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Amma’s stories on the Power of Love – (3 stories)

1. The lonely child

[Amma: If there is some thing that can rid us of fear and give us the power to move forward overcoming all hurdles, it is love.]

Once there lived in a village a widowed milkmaid with her little daughter. She sold milk to the residents of a kingdom who lived inside a well guarded fort. The fort was on top of a small hill and her village was situated outside, at the foothills.

One evening, after she finished selling milk inside the fort, she got delayed. As she returned to the exit gate, she found the gates locked. She appealed to the guards to open the gates for her, saying, “I have left my little child alone in my hut. It is already late in the evening. If I don’t return before dark, my daughter would be gripped in fear and start crying; if something happens to my daughter, there is no point in my living any more; please take pity on me; please allow me to go out!”

But the guards were extremely rigid and they refused to open the gate for security reasons. They told her to stay somewhere inside for the night and leave once the gates open early at sun-rise.

Overwhelmed by disappointment and grief, the woman left the place and started frantically searching for some way or means to escape from the walls of the fort.

In the next day morning, the guards opened the gates. They were surprised to see the milkmaid waiting outside the gate with her milk cans to enter into the fort! They were taken aback. How on earth did she manage to sneak out of the walls of the well protected fort on the previous evening?

The took her to the king.Upon inquiry, the milkmaid explained her predicament and anguish on the previous evening. She told the king that after a thorough search, she found out a small crack on the wall of the fort through which she escaped. The king was curious to know where the weak spot was and he went along with the maid to see the location.

The king was extremely surprised to notice that it was almost impossible to notice the existence of such a small crack in the wall through which a person can escape with difficulty. It was indeed a very dangerous endeavor to climb the wall to that cracked area; further, on the other side, the slope of the hills were really treacherous and it was indeed a very dangerous task to descend the hills that way. It really looked to be a superhuman effort to accomplish it.

The king asked her, “Were you not gripped by fear to escape through this extremely dangerous path in darkness?”

The milkmaid replied, “There was only one thought in my mind last evening. I have got to got out somehow or other from here and reach my little daughter. I know how scared she would be if I were not to reach her before night. I totally forgot about the safety of my own life; there was no place for fear in my heart at that time”.

2.  Tuned mind

[Amma: “True love or relationship depends on the depth of inseparable sense of togetherness. Such a deep emotional bond happens in the mind and hence it cannot be measured. In proportion to that feeling of togetherness, it manifests in the outer physical plane too. People having such a deep love on each other will have resonating thoughts too. A husband will understand the wife thoughts even before she expresses them; so does the wife.”]

Once a husband was sitting in his room at his house deeply engrossed in some office work that he had brought home on a holiday. He was feeling tired and wanted to relax for a while. However the work was so urgent that he had to finish it off and hand over it to the office the next day.

He was fighting sleep and trying hard to concentrate. He thought, “If only I get a good cup of coffee”. He knew his wife was busy cooking at the kitchen. It was an odd time when he did not normally drink coffee. He did not want to disturb his wife.

As he resumed work, his wife appeared in his room with a hot cup of coffee in her hand! The husband was surprised! “How come you know that I longed for a cup of coffee?”. The wife said, “I just felt you needed a cup of coffee; that’s all!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

3. For her sake

One young man used to go by his motorbike to meet his lover regularly.  Driven by the urge to meet his beloved girl, the young man used to drive rashly, without bothering to obey traffic rules. Even if he sees Red light at traffic signals, he would just ignore it drive ahead without stopping. Many times he met with small accidents on account of his rash driving.  But he never bothered about them.

One day, he was driving his bike with one of his friends sitting at the pillion. His friend knew about the man’s rash driving habits. On that day, the young man stopped his bike at one of the traffic junctions when he noticed red signal. He took out his girl friend’s photo from his pocket and looked at it lovingly while waiting for the signal to turn green.

His friend was really surprised. ! “Hey! What happened to you? I have never seen you stopping your bike at signals?”

The young man replied, “All these days, due to my excitement to meet her, I drove fast, ignoring signals. I never bothered about traffic rules or other vehicles. The only thought that occupied my mind was to meet her as fast as possible. But of late I have started thinking: ‘If, because of my rash driving, I were to meet with an accident, will it not throw her into grief?’. Now, with such a thought arising in me, I have started to drive responsibly, obeying traffic rules!”

[Amma: “Like this, if we are driven only by our selfish likes and dislikes, we feel rules and regulations are unnecessary. But when we take into consideration others’ interests and concerns, we get awareness and patience; then we understand the need to follow rules and regulations.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

Amma’s stories on nature of the human mind – Part 1 (20 stories)

1.  Living in the present

Once a businessman, who not really running his business successfully went to a shopping mall.Sitting at a restaurant there, he ordered ice-cream and started eating it.

His mind was crowded with so many thoughts: “….Since last night I am having this headache and it’s is not going away. There must be something wrong with the food I at the roadside hotel last night. Perhaps a lizard had fallen dead in that food or perhaps some of lizard droppings have fallen into the food. It must be on account of such food poisoning I am having this headache…”

Just then he saw an extremely rich person arriving in a latest model premium car. He was extremely well dressed and was wearing a thick gold chain and also diamond rings. He was going into the shopping mall.

The businessman thought, “Ah! How rich that guy is! How much I wish I could lead a life like him! But what a horrible state I am in now. Right from my childhood, what I have seen was only poverty. My parents could not bequeath any wealth for me. my business is in bad shape and I am burdened with debts. I am really worried where I will end up in future. Will I ever be able to get rich and enjoy life like this person?”

Thus his mind was so crowded with the thoughts of his past and future while he ate the ice-cream that suddenly he realized that his his ice-cream cup got empty but he had not enjoyed the taste of it at all!

[Amma: “We should learn to live in the present and enjoy what we have in hand.Lamenting about the past or worrying about the future will not help in in anyway to change the present.”]

2.   On a cold night

[Amma: “Religion and spirituality are really the keys to open human hearts to look others with compassion. Unfortunately, blinded by selfishness, people are unable to see things rationally through their hearts and eyes. The above keys, instead of opening the heart, are used to close the heart and create darkness. That seems to be the current mentality.”]

Once four people from different religions went to a distant island and stayed there overnight to attend a religious conference. It was a very cold night. All the four persons had matchboxes and pieces of wood with them, but each one thought that he only possessed it and not others.

The first man thought, “From the pendant that hangs in his neck chain, the person next to me looks to be a man of different religion from me. Why should I light fire for him too?”

The second person thought, “The person on my left is from my enemy country; they are always inciting war against us. Why should I share my fire with him?”

The third person thought, “I know this guy on  my right is from that religion which is always critical of my religion and keeps creating problem to our religious people. I should never share my fire with him”.

Look at that skin color of that fellow. I hate that colored people; I will never ignite a fire to share with him”.

Thus all the four persons did not ignite fire despite having the materials with them. As night progressed, it became so cold that all of them were frozen to death.

[Amma: “In fact, they did not die on account of the freezing cold; it is because of their frozen heart that did not melt, they met with their death. We too are becoming like that.We are at loggerheads with others due to divisive tendencies on account of country, religion, color and creed.”]

3.  Regret – either way!

Two friends were at a riverside park enjoying the peace, when they noticed a strange signboard. ‘Pot of Untold Surprises Ahead!’ it proclaimed, pointing down a rickety path. The next sentence in the sign was darkly mysterious. ‘Beware! He who takes from it will regret! He who does not take will also regret!’

Curious to see what this was, the two friends quickly walked down the path. But by the time they reached the spot, it was already dark. Nevertheless, they located the pot there. One of them gathered a handful from the pot and bundled it in a cloth. In the semi darkness, he could not see what it was. The other friend declined to take anything, saying, “The board says that the one who takes it, as well as the one who does not take it will be disappointed. Let’s see what happens.”

They both reached back home and the first man opened his cloth bundle. To their shock and surprise, there lay a heap of gold dust.

“Oh no!” said the second man, aghast. “I should have taken some!”

“Oh no!” said the first man. “I should have taken more!”

So both of them were disappointed.

[Amma: “This is the state of our mind. Whether we get it or don’t get it, we will be sad. This is the nature of our mind.”]

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

4.  As you think

Once a there was a magical swimming pool at a place. It’s wonder was such that when a man jumps into it, it would get filled up with whatever thing the person imagines in his mind at the moment of jumping in.

Once three friends went to that swimming pool and they wanted to test whether whatever stated about the pool was indeed true.  The first person said, “Let this pool get filled with money…” and jumped into it. What a surprise! The whole swimming pool got filled up with currencies!

The second man thought of ice creams and jumped into it. At that very moment the pool got filled with ice cream.

When the third person was about to jump a crow flying above his head pooped on his head. The man thought disgustingly: “Oh crow’s poop” and lo when jumped into the pool it was filled with crow’s excreta!

[Amma: “Whatever thought that is deeply etched in one’s mind gives shape to his life. Whatever desire one strengthens in his mind becomes a goal for his life. Knowing this psychological fact, our ancestors gave lots of prominence to truth and dharma in social life. Those who grow up learning the importance of values right from young age, will nurture and practice these values even when they grow up.”]

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

5.  Wisdom from parrot

Once day, a person went to meet his friend. As he entered the front yard of the house, he noticed the pet parrot of his friend inside a cage. It was a talking parrot.

Seeing the man, the parrot called him out. “Hey! If you release me, I will teach you three great pieces of wisdom which will be worthy across your entire life”.

The man got very much interested. He opened the cage and the parrot flew out. It sat on a tree branch nearby and said, “My first piece of advice is that you should never regret your past actions. What is done is done and there is absolutely no point in regretting over it. My second piece of wisdom is that you should not believe all that others say”.

“Before telling you my third piece of wisdom to you, let me tell you one thing” said the parrot. “Do you know why your friend kept me safely in a cage? I have two big pieces of precious gems which are worth millions of rupees. Without knowing this secret, you have let me free!”

The man felt very bad. He immediately regretted for having set the parrot free. Had he known the secret, he would have killed the parrot and took away the precious gems from its stomach.

Seeing his disappointment, the parrot said, “See! You have not put into practice the wisdom I taught you just now.  I told you not to believe anyone blindly but you simply believed when I lied to you that I had two precious gems in my stomach.  Then you forgot my first advice too and you started regretting your action of having released me from the cage!”

“Oh! I am sorry. Well. May I know your third piece of wisdom?” said the friend.

The parrot said, “You are a fool. What is the use of knowing the third wisdom too when you cannot make use of my previous two?” saying so, the parrot flew away.

(From Amma’s Guru purnima satsang 5/7/20)

6.  The subtle aspect of dharma

[Amma: An act of killing an animal or creature with a larger interest for welfare of the people is not a sin. An act of violence, done with a selfish motive, is a sin.]

Long ago, there lived two Brahmins in a village. Both of them were inflicted with the same disease suddenly. When the consulted the Vaidya (physician) he said, “This is a strange disease and it has got only one cure. If you eat fish, this will get cured. Otherwise, it may prove to be fatal”.

Since both the Brahmins were strict vegetarians, they got very disturbed to hear the cure. They were at at a loss as to what to do. They consulted their family members. Both the family members said that it was better to eat the fish to save the life. The first Brahmin agreed and started eating fish and soon he got cured of his illness.

 

On the other hand, the second Brahmin did not want to eat fish as he felt it was against his principles and achara (cleanliness habit). He was very adamant and he did not heed to the repeated appeals of his family members. Soon his health deteriorated and he died.

He was the only breadwinner of the family; on account of his death, his wife and children suffered under poverty for long.

[Amma: “In this story, the first Brahmin compromised to eat fish and on account of it, he lived to protect his family. Eating fish is not to be taken as an act of cruelty in this case. The second Brahmin’s family had to suffer on account of his adamancy. Protecting his family is more important a dharma than non-killing of fish. An act is to be treated as violent or sin only if done with hatred or vengeance”].

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

7.  Wrong choices

[Amma: “One has to be extremely careful on what one chooses in life; it is extremely important to avoid bad company”.]

Once a man went to a strange place where there were 3 chambers with a notice board saying “You are free to take possession of any one of them, at your own risk”.

