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Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 4 (15 more stories )

1.   Equal punishment?

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.   Compassionate request

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.   Compassion is more important than worship

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

4.   Indebtedness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.   Personal touch (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

6.   Personal touch (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.   Don’t take more than your need

Once the family of a rich man came to a famous hotel for a buffet dinner.

An old man sitting and eating in the next table, kept watching the rich man’s family. Most of the members from the family were picking up lots of varieties of food in excess quantities. They would try some items, eat a little here and a little there and discard the food. They would again pick up some more items and waste them if they were not to their liking.

The old man signaled to the head of the family and expressed his wish to talk to them. He said, “You people are wasting lots of food. This is not right. Take only as much as you could eat and not more. This is not a responsible behavior” he said curtly.

The rich man felt offended and angry. He retorted: “We have paid for the buffet for each and every one of our family. You know that buffet food is unlimited. So, it is totally up to us to take as much as we want; if we like something. we eat it; if we don’t like, we throw away. None can question us. It is our right”.

The old man said, “It is your right to eat to your stomach-full for the money you have paid. But it is not your right to waste food; by wasting food, you are depriving somebody else’s share of food. There are countless poor people in the outer world who don’t have the means to eat one square meal a day. Many people go to bed with empty stomach. The food you waste rightfully belong to the poor and you are depriving them indirectly by wasteful consumption”.

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

8. Avoiding Embarrassment

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village. As he had no money to sow for the upcoming crop season, he approached a rich man in his village for a loan. The rich man was quite kind hearted. He readily offered money to the farmer and asked him to repay it once he harvested his produce and sold them.  Thanking him profusely, the farmer collected the money and went about enthusiastically to raise the crops.

Unfortunately, by the time the crop was ready for harvesting, a heavy thunderstorm struck. His entire farm was flooded and the farmer lost all his produce.  He was crestfallen. How could he repay the loan?

With no other go, the farmer started avoiding the rich man. Whenever he saw the rich man coming in the opposite direction at a distance, the farmer would quickly take a detour and avoid meeting him. The rich man noticed what the farmer was doing and he understood.

One day, the rich man was walking on the road along with his friend. He noticed the farmer coming at a distance. Immediately the rich man quickly hid himself behind an adjacent tree. After the farmer went past, he returned to the road. Surprised to see his behavior, the friend asked, “What is this? Why are you hiding yourself from the farmer? Are you afraid of him for some reason?”

The rich man said, “No. I really feel pity for the farmer. I know he has lost his entire crop this year due to unexpected floods. In fact I had loaned him a heavy amount for raising this crop. He is a honest farmer and he feels extremely embarrassed to see me face to face out of fear that I may ask him to pay back the loan. So, he is always trying to avoid me.  Since I know his pitiable condition, I wanted to avoid any embarrassment for him in seeing me in front of him today. That’s why I hid myself behind the tree”.

(From Amma”s 67th birthday satsang 27/9/2020)

9.  For the sake of havenots

Once there lived a boy who used to notice a Home for the orphans on his way to school. He would feel very sorry looking at the children whose faces were always sad and forlorn.

Onam festival was round the corner. As usual, his father gifted him some money for the festival for him to buy toys or anything else that he was desirous of.  He thought, ‘I have parents who always but toys, news dress and other things for me and take good care.  But who is there for the poor children living in the orphanage? They don’t have parents and relatives. How sad is their condition!’

Thinking this way, he took a decision. He approached his classmates and said, “All of us are having pocket money now given by our parents for celebrating Onam. Let me suggest a thing. Let us pool the money together and buy some face masks and simple toys in bulk. Let us sell them to public from street corners. By using that money, we can buy more of them and sell more. Using that money, let us buy lots of toys and gift them to the orphan children. What do you say?”

Practically all his classmates did not show interest in his suggestion. They were keen to use their pocket money only for their own enjoyment. However only one boy agreed to his suggestion. They put their money together and bought some funny face masks and toys for children.  Both of them wore face masks, went to places where people gathered in large numbers and entertained them with their antics. Amused people gathered around them and watched them with glee. The boy announced, “Please buy some masks from us and gift them to your children. They will be happy to wear them and you too find joy in their entertainment. We see you are all laughing and enjoying. But remember for a moment that there are indeed people around us who do not know what joy is.  Please think of them and buy goods from us. The money you pay will be utilized for giving that joy to the deserving people”.

The boys’ entertainment and smart speech attracted the audience. They eagerly came forward to buy the masks and other toys from them. From that money, they bought more stuff and resold them. With the accumulated money they bought lots of funny masks and other toys and gifts for the orphans.

On the day of Onam festival, the two boys went to the orphanage. While the people outside ashram were all in festive mood, the children at the ashram looked furlorn. The boys called all the children and distributed the masks and other gifts to them. Suddenly, the faces of all the children lit up. The boys burst fire crackers; they lit sparklers and handed over to the children. Festive mood caught up inside the Home too. The children started jumping and screaming around in joy.

The boy who initiated this stood aside and watched all the merry. His eyes filled with tears of joy. He felt that the joy he felt at that moment, by not keeping anything for selfish enjoyment but sharing everything with others was far more intense and deeply satisfying than what he would have had otherwise.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

10.  The generous kid

Once a mother of two children went to a supermarket for buying essential needs for the week. She knew that if she took them around the supermarket, they would keep pestering her for buying many unnecessary things that they see on the shelves. As they entered in to the supermarket she gave some money to both the children and said, “Buy whatever you want or eat within this money and sit there at the chairs. Wait for me till I make the purchases and come back.”

The children gladly collected the money. The first girl bought chocolates for the entire money and started eating them by sitting in the waiting area.

The other girl looked around thinking what to buy for her. At one corner, many saplings of fruit trees were on sale. She bought one sapling. With the balance money she bought some biscuits. She too came to the waiting area and sat with her sister.

By the time she arrived there, her sister had already finished the chocolates. She was looking for eating something more, but she had already exhausted her money. The second girl opened the biscuit packet and started eating. She also shared a portion of it with her sister.

[Amma:  “Most of us, like the first girl in this story, live a selfish life, intent only on satisfying our desires. But the second girl is the example of how we should rightly live in this world. For the sake of the world, she bought a sapling, which will grow to a tree in future and be useful to many. For her own enjoyment, she bought biscuits and that too she shared with others gladly.”]

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

11.  The most difficult job

Once a king posed this question at his court: “What is the most difficult job on earth?”

In order to make the king feel happy, practically all those gathered there said, “Being a king and ruling a country”. The king was quite satisfied with the answer. But the court jester stood up and said, “The job of a mother is the most difficult one in the world”.

The king did not like it. He wanted the jester to convince him with facts.  The jester said, “Your majesty, I will arrange to send a mother with a 3 year old child to the palace. Please watch her for one or two days and you will come to know.”

The king agreed.

A mother with her 3 year old kid arrived. The king arranged a person to observe the mother and report to him all that happened.

The next day, the person came and reported to the king the following.

After the mother and child settled there at the previous night, the child wanted to eat some chocolates. The mother gave a small piece of chocolate to the child and it ate the piece with great relish. The child wanted more, but the mother refused to give. The child started crying and demanded more.

The mother said to the child, “You can eat only this much chocolate in a day. If you eat more, it will cause toothache and stomach ache.” She tried to divert the attention of the child but the child was too adamant. It cried more and more; it threw up tantrums.  But the mother was extremely patient and tried to pacify the child, but to no avail. The child kept on crying and the mother did no further effort to calm her. She simply let the child cry.  Getting tired, the child slept off. The mother too slept.

On the next morning, the child woke up. It immediately remembered about the chocolate and started crying for it again. The mother now took out a piece of chocolate and gave it. But the angry child was in no mood to compromise. It cried saying, “I want only yesterday’s chocolate, but you are giving me today. I will not agree. I want it yesterday!”

The mother patiently said, “It is still yesterday, darling! Since you slept off, you are mistaken that one day has passed. Now eat this. It is still yesterday only!”  The child stopped crying and stared relishing the chocolate.

When the king heard this, he turned to the court jester and said, “Yes man. I agree! A mother’s job is the most difficult to handle!”

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

12. The right king

Once a king by name Jayadev was ruling the country of Magadha. He had 3 sons. As the king was getting old, he wanted to crown one of his sons as the king. Even though it was the norm to appoint the eldest son as the king, Jayadev was however not keen on following the custom, as he was a very compassionate king, who had all along ruled the country unselfishly with the only motive of taking care of welfare of the subjects. He wanted to ensure that the next ruler too continued to be compassionate towards the people.

He called all his sons and inquired: “Have you done any good deed in your life, recently?”

The eldest son said, ” Yes, I did one recently. One of my friends, before undertaking a pilgrimage, gave me a huge collection of precious stones and he asked me to keep them in my safe custody till he returns from his journey. I did take care of them and returned all of them safely without even touching one of them once he came back.”

“What is so great about it?” asked the king.

“If at all I had desired, I could have stolen one from them. I never did so” said the prince.

“Why didn’t you steal?”

“Had I stolen, my conscience would keep pricking me afterward. That’s why I did not steal”.

“It means you restrained yourself just to safeguard yourself from future trouble”.  The king turned towards his second son and asked him what good deed he had done.

He said, “Recently, I was walking along a river bank. Lots of people had gathered there and making lots of noise. I  came to know that one man who got into water for bathing had sunk in the river just then. That area in the river was infested with lots of crocodiles. So, no one was willing to save the person, risking their life against crocodiles. When I came to know this, I jumped into the river and saved the man”.

“That was indeed really good. What motivated you to do so, risking your life?” asked the king.

“People gathered there knew that I was the prince. If I had not come forward to save the sinking man,  they would start talking “Oh, the prince ran away fearing his life!’. Will they not label me a coward? That’s why I risked my life to save the man”.

The king said, “It means you did not jump into river out of compassion for the man, but only to save your honor; you wanted the people to praise you; right?”

The king asked his third son about any good deeds he had done recently.

The third son replied, “I don’t remember having done any such thing”.

The king was disappointed. However, he sent his messengers to find out from common people whether any of them knew any good deeds done by the third son.

Soon the king came to know from his messengers that the third son was indeed doing many philanthropic activities. Many people told that the prince would always inquire about their well being whenever he interacted with them, and would encourage them to share their problems and difficulties with him. Some poor people said that the prince always gave them food and money if he came to know that they were hungry and had no means to eat. Some people said that he helped them to build houses for them when he came to know that they were roofless. The prince was thus engaged in countless welfare activities but he would always tell the beneficiaries not to mention about him to others.”

The king embraced the third son and said, “You are the right person to rule this kingdom after me”. Soon he crowned him as the king and retired from active life.

[Amma:  “Children, when we do a good deed, the idea ‘I am the doer’ should not rise up its head. Extending help to others should never be for the sake of getting fame. Every act of seva should become a worship of God. We are just instruments in the hand of God.  The power to act through us is His. Never forget this.”]

(Source: OLiyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

13. Take the right example (1)

Once a forest dweller was going through the forest. At a particular place, he noticed a fox lying. The fox had broken its two legs and was lying there unable to move. He felt pity on the fox. He thought, “Who will feed this fox? Oh! God is sometimes cruel”. Then he wondered, “This fox cannot move but it looks healthy. Does it mean someone is feeding it?” He got curious. He wanted to know how the fox was getting its food.

After a while, a tiger came there. It was carrying a large piece of meat in its mouth. It ate half of it sitting there and left the remaining half for the fox to eat. The forest dweller was very surprised. He wanted to know whether the tiger would be coming again the next day too to feed the fox.

Promptly, he came to same spot at the same time and hid himself behind a tree to watch what wasp. Like the previous day, the tiger came there, ate some meat and left the balance for the fox to eat. It was happening daily.

The forest dweller thought, “It means God is there to take care.  So, let me too stop running around and work for my food. God will surely arrange someone to feed me”.  He  went and sat at one place and waited. The whole day passed. No one brought any food for him! He waited for the second day too. Nothing happened.  He felt very weak. He was about to lose faith on God. At that time, a divine voice was heard by him from the sky: “My son! Don’t be like the lame fox. Aspire to be like the tiger who feeds the fox out of compassion”.

[Amma:  “Children, don’t think ‘let others do the service; let somebody extend help’. Sitting idle without doing anything is a crime committed against God.  God has given health to us only for serving the poor with constant remembrance of God. We should always develop the attitude of helping those who are suffering.”]

(Source: OLiyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 2)

14. Take the right example (2)

Once in a gurukula, the guru was teaching his disciples about the differences in the nature of people in the world.

The master kept four glasses with water on the table. In the first glass, he put a few pebbles of stones. The stones sank to the bottom and nothing more happened.

In the second glass, the master dropped a lump of mud. Soon the mud got dissolved in water and made the glass of water dirty.

In the third glass, the master put a piece of sponge. The sponge quickly absorbed all the water in the glass.

In the fourth glass, the master dropped a sugar candy. The candy dissolved in the water. The water continued to look clear but the water turned sweet to drink.

Now the master explained.

“There are four types of people in this world. There are lots of  people who are like stones in the first glass. They are good for nothing. They live in the society, but they don’t contribute anything for the good of the society. Some people are like the lump of mud in the second glass. They don’t do anything good for the society but they spoil others with whom they interact. Thus they are harmful to the society.

There are the third type of people who are hopelessly selfish.  They are like the sponge put in water. Like the sponge absorbing the water, they will try to grab whatever others have or they will exploit nature for satiating their selfish needs and greed. They will earn and hoard far more than what they need, thus depriving the genuine needs of have-nots.

And there are only a few people in society who are like the sugar candy in the fourth glass. They sacrifice themselves for the sake of others and bring sweetness to others’ lives.

It is the fourth type of people that we should take as examples for us to emulate in our life. If we follow their lives, we too will gain sweetness in life. Gradually, we too will become capable of giving sweetness to others’ lives.”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

15. Child’s heart

It was the annual day festival in a charitable trust where mentally retarded children are taken care of.

As part of the festival, a drama enacted by children was in progress on the dais. In the scene, a poor beggar, scantly dressed,  was going in search of a shelter for an overnight stay on a very cold night. He goes to a bungalow and begs for permission for staying over night there as could not bear the cold outside. However, the house owner scolds him harshly and forces him out of his compound.  The beggar, hurt and sad, walks out shivering in cold.

Watching this scene, a mentally retarded little boy from the audience ran up to the dais. He said to the ‘beggar’, “Please don’t cry. I will take care of you. I have space in my room for one person to sleep; you can come with me to my house”.

Watching such an innocent behavior of the boy, the entire audience stood up and clapped. Emotionally moved by the boy’s spontaneous expression of compassion,many people wiped their wet eyes.

[Amma:How many of us, who possess fully developed mental faculties, have the compassionate heart that the mentally retarded boy had?“]

 

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  The difference

Once a rich man happened to meet his boyhood friend after many years. Both felt very happy at seeing each other. The rich man said, “Come! Let us go to the Park nearby and chitchat for sometime”.

As they walked, the rich man noticed that his friend’s looks did not have any signs of affluence. He said, “In the good old days we played together; we studied in the same school; but today, there seems to be big difference between the two of us”. His friend did not say anything.

On their way, the rich man stopped suddenly. He bent down and picked up a 5 rupee coin from the street. Extending it towards his friend, he said, “This coin fell from your pocket.”

They walked further. Now the friend stopped suddenly. His attention went to a thorny bush nearby.  There was a butterfly, caught somehow amid the thorns,  fluttering its wings frantically and trying to escape from there.  The friend went close.  He carefully and leisurely used his fingers to push aside the thorny stems of the bush so that the butterfly gets freed. The butterfly escaped and flew away from there. The friend stood up and started walking again.

The rich man asked, ” I really wonder how this butterfly caught your attention!”

The friend said, “Did you not say a little while ago that there is a big difference between the two of us? That’s it. While you heard the sound of a 5 rupee coin, I heard the sound of the heart of the butterfly that got caught in the bush”.

[Amma:Look at the difference in the mental attitude of these two persons. Our thoughts and actions determine our tendencies and personality. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

17. Eye of Compassion

A couple of persons from a Social Service Organization went to meet a rich businessman.  Their intention was to convince him to donate a good amount for their philanthropic activities for the welfare of the poor and downtrodden.

But the businessman was very arrogant. He was least interested in parting with any money for good a cause. Even though they explained the extent of difficulties the poor people were facing and to what extent their activities were sincerely benefiting them, the rich man did not budge an inch.

As the visitors got up to leave, the rich man suddenly said, “Wait. Let me see whether I could do something to help you. But you have to correctly answer my one question and if you do it, I will donate some money.”

The visitors were ready to take the question.

“I have eyesight only in one eye. The other eyeball is actually made of artificial material. If you correctly tell me which one is artificial, you will get the amount”.

The visitors looked keenly at both his eyes. One of them said, “Your left eye is artificial”.

The business man was very surprised. “How did you find out? So far,  no one I challenged could find it out. It was made of a very costly material and crafted by experts. Tell me how you could decipher it”.

The person said, “I was searching for some of light of compassion in your eyes. I noticed that your left eye had at least a trace of compassion in it, while the right one didn’t have any. It looked like a stone. From that I felt your right eye indeed is your real eye”.

[Amma:This businessman is a real representative of  our present times. Nowadays we possess heads heated up with egoism and hearts turned cold by selfishness. What we need is the opposite.  Our heart needs the warmth of love and compassion. With that, the head should also be cool with expansive understanding.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on Karma / Fate – Part 1 (7 more stories)

1.  The fruit of Karma returns anyway

[Amma: “The fate or the fruit of your past karma is like an arrow that you shot to hit a target and return. When the arrow comes back, invariably, you fail to catch it and it attacks you too. The only difference may that the return of the arrow (the fruit of your karma) may not happen immediately. It may come late, but sure it will.”]

Once a farmer worked very hard in order to own a big farm, so that he, his sons and grandchildren could live very comfortably. He bought a barren land and toiled very hard to make the soil fertile. Fighting against draught, pests and storms, he protected his crop. He could get great yields. After years of hard work, he could really become quite rich. He got old. He thought the time has come for him to rest and he handed over the responsibility of managing the form to his son,

Once the son took charge, the old man felt very relaxed. He used to lie down in front of his farm in an easy chair and enjoyed his rest and leisure.

The son who took full charge of the farm initially felt very happy and proud. He too worked hard. But as days passed, his enthusiasm waned. He started feeling unhappy about his father. “While I am working so hard and straining every nerve and muscle of mine in the farm, how come this old man is spending the whole day idling and playing with grand children? This is so unfair” thought he.

As he was frequently gripped by such thinking, he started hating his father. ‘This old man is simply eating, doing nothing and enjoying his life from my hard labor’. He started feeling that his father was a burden on his head. ‘He might have worked hard in the past; so what? Times are changing; I must ensure well being of my family and my children. Why should I take care of this idle old man?’ so thinking, he was overpowered by a desire to get rid of his father once for all.

He made one large wooden box that can fit his father. He placed it on a cart. “Go and lie inside the box” he ordered his father. The old man obeyed without any protest. The son closed the box and drove the cart up over an adjacent hill. Upon reaching the summit, his plan was to push the box down a steep cliff to kill his father once for all.

When he was trying to push and and roll the box, he heard heard a knocking sound from the box. He shouted, “What do you want?”. The father replied from the box, “I can understand what your intention is. You are thinking I am old, and useless and you want to get rid of me once for all. Fine. But open the box. I will come out and you can push me from the cliff. Thus you need not waste this wooden box. Keep it safe and it could be handy for your son in in future!”

[Amma: “In this story, when the old man said that the box could be useful for his son in future, he meant that the account of karma for his present act would be tallied by his son in the future. You should also note that the old man too must be reaping what he sowed. He must have treated his own father or someone else like that in the distant past.”]

2.  The lost wealth

Once a building contractor at a project at site temporarily engaged an accountant locally to handle the money matters. Every month end, he used to give  a small bunch of currency to the accountant and ask him to keep it safe under a separate account-head. First time, the accountant asked, “For whom is the payment meant?”

The contractor said, “I am setting off this money for a good cause — something like giving to an orphanage, or for educating the poor children which I will decide at the end of this project”.

The accountant thought: ‘Why give away the money to unknown beneficiaries? Let me misappropriate the money and enjoy life’. Without following the instruction of the contractor, the accountant pocketed the money himself every month and wasted it away in drinking and gambling at week ends. He was otherwise an efficient man at his duty.

Over a period of time, the specific contract work came to an end. The contractor wanted to settle the accounts of temporary employees at the site and move to the next project.

He called the accountant and said, “It is time for us to part; you have done your job well; I want to reward you specifically for your efficient work. You know I was giving you an unspecified amount every month to put it in a separate account for donating to a good cause. Actually, I had planned that money as a bonus for you. You can bring that money and take it as a gift from me; please get that money and we will settle and close that account.”

The accountant was shocked to hear it.

[Amma: “By engaging in bad karma, we ourselves block the way of good karma in reaching us in future”]

3.  What is the real cause?

[Amma: “Karma and its effects are very complicated to comprehend. There could be so many indecipherable causes behind effects and it is beyond the comprehension of common people. One should not jump into conclusion in passing judgement about others. “]

One a very benevolent king was ruling a small country.  He had great respects for sannyasins and mendicants. He built a huge dining hall to feed renunciates and brahmacharis on a daily basis. He would personally visit the place and even serve food with his own hands with reverence and  humility to the travelling mendicants. This practice was going on for long.

One day, after partaking the food in the dining hall, many of the mendicants fell sick and several of them died.

The king was shocked beyond measure when such a calamity happened. He could not grasp why such a calamity would strike for a benevolent act that he had been doing with utter sincerity and commitment. He felt that a great sin would befall on him for causing death to somany pious sannyasins. He started to undertake a fast and he was even prepared to die as  atonement of the sin.

Nobody could find out how the food poisoning happened.

In order to find out the truth and apportion the sin of  killing so many innocent mendicants, the God sent a messenger for investigation.

The messenger conducted a thorough inquiry amidst the working staff, the cooks and other servants working in the dining hall. He also did a thorough physical inspection of the dining hall. In this investigation, as directed by the messenger, a workman was made to climb up to the ceilings of the tiled hall and check the tiles and the beams. There, right above the place where food used to be kept ready just before serving, a dead snake was found in between some tiles and the beam.

From further inquiries done on eye witnesses, he came to know that on the fateful day, an eagle was found attacking a poisonous snake above the roof of the building. The wounded snake seemed to have escaped the clutches of the eagle and somehow sneaked through the gaps in the tiles and entered into the underside of the hall roof.

The snake was almost dying and just before it breathed its last, it had opened its mouth and ejected poison. It was exactly at that moment the lids of the vessels carrying the food items were opened for serving right below and the droplets of poison fell into the food and got mixed with the food.  It was by eating that poisonous food that the mendicants died.

The messenger made a mental analysis: The king was not definitely responsible for this happening. The sin cannot be apportioned to the eagle because it is its basic nature to attack and kill snakes. It was not responsible for the snake’s escape. The snake too was not responsible because it was not spitting venom intentionally. The servers were not responsible for they were not knowledgeable about a snake right above vessels spitting venom at the  point of opening of the food vessels.

The messenger was at a loss. God had given him the responsibility of  apportioning the sin of the death of the mendicants on the right recipient. Whom to give it?

Thinking deeply, he was walking at the outskirts of the city. He saw a group of travelling mendicants coming into the city. They were inquiring a woman vendor at the street about the location of the king’s dining hall where mendicants were served free food.

The woman said to them: “Oh! No, no. Please never go there to take your food. The king is evil and very wily. He is poisoning and killing saintly people who come and take food there!”

The messenger heard the conversation. He decided to assign the sin of killing of the mendicants to the lady vendor who was spreading rumor by unjustly blaming the king without any basis of truth.

(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)

4.  Escaping death?

[Amma: “Death is always stalking us. It is always behind us like our shadow. If one can clearly understand that death is inevitable and it can come at any time, then one can get the determination to know God before the body falls. No one can ever predict at which moment one would die.”]

Once a king was very curious to know when he would die. He called an expert astrologer, who was extremely reputed for correct predictions about future, to his court for this purpose. The astrologer analysed the king’s horoscope in detail and finally said, “I am sorry to say this, your majesty! As per my calculations and observations, you are bound to die today itself immediately after sunset.”

The king felt devastated hearing this shocking revelation. He could not digest it. He frantically wanted to escape death and immediately called learned pundits and experts in Shastra to his court. He asked them to suggest ways and means to escape death.

