[If you have not read the previous 20 little stories of Amma under this topic, you can read them here: Amma’s stories on nature of the human mind – Part 1]
1. Who will win?
Once a grandfather and his grandson went to visit a zoo. They were looking at the various wild animals kept in cages in the zoo.
At one place there were two lions, kept in two separate cages. One of them was rather sober and non-aggressive. When people came close to the cage or even risked extending a hand inside, the lion did not react. It seemed to be at peace with the people. On the other hand, the lion in the adjacent cage was very aggressive and ferocious. If anybody came closer to its cage, it will roar and swing its front legs towards them to scare them away.
The grandfather asked the grandson, “Suppose these two lions were left to fight with each other, which one do you think would win?”
The grandson said, “Maybe the second one that looks very ferocious. I am not sure, though.”
The grandfather said, “One cannot be sure. But I can definitely say that the one which is constantly fed well will win”.
[Amma: “The thoughts that rise up in our minds too are similar; the more we feed our mind with evil thoughts, the more will they gain strength. Our mind will get filled with anger, egotism, etc and they would win over good thoughts “.]
(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 3)
2. Impossible to fill
Once a king was enjoying solitude in his garden. He was roaming around leisurely, enjoying the beauties of nature. He was in a very happy mood that day. At that time, the beggar somehow managed to sneak into the garden without the notice of the guards. He came in front of the kind and saluted him. The king was surprised to see a stranger there, looking impoverished and in tattered clothes. “Who are you? What do you want from me. Tell me quickly and leave this place. Don’t disturb my peaceful mindset now”.
The beggar said, “I am a poor beggar, your excellency. I just want one thing from you. Please rescue me from my poverty by filling my begging bowl totally”. The king took pity on him. As he was in a good mood that day, he called his Minister in charge of his treasury and said, “Please fill this beggar’s begging bowl fully with gold coins, gems and precious stones”.
But very surprisingly, whatever amount of pearls, gems and gold coins that the minister put into the begging bowl did not fill it fully. Things disappeared into the bowl and it could never be filled to the brim. Soon, an awkward situation came wherein the treasury became almost empty; there was no more gems and gold coins left in the king’s stock.
The king felt shocked and ashamed. He said to the beggar, “Please excuse me. I am unable to keep up my promise to you. I have given whatever I had in the treasury. I have no more wealth to drop into your begging bowl. Your begging bowl seems to be having magical powers. May I know what is the secret behind this bowl?”
The beggar smiled and said, “Don’t feel bad, O King. Actually, this begging bowl is made of the skull of a human being. Because of it, it has the typical tendency of humans who never get satisfied with what they get and keep on wanting more and more always. It knows only one thing: “Not enough; want more”. However much you fill this begging bowl, it will never get filled up! It works exactly as the human mind”.
[Amma: “As long as desires exist, there is no peace of mind. When one desire is satiated, the mind gets some joy, but it is only short living. The next moment, the mind will want more “.]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
2. Nagging doubt
A boy and girl from neighboring houses were playing together. The boy had some money with him and the girl had some chocolates with her.
The boy said to the girl, “I will give you some coins; will you give me some chocolates in exchange?”
The girl agreed. The boy was cunning. He hid coins of higher denomination in his pocket and gave only low-valued coins to her. The girl gave him chocolates.
After a while, both of them returned to their respective homes. As the girl had no idea about the relative worth of coins, she was content to have a few coins in her possession. She went to bed and slept off peacefully.
At home, the was thinking “This girl must have kept costly chocolates hidden and given to me only cheap and low-quality chocolates. Just like I hid costly coins, she too would have hidden high-quality chocolates.” He could not sleep because of these thoughts.
[Amma: “Mutual trust is the basis on which any relationship can stand – whether it is the relationship between husband and wife, between two friends, or between business partners. Many times our own faults and limitations make us doubt others’ actions and motives; because of it, we fail to appreciate others’ love and affection and lose our mental peace and joy. “]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
3. The play of the mind
[Amma: “Children! Understand that the human mind is a big mystery, but not Atman. Actually, it is the mind that makes us think as if Atman is a mystery! The mind is full of confusion. It can confuse everything. Mind is falsehood. It is the mind that questions the truth of Atman. All your fears and doubts arise from the mind, which is the biggest liar!”]
Once there lived a great wrestler who could not be defeated by any other wrestler in his country. He lived as an undefeated champion for many years in his country. Naturally, it made him very proud, egoistic and arrogant. He believed none existed in the world who could challenge him and hope to win.
