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Amma’s stories on the Nature of God, Avatars and Mahatmas – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. Hanuman’s Shivalinga

[Amma:   Mahatmas are sources of power. They are embodiments of divine consciousness. A magnitized piece of iron becomes capable of drawing other iron filings. In the same way, a Mahatma can even make inert objects sentient.]

Lord Rama instructed Hanuman to bring a Shivalinga to Rameshwaram so that He could install it there. Hanuman travelled everywhere in search of the best Shivalinga. He did not return even when the auspicious hour of installing was dawning. In order not to let the auspicious time pass uneventfully, Goddess Sita moulded a Shivalinga from mud, and lord Rama enlivened it with his Vital breath.

Just then, Hanuman returned with his Shivalainga. When he learned that the installation ceremoney was over, he became downcast. Seeing his sorrow, Lord Rama said, “Don’t give too much importance to the installation ceremony. Remove the shivalinga that has been installed and we will install the Linga that you have brought now”.

Hanuman then tried to remove the Shivalinga that Rama had installed, but he was unable to move it even an inch, no matter how hard he tried.

This shows the power of a Mahatma’s sankalpa (divine resolve). The sankalpa of a Mahatma is powerful enough to transform even a clod of mud into the divine. Because Mahatmas are one with the supreme consciousness, any sankalpa they make gets fulfilled.

(Matruvani – Eng – July 2018)

2.  Pray to God directly

[Amma: “At times of worry, we normally share our woes with friends and relatives. Instead, we should rather share our grievances with God. Don’t multiply your worries by speaking to people. Rather find solutions to your problem by praying to God”.]

One day, Lord Shiva and Parvathi were sitting together at Kailash, Suddenly Shiva got up and rushed out somewhere. Within a moment, he came back.

Surprised at his action, Parvathi asked the lord for the reason. Shiva said, “There was this devotee of me who would always pray to me for conveying his woes, big or small. He would never talk to anyone else about them. Today, as he was returning home, some people mistook him as a thief and started beating him severely. As I wanted to save him, I rushed out from here. As I went to the spot I saw the devotee speaking to someone saying, “These people are beating me for no fault of mine. Will you help me in beating them in retaliation?” I understood that the devotee is not in need of my help; hence I took a retreat!”

 (Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 – Tamil)

2.  The power of a blessing

A  woman who was grieving over the death of her husband went to a Mahatma and devotedly prostrated before him. The Mahatma blessed her by uttering the words ‘sumangali bhava‘ (‘May you remain happily married’).

Hearing this, the woman said, “O Lord, my husband passed away last night. In this life I will not marry another man. How then can I remain happily married?”

The mahatma replied, “Please return home. You will find your husband alive”.

When the woman returned home, she saw her husband sitting up on the deathbed.

[Amma: Such is the power of a mahatma’s words. It is not that they speak truth but that Truth rushes to fulfil their words. Hearing this, some might ask, “In that case, why can’t mahatmas resurrect all those who have died? People die even in their presence, don’t they?”  Life and deaths are laws of nature. Mahatmas do not act against the laws of nature. However, in certain situations, their compassion is aroused and their resolves bear fruit].

(Matruvani – Eng – July 2018)

3.   Success in one attempt

A boy used to fail four five times in each class. Finally, he reached up to his tenth standard. He felt that even if he wrote tenth standard exams ten times, he was most unlikely to pass. However, his class teacher made a mental resolve to make him pass the tenth exam in a single attempt.

He started coaching him day and night without rest. He was very particular not to allow his attention to get diverted anywhere else. Finally, the exams came and the boy exams and passed it in single attempt.

[Amma: “Even though the boy was aware of his limitations and felt for sure that he would not pass even after writing exams in 10 attempts, his teacher ensured that he passed it in one attempt. A Mahatma in the role of a Sadguru is like that teacher. For a disciple who may even need thousand births to realize himself, the Guru is capable of helping him to gain it in a single birth”].

(Matruvani – Tamil -Adi 2018)

4.   It is not easy to understand God’s ways!

Once there was a famous temple in a town where lots of devotees visited it regularly and made prayers. The deity was very famous as a wish fulfilling God and crowd was there all the time.

A sweeper working in the temple was very devoted to the lord of the temple. He was very guileless and soft-hearted.

He felt pained to see his God standing all the time in the sanctum sanctorum with His hands showing vara-abhaya-mudra (one hand showing blessings and another hand showing ‘don’t fear’) and endlessly hearing the prayers of the ever streaming devotees. He felt sorry for the lord. He wanted to offer his help to his God to get some rest to Him.

He went to the lord and said, “My dear God,  I feel extremely pained to see you standing like this all the time; you deserve a good rest. Please let me stand there in your position there for a few days till you feel relaxed and rejuvenated”.

Moved by the simple and heartfelt prayers of the sweeper, the lord said, “My son, it is a very difficult job indeed standing silent like this and listening to the people’s never ending grievances; I am quite used to doing it; it will be very difficult for you to do it; don’t worry; I will manage.”

The sweeper was adamant. He kept on insisting the Lord that he should take some rest. The lord finally said, “Okay, I will concede to your proposition for a few days one one condition that whatever happens in front of you, you should not react and stand like a statue only; you should remain patiently listening and witnessing all that happens without getting involved”.

The sweeper agreed.

He took up the place of the lord standing with vara abhaya mudra;  The lord moved away from the place for a while.

On that day, a very rich person came to the temple and stood in front of the ‘God’ for praying. He had brought  a huge bag of cash (which he was to drop into the temple Hundial as an offering) with him ;  he placed the bag at a corner and prayed: “My lord, please make me the richest person in this world”.   As he left, he forgot to pick up the cash bag. As he went to the temple office to drop the money in the Hundial, he noticed that his bag was missing.

In the meanwhile, a very poor beggar came to the lord and prayed: “My dear lord, I am dying day by day out of impoverishment; I don’t have anything more than a few coins to offer to you; please accept them and give me money for my survival and wellbeing”.

He placed the coins at the feet of God and turned back. His eyesight fell on the corner where the rich man had left his cash bag. The beggar picked it up, opened it and saw bundles of currency inside it! He turned towards God and shouted joyfully: “Oh God! I could never imagine that you will bless me so instantly! You are the most benevolent God in the whole world! Thank you so much, God, for giving this money!” he tucked the cash bag under his arm and walked away!

The sweeper posing as God was shocked to see the poor man lifting the cash bag and walking away! But he contained himself somehow from reacting.

Soon,  a captain of a ship came to the lord and prayed: “My dear God, I have to sail a long journey; please protect me from any hardships and bless me a safe journey”.

In the meanwhile, the richman who lost his cash bag complained to the security persons on duty at the temple. He came to the sanctum Sanctorum along with the security person in search of the bag.

Suddenly he remembered that he had kept his bag at the corner before praying; not finding the bag there and only noticing the sailor sitting and praying there, the rich man suspected whether the person would have taken the cash bag.

The security person started interrogating him. “We suspect you have taken the cash bag of this person; return it immediately or we will have to call the police and arrest you for suspected theft”. No amount of pleading by the sailor could stop the the rich man and the security person from harassing him for the theft.

The sweeper posing as Lord could not contain himself this time. He felt that it would be totally inappropriate for him if he did not interfere to save the innocent sailor.

He opened his mouth and said in a dignified voice: “Listen my children! I am the God speaking. This sailor is innocent. The cash bag was taken by a beggar who just left a few minutes ago”.

All the people inside got goose pimples hearing the God speaking! They prostrated with reverence; The security person and the rich man ran out immediately to locate and nab the beggar.

After a while, the God returned to the sanctum Sanctorum and said, “As per your wish, I have taken rest and I am back to take charge again. Did you do your job rightly by remaining a silent witness all the time, as I had instructed you?”

“No lord; I am sorry that I could not keep up my word. I had to break my silence to interfere in order that injustice does not happen in this holy premises” said the sweeper and explained what happened. He thought God would appreciate him for his intervention.

But the lord felt very upset. “Why did you open your mouth and spoiled my grace working on all the three people?”

“Lord! I believe I have done only dharma!” protested the sweeper.

The Lord said: “You human beings cannot understand My scheme of things; despite my advice, you did not keep quite and spoiled all the grace I had intended to bestow in those people.  I know the poor beggar who is an extremely compassionate person. I wanted him to make use of the rich man’s money; he will eat to his stomach full with that money daily and also help others who are starving by sharing the money with others. He is not greedy and I wanted to bless him like that. Whatever punya this poor man gains, a portion of it will go to the rich man too, who does not need that much money anyway and he, on his own, will not spend it for the poor and the needy…”

“Then how about the sailor whom I saved?”

The God said: “I wanted the sailor to be arrested and jailed for a few days, because the ship in which he is to sail is destined to sink into the deep seas in a storm. By opening your mouth and telling the truth about the theft of the cash bag, you have now paved the way for the death of the sailor!”

5.  Sense of Humility

Once sage Vishwamitra went to Lord Vishnu and complained: “My lord, I too have done lots of austerities and attained divine powers just like Sage Vasishta. But everyone seems to treat Vashishta to a greater regard than me and they don’t seem to have much of regard for me. This is very unfair. Why is it so?”

Lord Vishnu smiled and called Sage Vashishta to his abode. He then told both of them; “Viswamitra has a doubt and I have to give a reply to him. Before that, I want both of you to show your capabilities on a task I am going to give you and let me see who finishes off the task earlier. Each of you go independently and feed thousand people who are lower than you and come back”.

After a few hours, Viswamitra returned to Vaikunta and declared: “My lord! I have accomplished the task of feeding thousand people who are lower than me”.

Both of them waited for the return of Sage Vashishta. A couple of days passed. Vashishta came back at last and he reported to Lord: “I am sorry Lord! I could not locate any person lower than me. I only see God in each one of the people I meet and hence I could never consider tham lower than me”.

Lord looked at Vishwamitra and smiled. Vishvamitra understood immediately and he bowed down to Sage Vashishta.

6.  Acceptance – the great virtue

[Amma: “A self-realized person sees everyone as Atman in different forms; he cannot negate anything;  like the sky, river and sea, he accepts everything — good or bad, equally.”]

Once in a village, an unmarried woman became pregnant and gave birth to a child. She refused to say who the father of the child was. Everyone in the village condemned and criticized her. Her parents put pressure on her to declare who caused her pregnancy. Finally, in order to avoid further humiliation and save her face, she said one saint living in the hut at the outskirts of the village was the child’s father.

Hearing it, the parents and the villages got very agitated. They marched towards the hut where the sage was staying, called him names and abused him. They said he was a fraud and a man of meanest conduct. They thrust the child in his hands and said that he should take care of the child.

The saint smiled and said, “Fine, let it be so”. From that day onwards, he took care of the child very well, much more than a mother caring her child.

His name was tarnished. His disciples and other villagers who revered him earlier disowned him. Even then he said, “Well, let it be so”.

One year passed this way. The mother of the child felt tormented by her conscience. She told her parents that she had lied about the child’s father; it was actually the young man in the next house of hers with whom she had a physical relationship.

Hearing this, the parents felt very sad. The news spread across the village. Everyone in the village and the disciples felt very remorseful for having wrongly implicating the saint without deeply inquiring into the false accusation. The fell at the feet of the saint and sought his pardon. They requested that the child be returned to the mother. The saint smiled and said, “Fine! Let it be so” and blessed them.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

7.   True detachment

[Amma: “A true sanyasi, even after self-realization and the state of total freedom from karma, has to work for the welfare of the world energetically and efficiently. Despite all the contradictions existing in the outer world, he does it, as he is still part and parcel of the outer world. But inwardly, he would remain in the total silence and actionless state of Atman, without any contradictions. A true sanyasi has no attachment or sense of possession. Despite being amidst hectic activity, he has really no attachment to actions and remains in total freedom.”]

Once a sanyasi was travelling in a train. Many co-passengers were there in the compartment. All the passengers had several luggages, bags and packs. The sanyasi too had a cloth bag containing some of his possessions. Noticing it, a passenger commented, “We are all family men and naturally we have so many possessions to carry. But you are a sanyasi; you are wearing ochre cloth too; I am surprised to see you carrying a bagful of possessions with you. In what way, you are different from us?”

The sanyasi heard it and remained silently smiling.

After a short while, the train was travelling over a river bridge. Smilingly, the sanyasi took his cloth bag and swiftly threw it out of the window into the river! Then he turned towards the co-passenger who was questioning him earlier and said, “Dear brother, I have thrown my bag; will you throw your baggage too like me?”

Shocked, the co-passenger retorted, “What do you mean?  I have several costly possessions in my baggages. How can I throw them away?”

The sanyasi said, “I too had a few costly things in my bag; I am able to throw them away without a trace of attachment or a sense of loss. YOu can’t do so because you are attached to your possessions. That is the difference between you and me”.

The passenger hung his head in shame on hearing the answer.

8.  Detach and Attach

Once a sanyasi was walking be, with a bag on his shoulders. Some youngsters, seeing his ochre cloth and tattered looks, made fun of him. In order to tease him, they asked, “What is sanyas?”

The sanyasi dropped his bag onto the ground and started walking away. Surprised, one youngster ran behind him and asked him, “I asked you, what is sanyas. Please tell me”.

The sanyasi smilingly came back, picked up his bag, put it onto his shoulders and started walking away. The youngsters now understood that the sanyasi was trying to teach them something through his actions. Now they came  running to him and asked more humbly “We understand you are teaching us something with your actions, but we could not understand; Will you kindly explain us?”

The sanyasi said, “Yes! I was indeed demonstrating to you what is sanyas. When you asked the question first, I dropped my bag and walked away. It means, ‘Leave behind what you consider as me and mine and walk free’. That is sacrifice”.

“Then what is the meaning of picking up the bag again?”

The sanyasi said, “A sanyasi first renounces me and mine. Then he picks up the burden of the world on his shoulders and starts working selflessly for the welfare of the world”.

(Monday beach satsang 16/1/2017)

8.  Let it sink first

[Amma: “A guru teaches higher truths to only such of those disciples who grasp and put into practice what the guru has taught them”.]

Once a famous saint was invited to give lectures on spirituality. A huge crowd comprising of some 2000 people had gathered there to listen to him. Impressed by his speech, the people spread words and the next day some 3000 people came to listen to his talk. The saint spoke on the same topic that day as done on the previous day. For the next day, the crowd got dwindled to some 1500. On the third day too he spoke on the same subject again. On the fourth day, the attendance had reduced to some 750 and still he spoke the same subject again.

As he continued the same way, the crowd dwindled to 400, 200, 100 and the subsequent day, there was just one person attending the talk. On that day, the Saint changed the topic!

The solitary person who was hearing the talk asked the saint, “Maharaj, if you had changed the subject several days ago, many people would have listened it and got benefitted like me. Why didn’t you do so?”

The saint said, “I knew that whatever I was preaching was not grasped by the people and they never made an attempt to put them into practice in their lives. So I kept repeating the same subject again and again so that it can sink into the people’s hearts. However I was watching you for the past couple of days. I taught about compassion and sacrifice and I saw you donating your dress to a poor and needy person. I taught patience and humility and I noticed you yesterday leaving your chappal at the wrong place before entering the hall and the watchman scolding you for your callousness. I noticed that you listened patiently to his abuses as a way of acknowledging your mistake. Thus you had absorbed another virtue from my lectures.  Since you are implementing my teachings in your life, I found you fit enough to receive higher teachings; that’s why I changed the topic today”.

9.  It is the dress that deserves it

[Amma: (About her dressing up like Devi during Devi Bhava darshan:) “When God comes in human form, each Avatar has a way and a purpose. When you see a lawyer in his characteristic attire, you are reminded of your court case and the hope of succeeding in it. Likewise, Amma takes Devi bhava with colorful saree and ornaments, you are reminded of that dressing up reminds you of Devi. Unfortunately the present world believes so much in exterior show, the dress and the makeup. In order to remove people’s attachment to fleeting things, Amma has tro come in disguise!”]

Once there was a great social leader who was invited to attend a big conference comprising of VVIPs and renowned specialists and bigwigs from various walks of life.  The leader intentionally dressed himself in a very simple attire to look like a common man. When he reached the conference avenue, no one took notice of him to extend a cordial welcome. The security persons and people in the reception committee did not permit him to enter into the conference hall.

The leader went back home, dressed himself well with coat and suit and went back to the avenue. This time, he was received very respectfully. He was taken in and and was guided to a dining hall where a grand feast was being served to the invitees.

As he was seated at the dining table, he started to remove his coat, tie, suite and shoes. He rolled them into a bundle and placed it on the dining table. People looked at him wondering what he was up to. When they asked him why he was doing so, he said, “A while ago, I came to the venue dressed like a common man. Nobody allowed me inside. Then I came back dressed in coat and suit, you people invited me with lots of respect and brought me to dine here. So, it is quite clear that the respect has been given only to my dress; that’s why I thought let my dress enjoy this feast!”

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale-Malayalam)

10.   Remaining ever in the state of  a witness

[Amma: ” Remaining in a state of witness (‘Sakshi bhava’) is nothing but remaining in a real state of real awareness — observing what is happening inside and outside and remaining unperturbed and unconnected. In reality there is nothing inside or outside. In Sakshi bhava, we are at the centre of everything and hence, whatever changes happening around us do not affect us. We are one with the universal power.

“However even a true jnani remaining in such a state may appear to be suffering externally. THough they may ‘appear’ to be so, they are in reality, not affected. On sakshi bhava, one can remain witness to one’s own death. All the pain and suffering of his body too will be observed by the sage as a witness”.]

Once a saint was living at the banks of the holy river Ganga. He was totally immersed in divine consciousness. He would always be chanting ‘Shivoham’, ‘Shivoham’. His sweet voice of chanting was audible to the other sadhus residing at the opposite bank of the river too.

One day, the saint was sitting at the bank of Ganges and chanting ‘Shivoham’ as usual with closed eyes. At that time a lion came out of the forests of the Adjacent Himalayan jungle. It was approaching the saint  behind his back.It was clear that the lion was hungry and it was approaching the saint to attack and eat him.

Sadhus living in the opposite bank saw this and they were extremely worried. They started shouting from their side: “Maharaj! A lion is approaching you and it is going to attack you! Please jump into the river and save yourself”.

Hearing their shouts the saint opened his eyes. He turned his head and saw the lion approaching him with hungry eyes. He did not move from his seat. He was ready to accept whatever was going to happen. He knew that the time has come for end to his bodily life in the earth. As he was immersed in the state of Supreme Consciousness, he had no sense of duality. He could not differentiate between himself and the lion. The person sitting and chanting Shivoham and the hungry lion were one and the same for him.  Unperturbed,  he sat there, motionless, chanting Shivoham.