He opened the door of the first chamber and there were some narcotic drugs kept there. He opened the second chamber and saw golden ornaments stacked there. When he opened the third chamber, he saw an extremely beautiful woman sitting there.

The man thought; “If I take away the gold, I may get chased by the police. If I take possession of the girl, I don’t know what problems I would get into; she could be the wife of another man. So, the safest thing is to consume some drugs and enjoy it”.

He went into the first chamber and consumed the narcotic drug. In the intoxicated state, he went into the third chamber and raped the woman. Then he opened the second chamber, collected all the golden ornaments and walked away.

(Tuesday Satsang 15/9/2015)

8.  What is natural is easy

[Amma: “Accepting certain things as natural makes life smoother. Intellectual analysis can make such things very complicated.”]

Once a rabbit saw a centipede walking nearby and suddenly a question came up in its mind. “I wonder how you manage to walk with hundreds of legs like this? Can you explain me which legs you put forward first and in which order and sequence you move the other legs to walk around?” asked the rabbit to the centipede.

The centipede stopped to think. As it analysed and tried to explain how it does walking, it got stupified by the magnitude of the problem! It could not just walk nor explain how it does it!

9.  The costly gift

[Amma: “Is the love we get from the world a real love? Is it possible for us to love anyone totally selflessly? In fact, worldly love is not love but cheating; we are simply loving in the name of desires”.]

Once there was a girl who loved her friend so much that she wanted to buy a beautiful birthday gift for her. She searched and searched and finally found one, but she did not buy it.

On the day of birthday, the girl sent a letter to the friend in which she wrote: “My dearest friend, my love for you is  inexpressible. I wanted to send you a beautiful birthday present for you. I found one, but did not buy it because its cost was hundred and sixty rupees!”

This is the kind of love that most of us have!

(Source: ‘Awaken Children’)

10.  Day dreaming

[Amma: “Man has a tendency to indulge in daydreaming. It is mostly imagining something about the future. Rewinding the past deeds or dreaming about the future are natures of human mind. Even very active people can get caught in day dreaming once in a while. Man does not know how much of energy is wasted this way. When one is actively engaged in some work, it is outright wrong and also dangerous to indulge in daydreaming”.]

Once a village woman went to the market to sell the eggs laid by her hens. She earned her livelihood this way. She carried a basketful of eggs on her head and started walking.

While going, she started thinking: “I will sell all the eggs at a good price today. Using that money, I will buy more hens. They too would lay lots of eggs. I would sell them more and more and and earn quite good money to buy a cow. By selling the cow’s milk, I will be able to buy many more cows. In due course, I will own a big farm, build a bungalow and live their lavishly.

“Many young men would vie with each other to marry me; if I see one of such handsome men, I will feign shyness and walk shaking my waist like this…” With this imagination, she started swaying her waist while walking; she lost the balance of the basket on her head; the basket fell down and all the eggs in the basket broke to pieces!

11.  The right place

[Amma: “There are certain time tested traditions and practices in a society, religion or culture that are best left untampered. If at all a change is a must, it must be well thought out by the people concerned and connected with the change.”

Once the eyes, nose and mouth of a person started discussing among themselves. The eye said, “It is a known fact that out of all the 5 sense organs, I have the most coveted position, because life will be most difficult for a person without eyesight. That’s why God has given me my position in the face above the mouth and nose”.

The eye said further, “What irks me is the presence of eyebrow above me. Eyebrows are just a insignificant bunch of hair having no worthwhile purpose whatsoever. How arrogant it is for them to sit above the eyes? What do you think?”

Both nose and mouth agreed with what the eye said. Hearing the conversation, the eyebrows spoke humbly: “We agree. We are not in anyway worthy when compared to eyes. We will shift our position below the eyes”. So saying, they moved themselves below the eyes.

The eyes felt triumphant for a while. But there were comments that the face looked ugly when eyebrows shifted below the eyes.

Now the nose got disturbed too. It felt that its significance too is far above that of eyebrows and hence it wanted the eyebrows to occupy a level below it. The eyebrows agreed and shifted their position below the nose.

Now it is the turn of the mouth to raise its objections saying its importance too is high above the eyebrows. Eyebrows again shifted their position to come below the mouth! Women started vehemently complaining that their faces look the ugliest due to the transformation!

Finally, the compromise arrived. The eyebrows got shifted to their original position once again!

12.  What the mind cannot avoid

[Amma: “The very nature of mind id to think what we constantly want to avoid thinking.”]

Once a king became bald-headed at a much young age. He became very unhappy about it.  He frantically wanted to have a bountiful of hair on his head, but none of the medicines and remedies he undertook based on the advice of Royal physicians could solve his problem. He became extremely worried and desperate.

The king badly wanted to consult a real expert in herbal medicines who could permanently solve his problem of bald head. He sent messengers across the country to interact with people to locate the best physician in his country.

Finally, the messengers located an old and  very famous herbal physician from a remote village of his country and brought him to the king’s palace. The king told him curtly, “I want you to prepare the right medicine that can grow hair on my bald head. I have tried so many oils, medicines and concoctions but none of them worked. I am totally fed up. Now I am giving you a last chance. If your medicine works, you will be rewarded far beyond your expectations. But if it fails, I will hang you. Remember this and concoct a sure-fire medicine to solve my problem permanently”.

The poor physician felt as if he was hit by a thunderbolt when he heard the king’s threat to his life. He knew for sure that in his school of medicine, there was absolutely no solution to treat baldness. How could he say this to the arrogant king? Will he ever understand?  The physician decided that he should handle this issue very tactfully and escape punishment. He said, “Your majesty! I am extremely glad that you have given me this opportunity to be at your service and solve your bald head problem permanently. Please give me two weeks time to prepare this rare medicine involving the combination of very sparsely available rare herbs.”

The king readily agreed.

After two weeks, the physician came to meet the king carrying a bottle of herbal oil and gave it to the king. He said, “Your majesty! With lot of difficulty, I have prepared this medicine referring to secret, sacred texts. This medicine will surely work and there is no doubt about it, but ….”

The king impatiently asked, “What is this but? Tell me what it is.”

The physician said, “It is not a big issue, Maharaja. It is just a small matter mentioned in our medical scriptures. At the time of applying the herbal oil, you should never think of a rat. That’s all. Nothing else”.

The king sighed with relief. “Oh! It is not anything big.” He presented lots of gifts to the physician, reminding him about the condition that if the medicine failed, he would be executed. The physician said, “I have no worry Maharaja; My medicine is sure to work; but remember — never ever think of rat while applying the oil on your hair. If you do, the medicine will not work”.

The next day, at the auspicious time, the king removed the cap of the bottle, put a spoonful of oil in his palm and was about to apply it on his head. Suddenly he remembered what the physician told. Along with it came the thought of a rat! Not just a rat, it was rather a procession of rats!

He aborted the idea of applying the oil for the time being. He tried to apply it after after a few hours, but promptly, the thought of rats too came in his mind. He tried several times on that day and on several following days; he tried indoors, outdoors, in the garden, in the bedroom, in the Puja room — whatever and wherever he tried, thoughts of rats came automatically! Dejected, the king threw away the bottle once for all!

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

13.  Trusting falsehood

[Amma: “The tendency of people is always to get attracted to falsehood rather than the truth. They seek what is external rather than what is internal. People are very adamant in clutching to their own opinions and not easily ready to know, weigh and alternative concepts, particularly in matters related to religion. They are content to live within whatever limited extent of their understanding of religion. But true spirituality is far away from it.”]

Once a group of tourists were traveling in a bus. On their way, the bus broke down while passing a village. It took lot of time to set right the problem and many of the tourists were hungry.

The village people came forward to help them; they brought their local home made food and offered it to the tourists. The foodstuff they brought and offered looked very different from what the tourists were normally familiar with. Hence a doubt arose in them whether the foodstuff had turned bad. Even though they were very hungry, they hesitated to eat that food.

At that time, one of the tourists suggested that they can offer some of that food to a dog and if it relishes it, then it may be safe for them to consume the food. A stray dog came that way and they placed a little of that food before it. The dog ate it with relish and was roaming around the area; nothing happened to it. The travellers then ate the food and felt satisfied.

Next morning, the travellers heard a news that a stray dog was found dead. They were shocked. They thought the food they gave to the dog must have been infected poisonously leading to the dog’s death.

In no time, most of the tourists started feeling sick. Some started vomiting. They rushed to a doctor in the locality and told him about the suspected food poisoning.

The doctor wanted to see the dead dog first and ascertain the cause of its death. WHen he inquired, he met a person who was a witness to the dog’s death. He said, “The dog was hit by a speeding car on the road and it died. I was the one who removed its body from the road and threw it into an adjacent ditch.”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

14. Different perspective

[Amma: “Change is the only reality of life. Both good and bad happen in life; facing the happenings with a laugh or with crying is within our capacity. Spirituality helps us in accepting life with a positive mindset. Being thankful is a very essential quality in life.”]

Once an old man, on  the eve of New Year day, sat to write whatever happened in the whole of the previous year.

He wrote:

  • “Last year was a year of suffering and misery for me. I had to undergo the pain of getting my Gall bladder operated upon and I was hospitalized and bedridden for many days.
  • “My father passed away and I went through lot of emotional pain on account of his death.
  • “I served my company with lots of enthusiasm for the 30 years and I was all along active and busy. Unfortunately, as I crossed 60 years, I had to undergo retirement.
  • “My son met with a car accident and was severely injured; he underwent treatment. On account of the accident, he had to miss his medical entrance examination.
  • “Our car was totally damaged….”

As he thought about all these negative happenings, he felt depressed; he bent over the table and dozed off.

His wife came that way and saw her husband lying over the table; she noticed the piece of paper he was writing; she took it and went through it. Taking the paper along with her, she went in and returned after a while. She kept another piece of paper on the table and left.

After some time, the old man woke up. He wanted to continue with his writing. But he noticed that the paper lying on the table was different and it contained something in his wife’s handwriting. He started reading it.

  • “At last, after several months of suffering from a problem in my gallbladder,  I took the right decision to undergo an operation and it brought an end to the prolonged suffering.
  • “My father lived up to a ripe old age of 93 and died peacefully. It was heartening that till his last days, he was active and was managing his chores all himself.
  • “After working and earning for 30 years, I got my retirement so that I can enjoy a well deserved rest and relaxation. I feel happy that I served my company well and I can now have my own time to relax and pursue my hobbies
  • “Though my son went through a car accident, it was indeed a divine grace that he is alive.
  • “Though the car was severely damaged, it was indeed a miracle that our son did not get any fracture.”

15.  The power of thoughts

[Amma: “In sacred places like temples and ashrams,  the ambience will be filled with good vibrations caused by good thoughts. When we visit such places, unknowingly our mind calms down. If we spend more time in places where the thought vibrations are good, our own thoughts will bet a positive boost.”]

Once a king and his minister were going in royal chariot across a market place. There was one shop selling sandalwood. The king happened to see the owner of the shop who was looking at the king. The king said to the minister, “When I look at the sandalwood seller, I somehow get angry and disturbed and I don’t know why”.

The minister was keen to probe into this. He inquired others to know more about the sandalwood seller. He came back and said to the king, “It appears this sandalwood seller’ business is in a very bad shape and he is deeply disturbed about it. Your majesty, may I make  humble request? You were telling me earlier that you wanted to make a new wooden cot for you. I request you to kindly order the requisite sandalwood for that purpose from this shop owner so that he will get some financial benefit through your grace”.

The king at first did not feel like yielding to this request. However, after a while he conceded.

The minister arranged to give the order for the supply of sandalwood to the shop owner. Being a prestigious order, the shop owner came personally to the the palace to deliver the consignment of sandalwood.  He met the king and paid his respects.

At that time the kind said to the minister,”I don’t know why; to day I feel quite comfortable and friendly with the sandalwood seller”.

The minister smiled and said, “When you saw the sandalwood seller at the market last time, his financial condition was extremely bad.  When he saw you there, his thoughts went like this: ‘if only this king dies, his ministers would by lots of sandalwood in order to burn his body in the pyre and I would get some business’. Such a selfish and negative thought in his mind created bad vibes in your mind too and that’s why you felt disturbed and angry at him at that time. Now, after getting a good business from you, his thoughts have changed. He now thinks: ‘let our king live long with prosperity so that I continue to get more and more business from him’. Such a positive thought in his mind has created positive vibrations about him in your mind too!”

