Amma’s stories on Karma / Fate – Part 1 (7 more stories)
1. The fruit of Karma returns anyway
[Amma: “The fate or the fruit of your past karma is like an arrow that you shot to hit a target and return. When the arrow comes back, invariably, you fail to catch it and it attacks you too. The only difference may that the return of the arrow (the fruit of your karma) may not happen immediately. It may come late, but sure it will.”]
Once a farmer worked very hard in order to own a big farm, so that he, his sons and grandchildren could live very comfortably. He bought a barren land and toiled very hard to make the soil fertile. Fighting against draught, pests and storms, he protected his crop. He could get great yields. After years of hard work, he could really become quite rich. He got old. He thought the time has come for him to rest and he handed over the responsibility of managing the form to his son,
Once the son took charge, the old man felt very relaxed. He used to lie down in front of his farm in an easy chair and enjoyed his rest and leisure.
The son who took full charge of the farm initially felt very happy and proud. He too worked hard. But as days passed, his enthusiasm waned. He started feeling unhappy about his father. “While I am working so hard and straining every nerve and muscle of mine in the farm, how come this old man is spending the whole day idling and playing with grand children? This is so unfair” thought he.
As he was frequently gripped by such thinking, he started hating his father. ‘This old man is simply eating, doing nothing and enjoying his life from my hard labor’. He started feeling that his father was a burden on his head. ‘He might have worked hard in the past; so what? Times are changing; I must ensure well being of my family and my children. Why should I take care of this idle old man?’ so thinking, he was overpowered by a desire to get rid of his father once for all.
He made one large wooden box that can fit his father. He placed it on a cart. “Go and lie inside the box” he ordered his father. The old man obeyed without any protest. The son closed the box and drove the cart up over an adjacent hill. Upon reaching the summit, his plan was to push the box down a steep cliff to kill his father once for all.
When he was trying to push and and roll the box, he heard heard a knocking sound from the box. He shouted, “What do you want?”. The father replied from the box, “I can understand what your intention is. You are thinking I am old, and useless and you want to get rid of me once for all. Fine. But open the box. I will come out and you can push me from the cliff. Thus you need not waste this wooden box. Keep it safe and it could be handy for your son in in future!”
[Amma: “In this story, when the old man said that the box could be useful for his son in future, he meant that the account of karma for his present act would be tallied by his son in the future. You should also note that the old man too must be reaping what he sowed. He must have treated his own father or someone else like that in the distant past.”]
2. The lost wealth
Once a building contractor at a project at site temporarily engaged an accountant locally to handle the money matters. Every month end, he used to give a small bunch of currency to the accountant and ask him to keep it safe under a separate account-head. First time, the accountant asked, “For whom is the payment meant?”
The contractor said, “I am setting off this money for a good cause — something like giving to an orphanage, or for educating the poor children which I will decide at the end of this project”.
The accountant thought: ‘Why give away the money to unknown beneficiaries? Let me misappropriate the money and enjoy life’. Without following the instruction of the contractor, the accountant pocketed the money himself every month and wasted it away in drinking and gambling at week ends. He was otherwise an efficient man at his duty.
Over a period of time, the specific contract work came to an end. The contractor wanted to settle the accounts of temporary employees at the site and move to the next project.
He called the accountant and said, “It is time for us to part; you have done your job well; I want to reward you specifically for your efficient work. You know I was giving you an unspecified amount every month to put it in a separate account for donating to a good cause. Actually, I had planned that money as a bonus for you. You can bring that money and take it as a gift from me; please get that money and we will settle and close that account.”
The accountant was shocked to hear it.
[Amma: “By engaging in bad karma, we ourselves block the way of good karma in reaching us in future”]
3. What is the real cause?
[Amma: “Karma and its effects are very complicated to comprehend. There could be so many indecipherable causes behind effects and it is beyond the comprehension of common people. One should not jump into conclusion in passing judgement about others. “]
One a very benevolent king was ruling a small country. He had great respects for sannyasins and mendicants. He built a huge dining hall to feed renunciates and brahmacharis on a daily basis. He would personally visit the place and even serve food with his own hands with reverence and humility to the travelling mendicants. This practice was going on for long.