The sadhus on the opposite bank saw, with pounding hearts, the lion pouncing on the Saint and clutching him with his powerful jaws. The saint kept chanting ‘Shivoham shivoham’ . The lion tore his body with his teeth and claws. Still the chanting of Shivoham did not stop! It appeared as though the saint was satiating his own hunger in the form of a lion by savoring his own body in the form of the saint. Till the life force in the body of the saint remained, the sound Shivoham was reverberating in the air.

11.   Accepting God’s will

Once there lived a sadhu who lived by alms. He would go door to door begging his food.  He traveled from place to place and lead his life carefree, in the contemplation of God. At nights, he would knock the door of some house and beg for providing him shelter for the night. Irrespective of whether he was provided with food or shelter by people, he was always pleasant and good mannered. He was spiritually quite evolved but people hardly ever noticed his saintly nature.

On a cold night, he went to a street in a village and knocked at the door of a house. People in the house were not willing to accommodate a stranger and a beggar like him in their house. He said, “Oh God! Thank you, thank you” and went to another house. Somehow, on that cold night, no one in the street came forward to accommodate him in their house. His loud utterance “Oh God! Thank you, thank you”was repeatedly being heard in the village.

Finally, he decided to walk up to the bank of a river flowing adjacent to the village and take shelter under a tree. It was cold and damp.

One of the villagers, who too denied accommodation to the sadhu felt bad after turning him away. He was impressed by the good manners and nature of the beggar. He came out of his house in search of the beggar. Finally he located him at the bank of the river. He approached him and said, “I am sorry that we village people did not give shelter to you on this cold night. I am curious to know — how come you were always saying thanks to God whenever anyone denied you accommodation? How come you did not get angry or dejected?”

The sadhu said, ” Just look around you, my friend. How beautiful the nature around us is!  The full moon is up in the sky making the whole area glow in the nature’s splendor. Observe the beauty of the river sparkling like silver and running with a melodious murmur; Look at the sponge-like clouds at the sky; Look at the array of trees waving their heads in the cool breeze on the opposite bank of the river! I would have been denied of enjoying such a beautiful art work of God at this cold night, had I been accommodated in your house. Whatever God has granted me to night is for my joy only!”

(From Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

12.  Vision of God

Surdas was an earnest devotee of God and a poet too. He was blind from birth. Once he was on a pilgrimage to Vrindavan. On his way, a young boy joined him and gave company to him on the long journey. The boy was very helpful, friendly, jovial and humorous. Surdas was extremely pleased to have such a boy accompanying him on his pilgrimage. When they reached the outskirts of Vrindavan, it suddenly occurred to Surdas that the boy must surely be his beloved Lord Krishna coming with him to take care of him out of his abundant compassion. Surdas, welling with love, called the boy to his side and embraced him joyfully. However the boy writhed himself free from Surdas’ grip and ran away.

Surdas said, “My dear Krishna! You can run away from the grip of my hands, but I have already confined you in my heart! How can you ever escape from there?”

Very pleased , the lord said, “SUrdas, I will grant you vision to your eyes. You can look at me now!” Surdas got vision and he looked at his beloved Krishna’s glorious divine form to his heart’s content. Then he said, “My lord! Now you can take back my vision. Having seen you, I have no desire to see the outer world. Let your vision alone remain  permanently etched in my memory!”

[Amma: “For a true devotee, once God’s vision is obtained, he has no interest in this world anymore”.]

(From Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

13.  Empty the mind first

[Amma: “My son, will you be able to remain a new (beginner) spiritual seeker always? Only if you are such a humble and guileless aspirant, it paves the way for opening of the heart. A new aspirant is aware of his lack of spiritual knowledge. Hence he openly and wholly grasps spiritual teachings.If he thinks ‘I know all these stuff’, then he cannot stand humbly and be receptive to the teachings. Even if he hears, it would not enter. It would just flow out.”]

Once in a deep forest, a saint lived alone.  A very learned scholar went to see him one day. Right from the time of his arrival, he was in a hurry to return. He said to the saint, “Sir, can you teach me quickly something about meditation?”

The saint replied smilingly, “Why all this hurry? Please take your seat; we will have a cup of tea and then speak about meditation. We have enough time for it”.

But the scholar was impatient. He said, “Why delay? We can speak right now. Please advise me on meditation”.

But the saint insisted: “Let us have some tea first; then talk”. He stood up and started preparing tea. The scholar sat there impatiently; that was perhaps his nature. His mind was thinking about many things.

The saint took his own sweet time to prepare the tea; he brought the tea in a vessel and also two cups. While the scholar waited restlessly, the saint placed one cup in front of the scholar and started pouring the tea. The cup became full and yet the saint kept pouring more tea. The tea started overflowing from the cup but still he did not stop.

“Stop, stop! What are you doing? It is already full! Why are you pouring more and more?” shouted the scholar.

The saint stopped and said smilingly, “Yes; you are right. You know pretty well that the cup is already full and it cannot take up even a drop of tea extra. Likewise, your mind is already full of so much scholarly matter including ideas about meditation that you have learned from scriptures. Whatever I am going to teach you will not enter into you. If at all my teaching about meditation has to absorbed by you, you have to first empty your mind and intellect first. Do it first and then I will talk to you. Also know one more thing.: Meditation is an experience. It cannot be explained like a theory.  Only when your mind is freed from all thoughts, you can really experience meditation”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

14.  The greatness of Mahatmas

Once there lived an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu. Even afgter several years of marriage, he was not having any children. Hence, praying for progeny, he undertook severe austerities. Still he was not blessed with a child.

One day, he saw sage Narada passing through his village. He went and prostrated himself in front of the sage. He came to know that Narada Maharshi was on his way to Vaikuntha to have a darshan of Lord Vishnu. He requested Narada to inquire Lord Vishnu as to when he would be blessed with a child. Narada agreed.

When Narada reached Vaikuntha, he conveyed the devotee’s request to Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu replied that in the current birth of the devotee he had no scope for progeny. Since Narada did not want to convey the bad news to the earnest devotee, he avoided going back to meet the devotee.

Several years passed. It so happened that Narada had to pass through the same village of the devotee again.  As he went to the devotee’s house, he noticed that three children were playing at the courtyard of the house. Narada came to know that they were indeed the children of the devotee! He was extremely surprised. He inquired the devotee how he came to have children.

The devotee said, “Respected Maharshi! A few days after you came to our village last time, a Saint came here. I had the great fortune of seeing him and serving him. Having satisfied with my service to him, he volunteered to give me a boon. I prayed to him for giving me progeny. He blessed me saying that I will get three children. Purely through his blessings, my wife gave birth to three children”.

Narada went straight to Vaikuntha. He complained to Vishnu for not telling him the truth about the devotee: “A few years back, when I requested for blessing your devoree with children, you said that as per his fate he could not get progeny; but today, he has three children”.

Even before Narada told Him about the saint blessing the devotee with children, Lord Vishnu smiled and said, “If so, it must be due to the blessing of a Mahatma. Only Jnanis could change the destiny of a person”.

[Amma: “Children! Know that Mahatmas can can give what even God can’t. The saint has the power to alter the prarabdha (fate) of a person by the power of his sankapa (mental resolution)“.]

(Source: Amutha mozhigal-5 Tamil)

15. Depicting peace in art

Once in a king’s court, there were two very good artists.  There was always competition between them as to who the better artist was. THe king one day decided to conduct a competition between them  to judge who was better of the two. The king ordered them to make a painting for the title “Peace”.

The first artist drew a painting depicting a beautiful lake adjacent to a mountain.  The lake was shown in such a way that there was not even a ripple in its water. The very look of the painting had the capacity to calm one’s mind and bring peace.

The second artist drew a painting depicting a huge waterfall; the splashing of water and the foams it creates and the whirlpool it creates were wonderfully drawn. One could even feel the sound of water falling down with continuous thud by looking at the painting! In the same painting, there was a bush, in which a small bird had been shown sitting motionless with its eyes closed.  Thus it depicted peace amid noisy commotion. It gave a clue to the onlooker that even amidst hectic activity, one can find absolute peace.

[Amma: “The second picture indeed shows the wonderful mindset of a true Jnani. Amid all the turbulence existing in the world, a saint could be in utter peace; he remains in silence, unperturbed by the activities of the world.”]

(Source: Amutha mozhigal-5 Tamil)

Amma’s stories on Self-confidence, Determination and Purpose in Life (16 stories)

1. The 5-year Kingdom

[Amma:  This human body is meant to be utilized to attain God realization. As every day passes, we are nearing death. If we spend this life in enjoying worldly pleasures, we lose our energy. On the other hand, if we spend time on constant remembrance of God we get mental power; In youth, we have health and a long life ahead of us which should be utilized to get rid of our weaknesses. If we do so, we don’t have to worry about the future as well as the present.]

Long ago, in a country, there was a rule that any citizen can become the king but his tenure was limited to five years. At the end of five years, the king would be transported to a stray island where all wild animals lived. Once dropped there, the hungry and ferocious animals would attack and eat the king.

Though everyone knew the rules, there were people who came forward to become kings purely motivated by the desire to enjoy the royal life of luxury, wealth comforts and privileges for five years as a king. Whenever individuals  agreed to become the kings, they would climb the royal throne joyfully, but the joy would gradually wane as days and months passed. The fear of getting transported to the distant island only to be eaten away by wild animals would gradually grip them and there won’t be any more joy on their faces.

In the palace, there were varieties of food to eat, captivating dance performances by beautiful maidens and obedient servants to provide all sorts of comforts to the king. But none of those who became kings could enjoy them as they could only see death facing them constantly. The country thus saw some 10 kings ruling them across 50 years in the same fashion.

Next came a king who was one youth brimming with enthusiasm and joyfulness. He was never remorse like his predecessors. He enjoyed all the royal comforts, danced with the damsels, went for hunting expeditions, travelled around the country and provided good governance for the welfare of the people.

His five-year term too came to an end. When he was about to be deported to the island, people were very surprised to see him remaining joyful and beaming as usual. They asked him, ‘Dear king, we are wondering how you can remain so joyful despite the fact that your royal term and your very dear life has come to an end? You are totally unlike your predecessors! How is it possible?”

The king replied, “Why should I be remorseful? I am fully prepared to go to the island. There are no wild animals there now.When I became a king 5 years ago, I learned hunting. I went to the island several times with my soldiers and hunted and eliminated all the wild animals living there. I have also cut down many trees and created cultivating lands; dug wells; I have arranged to build beautiful palaces there. I have to simply go there and continue to live a life of luxury and comfort, free from the burden of ruling the country! That’s all!”

(From Upadesamritam-2)

2. The reward for patient work

[Amma: Children,  shraddha and kshama (focused attention with faith and patience) are needed in any mission. If both are there, God will bless you wherever He is.

Once two villagers went for fishing. On their way, there a was a stream with dense trees having their roots protruding into the water. One of the villagers said, “I want to build a small earthen bund around this area and catch the fish coming in the stream; will you join me?”

The other man said, “No; you have to first make the bund and then drain water inside the bund till you get the trapped fish; it is lot of work and time consuming too. It may drag for the whole day. If we don’t get fish, my children will have to go hungry; I would rather look for catching fish elsewhere.” So saying he proceeded alone.

The first villager started building a bund around the trees using mud, leaves and toots and grass. He did not have any tools with him. He had to work only with his hands. Once finished he started draining the water from inside the bund. Since he did not have any vessel with him, he had to use his palms as cups and throw the water out;  with full focus, without thinking anything else, he kept on draining the water with his palms from the bund. In between the bund broke here and there and he had to mend it;   then he would revert to draining the water. He want on doing this work with focus, continuously without losing hope. By evening he managed to drain out all the water from the bund and he could get lots of fish trapped inside the bund in the mire.

In the meanwhile, the second villager went around to ponds and rivers to catch fish easily, but but he was not getting anything the whole day. He was returning empty handed, and met his friend on the way, who was almost packing, having finished his day’s labor.

Knowing the sad plight of the second villager, the first villager was glad to share some of his catch to him. Both of them walked happily to their village.

Thus on account of his unshakable faith, dedication, focus and patience, the first villager was able to get results and he could also help his friend through sharing.

(from Arul Mozhikal – Part 1)

3.  The mirror image

Once a king commissioned several great sculptures in his palace to create wonderful sculptural art works for public display.

One of the sculptures worked day and night and create a wonderful sculpture on a huge piece of rock depicting 33 Crore devatas.

Another sculpture took another piece of rock as large as the one chosen by the first sculpture and kept on working on it by the side of the first one. What he was doing was to create a perfectly flat surface on one face of the rock first and he kept on polishing it straight and flat day and night. Finally the rock’s face became as smooth as a mirror.

When both of them finished their works, the king visited the place to see their works. He was wonderstruck by the talent of the first sculptor who had meticulously carved the various devetas. The king was equally surprised to see an exact mirror image of the 33 Crore devatas so perfectly carved as the first one. When he went closer to see it, he was struck by the truth that what the second sculptor had done was not a mirror-image of the first one, but a perfect mirror itself on the surface of the rock!

[Amma: “When our mind is totally cleaned and polished, it will start reflecting all the divine qualities of celestial Gods automatically inside us. There is no need for worshiping devatas externally.”]

4. Face the situation

[Amma: “When we are confronted with adverse situation, we should not try to escape from it. We should have acceptance and be determined to face it and tackle it.”]

Once a person received a phone call from his ‘military’ uncle. The retired Colonel from the Army was a very talkative person, never tired of boasting about his great experiences in wars which he would tirelessly repeat umpteen times without noticing the disinterest in the listeners. The uncle said that he is coming to the house to meet him and is already on the way. The person was not at all in a mood to meet his uncle and hear his boring repetitions umpteenth time.

He decided to escape from the uncle by sneaking through the back door and take a different road to go out for a while. He rushed out in hurry. As he was walking on the road, unfortunately his uncle was also coming towards his house through this alternate route!

The uncle was so happy to see his nephew in front of him on the way!

“Oh, my boy! It is so nice of you to come all the way to receive me….” Then he started his monologue: “This reminds me of an incidence I faced in the second world war …..”. They were standing by the side of the road and the uncle kept on talking unmindful of the surroundings. It was a hot day and the sun was already rising up above the head; there was not even a tree around; the man’s legs started paining; he was feeling thirsty.

Now he was thinking: ‘If only I had stayed back at the house, I could have at least sat on a chair comfortably; In hurrying out, I forgot to take my umbrella to protect me from the sun; if I were in the house, I could have switched on the fan and not suffer from sweating; I could have drunk a cup of water or some cool drink to quench my thirst, while here, there is not even a single shop in the vicinity where I can get a cool drink. What a fool I was to try and escape from this uncle and now suffering more!”

[Amma: This is what happens if we are not bold enough to face the situation and try to escape; our suffering will be more than what we would encounter otherwise. We must always be flexible to accept situations as they come to us. We cannot change the external things; but we can change our mindset to meet the situations with alacrity.]

(Monday Satsang   11/02/2019)

5. The tough Cartman

Once, during a cold season, a poor mother and her little baby were stranded by the side of a road. It was snowing. The mother was not adequately dressed to protect herself from cold. She held her child close to her bosom and both were shivering in the cold.

At that time a bullock cart came by.  The cartman took pity on the woman and offered to take her along and drop her in her village.

The mother and child got into the cart. Chill air continued to blow and the snowfall was dense. Even with the protection inside the cart, the woman was shivering uncontrollably and the child too was crying. The cartman noticed that the woman had no energy to fight the cold and the child could not get any warmth from her body or get covered adequately by her cloth. Her eyes were turning blue and face whiter.

The cartman stopped the cart, took the child into his arms and covered it with his clothes. He then pushed the woman out of the cart and started driving the cart away.

The woman was shocked. She started shouting, “Hey! Why are you running away with my child? Give my child back! What harm did I do for you to abandon me and take away my child? Stop, stop”.  She started crying.

The cartman was bent upon driving his bullocks to run fast. As the cart was moving farther and farther, the poor woman mustered up whatever energy she had in her and started running behind the cart. After running behind the cart for considerable distance, she noticed some passersby on the road; she cried to them seeking help saying that the cartman was forcefully abducting her child.

The villagers wanted to help her. They too started shouting and chasing the bullock cart along with the woman.
Soon they could catch up and managed to reach the cart. The cartman stopped the cart.

The villagers rushed forward to attack the cartman. He shouted, “Wait, wait! Listen to what I say before attempting to hit me!”

The villagers paused. The cartman said, ” I offered her help by agreeing to transport her in my cart to her village. But I found her suffering uncontrollably in the cold and she  looked as if she could not protect herself as well as her child from the biting cold. I thought let me take her child and give it warmth. I had no means to protect her from cold. Then I thought of this idea. I know she is a loving mother who cannot abandon her child. If I run away with her child, I felt she will muster up enough energy and run behind me to get her child back. That is precisely what happened. See, by running, she has now warmed up her body and thus could fight the cold too, instead of succumbing to it ! My idea has really worked!”

[Amma: “Every disciple should strive on his own to get spiritual awakening. He should not always be dependent on Guru’s physical presence, love and attention. Keeping regularity and having focus, the disciple should put independent efforts. He should have self confidence. Self confidence is like a booster racket. Sulking in the absence of guru should be avoided.”]

6. Perseverance

Once a father, deeply interested in classical music, wanted his son to learn the music. He took his son to a famous vidvan (musician) and requested him to take his son as his disciple. The musician agreed.

The boy joined the music class but he was not showing keen interest in learning the classical music. He was not putting enough effort and he remained distracted when the master taught.

The master said, “You are not keen to learn the music. Because of you, the other students may get spoiled. I cannot allow you to sit in the class hereafter; either you can leave, or, if you really want to continue, you can sit outside the room, listen and learn”.

The boy felt very bad. He felt sorry for his attitude. He did not want to discontinue. Conceding to the teacher’s dictum, he decided to stay outside the classroom and listen the music taught to other students.

From that day onwards, the boy stood outside the classroom and grasped what the musician was teaching. After the class, he went to a secluded place and practiced what was taught in the class. Gradually, he started developing liking  the taste for classical music and was able to appreciate and understand its nuances. This continued for several months.  The boy eventually developed good proficiency in singing and was in fact his singing was better than the other students. The teacher was secretly watching observing what the boy was doing and also noticed his proficiency.

One day, the teacher started a new song, which was based on a complex raga, which was rather a difficult one to grasp. That day, he called the boy inside and said, “From today onwards, you can sit inside the class and learn; I know you are now quite competent to grasp and master this difficult song”.

(Tuesday satsang 3/1/17)

7. A simple act is good enough

[Amma: “Some people who want to do something good to the world sometimes  get put off by thinking ‘What good can I, as a single person, really strive to bring some changes in this world, which is full of darkness of ignorance?’. We have a candle called mind with us. Let us ignite the light of faith in it. Don’t doubt as to how you will cover the long path covered with darkness with this little candle.  Take one step at a time. You will get enough lighting to take the next step”.

