The boy was cunning. He hid coins of higher denomination in his pocket and gave only low-valued coins to her. The girl gave him chocolates.

After a while, both of them returned to their respective homes. As the girl had no idea about the relative worth of coins, she was content to have a few coins in her possession. She went to bed and slept off peacefully.

At home, the was thinking “This girl must have kept costly chocolates hidden and given to me only cheap and low-quality chocolates.  Just like I hid costly coins, she too would have hidden high-quality chocolates.”  He could not sleep because of these thoughts.

[Amma: “Mutual trust is the basis on which any relationship can stand – whether it is the relationship between husband and wife, between two friends, or between business partners. Many times our own faults and limitations make us doubt others’ actions and motives; because of it, we fail to appreciate others’ love and affection and lose our mental peace and joy. “]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.  The play of the mind

[Amma:  “Children! Understand that the human mind is a big mystery, but not Atman. Actually, it is the mind that makes us think as if Atman is a mystery! The mind is full of confusion. It can confuse everything. Mind is falsehood. It is the mind that questions the truth of Atman. All your fears and doubts arise from the mind, which is the biggest liar!”]

Once there lived a great wrestler who could not be defeated by any other wrestler in his country. He lived as an undefeated champion for many years in his country. Naturally, it made him very proud, egoistic and arrogant.  He believed none existed in the world who could challenge him and hope to win.

One day, a wrestler from another country visited his country.  He challenged the native wrestler for a combat. It became huge news. The native wrestler immediately agreed to the challenge. A day was fixed for the competition. The whole nation virtually became curious to know who would ultimately win the combat. It was a matter of prestige for the native wrestler.

The day of the competition arrived. An uncontrollably huge crowd had gathered in the venue to watch the combat. The native wrestler looked bigger and stronger in front of the challenger from the other country. The match began. The combat was really tough. The surcharged crowd soon got split into two groups — one cheering the native wrestler and the other shouting for the win of the challenger. As round after round proceeded, the competition was becoming tougher and tougher. If one of them had an upper hand in one round, the other one emerged stronger in the next round. Finally, the visiting wrestler defeated the native in the final round conclusively.

The crowd shouted in jubilation appreciating and cheering the visiting wrestler. The crowd also mocked and jeered at the loser for his humiliating defeat. The old champion gathered himself up and got up. With a deep sense of shame, humiliation and defeat he departed the venue limping.

Even after moving farther away from the venue, the sound of people jeering him kept reverberating in his ears. Utter dejection and hatred welled up in his heart. His mind was in total turmoil. At this stage, he woke up from his sleep!

“Oh! Is it all just a dream?” — he was shocked. He rose up from his bed. Despite knowing that it was just a nightmare, his mind did not regain peace. It was full of worry and confusion. Like a caged lion, he walked to and fro in his bedroom, rewinding the happenings in the dream again and again.

He started feeling more and more that what he saw in his dream were indeed real. He wanted to take revenge on his opponent. ‘How shall I defeat my enemy?’ He kept thinking again and again. ‘Oh, God! I have lost everything; my reputation has fallen to dust. How will I ever show my face outside hereafter? None will show any respect to me hereafter; How will I live hearing the mockery of people all the time? Isn’t it better to die, rather than to live in such a miserable way? I should definitely take revenge of the rascal who defeated me in the competition…’ He kept on thinking like that. He pulled his hair in anger; he walked like a mad man here and there.

Very gradually it dawned to him that it was meaningless to succumb to such an emotional turmoil created by a dream. Slowly and steadily, he started to gather his wits; his mind became calmer and calmer. Now it was very clear to him how foolish he was to get worked up like this based on a dream. “Oh, God! What happened to me! What a fool I have become! Just based on a figment of imagination of mind through a dream, I went through so much mental agony. something that never happened at all!” with this thought he went back to bed.

[Amma:  “Children! Like this champion, we all too are immersed in a dream called the waking stage. It is indeed a dream of a longer duration enacted by our past experiences and thoughts. It is our mind that creates this ‘long dream’ too. In our present state, we believe this long dream too to be real. We are yet to wake up from this dream!”]