One day, a wrestler from another country visited his country. He challenged the native wrestler for a combat. It became huge news. The native wrestler immediately agreed to the challenge. A day was fixed for the competition. The whole nation virtually became curious to know who would ultimately win the combat. It was a matter of prestige for the native wrestler.
The day of the competition arrived. An uncontrollably huge crowd had gathered in the venue to watch the combat. The native wrestler looked bigger and stronger in front of the challenger from the other country. The match began. The combat was really tough. The surcharged crowd soon got split into two groups — one cheering the native wrestler and the other shouting for the win of the challenger. As round after round proceeded, the competition was becoming tougher and tougher. If one of them had an upper hand in one round, the other one emerged stronger in the next round. Finally, the visiting wrestler defeated the native in the final round conclusively.
The crowd shouted in jubilation appreciating and cheering the visiting wrestler. The crowd also mocked and jeered at the loser for his humiliating defeat. The old champion gathered himself up and got up. With a deep sense of shame, humiliation and defeat he departed the venue limping.
Even after moving farther away from the venue, the sound of people jeering him kept reverberating in his ears. Utter dejection and hatred welled up in his heart. His mind was in total turmoil. At this stage, he woke up from his sleep!
“Oh! Is it all just a dream?” — he was shocked. He rose up from his bed. Despite knowing that it was just a nightmare, his mind did not regain peace. It was full of worry and confusion. Like a caged lion, he walked to and fro in his bedroom, rewinding the happenings in the dream again and again.
He started feeling more and more that what he saw in his dream were indeed real. He wanted to take revenge on his opponent. ‘How shall I defeat my enemy?’ He kept thinking again and again. ‘Oh, God! I have lost everything; my reputation has fallen to dust. How will I ever show my face outside hereafter? None will show any respect to me hereafter; How will I live hearing the mockery of people all the time? Isn’t it better to die, rather than to live in such a miserable way? I should definitely take revenge of the rascal who defeated me in the competition…’ He kept on thinking like that. He pulled his hair in anger; he walked like a mad man here and there.
Very gradually it dawned to him that it was meaningless to succumb to such an emotional turmoil created by a dream. Slowly and steadily, he started to gather his wits; his mind became calmer and calmer. Now it was very clear to him how foolish he was to get worked up like this based on a dream. “Oh, God! What happened to me! What a fool I have become! Just based on a figment of imagination of mind through a dream, I went through so much mental agony. something that never happened at all!” with this thought he went back to bed.
[Amma: “Children! Like this champion, we all too are immersed in a dream called the waking stage. It is indeed a dream of a longer duration enacted by our past experiences and thoughts. It is our mind that creates this ‘long dream’ too. In our present state, we believe this long dream too to be real. We are yet to wake up from this dream!”]
5. The play of the mind (2)
[Amma: “Mind has two powers called ‘Avaranam’ – the power to hide and ‘Vikshepam’ – the power to create. The mind first hides the true state of things. Then it creates an image contradictory to the true state of things. That’s why Amma calls the mind a great liar”.]
Once a person was walking through a forest. It was evening and the twilight was getting dimmer. He was finding it difficult to find his path. Suddenly, he felt something biting at his toe. He lifted up his leg to touch and feel what happened. He noticed a small pieced mark on the skin and a little blood oozing out from it. As he gazed a nearby bush there, he noticed a snake there. He was thoroughly shaken by fer. He believed that it was the snake that had bitten him. He started shouting: “Oh! Is there anybody around? Help me, help me! I have been bitten by a poisonous snake; please somebody take me to the nearest doctor!”
He kept on crying like this in full throat for a while. Soon he got tired; his head started spinning; he felt he was swooning. He sat down and continued to shout for help.
In a short while, a person came by the path with a lantern in his hand. He asked what happened. The person said, “I am afraid I have been bitten by a snake; I am dying; will you please take me immediately to a doctor?”
The person said, “Don’t worry; I will help you. Now tell me when and where the snake bit you”.
The person said, “When I came near this bush, a snake bit me at my toe; see, the snake is still there at the bush!”. The person came closer, lifted up his lantern to inspect the bush closely.
He then smiled and said, “You see, this is a thorny bush. See there in the light; what you saw as a snake is just a piece of rope and not a snake. One of the thorns in the bush must have pieced your toe when you walked here. Now that things are clear, there is no need to panic. Just relax!”
The man looked at the rope. It was quite clear that it was not at all a snake! His palpitation and dizziness came to an end instantly and he felt relieved and relaxed!