A man, whose life had been shattered with grief and despair was standing at the side of a road, not knowing what do next in life. Then, a passerby looked at the man’s face and smiled very pleasantly.  The man, who had been disowned and discarded by everyone in his his life, felt a great warmth in his heart as he saw the passerby smiling at him.

‘Oh! At least there is one person in this world, who is able to smile lovingly at me!’ — this thought gave him some enthusiasm.  In that moment of elevated mindset, the man suddenly remembered an old friend, who had helped him in the past when he was in dire straits. ‘Why not I write a letter to my old friend?’ he thought. He immediately put his thought into action.

The friend who received the letter from his old pal, felt very happy to read the letter; ‘Ah! it is so nice to read this letter from my dear friend with whom I had lost touch and never knew his whereabouts all these years!’ This joyful mindset made the man to donate ten Rupees to a beggar standing nearby.

The beggar bought a Raffle Ticket with that money. Surprise of all surprises, he won a huge prize money for the ticket!  As he collected the money and walked back joyfully, he noticed a sick beggar lying at the side of the road. ‘Is it not the money I have now given by God? Should I not give a little of this to the suffering beggar?’ This thought prompted him to take the beggar to a nearby hospital; he admitted him there for treatment and paid all the fees. The beggar got cured of his ailment soon and he was discharged from the hospital.

As he was walking, the beggar noticed a puppy fallen into a pool of water and was shivering in cold and unable to come out. It looked obvious that it was hungry too.  The beggar picked up the dog, covered with an old rug he had; he collected some dry sticks and lit a fire. As the puppy was warming himself, the beggar got some food and shared it with the puppy.  The little dog, now freed of cold and energized with food, happily followed him.

At night, they reached a house and the beggar requested the house owner to permit him to sleep at his house on the cold night. Fortunately, the house owner agreed and let the beggar and the little dog sleep at the ‘thinnai’ (elevated platform) at the front of the house.

At midnight, the beggar and house owner were suddenly woken up by the incessant barking of the little dog. They were shocked to notice that a portion of the house was on fire. The owner rushed in and brought his little child out.  The rest of the family members too rushed out. The beggar joined with the other family members to put out the fire quickly.

Thus by giving shelter to the beggar and the little dog that night, the house owner’s family was saved. The little boy, who was saved from fire, grew up to become a saint in future. By coming in contact with the saint, so many people felt benefited in their lives.

What is the root cause of all these happenings? Just a loving smile a stranger gave to a person standing at the roadside! He did not spend even a paise.

[Amma: “Just a smile!  See what a chain reaction it created in the lives of so many people! Even a very insignificant good act can trigger a great reaction in the society.  We may not know it immediately. But certainly it carries a value.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

8. Finding the next king

Once the king of a country died suddenly; he had no offspring and in order to carry out the administration smoothly, the minister was asked to take over the charge of the king till an alternative arrangement was made. The minister too was already aged.

In consultation with others, the minister started searching for the rightly qualified person to rule the country. But he could not locate any able administrator who had valour, trustworthiness and smartness to become the king of a country. Time passed by.

The minister badly wanted to unburden his responsibility. He thought of handing over the ruling to his own son.  He knew that his son was trustworthy. But, being a very honest person, he wanted to test his son to ascertain whether he had enough awareness and smartness. He called his son and told him that he intended to crown him as the next king, subject to his passing a test. The son felt very elated.

The minister said that the test would be as follows.

The son should go to the stable from where three ferocious horses would be released one after the other. He should manage to catch and hold on to the tail of any one of the horses.  If he succeeds in any one of the three attempts, he would be crowned as the next king.

The son went to the stable quite confidently and excitedly. When he said he was ready, the first horse was released.  It came at lighting speed towards him. The son was somewhat slack and sluggish, as his mind was engaged in the dreams of becoming the king.  Even before he could jump to catch the tail, the horse went past him very swiftly and disappeared. The son thought, “Well! I have two more chances anyway” and got ready for the next horse.

The next horse came running and when it came close to him it jumped high and went away! The son was disappointed but he thought, “I have definitely one final chance; I can surely make it”.

The next horse came. The son was quite alert. As the horse crossed him, he immediately jumped over its back, extending his hand to catch its tail;  he fell on the floor with a thud.  The third horse had no tail!

[Amma: “One must always be alert and aware and be focused on the present rather than imagining about the future. If the opportunity coming in the present is wasted, one may not get it again in future.]

9. The rainbow

A physically handicapped girl, who was permanently confined to wheelchairs was looking out of the window. Every evening, her mother would bring her to the window and leave her there for some time.  As usual, she saw little children of her age running around, shouting gleefully and playing on the streets. This sight would always depress her and turn her to a mournful mood. ‘When all the other children are able to enjoy life by playing and running around, why am I to suffer like this in glued my wheelchair?’ She would start crying.

That evening, when the sunlight was still on, it started drizzling suddenly. As she looked at the skies, she saw a beautiful rainbow! This was the first time in her life she ever saw a rainbow and she was captivated by its colors and beauty! Her sunken mood got lifted up; as she was looking at the rainbow with wonder, the rainbow vanished, as the sunlight got covered by the clouds.

When her mother came to her, she spoke excitedly to her mother: “Mama, I saw a beautiful sight at the sky; it was like a huge half-ring with myriad colors! What is it?” The mother explained to her that it was a rainbow and how it gets created when both sunshine and raining take place in mornings and evenings.

From the next day onwards, the girl started looking at the sky through the windows eagerly for the arrival of the rainbow, but it never came. She asked her mother, “When will it come next time, Ma? Will you take me closer to it?”

The mother said, “The rainbow stays only for a short duration; but let us try when it rains and shines next time.”

Soon, another day of raining came. The mother took her daughter in her car and rushed to the top of a nearby hill. Fortunately, there was sunshine too! The girl got an unhindered view of a beautiful rainbow at the skies and her joy knew no bounds. She started talking to the rainbow.

“Oh, you are so colorful and wonderful. You give so much joy for people. But why are you there only for such a short time?”

The rainbow replied to her, “When God created me, he told be that my life span would be very short. I thought about it. I felt that even when it is so, I must give joy to others; it was then that I received all the wonderful colors on me!”.

The girl was very impressed by what the rainbow said. She kept thinking about it. She thought, ‘I should also accept what God has given to me; despite my handicap, I should try to give joy to others…”

From that day onwards, she started spending time with other children by calling them to her; she told stories to them; she shared jokes with them. The other children started enjoying her company too.

[Amma: “Children, only the present is the reality. The past is like a cancelled cheque and the future is unknown to us. We must use the present to lead our life happily and purposefully. Whether you cry or laugh, time will go. Why not laugh and enjoy your present?  Life is like a lottary. Even among those who win it, some may win ten thousand Rupees and some may win a million. Likewise, some may life for long and some may die early. Some may suffer from ill-health and some may lead their entire life quite healthily. Acceptance is the key to lead a happy life. Why not accept what is given to you and lead a life giving happiness to others?”]

(Amma Onam satsang 2019)

10. When the situation warrants

A frog was jumping across a road and it fell into a pit in the road. It tried its best to jump out of the pit but could not succeed.

Seeing its plight, a rabbit came to its rescue. However, whatever he tried, he could not help the frog to get out of the pit. The rabbit brought a couple of its clan and they all tried their best to get the frog out bnt they too could not succeed. They all got tired. As time passed, they felt hungry too. The rabbit said, “We will go now, eat something and also bring something for you to eat; then we shall try afresh to get you out of the pit”.

They had not moved much farther away; suddenly the frog leaped and fell right in front of them! The rabbits were very surprised! “How come you could jump and get out of the pit now while your could not do it earlier?” they asked.

The frog said, “After you left from the road, a saw a huge truck coming on the road and it wheel was right ahead of the pit; I did not think any more; I just made one leap and see, I ended up here!”

[Amma: “We all should think that whatever problems that we come across in life are simply the situations that God creates for awakening the power and strength in us to overcome the problems”.

(Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

11. Criticism is necessary

When Abraham Lincoln was the President of USA, he had some  critics who were constantly criticising for his various omissions and commissions. He was very tolerant of the criticisms hurled against him.

When some of his well-wishers asked him why he was not countering them vehemently, Lincoln said “Criticism is helpful; it improves our awareness and makes us watchful.  When I was a kid, we had a lazy horse in our farm.  One day I saw a flea disturbing him again and again. That made the horse restless; it jumped around, swung his head, swung its tail again and again to chase away the flea. Seeing its plight, I felt I should go and chase away the flea.  But my father stopped me and said, “Don’t do that! At least the flea could make the lazy horse a little active!”

(Amma Shivarathri Satsang 21/2/2020)

12. When there is self-confidence

When Duryodhana invited Yudhishthira to play the game of dice, Yudhishthira agreed.  He started playing one game after the other by pledging his wealth and kept on losing.

At that point of time a bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Viveka Buddhi (faculty of discrimination).   It appears you don’t want to make use of me anymore. Hence I am leaving”. It departed.

Yudhishthira continued to play and lost his brothers too in the bet. Then he bet his wife Panchali too.

At that point of time another bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Dharma bodham (knowledge about righteousness).   It appears you don’t want to make use of me anymore. Hence I am leaving”. It departed.

Immediately, yet another bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?” .

The bright light replied: “I am your Aishwarya (Wealth).   I am leaving”. It departed. Immediately another bright light came out saying “I am your keerthi (fame). I too am leaving”.

Yudhishthira and his brothers lost everything in the game of dice and spent the next 12 years in the forest. They were ready to live another 1 year with hidden identity. If they could complete it successfully, they can stake their claim to get back their land and rule it again, as per the promise made by the Kaurava king Dhritarashtra.

Yudhishthira was quite confident that they would successfully finish their one year of living incognito too.

At that point of time, a bright light came out of his body and stood before him.

Yudhishthira asked “Who are you?”

The bright light replied: “I am your Atma Viswasam (Self confidence).  You are still nurturing me and I will stay with you”. So saying, the bright light entered back into his boy.

Immediately another bright light came from somewhere and identified itself as Viveka buddhi. “I am coming back to you”; so saying the light entered into him.

Soon, one after another Dharma bodham, Aishwaryam and Keerthi which had left him earlier returned to him.

In due course of time, the Pandavas won the Kurukshetra war and Yudhishthira became the king once again.

[Amma: “We  should never lose our self confidence. Self confidence is like a booster rocket.”]

(Amma’s Vishu Satsang 14/4/2020)

13. Progressive Effort

Once a King was roaming in a forest with his security guards on a hunting expedition.  A minister of a neighboring country too was visiting forest in his country along with his wife. The minister lost his way and got seperated from his wife too. Unknowingly he ventured into the forest territory of the neighboring country where the king was hunting. The minister’s wife managed to locate him as she noticed him from a distance in a hilly terrain. She  started following him in a hurry in order to catch up with him.

The king noticed the minister and immediately suspected that he must be a spy who was secretly entering in to his territory. The minister was caught by the security men. The king accused him of trespassing in to his territory. Whatever explanation the minister gave was not convincing to the king. The wife of the minister noticed from a distance all that happened. She was at a loss to know what to do further. She thought that if she attempted to join with her husband, If she too would be arrested.  Then there won’t be any possibility of trying and securing the release her husband. So, she decided to secretly follow her husband who was already arrested.

The king and his entourage returned to the capital and the minister was placed in a jail complex at the 7th floor. The minister’s wife who followed him managed to get some help from local people for her stay and food through some devious schemes.  She disguised herself like a man and started roaming around the city. Through stealthy inquiries, she managed to know where the minister was incarcerated. She started roaming around the jail complex with a desperate intent to somehow get into contact with her husband.

One day she noticed that only one window in the seventh floor of the jail building was open.   She suspected that her husband must have been kept in solitary confinement in that floor. As she kept roaming that area in disguise, she noticed a person standing at the window at the seventh floor and she could immediately recognize that it was indeed her husband. She gesticulated to him. The minister noticed her and he immediately understood that it was indeed his wife in disguise.

The minister managed to get a sheet of paper and a stone in his cell. In the paper he scribbled: “I have noticed you. I want you to arrange get the following: A long silk thread that could reach up to my room from where you saw me, a thick cord of the same length, a strong rope of the same length and a cutting saw. Catch a wasp. tie the silk thread to its legs, tie the thick cord to the other end of the silk thread; tie the rope to the other end of the cord. Tie the cutting saw to the other end of the rope. Once you are ready, I will signal to you and you can let the wasp fly.” He wrapped the paper around the stone and threw it towards the place where his wife was standing. His wife picked up the stone and read the paper.

Soon,  managed to arrange all these and came and waited at the place where the minister noticed her earlier. The minister, as part of his food ration used to get a some honey and corn flour daily.  He smeared the honey at the bottom frame of the window and signalled to his wife to release the wasp.

The wasp flew up. It got the smell of honey from the window and flew up there. Since only a very light silk thread was connected to its legs, it could fly without difficulty. The wasp landed at the window and started licking the honey. The minister threw a towel over the wasp and caught hold of it.

He caught hold of the silk thread and started pulling it. He now got the cord and started pulling it. Now the rope came to his hands and he pulled it too. Now, at the end of the rope, he got the saw. He untied the saw and started cutting the window grills. Once several grills were cut, there was enough space for him to wriggle out of the window. He tied one end of the rope to the remaining grills and catching hold of the rope he got down from the 7th floor. He scaled the compound too using the rope and joined with his wife who was anxiously waiting outside, hiding behind a tree.
Both of them managed to escape from the city and return to their country.

[Amma: “Yoga is the way of reaching the subtlest experience of  uniting with Atman, by gradually going from gross to more subtle things step by step. Like in this story, where the minister caught hold of one thing from another for his escape, in yoga, we start with the gross body by undergoing the discipline of doing yogasanas.  Through yogasanas, we control breathing,  by controlling the breath, prana is controlled. Prana controls the mind and by subduing the mind, one experiences Atman. “]

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

14. Self confidence

Once a very famous violinist was about to begin his concert in a huge hall where avid music enthusiasts had gathered in thousands to listen to his performance.

The violinist started to play with an alaap. Somehow he felt that the sound was not alright. Something was amiss in his playing. He immediately stopped playing and inspected his violin. He was shocked to notice  that it was not his own violin that he had brought with him properly tuned. He made an excuse to the audience and quickly returned to the dressing room and searched everywhere but his violin was not to be found. It then struck to him that some of his competitors in the field who were envious of him might have schemed to bring him disgrace by stealing his violin and replacing it with a faulty one.

For a moment the violinist became extremely nervous. What should he do now? Cancel his program?

However he gathered his nerves immediately. He thought to himself: “Does the music originate in the instrument? No. It is from my soul that the music flows. Let me demonstrate this truth today. May God’s grace be with me in my effort. He took the violin once again, tuned its strings and then returned to the dais. He started playing it and a brilliant music started flowing from him through the violin. The whole audience listened the music with rapt attention. The program proved to be the best of all his past performances.

[Amma: “Tremendous power lies hidden in each and every one of us inside. Everyone of us have a music inside us that we never experienced of. It has infinite potentials. If only we strive, it is possible to find it out and awaken it.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15. Practice and proficiency

Once a young man, who had lost his left hand in an accident wanted to learn wrestling.  He approached a famous master and expressed his desire. He was of course apprehensive that the master might not accept him because of his physical handicap.

However, the master agreed to take him as his disciple. He taught him one particular technique of wrestling that involved his right hand and asked him to practice it again and again to perfection. The master continued to teach other students in various other techniques of wrestling.

While the youth continued to practice what he was taught, he was somewhat disturbed by the fact that the master was not teaching him any more techniques unlike other disciples.

He approached the master and asked, “Master, right from the beginning, you have taught me only one technique in wrestling while your are teaching many other things to other students. May I know why you are not teaching other techniques?”

The master said, “It is enough for you if you practice this one technique and attain perfection in it. With this one method you can become a very proficient in wrestling”.

Even though the youth did not find the reply satisfactory, he however kept practicing the technique again and again because of his trust and respect on his guru.

After a few months, the guru arranged a wrestling competition amid his students.  This handicapped young man too participated in the competition. In the first two rounds of competition, he won quite easily. He felt very surprised of himself. However, the third round was more challenging. After a prolonged effort, he finally won. Thus this single handed youth became the champion in that competition.

He went to the master and said, “Master, I am still not able to believe that I became a champion! How did it become possible for a single handed person like me to beat all the other boys having two hands?”

The guru said, “The technique I taught to you was a very difficult one and you have brought yourself up to perfection through repeated practice. If you lock the opponent in your grip with that technique, the only way to get untangled from it is to grip the left hand and twist it. Since you don’t have your left hand, it became impossible for your opponents to get freed from your grip. That’s how you won”.

Thus the handicap of the youth became his strength.

[Amma: “If we strive with discrimination, even shortcomings can turn to become our strengths.  In the same way, we have the power of atman inside us which, when awakened, can take us beyond our perceived boundaries and limitations and lead us to wholeness.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

16. Looking for the right ruler

Once an Empress ruled a large kingdom; she was righteous, courageous and selfless.

One day, she summoned all able men from her country. In the assembly, she announced, “I have called all of you to make a very important announcement. Ours is a very vast country. For the convenience of administration and in order to represent every community equally and fairly,  I am going to split it into two parts and appoint an administrator for each region. The persons selected should work selflessly for the welfare of the people by understanding their needs and aspirations. They should be able to love the people and serve them with dedication. They should be courageous and also effective leaders. If the administrators prove their ability, I will crown them as kings of the respective regions and allow them to rule independently. On the contrary, if they do not fulfil their obligations with sincerity and honesty, they will be imprisoned for life or even face a death sentence. Those who are courageous enough to accept this challenge may please come forward.”

There was a deafening silence in the gathering. No one seemed to be ready for the challenge. Suddenly two young men came forward. “I am ready to take up this responsibility” said each of them. The queen felt very happy. She said to them, “I really appreciate your positive response. I want to reward you immediately by presenting each of you with an excellent horse, from the best of lot from our stable.”

Addressing the rest of the gathering, the empress said, “I thank all of you for coming here on my invitation. All of you will be given a hen each as a gift for you to take home”.

Then the empress took the two young men to the stable and showed them four thoroughbred horses – one white, one grey, one chestnut and one black in color. She asked them to select the horse they liked. One youngster chose the black horse and the other, the grey. The empress appreciated them for their quick decision. They saluted the Empress and left the palace.

After a while, the youngster who took the black horse came back and met the empress. He said, “May I take some other horse instead of this one?”

“Why?” asked the empress.

He said, “Actually, when I took this home, my wife did not like the black color. She wants a white horse” said the man with hesitation.