One day, after partaking the food in the dining hall, many of the mendicants fell sick and several of them died.
The king was shocked beyond measure when such a calamity happened. He could not grasp why such a calamity would strike for a benevolent act that he had been doing with utter sincerity and commitment. He felt that a great sin would befall on him for causing death to somany pious sannyasins. He started to undertake a fast and he was even prepared to die as atonement of the sin.
Nobody could find out how the food poisoning happened.
In order to find out the truth and apportion the sin of killing so many innocent mendicants, the God sent a messenger for investigation.
The messenger conducted a thorough inquiry amidst the working staff, the cooks and other servants working in the dining hall. He also did a thorough physical inspection of the dining hall. In this investigation, as directed by the messenger, a workman was made to climb up to the ceilings of the tiled hall and check the tiles and the beams. There, right above the place where food used to be kept ready just before serving, a dead snake was found in between some tiles and the beam.
From further inquiries done on eye witnesses, he came to know that on the fateful day, an eagle was found attacking a poisonous snake above the roof of the building. The wounded snake seemed to have escaped the clutches of the eagle and somehow sneaked through the gaps in the tiles and entered into the underside of the hall roof.
The snake was almost dying and just before it breathed its last, it had opened its mouth and ejected poison. It was exactly at that moment the lids of the vessels carrying the food items were opened for serving right below and the droplets of poison fell into the food and got mixed with the food. It was by eating that poisonous food that the mendicants died.
The messenger made a mental analysis: The king was not definitely responsible for this happening. The sin cannot be apportioned to the eagle because it is its basic nature to attack and kill snakes. It was not responsible for the snake’s escape. The snake too was not responsible because it was not spitting venom intentionally. The servers were not responsible for they were not knowledgeable about a snake right above vessels spitting venom at the point of opening of the food vessels.
The messenger was at a loss. God had given him the responsibility of apportioning the sin of the death of the mendicants on the right recipient. Whom to give it?
Thinking deeply, he was walking at the outskirts of the city. He saw a group of travelling mendicants coming into the city. They were inquiring a woman vendor at the street about the location of the king’s dining hall where mendicants were served free food.
The woman said to them: “Oh! No, no. Please never go there to take your food. The king is evil and very wily. He is poisoning and killing saintly people who come and take food there!”
The messenger heard the conversation. He decided to assign the sin of killing of the mendicants to the lady vendor who was spreading rumor by unjustly blaming the king without any basis of truth.
(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)
4. Escaping death?
[Amma: “Death is always stalking us. It is always behind us like our shadow. If one can clearly understand that death is inevitable and it can come at any time, then one can get the determination to know God before the body falls. No one can ever predict at which moment one would die.”]
Once a king was very curious to know when he would die. He called an expert astrologer, who was extremely reputed for correct predictions about future, to his court for this purpose. The astrologer analysed the king’s horoscope in detail and finally said, “I am sorry to say this, your majesty! As per my calculations and observations, you are bound to die today itself immediately after sunset.”
The king felt devastated hearing this shocking revelation. He could not digest it. He frantically wanted to escape death and immediately called learned pundits and experts in Shastra to his court. He asked them to suggest ways and means to escape death.
The pundits started brainstorming to find out ways to escape death. One pundit suggested to perform a particular ritual and chanting of mantras. Another pundit would oppose it and suggest some other means. That suggestion would get vetoed by a third pundit. Thus arguments and counter arguments went on and on amid the learned pundits and the clock was running too. It was already past noon. Unfortunately, the pundits could not come to any consensus on the right method to escape death by the king. The king was getting more and more tensed up and desperate to get a solution.
Watching this, one old, wise man in the king’s court came and whispered in his ears: “YOur majesty, Never trust these pundits. They are incapable of finding any solution to your problem. If you want to save your life, fetch a strong horse that can run the fastest, mount on it and leave from the capital as far off as possible. Don’t waste your time! Quick!”