5.  The play of the mind (2)

[Amma:  “Mind has two powers called ‘Avaranam’ – the power to hide and ‘Vikshepam’ – the power to create. The mind first hides the true state of things. Then it creates an image contradictory to the true state of things. That’s why Amma calls the mind a great liar”.]

Once a person was walking through a forest. It was evening and the twilight was getting dimmer. He was finding it difficult to find his path. Suddenly, he felt something biting at his toe. He lifted up his leg to touch and feel what happened. He noticed a small pieced mark on the skin and a little blood oozing out from it. As he gazed a nearby bush there, he noticed a snake there. He was thoroughly shaken by fer. He believed that it was the snake that had bitten him.  He started shouting: “Oh! Is there anybody around? Help me, help me! I have been bitten by a poisonous snake; please somebody take me to the nearest doctor!”

He kept on crying like this in full throat for a while. Soon he got tired; his head started spinning; he felt he was swooning. He sat down and continued to shout for help.

In a short while, a person came by the path with a lantern in his hand. He asked what happened. The person said, “I am afraid I have been bitten by a snake; I am dying; will you please take me immediately to a doctor?”

The person said, “Don’t worry; I will help you. Now tell me when and where the snake bit you”.

The person said, “When I came near this bush, a snake bit me at my toe; see, the snake is still there at the bush!”. The person came closer, lifted up his lantern to inspect the bush closely.

He then smiled and said, “You see, this is a thorny bush. See there in the light; what you saw as a snake is just a piece of rope and not a snake. One of the thorns in the bush must have pieced your toe when you walked here. Now that things are clear, there is no need to panic. Just relax!”

The man looked at the rope. It was quite clear that it was not at all a snake! His palpitation and dizziness came to an end instantly and he felt relieved and relaxed!

[Amma:  “This is how our mind cheats us. The mind first hid the rope — the truth. Then it created the snake on it. The rope (truth) — the atman, is hidden by your mind through its imagination by creating a non-existent snake, based on its past impressions. That’s how Atman is superimposed by the world of differences.  Atman is obscured by our thoughts. When a satguru lights up the lamp of true knowledge, the delusion goes. You realize your atman by personal experience and attain peace.”]

6.  The play of the maya

Once a poor young man was sitting at the bank of a river and idling away his time. Then, an elephant carrying a garland in its trunk came there. It was followed by a huge crowd. The elephant put the garland on the youth’s neck.

Since the king of the country died without an offspring, it was the practice of the country to select the next king by sending the royal elephant with garland and whosoever the elephant garlands would become the king.

Thus the youth became the king of the country all of a sudden. The king’s young daughter too was married off to the new king.

Thus the young king was thoroughly enjoying his new life to the full.

One day, the new king along with his queen got on to a royal horse and drove to the top of an adjacent hill for time-pass. As they were about to reach the summit, there came a sudden storm and the wind started blowing very powerfully. The horse lost its balance and all the three fell down the slope of the hill. They rolled and rolled down hitting boulders and rocks. The king somehow managed to get hold of a tree branch while the horse and the queen rolled down further and died.

The king then carefully jumped down from the tree;  when he landed and looked around, there was no hill, no horse or queen. What he saw was that he was lying on the mud floor of a hut adjacent to his cot. He could only see the mud walls and a thatched roof. He understood that he was still a poor young fellow, lying in his own hut, waking up after a daydream. His heart was still pounding on account of the dream.

[Amma:  “Everything that the young man experienced in his dream was real to him as long as he was immersed in the dream.  We too are in the same state as this youth, in reality. We are dreaming that this world and all our worldly possessions and worldly experiences are real and we keep running behind them.  This is the play of maya.  We are caught in this dream world of Maya and only when we truly wake up from it, we can understand the  unreality of all”. Then, successes and failures won’t affect us.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam  – Vol 2)

7.  Resolution?

Once there was a temple where once in a week many devotees gathered in large numbers and did japa, prayer and meditation without partaking food. A monkey saw this and thought “all these people undertake fast and pray to seek lord’s grace. Why shouldn’t I too do it?”

On the next session of fasting and prayer, the monkey arrived at the temple early in the morning. He sat under a tree, closed his eyes in order to meditate. Immediately a thought came in its mind: “I have never undertaken fast in my whole life. Suppose at the end of the day when I complete my fasting and meditation, what will happen if I feel so week that I won’t be able to stand up or walk? Should I die under this tree then? Is it not better to find a tree full of fruits and undertake my austerity under it? In such case, I need not run around in search of food”.