The empress asked him to return the black horse; instead she gave him a hen and said, “This is the right gift for you to give it to your wife”, and sent him away.

After a few days, she sent a word for the other youngster to come and meet her.  When he came and saluted her, she asked, “What were you doing these days?”

The man said, “I took a couple of days to test the horse to know how strong it is and how fast it can run. I trained it to work as per my commands. Then I took a ride on it to visit that portion of the country which I am asked to administer. I travelled around to understand the climate, the landscape, the nature of trees, plants and crops grown in the region. I studied what sort of new crops can be grown in the region.  I interacted with the people to understand their aspirations, needs and problems.”

The queen was extremely happy to hear his words. She said, “I am glad to appoint you as the king of the region” and blessed him.

[Amma: “In this story, the Empress symbolizes God or nature. The wife who preferred white horse instead of the black one represents human mind. The man who changed his mind for the sake if his wife represents being a slave to one’s mind. The man who chose the grey horse and rode to his destination symbolizes human conscience, discerning intellect and determination. The youngster, who changed his decision at the behest of his wife, did not succeed in becoming a king. He lost a great opportunity in life. He even lost the horse that he was gifted with. God gives equal opportunities to all. Most people don’t make use of it. Some people grasp God given opportunity, but they lose it because of narrow minded selfishness. Only some people use it rightly and they succeed in life.”]

(Source: Amma’s 67th birthday message 27/9/2010)

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 tells a story on Power of Love – Human love evolving into divine love

.

PREFACE: While most of the stories of Amma are short and crisp, this particular story is rather the longest from Amma and also one of the very emotionally  moving stories told by Amma. This story is found recorded in the (Tamil) Book Arul Mozhigal – part 4. (English Original: Awaken Children – Part 4) as part of the happenings in Amma’s life on  the day May 7th, 1984 at Amritapuri.

While Amma generally repeats many of her stories in various satsangs, perhaps this long story was narrated by Amma only once; in the book, the editor Swami Amritaswaroopnandapuri records that Amma became very emotionally surcharged while narrating this story; She was moved to tears a couple of times and  the listeners too were moved to tears hearing her narration. 

 

[Amma: “Ordinary human love may be very beautiful and vibrant at the start; but gradually its beauty and intensity would wither and finally it may end up in despair, hatred and deep pain.

  “On the other hand, a spiritual love starts beautifully and  peacefully, but as it grows, the love would turn in to painful longing and this longing would grow stronger, deeper and more painful, eager for the union with God; this love would gobble up everything in you.

  “Very rarely, even a pure love between a man and woman too has the potential to attain the status of divine love….  Where there is absolutely pure love, there is no scope for lust. It is said that where Rama is there, Ravana cannot exist…. Pure love is beyond body consciousness; it happens between two hearts. In fact, there is no connection between body and pure love…. Amma will tell you a story to explain this…”]

Once there was a king named Shakti Varman ruling a small country. He had a beautiful daughter called Manohari who was full of virtuous qualities.

A servant maid in the palace named Arundhati had a son called Arun. Since Arundhati’s husband passed away, little Arun was always with his mother.When Arundhati came for work, Arun too would come with her to the palace. Since Arun and Manohari were little children, they used to play together; they became friends. None objected to the children playing together for long, since they were young and innocent.

As years passed, the friendship between them was growing stronger. They spent time together talking, exchanging their feelings and opinions. They had deep trust in each other. When Arun came to the palace, Manohari would tell him various happenings there; “Arun, my mother has ordered a special cushioned bed made of silk and studded with rare and costly gems for me!”  “Look at this dress of mine! It has borders woven with filaments of gold! My father presented this to me; very soon, my mother is going to create a very beautiful flower garden exclusively for me; once it is ready, we will play together there, right?” Manohari would keep talking with him like this and Arun would listen intently and share her joy.

 

He would also narrate to her how his mother was toiling day and night fighting poverty to raise him and the family comfortably in the absensce of his father. Since Manohari was a girl of good virtues, she would feel sad to know the sorry state of Arun’s family.

Time passed. Both of them attained their puberty.

The childhood bond they had all along metamorphosed into a deep love between them. As they were grown up teenagers now, naturally they were not allowed to meet or interact with with each other. The love between them was so strong that they felt extreme pain in remaining away from each other. Pulled by the strong attraction they had on each other, they somehow managed to meet secretly whenever possible.

When they get rare opportunities to meet stealthily, they would exchange words of love; many times, they would simply sit silent looking deeply at each others eyes, feeling no need to talk. They would sit like this for long, totally oblivious of the world around them.

When they were not physically together, their thoughts would be entirely woven around the other…’Where will be my beloved now? What will he/ she be doing right now? Will he/ she be thinking of me just like I am?’ They would find difficult to bear the pain of separation.

As the bond of love grew stronger and stronger, their rare meetings became virtually speechless; their eyes and hearts did all the communication.They would not even touch each other.They enjoyed the bliss of pure love, totally devoid of sexual craving.

Soon, situations turned so tight that it became impossible for them to meet each other. Days and weeks passed this way. The pangs of separation became unbearable for both of them. Manohari was confined to her room always and she felt as if she was burning in fire. Arun turned like a mad person, with no thought other than Manohari; he was encircling the palace longing to get a glimpse of his beloved Manohari.

Manohari was becoming leaner by the day. She became aloof, furlorn and non-communicative.Her parents got worried. They started to inquire why the condition of their daughter was turning out to be like that. Soon the secret of the love affair between the princess and the son of the servant maid came to open. It became the subject of gossip in the palace.

The King became very angry. He issued order to arrest Arun and transport him to a far off island. He gave secret instructions to his soldiers to poison him and bury his dead body in the island.

King’s soldiers arrested Arun and transported him to the island. They gave him a drink mixed with poison. When he fell unconscious after he drank it, they put his body in a wooden box and buried the box at mid night.

Some dacoits who were staying in the island noticed that some soldiers were burying a wooden box  at night. They suspected that the soldiers must have looted money and gold from somewhere and were burying them secretly in the island for repossessing them at a later time.

Once the soldiers left the place, the dacoits eagerly came out of their hiding places and dug the earth to expose the wooden box. As they opened the lid of the box, they were disappointed to see the body of a person inside and no money or jewels there. At first they thought it was a corpse; but they noticed some movement in the body and as they checked intently, the person was seen breathing very feebly.

They sprinkled water  on Arun’s face. Arun opened his eyes. They fed a little water into his mouth and helped him to come out of the box. After drinking more water, Arun started vomiting. He vomited again and again till all the poison he had drunk came out.

Arun blinked and looked all around. He was really surprised that he was still alive. The dacoits questioned him; but Arun looked dazed; he had nothing to tell them. Taking pity on him, the dacoits left him alive there to fend for himself and  departed from the place.

In the meanwhile, at the palace the king ordered everyone including the queen who knew of the conspiracy of transporting Arun to the island with the agenda of  poisoning and kill him, not to reveal this secret to anyone. Hence Manohari did not know of any of these happenings. However, surprisingly, she felt her pain much deeper when Arun was transported to the far of place.When he was poisoned and put into the box, Manohari felt suffocating and was herself struggling to breath.

Not knowing the fate of Arun and continuing to suffer from her long pangs of separation, Manohari was sinking day by day. She started losing weight and soon got reduced to skin and bones. She could not eat or drink; except for her eyes that shone bright by her all consuming love of her beloved, she became virtually like a corpse, permanently bedridden.

The king and queen became extremely worried. They called expert physicians frons from nooks and corners of their country and also from neighboring countries to treat their daughter. None of their treatments could change her condition.

At the island, left alone, Arun wandered here and there like a mad man. Possessed by just one thought — that of meeting her beloved Manohari, he walked up and down the hills crying out “Manohari! Manohari!”. He forgot eating and sleeping. He became lean and impoverished. With long hair and beard, he really looked like a mad man. He would talk to the animals and trees inquiring about his beloved Manohari. Being soaked in such a pure love, an aura of love encased him and that aura influenced all who came into contact with him to like him and care about him, irrespective of his mad looks and strange behavior.

Even wild animals like tiger and and lion became friendly with him. In his presence, even wild animals remained friendly with rabbits and deers that they hunt otherwise for their food. Arun would cry in their presence yearning for his beloved Manohari and the animals would shed tears with him. Some times Arun would dance in ecstasy and the animals too would dance with him!

In such a madness, Arun would run blindly here and there, hit the trees, thorny bushes and rocks and fall down! He will get bruises, scratches and cuts  on his body but would never mind about them.

Very strangely, Manohari who was bed ridden at her palace would toss and turn on her bed and fall down; cuts and bruises would suddenly erupt in her outer skin for no reason! She would cry and laugh! The doctors were totally clueless how such eruptions appeared in her skin. She would whisper “Arun Arun…” and fall unconscious. The power of true love between Arun and Manohari was so strong that it was at the same instance when Arun received cuts and bruises at his skin, Manohari too got them at her body too!

At this point of time, a saint visited the palace. The king received him with all respects. He extended the best hospitality to the saint. The king opened his heart out to the saint and told him about the pitiable state of his only daughter and sought the saint’s grace to save Manohari.

The saint asked the king to take him to his daughter. He kept looking at her straight for a while, closed his eyes and went into deep samadhi. He opened his eyes after some time and said to the king: “Your daughter can be cured; she is in deep love with a person; if that person is brought back here and he touches her, she will become normal”.

The king cried and confessed to the saint that he had arranged to kill Arun, the lover of Manohari. The saint, after sitting in meditation for a while said, “Don’t worry; that person is still alive; get him from the island and bring him here.”

King’s soldiers were despatched to the island immediately. After inquiring all around, they came to know of a madman who always kept shouting “Manohari, Manohari”. Soon they located him amidst wild animals. They somehow caught hold of him and brought him to the king’s palace.

He was taken to Manohari’s bedroom. When he stood there, a light emerged from his body and lighted up manohari. It looked as if a life-force of energy was injected into Manohari’s body from the light. He touched Manohari and instantly she opened her eyes. Arun smiled at her and she smiled back. Their eyes met with each other and remained as if frozen in deep love, needing no words of love for exchange. It looked as if they were never separated; the fact was that they were never separated.

The king and the queen shed tears of joy; the entire staff in the palace felt jubilated.

But the united couple who were bonded into one divine love had no desires whatsoever.  They did not want the palace nor the kingdom. Their world was the world of eternal love. They left worldly life and took up sanyas.

 

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 1 (15 stories)

1. The Imperfect Dog

[Amma: “If we do 100 bad things and do just one good thing, God will shower grace on us for that one good thing ignoring all the 100 bad things we did. On the other hand, if we do 100 good things and do one wrong thing, human beings will not see the good things but only point out the wrong thing.”]

Human tendency is always to criticize the imperfection in others.

One a man, standing by the side of a vegetable shop, was surprised to see a dog coming to the shop with a bag hung on its neck. It came near to the shop keeper and barked twice. The shop keeper asked “What do you want?” The dog looked at the potatoes and barked once.  “One kilo?” asked the shopkeeper. The dog barked twice. “Two kilos?” asked the shop keeper. The dog wagged its tail. The shop keeper measured two kilos of potatoes and put it in the bag that the dog carried.

The dog went on to buy a couple of more vegetables this way. Then based on a further barking signal, the shop owner took out a wallet kept in the bag, counted and took the correct money that was due for the vegetables and put the wallet back into the bag. He also hanged the bag in the dog’s neck.

The dog started walking away. The onlooker was very surprised to see such an intelligent dog. he was very curious to meet the owner. Hence, he followed the dog.

The dog walked across a couple of streets and reached a house. It lifted up its front legs and scratched the door. After a while, hearing the scratching sound, a person from the house opened the door and let the dog in.

The onlooker said “Hello there! Actually I followed your dog to see who the owner is. You are very lucky! What a smart dog you have with you!”

“Smart? Frankly he is not really that smart.  You see, I have been trying to make him learn to lock the door while going and then unlocking it himself when he returns; that way I don’t have to get up and come to open the door; but his is not good enough in learning and doing it” said the dog owner.

2. A rose for the grand father

[Amma:  “In Sanathana Dharma there is the practice of conducting Pirtru Karma (annual food offerings to deceased parents ) by ceremonial offering of food.  While such practices are good and beneficial, it is all the more important that the parents in old age are taken due care of with love and respect when they are alive, rather than doing ceremonies after their death for fear of curse from ancestors.”]

A young boy’s father was accompanying  him to the school; on their way, the boy mentioned to the father that it was the birth day of the school Principal.

Father said: “Oh! Then I will buy a nice rose for you. You take it and give it to your principal and seek his blessings; he will feel so happy with you!”

While he was buying a rose, the boy said “Father, please buy one more rose; I want to give it to Grandpa.  He too will feel very happy to receive it from me”.

Father said “Oh, no. That old man need no such pampering. He is always sitting idle at home and complaining about us. Forget him. It is your principal who is instrumental for giving studies to you through your school; let us show respect to him”.

The boy said “Why do you say so? Grandpa is also full of wisdom; he tells me so many stories containing morals; I want to give a rose to him too”.

“Forget it” said the father curtly and bought just a rose.

A few weeks later the grandfather passed away.  The father bought a beautiful rose garland to place on the dead body of  his father. As he was about to place the garland, the young boy stopped his father.

Why are you now placing the rose garland on your father’s dead body? When I wanted to present him with a single rose when he was alive, you did not agree.  Why waste a garland now?”

 

3.  There is a limit to patience!

[Amma:   “People are generally so selfish that their honesty will take a backseat so long as their selfish interests are not affected”. ]

Once a Office employee collected his monthly salary from his manager. Upon counting  it, he noticed that he had been paid 500 rupees in excess. He coolly pocketed the money and left the place quietly. On the salary day on the next month, the employee found that he had been paid an excess of 700 rupees this time. Again he opted to keep the money with him without mentioning about it to anyone.

On the third month, when he counted his salary, he noticed that he had been paid 300 rupees less. He got very angry. He thumped at the table of the manager and shouted: “What is this blunder? We work so hard every day in the office shedding our sweat and at the end of the month, you are cutting our already paltry salary by three hundred rupees!  How can you be so careless and cruel?”

The manager replied softly, “Look Mister. Two months back, we had paid 500 rupees in excess by mistake and you never reported about it to us. Last month again, by mistake, we had paid  you 700 rupees in excess and you never bothered to return that amount. But today, when we paid 300 rupees short, you are making such a hue and cry!”

The man said, “Sir, two months back  when you paid me excess, I thought it could be a human error. Everybody is bound to make a mistake at some time and I felt that I should not make an issue out of it.  Hence, I kept quiet. Last month when I received excess salary again, I thought that I should be dignified enough to maintain patience so that you will have another chance to correct your mistake on your own.  But when negligence happens for the third time in a row, then I thought it is not right to keep mum any longer. That’s why I brought the serious lapse on your part to your immediate attention this time!”

4.   The play of fate

[Amma: “One reaps what one sows. It is not easy to understand how our prarabhdha karma accumulated in previous lives work their way in the current birth. Ordinary mortals do not have the power to change the course of fate.”]

Once a Garuda was sitting in a tree near a pond. It noticed a large frog at the bank of the pond. Suddenly the garuda noticed that a Yama Doota (a Messenger of death God) was standing here next to the frog and intently looking at it.

The garuda instantly felt that the Yamadootha was there to take the life of the frog. In a sudden rush of compassion, the garuda flew from the tree, fetched the frog in his claws and flew swiftly to a distant place up on a hill and released the frog.  Noticing that the frog was very scared and had nothing to eat in the nearby vicinity, the Garuda flew nearby to fetch some worms for the frog to eat. When it returned, it was shocked to find that the frog was in the firm grip in the mouth of a large snake. The snake swallowed the frog and swiftly hid itself in the gaps of a rock.

Feeling very disappointed, the garuda flew back to the tree near the pond where it was resting earlier. As he arrived there, the Yama dootha was still there. He was now intently looking at the garuda and smiling. The garuda asked him, “Why are you staring at me? You want to take my life too?”

“No” said the messenger. “Actually I am here to thank you!”

“What?” asked the garuda with surprise.

“When I was here to take the life of that frog, I was wondering like this: ‘It is alright that the frog’s time has almost come; but as per my records, its death should really take place in the mouth of a snake at the top of a hill which is quite far off from here; I was wondering as to how this frog can reach that place so quickly? Even if  it goes jumping as per its nature, how can it reach the top of hill in such a short time?’ Then you came into the picture and ensured that the frog is taken to his destined place of death! That’s why I thanked you!” said the messenger.

The Garuda felt humbled. It asked “May I know why the fate of the frog was such that it should die at the mouth of that snake?”

The messenger of death said “In its previous birth, the frog was a rat. The rat bit two little snakes that were born to the snake in the hill. The rat bit the two little snakes half way and then ran away.  The mother snake had to witness the long drawn and agonizing death of the small snakes. She felt so helpless and pained to see the prolonged suffering of her two kids. She cursed the rat and took a vow to kill the rat. However, the rat had died subsequently and took birth as the frog.  It is in this birth as a frog that the snake’s curse had to take effect!”

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

5.  Consoling others

Once a lady came to know that the husband of a woman in the neighboring house died. She heard wailing and crying from the adjacent house. She went to the house, sat close to the woman who lost her husband and started consoling her. The widowed woman was crying uncontrollably.  The lady, in a very dignified tone, started consoling the grieving woman saying, “Please gather yourself; What is born has to die one day. That is the law of nature. You know, the physical body made of five elements only perishes and the Atman that reside inside is indestructible; Atman is never born nor will die”. The widowed woman listened to these words of wisdom from Vedanta and to a little extent it helped her to gather herself.

After a couple of months, the lady’s husband fell sick and died unexpectedly. She started crying so loud that the entire people in the street gathered into her house. Now the widowed neighboring woman came and sat adjacent to the wailing lady. She said, “Madam, while I am sorry that you lost your husband, I am rather surprised to see you crying so loud; hardly a few months back when my husband died, you taught me so much Vedanta about Atman being imperishable and that only the body dies! How come you are so much immersed in grief now?”

Pat came the lady’s reply: “That day, it was YOUR husband who died. Today, it is MY husband”.

[Amma:  “It is the attachment to me and mine that causes grief.”]

(Friday Satsang 09/09/2016)

6.  The last wish

Once a criminal who had committed murders and dacoity was caught and sentenced to death. As he was being taken to the gallows for hanging, the authorities asked him what his last wish was.

He said he wanted to meet his mother. His mother was brought in. He said he want to convey something privately to his mother. He was allowed to speak to his mother at her ears in a hushed tone. At that point of time, the criminal bit his mother’s ear lobe. His mother cried out in pain and agony. Immediately the guards intervened and took the mother away.