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2 )

16. When reality dawns

Once  there were two neighboring countries which were at enmity with each other. The enmity was due to the dispute about the ownership of a huge lake that lay at their common border.  While the enmity continued, both the countrymen however made use of the lake for the purpose of fishing, agriculture and also for boat rides for entertainment.

One day, several boats from both the countries were having joy ride in the lake when suddenly a thunderstorm struck at the lake. The wind was blowing so powerfully that several boats capsized. One of the travellers who did not know to swim got trapped in the water currents and was struggling to survive. Seeing his pitiable condition, another traveller jumped into the water and swam towards the sinking man. He caught hold of him and swam to the shore. Finally both of them landed safely on the shore.

The person who was saved was brimming with emotions and he was extremely thankful to the person who saved him. He embraced him lovingly and expressed his indebtedness to him. The savior too felt very happy and he too expressed pleasantries.

As they talked further, the savior came to know that the person he saved was actually from the other side — their enemy country.   Suddenly his face turned grim. He was not too happy in saving an enemy’s life!  Similar expression came in the face of the other person. He felt ashamed and angry for having survived by the mercy of  an enemy! All the camaraderie they felt towards each other moments ago instantly vanished and they turned angry towards each other!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

17. The beloved puppy

Once there was a boy who was very fond of his pet puppy. Daily, after returning from his school he would play with it.

One day, he came home from school and found the puppy dead. He got upset and started crying. His mother said, “Don’t worry, my son. Let’s bury the puppy in our backyard. I will build a lawn decorated with flowers around its grave. Also we can buy a seesaw and a swing-set. Your friends will visit you, and you guys can have a nice time every evening playing there.”

The boy stopped crying and he started smiling.

Then, suddenly, to his surprise, he saw the puppy rushing towards him. The puppy hadn’t died after all. It had merely inhaled some poisonous gas and fainted. 

Now that the puppy was alive, the boy realized it meant that he wouldn’t get the lawn, seesaw or swing-set. His friends wouldn’t visit him to play. So, the boy got angry at the puppy and started throwing stones at it!

[Amma:  “This is the nature of worldly love. Worldly love is limited and selfish. People love the cow for the milk she gives. Once she stops giving milk, they won’t hesitate to sell her to the butcher. “]

18.  Yielding to temptations

[Amma:  “In Mahabharata, major character’s lives portrayed and the experiences they had gone through are all meant to serve as guides for us to lead a rightful life by learning from their right and wrong behaviors. If Yudhishthira played the dice game, lost all his possessions and experienced humiliation and countless hardships in life, it is a teaching for us not to play any gambling games. Yudhishthira did not want to antagonize Duryodhana and the other Kauravas by declining their invitation to play the dice game. He wanted to avoid any possible war with them and he decided to please them by playing it. Since Kauravas used Shakuni to play the game on their behalf and he skillfully cheated Pandavas, what could have been a possible win for Yudhisthira was lost by him. Thus yielding to others’ whims just to please them could cost us heavily. Where a firm no should be said, one should not be weak and say yes.”  ]

Once there was a young man in a village, who was liked by everyone in the village. He was very kind hearted and very compassionate with the poor and needy. If his parents gave him pocket money, he would generously give a major portion of it for the poor people who were without food. If he had 5 dresses, he would share 3 of them with others. He was a darling to his parents.

Once he went on a holiday trip to a tourist place along with his friends. While all of them had lots of fun, his friends engaged themselves with drugs during nights. They smoked ganja and they tempted the young man again and again to try it once. For 3, 4 days the youngman stoutly refused to yield to their temptations. They kept insisting: “Just take one puff. Nothing more. You must experience how it feels like. We don’t want you to keep indulging in it. Just one try”.

The young man felt that he should not displease his friends by being so stubborn.

He yielded. He just took one puff.  It was indeed exhilarating to him.

The next day, when they invited him again to try one puff, he took two puffs. He was captivated by the experience he got. On the third day, he joined with them voluntarily and took 3 puffs.  That hooked him. Soon he got addicted to it.

As days passed, his dependence on drugs became too strong. Whatever pocket money he had, he spent them on buying the narcotics. Soon the money he had become insufficient to meet his increasing needs of indulgence. He started stealing money from home. His family members became suspicious. They came  to know of his addiction and they were shocked. They stopped all source of money to him and kept on pressing him to come out of the habit.

But his addiction was so strong that his life became miserable without his daily dose of drugs. He was frantic to get money. One day, he tried to steal a gold chain from a woman.  The woman started shouting immediately for help. In order to silence her, the young man closed her mouth forcefully and tried to strangulate her. In the process she suffocated and died.

Soon police arrested him and put him behind bars.

Thus, the life of one nice young man turned totally topsy turvy on account of his yielding to his friends’ pressure in order to be in their good books. Instead of saying a firm ‘no’, the young man said a weak ‘yes’ and he ended up facing all the evil consequences of it.

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 8/9/2020)

19.  Being careful

Once a man went to meet his friend. The friend was furiously searching for his pen. “Only recently I saw you buying a few ballpoint pens. What happened to them?” the man asked.

His friend said, “I have the habit of losing my pens very frequently. I don’t have a count of the number of pens I have lost in my life. I don’t know how to get rid of this bad nature”.

The man went out and returned to his friend soon. He had gone to buy a pen for his friend.  He presented a very nice looking pen to his friend and said, “This is a very very costly pen. Please keep it safely with you”.

After several days, when he went again to meet his friend, he was surprised to notice that the friend was still keeping the pen presented by him earlier. “How come you did not lose this pen?” he asked.

“Did you not tell me that this pen is very costly?  I didn’t want to lose a costly pen and that made me careful and attentive enough”.

[Amma:  “If we truly understand that something is really valuable or precious, we will not waste it indiscriminately. Time is precious. If we waste the present moment, we will not be able to get it back. Spiritual seekers should understand this and ensure that not a second is wasted on unnecessary things.”]

(From Amma’s Onam satsang 31/8/2020)

20. Habits die hard

Once there was a boy who developed a habit of pickpocketing to earn money for his pleasures.  His mother came to know of it and she felt very bad and disturbed about her son.  She wanted him to turn a new leaf. She told her son to go and meet the priest in the local church and confess to him about his habit and seek pardon from the Lord.  The boy simply listened to her.

On that day, he pickpocketed the purse of a businessman. The next day, he went to the church, met the priest and confessed him about what he did.  The priest said, “It is a great sin to steal money from other’s pocket like this. You please go and meet the businessman and return his purse in tact.”  The boy nodded.

He went to meet the businessman and returned the purse to him. That night his mother noticed that the boy was counting a bunch of currencies. She was shocked. “Where from did you get so much of money?” she asked her son.

The boy said, “The priest advised me that pickpocketing is a sin and I should return the purse with all the money to the businessman. I agreed. Before leaving the church,  I noticed this currency lying in a box next to him. I skillfully stole it from there!”

[Amma:  “Once we identify our blunder, we should make a firm resolution  to correct ourselves and not to repeat it again. Sometimes people commit sins without understanding. God will pardon us once for our ignorance. But if we keep repeating it, God will no longer pardon us.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 1)

[To continue reading  little stories of Amma under the same topic, you can proceed to:  Amma’s stories on the nature of human mind – Part 2 ]

 

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

1.   Compassion is the measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

2.   The lame puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

3.   Something more valuable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.   For the sake of others

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

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

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

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

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

He walked away with satisfaction.

5.  Not official

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

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

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

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

6.  How to have real enjoyment

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  It is with you

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

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

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

“No,” replied the boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  The story of Pakkanar, the saint

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  A helping hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Take only as much

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

 

11. Honesty to the core

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nolli-Tamil-Vol 3)

12.  Unwanted poison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.  Cancelled pilgrimage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Compassionate boss

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 14/7/2020)

15.  Awareness about wastage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.  More prayers?

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s satsang dt 12/12/2020)

 

 

Amma shares personal anecdotes from her early life (4 stories)

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Amma is a storehouse of little stories. She conveys deepest spiritual teachings through little stories. During her satsangs, Amma occasionally shares a few personal anecdotes too from her life which will have some great teachings of values and also some fun elements too! 

1.  Amma Rows a boat

(Note: The exact period in which this incident took place is not known. Perhaps it might have happened when Amma was in her late teens or early twenties).

Amma went to Vallikkavu once to buy some provisions and was returning by noon. Those days, there was no bridge across the backwaters that seperated Vallikkavu from Amma’s village Parayakadavu. People have to cross the waters only through the rowing boat. The boats belonged to Government and the boatman was missing. Perhaps he had gone home for his lunch.

When Amma reached the jetty, several people were waiting for the boat there. A woman was seen crying. Amma asked her the reason. The poor woman said, “I have left my children there at Parayakadavu and came here this morning. There is nothing to eat at home and the children are starving since morning. I came here to borrow some money from my relatives and bought some provisions. I have to go back and cook. Only then the children would get something to eat. I have been waiting here for the past one hour and the boatman is nowhere in sight…”

Amma felt very disturbed. Her heart swelled with compassion. Acquiring an extraordinary bravery, she said, “Come on! All of you come and sit in the boat; I will row the boat across the back waters!” Everyone rushed in. Amma took up the long stick meant to row the boat and felt for the first time how heavy it was! It was about 20 feet taller than her! In her own self styled way, she started rowing the boat by plunging the long staff into the soil under water.  The boat gradually started moving slowly towards the other bank.

As they progressed, one or two large fishing boats came in the middle of the backwaters; those riding in the boats shouted at Amma warning her to stop so that she does not accidentally bang at their boats! Somehow Amma managed to manovre her boat by hook or crook to avoid any collision and gradually getting closer to the other bank!

One or two who happened to notice the happenings from the two banks started shouting excitedly and soon many people had gathered at the banks to watch the maverick little woman rowing a boat with lots of people successfully across the backwaters. Once Amma reached the bank at Parayakadavu side, there was a huge clap from the onlookers! It looked as if they were excitedly watching a cricket match!

When Amma got down, there was another kind of ‘reception’ waiting for her! Yes, it was Damayanthi Amma, Amma’s mother who too had rushed to the bank hearing that her ever unruly daughter was rowing a boat; she was angry with rage and was waiting with a stick on her hand to beat Amma! Once Amma got down, Damayanti Amma started beating her, shouting, “Edee,  how unbecoming of you to row a Government boat like this? You don’t have any experience in rowing such a boat and what a calamity it would have been for all these people, if you had sunk the boat midway? How disastrous it would have been, had you hit a fishing trawler? You are a hopeless rogue of a girl…” After receiving a few beats, Amma writhed herself free from Damayanthi Amma’s grip and fled from the scene!

2.  Not one extra leaf

Amma’s mother Damayanthi Amma was a strict disciplinarian. She had the highest respect for nature and was very particular to preserve nature and consuming only that much as minimum needed from the nature.

In those days, some poor people who go for Sabarimala Yatra by foot and pass through Parayakadavu in their journey were offered food by Damayanti Amma. Despite poverty and shortage at home, she had the magnanimous heart to share their kanji (gruel) and curry with them. When one such visitor came, Damayanti Amma offered him a bowl of Kanji.

It was the practice those days  to use a leaf of a jackfruit tree, by judiciously folding like a spoon to consume kanji. Damayanthi amma called Amma to get her a leaf of jackfruit tree immediately to give to the visitor. Amma went to the jackfruit tree near her house and there she noticed a broken branch of the tree containing some 60 leaves on the ground. She immediately brought the branch containing the leaves to her mother.

Seeing it, Damayanthi amma became furious. “Edee, what I wanted is just a leaf and you have done an atrocious act of breaking a branch of the tree containing so many leaves! How insensitive and careless you are!” shouting so, Damayanthi amma started beating Amma! Amma had to somehow manovre herself to get freed from her mother and explain that she had brought only what had already broken and fallen.