He got up immediately, searched for a tree with fruits, located one, and then sat under it to resume its meditation. After a short while, the monkey thought, “What will happen if, at the end of fasting, I become too weak to even climb this tree? Will it not be better if I climb on it right now and sit in a branch to do my meditation?”

He immediately climbed on to the tree, sat in a branch and closed his eyes. Now another thought came into his mind, “What if I feel too weak even to pluck a fruit? Is it not better to keep a fruit in my hand and meditate?” He did so immediately and again closed his eyes.

Now he started feeling very hungry. “I have never eaten such big and ripe fruits in the recent past. Why not eat the fruit right now and do the fasting and meditation on some other day?”

The next moment he was munching the fruit and relishing it thoroughly!

[Amma:  “Most of us are like this monkey. Our mind will keep on generating reasons after reasons for postponing things that we ought to do for our wellbeing.  We must use our intellect and acquire a firm determination to work on our aspirations keeping our goals clear. ‘Whatever hurdles I come across, I will not lose my heart and proceed firmly and strive my best to reach my goal’ — if one has such a firm resolution, he is sure to reap success in his endeavors.”] 

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

8.   Better sleep!

Once a father took his young son to a local Shiva Temple for spending the night there on Maha Shivaratri. Lots of people had gathered there and were engaged in archana, japa and so on. But there were also many people who were dozing off due to tiredness and aging.

Noticing this, the son commented, “What is the point if they come to temple on Maha Shivaratri and sleep like this instead of keeping awake the whole night? What sort of bhakti is this?”

The father said curtly, “It is better to doze off like this than to find fault with others and criticize them.”

[Amma:  “Because of our own weaknesses and lack of shraddha, we tend to find fault with others.  My children should not forget this reality. It also shows how our mind is always roaming out instead of turning inward. Those who find fault with others can never see their own weaknesses nor make efforts to correct them.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

9.   Who is in control?

Once, in a fair, a horseman was offering horse rides for little children as entertainment and making a living out of it.

A small boy came there to watch it. He was very much attracted to seeing children joyfully riding at the horseback with the horseman sitting with them and holding them safely.

The poor boy had no money to pay to the horseman and hence he had no means to have his share of fun. While he was standing there and watching it, the horseman tied the horse to a post and left the place for a while to have his lunch.

The curious boy wanted to make use of this opportunity to try and have a free ride on the horse on his own. He went to the post, untied the horse and managed to climb over the horseback.

The horse did not quite like it. It started jumping around and ran here and there, trying to unsettle the boy and throw him to the ground. The boy panicked but somehow managed to grip the horse’s neck and did not fall down. The horse kept running. Watching this boy riding the horse, one of his friends shouted: “Hey! How did you manage to control the horse and make it run?”

The boy shouted back: “I simply don’t know. You better ask the horse!”

[Amma:  “This is precisely our state of affairs. The horse in this story is our mind. Instead of keeping our mind in our control, we are actually in the control of our mind!”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

10. Hasty judgment

Once a mother came back from the office. She noticed her seven-year-old daughter standing with one apple each in her hands.  The mother affectionately asked her, “Will you give me one, my baby?”

The daughter looked at her mother’s face for a while; then she looked at both the apples in her hand.  Then she bit the apple on her right hand; hastily she bit the other apple in her left hand.

The mother was very disappointed. She felt her daughter was too selfish and had no mindset to share her apple even with her mother. She found it difficult to control the expression of disappointment on her face.

The next moment, the girl extended her right hand and offered the apple to her mother saying, “Ma, this one is sweeter than the other; take this!”

Even for a mother, the discernment to grasp her daughter’s guileless love was missing, though for a brief time.