The pundits started brainstorming to find out ways to escape death. One pundit suggested to perform a particular ritual and chanting of mantras. Another pundit would oppose it and suggest some other means.  That suggestion would get vetoed by a third pundit. Thus arguments and counter arguments went on and on amid the learned pundits and the clock was running too. It was already past noon. Unfortunately, the pundits could not come to any consensus on the right method to escape death by the king. The king was getting more and more tensed up and desperate to get a solution.

Watching this, one old, wise man in the king’s court came and whispered in his ears: “YOur majesty, Never trust these pundits. They are incapable of finding any solution to your problem. If you want to save your life, fetch a strong horse that can run the fastest, mount on it and leave from the capital as far off as possible. Don’t waste your time! Quick!”

For the confused king, that advice appeared to be a good solution. He fetched his best horse from his stable, and rode on it as fast as possible, as far as possible from his palace so as to escape death. By evening, the king had travelled many miles away from his capital. Both the horse and the king were extremely tired. He stopped the horse and lied down under a tree for rest.

All the happenings of the day ran through his mind. He felt relieved that he could travel so much far away from his palace before sunset. He felt confident that by doing so, he had managed to hoodwink death. He closed his eyes peacefully and soon dozed off.

The sun set at the west and soon darkness started engulfing the place. Suddenly the king woke up. At that very moment, up from the branches of the tree, the messenger of death jumped down and landed adjacent to the king.  Laughing aloud, he said, “I know you will come here; I was waiting in this tree for your arrival for quite some time. I was even wondering whether, by any chance, you may not end up at this place!  Any way, thank you, you have arrived in time!”

He caught hold of the king and instantly the king fell dead!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

5. Destined to happen

Amma narrated the following real incidence.

During the time of tsunami disaster,  a group of Ashram brahmacharis were engaged in relief and rehabilitation work at Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu. One of the brahmacharis wanted to visit and pray at the famous Shaneshwara temple at Thirunallar nearby. When he went to the temple, it was extremely crowded. A very long queue was waiting to have the darshan of Lord Shani at the temple.

The brahmachari too joined the queue.  He was rather impatient and was getting exasperated by the slow moving queue. Restlessly, he was looking this way and that way, getting out of the queue and joining the queue and causing disturbance to others due to his impatience. The policemen on duty to control the crowd somehow felt suspicious of the brahmachari’s movements; they suspected that he could be a pickpocket! They grabbed him and started enquiring him. Somehow they were not convinced; they took him to the police station and retained him in the lockup overnight.

The other brahmacharis who noticed that this person was missing in the night, got worried. After inquiring here and there, they came to know that the person had ended up in the lock up at the police station. They met the sub-inspector and explained to him about the brahmachari and the purpose of their staying in Nagapattinam. The sub-inspector immediately released the Brahmachari from the lock up and allowed him to go.

The Brahmacharis reported the matter to Amma. They were somewhat restive and asked Amma why a person, engaged in good social service and also visiting a temple for prayers get into trouble like this.

[Amma: “There are certain untoward incidents that are destined to happen will happen, even when one is engaged in actions with good intentions. If you ask why should it happen to such a good person at such a time, we could only say that there are certain unfavorable positions of planets in one’s life when such things do happen. The destiny might be that he should end up in jail for long. But an unknown divine grace on account of his punya may also behind it in such a way that the evil effects of his prarabdha are lessened and he is relieved by just a night of stay and suffering in a police lockup.”]

6.  Pitying the queen!

Once a new servant maid was engaged in cleaning the Queens’ room in the palace. The servant maid who was seeing the queen’s room for the first time was awestruck at the grandiose furnishings seen in the room. The furniture were finely carved, smooth and impeccably polished; the carpets, the window drapes, and other artefacts were extremely fine. The servant maid touched them and felt thrilled. She pressed the queen’s bed and wondered how soft it was.

Suddenly she had an unstoppable urge to lie down at the bed and have a feel of it. She looked around to ensure that there was none else in the room. She lied down on the bed and felt exhilarated.  Suddenly, quite unexpectedly the queen opened the door and entered into the bedroom.  She saw the servant maid lying in her bed.

The queen got extremely angry.  The servant maid was shocked to the core. She jumped up from the bed and stood there shivering. The queen took the broomstick and started beating the servant maid left and right. She called out her guards and commanded to them to arrest the maid and put her behind the bars.

Instead of crying for the beating she received and the punishment meted out to her, the servant maid started laughing. The queen was surprised. “Why are you laughing?” she shouted.

The servant maid said, “Your highness, just for the small mistake I did, you have beaten me so hard and also ordered to put me in jail. If such a severe punishment is meted out to me for such a small mistake, I thought what sort of punishment God will be giving you later, for all the various acts of arrogance and hatred you would have committed in life on account of your royal status as a queen. I could not control laughing!”

(From Amma’s Krishna Janmashtami Satsang 10/9/2020)

7.  Cyclic reaction!

Once a Court Jester was telling some funny stories in the king’s court. There were a couple of jokes for which everyone was laughing but the king could not understand them. He thought that the Court Jester was mocking at him; out of anger, the king slapped the jester. The jester felt an unbearable pain. Anger rose up in him but he had to control it with difficulty. He gritted his teeth in frustration as he could not question the king’s action.

In order to vent out his anger, the jester slapped a person standing next to him. That man asked “Why are you hitting me? I have not done anything to you”.

The Court Jester replied,”It doesn’t matter. You can give a slap to the person next to you. This world is like a huge wheel. When it revolves, everyone gets his due share. Now don’t hesitate; give a slap to the person next to you!”

[Amma: Every good or bad action done by us can affect many people. Nowadays we see similar things happening around us. People tend to vent out their frustrated anger and enmity on people around them.  In reality, the person affected by our outburst of anger might not have anything to do with it.  Anyway, whatever we do unto others will come back to us one day or other.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil  Vol 2)

7.  The ropes

Once a businessman was traveling across a dense forest where dacoits usually roam about.  The businessman was unfortunately caught by a group of dacoits.  They robbed him of all his possessions. To ensure that he would not make any trouble, they bound his libs and threw him inside a dried up well.

Fortunately, the well was not too deep and there was a thick growth of bush inside the well. So, he was not injured. After the dacoits left, he started shouting in full throat asking for help.

After a while another traveler came along the path. He heard the shouts of the man and started looking around. He noticed that the voice was coming from the well. As he peeped into the well, he saw the man shouting from inside. He noticed that the man was bound by ropes. The traveler had a big rope with him. Tying its one end to a tree, he got down into the well. He untied the ropes from the man’s limbs and both of them climbed up using the other rope hung from the tree.

Thus the businessman’s life was saved by the traveler.

[Amma: “In this story, the businessman got tied by a rope; but he was also saved by another rope.  Our karmas are just like ropes. Our selfish actions bind us. Actions done with unselfishness and compassion, with dedication to God unbind and release us. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 3 ( 16 more stories )

1.   Compassion is the measure

Long ago, an aged king was ruling his country. The king wanted to relinquish office and retire to forest; he had two sons. ‘Out of the two, Who should be made the king? It must be one who loves his countrymen’ — thought the king. But he could not come to any clear judgement. He decided to consult his guru on this matter. He knew his guru was the right person to predict the future. He took both the sons with him and went to meet his guru. He requested the guru’s help to give the right decision.

The guru said, “In a few days I will be in the island which is at the middle of the river. Kindly send both your sons separately  to come and meet me there. Please send them without a horse or any other vehicle. Just give them a pack of food to carry for eating on their way.”

On the set date, both the princes started their journey one after the other separately, without anyone accompanying them. The elder son, who proceeded first was encountered by a poor beggar on the way. The beggar said, “I am extremely hungry. It has been two days since I ate a morsel of food. Please give me something to eat”. The elder prince got irritated. He had a long journey ahead and he needed food to eat on the way. He was not supposed to ask anyone for food.  He called the nearby villagers and said, “You see, don’t you know that I am the elder prince of this country? Is it right on your part to allow such a beggar to disturb me on my long and crucial journey? Ensure that such a discourtesy is not done to the son of the king”. After commanding them like this, he proceeded with his journey.

After a while the second prince came by the same path. The beggar stopped him and requested him to give him food.  The second prince thought “I have had my share of sumptuous meals when I started my journey. This poor fellow says he had not eaten for two days. How unfortunate!” He gave his food packet to the beggar and proceeded in his way.

They reached the river bank. They had to wade through the river water to reach the island. At the bank of the river, a leper was standing. His whole body was afflicted with wounds and pus was oozing from them. A bad odor was emanating from his body; no one would dare to go close to him. The leper saw the elder prince and begged him to take him across the river to reach the island which was his place of stay. The elder prince felt only contempt for the leper; he could not bear the nasty odor coming from him. He closed his nose and stepped into the river in a hurry to wade through the waist deep water to reach the island.

But the second prince who too was intercepted by the leper felt pity on him. Despite the bad smell and the dirty wounds in the leper’s body, the second prince carried him on his shoulders and stepped into the river.

As they were wading through the waters, suddenly the water level in the river started rising. The water currents became too strong and it became increasingly difficult to wade through the waters. Soon the elder son could not manage and he was swept away by the strong currents.

It was equally difficult for the younger son too to cross the flooding river with the additional load on his shoulders. He and the leper too were soon were struggling in the forceful water current. At that point of time a huge tree trunk was floating nearby. The prince said to the leper, “Come on; let us catch hold of the tree”. With lots of difficulty, they managed to climb over the tree trunk.

Soon the tree floated towards the bank of the island. They safely got down there. Leaving the leper there, the younger prince went to meet the sage. The sage welcomed him with open hands. He was designated as the future king of the country.

[Amma:  “It was the compassion in the heart of the younger prince that caused divine grace to come to him in the form of the floating tree to save his life.  However well one knows to swim, it would not be of help when a torrential flow of waters occurs in the river.  Nothing but divine grace  could ever come to rescue in such a situation. Children! If divine grace has to come to us, we must do good karma.  Compassion should be the hallmark of each of our actions”.]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

2.   The lame puppy

A little boy went into  a shop where there was a sign board saying ‘Dogs for sale’. He wanted to buy a puppy. The shop owner said that he had puppies with price tags from Rs.2000 to Rs. 5000.

The boy said, “I don’t have that much money; but shall I just have a look at the puppies you have?” . The shop owner allowed him to do so.

A mother dog its several puppies came out from inside the shop.  The boy, with eyes wide open, looked at the puppies eagerly. Behind all the puppies, came a little one slowly and limping. “Oh God! Why is that puppy limping?” asked the boy.

The owner said, “It is lame by birth. It cannot walk normally”.

The boy looked at the puppy pitifully and asked the owner: “Will you give me that lame puppy to me for a reasonable price for me? I can’t give the full amount now; but I can give some money and pay the balance in installments every month”.

The shop owner looked at the boy with surprise. “Why do you want to buy a lame puppy? It cannot run with you or play with you. Why don’t you buy a healthy one?”

Thy boy said. “No. I want only that puppy”. Appreciating his nature, the owner came forward to give that lame puppy free of cost. But the boy said adamantly, “I will not accept it free. I will give the same price of a normal puppy to this one too”.

Again the shop owner was surprised. He asked the boy what the reason was. The boy placed one of his legs on a stool nearby and pointing it to the shop owner,  said, “Look! I too have a deformed leg. If I have this lame dog as my companion, we can exchange our hearts better; each can understand the pain of the other. That’s why I want that puppy”.

[Amma:  “Amma does not mean to say that only if we get the same calamity that another person undergoes we will be able to empathise with him.  Even without experiencing it personally, we are capable of understanding others’ sorrows.  It is possible to assume others’ difficulties as ours; we can grasp what is comforting to us will be comforting to others too and act accordingly. It is this sort of mindset that we should develop. It is indeed difficult to develop such a mindset but you should definitely strive for it”.]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

3.   Something more valuable

Once a saintly lady was undertaking a pilgrimage. On her way to a holy shrine up on a mountain, the lady rested at the bank of a river and took bath. As she was bathing there, she noticed a very bright object amid the pebbles in the stream. She picked it up and to her surprise, it was an unusually large piece of diamond. She put it in her bag and carried on with her travel.

On her way, she rested under a tree and cooked her food. It was her practice to share her meal with any poor beggar or villager nearby. She noticed an impoverished villager and invited him to share the food with her.

As she was arrange to serve food to him, she happened to take out the piece of diamond from her bab and keep it outside for a while. The poor man noticed it and his eyes widened in surprise. He thought, ‘If only I could get that diamond, all my poverty will come to an end; I will be the richest person in this locality and my generations can live comfortably’.

With some hesitation, he asked the old lady , “Mother, I am suffering under utter poverty.  The food you give now will appease my hunger only for a few hours. But if you could kindly give me this diamond, I can live without poverty for ever”. He said so, frankly expecting that the old lady would flatly refuse the request.

But to his great surprise, the lady immediately picked the diamond and put it in his hands and said smilingly, “Sure, you please take it with you. I am only too happy to give this to you”.

The poor man felt extremely surprised and he took it, profusely thanking the saintly lady for her gift. He ran to his home, very excited and happy.

The next day morning, the poor villager came searching for the lady.  He fell at her feet and said, “Mother, I don’t want this diamond piece. Last night, I thought it over again and again and I felt you have got something far more precious to give me than this and I want that”.

“What is it?” asked the lady, very surprised.

The man said, “It is your heart that gave away such a costly piece of  diamond without even thinking twice about it, without even a trace of attachment to such a priceless possession!”

4.   For the sake of others

Once a lonely traveller was walking on a hot day along a long and winding path across a dry land. The whole area was sparsely populated. There was no greenery and the sun was burning harsh over the sky. The traveller was feeling extremely thirsty. He started looking around for water. He could not see any stream or pond anywhere in the vicinity.  As he walked further suffering in the heat with a parched throat, he noticed a hand pump en route.

He rushed towards the hand pump. There was a pot too nearby and the pot contained some water that would be barely enough for quenching his thirst. When he was about to lift the pot to drink water, he noticed a board nearby where it was written: “If you pour the water into the hand pump and pump it, you will be able to get more water for your use. But ensure that you fill up the water again in the pot for the use of other travellers coming by”.

The traveller was now in a dilemma.  The water in the pot looked precious and alluring for him to drink and quench his thirst, though the quantity looked barely adequate. But if he pours it into the pump and start pumping, what was the surety that that the pump would yield more water? What if the entire water got drained while pumping and no fresh water came from earth. However,  there was also the possibility of the pump working and yielding more water for his own use and also for the use of others coming thirsty like him.

If he drank the water immediately, it would satisfy him immediately, but he would be depriving other passersby of their need of water out of his utter selfishness.

The man thought for a while. Then he decided that it would only be right if he did as per the instructions for the sake of others. He poured the little water into the pump and started pumping hard. After a few minutes of effort, fresh water stared gradually coming. The man filled the pot with water and then drank it happily to quench his thirst fully. He pumped again to fill the pot once again and kept it aside.

He walked away with satisfaction.

5.  Not official

Once a visitor from abroad went to meet Chanakya. It was late in the evening. Chanakya was writing something using the light of a wick lamp.  Before he started to converse with the visitor,  Chanakya stopped his writing, put off the wick lamp that he was using and lit another lamp.

Noticing this, the visitor asked, “May I know why you changed the lamp?”

Chanakya replied, “When you arrived here, I was busy with an official work for which the Government supplies oil for the lamp. But now my meeting with you is personal.  It is nothing to do with the Government. So, I put off the first lamp. The lamp now burning is mine and the oil used there is bought from my own earnings. It is my practice to use my personal things for personal works and not abuse my official perks”.

[Amma:  “Children,  it is such examples that the present day society needs. Relinquishing selfishness and ego, if a person carries out his duties, he will become a blessing for the world.”]

6.  How to have real enjoyment

Once a College professor arranged an excursion to his students and went accompanying them. On their way, they rested at a place for a while. Some construction work was in progress nearby. The students noticed that all the chappals used by the construction workers had been left by them at one place. Noticing it, some boys thought of a mischief. The collected all the chappals and hid them at a bush nearby. They wanted to witness how shocked the laborers would become if they did not find any of their chappals there which would be a good amusement for boys.

Noticing their act, the professor intervened and said, “I can suggest you a much greater amusement for you than this. Do as I say:  First, bring those chappals back and keep them at the old place. Then place a rupee coin on each of the chappals and then watch from a distance the faces of the laborers when they come back and look at their chappals! I tell you, you will really get an enjoyment that you would never have seen in your life by seeing their surprise!”

The students did the same and waited for the laborers to return.  After a while, the laborers started coming back one after another.  When they noticed rupee coins on their chappals, their faces lit up brightly and they all smiled; they started talking excitedly to each other wondering how such a wonder can happen.

Seeing this from a distance, the students felt extremely happy; they understood there is  real joy in giving.

[Amma:  “Not all spiritual sadakas could meditate on Self by self inquiry saying ‘I am not the body; I am not the mind; I am verily the Self”. But it is indeed possible for us to see others as we are. This way, our mindset will get lit up with proper discrimination and compassion. Only then all our actions would  help developing our own life as well as the life of others in the society towards goodness.”]

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  It is with you

There was a poor child who attended church every day. A wealthy man saw this and asked him, “What are you going to church for?” “

I am going to pray,” he replied. “All my friends have good shoes. I don’t even have a pair of sandals. I am going to ask God to give me a new pair of shoes.”

The rich man chuckled to himself. A few days later he saw the boy again. “Oho!” he called out mockingly “Did you get that pair of shoes yet?”

“No,” replied the boy.

“Stop your stupid prayer, boy! God did not give you shoes, did he? Why are you praying to him?”

“Oh, but he did give the shoes!” replied the boy calmly. “

But I don’t see shoes on your feet,” said the rich man.

“No, because God gave them to people like you to give them to poor children like me. But people like you have not passed them on to us.”

[Amma: While on one side, people are heaping up riches, on the other side people are sitting beside deep holes. As the ups and downs increase, so will the conflicts between them.”]

(From Amma’s Covid-19 message Dt 10/5/2020)

8.  The story of Pakkanar, the saint

[Amma: “Many people donate without knowing the philosophy behind it.  Our real attitude behind donation matters the  most. People who donate tubelight to a temple write their names boldly over the tube to the extent of hiding considerable light coming from the tube!  It is this type of charity that we see widely around us. One should never donate for name and fame. Amma remembers a story: “]

Pakkanar was a saint who lived in Kerala long ago.  He earned his living by making winnowers (‘muram‘) from bamboo and selling them to people.  The money he earned by selling one winnower was sufficient enough for him for his one day’s expense. He was bent upon donating whatever extra winnowers he had but he was extremely particular that no one should come to know that he was indeed donating the rest. He found a way for it.

He will carry ten fans with him and go from house to house. He would declare a rather hefty price for the fans. Since it was too costly, the householder would not show interest in buying from him. Then he would tell them, “May I leave the fans here for a while? I will come back and take them afterwards”. People would generally oblige.

He would come back after a while and tell them, “Please give me back the nine numbers of winnowers I had left here”. The householder would count the quantity and find that there were indeed 10 pieces. They would think that the Poor Pakkanar does not know counting; they would keep one item with them and give him the nine numbers as he requested.

He would repeat the same technique with other householders that he visited. Finally, he would sell the last remaining winnower for the right price and take the money with him.

Thus Pakkanar was donating stealthily. It is a great example on how one should donate without any fanfare whatsoever.

9.  A helping hand

A few years back  100 meters running competition was arranged for physically handicapped and mentally retarded children by a charity organization.

The children taking part in the race were all set to go, waiting for the whistle to blow.

Once the whistle was blown all the children ran very enthusiastically. Every child was competing with another with a desire to grab the first prize. All of them had undergone repeated practice across several months in order to take oart in this race and win.

A few moments after the start, one of the boys stumbled and fell on the track. On account of the shame of falling and also due to pain, the boy started crying aloud. All the other children running in the race saw him falling down but they did not know what to do. But one little girl stopped. She ran towards the boy and helped him to get up. Then she hugged him and said, “Don’t worry, hold my hands and we will run together”. The other children saw these two children running with joined hands. Immediately they too came near them and joined their hands.  They started running in parallel, all together.

The entire audience was surprised and felt overwhelmed to see such a display of love and solidarity among the children and they clapped their hands. As the children crossed the finishing line together they got  a standing ovation from the onlookers.

[Amma: “Amma had heard this story from somewhere; it might be a real incidence or a fictional story. Whatever it may be, we all have a lesson to learn from the children in this story. Getting success in life is important but along with it we should have a heart to share the pain of the failure of others and extend a helping hand to them to succeed in their life”.]

10. Take only as much

[Amma: “Human beings are part and parcel of nature. Human life depends on nature and its sustenance.  Hence we should take from nature only that much which is just enough for our survival. While taking, we must ensure that we do not disturb the balance in nature, It is our responsibility.”]

Once a family living in a village near sea shore, ws gripped in utter poverty. The head of the family had lost his job and they had no money to buy foodstuff. At that time, the eldest boy in the family was walking along the sea shore and he located a pit where sea turtle had laid several eggs. Happily, he collected all the eggs and brought them home so that they can be cooked and eaten.

When the father saw so many eggs brought by his son, he asked what happened. The boy said that he picked up all the eggs that a turtle had laid. The father got very angry. He said, “Suppose you are married and someone takes away all your children will you not feel extremely sad? It is so for other creatures too. If the turtle finds that none of the eggs it laid was there to produce its offspring, will it not feel very sad? The eggs are essential for the lineage of the turtle to continue. Even though we are driven to such a sorry state because of our poverty, we should not totally become selfish and heartless. You better take half of these eggs and put them back where you picked them up.”

The boy understood and he immediately took some eggs and ran to the seashore.

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

 

11. Honesty to the core

[Amma: “In olden days, despite being impoverished, village people had mutual care, unity and cooperative mindset. They had cordial relationship with neighbors; whatever they could get on  daily basis, they had the generosity to share with others and live with contentment. Even amid poverty they nurtured high moral values. Amma remembers a story…”]

Once upon a time two farmers came to meet a judge with an issue.  One of the farmers said, “I recently bought a farm land from this man. When I started ploughing the field yesterday,  I stumbled upon a copper pot that got unearthed. When I opened it, it contained lots of gold coins and precious stones. You see, I bought only the land from him and I not the pot of gold and precious stones.  I told him to take the pot with its contents but this fellow is refusing I request you to hear the matter and give him necessary advice”.

The other farmer said, “What he says is true. But you see, when I sold the land, I sold it entirely which means anything found buried in the land too belongs to him.  So, I have nothing to do with the pot of wealth. This fellow has been pestering me to take it. I have nothing to do with it. Please save me from his pestering”.

The judge was very surprised and felt very happy to see two such honest and guileless persons.  But he has to solve the problem anyway. So, he did further inquiries. He came to know that one of them had a boy and the other a girl who were at marriageable age. The judge suggested that the two can be married and the wealth found from the land can be given to the couple as a marriage gift.

This solution was most acceptable to both the farmers and the strange adversaries returned home happily as new relatives.

(From Oliyai Nolli-Tamil-Vol 3)

12.  Unwanted poison

Once a young woman got married and came to live with her in laws.  Her mother in law was very short tempered, very demanding and authoritative.  After the passage of few days, the woman found it extremely difficult to bear with the moods of her mother in law. She started hating her to the core.

One day, her brother, a doctor by profession, came to see her. She told her brother. “I am fed up with my mother in law. I want to eliminate her somehow or other”.

Her brother said, “If she dies suddenly, then people would start suspecting you. I will give you a medicine, which is a slow poison. You should mix a little of it every day in the food that your mother in law eats.  After six months your wish will be fulfilled.  But you should be extremely careful about one thing. She should never suspect your evil motives. So, you must ensure that you interact with her  lovingly and be obedient to her always.”  She agreed.

As per her brother’s instructions, she mixed a little of the medicine that her brother gave every day when she served food to her mother in law. She also behaved very nicely with respect and obedience towards her.

Four months passed this way.  There came a palpable change in the atmosphere inside the home.  Being impressed by the nice behavior of her daughter in law. the mother in law’s attitude too started changing drastically. She started behaving very affectionately with her daughter in law.Gradually day by day, both of them started liking each other more and more.

One day, when her brother came to see her, the woman said, “I am afraid I made a big mistake in feeding my mother in law with poison daily. She is actually a very nice woman. She is extremely affectionate towards me nowadays.  Please give me some alternative medicine so that the evil effects the poison I gave her all these days is reversed”.

Her brother laughed and said, “What I have is not poison, but some vitamins only. I knew that the problems you were facing with your mother in law was in fact because of your behavior. I knew if you correct your attitude, your mother in law would behave nicely with you. That’s why I played this trick on you.”

