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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)

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 6 (15 more stories)

There is no dearth of fun and frolic in the company of a Mahatma like Amma. Amma narrates several humorous and funny stories that carry spiritual wisdom. Here are  more such little stories:

1.  In times of Corona!

Once a man, who was confined to his house on account of Corona Virus lockdown for weeks together got terribly bored and frustrated. He was longing to go out and roam in the streets freely.

He heard the voice of a vegetable seller outside his house. The man rushed out. There a vegetable seller was on the street and was pushing his cart-load of vegetables to sell door to door. The man went near him and asked: “Do you have the licence to sell like this?”

“Yes; of course. I have got the permission letter from the municipal corporation” said the vendor.

The man spoke to him nicely: “Good. Now I will make an offer to you. I invite you into my house and you can relax under the fan and watch TV. I will ask my wife  to serve you food and refreshments.  Instead of roaming in the hot sun like this, you can take rest. I will take the cart on your behalf and sell your vegetables for the next two hours. I will hand over all the collections to you without any commission for me.  Will you please agree?”

The vendor said: “No. Sorry. I will not. I cannot”.

The man said, “Why, why? I am only trying to help you in good will. If you want I can even pay extra to you from my pocket over and above the sales proceeds”.

The vendor said: “You see, I live in the next street. I am not the vegetable seller. The original vegetable seller is relaxing in my house. I have taken this cart from him for hire for a couple of hours!”

(From Amma’s Covid-19 message-2 dt 30/5/2020)

2.  An useful tip to handle Corona!

Once a town under the care of a municipal Corporation was heavily infested with rats. People were suffering a lot and whatever they did in their homes to eradicate the rats did not work out. Pressure was mounting on the Municipality to tackle the issue on war footing to eliminate the rat menace.

The municipal administration formed a committee named “Task force for elimination of rats”. The committee members met frequently and initiated several measures to eradicate the rats. As time passed none of their techniques worked and the rate menace continued.

The municipality then renamed the comittee;” Taske force for containment of rat menace”. They continued to take steps but the rat problem continued to increase unabated.

Finally, the committee was renamed: “Task force for peaceful co-existence with rats” !

(From Amma’s Covid-19 message-2 dt 30/5/2020)

3.  The smart smuggler

Once a man was crossing the border of one state to enter into the next state in his motorbike, carrying a sack full of sand at the rear . He was held up at check post for a thorough check.

The officer at the check post interrogated him.

“What does this sack contain?”

“Just sand Sir, nothing else” said the man.

“Oh, come on; no drug, no gold inside?”

“Nothing of that sort, Sir. If you want, you can check it.”

The officer was not convinced. He opened the sack checked it thoroughly.  He could not find anything suspicious.  He allowed the man to drive through the check post.

This started happening regularly every week. The officer will check his sand bag as well as his motorbike thoroughly each time but nothing could be found.

After a couple of months the man was never seen crossing the checkpost.

The officer got retired. One day, he was eating in a restaurant.  He happened to notice the man there. The officer went near him and said, “I know you were doing something fishy; I still suspect that you were smuggling something that I could not figure out. In fact I had spent several sleepless nights to figure out what you were smuggling in those sand bags. I am retired now and you can afford to tell me the truth now. I won’t reveal to anybody.”

The man smiled and said, “I never smuggled anything through the sand bag. I was smuggling stolen motorbikes”.

[Amma: “In this story, the officer put his entire focus on the sandbag and he missed out the motorbike. Likewise, we are always looking at the external world and fail to ‘study’ our own Self or know our Self.”]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

4.  Wrong way to learn

Once a man was very keen to learn yoga. But he was too lazy to  look for a Yoga Guru and he was also not willing to spend money for learning. He came to know that someone was teaching yoga in a local FM radio broadcast.

He tuned his radio to the radio station. A teacher was giving detailed stage by stage instruction for a particular yoga. The man decided to try it right away.

The voice said. ” Sit comfortably on a mat on floor in cross legged posture”. The man already knew how to sit so and he did.

“Now bend down, carefully lift your left leg and place your ankle behind your neck” said the voice.

It was rather difficult to do it, but the man was enthusiastic enough to try and succeed in placing his leg as instructed.

“Now carefully lift your right leg and place right ankle too behind your neck” said the voice.

The man found it even more difficult to do it. His neck and left leg were already aching. But he did not want to call it quits so quickly. With lots of effort he managed to place his right leg too as instructed. Every part of his body was aching now. He found it difficult to breath. He was desperate to unlock his legs but he could not do it easily. He was frantically waiting for the next instruction.