[Amma:  “From this story, we can understand to what extent we can err in judging others. However much we have knowledge and experience, we must be very careful in not hastily judging others or finding fault with others.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

11. Innate Nature

Once there lived a blacksmith in a village in the Himalayas. He used to make use of large stone in adjacent his shop to bend steel rods. One morning when he went near it, he noticed a snake lying curled up there. The next day too he noticed it still lying there. Since it was extremely cold, the snake was lying, almost frozen there. The blacksmith took pity on the snake and took it inside his shop. He offered milk to it for drinking. Leaving it to lie there, he started the day’s work. He ignited his furnace and started to heat a steel rod there. Gradually, his shop became warm.

While he was working on the rod, the tip of it accidentally touched on the snake. Suddenly the snake lifted up its hood and tried to bite the blacksmith.

All along, as the snake was lying outside in the cold, it was not showing any aggressiveness that made the blacksmith wrongly assume that the snake was nonviolent and would not harm anyone. But once the snake got warmth from the heat of the furnace inside the shop, its innate nature got manifested.

[Amma:  “In a similar way, when we engage ourselves in intense spiritual practices, we somehow succeed in making our mind calm and composed. But when we engage ourselves back in regular activities, our inborn vasanas (like anger, greed, etc) come out again. Sadakas must be careful enough in not getting exasperated with this nature of human mind, but develop the necessary strength to fight out the vasanas and succeed.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

12. Sold dead cheap?

[Amma: “Be in a family or in a society, people always seem to have a business mindset. Even our relationship with God too has turned to be so. When it comes to God or Guru, what is most essential is total surrender.  But we have become calculative with them too; how to profit out of them seems to be thinking”.]

Once a very rich man was traveling on a ship. Suddenly the weather turned hostile. A powerful thunderstorm struck the ship. The Captain of the ship announced that the ship cannot be saved from sinking and asked all the people in the ship have to do whatever they could to save themselves if possible. Everyone on the ship panicked. The rich man too started praying to God frantically like everyone else on the ship. He prayed to God: “Oh my lord. please save me from this calamity. I promise you that I will sell my 5-star hotel and donate 75% of the amount if you save me”.

Very miraculously, the storm subsided quickly and the ship was saved. All the travelers reached the shore safely.  However, the rich man was in mental turmoil now.  “Oh, if I sell my 5-star hotel, I will easily get a crore of Rupees and it is such a huge amount! Should I really donate 75 lakhs of rupees to God?  Why would He need such a large sum of money from me? What can I do now?” He thought deeply about it and finally got an idea.

He released an advertisement in the newspaper: “5-star hotel on sale. Expected price: one rupee”.

Hordes of people came running to meet him and buy the property. They could not really understand how and why anyone would sell the hotel for one rupee! He told them: “I promise that the hotel is indeed available for sale for one rupee, but to clinch the deal, you must buy my pet dog for 1 crore of rupees”.

He finally sold the star hotel as per his terms and donated seventy-five paise to God!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

13.  Habits die hard

A person served in the military for 30 years. He got retirement, returned to his native village and settled there. One day, he went to the shandy. He bought a large potful of milk. Carrying it on his head and holding the pot with both of his hands, he was returning home.

On his way, a few local boys, who knew that he was an ex-military man, shouted mischievously “Attention!”

Having heard this command umpteen times and getting so much used to obeying it as a military person for the past 30 years, the man instantly stopped walking, joined both his legs together, brought both his hands down to touch his thighs and stood straight. The milk pot held on his head safely by his hands so far toppled and fell onto the ground. The pot broke into pieces and all the milk was lost.

The boys laughed aloud and ran from the place.

[Amma: “From this story, we can understand that even seemingly insignificant acts, if done mechanically out of habituation, can bring us misery.  It that is the reality, what to speak of evil habits that we acquire? If we are caught into evil habits, no need to mention the amount of misery they are sure to bring in our lives later.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

14. Overcoming Laziness

Once the owner of a Circus company was in possession of two well-trained falcons. The falcons fly in pair and do several acrobatic movements in the air to entertain the audience.

Once the Circus owner went to meet the king of his country. He took his two falcons with him to give them as his present to the king. He arranged a demonstration of the falcons’ flying skills in front of the king and the king was very impressed. He gladly accepted the pair as a present.  He immediately arranged a caretaker for the falcons; the caretaker arranged an exclusive place for the falcons to stay. A wooden rod was placed at a high level from the ground for the falcons to rest. He fed them regularly and took good care of them.