[Amma: “As in this story, instead of trying to change others, we must strive to change ourselves.  If love is given, we are sure to get back love. We only need that patience to express love on others, to get love in return”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.  Cancelled pilgrimage

Once there lived a poor cobbler in a village.  He had a deep desire to go on a pilgrimage and visit holy places. By working very hard and also skipping meals on some days, he saved money little by little for this purpose.

One day at home, his wife, who was pregnant, felt the smell of roasting of green grams. The smell came from their neighbor’s house. The wife, who could not eat well on account of vomiting sensation, was somehow attracted to the smell and she longed to eat curry made of green gram. She expressed her desire to her husband. The husband thought of borrowing some green gram curry from the neighbor and he went to their house. He humbly requested them to give him a little curry, expressing his pregnant wife’s desire.

The neighboring woman was willing to share it, but she said, “I just want to forewarn you about one thing; the green gram which we have used for the curry is a very unclean one.  We are suffering from utter poverty and we have not eaten for almost a week. Unable to bear the pain of our children’s suffering, my husband went to the nearby graveyard and saw a few plants of green grams grown there. He plucked them and brought home and I have cooked them to appease our hunger”.

Hearing this, the cobbler felt extremely painful.  He was their neighbor all these years and yet he did not know that they were suffering in extreme hunger for the past one week. He felt ashamed that when their condition was like this, he was saving money for his pilgrimage.

He rushed to his house, took out his savings and returned to the neighbor’s house. He said, “I am extremely sorry that I never bothered to know about your difficulties. Please take this money and buy some food immediately”. The neighbors hesitated for a while, but as the cobbler kept on lovingly pressing them to take the money, they yielded.

That night, God came to him in his dream. He said, “My dear son, there is no need for you to take pilgrimage to come and see me. I have come to you to give my darshan. I am bestowing you right now whatever spiritual benefits you would gain by going on pilgrimage. My presence will be there in you forever”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Mal. – Vol 2)

14.  Compassionate boss

Once there was a famous garments shop in a town. The owner had worked hard in life in order to come up in life and reach his present status. As he had seen many ups and downs in life, he had a good experience in management and he was quite compassionate too.

His son too started to involve himself in the management of the garment shop. One day, the son said to his father, “Papa, look at that salesman. I have been observing him for days. He is extremely lazy. He sits there and dozes off frequently. It will be a waste of our money to keep such persons in our rolls. Shall I fire him?”

The father said, “No my son. He is from a very poor family and he has to take care of his family by working here. If you fire him, his family will come to streets. Be patient. I will find some way to fit him in some work that suits him better”.

Due to some reasons, the son could not come to the garment shop for a few days.  When he came to the shop after the break, he noticed the lazy salesman wearing just a pant and a banyan (vest) sitting at the front entrance of the shop on  stool and dozing off.  The son got very angry. He went inside to see his father and started complaining about the salesman once again.

The father said, “Oh! Didn’t you notice the advertisement I have kept above his head? he is now working as a model for our vests? Because of him, I have sold the entire stock of our vests just in a couple of days!”

The son went outside to see what the ad was: “Are you suffering from lack of sleep? Our new vests are sure to bring you to sleep within minutes of your wearing them!”. The ‘model’ was dozing off sitting below it!

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 14/7/2020)

15.  Awareness about wastage

Once there was a girl who habitually wasted lots of food whenever she ate. Her father advised her softly many times that it was a very bad habit and she should correct herself. But it did not work. The father then started warning her very sternly about her habit. But still it could not bring any significant change in her behavior.

The father was very conscious that he should somehow correct his daughter.  He thought deeply about it. One day he sat with his daughter and showed her a video.

In the video, in the first scene two young girls were eating chicken in a restaurant. They were talking joyfully and laughing without seriously engaging in eating. After consuming only a very little from their plates, they finished their eating; they took their plates and dropped the contents into the waste bin.

In the next scene, a very poor person comes near the waste bin and starts to search its contents. He locates the two chicken pieces which were hardly eaten. He puts them in a small plastic bag. He fishes out more eatables from the dustbin and puts them in another plastic bag and leaves.

In the next scene, the man is seen getting in to a hut. Two very impoverished girls rush towards their father and eagerly snatch the plastic bags from him. Retaining the small plastic bag with him, he allows the two girls to open the the other bag. The girls eagerly take out the eatables from them and start eating them in a hurry. Once they finished them, the father opens the small plastic bag and joyfully extends the two pieces of chicken to the girls. The girls are thrilled to see it and they start eating it with great relish. Within no time, they finish eating it. Their faces look as if they have still not eaten to their full. They turn the plastic bags inside out and start licking whatever remnants left there.

The girl who was watching this video was shedding tears as she saw the fate of the little girls groping in utter poverty. She said to her father: “Papa, I promise you, I will not waste food any more.”

[Amma: “Disciplining the children right at the young age is extremely essential. If the cement in a wall is not dried up, one can scribble something or draw something in it and it will stay there forever. You cannot do so if  the cement has dried up. Therefore parents, in addition to giving love and affection to their children, should also teach them good habits and inculcate good values in them. They should also live a life of example for them.”]

16.  More prayers?

Once there lived a devotee of God, who was undergoing a bad patch in his life. He had lost his job and was frantically searching for a job for a long time. His family was facing lots of financial problems. He used to pray to God sincerely to save him from crisis. Finally, he got a good, well paying job.

As thanks giving to God, he arranged a bhajan (devotional singing) and prayer program in his house. He invited several devotees and friends to attend the program. He also arranged for refreshments to be distributed to visitors at the end of the bhajan program.

The program went of well. The last song was sung and the arati was conducted to the deity’s picture with a prayer song. As the program ended and every one was getting up to move to the dining area to eat the refreshments, the young daughter of the host got up and shouted: “Wait, wait! Let us make a prayer, don’t go!”

Everyone got surprised. One of them said to her, “We have finished our prayers and did the arathi too! What more is there for praying?”

The little girl said, “All these prayers were done as a thanksgiving by my father as he got a job by God’s grace. But so many other people are still jobless; when my father was selected, all the others who had attended the interview with him did not get their jobs, did they? Those people too should get jobs and live happily. I want all of us to pray for their sake before leaving from here”.

(From Amma’s satsang dt 12/12/2020)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Discrimination and dispassion – Part 2 (16 stories)

1.  Nothing can come with you

A great emperor who lived in yesteryears wanted to conquer the entire world. With a huge army, he attacked one country after another, won the wars and brought the countries under his rule. He raided the wealths of those countries and took the loot to his country.  He heavily taxed the people of the countries that were brought under his control. Just as he possessed mighty power, he also possessed utter selfishness and totally uncouth, tyrannical mindset.

On account of his greedy wars, he became the richest emperor in the whole world.  But death does not allow anybody to be a permanent victor always.  His last days neared.

He thought, “I have done countless evil acts goaded by a single thought of becoming the emperor of this world and possessor of all the wealth on earth. Now death is nearing me. I cannot take with me even a single item from whatever wealth I have earned hard across this entire life. I, who wanted to make the entire world dance to my tunes, now have to go all alone, leaving everything behind…”

He took a resolution.

He called his ministers and said, “After my death, when you put my body in the coffin and take it out on a procession, make sure to make two holes in the coffin and make my empty hands protrude outside through them. It will teach a lesson to the people that even their most powerful and wealthy emperor cannot take anything with him once he dies”.

[Amma: Children, this is the reality of the world. Whoever you are, whatever you possess, death will rob everything from you. Knowing this, surrender to God”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.   Priceless than diamond?

[Amma: “Spiritual knowledge is real wealth. When this inner wealth is obtained, exterior wealth becomes meaningless. Spirituality thus helps to renounce outer wealth. By such renunciation, one becomes richer than the richest of all the wealthy people of the world”.]

Once a devotee of Lord Shiva was suffering from unbearable poverty. One night, Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and said, “Go to the outskirt of your village where a you will meet a Sanyasi. He is in possession of an extremely costly diamond. Ask for it and he will give it to you. It will make you the richest person”.

The poor man woke up immediately and he could not sleep afterward. He was very excited about the fortune he was to receive the next day. He waited eagerly for the dawn.

He rushed to the outskirt of the village after dawn. There a Sanyasi came and he was about to spread his seat under a tree. THe poor villager ran to him and said, “Swami, I heard you have a piece of diamond with you. Please gift it to me?”

Sanyasi looked up at him and said, “Oh! That piece of diamond stone?” He searched inside his bag and gave a large piece of diamond to him nonchalantly.

The villager collected the diamond piece and looked at it this way and that way. It was quite huge; he could not believe  his eyes. It looked as if it could even be the largest piece of diamond ever found on earth. Dazed with surprise and excitement he came back to his, even forgetting to thank the Sanyasi who gave him the stone!

His mind started floating in numerous dreams of desire. He could not sleep peacefully the whole night. He tossed and turned in his bed, disturbed mentally.

Next day, immediately after dawn he rushed to the outskirt of the village where he had met the Sanyasi the previous day. He woke up the sanyasi who was sleeping and said, “Swami, if you could simply give such a priceless stone of diamond to me without any hesitation, it means you are in possession of something far more priceless kept in your heart. Please give THAT to me!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.   Do it before mind changes

[Amma: “Children, Human mind is fickle; it always tend to be lowly.  Here is a story from Mahabharat to show this”.]

Once Karna, known to be very compassionate to poor and forthcoming in giving donations generously, was applying oil to his head before taking bath. In his left hand, he was holding oil in a beautiful golden cup studded with costly gem stones  and taking oil from it into his right hand, he was applying it to his head.

At that time, Lord Krishna came to see him. He wanted to test Karna’s mindset in donating things. He asked Karna to give him the golden cup containing the oil. Karna was surprised. He said, My lord, I am really surprised why you want such a lowly thing from me! Anyway, who am I to judge your motives? Please take it right now”. Saying so , he extended his left hand with the cup.

Giving something to others with the left hand is considered very inauspicious. Hence Krishna said in a stern voice, “Karna, don’t you know that you should not give away things with left hand?”

Karna said, “Kindly bear with me for this act of mine, Lord!  Do you know why I did so? My right hand is oily. If I have to use it, I have to first get up, wash it and then give you the cup. Who can ever rely on the fickleness of mind? By the time I wash my hand, my very resolution to give the cup as a gift to you might change! That’s why I opted to give it to you immediately without any delay so that my mind does not change”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

4.   Fire in the factory

[Amma: “Neither the mind nor the past happenings are the problems. It is our association with the mind or the past that creates problem. That is, the illogical attachment to “me and mine” is the problem. If you can get freed from this attachment and accept everything as a witness, our entire outlook about the world changes.”]

Once there was a massive fire in a factory. The owner of the factory, upon knowing about the accident, became mad with grief; he cried, “Oh! I have lost everything. All my hard labor through all these years to bring up this factory have become a naught; My life is in ruins…”. He kept blabbering and crying like this.

At that time, his close friend came to him and said, “Why are you crying unnecessarily? Your son has sold this factory yesterday. It is no longer yours!”. The factory was still burning, but the fire in the owner’s heart got extinguished instantly! He wiped off his tears and breathed peacefully.

A that time, his son came running and shouted, “Father! Why are you sitting here? The factory is burning there and you are doing nothing about it? What is wrong with you?”

The father asked, “My son, why bother? Haven’t you sold the factory yesterday itself?”

The son said, “No father, the deal was almost through, but before we signed the papers, there was a last minute hurdle and the buyer backed off”.

Hearing this, the owner started crying again!

[Amma: “The cause of the owners grief is not really the burning of the factory, but his attachment to the factory. His reactions were totally different based on his sense of ownership to the factory. So, if one gets rid of attachment, there is no grief.”]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

5.  Bondage is only in imagination

A cowherd used to take the cows for grazing early in the morning. He will bring back the cows to the cow shed in the evening and tie them to their posts.

On one evening the rope for tying one of the cows was missing. If he left the cow without tying, it may roam around and get lost. It was already dark and he could not get any rope in nearby localities. The cowshed belonged to an Ashram and he met the Sadhu who was heading the ashram to seek his counsel.

The Sadhu said, “Don’t worry! You just go through the actions of tying the cow to the pole. The cow will not move afterward”.

The boy did the actions as told by the sadhu and went to his home. He came back early morning the next day and the cow was very much there at its place! He untied all the cows and released them. Since this cow had not been really tied, he pulled the cow to get up from its place  to join the herd. But the cow would not move! The boy started wondering what was wrong.

The sadhu came to his rescue again. He said, “This cow thinks she has been tied and  expects you to untie  her from the post! Now do the action of untying it and she will start coming with you”. The boy did so and the cow got up and came along with him!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

6.  Guru’s note on wisdom

Once there lived a Sadguru who had thousands of followers across the world. He was worshiped by so many people. His purity, guilelessness, and pinnacle of wisdom were matters of great admiration to people. Through his teachings and activities he set right the course of lives of numerous people.

People were curious to know the source of his wisdom and purity. How did he acquire his spiritual greatness? Whomsoever asked this question, he would say “After I leave my body, you will receive a book of my teaching as my spiritual property. You will get answer to this question there”.

One day he attained samadhi. After his last rites were over, his disciples started searching for the book of his teachings. When they located it, they were surprised to notice that it contained just a single sheet of paper. In it, it was written, “My children, know the difference between the container and its content. Once you know it, you too will attain the wisdom that I attained and the darkness of ignorance will get dispelled”.

[Amma: “Children, What the sage said as ‘container’ is the human body and the content is Atman. Atman is different from the body. Milk is different from its container. The container is not the milk. Knowing this truth, our life will be freed of all unwanted fears”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

7.  Renunciation – not easy

[Amma: “When a true spiritual seeker gives up his family. he is doing that for the common good. Only if one is free from all kinds of attachments including family cannot love or serve the world selflessly. Family members will not die because renunciates have abandoned them for the sake of God; they will live on”.]

Rama Tirtha was in the grip of extreme dispassion and he took a decision to leave his hearth and home. However his wife said, “I am also coming with you”.

At that time, he said, “Alright, I will take you with me provided you fulfill three conditions”.

“What are they?” asked his wife.

“First of all, you should consider your husband as dead” he said.

“Agreed” said his wife.

“Secondly, take all your children to the marketplace and openly declare that these children are God’s and not yours”.

His wife could not agree to this condition.

He said, “Then how can I take you?” and left. He did not even have to state his third condition.

[Amma: “However much they may try, mothers cannot develop such an attitude of detachment with their children”.]

(From Awaken Children-2)

8. Counting stones?

[Amma: “What is that we can claim our own? What we believe to be our own today may not be owned by us tomorrow. All belong to God only. If at all we can claim something as our own, it is our desires and anger! Relatives, money, name, fame — none of these can give us peace of mind. Only when we realize this,  true detachment would come to us”.]

Once there lived a very rich man who had a servant to assist him.

One day a couple of friends of the rich man came to meet him. They inquired the servant, “Is your master available? Can we meet him?”

The servant went inside and saw what his master was doing. He came out and said to the visitors, “My master is busy counting stones”. The friends were surprised; they wondered whether such a rich person would be engaged in counting stones.

After a while, the rich man came out to meet the friends. They inquired, “Your servant said you were counting stones; is that true?”

The rich man felt offended. He started wondering whether his servant was a fool to notice him counting money  but reporting that he was counting stones. “If you were hurt by such crude talk from my servant, please excuse me” said the rich man. After the friends departed, he called his servant and chided him for his foolish talk.

A few days passed. Another friend came one day to meet the rich man. He asked the servant, “Can I meet your master now?” The servant went inside, came back and said, “My master is engaged now in loving his enemies”. On that day too, the rich man was actually counting his money and was safely keeping it locked in cupboard. Coming to know of the servant’s remarks, he felt very angry. He beat the servant black and blue and ordered him to vacate the place immediately. As the servant was moving out he called him, gave him a doll and said, “If you find a person more foolish than you, give this doll to him”. The servant did not utter a word and he went away, taking the doll.

Several months passed.

One night, robbers came to his house and attacked him. They swindled all his money and other valuable possession from him. When he tried to resist them, they threw him down from the first floor and escaped with the booty.

When the relatives came the next day, the saw him lying on the floor, unable to move his limbs. He could not even get up. He was given different medical treatments but he could not recover. Huge amount of money was spent on his treatments and his properties were lost in the process. His wife and children deserted him. He remained in bed, bearing all the pain and suffering, without food and care. If some neighbors took pity on him and brought food, he would eat it. There was no one to take care of him.

The old servant came to know of the pitiable status of his previous master. One day he came to see him. He brought the doll too with him. The moment he saw the master, he handed over the doll to him. The rich man understood immediately. But he nevertheless felt humiliated. In a pitiable voice, he said, “Are you adding fuel to the fire?”

The servant said, “I hope you are now in a fit condition to understand my old statements; aren’t you? You madly went behind money and hoarded them. Did you get even something worth a stone from your money? Is it not true that your wealth that you loved so much  indeed turned to be your enemy? Is it not your wealth that has brought you to this pitiable state? Is it not because of it you have now lost everything? Who else could be a more foolish than you who has lost everything on account of money? All the people who expressed love to you all along actually loved only your money! One the money is gone, you were only like a corpse to them! Today all of them hate you and have discarded you. At least from now onward grasp the fact that God alone is your permanent relative and seek Him”.

Even though the servant spoke such blunt words, he however he stayed with the master and lovingly served him. The rich man felt extremely bad about himself. He lamented: “I don’t know where I will go; I don’t know why I lived all along. I was imagining that wife, children and wealth are permanent and lived for them. But they have all ditched me. I have never thought of God even for a minute all these years. Those who had called me “lord” and bowed to me earlier don’t even turn towards my direction nowadays; they hate and discard me…”

The servant consoled the master saying, “Don’t lament any longer that there is none to take care of you. God is always there”. He continued to stay with the master and served him.

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9.  Real Sacrifice

Once a king went to meet a sanyasi.  The king prostrated humbly before the sanyasi.

The sanyasi asked, “Why are you giving me so much respect?”

The king said, “Weren’t you a king before becoming a sanyasi? You have relinquished your country and all the comforts of a king’s life and took up sanyas. For such a grand sacrifice, I bow before you”.

The sanyasi said, “But you are a greater renunciate than me”.

The king was surprised. “Me? A greater renunciate? How?”

The sanyasi smile and said, “Suppose a person owns a huge palace. If the palace is cleaned and all the unwanted rubbish are thrown away, will it be considered a sacrifice?”

“No. It can never be said so”.

“Suppose, on the other hand, if the person starts safeguarding all the dust and rubbish, but relinquishes the palace, what will you call it?”

“He must be called a great thyagi (one who relinquished)”

The sanyasi said, “It it were true, then you are such a thyagi; you have sacrificed the bliss of the knowledge of Self which is greater than the country and the palace; buy you enjoy the pleasures of kingdom just like the person who keeps rubbish with them and find enjoyment in it”.

The sanyasi was not mocking at the king. What he was trying to communicate was that all the material pleasures of the world are not really worthy and they would vanish any time.

[Amma:Once we grasp that material pleasures are unworthy, it becomes easier to relinquish them. If we make use of viveka (discrimination) properly, we won’t find it difficult to understand what to relinquish at what point of time in life.  This is the straight path to taste success in life.“]

(Source: Tamil Matruvani July 2019)

10.  Always happy?

Once a kingdom was being ruled by a great king who was morally very upright and ruled his subjects with fatherly love and care. He was always working for his people’s welfare. Because of his stellar qualities, the people of his country too loved him dearly; they considered him as if he was God in human form.

The kings of adjacent countries became very envious of him. All of them joined together and they explored ways and means to defeat the king and occupy his nation. They somehow made a connection with the minister of the king and corrupted him through money and wealth.  Through the evil designs of the minister, they got the secrets of the countries defence. Through vicious planning, they attacked the country one day and through a coup, they seized the king and put him behind the bars.

They did not offer any special facilities for the arrested king. He was put among the other criminals already in the jail.

However, the king was least perturbed by all these happenings. He lead a life of joy with no care or worry whatsoever in the jail.

Watching his carefree behavior inside the jail, the enemy kings felt very disappointed. They were also surprised how a defeated king, devoid of any royal power, could lead a happy life inside the jail. They came to meet him one day and asked him how such a behavior was possible for him.

The king said, “You people can defeat me, put me in jail and deny me any comfort; you can do only that much. But it is totally within my freedom either to be sad or be happy. I possess that wisdom which can make all my worries to nothingness. I know who I am. I know the nature of the world. With that knowledge, I keep my mind totally under my control. You can never conquer me in that aspect!”

[Amma:What we have to seek first is the knowledge about our own true Self and the nature of the outer world. If this knowledge is obtained, we can face any calamity in life and live unperturbed “.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam- Vol 1)

11.  Discrimination must come at right time

[Amma:There is a limit and a measure for everything. Our life should be in tune with it. Everything has an inherent nature and we should understand it and live accordingly. God has given us not only the five sense organs but also the capacity of discrimination. If we do not discriminate but run behind satisfying the sense organs madly, we will never get true happiness and peace; we will end up only in misery“.]

A man once went on a pilgrimage to distant holy places.

As part of his travels, he went to a new country for the first time which was quite unfamiliar to him. He neither knew the language nor the culture and food habits of that country.  As he roamed in one of the market places, he saw for the first time, a shop selling a red coloured fruits which was not familiar to him. Lots of people were seen buying it along with other provisions in the shop.

The man thought that it must be a nice and sweet fruit unique to that country which many people seem to enjoy. He too bought those reddish fruits and continued with his sightseeing. After wandering for a few hours, he felt tired and took rest under a tree. He opened the packet of fruit, took one and bit it at its tip.

It was very hot and spicy and not sweet at all. With doubt, he bit the middle portion too and it remained hot.  He thought “Perhaps this particular piece is spoiled; let me try another one”. He took out another fruit and bit it. There was no change. It tasted hot only. Frustrated, he took out the remaining fruits one after another and continued to taste them hoping that at least one of them will taste sweet, but he was disappointed. His tongue was burning unbearably and he ended up shedding copious tears.

Poor fellow! He never knew that that it was chilli and not any sweet-tasting fruit.  After biting one or two, he should have realized that it was not a fruit at all.  But having got attracted by its attractive red color that looked like a real sweet fruit, the man could not get rid of his delusion and an idiotic hope that at least one in the pack would taste sweet; it was due to his total lack of discrimination that he ended up biting every piece in the pack only to get his tongue burned and end up in unbearable suffering.

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

12.  The miser

Once there lived a rich man who, despite possessing plentiful wealth, had no peace of mind. He came to know that if he could reach heaven after death, he could really enjoy a very peaceful and joyful life. He asked many people to know the ways and means to reach heaven.  Finally he went to a sanyasi for consultation.

The sanyasi said, “If you liberally donate money, you can reach heaven. When you donate, you should not differentiate receivers on the basis of caste, religion or creed. You should not count your money and give, but donate in plenty.”

The rich man agreed. He set out for buying lots of cows for donating to others. Being a very stingy person by nature, he was hesitant to buy good, milk-yielding cows which were usually costly. Instead he bought old cows which had stopped giving milk.

He converted some money into 5 paise and 10 paise coins. His idea was that if we donate in coins, they would look very sizable, but would not cause him too much expenditure. Since he was instructed not to count money and donate, he could now give away bundles of coins without counting!

He announced a date for disbursing his donations. Many beggars swarmed his house on the day of donation. The sanyasi came to know of the intent of the rich man. He felt bad that the rich man would only end up in hell instead of heaven if he donated that way. So, in order to teach a lesson to him, he too went there in the guise of a poor beggar and joined the others in the crowd.

When his turn came, he too received a bundle of coins and an old, skinny cow as gift. The sanyasi immediately took out a golden bowl from his bag and gave it to the rich man. The rich man was astounded to receive the golden bowl; he knew that the worth of the bowl was several times more than what he had donated. he felt very happy that his act of goodwill had brought him an instant reward. As he stood stupefied,  the sanyasi said to him, “As I am giving this golden bowl to you, I have a small request. I want you to return this to me when you come to heaven”.

The rich man was surprised to hear this request. He thought, ‘What a strange request! How can I ever give this back when I reach heaven? Reaching heaven is possible only after death and I know pretty well that I cannot carry anything with me after my death!’  This thought rose up again and again in his mind — ‘Nothing can be carried with me after death’.