When they enquired the criminal why he bit his mother’s earlobe, he said, “I wanted to punish her in some way for what she failed to do. Right from my very young age, I started stealing. At that age, I did not know right and wrong. Whenever I brought the stolen booties, she was happy to receive them and never warned me of the evil of stealing and its consequences; she did not prevent me from stealing. Had she punished me at that young age itself and corrected me, I would not have ended as a hard core criminal and end up getting hanged to death today”.

[Amma:  “It is the duty of the parents to teach what is right and what is wrong to their children right from young age and lead them in the righteous path.”]

7.  No enemies

Once a notorious person celebrated his 100th birthday and a news correspondent came to interview him.

The correspondent asked “In this long 100 years of your life what is that one thing you are most proud of?”

The old man replied; ‘In all these 100 years of my life, I have no enemy on earth”

“Ah how, great your life is! It should become an example for others to follow. How did you achieve it?”

“Not easy, but I did accomplish. I simply did not allow any of my enemies to remain alive on earth! That’s all”.

[Amma: “Without eradicating such destructive mentality, we can never bring wars and incursions to an end,”]

Matruvani – Avani 2008

8. The Handicapped King

Once there ruled a king who had lost one eye and one leg in a war. He had a strong desire that a beutiful portrait of him be drawn. His desire was made known to the famous artists in his country.Hoping for a great royal reward, many of them came forward to see the king.

They were told by the ministers that the king was expecting a great artistic work that should show him truly but without the ugliness of his physical handicaps.

How to really draw the portrait of a king beautifully when the truth was that he did not have one eye and one leg? Most of the artists backed out.

However, one artist came forward and accepted the challenge. He painted the picture of the king very meticulously and once he finished, everyone marveled at his skill and brilliance.

In the picture he had drawn showing the king holding a rifle in his hands and aiming to shoot some distant animal; in focusing the target, he was shown with one eye closed as that was what snipers do when they focus through their rifle. The king was also shown sitting in a kneeling posture with one leg shown folded.

Thus the artist had the brilliance to show the king as he was, but judiciously camouflaging physical faults of the king!

[Amma: “One should always try to focus on the goodness of the others, ignoring their negative aspects”].

9. Learning a lesson

Once a lion went for hunting along with a hyena and a jackal. The lion attacked a deer and killed it while the other two animals were only spectators. The lion said to the hyena to split it into three parts so that all the three can eat it. The hyena split the body of the deer into three equal parts. On seeing it, the lion became very angry. It attacked the hyena and killed it on the spot.

The lion then directed the jackal to spit the carcass of the deer into two parts so that both of them now can eat. The jackal then split the carcass with three fourths of the portion reserved for the lion and one-fourth for himself. Seeing this, the lion nodded appreciatively and asked, “How did you become intelligent?”

The jackal said, “I learned it from hyena”

[Amma: “If you have enough alertness, you can learn even from idiots.”]

10.   The Alteration work

Once a young boy got a new jeans pant. When he wore it for the first time, he noticed that the legs of the pant were rather extra long; he wished that they were shorter by at least 2 inches.

He went and asked his mother, “Mom, will you cut and re-stitch the bottom of my pant by 2 inches; the leg is too long”. The mother said, “I am very busy cooking right now. Go and tell your father”.

The boy approached his father and explained to him his problem. The father replied patiently: “I am studying an important office file now as I have to make a presentation immediately as I reach my office. Will you please aske your sister to do it?”

He went to his sister; she said, “I am preparing for my class test in the college today. Ask the servant maid…”

The servant maid too said she was busy with her chores and would do it later if she found time. The boy felt very frustrated. He threw the jeans over the sofa and left for the school.

The mother, after finishing the cooking came to the hall and saw the jeans lying on the sofa. She remembered her son’s request. Immediately, she did the alteration by cutting off 2 inch of length at the bottom and then stitching it. When the servant maid finished off her duties, she noticed the jeans lying at the sofa. She too remembered the boy’s request and she too took the scissors, cut off two inches from the bottom and re-stitched it.

In the evening, the boy’s sister returned from her college. Seeing the jeans, she too altered it by reducing the length by two inches, not knowing the fact that it had already been shortened twice by others.

The boy returned from the playground late in the evening. Noticing the jeans lying at the sofa, he was curious to know whether anyone had done the alteration desired by him. When he lifted it up, what he saw looked like an half pant!

[Amma: “We have a tendency to criticize and discard the values of the past as outdated. If we keep on discarding the past again and again, nothing of value will remain for us to save us from the present day ills. It is like bathing a baby and throwing balance water along with the baby”.]

Tuesday satsang 15.9.2016

11.  The envious businessman

Once there lived two businessmen who knew each other; both of them were doing well in business, but one of them was highly envious of the other; he would always try to imitate the lifestyle of what the other person was doing, in order to prove that he was in no way less rich or inferior to the other person.

Once the first businessman bought the latest model of a very costly luxury car. On seeing it, the second businessman too bought the same model car, spending lots of money.

Unfortunately, the first businessman’s car met with an accident and got damaged heavily. Seeing it, the second businessman felt happy. But, soon, his car too met with an accident and got damaged beyond repair.

After a few days, the first businessman was up on the road with another brand new car! Unfortunately, the second businessman who lost heavily due to the damage of the car, could not afford to buy the same model car.

He felt very disturbed. He went to meet a saint for gaining mental peace. He told the saint about his mental status and asked, “How come he managed to buy another costly car, while I could not?”

“He must have insured the car; did you insure your car?”

The man said, “No”.

“Then, that’s why” said the saint.

[Amma: “The good acts we did in our previous lives and do in the present  give us punya which comes to our protection at the time of need like an insurance cover”.]

(Amma birthday message 2016)

12.   Eating with 2 hands

Once a man was extremely hungry. He sent his servant to buy food from a restaurant. The moment the food arrived, he started eating it hurriedly using both his hands.

People around him were surprised to see him eating like this! They asked him, “Sir, What are you doing? why are you eating in such a hurry using both your hands?”

The man replied, “Because I don’t have a third hand!”

[Amma: “Most of us have no honesty to speak the truth or accept a defect. Whatever happens, we only try to justify our actions always”.]

13.  The piglet’s love

Once a man went to see his friend at his house. The friend warmly received the guest and offered him soup to drink in a bowl.

At that time a little piglet came there. It was the pet of the friend. It came close to the guest, ran around him, licked his feet and tried to climb on him and so on. The guest was very surprised to see that a piglet can be so cute and lovable and he was very impressed how it became so friendly to him. “I have seen pet dogs and cats showing affection to the owner; I am really surprised how this piglet could express so much affection to me despite my being a stranger! Does the mother pig have a few more piglets? Can I take one of them as my pet?”

The friend said coolly, “You don’t know the secret behind this love. You see, the bowl in which I have served soup to you is the one in which I regularly feed this piglet; it is his affection to the bowl that made him try and climb over you and reach to it, so that he can have his share of fill from it!”

[Amma: “Most of the love we get from the world are only selfishly motivated.”]

14.  Fine? Fine!

[Amma: “Education, when sown in a moist soil which is humility, will only produce good yield. In the present day culture where people believe that human effort alone will be sufficient, an important aspect known as divine grace has been totally forgotten. This only grows vanity in man. The dearth of good values is obviously seen in the present day educational institutions.”]

In a college there was a total ban on smoking.

The principal of the college one day noticed a student smoking in the corridor.

The principal went near the student and told him, “You are breaking the college rules by smoking here.  You must pay a fine of 100 rupees for your indiscipline”.

The student inserted his hand into his pocket and fished out a 500 Rupee note.

He gave it to the principal and said, “Sir, May I smoke four more cigarettes, please?”

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-3 Tamil)

15.  Checklist!

Once a man was returning home by walk after work. On his way, a dog bit him.  The man did not take it seriously and did not go to a doctor. As days passed, he became sick and he went to a dispensary to see the doctor. After examining him, the doctor said, “It appears you have been bitten by a mad dog. Since you have ignored it over these days, your condition is very precarious. It is impossible to cure it. I am sorry”.

The moment the man heard it, he took a piece of paper from the doctor’s table and started scribbling something seriously. Seeing this, the doctor said, with compassion, “Oh! You have started writing your will so urgently? No need for such a hurry. There are indeed some new medicines for dog bit. If you take them, you may be able to live a little longer”. The doctor was attempting to console him with care.

The patient said, “Who said  I am writing my will? Since I am going to live only for a few days, every minute of my life is precious now. That’s why I am preparing the list of all my enemies.  Before I die, I want to go and bite as many of them as possible; that’s how I am going to take revenge on them”.

[Amma: “Children, None should have an attitude like this person. God has given a limited slife span to all of us. We should utilize it best by expressing mutual love, giving a helping hand and supporting each other by sharing. We must understand that only when we pardon others’ mistakes, God will pardon ours.”]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

 

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 2 (15 more stories )

1.   Sacrifice for higher purpose

Long ago, a queen in Chola kingdom became pregnant. She started getting labor pain and she was reaching the advanced stage of delivery. The royal astrologist, looking at the planetary positions at that time said, “A great king of stellar qualities who can do great good to the country and who himself will attain great name and fame  could be born, if only the actual time of delivery could be postponed by an hour”

Coming to know of this, the queen asked her maids to tie her legs together and hand her upside down in order to delay the delivery till the arrival of the auspicious time. Thus for the sake of getting a great future king, the queen underwent unbearable pain and suffering. Finally, a male child was born at the auspicious time, but due to the extreme rigor the queen subjected herself to her body, she succumbed immediately after delivering the baby.

The child was smeared with blood all over his body and his eyes too were bloodshot at the time of his birth.  He was named Kochengannaan (Red eyed king).

The child grew up to become a great king who ceaselessly worked for the welfare of his subjects and progress of his country. The king later became a saint and was one of the 64 Nayanmars of the Tamil Saiva Tradition.

[Amma: People nowadays ask, before undertaking any work, “What is my stake in this?”.  Instead of asking  “What will I get for me?”, we should think “What can I contribute for the welfare of the society?”]

(Matruvani May 2009)

2.  Natural action

Once a Sanyasi was taking bath in a river. He noticed a scorpion which was struggling in the water for its life. Out of compassion he lifted it in his palms in order to put it on the bank of the river. But, it stung on his finger. Out of pain, the sanyasi shook his hand and the scorpion fell into the water.

Again, taking pity on the scorpion and forgetting his pain, the sanyasi once again picked up the scorpion from waters and again it stung him! He had to drop it once again due to the acute pain of the sting.

It happened a couple of more times. A man watching the whole thing from the banks, asked the sanyasi, “Even after knowing that the scorpion will sting you, why are you trying to save it again and again?”

The sanyasi replied: “Stinging is its nature; showing compassion is my nature”.

3.  I too will

Once a king was travelling through a village. Suddenly and unexpectedly, a stone came flying through the air and hit the king at his forehead. It caused a deep wound and blood started flowing from his forehead. Immediately, the king’s attendants rushed to his help; they applied some medicines and tied the wound with a strip of cloth. His security men ran around to locate the culprit who threw the stone at the king.

After some time, the guards brought an old lady in front of the king. The old lady said, “Oh respected king! I am a poor lady and I have a grandson to take care. We don’t have any food to eat for the past 3 days and the boy was crying out of hunger. As  I was searching for something to feed him, I saw this mango tree nearby which was full of ripe mangos. I thought if I could fetch one fruit, I could give it to my grandson and appease his hunger. So, I took a stone and threw it at the bunch of mangoes. It was very unfortunate that the stone missed the target and it happened to hit you.  I am extremely sorry and I feel guilty that I have injured my king; I am ready to undergo whatever punishment you decide for me…” saying so, the old lady bowed before the king.

The king ordered to his attendants: “Provide enough food and money to this old woman immediately and send her back home”.

THe attendants carried out his order immediately. However, they were surprised at the action of the king. They asked him, “His majesty, we don’t understand how you can leave this old woman without punishment for her crime of hitting you with a stone…”

The king said, “Even the mango tree gives sweet mango to those who throw stones at it. When a tree which has no faculty of discrimination can do such an act of charity, what if a man, who is endowed with intelligence and discrimination does not act with compassion? One more thing. There is yet another lesson that we should try to give happiness to those who cause suffering to us. When I thought in these angles, how can I ever give punishment to the old lady?”

[Amma: Those endowed with awareness and discrimination can learn lessons from every such incidences. For them, others are like mirrors from whom they can see their own imperfections.”]

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2018)

4. The most beautiful person

Once a father said to his young son, “Today, I will take you to meet the most beautiful person”. The son got very curious. “Is it so? How beautiful is he?”. The father took out a photo from his wallet and showed it to the son. The son was rather disappointed. “I don’t think he is beautiful. Rather, he looks ordinary”.

“Wait and see” said the father. In the evening, he took his son to a nearby village to meet the person. There was a big crowd waiting to see the person. The father and son found a place to sit near the him and watch him.

People keep coming one after another to the person. Most of them looked very poor and were crying. They had lots of difficulties in their life and they shared their woes with the man. He was listening to their words very compassionately and offering them kind words of consolation and hope. He wiped their tears.

Then he took the poor people to a hall inside his house, where he served them with food. The faces of the poor people brightened and they left the house as if their had unburdened all their sorrows.

The man then took a large bag and went out. The father and son followed him. The man went to the next village where another group of old, sick and poor people were waiting to see them.

He took out lots of medicines from his bag and based on the prescription slips they had given him, he stared distributing the medicines to all of them.

After this exercise was over, the father introduced his son to the man; the man spoke very pleasantly to the boy. It was time for the the father and son to depart. The son said to his father, “Dad, I don’t really feel like leaving this place. I feel so happy to be in the company of this person. He is so beautiful!”

[Amma: “External beauty is only skin deep. It is selfless love and compassion that one shows to fellow beings that make one really beautiful.”]

(Malayalam Matruvani June 2017)

5. The real test of Graduation

Once upon a time, in a Gurukula, several brahmacharis learned Shastras (Scriptures) for several years. They did well in their examinations and they were ready to get their “pass certificates”. At that point of time, their guru said to them, “You will receive your certificates from a Senior Monk who is in the other Ashram. You have to walk a few miles from here to reach that Gurukulam. Better you start now”. The Guru gave them directions on how to reach the other Gurukulam.

The brahmacharis started walking together chit chatting joyfully towards the other Ashram.  They had to walk across a forest along a narrow pathway. It was evening and the Sun was gradually approaching the western horizon. At one stretch along the path, there were lots of thorns found strewn right on the walkway. When the brahmacharis noticed the thorns, they started looking around for an alternative path to take a detour.  As they started to proceed on the alternative path, one among them did not join them.

He opted to pick the thorns from the path so as to clear it safe. When the others noticed it , they asked him “Hey! What are you doing? We have already found the alternative path; come on! Let’s move ahead fast; it is already getting late; we should reach our destination before dark”.

But the brahmachari refused to go with them. He said “No! I am not coming without removing these thorns. You may all proceed but I will come after finishing this. You are right. It is gradually getting dark. At least we could see thorns when we reached here and  we were not hurt. But think of the people who may come this way after some time when it would be dark. They may not notice these thorns and sure will get hurt. I can’t allow that to happen.” He proceed to remove the thorns. The other brahmacharis opted to leave him alone and proceed on their way.


At that point of time, a person hiding behind the trees came out. He was none other than the senior monk who was supposed to give them pass certificates. He came close to the brahmachari and hugged him. He said “I am so glad that you are the only one who has really passed the test of scriptures. You have truly grasped the essence of the scriptural knowledge!”

[Amma: “Those who remove the thorns in the path of others are indeed showering flower petals in their own path towards divinity.”]

6. The cracked glass pane

[Amma: “Amid our hectic way of life, we mostly forget to ‘live’. In the mad run behind our needs and desires, we fail to live in the present and think of others around us. Thus our life becomes mechanical and dry”]

Once a person bought a new car. He was happily driving it back home. Suddenly, a stone hit the glass pane on the door of the car and caused a crack in it. He stopped the car immediately. As the man had spent a fortune and bought the brand new car and been driving it with pride and joy, he could not contain his anger and anguish to see the damage done to it.

“Who is the rascal that hit my car like this?” so shouting he came out of the car and looked around.

One young boy was standing at a little distance away at the opposite side of the road. A middle aged man was lying on the road beside him. When the boy noticed the car owner staring at him angrily, he came running towards him and said, “Pardon me please, Sir! My father was taking me to the school in his bicycle; suddenly he seems to have got heart attack or something and he collapsed and fell down. If he is taken to any nearby hospital quickly, I hope he can be revived. I tried to stop several cars that passed by this road, but none came forth to stop their car and extend a helping hand; Without others’ help and a car, how can I take my father to the hospital?  Having no other option, I threw the stone at your car hoping that you will then stop the car definitely. I thought you may show some compassion on me if you know the truth”.

Tears flowed from the boy’s eyes when he spoke.

Without delay, the car owner lifted up the boy’s father and placed him in the car. The boy too got in. Quickly, he drove the car to a nearby hospital. Fortunately, as the sick person was brought at the critical time, doctors were able to revive him and his life was soon out of danger. Thus the poor boy’s family was saved from a catastrophe.

The owner of the car did not opt to change the cracked glass in his car immediately. He thought, ‘Let this cracked glass remain as it is, to keep reminding me not to forget the needs and sufferings of other people amidst the hectic selfish life that we lead’.

(Matruvani Tamil Dec 2016)

7. Sharing

Once a group of rich pilgrims were traveling to a holy place. On their way, they had to stay overnight at a small village. A poor family in the village extended hospitality to the pilgrims, facilitated their stay at their house and took extreme care to provide them with comforts.

The pilgrims were carrying many packets of foodstuff and eatables with them. Feeling grateful to the poor family, they gave several large packets of eatables to them.

The family members who received the gifts, immediately opened the packets; they made several small packets of the eatables and took them out of their house.

Seeing this, the leader of the pilgrims asked, “Why are you doing this? We will be extremely happy only if your family members eat them and relish them”.

The elder of the family said, “You see, we are poor people; we are very glad and thankful to receive food given by you; but there are so many families around us who are also poor like kus and suffer from hunger like we do.  How can we really enjoy sumptuous food that you have given to us, when so many neighbors are suffering without enough food to eat?  That’s why we are making several small packets out of what you gave us in order to share with our neighbors. We will also have our small share; that will be the right dharma for our family”.

8.  A change in mindset – Amma shares a real incidence

[Amma: “Most people lead their lives to fulfill their selfish desires. Living selfishly seems to give joy but actually one ends up in pain sooner or later. A dog finds great joy in chewing a bone. By doing so it injures its gums and blood starts oozing from its gums. Tasting it, the dog thinks that the blood comes from the bone. By eagerly chewing the bone more and more in order to taste the blood, the dog hurts itself more and more and ends up in severe pain.