“The next step for this yoga will continue same time, tomorrow. Please stay tuned to Fitness for Health FM Channel at 84.7 FM. Have a good day!” said the voice the the program ended!

[Amma: “Yoga should always be learned in person from a qualified yoga teacher.”]

(From Amma’s talk on International Yoga Day 21/6/2020)

5.  Poor memory!

[Amma: “It is not just enough if we develop skills. We should also have the capacity to keep our mind in peace under all circumstances. If not, even the existing skills will not be useful at crucial junctures.”]

Once a young man who was a graduate, went to attend a job interview. Since it was his first job interview, he was extremely under tension.

The interviewer started the conversation with  simple question: “What is your name?”

Because of his tension, the youngman was dumbstruck for some time. Then he started biting his nails. The interviewer noticed that he was singing a song in an inaudible voice to himself.

He asked: “Why aren’t you saying anything? I asked just your name!”

The youngman said, “Just a moment sir. I am singing ‘Happy birth day to you…” song inside. I know my name will come at the end of the song and I can tell you then” .

 

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

6.  Right words, wrong time!

Once a husband and wife used to fight with each other almost on a daily basis. The fight normally would start at night when the husband took his dinner. The husband never liked any of the dishes cooked by the wife and he was always vocally critical about it. The wife would get very upset with his remarks and that would trigger the fight between them.

One day, the husband was talking with his neighbor. The neighbor gave a friendly counselling: “You see, I am hearing you and your wife fighting daily. This is too bad. Rest of your life would become totally miserable if you go on and on like this. Don’t keep on criticizing your wife’s cooking. Just for  change, you throw some appreciation on her cooking one day. That will make her happy and perhaps she would start cooking with much more care in order to get more appreciation from you. This way, you will regain mental peace”.

The idea appealed to him. That night, when he sat for his dinner, he remembered the friend’s advice. As he tasted one item after other, he kept on saying “Oh! This dish tastes very nice; this one is so good; this is wonderful…” and so on.

But instead of brightening up, his wife’s  face turned red in anger.

But the husband did not notice her facial expressions. As he was about to finish, he asked “Can you serve some more of these stuff; I really enjoy eating them today”.

That was the last straw. The wife blew up in anger. She started throwing all the vessels here and there. The husband was totally taken aback by her reaction.  He asked, “What is wrong with you? All along I have been criticizing your cooking, but today appreciated every food stuff that you served; I ate them all and even asked for more. Still why are so so angry? Why are you breaking the vessels?”

The wife said, “You have proved once again that you don’t like my cooking.  I was not feeling well today and I did not cook the food. Since you would come hungry from the office, I ordered food from the restaurant and kept them ready for you. You enjoyed every item bought from Hotel. It proves you don’t like my cooking at all”.

[Amma: “Children, our efforts have limits. It is divine grace that is essential to make the effort fruitful.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  Hence proved!

[Amma: “Many people ask ‘Is there really a God or no?’. As long as one’s analysis is within the precepts of creation, one can never understand the secret behind creation. Only when we transcend beyond creation, we can understand the secret of the creation. For that a basic requisite is a faith in a Creator (God)  who is beyond creation.”]

Once a teacher was teaching the theory of evolution to his students.

He called a student named David and asked: “David do you see the tree outside the class room through the window?”

“Yes, I see it” said David.

“Now, go out and look up. Let me know whether you see the sky”.

David went out, came back and said, “Yes, I saw the sky”.

“Did you see God there?”

“No”.

The teacher said beaming: “That is my concept. There is no God. How can you believe something that you can’t see?”

Hearing this, a girl stood up and said, “Teacher, may I ask a few more questions to David?”

The teacher agreed.

“David, do you see the trees outside?”

“Yes, I see them”

“Do you see the grass?”

“Yes. I see”.

“Do you see the sky?”

“Yes. I see”

“Do you see our teacher?”

“Yes, I see”

“Do you see his brain?”

“No,  I don’t see his brain”.

“Then, as per the concept taught by our teacher today, he does not have brain!”

[Amma: “Students of science first believe what the text books contain and what the teacher teaches. Then they can do experiments in lab and get first hand experience of what was taught to them. Likewise, we should first believe what our Rishis have told about god  based on their personal experience. Then we too should undertake sadhana based on the teachings received from Guru. Then we too can experience God. “]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

8.  Same place!

Once four villagers engaged a motor boat to go deep into a forest through the river to cut a few trees and bring them back to their place for sale.

After travelling into the forest, they got down at an appropriate place. While the boatman waited at the bank of the river, the villagers went into the forest to cut well grown trees of their choice. After clearing the leaves and branches, they carried huge logs of  four tree trunks one by one and brought it to the place where the boat was kept.

