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”.
“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.”]