“True joy comes only through selfless actions. Amma will now share with you what happened in the life of Amma’s one french daughter:”]

This french woman always loved a life of luxury. She had a fetish for fashion wear. She always fancied about wearing the costliest and latest fashion wear and would go to any extent to spend money on them. She worked hard to earn money and would spend all her income in buying the latest fashion wear. At times, shamefully, she even resorted to stealing money to satisfy her fetish. While this urge drove her like mad, she could not enjoy any real happiness. If she saw anyone else anything more fashionable and trendy, she would burn in envy and feel very disturbed. She could not sleep peacefully on such occasions.

She once got the opportunity to come to India and visit Amritapuri (Amma’s ashram). She stayed in the ashram for  few days. and she got greatly attracted towards Amma. She attended Amma’s satsangs. She could notice how so many people selflessly serve in the Ashram and lead a simple life. She felt impressed.

After she returned to France, her old habits too returned to her sooner. One day, she went to a watch shop to buy a very costly designer’s watch that would cost 30,000 Euros. As she was looking at various models, she also noticed a model costing 1000 Euros.

At that point of time, a thought ran in her mind: ‘Whether it is a watch costing 30000 Euros or 1000 Euros, it is in any case going to show the same time. Should I really waste such a huge amount to buy a designer’s watch?’ Suddenly the faces of so many poverty stricken people who she saw during her visit to India flashed in her mind. She remembered the simply way of living that she saw in Amma’s Ashram.

Her mind changed. She bought the watch costing 1000 Euros and decided to donate the rest of the money to charities. In a letter to Amma, she had written, “Amma, I cannot explain by words how much joy I felt that day when I took the decision. I never felt so much joy when I had bought and worn the trendiest fashion clothes earlier. THat night I had the most peaceful sleep of my life”.

9.    No you and me

One day an young man went to his lover’s house and knocked at her doors. From inside, she asked, “Who is it?”

The man said, “It is me”.

The girl said from inside, “There is no space in this house for you and me to live together; you can go”.

The young man felt devastated. He kept on thinking of the words of his lover. Several months passed this way. Suddenly something flashed in his mind.

He went back to his lover’s house and knocked at the door again. From inside, she asked, “Who is it?”

He said, “It is you”.

This time the door opened and his lover came and hugged him.

[Amma: “In true love there is no difference between ‘you’ and ‘me’. It is wholesome. Only ‘one’ can be there. It is non-difference. Where love flows continuously, you and I get dissolved and disappear. Only love remains.”]

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

10. How a beggar became king

Once, in a country, there was a practice of choosing the next king if the existing king did not have progeny. The royal elephant would be sent with a garland in its trunk to places where little children play. If the elephant garlands any one of the boys, he would be made the king.

Once the son of a poor beggar was playing on the streets and the royal elephant which came that way garlanded him. The boy was immediately made the prince. Over years he became the king; he ruled his country very well and he was loved by one and all in his country.

One day, a saint visited his palace. The king received him with lot of respect and extended the finest hospitality to him. During the conversation, the saint said to the king, “It is because of the great punya you accumulated in your previous birth, you are blessed to rule this kingdom”. The king asked, “Maharaj, How do you say so?”

The sage, who had the power to know past, present and future said, “Oh king! You were just a beggar’s son on the streets when you were a boy and now you are a great king, respected and adored by your citizens. How is it possible? It is because of a good deed you have done in your previous birth.

“In your previous birth, you were a poor hunter. One day, in order to hunt your food, you were roaming in the forest and you noticed a deer and its little fawn. When you tried to shoot the deer with an arrow, the deer noticed you and immediately took to its heels; but the little fawn could not run as fast as its mother and it fell down. You rand behind them and picked up the fawn. You thought that for that day’s food, the little fawn was adequate. Putting the fawn on your shoulders you walked back to your hut. On your way, when you looked back, you noticed that the mother deer was following you as it did not want to be parted with its baby; profuse tears were flowing from the deer’s eyes.

“Noticing it, you felt very compassionate towards the deer. You thought, ‘It is fine for me and my family to skip our meal for this day; let the crying mother  get united with her fawn and become happy”.  You put down the fawn on the ground and it ran happily towards the mother deer. The mother deer was emotionally very surcharged and it prayed to God for blessing you.

“As a hunter, your dharma allows you to kill an animal for your food and you won’t acquire any sin; yet because of  your compassionate heart, you did an extraordinary act of leaving the fawn back to the mother deer. It is this punya you acquired in your last birth has made you the king of this country in this birth”.

 

(Singapore Satsang 02/05/19)

11.  A simple act of love

Once a husband returned home late in the evening. He was jobless for quite some months. He had roamed around the whole day to find a job and was back at home with dejection.  As he went into the house, there was no light, except for a candle light shining at the dining table. Around the candle, there were several dishes, kept nicely decorated and garnished, ready to eat. His wife was sitting beside the table, waiting for his arrival.

Surprised, he came closer to his wife and exclaimed, “Oh! What is this surprise? What is so special today? How did you make all these?”

The wife smiled at him pleasantly and said, “Happy birthday to you! Please wash your hands and come; let us eat”.

“Oh! Is today my birthday?  With all my crowding worries, I never remembered it.” He want to the wash basin to wash his hands and pressed the light switch nearby. But no light was forthcoming. “Why isn’t the light burning? Is there no electric supply?” he asked.

The wife said “Forget it; let us enjoy the food first and then discuss”.

After they ate together joyfully, he asked, “Now tell me; why is there no electricity?”

The wife said in a mild voice, “Because we could not pay the electric bills and the Company has disconnected the power supply to our house”.

“Oh! If that is the case, where did you get the money for buying all these provisions and make this dinner for my birthday?” asked the husband.

The wife said, “I am sorry; I sold my costly marriage saree and some books I had with me, got the money, bought the provisions for cooking the dinner”.

The husband could not speak immediately. His eyes were moist and his throat choked with emotion. “Why, why are you showing so much love on me? I am not fit to receive it. I could not get a job; we are sinking in poverty and still …..”

The wife said, “Don’t worry darling. I know how sincerely you are trying for a new job. You are not slacking in your efforts. God will give the reward for your perseverance sooner.  Why should we spoil the joy of celebrating your birthday, just because of our temporary setbacks?”

The husband hugged his wife overwhelmed by her love and affection.

12. The compassionate husband

Once the husband of a family came and sat in the dining table along with his son to take the breakfast. It was already time for him to depart for his office. His wife hurriedly prepared Dosa and Chutney and served him. As his wife had hurriedly prepared the food, the dosa got fried excessively in heat and got blackened.  However the husband did not show face nor made any adverse comments and he ate it as if it was quite normal.

Seeing this, his wife became remorseful. She said, “Oh! Sorry! Don’t eat that blackened one; I will make a fresh dosa”

The husband said, “No problem; this itself is quite alright; in fact, I have a taste for such browned dosas”.

After eating, the breakfast, the husband left for his office, taking his son along so as to drop him at his school on the way. While travelling together, the son asked, “Dad, is it really true that you like blackened dosas?”

The father said, “Dear son, you know your mother was on night shift and she worked the whole night without sleep; right? It was dawn when she reached home. She must be extremely tired; yet, she prepared breakfast for all of us. There were umpteen occasions in the past when she made perfect and tasty dosas but we have not appreciated them even once, have we? Suppose we refused to eat those dosas just because they got a bit blackened, won’t she feel bad and pained? So, it is not a problem for me to eat the the blackened dosas since it will make her happy”.

[Amma:  “We must acknowledge the truth that no one is perfect in this world. In a family, all members should try to understand each other and adjust with each other; only then peace and cordiality will prevail in a family”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

13.  Sympathy and empathy

Once a disciple asked his guru, “Sir, what is the sign of right empathy and compassion?”

The guru took the disciple out of the ashram to a street nearby. He said to the disciple, “Watch that poor beggar from a distance for a while”.

After a short while, an old man passed by. He noticed the poor beggar and then dropped a coin into his bowl. After some time, a well dressed rich man came that way. He too noticed the beggar. After looking all around and seeing other people walking on the road, the richman  took out a fifty rupee note from his purse,  dropped it in the beggar’s bowl and walked away.

After a while, a little boy passed by. Noticing the poor man, he stopped next to him and smiled at him very pleasantly. He exchanged a few inquiries with the beggar in as if he was speaking to his own elder brother. It made the beggar obviously happy. Then the boy went away without giving the beggar anything.

Now, the guru asked the disciple, “Tell me, who was the most compassionate person amid the three”.

The disciple said, “It is the rich man”.

The guru said, “When the rich man gave money, there was absolutely no trace of sympathy or compassion towards the beggar in his action. He was donating money to show off, such that people around him notice that he is donating.  The old man gave a coin out of sympathy, but there was no compassion in his action. He had no emotional connection with the beggar and no intention to to help the beggar in any way to get him out of his poverty. But the boy’s action can be called compassion. His interaction with the beggar was as if he was a person related to him. Even though the boy did not help the beggar with money, there was indeed a heartfelt empathy visible in his action. Hence what the boy showed towards the beggar is true compassion.”

[Amma: ” What the world needs is not a transient expression of sympathy, but a compassion that comes from the heart.  It is from  the heart of the people who feel others pleasure and pain as their own that true compassion springs forth. It is from there that friendliness and eagerness to serve come. The only medicine that cures all the wounds of the world is compassion.”]

14.  Mother’s hands

Once an young man went to see a potential employer to seek a job. The employer was was a compassionate person who had come up in his life in the hard way. As he started interviewing the young man, he asked him about his family background.

The youngman said, “I have no father. It was my mother who brought me up all alone. We are poor. My mother struggled a lot and worked hard in life to educate me”.

“Do you help you mother in her chores? ” asked the employer.

“No” said the young man.

“I would now ask you to go back to your home, wash your mother’s hand and then come back as quickly as possible” said the employer. “Then we will decide whether you can get a job here or not”.

The young man felt confused. He could not understand why he should wash his mother’s hand as a preconditional test to get a job. Any way, he went back home. His mother was washing utensils.

He told his mother what happened and he took her hands to see how they are. It was after very many years,  perhaps after his childhood, that he was ever looking at his mother’s hands in such close quarters. He noticed that her palms had several cracks and small wounds and as he washed her hands with soap, she was squirming from pain.

The youngman felt extremely disturbed and sorry. He understood that for long years, his mother was toiling with her hands to make both ends meet and also give education to her son, bearing all the pain and suffering, but he had never been aware of her plight.

He said, “Mother, I am so sorry.  Please take rest. I will start helping you in your chores, I feel bad that I have all along be so selfish. I never developed the heart to serve others”. So saying, he forced his reluctant mother to take rest and started washing the utensils himself.

Only after finishing the work he returned to the employer rather belatedly.

The employer asked him what happened and why he got delayed. The youngman, with moist eyes, narrated what happened.

The employer shook his hands and said, “You are hired!”

15.   A few compassionate words

Once a very poor man was afflicted with a disease. He could not go for work on account of his sickness; without money, he suffered in hunger for three days. He became extremely weak and depressed.  He begged for food from others but nobody showed any compassion towards him.

He felt totally dejected in life and decided to commit suicide. Before he took that extreme step, he thought of begging food just one last time. He approached  a nearby hut. A lady was inside the hut. When he asked for some food from her, she requested him in a pleasant voice to be seated and offered a wooden plank for him to sit. She went into the hut. Unfortunately, a cat had stealthily partook some little food she had kept there and also had rolled down the vessels; whatever leftover food too had fallen on mud and was unfit for eating. The lady felt very sorry.

She came out and said to the poor man. “I am sorry that I am unable to offer food to you. I had some left over rice and curry which I wanted to give to you, but unfortunately a cat has spoiled all of them. I don’t have a single paisa to give to you. I request your pardon for having invited you to eat but failed to offer you anything”. Her face was writ with pain and sorrow.

The poor man said, “Never mind. You have indeed given something that I badly needed. As I had fallen sick, I was bedridden for a few days.  I begged many people to give me some food but everyone chased me away. No one ever said a word of compassion to me. I felt there is no point in living this world devoid of compassion. I decided to commit suicide, but since the hunger was unbearable, I came here to beg some food from you. It is unfortunate that you are not in a position to offer me something to eat. But your words of compassion indeed has given me some satisfaction. I gained confidence that the world does have compassionate people like you; it gives courage for a poor like me to gain trust in the world and try to live against odds.  I will not commit suicide any more. Today, I am experiencing a joy and satisfaction that I have never felt in my life earlier”.

[Amma: ” Children, if we don’t have anything to give, can’t we give a pleasant smile or  few comforting words?  Is it a costly affair?  It is enough we we possess such a compassionate heart. That’s the first step towards spirituality. Such people need not go anywhere or search anywhere for God. Where there is a heart full f compassion, there God will come running on His own.”]

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

Amma’s stories related to Sadhana for sadhakas (Spiritual practices for Earnest seekers of God/ Self) – 14 stories

1.   The subtle vasanas

Once a spiritual aspirant who was a mendicant went for begging his food. A family invited him for lunch and served food to him in a silver plate. After eating the food, the mendicant washed the plate himself. Then he left the place and walked away. He carried the silver plate too along and the hosts did not notice it.

After going away for while, the mendicant suddenly realized that he had taken the silver plate with him instead of returning it to the hosts.  He felt shocked about himself. He never had any tendency to steal in the past. Feeling remorseful, he rushed back to the host’s house and returned the plate, profusely apologizing for his slip. He said, “I really don’t know how such an awful desire to slip away with the silver plate ever came to my mind unknowingly. I had never stolen anything in my life”.

The householder unquestioningly accepted the mendicant’s confession and bid him good bye. However he felt intrigued. What could suddenly cause a Sadhu to get a fleeting desire to steal? He called the cook, who was a recently appointed person. He started asking probing questions to the cook. Upon this inquiry, he came to know that the new cook, ever since he saw the silver plate, wanted to steal it and this thought occupied his whole mind when he cooked the food that day.

Amma:  The thoughts of a person cooking food in a subtle way goes into the food and it has the potential to affect the person eating the food. That is why it is advised that a person cooking food should do mantra japa while cooking so that good vibrations enter into the food.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

2.   The effect of company

Once a young man, who had no interest in seeing movies, was visited by his friend. During their course of chitchatting, he visitor said, “Have you seen such-and-such movie recently? It is a great picture! What a story, what a classic acting and photography! If you have not seen it so far, you have really missed something in life!” The young man listened to it and did not react.

After a couple of days, the friend visited again and this time too he spoke very highly of the movie and urged him to go and see it.

In a couple of more visits too, the friend kept on talking about the movie. The young man by now got very intrigued; he felt tempted to go and watch the movie.

He went to the theatre and watched the movie with curiosity. Indeed it was spectacular and he got very much attracted to it. He watched the movie a couple of times and gradually developed desire to watch other movies too. He started frequenting other theatres and soon became such a regular movie goer that the number of pictures that he watched every week outnumbered his friend, who originally tempted him to watch one movie!

Amma:  That is the effect of a company. Company with holy persons is the true satsang and through satsang one can develop good samskaras and habits. If the company is bad, one will only get into evil habits.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

3.  Single pointed mind

Amma:  Whatever excitement you get in Amma’s presence is indeed a focus on Amma. Instead of mentally getting disturbed on so many other things, your excited thoughts are only focused on Amma and it is good.

Once a Woman went to a Fair with her child. The fair was extremely crowded. There were plenty of stalls selling a variety of garments, food, ice-creams, snacks, fancy items, toys and so on. Music programs, dance and drama were going on several open venues and people were excitedly moving around in all the places, watching and enjoying. While the woman too was excitedly looking around and watching everything, she suddenly noticed that her child has last the grip of her hand. The child got separated from her in the milling crowd.

The mother was shocked when she realized the situation. She started frantically searching around for her child, crying out her name. ‘Where is my child? Where is my child?’ – this was the single thought that occupied her mind now and none of the goings-on the fair could distract her attention any more.

Amma:  If the entire focus becomes the guru, then all the worldly attractions fall away on their own.

(Monday beach Satsang 22/8/2016)

4.  The count of leaves in the tree!

Amma: For every earnest spiritual aspirant, getting self-realization is a very long drawn process. It requires lots of patience and effort. One cannot afford to slack efforts and abort one’s goal midway.

Once two spiritual aspirants were doing  sadhana under a banyan tree for quite some years. The Celestial Sage Narada happened to pass by one day. As Narada had his daily contacts with the Lord Narayana, the aspirants were eager to know from God when they would attain God-realization. They appealed to Narada to inquire about it when he would meet Lord Narayana the next time. Narada agreed.

A few days later, Narada came by. One of the aspirants eagerly asked whether Narada spoke to Lord Narayana and got the answer.  Narada said that he did and what Narayana told him was that this person would require as many births as the number of leaves found in the Banyan tree to attain his self-realization. The person who heard this was devastated. He felt highly infuriated. “I have been doing severe sadhana for so many years and still Narayana says I will require so many births? Oh! Then its all a waste of time. It’s all a mere humbug then; I would rather go back to the world and enjoy it instead of wasting my time here” . He left the place fretting and fuming.

Now the other aspirant posed the same question and Narada gave the same reply. Upon hearing it, the second aspirant was full of joy and started dancing in ecstasy! “O! Is it true that Lord Narayana indeed said that I would get my salvation after these many births, for sure? Oh! I am really lucky then! I am indeed blessed!” So saying, he continued to jump around and dance.

At that very moment, the second aspirant got his self-realization instantly.  Such was the reward he got for his mental attitude and patience.

5.  Be kind hearted, but have common sense first!

Amma:  It is not just enough if you are a good and kind-hearted person. You should apply your mind and act with presence of mind and shraddha; otherwise, your act of charity may become futile.

This is a real story happened in the Ashram as narrated by Amma:

Brahmacharnini L- in the Amritapuri Ashram is an extremely kind-hearted person, who loves to run to the help of anyone needing help and succor.

One day, a physically handicapped old man came to see Amma and was walking up the stairs with difficulty with his crutches. Brahmacharnini L- was so overwhelmed with the suffering of that person that she wanted to extend a helping hand to him and make him seated.

Saying “Aiyo paavam” (Oh what a pity) she received one of his crutches. While the man was struggling to stabilize himself with a single crutch, our Brahmacharini, in an excited state to somehow help the person to stabilize, extended her hand, saying another “Aiyo”  and took off the other cruch too, without applying her mind to catch hold of the person before removing the other crutch!

Right infront of her eyes, the old person, with nothing and none to support him collapsed on the floor, while our Brahmacharnini could only help crying out a big and louder “A-I-Y-Y-O…”

[Amma was at her mimicking best when she enacted all this with her actions and voice. The whole crowd burst into laughter!]

* * * *
This is yet another real story that happened in the ashram, as narrated by Amma:

Some time ago, a mentally disturbed person came to the Ashram with a purported desire of settling down as a  householder in the Ashram. His worried wife and mother too were there together with him in the darshan queue.