Similarly, Damayanthi amma would always give strict instructions to her children that they should not urinate of spit in a river as rivers are forms of Devi. Even though backwaters are not really rivers, the same respect was to be extended them. Whenever Amma, as a little girl,  used to get into backwaters, the chill of the water would trigger in her a tendency to urinate; but she would immediately remember Damayanthi amma’s words and instantly, as if a switch is pressed off, Amma would control herself.

Damayanti Amma was dead against doing any wastage, however insignificant it may look. When Amma used to sweep the courtyard with a broom (broom made of coconut leaf-sticks) even if a single stick falls from it and found discarded, Dhamayanthi amma would scold her. She used to say, “If you lose a stick a day, then in about 100 days, the whole broom will disappear. Never be careless like this. You must see the whole broom in every stick”.

3.  Atithi Devo bhava (Guest are Gods)

During Amma’s childhood, her mother Damayanthi amma was extremely adept in welcoming and feeding guests.  Whenever she cooked, she made sure that some extra amount of food was always cooked so that if any visitor came to the house at odd hours, food was always there to feed them.

Even when the meal time came, Damayanthi amma would tend to delay it a bit so as to wait for any possible guest landing unexpectedly at that time. Even when food was just enough for feeding the children, if some guest happened to drop by, Damayanthi amma would ensure to feed the guest to his full. If no rice is left after feeding the guest, she would mix scraped coconut with boiled rice water and feed her children.

Poverty was a common problem in Amma’s neighborhood where most were fishermen families; feeding of children in a day would be possible only when the fishermen return from seas with their catch of fish. Sometimes, their arrival would get considerably delayed and the family members would not have eaten anything since morning till late noon. Especially during rainy seasons, as fishermen could not venture into seas, there were families which found difficult even to have a single meal a day.

Damayanthi Amma, before serving meals to her family members, would send someone to the neighboring houses to inquire whether anyone is going hungry there. If so, she would immediately send a few vessels filled with food to them and then only serve food to her own family members.

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 21/7/20)

4.  Amma shares her food

During Amma’s childhood, she was attending an elementary school nearby.  (She studied upto 4th standard and then discontinued due to family problems). Most of the children who studied there were from fishermen’s families. Most of them lived a life of  hand to mouth existence. These families lived each day by the income they got from that day’s catch of fish.

If a class contained 50 students, at least 10 to 15 children in the class will not have anything  to eat during noon meal time. Many children would bring their noon meals in a tiffin box and eat at lunch time. Some children, who lived close by, would run to their homes to eat their lunch. While those children who brought food took their lunch, those who had nothing to eat would while away time in the corridor or in the grounds.

Noticing this, young Sudhamani (Amma) felt sad.  She used to take her lunch box. She took a portion of her food and shared it with another girl who did not have anything to eat. Noticing this, other children who had brought food too kept aside a portion of their lunch and started sharing it with other children. That way, all the children in the class had their lunch that day.

When this news spread, those children who went home to eat their lunch started bringing some food with them on their return to share with other hungry children.

This way, in the whole school, no children had to go without food during lunch time.

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

 

 

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

1.  Nothing can come with you

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

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

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

He took a resolution.

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.   Priceless than diamond?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.   Do it before mind changes

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

4.   Fire in the factory

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hearing this, the owner started crying again!

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

5.  Bondage is only in imagination

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

6.  Guru’s note on wisdom

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

7.  Renunciation – not easy

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

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

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

“What are they?” asked his wife.

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

“Agreed” said his wife.

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

His wife could not agree to this condition.

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

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

(From Awaken Children-2)

8. Counting stones?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several months passed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9.  Real Sacrifice

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No. It can never be said so”.

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Tamil Matruvani July 2019)

10.  Always happy?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam- Vol 1)

11.  Discrimination must come at right time

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki -Tamil Vol 1)

12.  The miser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

12.  Self restraint

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13. Misguided self-rightism

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

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

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

Listening to his lecture, the pujari replied:

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14.  Significance is gone

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

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

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

(From Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

15.  What did he gain?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.  Remaining thankful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The minister bowed to the king with all humility.

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

(From Amma’s satsang 10/10/2020)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Guru, Role of Guru, Guru-disciple Relationship – Part 2 (15 more stories)

1. There is no point in carrying

[Amma: “The past is like a cancelled cheque. It has no value. It is futile to keep brooding over the past worries, hurts and pains and making the present miserable.”]

Once a disciple went to his spiritual master and cried, “Guruji, I have so much of difficulties and pains in my heart that I have been carrying from the past and I could not get rid of them. Please help me to attain mental peace.”

The guru gave him various spiritual advices but the disciple could not grasp them well and put them into practice; he continued to suffer from the thoughts of the past and he kept complaining to the Guru again and again.

Then, the Guru gave him a sack load of vegetables weighing about 15 kilos and said to the disciple, “You carry this on your shoulders all the time; even when you are lying down for resting or sleeping, you should hold it on your chest. Do this till I give further instructions”.

The disciple obeyed the guru and carried the sack load of vegetables all the time on his shoulders or on his head. It was very painful and tiring for him. During nights, he kept the sack on his chest and slept. He could not sleep well.

He kept on doing this for the next few days. The vegetables started decaying and soon afoul smell started emanating from the sack. As they decayed further, liquid started dripping from the sack he felt it irritating and itchy.

Unable to bear the pain and discomfort any longer, he ran to the guru and sought his permission to throw away the burden. The Guru gave his permission and said, “This is precisely what I was advising you with regard to your carrying the mental burden of  the past too! That too was heavy, painful, irritating and itching in your mind! If only you could throw them away like the sack that you did now, you will be relieved!”

(Beach Satsang 2/1/2017)

2. The enlightened disciple

[Amma: “Amid spiritual aspirants living with a Sadguru, there are some whose nature is more feminine. They have no desire for lecturing; they care the least for fame or respect. They may not even aspire for self-realization. They are just content to be with the satguru and do His service. That’s their austerity. They don’t know any higher level of spirituality. They have nothing greater to aspire than the company of their sadguru. This devotion cannot be explained intellectually or logically. Their condition can be equated to the devotion of Gopi’s of Vrindavan on Lord Krishna.”]

One of the disciples of Lord Buddha was suddenly missing.  Over a week, everybody was searching for him but he could not be located, nor his whereabouts known. 

One day Lord Buddha located him. He was hiding himself by sitting in the roof of an Ashram shed. Buddha however knew that he was hiding there; he also knew that the disciple had obtained self-realization and was hiding himself after attaining it.

He made the disciple come down. Holding his hands, Buddha said, “I know you have attained your goal”.

The disciple said, “My lord, Even before you told me this, I knew that I have realized the goal of my life. In fact I was hiding from your view only because I feared that you will declare that truth.  I was afraid that you would then say, ‘Now that you have attained it, go out of this ashram and teach the world.’ But, my dear master, I would be happy only to remain unrealized and just be in your joyous company for ever. I don’t want to leave you. I don’t want to go out and teach the world as a person of self-realization”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

3. The essence of true knowledge

[Amma: “Explanations and interpretations (of scriptures or spiritual knowledge) actually become a hurdle in turning the mind inward and experience the Truth. In fact, our mind and thoughts become hindrance to real experience. If one has to experience the beauty of flower, all thoughts related to explaining the flower must stop. Likewise, only when the mind becomes silent, one can grasp the true meaning of scriptures. Do read scriptures; but never assume that you don’t have to do anything else over and above it. Only when one attains a childlike mind that says, “I don’t know”, one can really progress in spirituality.

Once a young man went to a saint and became his disciple. The saint said to him: “You write down whatever you have known and learned about religion and spirituality. It will benefit you. Then come and show it to me”.

The disciple, heeding fully to the Guru’s command, started writing in a big notebook whatever he knew so far in life about religion and spirituality. It took one year for him to complete it. He brought the notebook and handed over to the Guru.

The saint opened the notebook and glanced over several pages for a while. Then he said, “This is indeed written with clarity and mental focus. It can really give the reader the needed spiritual phillip to tread the path of spirituality. Your one year of hard work is reflected in the contents. However, it is rather too long. Can you please do a precis writing and reduce the length?”

The disciple agreed and went back. It took five years for him to condense his ideas and reduce it to half of its original length. He brought it to his Guru. The guru leafed through it and said, “Well done! Ideas are very clear and the writing style is excellent! However, I want you to make it considerably more brief”.

The disciple was disappointed when he heard this. However, bowing to the Guru’s wish, he started rewriting it. It took 10 years for him to finish the task of condensing all his ideas to just 5 pages. He submitted it to the Guru saying, “Master, I have condensed all that I have understood on spirituality in these 5 pages. I am thankful to you for making me fit for grasping this truth”.

The guru went through the five pages fully and thoroughly. Then he said, “Extremely well written! YOu have achieved it purely through your concentration and spiritual austerities. Yet, there is a little shortcoming in this. Try to rectify it”.

Years went by. The guru was getting old. He became bed ridden. The time had almost come for the guru to leave his mortal body. The disciple came to the guru and prostrated before him. He handed over a piece of paper to the guru. The guru glanced it. There was nothing written in it. Immediately, the guru placed his hand on the disciple’s hed and blessed him, saying, “Now you have grasped the truth fully. Let the truth henceforth be revealed to you and shine in you”. In that very moment, the disciple attained enlightenment. He sat silently at the feet of the guru. The guru left his mortal body and merged with the infinite.

 

 

[Amma: “Children! If you attain a mind that says, “I don’t know anything; I am nothing”, you will attain your goal. Only when you get that mindset, God’s grace will flow into you”]

(From Arul mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4. Relinquishing is not easy

[Amma: “Spiritual journey, in fact, is not a journey forward; it is rather travelling backward i.e. we travel back to reach our real source. In this process we have to drop off our attachments and vasanas (inborn tendencies) and it is painful. A person desirous of climbing a mountain and reach its top has necessarily leave behind his possessions down below. Else, the upward travel would be too taxing and difficult. If one does not relinquish attachments whole-heartedly, pain cannot be avoided. Amma will now share a story she had heard:”]\

Once a rich man, though possessing all objects of enjoyments that his money could buy, found his life empty and meaningless. He wanted to get rid of his worldly attachments and desires and lead a stress-free and peaceful life. He decided to seek counsel from a Sadguru.

Having known about a famous saint living in a village a few miles away, the rich man started to meet him. As he was about to depart, he thought, “What is the use of all the money that I have kept hoarded in my vault? Let me take all my gold coins, place them at the guru’s feet and forget about them”. He put all the gold coins in a bag and carried the bag with him.

After travelling the whole day, he reached the village where the guru was living. He found the guru sitting under a tree at the outskirts of the village.He rushed to the Guru, placed his bag at the guru’s feet and prostrated before him. When he rose up, he was shocked to see the Guru picking up the bag and running away!

For a moment, he was confused and shaken by the weird act of the guru. Instinctively he felt he should get back his bag containing the gold coins at all costs. He started chasing the Guru. The guru ran pretty fast; he ran across paddy fields, crossed streams, passed through thick bushes, climbed up and down a small hill and wound his way through the narrow lanes and bylanes of the village. With lot of difficulty, the rich man too ran behind the guru in order to catch him.

As the guru was very familiar with the local terrain, he could run through all nooks and corners of the village even in the dim twilight. Soon, the rich man lost track of the Guru. Dejected, he slowly walked back to the tree where he originally met the guru.

A surprise was waiting for him there. His bag was lying at the foot of the tree! The guru was not visible anywhere around. In fact, the guru was hiding himself behind the tree and watching what the rich man was doing. The rich man jumped forward to pick his bag and opened it eagerly to see whether the gold coins had been stolen. He felt very relieved and overwhelmed with joy to see that all the coins were intact.

From behind the tree, the Guru asked: “How are you feeling now, my son?”

Impulsively, the rich man replied, “Oh! I am extremely happy. This is one of the happiest moments of my life!”

The guru said, “My son, in order to gain real happiness, one has to undergo real pain!”

[Amma: “Children! You may run around behind worldly enjoyments. But unless you return to your starting point, you will never get true happiness. That is another important message from this story”.]

(From Ammavin Anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

5.  Wider vision

[Amma: “When man thinks of himself and his desires alone, he becomes narrow minded. He becomes blind to things other than his self-interest”.]