Soon, one of the falcons got comfortable in the new surrounding and consequently became very lazy too. When, one day, the king wanted to witness their flying show, only one of the falcons flew in the air; the other one stayed put and continued to doze off sitting in the rod.  The king thought that the falcon might be sick. He called expert veterinarian doctors to attend to it. But they could not make the falcon fly. The huge gathering of people got disappointed.

At that time, one old farmer came close to the king and said, “Your excellency, shall I make a try, to make the falcon fly?”

The king was not very hopeful, yet he allowed the farmer to try and he left the place to return to his royal bedroom to rest. But soon, he heard a huge cheering noise from the gathering. He looked out from the window and noticed that both the falcons were now flying. The second one was in fact flying higher than the first one and they were demonstrating wonderful flying patterns and acrobatics!

The king was very surprised and happy. Once the show was over, he called the old farmer to reward him for his service. He asked, “What treatment did you do to make the falcon fly?”

“I did nothing, Maharaj,” he said. He continued: “I simply went to the place where the falcon was resting and swiftly cut the rod in which it was sitting. The falcon started falling towards the ground; it immediately awoke from its slumber and started flying!”

[Amma: “The nature of the human mind is to look for the comfort zone and settle in it in order to avoid exertion. That’s how laziness settles in.  At times, forceful disassociation from the comfort zone would be needed to overcome laziness and make the mind active again.”]

(From Amma’s Satsang on 12/12/2020)

15. The damage envy could do 

 

Mohan and Krishnan were close friends.

Krishnan acquired a new friend and he started spending quite some good time with the new person. Mohan felt very possessive about his friendship with Krishnan and hence he was jealous of the new friend. One day, he went to meet the new friend and said to him, “I know you feel very close to Krishnan; but please be careful about him. He has a strange disease. Never sleep with him in the same room. If he wakes at midnight, he will bite the ear of the person next to him till blood starts coming.” 

The new friend was scared hearing this.

After a few days, Mohan went to Krishnan and said, “I heard something very fishy about your new friend. It is better to be careful about him. It looks he has strange disease by which, if he wakes up at midnight, he will immediately bite the ear of the person next to him.”

A few months passed. Krishnan and his new friend had some business in another town and they had to stay at night in a lodge together. Both of them remembered what Mohan had warned.  

They could not sleep because each of them was scared about the other person getting up at midnight and biting the ear.

At midnight, Krishnan got up to go to the bathroom. His friend noticed it and he got scared. He did not want to allow Krishnan to do any harm to him. He decided to act proactively and catch hold of the friend and bite his ear first. So, he got up and pounced over Krishnan. Krishnan thought that the friend was coming to attack him and bite his ear. 

He immediately caught hold of him and attempted to bite his ear first. Thus both of them started fighting with each other and banging their heads in order to bite the other person’s ear! 

(From Amma’s satsang on : 18/12/21)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – 4

1. Equal Punishment?

Long ago, there lived a very rich landlord in a village. He was a miser and lead a life of utter selfishness with no compassion for the poor and the needy.

One day, he went to the village magistrate and made a complaint against another villager saying that he had stolen money from his almirah.

The person accused was extremely poor. When the magistrate summoned him and interrogated him, he openly admitted that he had indeed stolen money from the rich man’s almirah because of unbearable hunger in his family.  At the end of inquiry the magistrate gave a ruling that the stealer and the rich man should undergo imprisonment for equal period.

The rich man could not digest such a ruling. He made sure that a complaint about this reached the king of the country. The king called the magistrate for an inquiry. The magistrate spoke to the king, openly expressing his views without any fear, “Your majesty, while I punished the poor man for the act of stealing, I punished the rich man for his act of amassing money far beyond his needs and never coming forward to help the poor and the needy with his money and properties.  Even if he could not help the poor directly, he could have at least  come forward to donate money to charitable organizations who work for the downtrodden and the needy. He never did that too. Even though God has given eyes and ears to him, he could never see the suffering of hungry people; he could not hear the lamenting of the poor in need of help. That too is a crime according to me and that’s why I gave him punishment.”