Then the truth suddenly dawned in him. ‘When nothing from my possessions could be taken with me once I die, why should I be so stingy in donating money to these poor people? Oh! What a sinner I am to donate these old cows and bundles of coins which are of no value to the receivers!’

He fell at the feet of the sanyasi and begged pardon for his sinful behavior. He took an instant resolution to donate all his money for the welfare of the poor. He felt immense sense of happiness once he took the decision.

[Amma:Children, most of us are like this rich man when it comes to give any donation to others. We should contemplate on this. However rich one may be, not a single paisa can be taken along with us when we die. Such being the truth, why should we be miserly? We must extend help to others to the extent possible. That is the real sign of wealth. It is the way to mental peace and satisfaction”.]

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

12.  Self restraint

Once  a man went to meet his friend at his house.

The friend’s wife opened the door and being familiar with each other, she welcomed him in. She told him that her husband had gone out on some work and was expected to return any time. She asked him to wait and went to the bathroom to take bath.

When she returned from bathroom, she was somewhat scantily dressed. Upon looking at her, the man’s mind got very disturbed.  Amorous thoughts welled up in his mind and he felt a deep urge to go and hug her.

At the same time, his discriminating mind voice warned him: “This woman is the wife of your close friend. If you get tempted and do any mistake, it would be an act of betrayal done to a friend. If he comes to know of it, then the two families will face emotional wreck. Control your mind, however difficult it may be”.

Thus wisdom awakened in the man and he regained his composure.

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13. Misguided self-rightism

Once a traveller went inside a Devi temple. Adjacent to the temple courtyard, there was a tree. Standing under the shade of the tree, the traveller started smoking  cigarette.

Noticing it, the temple priest came to him and said, “This is a holy place; please don’t smoke here”.

Hearing this, the traveller felt offended. In an angry voice, he said, “Look, I am not under the command of anybody. I am the boss for myself. I won’t allow anybody to control me or give directions to me. I know what to do and what not to do very well. Whatever fire that is burning in the wick lamp adjacent to Devi inside the sanctum sanctorum and the fire at the tip of my cigarette are one and the same. I see Devi in both of them.  In such a state, what is wrong in smoking a cigarette?”

Listening to his lecture, the pujari replied:

“If you are so evolved to see Devi in everything, then there won’t be any need for you to find joy in smoking! Right now you are addicted to cigarette. Our scriptures say that there is no joy inherent in any object and you have not been able to grasp the truth of it so far. The true bliss resides inside us.  There is another thing. A person who is so evolved to see God in everything, will not be smoking inside a temple like this. Such an evolved person will always, in all his actions will lead a life which will be an example for others to emulate.  Whatever he speaks or does will be such that others can learn from him what is right and good.  What you are doing right now is to twist  and distort spiritual principles in order to justify your own faults and weaknesses. First of all, we must strive to identify and accept our own faults and shortcomings and then overcome them successfully through discrimination. Only then you are fit ti claim ‘I am my own boss’.”

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.  Significance is gone

Once a Guru was giving a lecture to his disciples. During the discourse, he narrated a funny story and everyone laughed loud hearing it.  After a minute, the guru repeated the funny story again. This time only a few laughed.  After a while the guru repeated the same story all over again. This time no one laughed.

Smilingly, the guru said, “When we hear the same joke again and again, we don’t laugh. It means, it has lost its significance. It has no more value. If this is a fact of life, consider this: most of us keep thinking about a mistake we did in the past again and again and keep on feeling bad about it. What value does it serve?”

[Amma:Children, instead of  repeatedly brooding over our past mistakes and failures in life and feeling depressed over them, we must be able to open a new chapter in our life.”]

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.  What did he gain?

Once a young prince was taken around his country for sightseeing. One of the places he was advised to visit was a hill considered holy for the royal family. When the prince visited the hill, the minister who accompanied the prince explained to him a belief about the holy hill.  The belief was that it was accessible only to the souls of great emperors who conquered and ruled many countries. Upon their death, the souls of a great emperors can ascend to the hill’s top and were given the privilege of establishing their country’s flag at the summit of the hill. It was considered a very rare privilege and it was to be the dream of every king to aspire for such a honor.

The young prince was very impressed. He felt a deep urge in him that he too should become a great emperor and acquire the privilege of establishing his country’s flag at the hill’s summit.

As the prince grew up and he became the king of the country, he was fully gripped with a desire to be a great emperor. He spent his time and resources in  building a huge and powerful army. He started attacking his neighboring countries and won one after another in gory wars.  His army went about mercilessly killing enemy kings and soldiers. The countries won by him came under his rule. He ruled the countries he had captured with an iron hand; people were subjected to lots of hardship; his army looted people’s wealth and possessions. His army marched ahead further and further to conquer many other nations. His very name became synonymous with terror and violence in the continent.

After virtually spending his entire life this way, the emperor passed away.  His soul drifted towards the holy hill. It was carrying his country’s flag. The spirits guarding the hill welcomed him royally and permitted him to climb up the hill. As he reached the hilltop, he saw a huge gate, guarded by an old spirit.  After verifying his antecedents and the details of the countries he had conquered, the old spirit opened the gate and permitted him to go inside.

The emperor was dumbfounded by what he saw there! The entire area of the summit was full of flags of so many countries and there was not even an inch of space for him to establish his flag. He asked the old spirit what to do. The spirit said, “I have been guarding this gate from time immemorial. I have seen thousands of emperors from across every nook and corner of the world coming here to plant their nation’s flag in memory of their conquering many other countries! You are not the first person to find no space here either! If you want to establish your flag here, simply remove any one of the existing flags, throw it away and plant your flag post there. That’s what all the others did!”

The emperor’s soul sank with disappointment.  What a fool he was in wasting his entire life in waging wars on other countries, just for the dubious merit of planting his flag here, where countless other emperors had already done the same thing across thousands of years! He thought of the gory acts of violence he had done; the extent of pain and suffering he imposed on the people he ruled. He felt extremely ashamed of his life. He was now gripped with the fear of what sort of hell now awaited him.

(From Amma’s 67th birth day satsang 27/9/2020)

16.  Remaining thankful

Once two beggars were walking on an isolated path. Suddenly they noticed two shining coins lying in the path.  Each of them picked up a coin and checked it. “Ah! this is a gold coin! Thank god. If we sell it, we can lead a happy life hereafter” said one of them.

The other one inspected the coin and said, “This is a very ancient gold coin. It bears the seal of a king who ruled our land some 2000 years ago. This is indeed a very precious and rare coin and it is very rare indeed. It is not something to be sold. It must be given to the king for safely preserving it as this coin represents our long tradition and rich cultural heritage”.

“If it is so valuable, so much good. Then we will sell it to a treasure collector and get lot more money” said the first beggar.

“No. I won’t like to sell it. It should rightly belong to the king” said the second beggar.

“If you want to be a fool, so be it. You do whatever you want with your coin. Let me go on my way. I will find a rich person to buy it” so saying the first beggar parted ways.

The second  beggar proceeded to the king’s palace. He was stopped by the guard. “I want to meet the king and offer him something very valuable”. The guard laughed at him and said, “You look like a beggar. What can you offer to the king? No one can meet the king just like that. We cannot permit you inside”.

The beggar said, “I have a rare gold coin which belongs to a period of a couple of thousand years of our kingdom. I thought it is very precious and it should be kept safely in the king’s treasury. I don’t have to meet the king. It is enough if you safely hand it over to the king”. He gave the coin to the guard and started walking away.

The guard was very surprised to see the coin. He thought if he handed it over to the king, the king may give him some reward. So, he went inside, met the king and gave it to him.

The king was very surprised to see the coin. He knew it originally belonged to his treasury and it was stolen by someone some time ago. “From where did you get this?” asked the king. The guard told the king about the beggar who brought it. The king said, “Go and bring him here immediately!”

The guard rushed out. The beggar was not there. He went around in search of the beggar and soon located him at a distance. He brought him to the king.

“Where did you get this coin? Why did you bring it to me?”

The beggar explained. The king asked, “Are you not expecting any reward from me?”

“No your majesty! I know this coin is precious and it is worth preserving in the treasury as a mark of respect to our long cultural tradition. That’s why I brought it here to give it to you. I had no other motive” said the beggar.

The king was extremely moved. He was totally awestruck seeing the honesty and the patriotism of the poor beggar.

The king immediately appointed him as the Minister in charge for his treasury and ordered necessary facilities to be provided to him for his stay and other comforts. The other ministers did not like the king’s decision. They did not like a beggar being given such a responsible and prestigious post. They became envious of him.

A few days passed. Some ministers joined together and met the king with a complaint. They said, “Your majesty, we suspect the former beggar who is the present minister of treasury to be indulging in stealing. We notice that every day he is bringing a briefcase with him while getting into the treasury and leaving with it in the evening. He is surely taking some valuables daily in his briefcase”.

The king did not believe them immediately. He wanted to personally verify. The next day, he hid himself at a nook near the treasury. He too noticed that the new minister was indeed bringing a briefcase with him and then leaving with it in the evening. The king felt very disturbed. Should he arrest him based on suspicion? Should he hang him if he was indeed smuggling valuables? Should he engage his guards to stop him and thoroughly check the briefcase? That will be too insulting to the minister if it did not contain any valuables. What to do? The king could not sleep well that night.

Next day, he decided to watch the minister once again stealthily. The king hid himself inside the treasury in the morning. The minister entered there with his briefcase. He stood in front of a mirror and removed his ministerial dress. He opened the briefcase and what he took out from there was his old ragged and torn cloth and his begging bowl. He wore the old clothes, held the begging bowl in his hand and spoke to his own image in the mirror.

“Oh my Atman! Look at yourself. This is how you were before you got the fortune of becoming the minister of the treasury.  Be ever thankful to God for having blessed a poor beggar like you to hold such a prestigious post. Never get tempted to the riches in this treasury.  If you lose your honesty, you will lose everything. When you came to the world, you brought nothing; when you die and leave the world, you cannot take anything with you. So be thankful to God always for all the goodness he has endowed to you.”

The king watched all these from his hiding place. He was extremely moved. He came running towards the minister and embraced him.  With eyes shedding tears, he said, “I am so proud of you, my minister! Please forgive your king. The other ministers who were envious of you came and complained to me that you are stealing valuables from the treasury and taking them our in your briefcase. Initially I too felt disturbed and suspicious. I even thought of jailing you and also executing you if you were really stealing valuables.  Now I really understood what a gem of a person you are! I am getting old and I have no son to rule this country. I have decided to appoint you as the next king of this country!”

The minister bowed to the king with all humility.

Soon a guard came and informed the king that a couple of persons have been arrested when they found valuable gold and other objects that belonged to the treasury in their possession. They were brought to the court. The beggar who had retained the other gold coin was also one of the persons arrested. Upon inquiry, the king came to know that some of the ministers who were jealous of the new minister were indeed behind the theft.

(From Amma’s satsang 10/10/2020)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 4 (15 more stories)

1.  Who knows?

One day, a man came out of his house very early in the morning well before dawn and started walking alone in the darkness of the road. There were no other people on the road. A police van on night patrol came by. Noticing the man walking alone in darkness, the policeman stopped the vehicle.

“Where are you going?” asked the policeman.

The man said, “How do I know?”

“What do you mean?” insisted the policeman.

“I mean, How can I ever say for sure?”

The policeman got very suspicious. Is this fellow a criminal who is out to do some mischief and trying to evade questions? He ordered the man to climb into the vehicle, took him to the police station and locked him up. The policeman said, “Don’t try to play dirty tricks with police. Tell the truth or you will not be released”.

The man laughed and said, “How can I ever be sure of where I am going to end up? You see, early this morning I wanted to go to the temple and have a darshan of the Lord; but see what has happened? I have ended up in the jail. That’s why I said ‘how can I ever say for sure?’ ”

[Amma: There are many things in life that happen beyond our control. We may want to something and end up doing something else in life.”]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 15/5/2018)

 

2. The lost key

[Amma: “You are searching for joy in  place where you can’t find it; Joy is within you and you are searching it in the outside world. All your worldly beliefs and hopes are bound to become naught one day. Only when they leave, you will get the true yearning for knowing your atman, your own inner Self.”]

Once an old man was kneeling down and searching for something outside his house. A passer-by asked, “What are you searching for, Sir?” The old man replied, “I have lost my key; I am searching for it”. The passerby too started searching for the key.

After searching for long, they could not find it. The man asked, “Are you sure you lost the key here in this vicinity?”

The old man said, “I lost it inside the house”.

“Oh God! Then why are you searching here?”

The old man said, “There is no light inside the house; Here streetlight is available; that’s why I searched here”.

3. The lost watch

Once an old man, possessing an old model watch misplaced it somewhere inside his house and was frantically searching for it.  He called a couple of neighborhood boys and sought their help to search and locate the watch.

The boys asked, “Grandpa, are you sure you lost the watch inside your house?”

The old man said, “Yes, yes! I remember seeing my watch this morning and also winding it. I remember wearing it before I went for the bath.”

All the boys were searching here and there and they were also talking aloud and making some fun and frolic. However they could not locate it.

One of the boys who was smarter than others  asked, “Grandpa, where do you normally keep your watch?”

The old man said, “I keep it mostly in my bed room. Occasionally I may keep it in the kitchen or in the cupboard in the hall”.

Then the boy said to his companions: “You please go out of this room and search for the watch in the kitchen and the hall. I will do the search inside the bedroom”.

As soon as the other boys went out, the smart boy locked the bedroom from inside, closed the windows and went close to the bed, near the pillows, at the wardrobe and so on very silently sharpening his ears to hear any sound, since the room was very silent now. At a corner of the cupboard, hidden under a bunch of books, the boy located the watch!

“How did you manage to get it?” asked the old man appreciatively.

“The boy said, “Instead of ‘looking’ for your watch, I started my search by ‘hearing’; now that this room is silent, I was   seeking the ‘tick-tick’ sound that your old watch produces and thus located it”.

[Amma: “Truth of the Self gets revealed in the silence of the mind.”]

4. The neighbor’s wood

[Amma: “People experience extreme happiness or extreme dissatisfaction on two occasions; if their enemy or the person they hate to the core undergoes severe suffering, they become extremely happy; if their enemy is living a grand or happy life, they become extremely forlorn! This is unfortunately the state of mind of many people.”]

Once there lived two neighbors who were extremely antagonistic towards each other. One day, one of them went to a wood mart and bought two logs of wood for doing some carpentry works at his house. When he brought the material and started cutting on it, he noticed that both the logs had been eaten by termites inside and they were unfit for any woodwork. The wood mart did not offer any guarantee and hence he was forlorn on account of the loss. For a change of mood, he went out of the house for a walk.

After some time, he returned the house; his face looked bright and he was laughing. His wife was surprised to see his change of mood; she asked: “What happened? Why are you laughing?”

The man replied: “How can’t I be laughing? Have I not bought two termite eaten logs of wood? You see, it is not a big loss at all! Our neighbor has bought 20 such logs from the same mart and all of them are spoiled!”. He continued to laugh aloud!

(Amma’s Arul Mozhigal (Tamil) -Part 4)

5.  Give or Take?!

Once a person was walking along a forest alone. Suddenly, he heard a voice — someone shouting “Help, help!”. The man looked around and at a distance, he saw a pit from where the voice seemed to come.

He ran towards the pit and there he noticed that a man had fallen into the pit and was not able to climb up. It was he who was shouting for help.

The passerby lied down at the edge of the pit, extended his hand into the pit and shouted “Give me your hand”.

The man inside the pit saw the passerby trying to help him. But he was hesitating to grip the hand. The passerby shouted again: “Come on, don’t delay; give me your hand!” Still the person in the pit was hesitating.

The passerby wondered what was wrong. He thought for a while and then changed his call; “Come on, take my hand! Take my hand and grip it well; I will pull you out of the pit”.

Hearing this, the person in the pit immediately came forward to grip the helper’s hand and soon he was pulled out of the pit.

[Amma: “That’s the nature of the world! Most of the people are so selfish that they are not willing to give anything to others; but when it comes to taking something from others, they willingly comes forward. The world has become so selfish nowadays!”]

(Amma satsang 16/2/17)

6.  End of greed

Once in kingdom, there was a river that contained lots of corals and gemstones in its bed. The king one day announced that whosoever rowed a boat upstream and downstream along the river across 16 hours and come back to the starting point can possess all the gemstones lying in the river bed that he covered by rowing.

As 16 hours of rowing was physically a very demanding task, no many came forward to take the challenge. However, one greedy person came forward to take up the challenge. He resolved within himself to cover as much distance as possible so as to accumulate a real huge wealth. Lots of people including his friends and wellwishers crowded the river bank to witness the feat. He started rowing the boat continuously for 8 hours and covered a long distance.

He thought, “If I can manage to row for one more hour in the forward direction, then I can speed up my return so that I will be able to accumulate that much of extra treasure”. He rowed for one more hour. Again greed clouded his mind and he rowed for one more hour. At the end of each hour, he was prompted by greed and finally he ended up rowing for 12 hours in the forward direction. It meant that he had only 4 hours left for his return journey.

He reversed the direction and started rowing fast. However, as he had been rowing continuously for 12 hours, he was already feeling quite tired. However, his greed prompted him to row faster, for, if he missed reaching the starting point, all his effort would be futile.  Breathing heavily and sweating profusely, the man kept on rowing, straining his every muscle and nerve in the process.

He lost so much energy that he could not even sit and row. He lied down and still kept rowing. Exhaustion took him over completely. Still his hands kept moving albeit very slowly.

He started hearing voices. He raised his head up and noticed that people were standing in the river bank and shouting at him “Come on! Faster, faster! Only a few minutes are left!”. Gathering whatever little energy left in him, he rowed with all his might. He vomited blood and fell unconscious as the boat touched the starting point.

When the king’s messengers came to the boat to take him to the king, they found only his dead body there.

(Amma satsang 13/3/17)

7. The trees that weren’t

[Amma: “In Karma yoga, when it is said that one must work without expecting results, it does not mean that one can be careless and purposeless in carrying out a task. Every action must be done with total ‘shraddha’ (ernest awareness), only leaving the end result to God’s will.”]

Once a landlord wanted to grow lots of trees in his land; he engaged four workmen for this purpose and assigned them specific tasks that each one should carry out. The first person should dig holes on the earth; the second person should do the seeding, the third person  should cover the holes again with soil after adding some fertilizer and the fourth person should do the watering. This way, he thought that the works would go on serially and also faster.

After the project was over, several weeks passed, but no saplings sprang forth from the soil. The landlord was surprised. He called the workmen and inquired what happened.

The first worker said, “Sir, I have been dutifully digging the holes on the earth; I have not faltered in my duty”.

The next worker said, “I have sincerely done my assigned work of filling up the holes with the soil after adding fertilizer”.

The next worker said, “I have done my duty of watering them; I have not faltered”.

The landlord asked, “Where is the person in-charge of doing the seeding?”

All the other three said in unison; “We have no idea; We did our assigned work; that’s all; it is not our responsibility to find out whether the person meant to do the seeding turned up or not”.

8.  Being in the present

[Amma: “Only the present is in our hands. We have no control on what is going to happen in future. The past is like a cancelled cheque. What is important is the present and we should think good thoughts and do good deeds in the present. That’s why, training the mind to be in the present is always recommended as a good spiritual practice.

“Children, don’t think that it is not possible to remain in the present at all times, without drifting to thoughts of the past or the future. Everyone has the potential for it. Listen to the following story carefully:”] 

Once the only child of a couple became extremely sick. The child’s life was in grave danger. The doctor injected a medicine to the child and said, “This is my last ditch effort. I can’t say for sure whether the medicine will work or not. Recovery of your child rests only with the grace of God. Please pray to God. It is only by His will that the child caan recover.”

The parents were not rery theistic so far in their lives. But, in the present critical juncture, they decided to do what the doctor said. Why? Simply because they had no other alternative.

Both of them praying feverishly to God to save their child, Their entire mind was occupied in the present — to see their only child alive — that was their only wish now.

As husband and wife, the couple had so many fights in the past; they were not seeing eye to eye on many matters. Forgetting all their past bickerings, they now prayed together with mutual love for saving their child;  they had no thought of what would happen the next day.

They look at the child; touch and caress his face and body;  they watch weather the child is breathing normally; they eagerly look forward for some movement in the child’s body; they look at his eyes eagerly to see whether they would open and look at them. When they see no progress, they pray more feverishly.

Their relatives come to see them. The couple might have had some bitter experiences with some of them in the past. Yet, at this critical situation, they speak to them politely without any hatred. It is because they are in the present — gripped with their only desire of seeing the child alive, they are able to behave nicely with them. They sincerely think that they need God’s grace as well as the blessings and good will of the visitors too. They tell them, “Please pray for saving our child.”

Thus, despite what the past was and future could be, the couple live in the present and it has made them polite and loving people. Presently they are freed from hatred and bitterness.

It is likely that the couple would behave so till the child is either saved or dead. Afterwards all their past old habits and idiosyncrasies might return. Yet, as long as they are in the present, their condition is sober and amenable.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

9.  Be happy with what you have

[Amma: “Children, be contented with what you have. Never aspire for what others have. Don’t desire for what you don’t have. Don’t think that you will be happier if you live your life like someone else. Don’t think your sorrow is more painful than others. Everyone has his/her share of pain and sorrows in life. None can share the burden of others or exchange with others.”]

Long ago, people living in a land were very unhappy about the state of their lives. No one was happy. Everybody thought that the next person was better off then him/her. By constantly thinking like this, they felt very agitated and furlorn. They could no longer bear their sorrows and burdens.

They got together to pray and cry to God to save them from their miserable lives. Moved by the intensity of their prayers, God appeared before them. He asked them to gather together in a meadow.

I have come after hearing your prayers. Now all of you unload your pains, sorrows, sickness, mental disturbances, physical handicaps etc in bundles in this meadow. People happily unloaded their every problem and pains. Soom the meadow got filled up and grew to be a mountain!

God said, “Now, in lieu of what  you have unburdened, each of you can pick up the bundle unloaded by someone else that you may feel as more bearable to you.”

The people vied with each other to take the burden of someone else that they thought to be ‘less heavy’ than theirs.  The beggar took up the problems and pains of a rich person. A barren woman took up the problems of a woman who had problems due to multiple children. Thus took up alternative problems and they appeared to be happy. God disappeared from the scene.

People too returned to their homes. From the very next day, people started crying and complaining once again! This time, their their prayers and crying appeared 100 times more powerful than the previous occasion!

God appeared before them and asked them to gather at the meadow once again. They all cried to God saying that they could not handle their new worries and sorrows. They unanimously felt that their previous problems were far more tolerable than the present ones and they wanted their old worries to be given back!

The God permitted them to do so and disappeared.

The people seemed to be relieved and went back to their homes. Bur very soon, they started complaining as usual!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

10.  There is purpose behind inequality

[Amma: “Why doesn’t God make everyone live happily?  Why is it that he has made some people suffer in life? People ask such questions. It is not God’s will that some people should go without food or some people to suffer more. God has given everyone what is basic and essential for them. Everything just to meet the need”.]

Once a sage with occult powers visited a village. The village people went and requested him to make all the people in the village happy and prosperous. The sage, in deference to their wishes. used his occult powers to give them all lots of money, jewelry, new houses and so on.  The people of the village received everything with joy and bid farewell to him after expressing their thanks to him.

After a few months, the Sage visited the same village again. This time, he found the village totally different from what he saw last time.

In fact it was even difficult to walk through the village. Dirt, waste and garbage were found strewn everywhere.  The whole village was stinking. There was absolutely no cleanliness anywhere. Consequently, people of the village were suffering under different ailments. Cattles were not being reared, lands were not ploughed; no agricultural activity was going on.

When he inquired why, he came to know that ever since he gave lot of money to all the villagers, provided houses to stay and so on, no one was coming forward to do any work. There were no laborers to do farming. None came forward to clean the streets and surroundings as none was dependant on work to earn money to run their livelihood.

The people now begged the sage to reverse what he had done so that they can return to the old, healthy way of leading their lives!

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

11.  “My life is best”

[Amma: “Everyone lives in his own world and thinks of himself to be great. Even a mosquito may feel its world is better than anyone else’s!”]

Once there lived two astrologers who were very good friends. They were very good in predicting future from horoscopes. Once they got curious to know of their next birth. After going through their horoscopes in depth, they concluded that one of them will be born as a mosquito and the other a bullock. They also predicted that they would meet in the next birth too.

The astrologer destined to be born as mosquito said to his friend, “Please do me a favour when we meet in our next birth. Please crush and kill me to death when you see me.That way, you will shorten my pitiable life of being born as a lowly mosquito. That way, I can hasten to take a better higher birth so as to reach God faster”. His friend agreed.

