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. Surmountable Problem!
Once there were two colleagues – a male and a female – working in an office at adjacent seats. When some serious issues or crisis comes up in the office works causing them mental stress, both of them had a habit of opening their wallet and looking at a picture they had kept there. They would close their eyes and then start resuming their work with revived vigor.
Others in the office who have been watching this for long were curious to know what picture did they carry in their wallets that could give them mental peace in moments of tension.
When they inquired, the man showed the picture and said it was his wife.
“Oh! You love wife so much that when you look at her picture itself you feel energized?” they asked.
The man replied coolly, “No. At the moment of extreme problem at office, when I look at my wife’s photo, I think ‘when I have been facing such a huge problem in life, is it a big deal to face this problem in the office?’. Immediately I get the vigor to surmount any problem”.
They asked the woman colleague. The woman showed the picture which was her husband and said the same about her husband!
[Amma laughingly said, after narrating this story, “If I say the story of only a man looking at his wife’s photo, the woman folk here would come and fight with Amma that she is not fair! So, I added the woman character too in this story to escape from complaints of partiality!”
Br. Shubhamrita, who was the translator of Amma’s satsang from Malayalam to English, while translating this narrative added on his own: “Of course Amma is always partial towards men for justifiable reasons, but she added the woman character in the story today just to ward off criticism only!” Amma too joined the laughter when Shubhamrita added his quip!]
(Beach Satsang Fri 6/2/2015)
[Amma: “Rational thinking and proper understanding are same. When you can think rationally, your understanding increases and vice versa. If you can stay in the present wilfully, your awareness increases and you get clarity in thinking. When you get clarity, you can foresee hints about dangers and problems that are going to come. Let Amma share with you a story she had heard:”]
Once a correspondent from a newspaper came to interview a very successful businessman. The conversation went on like this:
Correspondent: “Sir, what is the secret of your success?”
Businessman: “Just two words”.
C: “What are they?”
B: “Right decisions”
C: “How do you take right decisions?”
B: “One word”.
C: “WHat is it?”
C: “How do you gain experience?”
B: “Two words”.
C: “What are they?”
B: “Wrong decisions!”
(Source: From ‘Ammavin Anpu Ullaththilirunthu‘ Tamil)
3. Owning the Guru!
[Amma: “A disciple must make use of the external physical form of the guru to grasp his internal subtle form. To know the subtle form of the guru, the disciple should have a subtle mind. A disciple, instead of grasping the Guru’s real subtle form, serves only the external physical body, it may lead to dangerous consequences. Let Amma tell you a story to narrate this:”]
Once a guru had two disciples. Both of them were always competing with each other to serve the guru. Once, while relaxing in the bed, the guru asked his disciples to massage his legs. Both came and sat on either side of the Guru. The disciple sitting on the right side said to the other, “Listen; this right leg of the guru belongs to me and the left leg is for you; Is that alright?”
The other disciple said, “OKay. But make sure to confine your services to the right leg only. Never attempt to encroach on “my” left leg of the guru. Is that clear?”
“Fine; I will take care of “my” right leg. You should ensure that “your” left leg should never come on “my’ way. Right?”
Thus settled, both of them started to message their side of the leg of the guru. As the guru had already dozed off, he did not hear the conversation between the disciples and their ‘property sharing agreement’.
During sleep, the Guru turned side wise. Now the right leg was lying over the left leg. This made the second disciple very angry. He shouted at the first disciple “You have broken your agreement. I hust cannot tolerate the right leg resting over “my” left leg. Remove it immediately, else I will show you my true color. Don’t blame me for the consequences later”.
The first disciple got very angry on account of this provocation. He stood up and said, “you arrogant rascal! Don’t throw any hollow words. Come on! Show me what you can do; if anything happens to “my” right leg, that will be your end!”
Both got worked up. They took two wooden sticks in their hands. The second disciple was ready to break the right leg that has insulted the left leg by resting over it. The first disciple was also ready to break guru’s left leg, if only ‘his’ property of right leg was hit.
Hearing this commotion, the guru woke up from his slumber; he was shocked to see his disciples standing at his two sides with wooden sticks in hand, with their faces red with anger. “What happened? What are you up to?” asked the Guru.
The disciples replied, “Maharaj, you just lie down and continue with your sleep. This is something between the two of us and you don’t have to bother interfering in this matter. We will settle it ourselves!”