For the confused king, that advice appeared to be a good solution. He fetched his best horse from his stable, and rode on it as fast as possible, as far as possible from his palace so as to escape death. By evening, the king had travelled many miles away from his capital. Both the horse and the king were extremely tired. He stopped the horse and lied down under a tree for rest.
All the happenings of the day ran through his mind. He felt relieved that he could travel so much far away from his palace before sunset. He felt confident that by doing so, he had managed to hoodwink death. He closed his eyes peacefully and soon dozed off.
The sun set at the west and soon darkness started engulfing the place. Suddenly the king woke up. At that very moment, up from the branches of the tree, the messenger of death jumped down and landed adjacent to the king. Laughing aloud, he said, “I know you will come here; I was waiting in this tree for your arrival for quite some time. I was even wondering whether, by any chance, you may not end up at this place! Any way, thank you, you have arrived in time!”
He caught hold of the king and instantly the king fell dead!
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)
5. Destined to happen
Amma narrated the following real incidence.
During the time of tsunami disaster, a group of Ashram brahmacharis were engaged in relief and rehabilitation work at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. One of the brahmacharis wanted to visit and pray at the famous Shaneshwara temple at Thirunallar nearby. When he went to the temple, it was extremely crowded. A very long queue was waiting to have the darshan of Lord Shani at the temple.
The brahmachari too joined the queue. He was rather impatient and was getting exasperated by the slow moving queue. Restlessly, he was looking this way and that way, getting out of the queue and joining the queue and causing disturbance to others due to his impatience. The policemen on duty to control the crowd somehow felt suspicious of the brahmachari’s movements; they suspected that he could be a pickpocket! They grabbed him and started enquiring him. Somehow they were not convinced; they took him to the police station and retained him in the lockup overnight.
The other brahmacharis who noticed that this person was missing in the night, got worried. After inquiring here and there, they came to know that the person had ended up in the lock up at the police station. They met the sub-inspector and explained to him about the brahmachari and the purpose of their staying in Nagapattinam. The sub-inspector immediately released the Brahmachari from the lock up and allowed him to go.
The Brahmacharis reported the matter to Amma. They were somewhat restive and asked Amma why a person, engaged in good social service and also visiting a temple for prayers get into trouble like this.
[Amma: “There are certain untoward incidents that are destined to happen will happen, even when one is engaged in actions with good intentions. If you ask why should it happen to such a good person at such a time, we could only say that there are certain unfavorable positions of planets in one’s life when such things do happen. The destiny might be that he should end up in jail for long. But an unknown divine grace on account of his punya may also behind it in such a way that the evil effects of his prarabdha are lessened and he is relieved by just a night of stay and suffering in a police lockup.”]
6. Pitying the queen!
Once a new servant maid was engaged in cleaning the Queens’ room in the palace. The servant maid who was seeing the queen’s room for the first time was awestruck at the grandiose furnishings seen in the room. The furniture were finely carved, smooth and impeccably polished; the carpets, the window drapes, and other artefacts were extremely fine. The servant maid touched them and felt thrilled. She pressed the queen’s bed and wondered how soft it was.
Suddenly she had an unstoppable urge to lie down at the bed and have a feel of it. She looked around to ensure that there was none else in the room. She lied down on the bed and felt exhilarated. Suddenly, quite unexpectedly the queen opened the door and entered into the bedroom. She saw the servant maid lying in her bed.
The queen got extremely angry. The servant maid was shocked to the core. She jumped up from the bed and stood there shivering. The queen took the broomstick and started beating the servant maid left and right. She called out her guards and commanded to them to arrest the maid and put her behind the bars.
Instead of crying for the beating she received and the punishment meted out to her, the servant maid started laughing. The queen was surprised. “Why are you laughing?” she shouted.
The servant maid said, “Your highness, just for the small mistake I did, you have beaten me so hard and also ordered to put me in jail. If such a severe punishment is meted out to me for such a small mistake, I thought what sort of punishment God will be giving you later, for all the various acts of arrogance and hatred you would have committed in life on account of your royal status as a queen. I could not control laughing!”