Some youngsters went to a sage and expressed their desire to become disciples to him. The sage took them to a well nearby.He asked each of them to look into the well and tell him what they saw inside.

One youngster looked inside and said that he saw his own reflection in the well water. The sage asked “Did you notice anything else?”. The youngman said, “No”.

Almost everyone else, after looking into the well said the same thing.

The last younster said, “Swami, I see my reflection and also the reflections of trees and creepers that have grown tall all around me reflected in the well water”.

The sage accepted the last person alone as his disciple. He said to others, “You were all able to see just your reflection only. It indicates that each of you think about yourself only. Only this person saw trees and creepers too. It means he is not a person who thinks of himself alone. His outlook is clearer and wider than yours. Hence I am taking him as my disciple”.

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

6. Who is the right person to take charge?

Once a guru had two disciples. He used to give the responsibility for most of the important activities of the Ashram to one of these two disciples; the other one was unhappy about it.  The reason for his displeasure was that he was the senior among the two in joining the ashram. Hence he got angry with the other disciple who got more prominence than him.

One day, he went to the guru and asked, “Master, why are you not giving ashram responsibilities to me? I can do them better than your other disciple”.

After listening to his complaint, the Guru called both the disciples together and gave them an assignment: they have to visit an adjacent village and assess the nature of people living there.

The first disciple, on his way close the village, noticed a man pacifying a crying child by offering a chocolate to him. As he inquired, he came to know that the person offering the chocolate was a murderer. The disciple was impressed to see the good attitude of the person who was keen on pacifying a crying child, despite being a murderer.

As he walked further, on the way, he noticed another person attending to an old man suffering from hunger due to utter poverty. The man was helping the old man to drink some water. Upon inquiry, he came to know that the person helping the old man was a robber; the disciple felt glad to see compassion in the heart of the robber.

Next, on his way, he noticed a woman wiping the tears of another woman and offering her solace. That woman, he came to know, was a prostitute. He was so glad to notice the good heart of the prostitute in offering emotional comfort to a distressed woman.

The disciple came back to Guru and explained what he saw. He was full of praise about the goodness in the people despite being anti-social.

The senior disciple too returned from the village by that time.

When the guru asked him what he saw, he said, “I saw a man beating an young boy; I saw another person shouting at a poor beggar; I also noticed a nurse severely scolding a patient. I could only hate  such people, who have no compassion in their heart.”

The guru arranged to investigate the cases reported by the senior disciple and then explained the real background to those incidences.

The man who beat the boy was a good samaritan; he was providing food and clothing to several destitute children. The boy who got beaten by him had a habit of stealing. No amount of good counseling could help to correct his behavior. As a last resort, the man, purely with the intention of correcting the erring boy, gave physical punishment. Hearing this, the disciple said, “I can’t accept such a behavior. However good the man be, what right has he got to beat a young boy?”

In the second case too, it turned out that the person who scolded the beggar was a one who donates generously for humanitarian activities. He was scolding the beggar because the latter was hale and healthy who could earn his living by working, instead of idling and living by alms. Even this was not acceptable to the second disciple. He quipped. “However generous the man may be, why should he scold a beggar? If he could give some alms, let him, else let him say ‘I can’t give you anything’. He has no right to scold the poor person”.

In the third case, the nurse was known for her dedicated service to patients day and night. She used to treat the man for a severe wound and she dressed it up with  bandage. But the man had the bad habit of removing the bandage and it delayed the process of curing of the wound. The nurse censured the patient for his foolish behavior. When the guru explained this, the second disciple said, “The nurse might have made the bandage too tightly; she might have hurt him and caused pain and irritation to him while doing the bandage. That could be the reason for the man to remove it. Just because she was a nurse who attended to him, she has no right to scold her patient”.

The guru called both the disciples together and said, “None in this world is totally bad or evil. However evil a person may be, he would still have some good qualities in him. The first disciple could see only the good qualities in a murderer, thief and a prostitute.  If we possess good qualities in us, we will only see goodness in others. We are all in need of only such eyes that see only goodness in others”.

Looking at the second disciple, he said, “My son, you only noticed your own mental tendencies in others too. You could only ‘find’ some evil even in good people. Only when your attitude changes, you will be able to see goodness in others and then you will  naturally become eligible for taking up ashram responsibilities”.

[Amma: “Most of us nowadays have the attitude of the second disciple only. Even if someone possesses thousand good qualities, we don’t notice them. If we find one mistake, we would notice only that. But God sees only good qualities in others.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

7. Camel is my right guru!

[Amma: “Some people say that your Guru is within you and your own mind can guide you as a Guru. They ask, “what is the need to surrender to a third person as a Guru?” Of course it is true that there is an inner guru; but right now, it is like a guru enslaved by our own unbridled and evil tendencies. Our own mind is not within our control. It is totally at the grip of vasanas. If we go as per the whims of such a mind, it will only lead us to danger.”]

Once a man went in search of a guru. He went to several masters one after the other. Each one advised him about the need for humility and faith. It was not to his liking. He believed that he cannot be a slave to another person. Thinking so, he rested at the side of a road. He thought, ‘None of these gurus are fit enough to guide me through the right path’. As such a  thought passed in his mind, he saw a Camel which was grazing in front of him nodding its head. He was surprised to notice it. ‘Oh! This camel is capable of reading my thoughts! That’s why he nodded his head in approval! This must be the right guru I was searching all along!’ he thought.

He went close to the camel and asked, “Are you willing to be my guru?” The camel nodded his head. The man felt extremely happy.

Afterward, he made it a habit to take the camel’s permission for all his plans and actions. Whatever he asked, the camel would nod its head which he would take as his guru’s approval.

One day he asked the camel, “Today I saw a beautiful woman. May I start loving her?” The camel nodded.

A few months passed. He came and asked, “May I now marry that woman?” The camel nodded.

A few days passed. He came and asked the camel, “May I start consuming a little liquor?” Again the camel nodded. Then gradually drinking became a habit. His wife started severely criticizing him for it. He came to the camel and asked, “Shall I fight with my wife?” Again the camel nodded. He went and started fighting with his wife.

He rushed back to the camel and asked, “I just cannot tolerate her arguing and fighting with me like this, as she is bent upon stopping me from drinking. Shall I stab and kill her?” The camel nodded as usual.

He ran back to his wife and stabbed her. She died on the spot. Soon the news spread; the policemen came and arrested him. After trials, he ended up in jail with a life imprisonment.

[Amma: “Our mind is exactly like this Camel guru! It has no issue with right or wrong. Whatever we desire, the mind will give its total concurrence forgetting future consequences.   Thus, if we surrender to our mind which is a slave to vasanas, we will become slaves to our attachments.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

8.  Obedient Disciple

[Amma: “A tree is no doubt contained in a seed; but only when the seed goes into the soil,  it can sprout and grow into a tree. Even an elephant can be tied to a tree once it is grown up. But if the seed is not cared, it will become food for bird. The truth of advaita is indeed inside us. But only when we develop humility and simplicity, read and contemplate deeply on the what we read, it could become our true experience.”]

Once an youngster went to meet a Guru and requested him to take him as his disciple. There were already many disciples in the ashram.

“Living in an ashram is not easy for everyone; please go back now and come later” said the guru.

The young man felt very disappointed. Noticing it, the guru said, “Well, are you good at any job?” He then proceeded to mention the various activities in the ashram to know whether he could fit into any of them. The youngster was clueless about all of them. Then the guru asked, “We have several horses in the ashram; will you be able to take care of them?”

“Yes, Sir, if you wish so” said the young man. The guru sent him straight away to the ashram stable to take care of the horses.

The new disciple engaged himself wholeheartedly in feeding the horses, bathing them cleaning the stable and so on. Soon, on account of his sincere  and abundant care, the horses grew fat and healthy.

The guru hardly ever gave any teaching to the students. Every morning he would call them and tell them a sloka (verse). He would ask them to keep contemplating on the meaning of the sloka the whole day to grasp its inner purport and put it into practice in their life. That was his mode of teaching.

One day, the guru came earlier than normal, gave the sloka to the disciples and departed somewhere on  a horse. The new disciple who was immersed in the job of attending to the horses came running. He did not get his sloka for the day from the guru.

“Master, what is my sloka?” He asked the guru, running behind his horse.

“Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?” chiding him so, the guru went away. The disciple started memorising these words of the guru again and again: ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?

The guru returned in the evening. All the disciples were there to receive him except the new one. “Where is he?” asked the guru. The other disciples said in a mocking voice, “That fool is is mumbling something like  ‘Didn’t you notice? I am going out. Is it the time to ask?‘ the whole day!”

The guru understood. He called the disciple and asked him, “What are you doing?”

He said, “I am repeating and contemplating on the sloka that you uttered this morning while leaving”.

The guru’s eyes filled with tears. He called the disciple close to him, placed both his hands on his head and blessed him. The other disciple got very displeased with what the guru did.

“Master, we are with you in this ashram for so many years and yet you are showering your blessing to that foolish newcomer! It is unfair” they said.

The guru said, “Go, buy some narcotics and bring it here”.

They did. He mixed the narcotic drug in water, poured a mouthful in each disciple with a strict instruction that they should not swallow it, but spit it out. They obeyed.

“Do you feel intoxicated?” asked the guru.

“No master! How can we? We never drank it!”

The guru explained: “You too were only receiving my words in a similar way. You listened to them and immediately forgot about them. But look at him. He did not do so. Without trying to find fault in my words,  he simply accepted it. He has such a guileless heart. It is not just that. I had given the job of taking care of the horses to you people earlier; none of you took care of them properly; you never fed them in time nor bathed them properly; they were looking lean and impoverished during your days. They were also behaving very restless and unruly. But, after he took charge, the horses became hale and healthy. They not only received good feeding but also his love and care; hence they lost their aggressiveness and became friendly with people. He worked wholeheartedly; he did karma for the sake of karma. Above all, he could take my words totally as I uttered without questioning.  That’s how he became eligible for my blessing”.

[Amma: “Children! We should also strive to be like that disciple. One should not find fault with the words of the guru. He should accept them as such, take to heart and practice what he preached. Then none including the guru himself cannot stop the grace of the guru from flowing to him.”]

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9. Guru’s tests could be toughest

[Amma: “Children! There is no difference between a brahmachari or a householder in the holy presence of God or Guru.  A disciple should always keep his mind on God and do his duties. What is important is the total, unwavering surrender to the will of God or Guru.”]

Once a guru went to a village accompanied by his disciples for conducting a series of discourses. A householder came regularly with his family to attend the discourses daily; he was highly impressed by the Guru and his teachings. He wished to join the ashram along with his family.

 After the discourse program was over, he went to Guru’s ashram with his wife and children and prostrated at the feet of the guru. He expressed his desire to join the ashram permanently and serve the guru.

The guru explained to him the hardships involved in living in the ashram in order to dissuade him from his desire. However, the householder was quite firm in his resolve. The guru permitted him to stay in the ashram with his family. Soon, the man shifted his residence there.

He engaged himself earnestly in all ashram activities and was very dedicated in his work. However, the brahmacharis in the Ashram were not happy to have a householder amid them. They found all sorts of faults with him and complained to the  Guru. The guru knew well that the householder was extremely dedicated and sincere. He decided to demonstrate it to the brahmacharis and make them understand.

He called the householder in the presence of other brahmacharis and said, “You have relinquished your home, hearth and job and come here to stay with us permanently. The ashram has very limited resources and somehow we have been managing things with only brahmacharis here.  If you are a single person, we could manage, but we are now burdened with the expenses of  your wife and children too. Hence you should go out, work and earn money to meet the expenses of your wife and children”.

The man started going out from the very next day to an adjacent town, did some labor work from morning to evening, collected his daily wages and gave it to the ashram for meeting their expenses. A few days passed.

The other bachelor disciples started finding new problems with the man and complained to the guru again.

The guru called the man and said, “The money you are giving hardly can meet your expenses. All these days, only ashram has been spending for your family. Consider it as an accumulated debt; you have to compensate it; work hard, earn double the amount and pay to the Ashram. Only afterward you can take food from the Ashram”.