(From Arul Mozhigal- Part IV)
4. Going through the motion
[Amma: “Even in the path of bhakti (devotion), certain amount of jnanan (knowledge) is essential. Rituals have their place and purpose in the practice of Bhakthi but their significance must be properly understood. Blindly following rituals will not really help in one’s religious practices”.]
Once there lived a person who was very systematic in his daily worships. He would offer milk, panchamritam etc to the deity, light lamps, chant hymns and prayers daily.
He had a pet cat in his home. While he performed the pooja and chanted the hymns with closed eyes, his cat would sneak in and lick the milk kept in front of the deity. Having noticed this once, he felt bad that the milk meant for offering to God was defiled by the cat. To prevent it, the man would catch the cat before commencing the pooja, put a basket over it to cover it and thus prevent it from roaming around.
His little son would watch his father doing pooja daily and also noticed his practice of covering the cat with the basket. However, he did not know why he was doing so.
Years passed. The father died. So did the cat. The family tradition of conducting daily pooja to the deity came on the shoulders of the son who had grown up now.
The son too arranged the materials for the pooja, prepared milk and panchamritam and did every minute details of the pooja exactly as his father used to do. Suddenly he remembered: “Oh! The cat is missing!” There ws no cat in the house, but their neighbor had one pet cat. He went to the neighbor’s house, got their permission and carried the cat to his house for the sake of puja; he placed the cat by his side and covered it with a basket! He started singing his hymns only after that.
He made this ‘ritual’ a regular one, so that the ‘traditional’ pooja procedures established by his father were practiced by him impeccably!
(Tuesday Satsang 28/3/2017)
5. The closed case
[Amma: “Most people don’t have true faith. They are only in the grip of blind faith. Instead of devotion to God, what they have is fear and doubt. Even educated people won’t accept in God, but they have lots of faith in their car, house, TV etc. These worldly things can perish at any time and yet they have faith in them; but they don’t have faith in the imperishable atman which is the indweller in all beings. What a pity! Let me tell you a story:”]
Once in a village, an aged patient lost consciousness and looked almost dead. Everyone thought he had died. As per rituals, they bathed his body, adored him with a new clothe, placed him in a coffin, conducted the last religious sermons and carried the coffin in a procession towards the cremation ground.
People carrying the coffin suddenly heard a knocking sound from inside the coffin. First they were scared. Then they stopped the procession, placed the coffin on the ground and opened it. The person inside the coffin spoke in a feeble voice, with his eyes still closed, “I am not dead; please take me out”.
But the people around did not believe what he said. They said, “The doctor checked your body and declared that you were dead; The priest too had finished the sermons and given permission to conduct your last rites and bury you. Sorry. We can’t help now”
They closed the coffin, carried to the burial ground, dug a pit, buried the coffin and returned home!
6. Willingness to Share
[Amma: “Most people can talk eloquently about unselfishness and sacrifice. But when it comes to putting them practically in life, they would never do it wholeheartedly”.]
Once a man was telling his friend “I really want to serve the world unselfishly and become a renunciate”.
Noticing that his voice was dry and lacked any true emotion, the friend asked, “Do you really understand what unselfishness and renunciation mean?”
“Oh, definitely” said the man.
“If so, you should be prepared to share one of your TV Sets if you have two, to a poor person who does not have TV”.
“Yes. I am ready for it”
“If you have two cars, you should give your car free to one who does not have a car”.
“No doubt about it. I will surely give”.
“If you have two cows, you should give one to a poor person who does not have a cow”.
Now the man said, “Sorry! I cannot give the cow”.
His friend got surprised. He asked, “Why can’t you give a cow? When you can share a TV set and a car with others, will not the same logic apply to cows too?
The man said, “No. That logic would now apply. In reality, I don’t have two TV sets or two cars. But I do possess two cows!”
[Amma: “Children! This is how our renunciation truly is! If someone comes to us for help, we would wriggle out saying, ‘I could have helped you if only I had this or had that’. But in reality, even if we are in a position to help others, we really don’t wish to do it. We will invent reasons for not helping them and turn them away”.]
(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)
7. Where did God hide?
Long long ago, when God decided to create the world, his idea was to create a nice place for him to reside. So, he created this earth with beautiful mountains, meadows, forests, rivers, seas, birds and animals. He lived happily in it. Everything was going fine.
Unfortunately, God made a blunder one day. He created the human beings too!