[Amma: “This is how our mind cheats us. The mind first hid the rope — the truth. Then it created the snake on it. The rope (truth) — the atman, is hidden by your mind through its imagination by creating a non-existent snake, based on its past impressions. That’s how Atman is superimposed by the world of differences. Atman is obscured by our thoughts. When a satguru lights up the lamp of true knowledge, the delusion goes. You realize your atman by personal experience and attain peace.”]
6. The play of the maya
Once a poor young man was sitting at the bank of a river and idling away his time. Then, an elephant carrying a garland in its trunk came there. It was followed by a huge crowd. The elephant put the garland on the youth’s neck.
Since the king of the country died without an offspring, it was the practice of the country to select the next king by sending the royal elephant with garland and whosoever the elephant garlands would become the king.
Thus the youth became the king of the country all of a sudden. The king’s young daughter too was married off to the new king.
Thus the young king was thoroughly enjoying his new life to the full.
One day, the new king along with his queen got on to a royal horse and drove to the top of an adjacent hill for time-pass. As they were about to reach the summit, there came a sudden storm and the wind started blowing very powerfully. The horse lost its balance and all the three fell down the slope of the hill. They rolled and rolled down hitting boulders and rocks. The king somehow managed to get hold of a tree branch while the horse and the queen rolled down further and died.
The king then carefully jumped down from the tree; when he landed and looked around, there was no hill, no horse or queen. What he saw was that he was lying on the mud floor of a hut adjacent to his cot. He could only see the mud walls and a thatched roof. He understood that he was still a poor young fellow, lying in his own hut, waking up after a daydream. His heart was still pounding on account of the dream.
[Amma: “Everything that the young man experienced in his dream was real to him as long as he was immersed in the dream. We too are in the same state as this youth, in reality. We are dreaming that this world and all our worldly possessions and worldly experiences are real and we keep running behind them. This is the play of maya. We are caught in this dream world of Maya and only when we truly wake up from it, we can understand the unreality of all”. Then, successes and failures won’t affect us.”]
(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)
Once there was a temple where once in a week many devotees gathered in large numbers and did japa, prayer and meditation without partaking food. A monkey saw this and thought “all these people undertake fast and pray to seek lord’s grace. Why shouldn’t I too do it?”
On the next session of fasting and prayer, the monkey arrived at the temple early in the morning. He sat under a tree, closed his eyes in order to meditate. Immediately a thought came in its mind: “I have never undertaken fast in my whole life. Suppose at the end of the day when I complete my fasting and meditation, what will happen if I feel so week that I won’t be able to stand up or walk? Should I die under this tree then? Is it not better to find a tree full of fruits and undertake my austerity under it? In such case, I need not run around in search of food”.
He got up immediately, searched for a tree with fruits, located one, and then sat under it to resume its meditation. After a short while, the monkey thought, “What will happen if, at the end of fasting, I become too weak to even climb this tree? Will it not be better if I climb on it right now and sit in a branch to do my meditation?”
He immediately climbed on to the tree, sat in a branch and closed his eyes. Now another thought came into his mind, “What if I feel too weak even to pluck a fruit? Is it not better to keep a fruit in my hand and meditate?” He did so immediately and again closed his eyes.
Now he started feeling very hungry. “I have never eaten such big and ripe fruits in the recent past. Why not eat the fruit right now and do the fasting and meditation on some other day?”
The next moment he was munching the fruit and relishing it thoroughly!
[Amma: “Most of us are like this monkey. Our mind will keep on generating reasons after reasons for postponing things that we ought to do for our wellbeing. We must use our intellect and acquire a firm determination to work on our aspirations keeping our goals clear. ‘Whatever hurdles I come across, I will not lose my heart and proceed firmly and strive my best to reach my goal’ — if one has such a firm resolution, he is sure to reap success in his endeavors.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
8. Better sleep!
Once a father took his young son to a local Shiva Temple for spending the night there on Maha Shivaratri. Lots of people had gathered there and were engaged in archana, japa and so on. But there were also many people who were dozing off due to tiredness and aging.
Noticing this, the son commented, “What is the point if they come to temple on Maha Shivaratri and sleep like this instead of keeping awake the whole night? What sort of bhakti is this?”
The father said curtly, “It is better to doze off like this than to find fault with others and criticize them.”
[Amma: “Because of our own weaknesses and lack of shraddha, we tend to find fault with others. My children should not forget this reality. It also shows how our mind is always roaming out instead of turning inward. Those who find fault with others can never see their own weaknesses nor make efforts to correct them.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
9. Who is in control?
Once, in a fair, a horseman was offering horse rides for little children as entertainment and making a living out of it.