The man explained the matter to his family and said, “You should not eat hereafter from the Ashram kitchen. Wait till I comeback from my work; I will buy and bring food for you when I arrive at night. Only then you should eat”. His family members agreed.

The man started working from early morning till late in the evening. He collected the wages and gave it to the Ashram. Whatever little money he was left with, he would buy some food and bring for his family. There were days when his earnings were inadequate and they would go hungry on such days.

Even after subjected to such hardships, the householder did not venture to move out of the ashram. The brahmacharis were very much surprised to see this. Yet they were unhappy. They created new reasons to complain. They said to the guru, “He is working from day to night in his own business and earning quite a lot of  money; he is giving only a portion of it to the ashram and  living comfortably otherwise, leaving the family inside the ashram”.

The guru called the man and chided him:”You are a cheat. You have left your family here in the ashram, earning big money outside, but giving only a little to the Ashram. You are a liar; a fraud”. The disciple did not even a speak a word against his guru. He hung his head and went silently back to his room.

That night the guru called his disciples and said, “Tomorrow there is going to be a big feast in the ashram. We don’t have enough stock of firewood with us. Some of you should go to the forest right away and bring dry firewood; make sure that it is finished before dawn”. He went to sleep after giving this instruction.

The disciples were too unwilling to go to the forest at night to bring firewood. They went to the householder’s room and woke him up. They said, “There is going to be a big feast in the ashram tomorrow and our guru wants you to get enough dry firewood urgently, right now”.

The man felt happy that guru had given him such an urgent task. He immediately left for the forest and the other disciples went to sleep.

Even after dawn the next day, the guru could not see his householder disciple in the ashram. He inquired where he was. The disciples said, “Last night, he went to the forest for bringing firewood”.

The guru immediately started walking towards the forest and his disciples followed him. The went through the forest in search of the man. They shouted his name aloud again and again. After a long search, they could finally hear his feeble voice calling them back from somewhere. Searching in the direction from where his voice came, they finally located a dilapidated well from where the sound was coming.  It was a shallow well with a little water inside it. While the man was tracing his way through the forest the previous night, he had fallen into the well.

It was still dark inside the well. The guru wanted other disciples to pull the man out immediately. Some of them lied down on the ground and extended their hand inside the well. What they felt first with their hand was a bunch of wood. They asked the man to extend his hand so that they could hold it and pull him out. The man shouted from the well. “You see, I am carrying the bunch of firewood on my head and holding it firmly with my hand; if I remove my hand, the firewood will fall into water and get wet. Please lift up the firewood first, which is essential for cooking the feast; please deliver it first to the Guru and you can come later and pick me up from the well”.

The Guru’s eyes became wet to hear his words reflecting the man’s total faith and surrender to the guru. Only after the firewood was picked up, the man extended his hand for getting lifted up from the well. As the man came out, his wet body was shaking in cold. The guru embraced the man lovingly, placed his hand on his head and gave him self-realization at that very instance, as the other disciples watched it with their faces dark in shame.

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

10. Spiritual life is no cakewalk

[Amma: “A life dedicated to spirituality is meant for people with power and tenacity. It is the path of the bold and not the weak-kneed. If some people get disappointed with life suddenly jump into a life of renunciation wearing a saffron cloth without weighing the pros and cons, life would become very disappointing for them. It is enough if a house-holder takes care of his wife and a couple of children; but a true renunciate will have to bear the burden of the entire world. He could never be fickle minded, sensitive to criticism or emotionally weak.  Without discrimination and dispassion, none can live a life of spirituality”.]

Once there lived a husband and wife in a village. However much the husband worked hard and brought more and more money, his wife would keep on complaining, saying “This is not sufficient”. Because of her nature, the husband felt miserable in life. Since he had no courage to commit suicide, he decided to take up sanyas and left home.

He travelled long and finally ended up at the place of a guru. He requested the guru to give sanyas to him and take him as his disciple.

The guru asked. “Are you seeking sanyas just because you left your home and hearth out of dejection in your family life or have you really got dispassion?”

The man replied, “I have a strong desire to become a sanyasi. That’s why I left my home”.

“Don’t you have any desire for material things?”

“No; I have no desire at all”

“Don’t you want name, fame and wealth?”

“No; I don’t want any of them. I have no liking or attraction on them”.

“Are you sure you want to become a total renunciate?”

“Yes; I want to renounce everything”.

After interviewing him like this, the guru accepted him as his disciple and gave him a kamadal (water pot) and yoga dhanda (wooden staff).

Days passed. They set forth for visiting many holy places by walk. On the first day, after walking for long, they felt tired and rested at the bank of a river. The disciple wanted to take bath. He left the kamandal and yoga dhanda at the river bank and went to take bath in the river. When he returned, he was shocked to find the kamandal missing. He searched here and there but could not find it. He got very disturbed and angry.

The guru said to him smilingly, “You said you have no attachment for material things, but you seem to be very agitated for losing the kamandal! Let it go. Let us move on”.

The disciple retorted, “How will I have drinking water without a kamandal? We don’t have any other vessel with us”.

The guru said, “You are a man without desires and why are you carrying this small attachment to your drinking pot? Accept that it is by God’s wish that the kamandal has been lost”.

But the disciple continued to me in a dejected mood. It was time for lunch.  The disciple was feeling very hungry. But the guru did not offer anything to him to eat. The disciple started murmuring.

Hearing it, the guru said, “Persons choosing a life of spirituality must have patience and forbearance. Should you not learn to be active even if a whole day passes without food to eat?   If you become so weak due to hunger even at twelve noon, what can be done? A spiritual aspirant must learn to renounce attachment towards food as the first discipline.  You have to shrink your stomach first in spiritual life”.

However, after some time, the guru gave a little nutritional flour for the disciple to eat. But it was not at all tasty. The disciple could not eat it.  As it was bitter too, he started vomiting after eating a little.

That was the last straw! The disciple was ready to relinquish the life of sanyas! He somehow wanted to return to his old family life. He sought permission from the guru to leave.

“What was your idea of sanyas when you came to me with that request?” asked the guru.

The disciple said, “I never thought a life of sanyas will be so tough. I was thinking that if I take bath, smear my forehead with ash and kumkum and sit at a place with closed eyes, people would come and fall at my feet; they would offer food to me with reverence. I thought I will be fed on time thrice a day by devotees and I can lead a life of comfort without doing any work! Now I understand this sort of life by following you is worse than the scolding of my wife. Enough is enough”.

So saying, the disciple left the guru in a hurry.

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

11. The final test

Once in an ashram a few disciples learned scriptures and spiritual practices under the guidance of the Guru.  Once their learning was over, the Guru wanted to send them out to the world so as to guide people on scriptures and lead a worldly life if they so wish. He called the disciples and said, “As a last test to gage how far you you have acquired the required disciplines, I want you to climb up the nearby hill and fetch me the fruits from the sacred tree at the top. You must not return without bringing the fruits”.

The disciples climbed up the hill and reached the top. There the tree was there, but it was well fortified by tall compound walls all around it. They could locate only one entrance in the wall but it was covered with a massive rock.  The disciples, tried to push the rock away, but it was too huge. They inspected the wall all around and found no way to climb over it and jump inside.

All the disciples except one, decided to return empty handed since it was practically futile to attempt any entry into the compound and reach the tree.  But the solitary disciple said, “Our guru has given specific instruction to fetch fruits from this tree. It is my duty to keep trying and put my best efforts to somehow gain an entry into this place. I will keep trying; you people can go if you like”. So saying, he resumed his efforts to push the rock away from the gate. He was straining every limb but could not even shake the rock by an inch. But he did not slacken his effort.

The other disciples laughed at his foolishness; they came back to the ashram and reported the matter to the guru. The guru noticed that one of the disciples had not returned. “Where is he?” he asked. They said, “We all tried to roll the rock away from the gate, but we could not succeed in our joint effort; yet, like a fool, he is trying all alone to accomplish the task” said they.

“Come, let us go up and bring the fellow back”.

Along with the guru, all of them climbed up the hill once again.

When they reached the top, the noticed that the disciple was sweating profusely and still attempting to move the rock by some means or other.

“Why are you still attempting to do the impossible, my son?” asked the guru.

“Master, you had instructed that we should not return without fetching the fruit from the tree. I have put all my efforts and now you are here already; will not the impossible become possible with your grace?”

Pleased, the guru placed his hand on top of the rock. Instantly, the rock split into two and gave way. Opening the gate, all of them went inside. Under the tree, there was a box containing gold coins and jewels. The guru took them and gave it to the disciple.

He said, “You are the person who has fully grasped the core teaching in spirituality — that one should obey his guru with unwavering faith and surrender, in order to become eligible for receiving the abundant grace of the guru. Take this wealth and go to the world; Lead a happy life and serve the world with the wealth as well as your spiritual teachings”.

(From Amma’s Gurupurnima message 16/7/2019)

12. Not ripe yet

Once the king of a country came and surrendered to Saint Kabir. He wanted to relinquish his kingdom and take up a life in quest of spirituality. After warning the king about the extent of sacrifices he had to make and extent of  surrender he has to possess in order to reach his goal, Kabir however took him as his disciple. He assigned the former king all sorts of sundry and unpleasant works and the king did them all without  murmur.

Several years passed. Kabir’s wife was observing the former king’s behavior and she felt very happy about his humility and dedication. She said to her husband, “That ex-king disciple is a gem amid your disciples; it is high time you bless him with self-enlightenment”.

Kabir said, “No. He is not ready, yet”.

But his wife was adamant. She felt sure of her judgement. Kabir said, “Okay! Let us do a test on him. Tomorrow, when he enters into the ashram, you throw a bucketful of rubbish on his head from the terrace”.

Guru’s wife did so. The moment the rubbish fell over him, the king looked up angrily, noticed his Guru’s wife and said, “If this had happened in my kingdom, I would have shown who I am”.

The wife reported the matter to Kabir. Kabir said, “Did I not tell you? He is not yet ripe”.

A few more years passed. Again, the guru’s wife had a strong urge to give her recommendation once again. “Okay. this time, you pour more filth, cow dung etc on his head and see what happens”.

Guru’s wife did the same. This time  the ex-king looked up, smiled at the lady and said, “Thank you, Mother! This is the what I deserve. My ugly ego does require such a treatment indeed!”.

When the wife reported the incidence to Kabir, he said, “Yes! Now he is ripe. Call him in and I will bless him”. When the king came, Kabir placed his palm on the head of the ex-king. Instantly, the king experienced self-realization.

(From Amma’s Gurupurnima message 14/7/2019)

 

13. Sakshi bhavam (Attitude as a witness)

Once a disciple went to the master and said, “Master, you are always emphasizing the need to have the attitude of a witness in handling all our emotions. But I find it extremely difficult to practice it. How do I practice it?”

The guru did not give a reply immediately.

In the meanwhile, the disciple committed a few mistakes in his actions and behavior inside the ashram. The guru called him and naming some other disciple, he explained him that such and such mistakes were committed by that particular disciple which were objectionable. The disciple heard them smilingly as it was meant to be about some other disciple.

Suddenly the Guru said in a stern voice, “Now I tell you, those mistakes were not done by that person, but were indeed committed by YOU”.

The disciples face turned very grim. He hung his head. He felt very agitated inside.

The guru said, “When I said that the mistakes were committed by you, you are feeling sad and disturbed. But earlier, when I said that they were done by some other disciple, you were able to receive them with an attitude of a witness! It means you do possess the capacity to remain as a witness. But when this subject “I” comes into picture, the trouble comes! If you consider this “I” in you as not your true Self, you can remain a true witness. We do possess the capacity to control our own thoughts and actions; if only we nurture and strengthen this capacity, then it is really possible to maintain the attitude of a witness in all circumstances and accept things with a smile. The mind will not get weakened under all circumstances.”

14. Guru’s teaching

Once a disciple went to the master at night with the intention of asking his guru’s spiritual advice specific for him. When he went there, the guru was busy writing a letter in candle light.

The disciple prostrated before the guru and asked, “Sir, I have come to you to seek your spiritual advice for me”.

The guru did not reply. He was steadfast in continuing to write the letter. After waiting for a while, the disciple asked the guru once again. No reply.

After a while, the guru finished writing the letter and instantly the flame in the candle too went out as it had burnt its full.