From that day onwards, he was in trouble! Day and night people started complaining to him. They prayed for something or other. Not allowing him to eat, rest or sleep, people were constantly knocking at the doors, demanding something or other from him.
God lost all his peace of mind by the never ending demands of human beings.Once he solved one problem, another problem came up. The solution he gave to one person became a problem to another person.One person prays for bountiful rains. Another person complaints that his crops get affected by rain, his roof leaks and hence he wants the raining to stop. Whatever God did brought fresh problems to him and people ceaselessly complained.
God got fed up. He called his advisors and sought a solution to escape from people. One advisor told him to retire to Himalayas. God said people would find him there and soon come chasing him. Another person suggested God to move his residence to the moon. God said, “Dear friends; the problem with you is that you cannot foresee future, while I can. In future man will travel to moon too and find me there”.
His advisors fell silent. After a while, an old advisor came close to God and murmured something in his ears. God’s face brightened up hearing his suggestion. His suggestion was: “Dear lord, you hide yourself in the hearts of the people”. God said, “Yes. This is the right suggestion. Man will never search God within himself and hence he will never find me out there!”
[Amma: “Children! God resides in the deepest recess of our hearts. He resides there in the form of guilelessness and pure love; Our mind and our ego hide his presence there; he is always there; we have forgotten that he is ever there”.]
8. He is cured!
Once a physician came late to his dispensary to attend to the patients. As he entered into his dispensary, he saw a man with a miserable expression on his face, as if he was trying to control something with extreme difficulty. He was standing with his back tightly pressed against the compound and legs tightly close.
Before going to his cabin he asked the compounder cum assistant who was already there at his desk as to who the person standing against the compound wall was.
The compounder said, “Oh! That man has been waiting for you for the past one hour. He came here with uncontrollable cough. Since you were late, he wanted me to give him some cough syrup for his relief. I told him that cough syrup is presently presently out of stock. But he kept on insisting me for some relief till you come and attend to him. I took pity on him and gave him a purgative syrup for relief”.
The physician got extremely angry hearing it. “Are you a fool? Are you mad to give him a purgative instead of a cough syrup?”
The compounder said coolly, “Sir, my treatment has really worked. Look at him! He is not coughing at all!”
[Amma: “Sometimes certain wrong decisions we take in life might look might deceptively look right in the short run”.]
(Amma Singapore Satsang 2/5/19)
9. Cause and effect!
Once a man with a bandage on his forehead went to meet his friend.
His friend asked: “What happened? How did you get injured?”
The man said, “Yesterday my wife fell down”.
“If she fell down, how come you have injury on your forehead?”
“When she fell down I laughed. She got angry”.
10. Searching – for what?
Once a person called up his relative over phone. It was a child voice that answered “Hello”. The person knew that it was the little son of his relative. He said, “Hi my little boy, How are you? Please call your father”.
The boy said in a very hushed tone: “Father is very busy”.
“Then call your mother”.
“Mother is quite busy”
“Both are really busy? Right. Call your elder brother”.
“Elder brother is also busy” said the boy in hushed voice.
“What my dear son! How come everyone is busy? Who else is there in the house?”
“Some policemen are there”.
The caller was intrigued. He said, “Then call one of the policeman”.
“No. They are also busy!”
“Whaaat? Then who else is there in the house?”
“Fire service men are there”.
“I wonder what is wrong there. Call one of them”
“They are also very busy”
The caller came to his wit’s end. “What is the nonsense happening there my son? Why are so many people there? what are they busy about?”
The boy said in a hushed tone: “They are all busy searching for me!”
[Amma: “People search for happiness everywhere, but the real source of happiness is within us”.]
11. Identify yourself!
Once a new teacher came to the Biology class. He was teaching about different birds, their features, food and hunting habits etc. He announced: “Tomorrow there will be a midterm test on this subject. You have to do more self-study on this subject yourself. Let me tell you beforehand that the test could be somewhat unconventional so as to test how well you have grasped the subject.”
One student studied the textbook and also memorized the standard questions and answers on the subject. He was quite confident to score good mark in the crucial test.
The next day, the new teacher had kept some five curated and stuffed models of birds on the table, with their bodies fully covered and only their legs and claws exposed.
The question paper read: “Identify the birds by their legs and write salient details of each bird giving their features, habitats, flying capacity and food habits”.