(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami Satsang 10/9/2020)
7. Cyclic reaction!
Once a Court Jester was telling some funny stories in the king’s court. There were a couple of jokes for which everyone was laughing but the king could not understand them. He thought that the Court Jester was mocking at him; out of anger, the king slapped the jester. The jester felt an unbearable pain. Anger rose up in him but he had to control it with difficulty. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he could not question the king’s action.
In order to vent out his anger, the jester slapped a person standing next to him. That man asked “Why are you hitting me? I have not done anything to you”.
The Court Jester replied,”It doesn’t matter. You can give a slap to the person next to you. This world is like a huge wheel. When it revolves, everyone gets his due share. Now don’t hesitate; give a slap to the person next to you!”
[Amma: “Every good or bad action done by us can affect many people. Nowadays we see similar things happening around us. People tend to vent out their frustrated anger and enmity on people around them. In reality, the person affected by our outburst of anger might not have anything to do with it. Anyway, whatever we do unto others will come back to us one day or other.”]
(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil Vol 2)
7. The ropes
Once a businessman was traveling across a dense forest where dacoits usually roam about. The businessman was unfortunately caught by a group of dacoits. They robbed him of all his possessions. To ensure that he would not make any trouble, they bound his libs and threw him inside a dried up well.
Fortunately, the well was not too deep and there was a thick growth of bush inside the well. So, he was not injured. After the dacoits left, he started shouting in full throat asking for help.
After a while another traveler came along the path. He heard the shouts of the man and started looking around. He noticed that the voice was coming from the well. As he peeped into the well, he saw the man shouting from inside. He noticed that the man was bound by ropes. The traveler had a big rope with him. Tying its one end to a tree, he got down into the well. He untied the ropes from the man’s limbs and both of them climbed up using the other rope hung from the tree.
Thus the businessman’s life was saved by the traveler.
[Amma: “In this story, the businessman got tied by a rope; but he was also saved by another rope. Our karmas are just like ropes. Our selfish actions bind us. Actions done with unselfishness and compassion, with dedication to God unbind and release us. “]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)
8. The end? Not yet
Once a man was walking along the beach. He found a human skull on the way. Out of curiosity, he took it and inspected it. Surprisingly he found something written on the forehead of the skull — “This is not the end”. The man got curious.
He had heard elders saying that everyone’s fate is written on their heads. The man thought ‘If so, is this the fate of this man? He is already dead, but the skull still contains the words “This is not the end”. Does it mean something more is still pending?’
With that curiosity, the man took the skull with him back home. He kept it inside a box and placed it under his cot.
Every day, he would secretly open the box and look at the skull to find whether any change had happened in it.
His wife noticed the man’s stealthy action of opening the box and looking inside. She got suspicious. She was also curious to know what was inside the box. One day, when the man was not at home, she opened the box and was surprised to see a skull inside.
She thought, “Why is my husband keeping this skull inside? Could it perhaps be the skull of his ex-lover? Is he still re-running his memories of her love, by looking at her skull daily?” She got disturbed and angry.
She brought a pestle from her kitchen and banged at the skull again and again till it was broken to pieces. She closed the box, kept it back under his cot and felt very relieved.
After a couple of days, when the man opened the box, he was very surprised to see only its broken pieces.
He thought to himself ‘Oh! This must be the ‘end’ that had been written on the skull! The writing seems to be true indeed!”
(Source: From one of Amma’s satsangs)
9. Useful, at last
Once there was a very narrow pass way adjacent to a house which many people used. A l branch of a tree from the house’s backyard had grown outward, interfering with the pathway. People found it difficult to cross the passage and many of them requested the householder to cut the branch.
The householder refused to oblige saying, “In another 20 years, that branch will grow thick and strong; If I cut it then, I can sell it for 30,000 rupees. Am I a fool to cut it off, for your convenience sake?”
Years passed. The householder started suffering from diabetes. He developed gangrene in his toes. He refused amputation, and soon it spread to his foot. As he refused to heed to his doctors advice, the gangrene spread to his leg. Doctors advised him to amputate his leg, but he did not agree. Soon, it spread further up and he died.
When he died, 20 years had passed from the time he refused to cut the tree branch. His family members arranged to cut the tree branch so as to use the wood for his pyre.