Now the disciple reminded his guru once again. The guru said, “I have already given you the instruction”.

The disciple was shocked. “Swamiji, I have been asking you a few times and you did not utter a word!”

The guru said, “Didn’t you notice what I was doing? The candle was burning almost close to its end; I had to finish writing this letter before the flame went out and that is what I did; that is precisely the instruction for you to comprehend too — The life is short and fickle. It might end at any time; you have to make the best use of it and attain your goal before your death.”

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

15. Guru’s only advice

Once there lived a Mahatma, who had many disciples and devotees. A constant stream of devotees would come and meet him and keep on pouring their many woes — need for money, health problems, family problems and so on. Hardly anyone would seek his advice on spirituality.  But the Guru would always give a single advice to them all: “You wake up”. That’s all.

A disciple who was always nearby the Guru asked him, “Maharaj,  why are you giving the same advice to all these people? Won’t it be better if you give different advices to different problems?”

The guru said, “Suppose many people are sleeping in a hall; all of them are having different nightmares in their dreams and were tossing and turning in their beds troubled by their dreams. What will you do to help them?”

The disciple said, “I will shout ‘wake up, wake up’ and goad them to wake up from their dreams”.

“That’s precisely what I am doing” said the guru!

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 1 (15 stories)

1.  God comes at the call of the guileless

[Amma: “Children, guileless prayer and incessantly calling Him are sure ways to make God happy. You don’t have to be an educated and wise man. Even an unlettered forest can receive God’s grace”]

Once, a disciple of Adi Shankaracharya was very devoted to Lord Vishnu’s fourth Avatar, Narasimha. Desiring to receive the vision of his personal God, he went to a forest and started deep meditation contemplating on Lord Narasimha’s form. For days at a stretch he would sit on a rcock adjacent to his hut inside the forest and did meditation.

One day a forest dweller came by. The meditating sadhu did not notice him. The forest dweller somehow got attracted towards the sadhu. He started wondering: ‘Why is this person sitting all day like this with his legs locked like this? Why is he suffering like this?”

As the sadhu was meditating with closed eyes, the forest dweller thought that he was sleeping. As he was very eager to speak to him, he came there several times in a day and also on several days; he would wait for several hours there hoping that the sadhu would open his eyes and notice him.

Finally, one day, while he was waiting there patiently, the sadhu opened his eyes and saw the forest dweller standing reverentially in front of him. The forest dweller fell at the feet of the sadhu and asked very humbly, “Master, why are you always sleeping sitting cross legged like this? Why don’t you lie down and sleep more comfortably?”

The sadhu replied, “I am not sleeping; I am meditating on my personal God”.

The guileless forest dweller asked, “Master, what is meditation? What is personal God?”

The sadhu said, “You cannot understand all these. Take it that I am calling God and doing prayers in order to see Him”.

The forest dweller was surprised again. “How can you call someone sitting here? Why don’t you go out and search for Him?”

The seeker did not reply. He smiled, closed his eyes and resumed his meditation.

Days passed. The forest dweller could not restrain his curiosity. He badly wanted to know whom the person was searching and what the details were to find him out. He again spoke to the sadhu one day, “Master, May I know who the person you are searching is? May I help you to find him out?”

The sadhu was happy to see the sincerity and earnestness of the forest dweller. He knew he could not convincingly explain and make him understand about meditation and having a vision of God Narasimha. He simply said, “Look; I am not searching for a man. I am looking for a strange animal called Narasimha that has lion’s head and human body; it is extremely powerful”.

Months passed. The forest dweller and the sadhu became friends. The forest dweller was increasingly getting disturbed to see his master doing meditation most of the time sacrificing food and sleep. He wondered, “What sort of creature is that Narasimha? My master troubles himself so much to see him but that lion with man’s body does not bother! My master, poor fellow, is going leaner by the day on account of not eating properly. I must do something to help my master. I must teach a lesson to that Narasimha who does not come to respond to my master’s prayers”.

He sought permission from the Sadhu so that he can go around the forest in search of Narasimha. The sadhu felt amused. He thought, ‘Cranky fellow! He thinks my God is hiding somewhere in the forest!’ Thinking that there is no point in explaining about these things to the illiterate forest dweller, he thought ‘He is not going to find out Narasimha in any case; let he go and make a search as he wishes; it is not easy to make him see reason’. Thinking so, he gave permission.

The forest dweller started searching for Narasimha. He went into every nook and corner of the forest. He peeped into the caves; searched through dense bushes; climbed hills. He shouted aloud, “Where are you O lion with human body? Come to me! Come to me!”. Somehow he was madly gripped by an overpowering desire to search and locate the elusive Narasimha; he too forgot eating food and drinking while doing the search like a mad man. He too lost weight and became like a skeleton.

His frequent loud cries , “Oh my Master’s Narasimha, come to me; where are you?” reverberated through the entire forest. They created powerful spiritual waves. Even the nature came to a standstill hearing his cries.

Soon his cries ceased; his physical search ceased. His heart was full of single thought – of seeing Narasimha. He sat in one place, totally immersed in silence. A powerful wave of divine yearning emanated from him like fire and travelled up to Vaikuntam (The abode of lord Vishnu) and heated up the Lord’s place. Lord Vishnu could not but yield to his silent the deeply powerful prayer.

He took the form of Narasimha and appeared before the forest dweller. The man was overwhelmed with joy to see Lord Narasimha standing right in front of him calmly. He tied a creeper around the neck of the lion like a rope and dragged Narasimha to the place where the Sadhu was meditating. The lion-man calmly came with him  like a cow!

“Master! Open your eyes! See whom I have brought with me! I have caught Narasimha and brought him for you!” He shouted in front of the sadhu who was meditating at the rock. The Sadhu opened his eyes. He could not believe what he saw! Holding the creeper rope in one hand, the forest dweller was feeding it with a bunch of grass!

“Come down master, don’t be afraid! This line is not ferocious at all! It is very soft and friendly!”

The sadhu came running down from the rock and fell at the feet of Lord Narasimha and the forest dweller. He cried seeking pardon. He was very confused. How could his lord appear so easily and come so freely with the forest dweller? Lord Narasimha spoke, “My son! Get up and cheer up. Whomsoever calls me with total love and dedication, who longs for me in and out – only he is the most dear to me. Where there is true love, there won’t be a trace of ego. Where there is guileless love, I will easily make my abode there”

The lord placed his hand on the head of the forest dweller and granted him moksha instantly. He blessed the sadhu saying, “You too will attain realization in this birth itself”. The seeker was freed of his pride and he became very humble.

2.  Childlike faith

[Amma:  One requires a child-like faith in the word of one’s guru. It is such a faith that can bring grace.]

Once a particular province in a country was suffering from draught. A couple of monsoons failed and people were suffering without rainfall. The several villagers decided to conduct a Yagnya to pray to Rain God.  People enthusiastically came forward to contribute the necessary materials, invite knowledgeable priests to conduct the yagnya and so on. On the day of the yagnya people from several villages gathered in thousands to witness the yagnya.

As a couple with their little daughter started from their home to go to the place of yagnya, the little girl said, “Father, let us take the umbrella”.  The father said, “Why do you want to carry an umbrella? Don’t you know that we have not received rains for many months now?”

“But father, we are conducting prayers today for getting the rains! Sure it will rain!” said the daughter. The father reluctantly allowed the girl to carry an umbrella and they reached the venue. Virtually the little girl was the only person who had brought an umbrella.

The yagnya was conducted as per prescribed rituals.  At the end of it, the Rain God sent forth clouds to bring rains to the venue. Even though it was not destined to rain there imminently, the God brought showers there, moved by the utter faith of one little girl who brought the umbrella amidst all others who had gathered there without such a conviction.

(Amma Tuesday Satsang – 12/9/17)

3.  Manasa Pushpam

Once a very proud and arrogant rich man wanted to make a grand food offering to God. Engaging very talented cooks, he prepared a grand feast consisting of varieties of tasty sweets and savories, curries and multiple other food items. He brought varieties of flowers and fruits too as offerings. Lining them up in front of the altar, the rich man prayed “My dear God, I am offering you whatever best I could prepare and get;  I seek your blessings. If you need anything more from me, please don’t feel shy to ask; Ask me and I will get them for you”.

He heard a heavenly voice: “Dear son, if you could offer me Manasa Pushpam, I will be satisfied. Nothing more is needed.”

“God, please tell me where I can get it and I will immediately arrange to fetch it for you” said the rich man.

The voice said “It is quite close by”

The man went out and asked his neighbors “Have you ever seen Manasa Pushpam? I understand it is somewhere nearby only. Can you help?”

Everyone said they have no idea. The man went around asking every one. He sent his messengers around to inquire in all the localities in the town. But he could not get any information.

Feeling lost, defeated and exhausted, the man came back to his house. Kneeling in front of the altar, he said “My lord, I accept my defeat. I feel humbled. I surrender to you. I have nothing more to offer except my heart”

The heavenly voice said :”That is precisely is the Manasa Pushpam I wanted”

[Amma:  God needs nothing except purity of heart from us.]

4.  The hidden help

[Amma:  “At times, our problems in life may look unsurmountable and we may feel depressed and helpless. But if you have a firm faith that God is with us and his grace will be with us to overcome our problems, we will get the needed boost in our mental energy to come out of our woes”.]

Once a man was driving his car  through a narrow pathway, the car got struck in a pool of slush and could not move out.  The man looked around for help.  He saw a farmer coming there in a cart, pulled by a horse. He sought help from the farmer to pull his car out of the slush and the farmer agreed. He brought his horse name Sunny along with a rope. He connected the rope to the car’s bumper and tied the other end to o his horse. He goaded the horse to pull the car out, shouting “Come on Sunny, pull, pull; pull hard; you can do it!” The horse tried to pull the car but as the load was too much for it, it stopped pulling and did not react to the shouting of the farmer any further.

However much the farmer goaded the horse, it did not make any further efforts. The farmer thought for a while as to what to do. Suddenly he thought of an idea. He moved away from the spot for a brief while, came back and then shouted, “Now, come on Bunny, you can do it; Pull, pull…!”

Now the the horse Sunny started pulling with enthusiasm and the car came out of the pit!

The owner of the car was very surprised. He asked the farmer, “How come when you shouted Sunny he did not pull after trying for some time, but when you said “Bunny, pull pull” your horse pulled it? I don’t understand this. Can you explain?”

The farmer said, ” My horse name is Sunny only. He is blind. Initially, he pulled the car,  but having found the load too much for him, he did not put enough effort subsequently.Then I thought of this idea. When I shouted “Bunny, pull pull”, he thought that I have brought another horse by name Bunny to assist. Since he is blind, he did not know there is no other horse. He thought that he can put effort again, since there is one more horse assisting him and his load will be shared! This time, he managed pull the car out!”

5.    Escape from the floods

Once a mendicant was crossing a river late in the evening. Due to heavy raining at catchment area, the river suddenly started flooding. Water level increased and also the flow was very forceful and turbulent. Though the mendicant knew swimming, he could not really manage to swim across the river. He was getting forcefully dragged by the fast currents and he was struggling to keep himself afloat.

Soon it became pitch dark. Somehow he could manage to catch hold of a log of wood. He felt the wood log must have got stuck somewhere and it was not moving. He gripped the log tightly as water was flowing neck deep underneath. He was fervently praying to God to save him.

Gradually, as the time passed, his hands became very painful and numb. It became increasingly difficult for him to keep holding the log of wood. By that time, the water flow too somewhat reduced and the water level came to his waist. But he could not hold on any further. He made his fervent prayer: “My lord; I have tried my best to hold on. I cannot do any more. Let your will be done. It is up to you to keep me alive or dead. I surrender to your will” So saying, he released his hands from gripping the wooden log.

 

As he sunk into the water by about a foot length or so, his legs touched the river bed and his head was still above the water level! Then it stuck to him that what he was holding all along was the branch of a tree which has grown bent towards the river from the adjacent river bank! He was hardly a few feet away from the river bank all along and he could not know it because of utter darkness!

Amma: “that this is how grace comes when all our efforts come to an end and a sense of total surrender comes.”