Even before he could open his mouth before Amma, the wife wanted Amma not to concede to his request because she has lots needs and desires to be met in the outside world. Amma reassured her that She would never take people just like that and started probing deeper into the man’s troubles. It was reported that he seemed to behave as though mentally disturbed, after a recent bout of fever, but Amma suspected a deeper and long existing ailment in him that caused his quirky behavior.  Amma suggested a thorough medical check-up for him and assured them that everything will be alright sooner. Amma made him sit behind her for a while.

After Amma retired to her room at the end of darshan , the person suddenly got very violent; he was shouting at his wife, started spitting at her and behaved uncontrollably.  Lots of people gathered around, including some brahmacharis, who wanted to intervene with good intentions.

One Ashram resident, assuming that the man was under fits, started frantically searching for a iron piece to be given in his hands (as there is a common erroneous belief that people affected by fits get calmed down when they grip a piece of iron). And lo, he could only locate a knife and without thinking a second time, he thrust the knife into the hands of the man in fits!

More chaos! (When Amma narrated this with her gestures, the whole gathering at the Beach Satsang was rolling with laughter). Then a group of brahmacharis somehow managed to pin down the violent man and snatch the knife from his hands.

And there, adjacent to the man was Brahmachari S, who was always known for his calmness and serenity, who was never seen expressing anger or outward emotions. And people saw him for the first time with eyes bulging out in anger and tell-tale facial expressions of pain, anguish and rage. Reason?

In an over enthusiastic attempt to prevent the man from spitting at others, he had put his hand over his mouth and the man caught the bramhmachari’s fingers with his teeth and was applying his full jaw pressure on the fingers; Brahmachari S- could not do anything to wriggle his fingers out from the man’s vice-like grip of the jaw and that pain and anguish came through his facial expressions.

[Amma, in her inimical way, with a doze of exaggeration perhaps, was emoting the facial expressions of the brahmachari to the utter entertainment of the crowd!]

Finally, when the Brahmachari managed to get his finger freed, it was bleeding and he had to be rushed to the hospital to have a few stitches and a bandage over the finger!

[Amidst all these fun and frolic, Amma made sure to drive home the point that one requires viveka Buddhi to handle such situations. How foolish it was to thrust a knife in the hands of a mentally disturbed person! How inappropriate it was to close the mouth of the person who seemed to be under the grip of fits!]

8.   In search of a soul mate

Once a young, beautiful and intelligent western woman wanted to get married to a person who would be most suited to her taste, preferences and temperaments. She searched for such a mate for years but she could not come across any male who could win her heart. She dropped the idea of getting married; she was still feeling restless in her heart; in order to get some peace of mind through mental diversion, whe undertook a travel across the globe visiting several countries.

She came to a distant eastern country on sight seeing. She took a room in a hotel in a large city in that country. One day, while she was eating in the restaurant, she chanced to meet a western guy. They started talking to each other. She developed a liking for him. They decided to meet again. As they started interacting more and more, both of them developed a mutual liking which soon blossomed into love.

As they exchanged details about their personal lives, she came to know that he too was from her home town from her own country. Inquiring further, they came to know that they had been living in the same street at neighboring houses all these years! Despite such a close proximity, they never had come across each other in their home town!

[Amma: Children, you may also go on searching for God everywhere, but you won’t find him because he is indeed unimaginably closest  to you! As long as you are steeped in ignorance, you think he is somewhere too far off in the heavens. Remove your ignorance. Get rid of your body consciousness and go beyond it. Awaken and remain in pure awareness. Then you will realize that God is closer than the closest to you.]

9.   Brainwashing

Once there was  a grand feast at night arranged by a rich man in his mansion. Several guests had arrived and the party was going in full swing. All the arrangements had been made impeccably and everyone was enjoying the good ambience and the food.

While the feast was going on, an uninvited person somehow managed to come into the mansion and join the gathering. He caught hold of the host and started talking to him. He said, “What sort of feast is this? It is so lacklustre and boring; Nothing is good or pleasent here….” He kept on criticizing and complaining about the food, arrangement etc. He was an extremely impressive and tactful talker. Through his forceful and persistent talking, he succeeding in confusing the host and making him to believe that the food was indeed horrible  the arrangements were poor.

Forgetting that it was he who hosted the feast and made all the arrangements, the rich man, who was so far enjoying the whole thing, started feeling very negative and he totally agreed with the views of the uninvited intruder. “Yes; you are right; this place is really disgusting; come, let us move out of here” he said to the stranger.

“That’s right. Let us go out. I shall host a grand feast exclusively for you tonight. By my honored guest. I will show how a really grand feast shall be”, so saying the visitor took the rich man along with him to his place. On the way, the person kept on bragging how his feast would consist of the rarest of all exclusive delicacies, grand decor, impeccable ambience and so on. The rich man was mesmerised by the visitor’s talk.

Finally they reached the visitor’s house. It was a godforsaken place, totally in disarray, dirty and ugly. No one else was there in the house. But the visitor kept on talking, trying to impress the rich and make him believe that they were indeed in a grand palace, wonderfully decorated. He insisted that all the preparations of food were going on already in full swing and the feast would start very soon.

Nothing happened. The rich man regained his senses. He understood that the visitor was indeed a mentally deranged person and a maniac. With lots of difficulty, he managed to interrupt the incessant talking of the mad person and said, “Stop, stop! This is enough”. The mad person’s face turned pale, “Why? what happened?” he asked in a jittery voice.

The rich man said, “What a fool I have been to come with you to this dirty place! I was actually giving a wonderful feast to my guests and all were indeed enjoying it thoroughly. My own mansion was so beautiful and wonderfully decorated for the function! How happy I was there before you came? Why the hell I forgot all about it and came behind you like an idiot!”

So saying, he started walking away from the house. The mad man tried his best to stop him but the rich man pushed him aside and rushed back to his mansion.

The feast was still going on and no one seemed to have noticed his absence for a while. With great relief and he joined the gathering once again.

[Amma: We are all like the host in the story. We have forgotten who we really are.We are blessed to enjoy creation and life in our own place. We are the source of the joy, like the host. But not knowing it, we allowed our ego, the uninvited guest, into us, who successfully hoodwinked us and made us lose our sensibility. Like sleep-walkers, we lost our awareness and went behind our ego; thus we lost the joy of the feast — our life.We forgot our true self — Atman and we became a pupper to our ego.

We should awake from our intoxicated state and realize that we indeed are the ‘host’ — the root cause of creation. Once we understand the wily machinations of our ego, we will understand that we have gone to a wrong place. We will immediately come back to our own house, where bliss is ever present.]

(Arul Mozhigal- vol 9  p 90-92)

10.  Dig deep at one place

Once there was a famous devotee. A man from the next village heard about him and therefore came to see him. The visitor waited outside the front yard of the house as the devotee was performing his worship inside the house at that time.

The man peeped inside and noticed that the devotee was sitting in front of his pooja shrine and doing the worship of Lord Ganesha. The visitor, seeing this dug a hole in the ground. The devotee then started worshiping his Guru. The visitor, now dug a second hole. After finishing the hymns praising the Guru, the devotee then started worshiping Lord Muruga. The visitor dug a third hole.

As the devotee then proceeded to worship Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi, Lord Shiva, Goddess Kali and so on, the visitor too dug one hole each corresponding the the God worshiped.

After finishing the puja, the devotee came out and he was surprised to see so many holes at his yard. He shouted at the visitor: “What is this? Why have you dug so many holes in my yard?”

The visitor said, “I wanted to get some water and so I dug one hole. Since I didn’t get water there, I dug the next one and the next and so on. I have dug everywhere but could not get any water. Had I dug at one place deep enough, I would have got the water by now and need not have wasted my time”.

The devotee understood immediately. Had he surrendered to  any one of the Gods wholeheartedly and concentrated worshiping him, he could have become a liberated soul by then.

[Amma: The Gods and Goddesses have diverse forms, but in reality all are one. The various names and forms are only to help us in our spiritual practice to suit our diverse tastes. Each one can choose a deity according to his taste and mental make up which will serve as the ladder to reach the supreme.]

[Source:’Awaken Children’ – Vol.2 ]

11.  A Mahatma among you

Once there was a Mutt where a saint lived there as guru; several disciples were living with him in the mutt and practicing spiritual austerities. They were extremely sincere, earnest and focused in their spiritual practices. An excellent, spiritually surcharged atmosphere was present in the Mutt that attracted countless people from near and far to the mutt. People found peace and solace in the ambience of the mutt.

The Guru passed away. The disciples felt orphaned and were in grief for some time; however, they continued to stay in the mutt and continued with their spiritual austerities.  However, as time passed, gradually their enthusiasm and commitment to spiritual life and practice started waning and then deteriorated considerably. The arrival of visitors seeking peace and spiritual guidance from the mutt too deteriorated and then stopped. Now new spiritual aspirants joined the mutt. The inmates of the Mutt felt very disturbed. There were lots of fights among themselves. Love and devotion dried up in their hearts.

The eldest of the disciples felt very bad about the sorry state of affairs at the mutt. He deeply felt the urge to revive  the relevance and reputation of the mutt. He came to know that a Mahatma was living in a forest adjacent to the mutt. He felt he should go and seek his counsel on this matter.

He went to the forest and prostrated before the Mahatma. He explained the current state of affairs of the mutt to the saint and sought his guidance.

The saint smiled and said, “One among your present residents of the Mutt is indeed a Mahatma. But he is intentionally hiding his true status; he will not express it outwardly.  Since no one ever understood him and extended love and respect to him, your mutt has come to such a sorry state”. Immediately after saying this, the Saint closed his eyes and went deep into samadhi. Hence the visiting disciple could not get any more information on who that Mahatma among them was”. He prostrated before the saint and walked back to the mutt.

On his way, the disciple kept on wondering who that Mahatma could be, living in cognito among them. “Could it be that sanyasi who does washing of clothes? No. He is extremely short tempered. Is it the sanyasi in charge of the kitchen? Oh! He does not even know how to cook properly….” the disciple kept on mentally analysing and judging each resident in the Mutt but he was only finding faults in almost all of them. “But the saint said that only one among all these people is the Mahatma. Since I am only looking at each one’s fault, I am not able to grasp who that Mahatma is.  As the saint said, it is quite likely that the Mahatma could be intentionally showing weird behavior in order to hide his saintliness from others’ eyes” he thought.

After reaching the mutt, he called the meeting of all inmates and announced what the saint had said. Everyone was very surprised; they looked at each other’s face to see the signs of a saint! At the same time, each of them consciously knew that he is not the person fit to me a Mahatma. Everyone else too looked to be faulty enough not to fit to the mold of a Mahatma! The discussed among themselves but could not decipher the mystery.

Finally they resolved to themselves that since it is not at all right to insult a saint who could be one among them, it is best to treat each one with respect and love.

The put their resolution into daily practice. By trying to love and respect one another, they were also looking at the good things in others and started wondering whether the person in front of them could be a Mahatma. In this process, soon they started loving each other.  Gradually, their evil and negative tendencies started dissolving. They came to a stage where each one could see a Mahatma in each other. It became so strong that soon they could see Godliness in anything and everything. They all became jivan muktas (liberated while living).  The very atmosphere of the Mutt thus underwent a sea change. Outside people started noticing the divine glow in the face of the inmates.  People gradually started visiting the mutt again to benefit from the company of holy people.

[Amma: “This story tells us that love and liberation are interdependent. For the love to spring up, the mind should be freed of ego.”]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

12.  The sign of dawn

Once a Guru asked his disciples: “How will you know that the night has ended and dawn has happened?”

One disciple said, “If you can identify whether a person coming at a distance is a male or female, it means it has dawned”. The guru did not give his nod of approval to this answer.

Another disciple said, “If you can identify whether a tree at a distance is a mango tree or a neem tree, it indicates it has dawned”. For this answer too, the guru did not give his approval.

The disciples wanted to know the correct answer from the guru. The guru said, “Only when you can see every man as your brother and every female as your sister, one can say the darkness of the night has ended and the light of the dawn has come. If this attitude does not come, even if it is midday, you are still in the darkness of the night only.

The disciples now understood the inner meaning of the Guru’s question and the answer too.

[Amma: “Children, this is an important story to remember. Only when you are able to love one and all on equal measure, you are blessed with the light of realization.“]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal- vol 8 Tamil)

13.  Usage that never was

Once there lived a sage, who gave an instruction to his wife soon after they got married: “Whenever I sit to eat, make sure to keep a needle and a cup of water next to me”. The wife did so. She did not ask for the reason. It became a routine that the wife never missed across many years of their married life.

The husband got old. Death was nearing him. Then he asked his wife, “Do you wish to ask something from me?”

The wife said, “I have nothing to ask from you. But I am curious to know about a matter. You had instructed me to keep a needle and a cup of water next to you whenever you sat to eat and I have been ceremoniously doing it all these years. May I know the purpose for which you asked them to be kept?”

The husband said, “Suppose while you serve me or while I eat, if a grain of rice falls outside the plate, I thought I should pick it with the needle, wash it in the cup of water and put it on my plate; But as both of us were extremely cautious, there was not even a single occasion when a grain of rice fell outside the plate; hence there was never a need for using them!”

[Amma: “Children, notice how much awareness the couple had while eating to prevent even  a single grain of food from falling outside the plate! It is persons with such a high degree of shraddha who have turned out to be saints!”]

14.  Meditating – Oh, really?

[Amma: “My son,  Once you sit for meditation, yous should make your whole mind dwell on God.  YOur mind should not wander to external things. Only your personal God should occupy your entire mind. THat much of dispassion is needed”.]

Once a Sanyasi was sitting in meditation. At that time,  a man rushed right in front of him, making noises that disturbed the sanyasi.  The sanyasi did not like it, as he felt disturbed by the commotion.

After a while, the man returned by the same path, with a little boy.  Seeing him, the sanysi said angrily,”Didn’t you notice that I was meditating here? Can’t you have some self-restraint in not disturbing me in this place?”

The man replied politely, “Sir, I am sorry that I did not notice you”.

“Why? Are you blind?” asked the sanyasi.

“My son was missing for quite some time; he had gone to play with other boys. I was disturbed and started wondering whether he had fallen into the adjacent pond; my mind disturbed in such a though I rushed in search of him and that’s how I missed you sitting here in meditation; I am sorry about it”. But the Sanyasi was unrelenting.

“Mind you, it is totally an unacceptable behavior to disturb me while I am meditating” said he.

The man replied, “Sir, you were immersed in meditation and yet you saw me running in front of you. At the same time, I was running in search of my son but did not see you. I wonder why you did not have even that much of attachment I had on my son on the God you were meditating! What sort of meditation is it? If you don’t have patience and humility, what is that you will gain by meditation?”

(From Upadesamritam-2 Tamil)

15.  Nothing is useless

[Amma: “In nature, everything has its place and relevance.  One should know the place and value of each and utilize it accordingly.  If used so judiciously, one will know that nothing is useless. If we realize this and act, we can convert natural wastes to natural manures. If we act with discernment, what is considered a waste will find a reuse”.]

Once a disciple went to Sri Buddha and asked for a new cloth to wear as his old one had been soiled on account of long usage. Buddha immediately agreed. After some time, he asked the disciple, “Is the new cloth good enough for you? Do you need anything more?”

The disciple said, “Yes, Master, the new one is fine. I don’t need anything more”.

“What did you do with your old cloth?” asked Buddha.

“I am using it as my bed spread, Master”.

“Does it mean you threw away your old bed spread?”

“No master; I am using it as a curtain cloth for my window”.

“What happened to the old curtain cloth?”

“As it had soiled too much, I am using it as a cleaning cloth in my kitchen”.

“What happened to the old cleaning cloth?”

“Since it had torn too much, I have teared it into thin pieces and using those pieces as a wick for my oil lamp Master”

Buddha felt very satisfied with his responses. He smiled and blessed his disciple.

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.   The flow of compassion

[Amma:  The presence of qualities like humility, surrender, unselfishness and sacrifice in a disciple makes a Guru’s grace and love flow involuntarily towards him]

Amma narrated the following real incidence that happened several years ago in the Ashram at the Kali Temple.

On a Darsan day,  a couple with a child was standing in the darshan queue. Suddenly the child vomited on the spot. The embarrassed parents left the place immediately. People standing in the queue started closing their nose to ward off the bad smell.  People moved away from the spot or jumped over the place to cross it.

Several people complained that the Ashram premises are not being kept clean.  Some people walked away in disgust, without even coming for darshan. Some people, upon reaching Amma complained about the issue to Amma.

As Amma wa watching, one young boy  about 12 years old, who was standing in the darshan queue, quietly slipped away, went somewhere to fetch a bucket of water, a mug and a waste cloth. he returned to the dirtied spot and cleaned the floor with the cloth and water.  After mopping the spot and washing the cloth a couple of times, he rinsed the place, went back to return the bucket and then quietly re-joined the queue.

Amma felt extremely happy to see the boy’s actions and as he moved closer and closer, Amma could not help but keep looking at the boy with love again and again. Finally, when he reached her for darshan, Amma gave him a long and loving hug, blessed him by giving him an apple, and asked him to sit beside her for a while. His unselfish and humble act moved Amma so much that she kept on throwing her loving glance at him and smiling at him frequently.

Even after the darshan was over and Amma returned to the room, Amma kept remembering about the boy again and again.

Amma says “It is such an act of unselfishness and sacrifice from the boy that made my love and compassion flow to him automatically. Amma felt  ‘If only there are more and more boys like him, how wonderful the world would be!’

2.  Sharing

[Amma:   Even worms take birth, eat, procreate and die. If Human beings too eat, procreate and die, what is the worth of a human life, which is considered to be the supreme among all creations? Only by sharing what we have with others, humanity is sustained and elevated. There are three classes of people – the Prakruti type, the Vikruti type and the Samskriti type.  The Prakruti type of people consume what they get and are not concerned about others; the Vikruti type consume what they get and also forcefully take away what others have and consume it too; it is the Samskriti type who consume part of what they have and share the rest with others. The goal of life should be such that the Prakruthi and Vikruti type of people should learn to elevate themselves to become Samskriti type.

Amma narrated the following real incidence from her childhood:

When Amma was studying in 4th standard in the nearby village elementary school, there were 2 sections, each with about 60 students. Children from near 3 kilometers from south and 3 kilometers from north will come to this school for their education as there was no other school available in the vicinity.

In Amma’s class room, during lunch time, about 20 students will bring their lunch box; about 20 students who were residing in houses nearby will go to their houses for eating lunch. The remaining 20 students were so poor that they had no wherewithal to bring lunch to the school.  During lunch time, while other children go out of the class and eat their food, these poor children will remain hungry. When Amma saw this, she could not remain selfish to each from her lunch box. She called one of the girls sitting hungry and shared a portion of the food she had brought.