After their death, they took their fresh births as a bullock and a mosquito as predicted. THe bullock remembered its promise and kept looking for locating his mosquito friend. One day, he noticed that one mosquito living with a swarm of other mosquitos in an adjacent pool of extremely dirty sewage water amid a mound of filth was indeed his friend of the previous birth.

The bullock did not even feel like walking through the filth to reach out to his friend. However in order to fulfil his promise, he reluctantly walked through the filth. His friend mosquito was sitting over some dirt. The bullock lifted up his front leg to crush the mosquito. Noticing the intent of the bullock, the mosquito cried aloud, “Hey you! Stop, stop! What a cruel act you are trying to do? What harm have I done to you?”

The bullock said, “Don’t you remember me, your old friend of previous birth? Have you forgotten your request to me in the last birth to kill you the moment we meet in this birth? Haven’t you told me that you did not wish to live the worthless, lowly birth of a mosquito, but wanted to quickly die and take higher births?”

Hearing this, the mosquito laughed and said, “What do you mean by saying this life of mine is lowly and worthless? You just don’t know how beautiful and comfortable this life of mine is! I have a beautiful wife and nice kids; I have no desire to leave this heavenly location and take any higher birth or to reach God. I simply don’t think any other world would be any better than this! I am quite contented to live here and I request you to allow me to live in peace!”

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

12.   Ignoring sane advice (1)

[Amma: “God is full of compassion. A mother who gives birth to her children also tells them dos and don’ts  for leading a trouble-free life. If we follow them, our life will be smooth. Likewise, God, the creator, gives and knowledge and power to discriminate what is permanent and what is transitory. Without using discrimination if we do wrong, we have to suffer the consequences. There is no point in blaming God for it”.]

Once in a village a mother had two sons named Viveki and Aviveki. One day, she sent the boys to the adjacent town to buy so milk. As they were going to the town for the first time, she gave detailed instructions to them.

She said, “My dear children, on your way to the town, you will find two bridges. The one on the eastern side is made of teakwood and the other on the western side is made of a low quality wood. The teakwood bridge is strong and sturdy, but is far off from here to cross. On the other hand, the other bridge on the western side is closer by, but it is very old, rickety and shaky. If you use that bridge, you have to walk extremely carefully as it will shake and crack. If you are not careful, you can falter your steps and fall into the river. The bridge may even collapse.

“So, I advise you to take the longer distance path and cross the river using the teakwood bridge in your onward journey to the town. At the house where you have to buy the milk, they would give you a wooden staff. On your return journey, you can cross the river by the old, creaky bridge. Now the wooden staff will be very handy for you to support and stabilize yourself to  safely cross the bridge without falling down and reach home faster on your return.

“So, remember — never use the old bridge on your onward journey and take the risk of falling down”.

As the brothers started their long walk to the town, they first noticed the old, rickety bridge. Seeing it, Aviveki got tempted to cross the river quickly using it. He said, “Why should we walk unnecessarily to such a long distance to reach the Teakwood bridge? We will just cross the bridge very carefully using this bridge itself. It will save lot of time”.

Hearing this, Viveki said, “No. Mother has given us very specific and clear instructions that we should use this bridge only on our return journey and not on the onward journey. She has told us that it is very risky. So, drop the idea and come along with me”. However, Aviveki was adamant. “I know all that. I can be very careful and manage without using any stick. I will go alone if you are not joining me”. Viveki refused to give him company and he proceeded further to go to the east side Teakwood bridge.

He reached the town, located the house, collected the milk as well as the wooden staff given by them. He walked back and reached the west side rickety bridge. There he saw his brother lying in waist deep water, unable to move because of broken leg.

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

13.   Ignoring sane advice (2)

[Amma: “When God created the world, he has also taught people how to conduct themselves in this world. If people got into trouble and hardship by not heeding to his words of wisdom, how can God be blamed for it? God never punishes; even what you perceive as punishment too is God’s way of correcting and improving you”.]

Once a boy wanted to go to the neighbor’s house to play. The mother said, “There are two ways to go to the neighbor’s house. One is to go to the front of our our house, open the gate, go to the neighbor’s gate and enter it and reach the house. There is another shortcut about which I will not tell you. I would only want you to go by the gates”.

The boy came out of the house and he became curious to find out where the short cut was. He inspected the fence separating the two houses and there he noticed a small opening. He decided to sneak through the gap. When he entered through it, the sharp thorns in the fence pieced his skin and he started bleeding. Hearing his cry, the mother came out and retrieved him back to the house. Without telling a word, she applied medicines on his skin and soon it became alright.

Within a couple of days, the boy again got permission to go the neighbor’s house for playing. This time too, he decided to sneak through the opening in the fence, with a determination that he would be careful enough not to wound himself. But, his manoeuvres did not work and he got injured once again by the thorns. Again, without a word, his mother came forward to help him, cleaned the wound and applied the medicine.

Same thing repeated after a couple of days. This time, the thorn made a deep scratch on his skin and he bled. His mother noticed his mischief but did not come forward to help him. She left the wound to remain as it was. The wound did not cure; pus formed in it and the boy was suffering in severe pain.

The mother now said, “Last two times, I came to your rescue and you did not get the wound septic. Since you did not experience the pain, you decided to do the mistake again and again. This time, I intentionally did not apply medicine, because I wanted you to learn the hard way. Only when you feel the real pain, you would desist from committing the same mistake in future. You will not resort to going by shortcuts. It is not because I didn’t care about you that I ignored you the last time.  Since I truly care about you, I wanted you to come back to the right path and increase your awareness. That’s why I let you suffer”.

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

14.   Bad omen!

[Amma: “It is our good thoughts, good intentions and good prayers that we do in the morning as we get up that could lead to a happy and fruitful day. However, some people wrongly attribute the day’s happenings — good or bad, to the face of the person that they saw first in the morning”.]

Once a king, after waking up in the morning, came out of his room to the balcony and looked outside. There, on the street, he saw a beggar in tattered clothes. The beggar too looked at the king and bowed. The king immediately withdrew to his room with revulsion, thinking “Oh! What a bad sight to see first in the morning! It is so inauspicious to see a beggar first.I am worried what is going to happen today. Will there be any arrival of a war or any news of famine?” With such a thought troubling his mind and his heart welling up in hatred on the beggar, the king restlessly paced up and down in his room. Unexpectedly, he slipped, fell down and sprained his leg.

The king’s physicians attended to him immediately, wound a bandage to the king’s leg and prescribed complete bed rest for a few days.

Attributing this misfortune to the beggar whom he saw first in the morning, the king asked his minister to fetch the beggar from the street and ordered that he should be hanged.

The beggar was arrested and brought to the court. The minister conveyed to the beggar about the king’s order and the reason for the punishment.  Before he was taken to the gallows for hanging, the minister asked “Do you wish to say anything?”

The beggar said, “As the king saw my face first in the morning, he met with a small misfortune by spraining his leg. But see my misfortune. I too saw the king’s face as first thing in this morning and I am going to lose my life for it. Tell me whose face is more inauspicious? Mine or the king’s?”

(from Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

15.  Proud of what?

A person borrowed large sums of money from many people and bought an island. With the loaned money, he also built a huge mansion that looked like a palace and lived there.

He would receive whoever that visits the island in his mansion and show them around the palace, boasting about his prosperity and greatness.

One day a Sanyasi visited the island. He went to the palace seeking alms. When the man came out to see the sanyasi, the latter did not  salute him. The man got angry. He said, “Do you know who I am? I am the owner of this island and also this palace. This is the first time anybody has ever failed to show respect to me”.

Hearing this, the Sanyasi asked, “Do you really mean that this entire island and the palace truly belong to you?”

“Yes. I am the owner of these”.

“Promise?”

“Yes. I vouch I am the owner”.

But the sanyasi was a knower of his past. He smiled and said, “Ask your own conscience as to how you got the money and the number of people who loaned you the money!”

Hearing this, the man was shaken to the core. His face paled. He realized his mistake immediately. He understood that there is nothing that he could claim as his own in that place. He immediately fell and the feet of the sanyasi.

[Amma: “Whatever spiritual knowledge we possess today is not something got by doing intense austerities. What we know has been acquired by reading the books written by others and we foolishly claim “I am the Brahman”. Except saying such hollow words, we don’t have a trace of humility, compassion towards others, or the mindset of sacrifice which are the qualities of knowers of Brahman.”]

(Source:  Upadesamritam-1)

 

 

What is the Difference Between Religion and Spirituality?

‘Religion’ has the following elements:

  1. A God for worship. In case of Hinduism, it is a personal God of your liking (Siva, Vishnu, Ganesha, Devi, Rama, Krishna etc)
  2. A belief that the God (‘my god’) is the supreme power, who is the creator, protector and destroyer.
  3. Formal worships, visiting temples/churches/Mosques, following rituals, celebrating religious festivals, chanting stotras/ hymns/ mantras, taking up simple vows (e.g. fasting on Ekadasi days for Hindus)
  4. Praying god for money, wealth, comforts, solving problems, removing ill health, seeking long life, punishing enemies, seeking heaven after death
  5. If a Hindu, worshipping different gods for different purposes (For removing hurdles pray to Ganesha, for good education pray to Saraswathi, for wealth pray to Lakshmi etc). In a more evolved status, believe that my Ishta (personal God) will give everything because He/She is the only supreme God and all other Gods are subservient to Him/Her.
  6. Enjoying worldly life in every way with a mindset that God is providing everything for us, just like parents taking care of the comforts and wishes of children
  7. At times blaming God when things don’t happen as per our wishes!
  8. Advising others that the sect I follow, my way of worship, my religious practices and chanting are the best and nothing more need be done to get divine grace
  9. Arguing and fighting with other believers who say that some other God is the supreme one.
  10. Having staunch belief in whatever the holy books of that religion says is correct and true (reading and understanding them is not mandatory!)
  11. Visiting holy places
  12. If a Hindu, Generally following a traditional family Guru and paying visits and respects to him
  13. If a Christian or Muslim, trying to convert others to their religion (particularly targeting weaker and meeker sections of society in other religions)

‘Spirituality’ has the following elements:

  1. A sense of discomfort in the way religion is being practised by majority (after following a religion and its formalities for some time); wondering whether the ways and beliefs as followed by the common religious folks are indeed showing the right direction to progress
  2. Getting disturbed by deeper questions about meaning of life, purpose of life etc and earnestly trying to seek better answers from within the religion.
  3. Reading deeper in to one’s own religion’s holy books (Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads/ Bible/ Koran). Trying to read more and more of the explanations and different interpretations by different commentators in order to get better clarity.
  4. If a Hindu, reading the lives and teachings of great Mahatmas/ spiritual masters/ Avatara Purushas
  5. If not getting satisfactory answers from own scriptures, trying to read, understand and grasp scriptures from other religions or to compare and get better clarity and understanding about own religion.
  6. If a Hindu, in communicating with God, trying to understand “I” (self/soul/ Atman) and the relationship between “I” and “you”(God) better.
  7. If a Hindu, gradually understanding the need and purpose of surrendering to a Sadguru for initiation and proper guidance in the quest of higher Truth but not sure enough or humble enough for that surrender yet.
  8. Gradually losing interest in materialism and in enjoying sensual pleasures
  9. Gradually losing interest in praying to God (or multiple God forms) for material and physical comforts and instead trying to pray for a better wisdom to know God.
  10. Getting a better understanding of the concept of Maya and the truth of duality existing for ever (light-darkness, good-bad, dharma-adharma, joy-woe, health-sickness, wealth-poverty, positive-negative, wisdom-ignorance etc)
  11. Developing viveka and vairagya (discrimination and dispassion)
  12. Trying to understand better the form and formless aspects of God
  13. Getting a firm conviction “Ekam sat, vipra bahuta vadhanti”— there is only one truth which is explained differently by different seers/ religions.
  14. No longer interested in arguing and fighting with others saying “My God is the only true and supreme God”.
  15. No longer afraid of not going to the temples and not following the rituals
  16. Learning and practising meditation
  17. Surrendering to a Satguru (a realized master) with humility for spiritual guidance. Truly grasping the importance of the Satguru’s grace in attaining true wisdom.

    Sadguru Mata Amritanandamayi Devi with her Sanyasi Disciples. They were well educated youth of yester years who came to Amma in thirsting for spiritual guidance

  18. Properly ripening in the relationship with God — starting with Dwaita (“You are my lord and I am your servant”) to Vishitadwaita (“You are my indweller — the soul of my soul”) and to Advaita (You and I are one — Aham brahmasmi) in Hinduism.

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 3 (15 more stories)

1.  The simpler solution

[Amma: “Changing external things is extremely difficult; it is much easier to change our internal mindset to face the external circumstances.”]

Once a king went for a relaxed walk along with his minister barefooted. A sharp thorn pricked his foot and the king was hurt. Out of pain and instant anger the said, “Don’t you know that I take casual walk in this place? How can there be a thorn in the path I walk? The whole country is mine and I can opt to walk anywhere any time at my own convenience. I don’t want such a thing to happen again. By tomorrow, you shall have all the roads in this country to be carpeted; your head will roll if you don’t do this”.

The minister was furlorn to hear the command. He could not sleep over night. It was obvious to him that what the king ordered was not practical to implement and he was sure to get beheaded. He made up his mind to talk frankly to the king the next morning.

Early morning we went to meet the king and said, “Your majesty; I could not arrange to do carpeting of all the roads in the the entire country as per your order; consequently, you are free to behead me as per your dictum yesterday. Before I die, may I just make a suggestion? Instead of carpeting the whole city, will it not be prudent if you wear shoes before going for a walk?”

 

2.  Unwanted curiosity

[Amma: “Bringing useless and purposeless thoughts into the mind and indulging in them for long has become the habit of people today.”]

Once a man, putting on specs was reading a newspaper in the morning. He kept the newspaper very close to the eyes, then pushed it away from his eyes, kept it sideways etc and trying to read it. It looked obvious that he was struggling to read the newspaper. He bent himself over the newspaper, lifted it up above and still he was not able to read it properly.

His neighbor, who was observing all these for a while, asked him, “What happened? Aren’t your glasses alright? Perhaps your eyesight has deteriorated over the years and may be it is time for a checkup and change the glasses”.

The man said, “My eyesight is quite alright; in fact, I don’t even need glasses to read the paper. The glasses I am wearing now are not mine. When I went for the morning walk today, these specs were lying on the road; I picked up and brought with me; I am now wearing them and testing how they are!”

[Amma: “Most of us are like this man who is undergoing suffering by wearing the glasses that are in no way useful to him.”]

(Tamil Matruvani Nov 2015)

3.   The Patient listener – 2

Once a famous sadhu was invited by people to deliver a series of lectures on dharma, right conduct and living. The first day, some 200 people had gathered to listen to the talk. One the second day, most of them turned up again, but he repeated the same subjects that he talked about the previous day. On the third day, the audience had dropped down considerably but again he delivered his lecture exactly in the same way he did in the previous days. One the fourth day, there was just one person only in the hall to listen to the talk.

On that day, he changed the subject and talked about more things.

At the end of the session, the sole listener went to the sadhu and said, “Sir, why didn’t you change the subject on the second day itself? If you had done that, people would have continued to come to your lecture and got benefited by it. Why did you change the subject only today when I was the only listener?”

The sadhu said, “I not only give lectures but also watch people’s reactions; I know people did not follow the things that I taught them in their lives.  So, I felt compelled to repeat what I said again. However I was watching you and I understood that you are at least listening to my words and acting upon them. I saw you helping an extremely poor man with food and money yesterday. Today I saw you leaving your footwear at a wrong place as you entered the hall and the watchman scolded you for it; without arguing with him, you immediately removed your footwear and put it in a different place. It is precisely such behavioural changes that I was expecting from people when they listened to my lectures. I felt very glad that my teachings are working at least on one person like you. That’s why I changed the topic today!”

4.  Good intentions alone won’t help

[Amma: “One’s next birth depends on one’s thoughts arising in mind at the moment of death. But whatever thoughts that come out at the death bed depends on one’s innate nature developed and formed as mental impressions of one’s past life”.]

Once there lived an intelligent and rich businessman. He believed in the Hindu culture that uttering God’s name would lead one to good life. He named all his children with names of God. His plan was that at the time of death (like the infamous Ajamila** mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam)  he could call out any of his sons by name and thus attain moksha.

When he was in deathbed and felt his death was nearing, he called out his sons “Rama, Govinda, Narayana!” All his sons were taking care of the family business (a shop) and they came rushing in. When he saw all the three of them together. He became angry. He shouted angrily at them: “If all of you come like this together, who will look after our shop?” With such a worldly thought in mind and words, he breathed his last!

** [Ajamila was a normal worldly person, who had named his son ‘Narayana’. When he was at deathbed, he wanted to tell something to his son and called out Narayana. At that very moment, he breathed his last. The messengers of God of death (Yama) came to drag his soul; at the same time, hearing his call, Lord Narayana too sent his messengers to fetch the soul of Ajamila. Since Narayana was the supreme God, messengers of Yama could not take Ajamila’s soul to their destination where he would be judged based his sins and good deeds.  Lord Narayana’s messengers took him to Narayana and thus Ajamila was lucky to get the blessings of Lord Narayana, even though his calling out the lord’s name was totally inadvertent!]

(Source: ‘Sambhashanangal’-Malayalam- Part 2)

  1. 5.  Whither the market?

[Amma: “Even in nature, you will find plants and animals strive to live with optimism a life in full against all odds. It is human beings who lack faith and confidence. That’s why they get into sorrow. Amma will tell you a story she has heard”]

Long ago, a footwear manufacturing company sent two salesmen to a distant island where tribal people were living. The company wanted to explore sales opportunities in that island for their footwear products.

The two salesmen went by boat to reach the island and went around in two directions to make their independent assessments. They returned to the mainland by evening and sent telegrams to their company giving their individual feedback.The first salesman messaged: “No one in this island know what a footwear is; they had never worn any nor have any need for it as they were living like this for centuries. There is no scope to pitch a sales to them and convince them. Hence I am returning to head quarters“.

The second salesman messaged: “People have never worn footwears here in this island nor know its use. Hence there is a great potential to sell footwear here. Please send a large lot of footwear by sea freight immediately and I shall start selling them right away“.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  The true colors

[Amma: “Habits and vasanas being carried by us across several births are very strong indeed. It is not easy to get rid of them. They are very powerful. When an appropriate moment comes, they raise up their heads strongly however much we try and keep them under check”.]

Once there were two young and charming children — a brother and sister, who used to go to their neighbor’s house for playing. The neighbors were very fond of these children and enjoyed spending their time playing with them. One day, these children dressed themselves like a king and queen. They had cardboard crowns decorated with silvery and golden shaded papers to adore their heads.

They went to the neighbor’s house and knocked at the door. “The lady in the house asked: “Who is it?”

The children said, “We are the king and queen of the country; we have come to visit your house”.

The amused lady decided to play with them in the same tune; She opened the door, bowed before the children and said, “Oh, welcome your majesty! How fortunate I am to have you as a guest in my house! Had I known earlier that you are coming, I would have arranged a red-carpet welcome for you!”

The children said, “It is okay; It is enough if you take us inside and offer us refreshments”.

The lady respectfully took the children inside, arranged two chairs for them and said, “Respected king and queen may please be seated in this golden throne please!” The ‘king’ and ‘queen’ took their seats.

The lade went inside and brought a plate containing biscuits and two cups of milk. She placed them on a stool in front of the children and said, “I humbly request the king and queen to take my offering please!”

The biscuits in the plate were made in the shapes of various animals — lions, tigers, deers, cows, goats, crocodiles, oxen, dogs, fish, ducks and so on. The king and queen vied with each other two pick up the various biscuits; if the ‘king’ picked one lion, the ‘queen’ too would pick one. If the queen piked one dog, the king too would search frantically to locate a dog and pick it. Finally there was one elephant shaped biscuit only lying in the plate and there was no duplicate piece available. Both the king and queen wanted to possess that piece and they jumped over the plate to grab that piece! But the queen was smart enough to grab it first!

The king could not tolerate the defeat! He got angry. He tried to forcefully remove the elephant from the queen’s hand and could not succeed. Seething in anger, he picked up the glass of milk and poured it on the queen; the queen too retaliated. The king started attacking the queen by throwing the ‘wild animals’ on her!  Soon both of them were rolling on the floor fiercely engaging in wrestling. In the melee, their cardboard crowns fell away. Their royal dresses were getting torn!

Thus the ‘royal couple’ who were dignity personified at the time of entering the house became normal children in fighting for the biscuit pieces!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

7.  The right solution

[Amma: “If you clearly perceive your own mistakes, then you will take steps to remove them. Only when you become aware of them, you realize how bad they are. Recently Amma came to know of this real life story….”]

The manager of a hospital was facing a problem of keeping their elevator clean. Many visitors to the hospital had the habit of chewing tobacco/gutka. They get the urge to spit their saliva and many people shamelessly spat inside the elevator too at the corners. Thus cleaning the elevators frequently became a problem for the administration.

In a meeting of the hospital administrators, this issue was discussed, in order to find a workable solution to prevent people from spitting inside elevator.

Finally, a novel idea was implemented. 4 mirrors were placed on the 4 corners of the elevator. People who get the urge to spit inside the elevator will have to necessarily see their faces in the mirror and they could realize that it looks distasteful to do it! Hence people stopped spitting inside the elevator and the cleaning issue was solved once for all!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8  Tamil)

8.  Like Whom?

Once a traveller was walking along a street in a small town. He saw an extremely beautiful mansion in the street. Attracted by its grandeur, he stood in front of it and gazed it with admiration for a while.

A person from the house came out and asked the on-looker: “What are you looking at?”

The traveller said, “It is a very beautiful mansion! I am just marvelling at it!”

The man said, “Well, I am the lucky owner of the house”.

“Is that so? Very glad to know”.

“You know how I got it? I have an elder brother who presented this mansion for me”.

“Ah, fantastic”.

“Now Sir, please be frank. Are you not thinking right now ‘How wonderful it would be if only I have an elder brother like him’ ?” asked the owner of the house.

The traveller smiled and said, “No. I was thinking: ‘How wonderful it would be if I were like the elder brother’!”

[Amma: “True joy comes by giving; not in receiving”]

9.  Reforming the world?

[Amma (Addressing a pseudo-sanyasin): “My son, Before correcting yourself, if you try to correct others or the world, nothing would come out of it. The saffron cloth you are wearing is not meant to give you good looks nor to fetch you respect from others. It is meant to remind you constantly of your true goal in life; it should not contribute to boost your ego. Rather it should destroy your ego.”]

Once there lived an old man who loved to talk of his past to his friends.

He said, “In my youth, I was proud that I knew many things; I was confident that I could accomplish whatever I wanted.  I was trying my best to correct others and their ignorance. I prayed, “Oh God, give me the power to correct the world”. As days and years passed, I realized that I had reached my middle age and thus lost half of my life. I could clearly see that I had not achieved anything personally  in my life, nor could I correct anyone in my life.

“Then I prayed to God, “My lord, please give me the power to correct at least those who are close and dear to me”. I sincerely felt that it was my duty to correct the wrongs in others who are around me. Years have passed and now I have become old. Nowadays, my prayer is only this: “My lord, please give me enough powers at least to correct my own faults!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 – Tamil)

10. Outsmarting the opponent

[Amma: “In politics and business, the competition existing to outsmart the opposition is very strong and also problematic indeed. In order to gain upper hand, it becomes inevitable for them to overpower, control and manipulate the opponent. People even resort to unrighteous means, ignoring basic human values. “]

A rich man was once caught in a litigation. As the case was progressing, he felt that his side was weak and he may lose the case. He did not want it to happen; he wanted to win the case by hook or crook, even if it were to be by way of corrupting the judge and turning the judgement to his favor.

The rich man inquired about the judge’s habits and he came to know that the judge was very fond of playing golf. He suggested to his advocate to buy a very costly set of golf game accessories and present to the judge.  Shocked, the advocate said, “No! Never think of such ways. The judge is a very honest person; he takes pride in his honesty and would never accept any bribe. In fact, if you ever try to bribe him, the case could very well turn to be totally unfavorable to you”. Hearing this, the rich man became pensive.

After a few days, the judgement was announced. It was in favour of the rich man. He arranged a party to thank his advocate. The rich man said, ” I should really thank you for the timely warning you gave about the danger of bribing the judge. Actually, I did present the golf set to the judge, but I sent it across mentioning that it was a gift being sent by our opposite party!”