The boatman saw the logs and said, “These are too huge and heavy. I can at the best take three logs in the boat, along with you four people”.

But the villagers argued with him: “No, no! It won’t be a problem at all. Last year too we came to cut the trees and we transported four logs in a similar boat like this”.

“Are you sure? Were those logs of wood so big as these?” asked the boatman.

“Yeah, we are quite sure; don’t worry!”

The boatman reluctantly allowed them to load the four logs into the boat. He started the boat. They would have hardly moved by a kilometer or so, but the boat was unable to pull the load; it started to gradually sink in water and soon the boat capsized along with all the load.

With lot of difficulty, the four villagers along with the boatman managed to swim across the river and reach the bank nearby.

After resting for a while, one of the villagers asked “Do we know where we are now?”

One of them climbed over a huge rock nearby, looked around and exclaimed: “Hey! This place is quite familiar to me! We are hardly away by about hundred meters from the place where our boat capsized last year!”

[Amma: “Experiences are of no use if we do not learn our lessons from them”.]

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

9.  The lost key!

Once a man brought his young boy to the doctor and said, “Doctor, my son has swallowed my suitcase key! Please help”.

The doctor asked, “When did it happen?”

The man said, “He swallowed it some 10 days ago, doctor”.

“Wh…what? 10 days ago? Why are you bringing him only now?” asked the doctor in a shocked tone.

“We had a spare key with us and hence managing with it all these days, doctor. But today we lost the spare key too and could not locate it despite searching it everywhere. We are badly in need of opening the suitcase, doctor. Please, help us!”

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

10 .  Mala?!

Once a guru advised one of his new disciples to go to the top of the adjacent hill and spend a few days in seclusion totally dedicating himself to doing japa.  He added, “Make sure to take ‘mala’ with you”.  His intention was that the disciple should use his japa mala (rosary) to do his japa.

After a couple of days, the guru went up the hill to meet his disciple in order to check how well he had progressed in his austerities in seclusion.

The disciple saw his guru coming. He ran to him and fell at his feet. “Welcome my master!” he said.

“How are you? Are you doing fine? Did you face any difficulty?”

The disciple said, “No master; I am perfectly comfortable here thanks to Mala and the cups of tea I get”.

“Tea? Where from do you get your tea?”

“Mala is preparing it for me, Master” saying so, he called out loud. “Mala! Master too is here. Please bring two cups of tea!”

His girlfriend named Mala came out of the hut nearby with two cups of hot tea in her hands!

[Amma: “Some times, some disciples interpret their guru’s teachings to their own convenience”.]

(From Amma’s Guru Purnima message 5/7/2020)

11.   The problem with the intellect

Once 3 persons who entered in to the territory of a terrorist king’s land were caught by securities. They were suspected to be spies. The king ordered them to be killed, by crushing them under a huge falling log. The 3 intruders pleaded for mercy, saying that they were innocent and had no spying role. The king said, “Okay. Put one by one at  the killing spot and let the wooden log fall. If by chance the log does not fall and fail to crush a person, let him be released.”

All the three men were taken to the punishment arena. One of them was first made to lie down on the floor. A massive wooden  log was hanging right above him at a about 15 feet height, held by hooks. Once the bell rang, the operatives were to release the hooks and the log should fall down. The man was trembling with fear and he was praying feverishly for God’s help so that the log did not get released. What a surprise! Due to a mechanical fault, the hook did not release and the log never fell down. He was allowed to get up and go! The man ran from the spot with uncontrollable joy.

Now the second person was made to lie down. Again the hooks failed to release the log and he was also saved.

Finally the third person came and lied down. He happened to be an Engineer. Upon noticing that the hooks were not releasing, he immediately understood what the technical hitch was. He called the operatives and gave them instructions on  how to resolve it so that the hooks could release the log. The operatives did the correction and the log promptly  fell on the Engineer and crushed him to death!

12.   No problem!

[Amma: “When we face difficulties in life, we have the capacity to stand apart  and watch it without getting deeply agitated, but most of us are not able to practice it under all circumstances.  It is always easy for us to watch and analyse other’s problems dispassionately. But when it comes to our own problems, we invariably fail to step aside and look into them with an eye of a witness”.]

Once a businessman was in an important meeting. To avoid any disturbances, he left his personal mobile with his driver outside the office.