Seeing this, the other girls too started sharing their food from their lunch boxes with other students.  Seeing their example, the children from the other class room also started sharing their food. The children actually felt the joy of sharing to be  much more fulfilling than eating their food selfishly.

Thus, by setting an example, Amma could motivate other children towards sharing. What Amma started in a small way at that young age was perhaps  a beginning of her philanthropic activities in future.

3.   The compassionate daughter

Amma: Qualities like love and compassion must be cultivated by effort.  It is developing such a mental attitude that one can gradually get over likes and dislikes on others.  

Once there was this young girl of a rich landlord, who was always found playing with the physically handicapped little daughter of the servant maid. 

 The landlord did not like to see his daughter playing with a lowly servant maid’s child. He scolded her several times on this issue, but to no avail. In order to wean her away from that habit, he brought to home a nice child from the family of another rich landlord befitting his status. His daughter exchanged pleasantries with the new girl just for while, but she went back to playing with the handicapped child again.

This infuriated the landlord.

He said “Look my child. I have brought a nice and decent company for you befitting our social status. I don’t understand why the hell you are bent upon playing with that dirty servant maid’s lame daughter”

The daughter replied:  ‘Father! This nice, rich girl whom you brought to play with me can get any number of friends to play with her. But what about this handicapped little girl? No one except me is willing to play with her; she finds so much of joy when I spend time with her; that’s why I play with her always”.

4.   The Compassionate Shopkeeper

Amma: Love and compassion shown at the right moment can create a lasting impression on the receiver.

Once a mother of two children had to visit a doctor to consult for her ailment. As she had no one at home to look after the children at the time of her visit to the doctor, she took the children – a young boy aged 8 and his younger sister aged 4 – along with her to the dispensary. When the mother’s turn came to go in and see the doctor, she said to her son, “You wait here till come back; take care of your sister”.

The children kept waiting. As it took a longer time, they decided to come out and visit the toy shop just opposite to the dispensary. The children went around the shop and got excited to see the various dolls and toys there.

The shop owner kept watching the two children. He was attracted by the way the elder brother was talking to his sister, holding her hands and guiding her. He appeared to be a matured and responsible boy who was full of affection to his sister, The little girl picked up a toy and asked her brother “I like it very much! Can you buy it for me?”

The boy said, “Sure I will; bring it. Let us go to the shop keeper”.

As the shop keeper watched them with amusement, the boy came and asked “Sir, I want to buy this. How much is it?”

“How much do you have?” asked the shop keeper.

The boy put his hand into his pocket, fished out a bunch of sea-shells and placed them on the table! The shop keeper, with utter seriousness, counted the shells, picked up a few and said, “This much is enough; you have excess money. Put the balance back to your pocket”. He handed over the toy to the girl and with a big grin, waved a good buy to them. The children ran out of the shop excitedly to the dispensary.

Another customer in the shop who watched the proceedings,  was very surprised. He came to the shop keeper and asked, “I am really surprised! You are a businessman and you are giving the toy in exchange for  worthless seashells! Why? I could not understand”.

The shopkeeper said, “I have come up in life after undergoing utter poverty in my childhood. When I was a little boy, I too had a little sister. We went to a shop one day together and my sister wanted to have a toy for her. I was penniless and how could I ever buy it for her? I somehow made some excuses, diverted her attention and came out. The pain of my inability to satisfy a simple desire of my loving sister got deeply imprinted in my memory. When I saw this boy and girl, I remembered my childhood. So, I wanted to give the joy of buying a toy for his sister to that boy that I missed as a little boy.”

“But why collect those worthless seashells?”

“You see, as a little boy, he imagines that his seashells are worth like money. He did not want to get the toy for free, but he wanted to “buy” it with his “money” for the sake of his sister. Doesn’t it look very lovable? The boy will grow up and very soon he will understand that his seashells are worthless. Then he would start wondering: ‘Why did the shop owner give the toy for the worthless seashells?’ Then he would understand that I had done it out of compassion. It will make a deep impression in his mind that the world is still a good place, where good and compassionate people are very much around. There is every chance that this boy grows up to be a compassionate person in future”.

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

5.   Compassion, Punya & Selfishness

Amma: Unselfishness is the greatest virtue. Selfishness can potentially take away whatever merits we gain by doing good actions.

Once a there lived a very stingy lady who would not give anything to anyone. If asked for a little money, she would say “Come tomorrow, I don’t have any change” even though she may have plenty of money in her purse.

One day she went to the grocery and vegetable shops, bought a bagful of her cooking needs and was walking home. On her way, a poor man by the side of the road cried ‘Oh mother, I am so hungry; I haven’t eaten in a week. Please give me something.”

He could see the vegetables sticking out of the lady’s bag. Watching his eye movement, the lady grudgingly took out a carrot from the bag and threw at him with great contempt. “Here, take it and leave me alone!” She was such a miser that even parting with one carrot was a painful experience for her.

When she finally died, her soul went to the other world, where she met Lord, Yama, the god of death, who judges every soul to decide where it would end up – in heaven or hell. Yama called his secretory Chitragupta sand said “Pull out her account; did she do any bad actions?”

Chitragupta said, “Did she do any bad actions? That’s all she did all her life!”

“OK. Take her to the hell” Ordered Lord Yama. The lady cried pitiably and begged for mercy.

Lord Yama softened a bit. “Wait. Just check once again, Chitragupta; has she not even done one good action?” 

“Let me take a closer look,” said Chitragupta. Finally he located the incidence when she gave a carrot with contempt to a beggar.

Yama said “Alright; call the carrot here”.

The carrot came and stood in front of the lady.  Yama said to the lady, “Okay, Now catch hold of the carrot. Let us see if it is going to take you to the heaven; that one little good action you did, even though it could be hardly rated as good, is going to take you upward.”

Joyously, the lady caught hold of the carrot and the carrot started lifting upward. She was going up and up and finally she was about to reach the gates of heaven; suddenly she became aware of some heavy sensation at her foot – as if something is catching and hanging from there. She looked below and saw a chain of souls who were hanging on to her, stretching all the way down to hell. This one carrot was able to lift up so many!

Seeing them, she shouted, “Hey, you guys, this is MY carrot! You have no business to come with me. Leave me alone!” At that very moment, the carrot vanished and she went tumbling down to the hell along with all the other souls!

(Amma Friday  Satsang – 08/9/17)

6.  For the sake of others

Once a villager saw an old man at his nineties digging earth and planting saplings, despite all the strains of his advanced age.

Laughingly, the villager asked “What are you doing, grandpa? You are already too old and death may come and take you away at any time. Still you are planting saplings! Do you believe you will live so long to enjoy thre fruits?”

The old man said “No. I have eaten the fruits from the trees that my grandfathers had sown; they did not plant them for their own benefit, but for the benefit of their future generation. I am doing the same thing – let the fruits be enjoyed by my children and grandchildren!”

Amma:  The effect of doing good karma is also like this. The fruits of good deeds done by us will also benefit our children and grandchildren.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

7.  The Dead dog

Amma: For getting the visa of self-realization the passport of selfless service is essential. Only through selfless service one gets the purification of heart which is essential for gaining self-knowledge.

Once in a village there was a large common well. All the villagers use to fetch water from this well for their daily needs. Suddenly, one day, the water started having foul smell. Even after a couple of days, the foul smell remained in the well water. People got worried. They did not know what to do. Some went to the temple and made special prayers and poojas to the deity, praying for purification of water. They brought the sacred water given by the temple priest and poured it in to the well. However nothing changed.  A few people thought that some people antagonistic towards the villagers might have done some black magic to pollute the water. They brought a black magician, asked him to conduct necessary rites and chase away the evil that had befallen on the well. He gave handfuls of sacred ash after doing his rites which was reverently dropped into the well water. Still the water continued to smell foul.

They approached a wise man for advice. He said to them “Better drain out all the old water from the well; when new spring water rises up, the bad smell may go off”. They agreed and arranged to flush out all the stagnant water inside the well. Fresh spring water started rising in the well, yet the bad smell did not go.

They villagers were in a fix. They did not know what to do further. They went to a sage in the nearby village, prostrated before him and explained their problem. The sage asked “Did you find anything at the bottom of the well when you drained out all the water?”

“Yes swamy; there was the carcass of a dead dog at the bottom”

“Did you remove it?”

“No Swamy”

“Ah! That’s your problem! Unless you remove the carcass, how can the water become pure?” said the sage.

Amma:  All of us have a dead dog in our mind that is the cause of impurity in our heart. Only by doing selfless service, the dead dog can be removed so that our mind gets pure.

8.   Success and failure

Amma: Never be afraid of failure. Never laugh at a loser. For a person who failed, we should always give another chance to try and come out successful. Life is not meant just for those succeed; it is for losers too.

A few years ago, a sports competition was held exclusively for physically handicapped and mentally retarded children. There was a running race of 100 meter dash.  All the handicapped participants were ready at the starting line. Once the whistle was blown, all of them started running with enthusiasm. Every child was desirous of getting the first prize; for that purpose, most of them practiced hard over several months. After a few minutes of start of the race, one of the children lost her rhythm and balance and fell down. Unable to bear the shame and pain of falling, the child started crying aloud.

Hearing it all the other running children looked back to see what happened. When they remained confused on what to do, one girl child among them ran back to the fallen child, extended her hand and helped the fallen child to rise up. Then she said in a very consoling voice, “Don’t worry; let us hold our hands together and run together”. Then holding their hands together they started running again. Seeing this, all the other children joined hand to hand and ran together along with these two children.

Seeing this act of magnanimity, the entire audience stood up and clapped hands very enthusiastically. All the children reached the finishing line together.

Amma: Perhaps this may not really be a real life story, yet it contains a great lesson for elders to learn from children. Though seeking success in life is necessary, we should all the same develop a heart for sharing the pain of others’ failures and extending a helping hand for them to attain success in their lives too.

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2017)

9.  The 3 magic words

Amma:  God has created this world and made our living possible by providing every basic thing in the nature for our happy existence. We must have a sense of gratitude for it. What is given to us by nature must be shared with all for the good of all. Unfortunately, man resorts to destroying nature for his own selfish purpose. Only when we have the sense of gratitude for whatever we have received, life is sustained.

Once a sick father lying at his death bed summoned his son and handed over a pouch containing gold coins. He said “Use them wisely. When this pouch gets empty, say the three magic words and the pouch would get filled up again…”

But before he could convey the 3 magic words to his son, he breathed his last.

The son was rather disappointed that he could not get the key words that will ensure constant filling up of his pouch with gold coins forever.  However, he lead a smooth life free from care and worries by selling the gold coins as and when needed and getting enough money through it. Years passed this way.

One day when he needed money for spending for his daily needs, he noticed that just one last gold coin was left in the pouch.

He thought of his father and his statement about the 3 magic words that had the potential to recharge the pouch. He thought: “Alas! It must indeed be God’s wish that I should not turn out to be a greedy and lazy fellow leading an easy life with my father’s money. Let me at least give this last coin to some needy person; let me at least do one good, unselfish act from my father’s gift to me”.

He saw a frail and impoverished person approaching him for alms. He took that gold coin and dropped at the beggar’s hands. The beggar could not believe his eyes! When he was just looking for a rupee or two to buy and eat something to appease his hunger, he had been gifted with a gold coin worth thousands of rupees! With that money, he can spend days and days without begging for alms! Choking with emothion, the begger folded his hands and said, “Thank you, God!”

Instantly, the son noticed that his pouch was filled with gold coins again! He immediately understood that the thee magic words were really “Thank – You – God”

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

10.  On a bitterly cold night

Amma: Religion and spirituality are the keys to open our hearts and see everyone with compassion. But, blinded by our selfishness, our minds have lost their proper judgement and our vision has become distorted. This attitude will only serve to create more darkness. Using the same key meant to open our hearts, our indiscriminate mindset is locking it shut.

There were once four men who had gone to attend a religious conference and had to pass the night together on an island. It was a bitter-cold night. Each traveler carried a matchbox and a small bundle of firewood in his pack, but each one thought that he was the only one who had firewood and matches.

The first man thought, “Judging from the medallion around that man’s neck, I would say he is from some other religion. If I start a fire, he will also benefit from its warmth. Why should I use my wood to warm him?”

The second man thought, “That person is from the country that has always fought against us. I wouldn’t dream of using my wood to make him comfortable!”

The third man looked at one of the others and thought, “I know this guy. He belongs to a sect that always creates problems in my religion. I’m not going to use up my wood for his sake!”

The last man thought, “This guy has a different skin color than mine, and I hate that! There’s no way I’m going to use my wood for him!”

In the end, not one of them was willing to light his wood to warm the others, and so, by morning they all froze to death.

Amma: Similarly, we quarrel in the name of religion, caste, nation, and color, without showing any compassion towards our fellow beings.

(13.7.2004   Amma told this at Parliament of World religions, Barcelona, Spain)

11.  Left behind

[Amma: “If our actions are compassionate, they will have influence on others too”]

Once an old man was eating in a restaurant alone. He was not well. He was shivering uncontrollably and spilled food over his shirt and on the table while eating. Many people sitting around and eating there felt very uneasy and some of them looked at him with contempt.

One young boy came forward; he held the old man’s hand to arrest the shaking. He took the old man to the wash basin and cleaned his dress. He then helped the man to make the payment and leave the restaurant.

Many people were watching the boy extending a helping hand to the old man. As the young boy was about to leave, one of them said, “Young man, have you left anything behind?”. The boy said, “No”.

Then the man said, “No, you have really left two things for us behind — an ‘example’ for the young and a ‘hope’ for the old!”

(Amma’s New year day Satsang 2016)

12. Deserving the gift of an apple from Amma

[Amma narrated this true story connected with the little children in the Ashram in her satsang on 24/12/13 Tuesday]

[Amma: Being in the company of holy helps people to develop noble qualities in them. Satsang is so beneficial.]

Some children in the ashram make small handicrafts like malas, bracelets etc and sell them and give the money for her to use them for a good cause. Once a boy brought some money and gave it to Amma saying that he did not eat icecream for a year and saved the money to give to Ama. Amma felt very happy and gave an apple to the boy as a gift.

His younger sister became jealous of him on seeing this. During her birthday, she too brought some money saved from the pocket money her parents gave to her by not eating icecreams. While giving the money to Amma she confessed that she had felt jealous of er brother when Amma gave him an apple last time. Amma hugged her and said “Why? If you had told me at that time, I could have given an apple for you too!’.

“No Amma, I can’t accept it. Only when I sacrificed my own ice-cream and saved the money to give to you, I too can expect an apple from you”

Amma: See, this is how little children learn values of life by being in the satsang.

13.   The book on Compassion

Once a saint wrote a book titled “Compassion in life”. He wanted to get it published. He sought financial help for it from persons well known to him. They too offered money. When he was about to give it for printing, there came a famine in the country. Several people died out of hunger.

Without a second thought, the saint gave away the money collected for printing the book for preparing food and serving the hungry. Many of those who helped him financially for printing the book did not like his action.They said, “What are you doing? How will you get the money again? Hunger and poverty are common occurrences in the world; life and deaths are happening all over the world all the time; it is not right to spend such a large amount collected for a different purpose for feeding the hungry”.

The saint simply smiled and did not give a reply.

Several months passed; the saint again made an appeal to his well wishers and followers seeking financial help to print the book again. Though they were reluctant, they nevertheless came forward and donated the needed amount.

The day before he was to give the money to the printer, the town was affected by an unprecedented flood. Hundreds of people perished. Countless people lost their houses and belongings. This time too, the saint gave away the money for flood relieve works. Those who donated money to him did not like his act of charity at all.They spoke critically about it; he patiently listened to them and smiled.

Again months passed. With lots of difficulty, the saint managed to collect the money for printing the book again. This time, he could get the printing done. When the book came out, the donors noticed that it was mentioned as “Third edition” in that book. They were surprised and irked; they asked him “You are a saint and how come you are so blatantly lying that this book is its third edition? Where are the the earlier two editions then? Are you taking us for a ride?”

The saint laughed and said, “Yes; this indeed is the third edition of the book. When the famine came, the first edition of compassion in life came out; when the floods came, the second edition of compassion in life did come out. My dear friends, by reading  a printed book, you only get a bookish knowledge on compassion; the first two editions showed how compassion should be put into practical effect in life. If a living human being is throwing up his hand desperately seeking help from a flooding river and if we are not able to pull him out of the river to the banks, what is the use of writing an eloquent book on compassion?”

(Matruvani – Purattasi – 2008)

14.  The dying mother

Once a military man on duty received a telegram from a hospital in his native place stating that his mother was in death bed and she was longing to see him as her last wish.

The military man obtained permission from his officers to leave immediately and he travelled to his native place without losing time. He rushed to the hospital straight away from the station. The nurse on duty took him immediately to the bed where the old lady was lying. She shook up the patient and shouted loud in her ears, “Wake up, Ma, wake up. Your son has arrived”.

Gradually, the lady became conscious; she slowly opened her eyes and looked around for her son. Her eyesight was blurred. The military man came close to the bed, caught hold of the lady’s hand and said, “Mother, I have arrived; don’t worry; I am here to take care of you; you will get alright soon…”

The old lady shed tears of joy; she kissed his hand and touched his face and head. In a trembling voice, she said, “No my dear son, I will not be alive any more; I am so glad that you have come here to see me before I passed awa; I am so thankful to God…”, so saying she breathed her last.

The doctor came, checked her  and declared her dead. He asked the military man to make arrangements for taking the body to his home and doing the final rites.

The military man said, “I don’t know her home address. Please find it out”.

The doctor and the nurses were surprised to hear it. The man said, “Let me tell you the truth; this lady is not my mother. You seem to have made some mistake somewhere”

“Then why did you behave so far as if you are her son?” they asked.

“I could understand her dire wish to see her son at her last moments; When her senses have almost failed, what is the point in telling her that I am not her son? At least I could give her the joy that her son was back with her at her last moments. Hence I pretended to be her son to give her the peace to breathe her last”

15.   Where is God?

Once a spiritual seeker went everywhere in search of God; he could not find God in any place. Exhausted, he sat down under a tree. He noticed a husband and wife walking happily. Seeing the joy on their faces, the man became curious to find out where they were going.

He followed them.

They went to a colony of lepers. They went from hut to hut, washed and cleaned the lepers’ wounds, wiped them dry and applied medicines on them. The couple also served food that they had brought. They spoke kind words of consolation to the lepers and cheered them up. Seeing these happenings, the seeker of God could not suppress his joy! He shouted exclaiming “I have seen God today!” and walked on the roads happily laughing. People who saw him thought he was mad. They stopped him asked him “Where is God?”

He said, “Where there is compassion, there God is!”

(English Matruvani Sept 2016)