The magistrate paused for a while and then continued: “Now I think it is wrong on my part to have given equal punishment to both the persons. I should have indeed given an additional punishment for the rich man for another crime — the crime of abetting a poor person to resort to stealing. Had he donated some money for the fellow villager whose family had been driven to extreme poverty and hunger, the poor man would no need to steal from the rich man’s house. This rich man indeed is the cause for creating a thief. That’s why he should have been punished for it too”.

[Amma:  “Accumulating more and more possessions is also adharma; it is a  sin. That’s why we should always negate pomp and extravaganza. By saving money being spent on such things, we should divert it to help the poor and the needy.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.   Compassionate request

Once a school girl took part in a prestigious competition and won the first place. The sponsors of the competition offered her a free trip to Visit USA as the reward.

At the award function, the anchor asked a question to the girl, “How happy are you feeling in winning the competition and getting the chance to visit to USA?”

The girl said, “I am indeed very happy to have won this competition; but I would be happier if I could get the award in cash equivalent to  all the expenses of sponsoring my trip to USA”.

“Why are you desiring cash? Are you not interested in visiting USA?” asked the anchor.

The girl said, “It is not so. My mother is a nurse. Last week I accompanied my mother to the hospital where she is working. There I happened to meet a girl of my age, and as I interacted with her,  we became friends. I came to know that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. It was shocking for me. My mother told me that her cancer  was in advanced stage and if at all she should recover, she should undergo more advanced treatment in a bigger hospital. Unfortunately, her parents are poor and they could not afford any costlier treatment. She would not survive for long in this condition. I felt very painful; such an young girl, who would have lots of dreams about her future, who is not still aware of her precarious condition, who believes she would soon recover, will be dying shortly because there was no money with the parents to save her.  Suppose this reward comes to me in cash, I want to give it to the girl’s parents so that they can use it for treating her. That would truly make my winning the  competition worthy”.

Hearing her speech, the organizers immediately took a decision to give the reward to her in cash and they made an announcement about it immediately.

[Amma:  “On this day of New year, let us all make a resolution to do at least one act that could bring happiness or comfort to others without any selfish motive.  Even if we are not capable of doing big things, it does not matter. A word of compassion, a friendly smile, a friendly heart that is ready to hear the sorrows of others — even such little things are good enough.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.   Compassion is more important than worship

Once a group of pilgrims were travelling to Rameshwaram after taking holy bath in the Ganga at Kashi.  They were carrying Ganga water in small pots for the purpose of doing abhishekam to Lord Shiva’s linga at Rameshwaram as per the traditional practice.

Somewhere at the middle of their travel route, they had to cross a dry landscape. It was a hot day and all the travellers were suffering from thirst. But unfortunately, they could not locate any source of water in the stretch. Since all of them were very particular to carry the Ganga water for Rameshwaram, they did not want to quench their thirst with the Ganga water in their pots. They somehow managed to bear with their thirst and moved on.

On the way, a donkey was lying on the road, breathing heavily. It was obvious that the donkey was fatigued by the hot sun and it was extremely thirsty.  One of the pilgrims felt pity on  the donkey which was at the verge of death. He decided to feed the donkey with his pot of Ganga water. The donkey hastily drank all the water in his pot and felt rejuvenated. The man felt extremely happy that he could save the life of a donkey with the water he carried.

However, the other pilgrims did not approve his act of charity. They said that it was totally wrong to ‘waste’ a whole pot of Ganga water which was really meant for doing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva. They said he lost all the punya of undertaking the pilgrimage.

The man said, “I don’t care if I lose all the good fortune of completing Kashi Yatra; saving the life of a poor creature by feeding it with Ganga water is far more more important to me than doing abhishekam to God at Rameshwaram; I saw God in that poor creature. Seeing its pitiable condition, it was just impossible for me to walk ahead without offering help.”

[Amma:  “Four things make an act of charity invaluable:  1)  Sacrificing one’s own possessions and comforts  for giving to charity (2) Donating  selflessly without expecting anything in return or without the intent of getting name and fame (3) donating to someone more deserving than oneself  and (4) Seeing God in the receiver, offering a donation with humility. We all must develop the above attitude and do good to others. If we do charity with this attitude, we will get satisfaction and prosperity in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

4.   Indebtedness

Once  a hunter shot an arrow tipped with poison on a deer. The arrow missed its target and hit the trunk of a large tree. Due to the effect of poison, the tree started withering. Soon, all the leafs in the tree dried up and the tree was dead.