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

11.  No way!

[Amma: “In the present day husband and wife relationship,  there is no give and take. Both lack patience. Hence there is no progress in relationship; only repulsion is there! Only positive and negative poles in magnets can attract each other. If both poles are either positive or negative, they end up only in repulsing each other”.]

Once two cars came opposite to each other in a very narrow lane, where there was not enough width for two cars to pass side by side. Unless one car took reverse to the end of the lane so as to give way to the other car, there was no way they could move forward.

Both the drivers of the cars started arguing. Each one wanted the other driver to take reverse. Neither of them were willing to yield.

The first driver got out of the car, walked to a nearby teas stall and started sipping a cup of tea. Seeing this, the other driver too got out, bought a cigarette and started smoking. After finishing his tea, the first driver noticed that the second driver had not done anything; he bought a newspaper and started reading it.

After noticing that the first driver was not taking any action, the second driver finished his smoke,  came to the tea stall, ordered some snacks and started eating them leisurely!

Hours went by as both did not want to budge to the demand of the other. It was a matter of prestige for them. Thus they could not move forward in their path.

(Beach satsang Mon 16/1/2017)

12.  Ineffective treatment!

[Amma: “Life is a blessing. But instead of using our discrimination to choose the right, we choose the wrong and suffer”.]

Once a man was suffering from an eye disease as well as stomach pain.He went to consult a doctor. The doctor, after examining him, prescribed some eye drops and also a bottle of another medicine for his stomach pin.  He instructed him to apply a few drops of the medicine for the eye and take a spoonful of the  medicine for the stomach.

After coming home and the time came for taking the medicines, the patient got confused. Which bottle for which ailment?  He took an spoonful of eye drops and drank it. He dropped a few drops of the stomach medicine into his eyes! On account of this, both his ailments got accentuated and he had to suffer much more!

[Amma: “We are like the patient in this story,  confused always about our choices in life. The topmost priority to be given to our life is to realize our Atman — our real nature, through intense practice. We should give only a secondary importance to our boy and its needs. But we behave like changing the medicine! The effort needed to realize the atman is given to take care of the body!”]

13.  Impermanence is mithya

[Amma: “Mithya does not mean non-existent, but impermanent. Everything in life is constantly changing. Only Atman is real and unchanging. According to Vedanta, our life is dreamlike”.]

Once an extremely poor young man was suffering without food, shelter and clothing. He was sitting by the side of the road, feeling extremely depressed about his condition in life.

Suddenly there was a big commotion. An elephant was coming in the road with a garland in his trunk and lots of people including soldiers were following it.

The elephant came near the poor man and put the garland over his neck. There was a huge jubilation with this happened. He was told that the king of the country had died without a heir and it was decided, as per traditions followed in that country, to appoint whomsoever the king’s elephant garlands would be made the king.

The young man was carried with lot of fanfare to the palace. He was bathed, draped in the finest of royal clothes, adored with golden and diamond ornaments and crowned as the king of the country in a grand celebration.

Thus, overnight, the poor man’s life took an unpredictable and unimaginable turn! From utter poverty, he started rolling in royal luxury and he was enjoying every moment of it! Soon proposals came to get him married to a princess of another country too.

This is indeed what is known as mithya. The ways by which maya plays its delusive game is very unpredictable.

(Monday beach Satsang 23/1/2017)

14.  Selfish prayers

[Amma: “Amid theists, there are many people whose faith in God is just shallow. Their dealings with God are just for getting his grace for enjoying worldly pleasures.  They will always have their doubts  and also be unhappy and dissatisfied! Their prayers will be with selfish motive only — to get fleeting things or to complain about petty issues. True love and devotion would be missing; only selfishness, greed and hatred (against their adversaries) would dominate their prayers”.]

Once a man invited a Sadhu to his house. His wife had died recently and wanted the Sashu to conduct specific prayers for getting peace for the departed soul. The sadhu conducted worship to God and made his prayers saying, “Let everyone in this world live happily; let there not be suffering anywhere; let peace prevail everywhere; let prosperity swell everywhere; let every soul attain liberation”.

Hearing this, the householder intervened: “Swami, I was expecting you to pray for my wife’s soul to attain peace. But you did not utter even her name; can’t you pray for my wife exclusively?”

The sadhu said, “I cannot pray just for your wife alone. My guru has taught me that whatever and whenever I pray, it should be for the good of the entire universe. The scriptures of of the religious school that I belong to also teaches us the same way. In fact, when we pray for the wellbeing of all, naturally your wife’s soul will also benefited for sure. Sorry, I can’t pray just for an individual”.

The sadhu did not yield to the repeated appeals of the householder. Finally, with no other go, the householder said, “Okay Swami, Please go ahead in your own way. But just make sure that my neighbor is excluded from the benefits of your prayers!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

15. How human beings got 100 years as lifespan!

After one pralaya (dissolution of the universe), Lord Brahma  started another round of creation. He created different types of creatures — plants, insects, Animals and so on and he was about to finalize the lifespan of each creature.

He called man first and told him that he had decided to give him a lifespan of 30 years.  Hearing this, the man looked very unhappy. He prayed to Lord Brahma to increase his lifespan.  Brahma said, “I cannot show any special privilege to human beings alone. The lifespan for every creature has already been very meticulously planned and fixed”. But man kept on persisting. He was begging Lord Brahma for a longer lifespan, again and again.

Brahma then said, “Okay. You stand here by my side; I will call other creatures and inform them their lifespan. If any of them feel that their lifespan is too long and they don’t want that much, then I will add to human’s account whatever lifespan they want to reduce”. The man stood by the side of Brahma with anticipation.

Brahma called the bullock and said, “Your life span is 40 years”. The bullock said, “My lord, I can’t bear such a long lifespan. I pray to you to reduce it by half”.

Brahma agreed and added those 20 years to man. Man looked happy, but he was still standing there, hoping to get more.

Next Brahma called the donkey and granted 50 years to it. The donkey pleaded woefully, “My lord, why are you punishing me like this? I would rather be happy had you not created me at all; I have no wish for a long lifespan; Even half of it is long enough; Please don’t give me more than 25 years”.

25 more years were thus added to man, thus increasing it to 75. Though happy, the man was still willing to have more; he was eagerly waiting for the other animals.

Next Brahma called the dog and granted it 30 years. Even before he finished saying it, the dog started barking, vehemently protesting it. “My lord, I have no wish to live beyond 15 years” said the dog.

Man happily received another 15 years. Brahma looked at man’s face and he noticed that he was still not satisfied despite getting 90 years of age.

Brahma called the worm next and gave 10 years to it.  The worm almost swooned on hearing it. “My lord, I shudder in fear to learn such a long life span for me.  Please, please… I don’t want it at all. Please give just a few days as my lifespan; nothing more”.

Brahma transferred those 10 years of worms life too to man’s account. Now the man looked happy to receive 100 years as his lifespan. He started jumping and dancing in joy.

Amma: “Dear Children, Up to 30 years, man spends his life in education and employment with no major worries or responsibilities.  He leads a carefree life. By this time he gets married. Now like a bullock, he has to pull the ‘cart of his family life’ with all the responsibilities. His energy and health deteriorates. Thus he reaches middle age. He leads the remaining twenty five ‘donkey years of life’ carrying the burden of a thankless worldly life on his back. By 75, he becomes dead tired, totally losing energy. 

He spends the remaining 15 years like a dog, sitting at home to guard the house and the grandchildren, just for the sake of his food and shelter. By the time he reaches 90, everyone including his grandchildren discard him, He keeps living in the memories of the past.

The last 10 years that he got from the worm, he leads a pitiable life. Unable to walk, he moves like a worm. Advanced age and sickness make him unfit for anything. He spends his life lying in bed and squirming like worm. He dies like a worm, immersed in total disappointment, despair, sorrow and pain.”

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1.  Value of money (1)

A very rich man used to go to the market from his house for shopping by walk always. Having noticed this for long, one of the shopkeepers asked him, “Why are you coming to the market walking? You can very well come by your car! I always see your sone coming to the market only by car!”

The rich man said, “When I was young, my father never earned enough money to provide me comforts. Whatever riches I have today have been earned by me by hard work. I know the value of money. As for my son, his father has earned enough to give a car to him. The son doesn’t know the value of money because he has not struggled to earn it. That’s why he comes in the car!”

2. Value of money (2)

Once a father and son lived together. The son was extremely lazy and he was simply living off his father’s income. Fed up with his attitude, one day the father said to his son very strictly, “Look, you can have your meals at this house hereafter only if you earn at least two Rupees a day and give it to me”.

The lazy son went around to meet the neighbours and his father’s friends to borrow two rupees from someone or other and paid his father before taking food daily.

The father soon came to know of it and gave strict instructions to his neighbors not to give any money to his son.  Next day, the son could not get any money from them. He went to a hotel, offered his services to wash the utensils and collected two rupees as his labor charges. That was the first time in his life he ever labored to earn money.

He brought home two rupee note to his father and asked for his food. The father said, “Wait”. He went inside, brought a wick lamp and started burning the two rupee note. The son was shocked and angered to see what his father was doing and shouted, “Stop, stop! What are you doing ? Are you foolish to burn my hard earned money this way? Do you know how much I toiled to earn these two rupees?” Shouting like this, the son was about to hit his father.

The father said, “Now you understand the value of hard earned money? It is with the money that I had earned by toiling hard that you have been eating all along, sitting idle at home!”

[Amma:  Only if we work hard to attain something, we will understand its value; otherwise, people will squander it or misuse it. Amma cannot give divine knowledge for free to anyone who is not willing to work for it.]

3.  The learned parrot

Once a very learned sanyasi was walking through a dense forest along with his pet parrot. The parrot was very dear to him, as he had taught the parrot to chant many scriptures verbatim; it had taken many years of earnest effort to teach the parrot to such a capability.

In the forest, a ferocious tiger noticed him and came charging towards him. The sanyasi was very scared; he started running, but he was no match for the speed of the tiger chasing him.He did not know how to escape and thought his life would end very soon. Suddenly, most unexpectedly a forest dweller came on the way and he managed to chase away the tiger.

The sanyasi felt extremely grateful to the forest dweller for saving his life. He wanted to gift something valuable to the man, but being a begging mendicant, he had nothing to give. He thought for a while and decided to give as a present his dearest pet, the parrot, to the forest dweller. The hunter gracefully accepted it.

The sanyasi bid farewell to the hunter and left. After he reached his hut in his village, he suddenly remembered that he had totally forgotten to tell the hunter how valuable the parrot was since it can chant many shashtras. On a second thought, he felt that it was wrong on his part to have given the parrot to the forest dweller form who the parrot’s chanting abilities would be of no use. He decided that he should give some other valuables and coins in his possession to the hunter and retrieve his beloved parrot.

The next next day, the sanyasi went into the forest and fortunately he could meet him on the way. He eagerly inquired, “How is the parrot?” The forest dweller replied, “Oh! It was quite tasty; thank you!”

[Amma: There is no point in gifting something to one who does not know the value of it. A sadguru can easily give realization to a disciple but he will not give to a person who may not know the value of it]

4.   The useless pride

Once a very rich man travelled in his car in a highway. He was carrying with him lots of jewels and so many costly and valuable items in the car.

When he was passing through a deserted place, a few highway robbers stopped his car enroute. They forced him to come out of the car at gun point.

One of the robbers took him away from his car, drew a circle on the ground using a stick and forced the rich man to stand inside the circle. He said, “Don’t ever dare to come out of the circle; if you put a step outside this circle, we will kill you”.

Then all of them surrounded his car, checked it thoroughly and took away all the jewelry and other valuables found in the car. Finally, they poured some petrol on the car and torched it.

Then they came back to the place where he was standing, in order to kill him. On seeing them, the rich man started laughing. “What is there to laugh, you fool?” they asked him angrily.

The rich man said gleefully, “I am not a fool; actually I fooled all of you. Did you not say that if I step out of the circle, you will kill me? When you were busy looting and burning my car, I stepped out of the circle so many times and none of you noticed it!”

[Amma: Many of us live in this world like this rich man. Instead of escaping and running away to save his life when the robbers were busy, the rich man was priding himself in his foolish act of jumping in and out of the circle. When dire things are happening in our lives, we take pride and pleasure in our petty achievements, forgetting the great calamities we are to face in life]

5.  The most beautiful girl on earth

Once a great artist drew the painting of an extremely beautiful girl. Whomsoever saw the painting fell in love with the girl, so lured by her exquisite beauty. Some of them asked the artist “By any chance this girl is your lover?” When the artist said no, each of them expressed their desire to marry the girl and all of them wanted the artist to reveal her whereabouts.

In fact each one of them was so madly got infatuated with the girl in the picture that each was very determined  not to allow any other to try and woo the girl in any way!

They kept on pestering the artist to reveal her identity and location. The artist said, “I am sorry; she is not a real girl at all. I have never seen such a girl anywhere in my life. She has no specific language, religion or country. Whatever beauty I found inside my heart, I expressed it through this painting – her eyes, her nose, her face and all her limbs are only the expressions of my own imagination of the best of all beauties. Please don’t ever blindly believe existence of any such real girl in the world”.

But people refused to accept what he said. They said, “You are lying because you want to get married to that girl” they accused him. The artist said, “No. Even if you travel all over the world to locate her, you will not find her because she is the essense of all that is beautiful that I could conceive as an artist”.

Refusing to heed to the artist, the people started blindly believing that such a girl really existed. In order to possess her, they started fighting with each other. Soon it became a melee; burning with desire and rage, people started physically attacking each other and all of them got killed in the bitter fight.

[Amma: We too are like these people. We are in search of God as seen in pictures or as described in poetic mythological stories. In that search we also fight with each other and cause damage to ourselves.]

6.  The lean elephant!

[Amma: It is our mind that makes one beautiful or ugly in our point of view. If we love someone, he/she will look beautiful, even if the looks are otherwise. If we don’t like someone, they would look ugly even if really beautiful]

Once a lady, sitting from her house peeped outside and saw someone roaming at the gate of the house. She said to her servant, “Someone as fat as an elephant is standing at our gate; go and find out who it is”.

The servant went and came back excitedly. He said, “Madam, it looks it is your eldest son who ran away from the house a few years ago!”

The lady got up immediately and rushed out. Seeing her son there, she hugged him and said, “Oh my son! Where have you been all these years? Why have you become so thin?”

Once it became known that she was indeed her son, how her outlook changed!

7.  Initiating a change

[Amma: Any change for the improvement of the outer world has to come from the minds of the people. A change in an individual’s mind can trigger a change in the entire society.]

Once there was a village inside bordering a forest. At night, it was engulfed in darkness. A main road passed through the village into the forest which served as a thoroughfare to go to towns beyond the forest. As the village remained a secluded place, lots of robberies and murders took place. It was becoming very unsafe to travel through the road during nights.

A good hearted person living in the village felt pained to see such criminal activities taking place. He sent several petitions to the Government to provide electricity and street lights to the village, but nothing happened. Crimes continued to happen along the way in the village at nights. People in the village started living in perpetual fear and they were too afraid to venture out at nights.

Finally, the person decided to do whatever little part he could do: he kept a hurricane lamp outside his house at night so that there is atleast a little light on the street near his house.  When the neighbor noticed it, he thought, “It is really nice to see this place lit at night; let me also keep a lamp outside my house at nights”. Soon it caught up with everyone in the village. Soon the whole thoroughfare passing through the village got illumined at night on account of lamps kept outside every house every night.

On account of it, robberies and murders happening there gradually came down.

Thus, on the initiative of one person to do a good for the society, a positive wave was created in the whole village. If one thinks ‘let others change before I change’ no progress will ever happen.

8.  The power of words

[Amma: “Words  have the power to change the nature of men”].

Once a Brahmin was teaching moral lessons to children in a temple. Te king of the country happened to visit the temple at that time. The Brahmin, who was fully immersed in teaching the lessons failed to notice the arrival of the king.

The king felt offended that the Brahmin failed to extend him the necessary reverencial welcome to the king; he came close to the Brahmin and started chiding him for his negligence. The Brahmin apologized and explained to the king that he did not to it intentionally bu missed noticing the arrival of the king due to his active engagement with the children. The king refused to accept such excuses; “What is such a great subject that you are teaching to the children without even noticing me?” he asked in a mocking tone.

“I was teaching the children the importance of developing good conduct and character; unless I do it with full involvement and concentration, it will not be effective” said the Brahmin.

“Do you believe mere words can change the behavior of the people?”

“Sure, my venerable king; words do have the power to create change in one’s nature”

“I don’t believe it” said the king.

Just then, one of the students watching their conversation came forward suddenly and shouted at the king: “You get out from here”.

The king got extremely angry. He took out his sword and rising it, he said, “You young brat! How dare you talk to a king like this? I will behead you and your guru right now and destroy this place!”

The Brahmin said, “Excuse me, your excellency! You said a moment ago that you don’t believe that words can change the nature of people. But see what happened now! A couple of words uttered by a young boy has caused such a great mental agitation in you! You have even decided to kill us and destroy the place!”

[Amma: “Children, from this story, it is clear that words have the power to change the nature of people. When even ordinary words can make a change, think of the power of mantras embellished by Bijakshararas (seed syllables) given to us by great sages”].

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 -Tamil)

9.  Thanklessness

[Amma: “Man shamelessly take things from nature with utter greed. He never seems to be thankful for whatever he has received”].

Once a man was standing in a bus stop. Since the bus he was waiting to board broke down, there was lot of delay. As the man kept looking around idly, he noticed an ice-cream vendor nearby. During the long period of waiting, nobody seemed to buy any icecream from the vendor. Seeing his impoverished looks, the passenger took pity on the vendor and asked, “How much does a cup of ice-cream cost?”

“Five rupees” said the vendor. The man took out a five rupee coin from his pocket gave it to the vendor, and walked away without collecting the ice-cream, intentionally.  The but too gor repaired by that time and he boarded the bus and went away.

A couple of days later too, the man came to the ice-cream vendor, asked for the ice-cream, gave another 5 rupees, and went away without collecting the ice-cream.

Within the next one year or so, the same thing happened several times.

One day the man came to the vendor once again. This time the vendor could not contain his curiosity. He asked, “Sir, may  I know why you are giving me five rupees again and again but not collecting the ice-cream?”

The man said, “See, I have no liking for ice-cream. When I gave you five rupees for the first time, I was feeling that I should do some little help to you, since you were not doing any business for long, as I watched you from a distance from the bus stand. Actually, I was waiting in the bus stand that day to catch my bus to go to a job interview. Surprisingly, I got the job and I came and donated another five rupees for you”

“You were giving money a few more times too subsequently; why?” asked the vendor.

The man said, “At one time, I got a huge order for my company and I received a good incentive money for it. I came here the next day and gave money to you. Subsequently, I got a promotion quickly and I came here again. To day, i have come here to give your five rupees because I got promoted to Manager post today!”

The vendor said coolly, “Sir, it’s all fine. But I have to tell you something; since last week, the price of the ice-cream has been increased from five rupees to ten rupees”.

(Devi bhava satsang abroad 4/3/2015)

10.  The cost of love

[Amma: “There is hardly any true love in worldly relationships; if people love each other, it is practically for selfish reasons”]

Once a little girl was hospitalized for treatment for a a serious ailment. She had to remain in the hospital bed for about a week and her parents took turns to be with her. The doctors and nurses took good care of the girl and they moved very nicely and affectionately with her.

Once she was cured and was about to be discharged, the girl said to her father, “Papa, I think we should express our heartfelt gratitude to the doctors and nurses; they were so kind, affectionate and caring towards me all these days!”

As she was talking like this, a nurse came in and handed over a bunch of papers to the father of the girl. The father looked at it and then smiled at the girl. The girl asked, “What is it, papa?”

The father said, “It is the bill I have to pay for all the love, affection and care that you were mentioning a while ago!”

11.  Nature gives free

Once an old man was hospitalized due to breathing problem.  He got treatment for a couple of days. When he was about to be discharged, the ward boy brought the hospital bills. As he looked into the details, he noticed that he was charged a couple of thousands of rupees for Oxygen. Looking at it, the man’s facial expression changed. He knelt down and started praying God.

“Why sir, any problem with money?” asked the ward boy.

“The old man uttered his prayer aloud: “Oh God! How  magnanimous you are and what a thankless guy I have always been! Right from birth till this old age, I have been breathing the oxygen that you have given in the air so magnanimously without expecting anything in return from me! Please forgive this thankless guy!”

12.  Father’s advice

Once an experienced shopkeeper was keen to put his son in charge of the shop and train his son well in the art of salesmanship.

He brought his reluctant son to the shop and gave him essential instructions and put him on the job straight away.

A customer came and asked “Do you have Colgate toothpaste?”

The son searched the shelves and could not find any Colgate paste. He said, “Sorry, I am afraid it is out of stock”.  The customer then asked soap of specific brand which was also not available in the shop. When the son said so, the customer went away.

The father was watching all these from a distance. He came to his son and started coaching him: “Dear son, this is not the way to do business. You must never allow a customer to go away without buying anything. If Colgate toothpaste is not there, you should offer him some other branded paste, saying “this is a much better product; this has special ingredients to make your teeth sparkling white and so on. You should convince your customer with your impressive salesmanship to make him buy the alternative toothpaste. You got it?”

“Yes, papa. I think so…” said the son.

Next day.

A customer came and asked for a roll of toilet tissue paper. The son looked around for it and could not find it in the shelves. In a voice brimming with enthusiasm and confidence, he said, “Why toilet paper, sir? I have got a much better product to offer to you. You see, we have this X brand of emery paper, a superb product that can meet your needs better!”

13. Limited Support

[Amma: “Only God could be a true companion under dire circumstances; help and succeor received from near and dear ones have limitations.”]

Once a clod of mud and a dry leaf were close friends. One day they went for a walk together. On the way, it started drizzling. The dry leaf said, “Don’t worry; I will protect you from rain”. So saying, it covered the clod of mud and saved it from dissolving in rain water.

After a while, the rain stopped and wind started blowing. Now the clod of mud climbed over the dry leaf and stood over it, thereby preventing it from getting blown away.

A little later, heavy raining started along with gusty winds. Now the clod of mud got dissolved in the downpour and the leaf got flown away. Neither could be of any help to each other.

(Tuesday Satsang 1/9/2015)

14.  We are responsible

Once day, God went for a visit to Hell.  The people in the hell complained to him: “O God, you are very partial.  We have been living in this dirty and foul smelling hell for countless years. Those who are living in heaven too were living there for countless years with all joys and comforts. Is it not unfair? Should you not, at least for a brief period, do a mutual exchange?”

The God conceded to their request; he sent all those living in hell to heaven and vice versa.

After some days, God went to visit the hell once again. He could not believe his eyes. The hell was looking very clean, spic and span. There were lots of flowering plants around and the place was sweet smelling.  People there were singing God’s name and glories; some of them were dancing. Wherever he could see, only joy was there.

God then went to see the heaven. Again what He could see was unbelievable. Many beautiful plants that had existed had withered or dried up totally. There were no flowers to see. Paths were strewn with dirt and litter. People had urinated and defecated indiscriminately all around. There was only foul smell everywhere. People there were seen fighting with each other or in rioting. In other words, the old heaven was now a hell.

[Amma: “Children, this is the reality. It is we who create our own heaven or hell”.]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

15. The Mayor’s post

[Amma: “It is the nature of people to crave for others’ attention towards them. Egoistic people constantly need others’ attention on them. They could not live without it. Mind has such a madness. Those who are in its grip tend to act madly. As man grows, his mind and ego too grow and they become more subtle; their attempts to seek others’ attention too becomes subtle. Nobody wants to be an ordinary person; everyone wants others to acknowledge him as high and give respect. Amma will share a story she has heard:”]

Once a correspondent from a news magazine wanted to write a news report about the Mayor of a city. He wanted to know what the people of the city felt about him and his administration. He interviewed a cross-section of the residents of the city; he was surprised to hear only negative opinion about the Mayor from the people whom he interviewed. Everyone had some complaint or other about the mayor. Some said he was inefficient and lethargic. Some said he was very corrupt; some blamed him to be the root cause of all the ills of the city administration. A majority of them said that they had indeed made a mistake in voting in favor of him earlier.

Finally, the correspondent met the mayor. While interviewing him, he asked casually, “May I know the salary you receive for your post?” The mayor said, “I have no salary; this is a honorary post”.

The correspondent was surprised. He said, “At one end, you don’t get a penny for your services;  at another end, as per my survey with the people of this city, a vast majority of them seem to be totally antagonistic towards you and your administration; I am sure you would definitely be aware of the mood of the people against you; may I know why you are still occupying the post?”