The student, who was all along used to only conventional exams was very upset and angry because he could never imagine such an unconventional way of testing the students. He felt it was not at all fair to conduct a test like this.
He walked angrily towards the new teacher, threw his empty answer paper on his table and said, “Sir, we are not used to these types of exams. It is not right to force such a surprise test on us. I am sorry to tell you that it is very unfair to make us fail or lose marks this way. I am protesting against this test and I am going to walkout without writing this test”.
He stomped out of the room. When he was near the entrance, the new teacher shouted, “Hey! What is your name and roll number?”
The boy promptly turned back, lifted up his pants up to his knees and said, “Sir, Look at my legs and find out yourself!”
12. You get what you deserve
Once a rishi was taking bath in a river. A little mouse that somehow fell into the river got drifted towards the sage by the river stream. The sage picked up the mouse and brought it to his hut. He somehow developed a liking for the mouse which interacted with him with love. Using his yogic powers, he blessed the mouse to become the a beautiful princess of the country.
The princess grew up and the king started looking for the right match for her. One day the king brought the princess to the sage and sought his blessings and guidance for getting the right husband for her.
The mouse in the form of the princess fell at the feet of her erstwhile savior. The sage asked her affectionately, “What sort of husband do you wish? I will bless you accordingly”.
The princess said, “My husband must be the most powerful personality in the whole world”.
The sage said, “The entire world’s survival depends on the sun. He is indeed the most powerful ruler of this world. Shall I ask the sun God to marry you?”
The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can cover the sun from shining on the earth; is not the cloud more powerful than the sun?”
“Well; then I will arrange your marriage with the God of rains” said the sage.
The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can be blown over and dispersed by the wind; is not the wind more powerful than the cloud?”
“Well; If you think so, I will arrange your marriage with Vayu, the wind God” said the sage.
The princess thought for a while and said, “But I am afraid the mountain is more powerful than the wind, because it can stop the movement of wind. Is not the mountain more powerful than the wind?”
The sage chuckled within himself and said, “Well; in fact there is something more powerful than the mountain too”.
“Who is it? I would be glad to marry him!” said the princess.
“A mouse. A mouse can dig a hole even through a mountain. Is it not more powerful than the mountain?”
The princess jumped with joy! “Yes, yes! I will marry the mouse!”
The sage laughed aloud; he sprinkled some holy water on the princess and converted her back to a mouse, so that she could marry a male mouse and live happily thereafter!
[Amma: “Every one of us are in fact the Atman which is essentially divine and beyond birth and death. Yet, because of maya, we tend to lower our real status by identifying ourselves with our body and mind and thus limit ourselves”.]
(Amma Satsang on 1.6.19)
12. As you interpret, so you understand
Once two boys got a bunch of nuts to eat. They went to sit under a huge shady tree at the back end of a cemetery. They took out the pack and decided to share them equally. Picking the nuts one by one they said, “This one is for you, this one is for me” and started dividing them. As they picked up the nuts some of them rolled out and fell close to the fence of the cemetery. The boys noticed it and yet they continued with their job of dividing, leaving those nuts at the fence to be picked up at the end.
Just behind the fence, there was a road. A boy from the nearby locality came by bicycle towards that place. He heard some voices from inside the cemetery; he was curious to know what was going on. He stopped there, went close to the fence and sharpened his ears to hear the conversation inside. He heard “This one is for you and this one is for me” again and again. He was shocked.
With pounding heart, he rushed in his bicycle to share what he found out to the first person he encountered. An old man was walking by that side and the boy said, “Uncle! I heard the weirdest conversation between God and Satan inside the cemetery!”
The old man laughed and asked, “What did you hear?”
“I heard God and Satan sharing the the souls between them in the cemetery saying “this one is for you and this one is for me!”.
“Whh..at? That is nonsense!” said the old man.
“But uncle, believe me! I heard it; please come with me; perhaps we can still hear it”.
Out of curiosity, the old man rushed to the spot along with the boy. Sure he could also hear “This one is for you and this one is for me” from inside the cemetery!
The old man was very curious to investigate. He went close to the fence and see whether there are any gaps through which they can peep in and see what was going on. He found a small gap in the fence and when he looked in he could see a wide tree trunk and nothing more. With difficulty he widened the gap so that both of them could look inside.