A small boy came there to watch it. He was very much attracted to seeing children joyfully riding at the horseback with the horseman sitting with them and holding them safely.
The poor boy had no money to pay to the horseman and hence he had no means to have his share of fun. While he was standing there and watching it, the horseman tied the horse to a post and left the place for a while to have his lunch.
The curious boy wanted to make use of this opportunity to try and have a free ride on the horse on his own. He went to the post, untied the horse and managed to climb over the horseback.
The horse did not quite like it. It started jumping around and ran here and there, trying to unsettle the boy and throw him to the ground. The boy panicked but somehow managed to grip the horse’s neck and did not fall down. The horse kept running. Watching this boy riding the horse, one of his friends shouted: “Hey! How did you manage to control the horse and make it run?”
The boy shouted back: “I simply don’t know. You better ask the horse!”
[Amma: “This is precisely our state of affairs. The horse in this story is our mind. Instead of keeping our mind in our control, we are actually in the control of our mind!”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
10. Hasty judgment
Once a mother came back from the office. She noticed her seven-year-old daughter standing with one apple each in her hands. The mother affectionately asked her, “Will you give me one, my baby?”
The daughter looked at her mother’s face for a while; then she looked at both the apples in her hand. Then she bit the apple on her right hand; hastily she bit the other apple in her left hand.
The mother was very disappointed. She felt her daughter was too selfish and had no mindset to share her apple even with her mother. She found it difficult to control the expression of disappointment on her face.
The next moment, the girl extended her right hand and offered the apple to her mother saying, “Ma, this one is sweeter than the other; take this!”
Even for a mother, the discernment to grasp her daughter’s guileless love was missing, though for a brief time.
[Amma: “From this story, we can understand to what extent we can err in judging others. However much we have knowledge and experience, we must be very careful in not hastily judging others or finding fault with others.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)
11. Innate Nature
Once there lived a blacksmith in a village in the Himalayas. He used to make use of large stone in adjacent his shop to bend steel rods. One morning when he went near it, he noticed a snake lying curled up there. The next day too he noticed it still lying there. Since it was extremely cold, the snake was lying, almost frozen there. The blacksmith took pity on the snake and took it inside his shop. He offered milk to it for drinking. Leaving it to lie there, he started the day’s work. He ignited his furnace and started to heat a steel rod there. Gradually, his shop became warm.
While he was working on the rod, the tip of it accidentally touched on the snake. Suddenly the snake lifted up its hood and tried to bite the blacksmith.
All along, as the snake was lying outside in the cold, it was not showing any aggressiveness that made the blacksmith wrongly assume that the snake was nonviolent and would not harm anyone. But once the snake got warmth from the heat of the furnace inside the shop, its innate nature got manifested.
[Amma: “In a similar way, when we engage ourselves in intense spiritual practices, we somehow succeed in making our mind calm and composed. But when we engage ourselves back in regular activities, our inborn vasanas (like anger, greed, etc) come out again. Sadakas must be careful enough in not getting exasperated with this nature of human mind, but develop the necessary strength to fight out the vasanas and succeed.”]
(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)
12. Sold dead cheap?
[Amma: “Be in a family or in a society, people always seem to have a business mindset. Even our relationship with God too has turned to be so. When it comes to God or Guru, what is most essential is total surrender. But we have become calculative with them too; how to profit out of them seems to be thinking”.]
Once a very rich man was traveling on a ship. Suddenly the weather turned hostile. A powerful thunderstorm struck the ship. The Captain of the ship announced that the ship cannot be saved from sinking and asked all the people in the ship have to do whatever they could to save themselves if possible. Everyone on the ship panicked. The rich man too started praying to God frantically like everyone else on the ship. He prayed to God: “Oh my lord. please save me from this calamity. I promise you that I will sell my 5-star hotel and donate 75% of the amount if you save me”.
Very miraculously, the storm subsided quickly and the ship was saved. All the travelers reached the shore safely. However, the rich man was in mental turmoil now. “Oh, if I sell my 5-star hotel, I will easily get a crore of Rupees and it is such a huge amount! Should I really donate 75 lakhs of rupees to God? Why would He need such a large sum of money from me? What can I do now?” He thought deeply about it and finally got an idea.
He released an advertisement in the newspaper: “5-star hotel on sale. Expected price: one rupee”.
Hordes of people came running to meet him and buy the property. They could not really understand how and why anyone would sell the hotel for one rupee! He told them: “I promise that the hotel is indeed available for sale for one rupee, but to clinch the deal, you must buy my pet dog for 1 crore of rupees”.