The mayor said, “Please don’t publish what I am telling you now. I may not get salary and I may not get people’s acknowledgement; yet I love  the prestige and respect the post of the Mayor of the city carries. I love the importance and attention that I get by holding this high post”.

 

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. There is no time for japa

Once a rich businessman went and surrendered to a saint and said “Swami, I have no peace in life; I have so much responsibilities on my head that I am always tensed and running behind the clock to complete my commitments; I beg you to show me some way to attain mental peace”.

The saint said,”I will give you a mantra; you chant it as much as possible and you will gain peace”.

The businessman said, “Swamiji, where do I have time to do japa or chant mantras?” He pulled out a large bunch of keys from his pocket and showed it to the saint. “See, I have so many things under my care. I can’t find time to do any chanting; please suggest me something else” said he.

The saint said, “It is not really necessary that you sit at one place and do japa. Can you chant your mantra when you walk to go to your toilet?”

The businessman said, “My toilet is in my room itself!”

“Fine; how many steps do you need to walk from your bed to the toilet?”

“Some, 10-12 steps, Swamiji”

“That’s fine. You chant your mantra while walking those 10-12 steps. How far is your garage from your house?”

“It is about 30 feet, Swamiji”

“Good enough. Chant your mantra while walking those 30 steps”

The businessman agreed. He started chanting his mantra in those brief periods. Then he thought, “Can’t I extend this to other mundane activities too?”

Then he started changing his mantra while brushing his teeth and while answering his nature’s calls; he started changing while taking bath, while changing his dress, while driving to the office and so on. Gradually he started getting a  taste for chanting mantra and found more and more slots in his daily life to chant mantras without affecting his work and responsibilities.

He could notice that his mental peace was increasing on account of chanting mantras like this. He could gradually get distanced from his mental tensions and observe himself more as a witness rather than a doer. Without knowing, chanting Mantra became a second habit in him all the time!

2.  The virtue of patience

(From Upadesamritham-2 Tamil – Page 245)

[Amma: Patience is a quality that a spiritual seeker must possess right from beginning to end of his spiritual practice. A disciple can never realize his goal of enlightenment unless he eradicates his ego totally. A guru will conduct several tests  including surprise tests to ascertain whether a seeker has come with true earnestness or just out of a fleeting surge of dispassion. He will test whether the disciple has patience, commitment and surrender. He will test whether the disciple gets dejected easily or has the tenacity  and will power to cross hurdles. The Guru knows that if a disciple lacks the essential qualities like spiritual power, maturity and compassion, he cannot serve the world properly; he could even turn destructive instead of being constructive. The Guru may even take extreme steps to test a disciple’s patience and commitment].

Once a Guru handed over a piece of rock to his disciple and asked him to create a beautiful idol out of it.  The disciple started chiseling the rock in all earnestness. Ignoring food and sleep, he worked on creating a beautiful idol out of the rock to his own satisfaction.  With humility, he went to his guru and placed the idol at his feet.

The Guru looked at the idol, and expressed his dissatisfaction. “Is this the way to create an idol? It is ugly” Picking it up, the Guru threw it away and it broke into pieces right in front of the disciple’s eyes.  The disciple was shocked. ‘I have toiled so much, even forgetting to take my food and rest , to create this idol and how come the guru could not appreciate it at all?’ His dejection was writ on his face.

Even though the guru noticed it, he gave the disciple another piece of rock and said, “Now do it once again”.

Taking lot more care this time and with increased focus and concentration, the disciple chiseled the rock to create a beautiful  idol again. He felt, ‘I am sure this time my guru will really be impressed’. He took the idol and gave it to his Guru.

Seeing it, the Guru’s face frowned. “Are you laughing at me?  This idol is worse than what you did last time!” saying so, the Guru threw away the idol and broke it. He was intently looking at the disciple’s face to see the reaction.  The disciple stood there hanging his face. Even though he did not utter a word in retaliation for what the guru did, his disappointment was writ large on his face. The Guru gave him another piece of rock and asked him to make another idol.

The disciple worked  with his chisel on this rock with a lot more care to ensure that he could end up with an extremely  beautiful idol. The Guru threw it away too, with much harsher criticism of the piece! This time, the disciple did not have any negative reaction or dejection on his face. He thought ‘If this is Guru’s will, let it be so. Whatever he does is meant for my good only’. Thinking so, he collected the next piece of rock smilingly from the Guru’s hands and proceeded to work on it.

When the disciple went to Guru with yet another beautiful statue that he had carved out most painstakingly, the Guru once again did what he was doing all along. The disciple’s face did not express any feeling whatsoever. Seeing the serenity at the face of his disciple, the Guru felt extremely happy. He  joyfully embraced his disciple and kissed him on his forehead. At that very moment, the disciple attained self-realization.

[Amma: For any third person observing the way the Guru went about breaking the idols, it might look as if the Guru was very sadistic and cruel. One may even suspect the guru to be a lunatic. But what was truly happening there was only comprehensible to the guru and the disciple who had a total sense of surrender. Actually, whenever the Guru broke the disciple’s idol, he was in fact creating a true and divine idol in the heart of the disciple; what was really broken was the disciple’s ego. Only a true Satguru can do it. Only a true disciple can grasp the bliss that comes out of it.]

3.   The Power of Authority

Once a rich man was suffering unbearably on account of his hectic work schedules and mental tension. He lost his peace of mind totally; he consulted his friends and they advised him retire, to lessen his workload, delegate responsibilities, take a long break and so on. However, he was not convinced; .  He went to several doctors and psychiatrists; they prescribed medicines for him; they also advised him to plan for retirement and relax at home.

None of the medicines could cure him; he was not willing to heed to their advices.

One day, he came to know of a saint who was residing in a cave at a distant hill. The rich man took a decision to seek spiritual advice from the saint to solve his problems. He started immediately, despite the hardships involved in climbing the hill terrain.

With lot of physical strain, he traversed up hill and finally reached the cave of the saint.

It was freezing cold; the saint was sitting stark naked inside the cave. The rich man prostrated before the saint.

Without uttering a word, the saint signalled to the rich man to be seated next to him. He obeyed. The saint closed his eyes and went in to deep samadhi. He sat in that state for 3 consecutive days. The rich man too waited very patiently sitting beside the saint all the time. He ignored the cold, forgot food and drink and waited with the sole desire of getting a permanent solution to his problem.

On the third day, the saint attained outer consciousness. Looking at the rich man with compassion, the saint said, “you take retirement, stay at home and enjoy a peaceful life”. So saying, he blessed the man. The rich man returned home, fully satisfied with the statement of the saint.

Days passed. his friends visited his home one day. They were surprised to see that the face of the rich man was radiating peace and contentment now. How could such a drastic transformation take place in their friend within such a short time? They were wonderstruck.

The rich man explained to them about his visit to meet the saint and how he took his advice seriously and acted on it.

“But this is the same advice we gave you earlier!” they exclaimed.

Smilingly the rich man said, ” Yes; you used the same words alright. But when the saint uttered the same words, I could grasp the deeper inner meaning they carried; when he said ‘get retired from work’, the inner meaning I grasped was to withdraw my five senses from the world of distractions. When he said ‘stay at home and enjoy peace’, the inner meaning was ‘let your mind stay put in Atman and see everything as God’s form’. The very powerful ambience of the saint and the power of his words removed my fear, reluctance, anxiety and tension. That’s why I could continue to enjoy peace thereafter”.

[Amma: It is only in the presence of a self-realized saint that a true transformation in mind can take place].

(Arul Mozhigal-9  p. 53)

4.   A lesson from dirty water

Once a Guru was away from his Ashram for a while. When he returned to the  Ashram, he found there was a woman employed in the Ashram. He questioned his disciple who was managing the ashram as to why he allowed a woman into the Ashram. The disciple said,  “Maharaj, since the woman was neither young not beautiful, I thought there is no harm in employing her”. The Guru did not say anything.

A few days went by.

One day the guru was again going out of the Ashram. Before he left, he cooked food for his disciple with excess of salt added. He asked his disciple to bring some cow dung. When he brought it, he put a  some cow dung in the drinking water pot kept in the disciple’s room. When the disciple asked for the reason,  he did not give any reply. He then kept the food inside the disciple’s room, locked it from outside without the knowledge of the disciple and went away.

At noon, the disciple was feeling hungry. He tried to go out to the kitchen, but found that the room had been locked from outside. Then he noticed that the food was kept in a covered plate in his room itself. He ate it hurriedly as he was very hungry. He noticed that the food was excessively salty, but in any case he finished it off.

Due to the excess salt in the food, he started feeling extremely thirsty. He called out others from his room, but there was nobody around. As time passed, he thirst for water became very intense.  Knowing well that the water pot contained drinking water contaminated with cow dung, he decided to drink it in any case because his thirst was so unbearable.  Till the evening, he kept on drinking the same water, though with a sense of aversion,  to quench his thirst.

The Guru returned in the evening and opened the door. He went to the water pot and checked it. It was almost empty. “Why did you drink this dirty water, my son, knowing pretty well that I mixed cow dung in it?”

The disciple replied, “What to do Maharaj? The food you had kept for me was excessively salty and after taking it, my thirst for water became unbearable, Since I could not get any other water, I compromised myself to drink it. The situation was like that. What to do?”

The guru smiled and said, “When situations turned in such a way, you lost all your control and drank the dirty water knowingly. When our vasanas come out very strongly, we may act in such a weird way that we would not imagine doing it under normal circumstances. That’s why I was wary of employing a woman in the Ashram”.

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

5.   The obedient disciple

Once, in a gurukula, where practically all the disciples were Brahmins, the guru took a Shudra too as a disciple and taught him shastras along with other students.

After years of learning scriptures, it was time for the disciples to return to their homes and engage themselves in activities for earning their livelihood.

The Guru told all his disciples that they should ensure that they give lectures on Shastras to worldly people for the welfare of all.

Unfortunately, when the disciples, after returning to their homes, went about giving discourses on shashtras, people were not interested in listening to them.

After trying this out for a while, the Brahmin boys found out that there was no point in wasting their time like this and they went about in search of some other occupation to earn their livelihood.

However, the shudra student did not want to go against his guru’s instructions. He went to a nearby forest daily, sat amidst a few dense trees and started expounding the shastras he had learned from his guru. Only the trees were the silent audience for his discourses!

One day, the king of the country went to the forest for hunting. As he was roaming around he heard a human voice. As he went nearby, he could hear shastras being expounded nicely by a person sitting unobtrusively amidst the trees. The king stood there for a while, giving a patient listening to the talk. He was very impressed by the teaching of the shudra disciple. For the next couple of days, the king visited the forest once again and listened to the discourse without the knowledge of the young disciple.

Finally, he went close, paid his respects to the disciple and expressed his desire to take him to his court and offered him the position of Raja guru, to advise him on the matters of dharma.

Thus the shudra student got a well being and highly respectable position in the kingdom.

While all the rest of the disciples quickly discontinued the instruction of the guru, it was only the shudra student who was steadfast in carrying out the words of the guru and he was profoundly rewarded for his commitment. That how the grace of the guru acts.

(Amma Satsang – Mon 29/8/16)

6.  The secret kill

Once a guru, in order to test how far his disciples had progressed in their awareness, gave them a hen each and said, “Go and kill them where no one sees your act”.

The first disciple returned soon and said, “I have done as per your instruction. I took it to a nearby cave where no one was there and I killed it there”.

The second disciple returned to the ashram after a long time and the hen was still alive in his hands.  He said he could not find any place where none could see his act.

“Why? the other fellow found a cave nearby and he killed the hen! Why couldn’t you do it?”

“But Maharaj, wherever I went, the hen was looking at me! How can I kill it?”

(Amma Satsang – Fri 26/8/16)

7.   Shiva – the Guru

[Amma: When one is mentally united with one’s beloved God,  what remains is absolute silence and peace. It is meditation without break. It is samadhi.]

Once Lord Shiva and Parvathi were conversing. Lord Shiva was normally in samadhi most of the times; he would leave Parvathi alone and go to places elsewhere. Stung by the pain of separation from her beloved Lord, Parvathi insisted on being united with him forever. She wanted Shiva to teach her how to remain in Samadhi; Shiva agreed.

He asked her to sit in padmasan, close her eyes, turn her attention inwards and meditate on Him.

As she started meditating, Shiva asked her “What do you see?”

“I see your lotus feet in my mind’s eye”

“Now go beyond the form. What do you see?”

“I see a light so bright that it is even difficult to see it” said Parvathi.

“Now go beyond the light. What do you see?” asked Shiva.

“I am hearing the sound of ‘OM'”

“Go beyond the sound of OM too. Now tell me what do you experience?” asked Shiva.

There was no reply from Parvathi. Her sense of individual soul had disappeared and merged into the wholeness of Lord Shiva. In that state, there was no one to talk or hear. She had attained the pinnacle of love. It is beyond word, thought or intellectual analysis.

8.   Guru only knows

In a gurukula, the Guru gave Sanyas to all his disciples except for one. The disciple who did not get sanyas felt angry on his guru. He started thinking “Our guru behaves partially; he gave Sanyas to everyone, but not to me; he gave sanyas to those who even joined later than me; he is not a sadguru. It is better to leave from here and go elsewhere”; subsequently he started finding more and more faults with his guru. He did not hesitate to tell others his opinions about the Guru.

In the meanwhile, the guru planned to conduct a yaga (fire sacrifice) in the ashram. Various materials needed for it were brought and kept stored in a house adjacent to the ashram. The guru sent this disciple to fetch necessary materials from the house frequently. An young maiden in the house would issue him the materials from the house. This happened continuously for several days.

Since he was meeting the girl almost daily, the disciple got attracted towards her; gradually he started fell in love with her. Even after coming back to the ashram he could not forget the face of the girl.  The guru continued to send him almost daily to her house at some context or other. His love on the girl grew so strong that he felt he could not remain without seeing her for long hours. One day, he proposed to her.

The girl set forth several conditions for him to fulfil if she had to agree to marry him. They were in fact against the regulations of the ashram, but because of his infatuation on her, he agreed to her conditions. She told him “Now you have to carry me on your shoulders”. He agreed for it too! As he went closer to her so as to lift her up, the girl took a stick lying nearby and started beating him left and right. The disciple, unable to bear her beating, ran to the ashram and came panting in front of the Guru.

Knowing all that happened, the Guru said, “My dear son, don’t you understand now why I did not give you sanyas? You are wrong when you assumed that I don’t have love on you. As I knew you have this vasana in your heart, I did not give sanyas to you. You are not yet free from all your inner vasanas. If  I gave you sanyas, you will only cause trouble to the world’.

The disciple understood. He fell at the feet of his guru and sought his forgiveness.

9.  Prevention is better

Once a Guru in an Ashram was chit-chatting with a friend who came to meet him from outside.

A disciple was picking up a pot and was going out to fetch water from the stream nearby. Watching this, the guru said, “Be careful with the pot”. The disciple nodded. As the disciple was about to leave the door, the Guru asked him to come to him; he twisted the ear of the disciple and said, “Don’t break the pot; understood?” and sent him off.

Amused, the friend asked, “Why are you twisting his years and punishing him when he has hardly started? He has not broken the pot!”

The Guru said, “What is the use if I punish him after he breaks the pot?  Because of my twisting his ears in advance, at least he would be careful in handling the pot while fetching and bringing the pot! Prevention is better than cure”.

 

10.  Put it into practice

A disciple was living in an ashram for long. He regularly attended to Guru’s satsang and also studies shastras. After a period of time, he felt disappointed that he was not finding any progress in him. He want to the Guru and said, “Maharaj, you know I have been in the ashram for so long, but I have not been blessed with any spiritual experience nor am I feeling any progress in my status”.

The Guru said, “Have you ever gone to Kashi?”

“No, Maharaj. I have never seen Kashi”.

The Guru asked a couple of other disciples the same question. One of them said, “Yes, Swamiji, I have seen Kashi”.

“You please help this man to make a visit to Kashi. Give him necessary details and guidelines” said the Guru.

After several days, the Guru saw the disciple and asked him, “How is Kashi?”

The disciple said, “Swamiji, I have not gone to Kashi. The other day I just heard you suggesting me to make a visit to Kashi; I did not act upon it”.

The guru smiled and said, “All along you simply listened to lectures on shastra. You never acted upon what was taught to you through the scriptures. That’s why you have not experienced any spiritual progress despite spending years in the Ashram”.

 

11.  Looking at the good side

[Amma: “Even in a criminal, divine qualities are latent. Even in an evil person one can find at least one good quality. Even such a person has got every potential to turn totally good. If only we are patient with such people,  it is possible to kindle their divinity. By developing the quality of seeing good in others, divine grace will fill up inside us. It is that grace that brings success in life”.]

Once a guru wanted to go and live in a new village. Before shifting there, he wanted to gauge the nature of the people living there. He sent two of his disciples to the village and asked them to make their own independent assessment and come back.

The first disciple went around the village, interacted with a few people and came back. He reported: “Maharaj, one cannot see such evil people in any other part of the country. There are only murderers, dacoits and whores in that village; that’s why I came back very quickly”.

The second disciple also came back after a while and he said to the guru, “Swamiji, the village people are very nice; we can’t find such people anywhere”.

‘Oh! How come there are two totally contradicting observations by two persons?’ wondered the guru. He asked them to elaborate more.

The first disciple said, “I saw a dacoit in the first house, a murderer in the second house; I was told that a whore lives in the third house. I felt that is enough to know about the general character of that village people; I felt no urge to know more about the rest of the people. How can I have a good opinion about them?”

The second disciple said, “I too went to those houses. I noticed that the dacoit was feeding a few people suffering under poverty; it is his practice to look around for people who have nothing to eat and provide them with food. I felt happy to see such a good quality in him. I came to know that the person in the  second house was a murder, but I saw him helping a poor man who had fallen down on the path. Though he is a murder, he has compassion to help someone who is suffering and it means he is not dry in his heart. That pleased me.

“I went to have a look at the prostitute’s house too. I saw four young boys there. when I inquired, I came to know that they were orphans and it is the prostitute who is taking care of them as if her own children.

“Thus when I saw such good qualities in people who are condemned as evil by the society, I felt what is the need to inquire about the other people living in the village? I formed a very respectable opinion about the villagers in general and then returned”

(Source: ‘Oliyai nokki’- Tamil)

12. Money for abuse!

Once a saint sent one of his disciples to a village of ruffians with a mission — he should preach dharma to the people there and reform them to become good human beings.

The disciple went to the village and stayed with the people.  Right from the beginning, the people did not like his presence there. When he tried to advise them, they got angry and hurled abuses at him. They treated him very badly. Sometimes, unable to contain himself, he also shouted back at them. That made the people more angry with him.

After trying his best for several days to make them see reason, he felt that he could not succeed in his mission. He came back to his guru and said, “Maharaj, the people in the village are extremely bad; I could not teach them any good values; they were always verbally abusing me and shouting at me. It was extremely difficult for me to be patient with them; I was alway mentally agitated and angry. I am afraid those people are beyond redemption”.

The master said, “I think you should make one more sincere attempt. This time I will give you 100 silver coins. Whenever someone verbally abuses you, don’t react. Simply gift that person with one silver coin”.

The disciple collected the coins and reluctantly went to the village once again.

Seeing him back, the people got agitated. He again started advising them on dharma and someone or other would start scolding him. Immediately, he would give a silver coin to the person who abused him.

This went on for a few days and soon he exhausted all his silver coins. The next day the villagers started shouting at him as usual. Hearing it, the disciple started laughing aloud. The people were surprised to see him laughing without showing any anger or irritation.

An old man came forward and asked him, “Why are you laughing?”

The disciple said, “All these days, I had spent silver coins to hear you abusing me. Now I am left with no money; hereafter, I don’t have to spend my money for hearing your verbal abuses and it is now free! When I thought of it, I could not contain myself from laughing!”

Thus, the disciple, over a period of time had developed the quality of patience and forbearance. He had now become mature enough to laugh even when somebody abused him. By obeying his guru’s words sincerely, he was able to develop such a noble spiritual quality.

The change in the mindset of the disciple created a positive vibration. The villagers started talking amidst themselves: “This man is so nice and patient. In fact, all these days, he has been rewarding us with silver coins for all the bad things we spoke at him. Patiently bearing all these, he has been trying to teach us a few good things for our well being. Let us not abuse him any more; let us attempt to understand what he is trying to teach us”.

Over a period of time, the villagers gradually became more refined, free of the various vices and their evil mindset. They gradually started following good and right conduct by absorbing his teachings.

13.  The power of concentrated mind

[Amma: “If one can attain unwavering peace of mind, many things can happen naturally without difficulty. Suppose you want to memorize something. If you sit at a place and manage to remove all thoughts from the mind and read the portion that you want to memorize once, it will get registered in your mind. You will not forget it till the end of your life. There is no need to memorize it hundred times with tension forgetting food and sleep. Endless hills are hidden deep in our mind. It can contain all the knowledge of the universe. We have not learned the secret of acquiring that skill yet.”]

Long ago a foreign emperor invaded India and conquered it. He wanted to take the four vedas without any distortion to his country. He sent his spies all over the country to find out where he can get all the four vedas in pristine form.

Finally, he came to know that a Brahmin family living in north India was preserving the original palm leaf texts containing all the four vedas. He went there with a team of his army men to meet the Brahmin.

The Brahmin was living in a cottage at the bank of river Ganga with his wife and four sons. The king approached the hut, placed his army men on security outside the hut and went inside. He ordered the Brahmin to handover the manuscripts of vedas to him.

The Brahmin said peacefully, “Venerable king, you don’t have to show so much authority to get the four vedas from me. I will give them happily to you. Before I hand over them, I have to conduct a special ritualistic pooja. I need a day for it.”

Seeing suspicion in the king’s face, the Brahmin said, “Don’t doubt me, Oh king! If you wish, you can keep your guards here. I will not run away. Please come tomorrow. I am only asking for time to conduct the pooja before handing over the palm leaves to you”.

The king ordered his security persons to stay there and guard the hut and he returned.

When the king came back the next morning and entered into the hut, he saw the Brahmin sitting in front of the ceremonial fire and dropping the last palm leaf into the fire, chanting some mantras very loudly. The brahmin’s 4 sons too were sitting around the fire with him and intently listening to what the father was chanting.

Seeing this, the king got very angry and shouted: “You cheated me; I am going to behead you!”

The brahmin replied softly, “Oh King! Don’t get worked up. My fours sons were listening to the chanting of the four vedas throughout the night. I finished chanting of the fourth one just now. Don’t think I have not honoured my promise and cheated you. Now all my four sons know the vedas perfectly without losing even a word of it. Please take them to your country. They will preach veda to your people totally sticking to the original text”.

The king could not believe it. “This can’t be true. You are cheating me”.

The Brahmin asked his sons to start chanting the vedas. They did it perfectly without missing a word. The king was surprised beyond measure.

It happened because the four sons, with total peace of mind, concentration and devotion to their father listened fully to the chanting of the vedas and hence they could absorb them totally.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

14. The Guru Reveals the Real You

Once a hen was incubating her eggs; it so happened that there was an egg of an eagle too mixed up with her other eggs.

After a few days, the eggs hatched and chicks came out. The chick of the eable too was amiest them. Like all other chicks, the chick of the eagle too scratched the earth with its nails, caught worms and ate. It never knew that it belonged to a powerful species of birds that can fly and soar in the sky.

Months passed by. The chicks had grown big and so was the eagle.

One day, an eagle flying at the sky noticed this young eagle scrubbing the earth and eating worms, surrounded by other hens. The large eagle was very surprised. It waited for the opportune time to corner the ‘hen-eagle’ and explain to it what its real status was.

One day the hen-eagle roamed away from the other hens. Noticing it, the visiting eagle flew close to it and landed near it. The hen-eagle got extremely frightened to see the ‘enemy’ and cried out. Hearing its cry, all the other hens and cocks roaming nearby came rushing to help and the visiting eagle had to retreat in a hurry.

On another day, the hen-eagle got stranded quite away from the group of other hens. Noticing it, the visiting eagle came nearer. This time, it was more careful. It kept a safe distance and then spoke very softly: “Hey! Listen to me; don’t get scared; I am not your enemy, but your friend. I wanted to tell you one important truth”.

The hen-eagle was still scared; it wanted to run away. But, with lot of difficulty, the visiting eagle stopped it and started counseling: “You see, you are not really a hen; you are not destined to run around on the earth and eat worms like this! You are indeed a mighty eagle like me who can fly high on the sky and enjoy your freedom! You can fly because you are like me; whatever power I possess you too have it. Come on, flip your feathers and try to fly!”