There were plenty of birds, worms, insects, rats, and squirrels living in the tree all long. Once the tree dried up, almost all of the creatures left the tree in search of alternative places for their living. But one parrot that lived in the tree for long did not want to leave the tree, because of its indebtedness and emotional attachment to the tree that had supported it and nurtured it all along. Forgetting food and sleep, the parrot grieved for the death of the tree and continued to stay there. All the fellow birds advised the lone parrot that it was meaningless to keep attached to a dead and dry tree and urged it to move on along with them. But the parrot  stoutly refused.

The news about the parrot spread across the three worlds and it reached Heaven too. Lord Indra was surprised to hear about it. He wanted to test the parrot.

Indra came to the tree in the form of an old brahmin and asked the parrot, “Why are you so foolishly clinging on to this tree which has dried up totally?”

The parrot said, “I know by virtue of my austerities that you are none other than Lord Indra. You see, I was born in this tree. I grew up in this tree and this is where I acquired all my skills and instincts.  It was due to the protection given by this tree, I lived safely from the attack of predators. How can I discard this tree which has nurtured and protected me all along?”

Hearing this Lord Indra said, “I am extremely pleased to hear your words of compassion. I will offer you any boon you ask for”.  The parrot immediately said, “Lord, I will be extremely happy if you could bring this tree back to life and restore its original status”. Lord Indra agreed and sprinkled nectar on the tree.  Within moments, the tree started to grow fresh leaves and soon it attained its original condition bearing flowers and fruits.  Seeing this all the birds and animals which had discarded the tree earlier returned to the tree joyfully.

[Amma:  “If only all of us have the same attachment and indebtedness towards mother nature just like the parrot’s attachment to the tree in this story, preservation of Nature would become effortless. Let us develop such a mindset and pass it on to the coming generations.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.   Personal touch (1)

Once a new Managing Director joined his office.  He was welcomed by all the managers. The personnel Manager said, “Sir, we have arranged your room ready at the 20th floor. We have one exclusive elevator for your use, which will take you straight to your floor without stopping at intermediate floors”.

The MD took charge. After a few days, he called up the personnel manager and said, “Please shift my office from 20th floor to the ground floor”.

The personnel manager humbly asked the MD, “May I know the reason Sir?  Are you not feeling comfortable there?  Have we missed giving any facilities there?”

The MD said, “No. The office and facilities are good. No complaints. All my employees are spread across the various floors down below in this building. I am not able to effectively interact with them”.

“Why Sir? If you call any of them to your room, they will always be glad to come and meet you there!”

The MD said, “No.  I don’t want to sit on a high pedestal and demand  their attention. I want to interact with them all in a more personal way.  I want to know about them, their hardships, their family problems and so on more freely. If I sit in the ground floor, all the people will have to pass through the ground floor only when they come to the office or leave the office and that way, I will have a better access towards them through casual meetings too.”

[Amma:  “In a similar way, Avatara Purushas come to the earth for the sake of the common people. They come down to the level of the common man and teach them in a way they can understand,”]

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

6.   Personal touch (2)

Once in an office, a departmental examination was conducted to select staff who are to be promoted to managerial posts in the organization.

While answering the question paper, a very odd question caught everybody’s attention:

  • What is the name of your Manager?
  • What is the name of the office assistant who does errands in the office?
  • What is the name of the tea boy?
  • What is the name of the sweeper in the office?

Practically all the people who wrote the exam wrote the Managers’ name correctly. Some people did not know the name of the office assistant. More people did not know the name of the tea boy. Most people did not know the name of the sweeper.

After the exam was over, they went and met the chief of HR department, who was in charge of setting up the question paper. “We wonder what is the need for that particular question. It is in no way connected with our technical skills, communication skills or knowledge of office matters and procedures which are essential for management.”  they argued.

The HR manager said, “In fact it is one of the most important questions that carries lots of weightage.  You see, when you people become managers, you are not just going to manage your work and responsibilities, but manage all the people who work under you. You have to be people-oriented and how you interact with your staff at human level is of paramount importance in your success as a manager.”

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

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