He finally sold the star hotel as per his terms and donated seventy-five paise to God!
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)
13. Habits die hard
A person served in the military for 30 years. He got retirement, returned to his native village and settled there. One day, he went to the shandy. He bought a large potful of milk. Carrying it on his head and holding the pot with both of his hands, he was returning home.
On his way, a few local boys, who knew that he was an ex-military man, shouted mischievously “Attention!”
Having heard this command umpteen times and getting so much used to obeying it as a military person for the past 30 years, the man instantly stopped walking, joined both his legs together, brought both his hands down to touch his thighs and stood straight. The milk pot held on his head safely by his hands so far toppled and fell onto the ground. The pot broke into pieces and all the milk was lost.
The boys laughed aloud and ran from the place.
[Amma: “From this story, we can understand that even seemingly insignificant acts, if done mechanically out of habituation, can bring us misery. It that is the reality, what to speak of evil habits that we acquire? If we are caught into evil habits, no need to mention the amount of misery they are sure to bring in our lives later.”]
(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)
14. Overcoming Laziness
Once the owner of a Circus company was in possession of two well-trained falcons. The falcons fly in pair and do several acrobatic movements in the air to entertain the audience.
Once the Circus owner went to meet the king of his country. He took his two falcons with him to give them as his present to the king. He arranged a demonstration of the falcons’ flying skills in front of the king and the king was very impressed. He gladly accepted the pair as a present. He immediately arranged a caretaker for the falcons; the caretaker arranged an exclusive place for the falcons to stay. A wooden rod was placed at a high level from the ground for the falcons to rest. He fed them regularly and took good care of them.
Soon, one of the falcons got comfortable in the new surrounding and consequently became very lazy too. When, one day, the king wanted to witness their flying show, only one of the falcons flew in the air; the other one stayed put and continued to doze off sitting in the rod. The king thought that the falcon might be sick. He called expert veterinarian doctors to attend to it. But they could not make the falcon fly. The huge gathering of people got disappointed.
At that time, one old farmer came close to the king and said, “Your excellency, shall I make a try, to make the falcon fly?”
The king was not very hopeful, yet he allowed the farmer to try and he left the place to return to his royal bedroom to rest. But soon, he heard a huge cheering noise from the gathering. He looked out from the window and noticed that both the falcons were now flying. The second one was in fact flying higher than the first one and they were demonstrating wonderful flying patterns and acrobatics!
The king was very surprised and happy. Once the show was over, he called the old farmer to reward him for his service. He asked, “What treatment did you do to make the falcon fly?”
“I did nothing, Maharaj,” he said. He continued: “I simply went to the place where the falcon was resting and swiftly cut the rod in which it was sitting. The falcon started falling towards the ground; it immediately awoke from its slumber and started flying!”
[Amma: “The nature of the human mind is to look for the comfort zone and settle in it in order to avoid exertion. That’s how laziness settles in. At times, forceful disassociation from the comfort zone would be needed to overcome laziness and make the mind active again.”]
(From Amma’s Satsang on 12/12/2020)
15. The damage envy could do
Mohan and Krishnan were close friends.
Krishnan acquired a new friend and he started spending quite some good time with the new person. Mohan felt very possessive about his friendship with Krishnan and hence he was jealous of the new friend. One day, he went to meet the new friend and said to him, “I know you feel very close to Krishnan; but please be careful about him. He has a strange disease. Never sleep with him in the same room. If he wakes at midnight, he will bite the ear of the person next to him till blood starts coming.”
The new friend was scared hearing this.
After a few days, Mohan went to Krishnan and said, “I heard something very fishy about your new friend. It is better to be careful about him. It looks he has strange disease by which, if he wakes up at midnight, he will immediately bite the ear of the person next to him.”
A few months passed. Krishnan and his new friend had some business in another town and they had to stay at night in a lodge together. Both of them remembered what Mohan had warned.
They could not sleep because each of them was scared about the other person getting up at midnight and biting the ear.
At midnight, Krishnan got up to go to the bathroom. His friend noticed it and he got scared. He did not want to allow Krishnan to do any harm to him. He decided to act proactively and catch hold of the friend and bite his ear first. So, he got up and pounced over Krishnan. Krishnan thought that the friend was coming to attack him and bite his ear.
He immediately caught hold of him and attempted to bite his ear first. Thus both of them started fighting with each other and banging their heads in order to bite the other person’s ear!
(From Amma’s satsang on : 18/12/21)