But they could still not notice the two boys there inside, as the tree trunk was hiding them. They heard, “Okay. This one is for you and this one is for me. We are almost finished. Let us pick those nuts at the fence and share between us. Then we are done!”
Hearing this the old man and the boy had the shock of their lives. Instantly they took to heels and ran like mad from the spot!
[Amma: “Limited by our own preconceived ideas and intellectual limitations, we misinterpret many things in life and suffer out of it”.]
Once, when the monthly phone bill came for the landline phone in the house, the husband felt shocked. The amount was exorbitantly high. ‘Someone is excessively using the phone here; it must be my wife’ he thought.
He called his wife and showed her the bill. “I am afraid you are excessively talking in the phone; it’s time you stopped it immediately” he said.
The wife felt offended. “No! I am hardly using this phone; whatever personal calls I make, I do it from my office phone and not from here! It must be our son who is doing this” she said.
The father called his son and inquired. “No papa! I don’t use our landline phone for my personal calls. I only make use of office phone for this purpose”. Then, after thinking for while, he said in a subdued voice, “I think it is our new servant maid, who is using our phone. I have noticed her talking from our phone on a few occasions when none of us are in the hall!”
The father was shocked to hear this. He immediately called the new servant maid and inquired. She admitted that she was indeed using the phone and added, “What’s wrong in it? I am also using the office phone, no?”
[Amma: “All of us nurture double standards in our life; whatever we do is perfectly normal but if others do it it is wrong!”]
13. What’s the time?
Once, a person went to the house of an old friend. They were meeting after a very long time. The friends talked happily for hours reminiscing many old incidents across a couple of drinks. It became late at night. Suddenly the visitor said, “Oh! It is already late! Wonder how time just flew by talking about our good old days! What is the time like? My wife will be waiting for me and she will get worried; My mobile has no charge…” Saying so, he looked around for a wall clock.
The host said, “Sorry, I don’t have a wall clock or a timepiece. My mobile too is out of order… Wait! Let me find out the time for you…”
So saying, he took out a hammer from his tool box and started hitting the wall. After a while, there was a loud voice shouting from the adjacent flat: “You idiot! Don’t you have sense that others are sleeping? What are you breaking at midnight 12 o’clock?”
The man smiled gleefully and said to his friend, “Got it? It is 12 o’clock now!”
[Amma: “Some people are so selfish and insensitive that they don’t care causing inconvenience to others in order to fulfil their selfish motives.”]
15. New Year Resolution
A group of friends were celebrating New Year Day. A youngster asked for a cigarette from his friend. His friend said, “Didn’t you tell me that you have taken a resolution not to smoke from this New Year?”
The youngster replied, “Yes. I am indeed stopping it stage by stage. The first stage is this”.
“What do you mean by first stage?”
“In the first stage, I have resolved not to buy cigarettes from my own money and I will smoke only by getting cigarettes from my friends”.
[Amma: “Children, our resolutions should never be like what this youngster did! Once we take a resolution, we should implement it, come what may”.]
16. Communication done!
A person was scheduled to travel a long distance on account of his official work the next day. He wanted to get up at 5:00 AM. Only then he would be able to catch 9:00 AM flight. He was extremely tired when he returned home. He wanted to go to bed immediately. He wanted to ensure that he would get up positively at 5:00 AM the next morning. However, due to a fight he had with his wife earlier, they were not talking to each other for the past few days.
So, he wrote a note saying “Please wake me up at 5:00 AM tomorrow” and sent it to his wife through the servant maid. He went to bed.
When he woke up the next morning, it was already 9 AM! As his trip got jeopardised, he felt very angry and shouted at his wife saying, “Why didn’t you wake me up?”
His wife too got angry. She shouted back: “Why do you get angry? I have already done what you asked me to do. Just go and see at your bed near your pillow”.
The man went and saw what was there. A piece of paper was kept there with a scribbling:” 5 AM”.
“If you keep a message in a piece of paper, how will I wake up?” he shouted.
“You too gave me the message in a piece of paper only yesterday; You did not speak to me. So, I reciprocated in the same way” said the wife!
[Amma: “Even if the husband is not in talking terms with her, the wife could have woken him up, considering the importance of his business trip. In the same way, the husband could have dropped his obstinacy and requested her verbally to wake him up at 5 AM. But neither of them were ready for stepping down. We must always correct a mistake by a right action. Instead, if we oppose a wrong with another wrong, the family life will become a hill of mistakes. “]