The hen-eagle still could not get convinced. It could only think that the eagle was trying to brainwash it with the intent of killing and eating it. However, the big eagle did not relax its efforts to convince the hen-eagle. It kept on talking with lots of patience and tact. Finally it could gain the trust of the hen-eagle. The visiting eagle took the hen-eagle to a nearby lake and said, “Watch your reflection in the water;see how you look; don’t you agree that you appear same like me?”

The hen egle was surprised to see her image in water looking exactly like the other eagle. It could not believe its eyes. it kept looking again again at the water. Finally it was convinced that it was an eagle indeed and not a weak hen. Its faith and trust on the visiting eagle became full. It developed conviction on what the former said and its self-confidence grew. It started obeying the eagle.

The large eagle started teaching the young eagle how to fly. It was of course difficult for the young one initially. It flew a couple of feet above the ground and fell down a couple of times;but practicing repeatedly, it could soon fly higher and higher. After a while, both the large eagle and the young one flew together joyfully high up on the sky.

[In this story, the hen-eagle represents the worldly person; the visiting eagle represents the Sadguru who has known his oneness with God. Eating worms represents enjoying the petty sensual pleasures of the world and getting bonded to the world; seeing reflection in water represents getting a glimpse of one’s oneness with divinity by the grace of the guru; trying to learn flying represents doing spiritual sadhana as per Guru’s guidance; soaring high in the sky with the Guru represents getting liberated (attaining mukti) and attaining Unity with the infinite in the same way as the Guru.]

 

 

 

15. The Lazy disciple

Once a Guru and his disciple were sleeping inside a hut on a cold night. In the middle of the night, the Guru asked said to the disciple “Please check whether it is raining outside”.

The disciple felt too lazy to get up, go out and check whether it was raining. At that time, a cat came inside the hut through the window. The disciple extended his hand, touched the cat to check whether it was wet. Since it was not wet, he said, “Guruji, it is not raining outside” and dozed off.

After some time, the guru said, “I am really feeling cold; will you please shut the window?”

The disciple covered his face and ears with his bedsheet and said, “Guruji, we are spiritual renunciates; are we not supposed to bear heat and cold with equanimity?” and continued with his sleep.

After a while, the Guru said, “Please get up and turn off the lamp”.

The disciple said, “Master, Have I not obeyed and responded to your previous two requests?  Why don’t you do at least this yourself to set an example of self-help?”

[Amma: “The disciples of the present day are mostly like this! They want to instruct and manage the guru rather than obeying Guru’s instructions”.]

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Discrimination and dispassion – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. The 4 wives

Once a king had 4 wives.

He used to give lots of importance to his 4th wife, take her out with him in his social outings and always be proud of her.

As for his second wife, he will always pamper her, give her good food, dresses, makeup accessories and so on and take care of her well being.

He used to spend quite some time with his third wife, help her, spend money for her in order to keep her happy and comfortable.

But he would never bother about his first wife and always ignored her.

The king fell seriously ill and several doctors treated him, but his recovery was nowhere in sight. Doctors declared that the king would not live for long. The king was full of sorrow and despair. he called his 4th wife and  asked her: “When I die, will you come with me?”

The 4th wife said, “No way. When you die, I will immediately marry someone else and lead a happy life”. The king was shocked to hear this.

Then he called his third wife and asked her: “Will you come with me when I die?”

The third wife said, : “I will be with you only till you die. Not afterwards”. The king was dejected.

When he posed the third wife the same question she said, “I will come with you till the cremation ground; that’s all”

But the first wife said, “Don’t worry! I will be there with you even after your death”. The king became very remorseful about himself because it was his first wife whom he never bothered to take care all along was the one who came forward to be with him forever.

In this story, the 4th wife represents one’s wealth, social status, power, positions and honor. When we are alive, we strive so much for all these and we are very proud about  them. After death, all the money, power, position and honors we possessed go to somebody else.

The third wife represents one’s physical body. We pamper it with good food, drinks, clothing and jewelry. But when we die, the body cannot come with us.

The second wife represents our friends and relatives. We spend time with them, take care of them and show concern for their well being. When we die, they would accompany us only up to the cremation ground.

The first wife is our soul. During living, we never bother about our soul and the ways and means of nurturing it rightly. But it is the soul that remains with us once we die.

2a. Son’s beautiful present /2b.  “Wait I am coming” / 2c. The luggage

[Amma:  Whatever we do or accomplish in this world are all done by us by the power of God only.  We have no right to be proud of it. In fact, We don’t ever have a power to decide what is going to happen in the next moment.

By claiming ownership of all our actions and responsibilities, we end up getting tensed up in life and keep complaining to others about our burdens and sufferings on account of it.  If we truly surrender to God, then we can remain relaxed as He takes care of our burdens]

Once on his father’s birth day, an young boy gave a beautiful and costly present to his father. The father was very surprised and happy. The son boasted to his father, “Papa,  have I not got you a very nice and costly present when compared to what my elder my brother presented to you today?”

Father said: “Yeah! It is really very beautiful! By the way, how did you money to buy such a costly gift?”

The son replied : “It is so simple, papa! I used your credit card!”

* * * * * *

Once a person was standing in the open terrace of his house. he saw a friend coming to his house to see him. He shouted from the terrace: “Hey! I am here. Wait a minute; I am just coming down”

As he climbed down a few steps,  he got a massive heart attack, collapsed in the stairs and died on the spot.

That is the reality of our course in life.

* * * * * * *

Once a person got into a train with a heavy head load of luggage. Even after finding a seat to relax, he continued to carry the luggage on his head. He said to a fellow passenger: “Even after getting into train and getting a seat, I am suffering on account of this luggage on my head”

The co-passenger replied: “Why should you still carry the luggage on your head? Remove it and place it on the loft. The train is going to carry it anyway!”

3.  It’s all for good

[Amma:   Everything happens at God’s will, but it is not always easy for people to accept it.  It really requires a highly evolved mindset to accept as God’s will when a calamity strikes us. Suppose someone’s child dies, will it ever be easy for him to say ‘It’s by God’s will that my child died?’. But such a mindset is an ideal state to be attained]

Once a king got a deep cut in his hand accidentally when handling a sword and the matter was informed to the Chief Minister by another junior minister.  Hearing this, the Chief minister said, “It’s all for good”. The junior minister was shocked to hear such a statement. He went and reported to the king about this. The king got angry; after verifying whether the Chief Minister really made such a remark, he ordered to put him in jail.

As the junior minister put the Chief Minister to the jail, he asked him “What do you feel about this?”. The chief minister replied, “It’s all for good”. The junior minister felt irritated to hear such a statement.

Within the next couple of days, the king decided to go for hunting. While he normally took the Chief Minister as company for his hunting sojourns, he took the junior minister with him this time.

The king and the minister went deep into the forest and they lost their way.  They also got distanced from the king’s team of soldiers. Both of them were caught unawares by a gang of tribals and were imprisoned by them.

The tribals were to  give a human sacrifice to their deity and they chose the king for it, as he looked strong and majestic.  Before beheading him before the statue of their deity, they gave a ceremonial bath to the king and inspected his body thoroughly for any flaw. It was then they noticed a bandage in the king’s hands.  According to their customs, they could not sacrifice a man with wounds in the body. Now they inspected the junior minister’s body and found to be free of blemishes. The beheaded the minister before the deity and released the king.

The king managed to return to the palace and went to the jail immediately to seek pardon from the chief minister and release him. The king narrated what happened at the forest and said to the minister “It has indeed become true that the wound I received in my hand became a blessing, as you had predicted. But may I know why you said that it was all for good when you were  imprisoned?”

The Chief minister replied, “Had I not been imprisoned by you, I would have accompanied  you to the forest and I won’t be alive now!”

5.  The Life of Tulsidas, before he became a saint

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil – Page 16)

[Amma:  By running behind worldly  desires, you don’t really understand that you are leading yourself to great calamity. You may lose the very opportunity of reaching the goal of human birth, namely, attaining self-realization. Only when it dawns to you that you have not attained anything but only losing something, you gain interest in spirituality]

Tulsidas,  a great saint, who wrote the famous Ram Charita Manas, was a businessman before he got interest in spirituality. He loved his wife very dearly and had an uncontrollable lust on her body; he even ignored his business in order to spend his time in the company of his wife.

Once his wife had gone to her parents’ house for a while. Tulasidas could not tolerate his separation from his wife.  Driven by the lust to be with his wife, he left his home at night to go to the home town of his wife. It was raining very heavily and a storm was blowing at that time, but ignoring them he went ahead. On his way, a wild river was crossing and it was full of floods due to the torrential rains. He had to necessarily cross it in order to reach his wife’s place. There was no boatman around.

Determined to cross the river, Tulasidas noticed a floating object in the river and thinking that it was a log of wood, he jumped into the river, caught hold of it and started swimming towards the other bank of the river. Actually, it was not a log of wood, but a dead body that was floating in the floods.  Never minding to notice it, he reached the other bank and walked swiftly towards his in-law’s house. It was midnight when he reached the house. The door was locked as all were sleeping; Due to the noise of the storm, his pounding and knocking at the doors could not be heard by the people inside the house. His wife was sleeping at upstairs.

As Tulasidas looked around to find the way of getting inside the house, he saw a thick rope hanging from a tree branch that was close to the window upstairs. Actually it was a python that looked like a rope. Not bothering to notice the reality, Tulasi das caught hold of it and climbed up to the first floor. Through the window, he jumped into his wife’s room.

He thought his wife would be glad to see him there. On the contrary, she was shocked to see her husband coming to her at the odd hours, purely driven by lust ignoring all the hardship on the way. She said to him “Instead of possessing such a lust on this perishable body of mine, if only you had  possessed love on God, you could have easily attained God!”

Hearing those words, Tulasidas was devastated. His ego was hit severely. He felt ashamed of the blind lust he had all along on his wife. He hung his head in shame.  He realized the burden of carrying such an overwhelming attraction on his wife. At that very moment, his breath, his heart beat and every cell in his body turned inwards. His lust was replaced by an overwhelming longing for God. At that very instant, he decided to lead the rest of his life in god consciousness instead of body consciousness. He left the house immediately. He became a monk and wandered all around, with his heart filled with divine consciousness. He became a very venerable saint sooner.

6.  The suitcase

[Amma: It is attachment to things that is cause of suffering.]

Once a business man went overseas to start a business abroad. He worked very hard and his business prospered very well. He made lots of money. He bought lots of gold and precious gems.  He finally decided to return to his natve country. He collected all his gold and other valuables in a huge suitcase and travelled by ship to his land.

On the way, there was a huge storm.  The ship got battered heavily by the fiery winds of the storm. Sea water entered into the ship. As the ship was about to capsize, the captain ordered all the people to escape using the life boat. The businessman carried with him his huge suitcase and jumped into the life boat. Unfortunately the life boat too capsized soon.

The business felt into the freezing sea water yet he was firmly gripping the suitcase in his hand. All his lifelong savings were in the suitcase and he was determined not to lose it. By the sheer weight of gold bars that the suitcase contained, the box started sinking and the businessman too was drowning.  Finally it dawned to him that unless he leaves the suitcase, he won’t be able at least to try and swim to save his life. Alas! When the realization dawned, it was too late. Due to the extreme coldness of the sea water, his fingers had frozen; however much he struggled, he could not stretch his fingers to release the suitcase. The businessman’s dead body sank deep down the sea along with his suitcase.

(Tuesday satsang 8.8.17)

7. Guru teaches through action

Amma: One should always remember the goal of our life. It is to attain self-realization. We must make use of this life to attain realization in this very birth, without wasting our time in any other distraction.

Once a person went to a saint with the intention of receiving his spiritual teaching. It was night. The Guru was seriously engaged in writing something in candle light.  The man prostrated before the saint and said “Swamy, kindly give me some spiritual teachings”. The Guru said nothing. He kept on writing. After waiting for a while, the man said again, “Swamy, I have come here to seek your teaching”. The Guru did not respond. He continued with his writing in candle light.

After waiting for some more time, the person reminded the guru again. By this time, the candle had almost melted to its end; when the guru finished his writing, the candle flickered and the light went off.   “Sir, about the teaching…” The man reminded.

The Guru said, “I have already given the teaching. Didn’t you pick up?” said the guru.

“I don’t get it, Sir. You haven’t spoken to me at all!” said the man.

The guru said, “Didn’t you notice that I was engaged in writing in order to finish it before the candle totally wore off? The duration of availability of candle light is limited. Even before it totally burns out, it may get put off by a blow of air any time. Likewise, our life span is limited. Even before living a whole lifespan, death may occur at any time. Hence we should make use of the available life by dedicating ourselves to reach our goal, without wasting a minute. That is what I taught you”.

(Tuesday Satsang 01.08.17)

8.  Visitor

[Amma: God who gives everything to you expects you to share your wealth with others. If you try to keep everything to yourself, it is tantamount to stealing. Remember that we have come to this world as a guest. Keep that mindset always.]

Once a visitor came to a saint’s house. He was surprised to see that the house was extremely simple. No decorative items were found in the house. There was not even a chair to sit.

“It is really surprising; I don’t even find a chair to sit here” said the visitor.

“Who are you?” asked the saint.

“I am just a visitor” said the man.

The saint said, “You see, I too am a visitor; why should I accumulate things here?”

(From the book: Ammavin anbu ullathilirunthu“)

9. Surprise Test

Once a young boy, who habitually wakes up only late got up very early in the morning. He saw light in his grandfather’s room and peeped inside to see what he was doing. The grand father was doing prayers and changing hymns.

Noticing the boy, the grandfather asked, “Good morning, my child! What happened? Why are you up so early?”

The boy said, “The teacher may conduct surprise test today in the school. I wanted to read and go prepared for any such test today; but grandpa, why are you awake so early?”

The grand father replied: “I am also preparing for a surprise test from God; that test is called death!”

10. The Beggar King

Once a young beggar was roaming on the streets seeking alms. Suddenly, a royal chariot appeared on the road. It stopped near the beggar and Royal messengers alighted from it. They came close to the beggar and looked very intently at him. They nodded their heads to each other, grabbed the beggar and and forcefully took him with them in the chariot. The beggar was terrified. His vehement protests fell on deaf ears; they took him to the royal palace.

Royal servants came forward and after respectfully bowing to him, removed his torn and tattered clothes. They took him to a royal bath tub and thoroughly bathed him in warm, scented waters. Nest, they adorned him in grand royal attire and beautiful golden ornaments. The beggar could not understand any of the happenings; he was terribly confused, worried and also surprised by these developments, but no one came forward to explain why all these things were happening to him.

He was then respectfully taken to the royal court hall, where the king, ministers and many dignitaries of the countries were waiting. The King looked at him with love, embraced him and lead him to the throne. He made the beggar sit in the throne and placed a golden crown on his head. There was a huge jubilation.

The king announced: “Dear citizens, the long wait has come to an end today. Here is my son, whom I lost when he was a child during a war years ago. All these years I was trying frantically to locate him. I had given the details of his birth marks and unique identification features to some of my closest confidants and sent them all over the country to search and locate my son.

“Very unfortunately and due to the play of fate, my dear son was all along roaming in the streets as a beggar. Finally, my agents were successful in locating him and after confirming the birthmarks and other identities, they have finally brought him to the palace. This young man is my crown prince and he will be your king in a few years!”

The young man comfortably settled in the Royal quarters. He was trained by qualified teachers on archery and other martial arts; he was also trained on administrative matters. Soon, in the next couple of years, he took over the king of the country.

One day the king was reminiscing about his old begging days. Suddenly, a curious and strange desire sprang up in his mind. “What if I go back to my old place where I was begging and  reenact my begging live life for a day and experience how it feels?”

Without informing anyone, the king went back to the old place dressed in in tattered clothes  and roamed about in the same place where he used to beg. Not knowing that the king was in the guise of a beggar, people treated him the same way they used to treat any beggar. Some offered him food. some gave him a few coins. some people shut the door on his face,  some people cursed him him and shouted at him. In olden days, when he used to be a beggar, he would feel joy when people gave him food or money; he would feel ashamed and hurt if they scoff at him. But now when he received food, there was no jubilation; when people shouted at him, he could smile and walk away. He  knew that he was no longer a beggar but a King now, with with all the wealth the nation in his command!

Thus, in his role as a beggar the king was totally detached from the pain and pleasure and remained a witness to all that happened to him.

[Amma: When we realize that our true status is Atman, we will not be swayed by emotions of pain and pleasure.]

11.  The caretaker

Once a professor took his pet dog to meet his friend.

He said to his friend, “I have to go abroad on a research assignment for 5 years. Will you be interested in taking care of my dog till I come back?”

The friend too was a lover of dog. He agreed. He took care of the dog well; fed it with love regularly, played with it and enjoyed its company thoroughly.

After five years, the professor returned. The friend gladly returned the dog to the professor without any qualms.

[Amma:  It is the feeling of belonging and developing a sense of attachment that causes misery. By developing the right viveka vairagya, one can lead a happy life. ]

(Satsang – Tue 23/8/16)

12.  Dying Consciously

[Amma:  “Death brings untold misery. Nobody wants misery. Hence everyone is afraid of death. Everyone wants to live somehow forever; fear of death creates mental agitation and this agitation gives the pain of death. Even if people die in an unconscious state, the experience of internal agitation will be there.  Children! never die unconsciously. If you learn how to die with total consciousness, you can decide how, where and as whom you can take your next birth. If you don’t want to take rebirth too, you can attain birthless state.”]

Once a saint was put in the gallows by the authorities who were against his preaching certain philosophies. They sentenced him to death. They ordered that he should drink poison and die.

The jailor gave him a cup of poison and instructed him how to drink it. The saint smilingly received the cup and listened to the instructions intently. There was no shivering of hands; there was no sign of fear of death in his face. There was no agitation or restlessness in him. He prayed to God and sipped the poison relaxedly.

Then he lied down. He started speaking clearly how the poison was acting inside him.  He explained what the various forms of discomfiture were that he was experiencing, which areas of his body are feeling the pain or burning sensation, and which bodily functions were being felt to be failing in him. He never lost the grip of his consciousness. He kept on with his commentary till  his faculty of speech also failed and he breathed his last. Till the end, he was conscious.

This is real death. This is truly embracing death. Only when you see your death as a witness, you are really embracing death.

(From Amma’s Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

13.  Over dependence

[Amma:  “Being in the present means paying full attention to doing the work in hand, without distractions. If you keep yourself from distractions of the mind, everything will happen spontaneously and naturally”.]

Once there lived a famous architect. Many students were working as apprentices under him. Among them, the architect had a specific liking and sentimental attachment towards one student.  He considered the student to be brilliant, extremely good in his tastes and creativity. It so happened that whatever designs of the architect that the student held in the highest esteem won great appreciation from the clients too and his popularity and fame increased  considerably in the field. Consequently, his attachment to that student became so strong that he would start a new architectural project only after getting the nod of approval of the design from that student. If the student did not like one, he would discard that design and start with a fresh concept.

Once he was given a design contract to develop a beautiful and artistic main door of a temple.He made several design alternatives, but none of them were acceptable to his favorite student. He discarded them and made new ones; thus he made hundreds of alternatives in the company of the student, but still he could not get the nod of approval from the student for any of them.

The committed deadline was nearing. He could not any longer postpone it. While he was sketching another alternative design, the ink in his drafting pen got exhausted.  He sent the student to fill up the ink. The student somehow got held up and his return got delayed.

In the meanwhile, the architect suddenly got a new idea for the design of the door; he took a pen from another assistant and quickly sketched the design of the door that he just now conceived. By the time the student was back, the design concept was ready. The architect showed it to the student and upon glancing it, the student exclaimed. “Yeah! This is it! This is the most beautiful design and this is the one that you should present to the client!”

The architect said, “Now I understand how this sketch became successful. All these days, my mind was hankering for your company and was anxious to satisfy you and get your nod of approval. On account of it, my mind was not fully immersed in the task of making a creative and beautiful design. Now in the absence of your company, I worked in the present, applying my mind totally independently, without worrying about your judgement. That’s why I could create this nice design!”

(Fr0m Ammavin anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

14.  Discrimination must come at right time

[Amma:There is a limit and a measure for everything. Our life should be in tune with it. Everything has an inherent nature and we should understand it and live accordingly. God has given us not only the five sense organs but also the capacity of discrimination. If we do not discriminate but run behind satisfying the sense organs madly, we will never get true happiness and peace; we will endup only in misery“.]

A man once went on a pilgrimage to distant holy places.

As part of his travels, he went to a new country for the first time which was quite unfamiliar to him. He neither knew the language nor the culture and food habits of that country.  As he roamed in one of the market places, he saw for the first time, a shop selling a red coloured fruits which was not familiar to him. Lots of people were seen buying it along with other provisions in the shop.

The man thought that it must be a nice and sweet fruit unique to that country which many people seem to enjoy. He too bought those reddish fruits and continued with his sightseeing. After wandering for a few hours, he felt tired and took rest under a tree. He opened the packet of fruit, took one and bit it at its tip.

It was very hot and spicy and not sweet at all. With doubt, he bit the middle portion too and it remained hot.  He thought “Perhaps this particular piece is spoiled; let me try another one”. He took out another fruit and bit it. There was no change. It tasted hot only. Frustrated, he took out the remaining fruits one after another and continued to taste them hoping that at least one of them will taste sweet, but he was disappointed. His tongue was burning unbearably and he ended up shedding copious tears.

Poor fellow! He never knew that that it was chilli and not any sweet-tasting fruit.  After biting one or two, he should have realized that it was not a fruit at all.  But having got attracted by its attractive red color that looked like a real sweet fruit, the man could not get rid of his delusion and an idiotic hope that at least one in the pack would taste sweet; it was due to his total lack of discrimination that he ended up biting every piece in the pack only to get his tongue burned and end up in unbearable suffering.

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

15.  The miser

Once there lived a rich man who, despite possessing plentiful wealth, had no peace of mind. He came to know that if he could reach heaven after death, he could really enjoy a very peaceful and joyful life. He asked many people to know the ways and means to reach heaven.  Finally he went to a Sanyasi for consultation.

The sanyasi said, “If you liberally donate money, you can reach heaven. When you donate, you should not differentiate receivers on the basis of caste, religion or creed. You should not count your money and give, but donate in plenty.”

The rich man agreed. He set out for buying lots of cows for donating to others. Being a very stingy person by nature, he was hesitant to buy good, milk-yielding cows which were usually costly. Instead he bought old cows which had stopped giving milk.

He converted some money into 5 paise and 10 paise coins. His idea was that if we donate in coins, they would look very sizable, but would not cause him too much expenditure. Since he was instructed not to count money and donate, he could now give away bundles of coins without counting!

He announced a date for disbursing his donations. Many beggars swarmed his house on the day of donation. The sanyasi came to know of the intent of the rich man. He felt bad that the rich man would only end up in hell instead of heaven if he donated that way. So, in order to teach a lesson to him, he too went there in the guise of a poor beggar and joined the others in the crowd.

When his turn came, he too received a bundle of coins and an old, skinny cow as gift. The sanyasi immediately took out a golden bowl from his bag and gave it to the rich man. The rich man was astounded to receive the golden bowl; he knew that the worth of the bowl was several times more than what he had donated. he felt very happy that his act of goodwill had brought him an instant reward. As he stood stupefied,  the sanyasi said to him, “As I am giving this golden bowl to you, I have a small request. I want you to return this to me when you come to heaven”.

The rich man was surprised to hear this request. He thought, ‘What a strange request! How can I ever give this back when I reach heaven? Reaching heaven is possible only after death and I know pretty well that I cannot carry anything with me after my death!’  This thought rose up again and again in his mind — ‘Nothing can be carried with me after death’.

Then the truth suddenly dawned in him. ‘When nothing from my possessions could be taken with me once I die, why should I be so stingy in donating money to these poor people? Oh! What a sinner I am to donate these old cows and bundles of coins which are of no value to the receivers!’

He fell at the feet of the sanyasi and begged pardon for his sinful behavior. He took an instant resolution to donate all his money for the welfare of the poor. He felt immense sense of happiness once he took the decision.

[Amma:Children, most of us are like this rich man when it comes to give any donation to others. We should contemplate on this. However rich one may be, not a single paise can be taken along with us when we die. Such being the truth, why should we be miserly? We must extend help to others to the extent possible. That is the real sign of wealth. It is the way to mental peace and satisfaction”.]

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)