After a while the businessman’s mobile rang and the driver took the call. It was the voice of the businessman’s wife and she said, “Right now I am doing shopping and I am calling from the jewelry shop. I found an extremely beautiful necklace here; I have never seen such an attractive necklace anywhere else in my life. But it is too costly. However, I just didn’t feel like getting out of this jewelry shop without buying it. THe money I had brought for shopping was not adequate. So, I used the Credit Card that you had given to me and paid the bill….”

“Oh, That’s good” said the driver.

“There is something more. As I was returning home, I just dropped into the Showroom of Mercedes Benz Cars. One of their latest model cars was very appealing to me. Since I had no money, I had to sell of a portion of our company shares online and got the money. I have bought the car too…” said she.

“That’s fine” said the driver.

“Oh! My love! You had never been so loving and caring like to day. I feel really blessed that I have got such a considerate husband in my life!!” so saying she cut the phone, even before the driver could attempt to intervene and  reveal to her that he was only the driver and not her husband!

After the meeting was over, the businessman came out . He asked the driver, “Was there any call on my mobile?” .  The driver narrated the whole matter. By the time he finished it, his boss fell on to the ground losing consciousness!

Whether the credit card was burdened with huge amount or whether the company’s shares were sold off,  it was of no matter of concern for the driver. But as for the businessman, it was a calamity.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.   Smart Broker!

Once a young man who wanted to get married sought help from a marriage broker. One day, the broker told the man about a suitable girl for him and asked him to come along with him to the house of the prospective bride to see her in person.

After seeing the girl both of them were returning. The broker asked.”Now tell me, Do you like the girl?”

The man said, “Are you mad? How do you think I will agree to marry her? Didn’t you notice that her eyesight was so bad?”

“Oh! That’s really a good thing in her. After marriage, suppose you come home late in the night, she won’t notice”.

“Not only that. She stutters while talking”.

“That too is for good. Because of this weakness, she would talk far less, unlike all other women. It is a blessing for you”.

“I also noticed that she is hard of hearing”.

“Oh!Why don’t you understand that it is indeed very advantageous to marry such a girl. She will not hear any rumours about you!”

The young man lost his patience. He shouted, “Over and above all these, she has a hunch back too!”

The broker said: “Brother, I feel pity on you. As I explained, she has so many good things in her that makes her fit to be the best wife for you; yet if you want to reject her just for a small fault like a hunchback, where on earth will you get  better wife than her?”

[Amma: “Our mind is just like this broker. The mind will always try to convince our body and intellect to yield to its desires. We can never underestimate the power of our mind. But it is indeed possible for us to bring this powerful mind under our control.  Discrimination and practice are essential to get control over the mind”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.   There is a purpose!

Once a man went for haircut to his regular barber shop. When he sat on the chair for cutting his hair, the barber said, “I happened to meet your mother in law yesterday.  She was mentioning that you are possessing lots of black money”. The man got very angry when he heard this.  “Did she say so? She is a wretched woman. She borrows money left and right from so many people but never repay them.  It has become my burden to pay them from my pocket and yet she is talking ill of me? Lier!” his anger did not subside even after uttering these words. He kept on talking ill of her. The barber was deeply engrossed in cutting his hair during this time.

When the man came to the barber shop next time and sat in the chair ready for cutting, the barber said, “Yesterday your mother in law said to me that you are not giving a single paisa to the family”. The man got worked up again and said, “What right that Thataka has to utter such nasty lies about me? Actually it is me who takes care of all her expenses; I am the one giving money for her food and clothing…” he continued to say nasty things about his mother in law further. The barber kept him busy in cutting his hair.

When the man visited the barber the next time, the barber just started to make some comments about his mother in law once again. This time,  the man stopped him and asked, “Why are you always talking about my mother in law. I don’t want to hear any more word about her”.

The barber replied, “You see, whenever I broach the subject of your mother in law, you get very angry and all your hairs stand straight; it makes cutting your hair easier for me. That’s why I talk to you about your mother in law!”

[Amma: “Our mind is just like a play toy in the hands of others. Others know what makes us angry and agitated. When somebody appreciates us, we feel elated; when somebody criticizes us, we get worked up. This way, our life is tied to the lips of others. When we get angry, jump up and create hell around us, it becomes an entertainment for the others”.  ]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.   Trustworthy Husband?

[Amma: “To have amity in family life, an important factor is the capacity to listen to each other.  Nowadays, nobody seems to have the patience or time to actively listen to others’ talking.”]

Once a woman was telling her friend: “Whatever secrets I tell to my husband will not get shared by him with anyone else. I am very sure about it”.

“Oh! You have got such a trustworthy husband! You must be proud of it!” Said the friend.

The woman said, “No. It is not like that. Whatever I tell my husband, he never listens to them keenly”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

 

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 ]