6.  The hidden treasure

[Amma: Everyone of us have the potential to know our true self inside us. The self is all powerful, but we are not aware of it. In order to remind us of our true powerful self, the help of the sadguru is needed.]

Once a stranger told a beggar, “Hey! Why are you going around begging like this? Listen; you are neigther a beggar nor a mendicant; in fact you are indeed a millionaire!”

The beggar did not believe him. He ignored what the stranger said and walked away. But the stranger would not leave him in peace. He kept coming behind the beggar and kept on saying, “Believe me; I am your well wisher. I really want to help you. I know this secret.You are the owner of a huge treasure and it is within your easy reach!”

The beggar now got intrigued. “Is that so? Where is that treasure?” he asked.

The stranger said, “Go and dig inside your hut” and went away.

The beggar rushed to his hut, took a crow bar and started digging at the floor of his hut. Soon he hit a huge pot buried inside the ground. when he managed to clear the soil and opened the pot, it was full of gold coins, ornaments and precious jewelry. The joy of the beggar knew know bounds. He thanked the stranger profoundly from his heart.

[Amma: In this parable, the stranger is the sadguru. He gives necessary spiritual instructions to the disciple (the beggar) and encourage him to dig deeper within himself to get the hidden treasure of his true Atman.]

7.  The 3 orphaned boys

Once there lived 3 boys who were orphaned at much young age. Since no other relatives came forward to take care of them, they had to somehow fend for themselves. They roamed around and some times begging for food and sometimes doing odd jobs to earn money for their livelihood. They grew up to become youths this way.

One day, they were sitting under a tree near a road. A rich man who was travelling by car passed by and duddenly his car got into trouble and stopped near the tree. The rich man came out of the car and looked around helpless as to what to do further. The tree young men came forward help. They had learned a little of car mechanic skills in one of their earlier jobs in a garage. Hence they could do something and managed to get the car started.

The rich man felt very happy with the youngsters and inquired about them. He wanted to help them and took them along in his car.

He gave some clerical jobs to them in his factory and provided them with food and simple accommodation too.

The three started working happily in the factory.

The eldest brother was very sincere and hard working. At the end of the month, he said to the rich man, “I am extremely thankful to you for giving me a livelihood. You are already giving me food and shelter. What more do I need? I don’t really need a salary. I will continue to work here”

The second brother too was good at his work, but at the end of the month, he  would go to his manager and wanted his salary to be paid promptly.

The third brother was not so good at  his work. He started finding ways to embezzle the company’s money through wrong means and enjoyed his life. Within a few months, the frauds committed by him came to light and the rich man immediately depromoted him and made him a peon.

The second brother was rewarded with a promotion after a few months.

Years passed this way. One day the rich man died.  He had no family. In his will, he had mentioned that the entire factory and al his properties should be given to the eldest brother.

[Amma: Every karma has its fruits connected with it. Even if one works without expecting any fruits, the efforts of good actions will definitely accrue to the doer of good.]

(Amma’s Tuesday satsang 20/9/16)

8.  The right mindset

Once there lived a saint who had attained self realization. He was a good orator and his speech had the power to awaken spiritual wisdom in others. His high spiritual knowledge and stature became widely known and people sought after him to visit places and give satsangs.

People in an adjacent village wanted to listen to his spiritual discourse. Their representatives went to meet the saint and cordially invited him to visit their village and address the people there. The saint agreed.

On the day of his visit, hundreds of people had assembled in a maidhan and they reverentially welcomed the saint. The saint took his seat in the platform and he was garlanded. He rose to speak. He posed this question to the gathering: “Do you know the subject matter that I am going to talk to you?”

“Yes, we know Swamy!” shouted several people enthusiastically.

Looking at the crowd silently for a while, he said smilingly, “So, there is no need for me to talk to you because you know the subject already!” He got down from the dais and left the village!

The villagers got very disappointed. They went back to his ashram after a couple of days and begged him to come again to the village and deliver his talk.

He agreed and visited the village on the appointed date once again. This time too he posed the same question to them. The villages replied in quorus “We don’t know anything about what you are going to speak, Swamiji!”

He stood there silently for a while. Smiling mischievously, he said, “What is the point in talking to people who do not even know even a little of what they are going to learn?” So saying he got down and returned to his Ashram!

The villagers got very confused. What should be the correct approach to make the saint speak? They discussed amidst themselves and arrived at a strategy: When the saint poses the question next time, some of them should say yes and some should say no.

Again they went to invite the saint to lecture at their village and again he agreed.

This time, when he posed the same question, the responded as per their plan —  half of the people got up and said yes and the other half said no. But the saint was smarter! He said, “Good. Those who know can teach those who don’t know”. So saying he left the place once again.

The disappointed villages discussed and argued among themselves once again as to what should be the right strategy to deal with the saint. One old man got up and said, “Whatever strategy we scheme and follow only fails.I feel it is better to be silent when he asks the question next time”. All agreed.

Finally, the saint was brought back next time with lots of cajoling. When he rose up and asked “Do you know what  subject I am going to speak?” there was a dead silence.

The Saint smiled with satisfaction and he started speaking gems of wisdom to the people and the villagers felt extremely blessed and benefited by his talk.

[Amma: When people said “Yes, we know” during his first visit, it was a sign of egoism. When the intellect is full with so many knowledge, nothing new can enter. It is like a glass already filled with water. If you try to add anything, it will only overflow. It will not hold anything new.

When people said “We don’t know” during the second visit, it is a sign of a negative and closed mind set. To receive spiritual teaching, the mind should be open. This is like keeping glass upside down; you cannot pour anything into it.

The third answer of mixed yes and no is a sign of a confused and unsteady mind. It is like a glass already half full with dirty water. If you pour any fresh water to it, it will get mixed with dirty water and will not be usable.

The last response, silence is the right response. When the mind is open and free without any preconceived ideas, it can easily and freely grasp what is taught. It is like keeping an empty glass open to receive fully whatever that is being poured.]

(Arul Mozhigal – p. 77)

9.   The Farmer’s devotion

Sage Narada once felt proud that he was a great devotee of Lord Narayana as he was constantly chanting the lord’s name. One day, Lord Narayana called Narada and said to him: “There is a farmer in earth who is far more devoted to me than you”.

Narada could not believe it. He came down to earth to personally verify the matter in person. He observed the farmer for a couple of days and noticed that the farmer was chanting the Lord’s name only thrice a day. Narada wondered how this farmer could ever be a better devotee than him?

He went back to Vaikuntha and asked Lord Narayana about his doubt.

God gave him a bowl of oil filled to the brim and said, “Narada, you have to keep this bowl on your head and cicum ambulate that Hill once. Mind you, you should not spill even a drop of oil”.

Narada took up the challenge. He took one full round of the hill extremely carefully without spilling even a drop of oil and came back to the lord, beaming.  The lord asked, “Now tell me Narada, how many times did you chant my name when you walked around the hill?”

Narada thought about it and realized that he did not chant the lord’s name even once, because his entire concentration was in walking carefully without spilling the oil.

Lord Narayana said, “Now do you understand? That farmer has to toil in his field for the whole day; he has to take care of his family and find means to feed them daily. Amidst such a busy engagement, he still manages to chant my name thrice in a day! Is he not a better devotee than you?”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

10.   God’s test

[Amma: “God will come in the form in which we think of Him. God will also come in different forms in order to test a devotee’s depth of devotion and renunciation”]

Once there was a devotee who did a severe penance to realize God. One day, a stranger came to his house and said, ‘It seems you are a great renunciate. If so, let me see your depth of renunciation. Give your wife to me”.

Without any hesitation, the devotee gave his wife to the stranger. The wife started crying but the stranger took her along and walked out of the house. As he was leaving the compound, some friends of the devotee saw the stranger taking the sobbing wife of the devotee along and going away. They mistook the stranger to be a miscreant who was forcibly taking the woman along. They came rushing, caught hold of him and started beating him severely.

Hearing the uproar, the devotee came out of the house and saw the stranger getting beaten black and blue.  It looked the stranger was about to breath his last. He was shocked. With unbearable pain in his heart, the devotee said, “What is this? What have you done to this poor man? I willingly gave my wife to him”. He knelt down and prayed: “Dear lord, please forgive my friends; please save this man; he should not die; please take away my life and give the life to him instead”.

As soon as he uttered these prayers, the stranger disappeared and God Himself stood in front of the devotee and blessed him. It was God indeed who came in the guise of the stranger to test the devotee.

[Amma: “God was testing whether the devotee had any selfishness. The lord did not appear when he gave up his wife willingly; but only when he showed his willingness and mental attitude of sacrifice to even give his life to save the life of stranger, God appeared before Him”]

(Source: Awaken Children – Vol 2)

11.  The king’s test

Once, in a kingdom, the aged minister of the King passed away.  He was a man of wisdom and righteousness. The king wanted to select a new minister for the post and he invited aspiring persons to meet him. He told them that he would conduct  a test for them and if they pass it successfully, he would make them the minister.

The aspirants were taken to a small pond nearby. Each of them were given a pot with holes at the bottom. The test was that they should empty the whole pond with that pot.  After hearing the condition, many of the aspirants dropped away saying that such a test was foolish and did not behove with the knowledge and wisdom they possessed.

Some of them took up the challenge and as they filled water in the pot from the pond and took the pond a few yards away to drain into a nearby canal, considerable water leaked through the pot and it became a task of indeterminable time scale to finish off. Practically all except one person dropped off from the test.

One middle aged person was alone kept doing the job of taking the water from the pond and draining them pot by pot into the nearby stream. He judiciously used his hand to cover some of the holes in the pot so that wastage was reduced to the extent possible. He kept doing the work tirelessly day in and day out for the next couple of days.  Finally, after tirelessly working like this, he virtually emptied the pond. Only a few pots of slush was left out at the bottom of the pond. As he cleared the slush too, he found a large cloth bundle at the bottom. He untied the bundle and found plenty of golden ornaments, gold coins and precious stones inside.

He bundled them up and went to meet the king. He said, “My lord; I have completed the task of emptying the pond and I found this treasure too inside; kindly take it to your safe custody”.

The king was extremely pleased. He immediately appointed the man as his minister and presented the entire bundle of the treasure him.

[Amma: Shraddha (attentiveness) , Kshama (patience) and Utsagam (enthusiasm) are the three ingredients for one to reap success in all the endeavors.”]

(Amma’s birthday satsang 2016)

12.   Even a little is worthy

Once a person wanted to visit a very holy place. It was a very popular religious center and thousands of people thronged that place every day and visit the holy temple there.

With such a huge crowd gathering there every day, the place naturally turned to be a tourist spot too. There were lots of shops selling varieties of food, eatables and snacks, flowers fruits and other sundry items for worship, utensils, silks and garments, fancy items, gift items, electronic gadgets and so on. There were also music shows, discos and film theatres.

The visitor arrived at the holy place and started going all around.  Everywhere he saw people all around, eating rich food, shopping, engaging in fun and frolic at various places of entertainment and so on.  The visitor kept talking, loudly criticizing all these: “What is so holy about this place? You people are only roaming around and enjoying yourself in all sorts of worldly pleasures! Where is spirituality here? Where is holiness?”

At that point of time, he heard a heavenly voice: “All these people are engaged in these activities after visiting the holy shrine here and doing their worship and prayers; but you have not done even that and you are criticizing all the others”

Amma:  Even a small amount of spiritual practices done has its benefits and they carry the value across births. The benefit is never lost.

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

13.   Your effort is needed

Once there was a choultry in a village, where travellers, poor and the needy will be served with free food once a day.  The food serving would stop exactly at 12 noon and the doors would be shut. However, for the convenience of any traveller arriving late, there was a bell hung near the entrance. If the visitor rings the bell, someone would come out and give them food.

One day, an orphan boy, who used to eat his daily noon meal regularly at the choultry arrived late. The doors were already shut. He was a short boy. The bell was hanging at a higher level beyond the reach of the boy. The boy jumped and jumped but he could not touch the bell.

He searched here and there and located a short wooden stick; he tried to hit the bell with the stick but it was still a little short in length. The boy was disappointed but still he did not give up; he kept jumping again and again with the stick in hand, attempting his best to hit the bell.

A passerby happened to watch the repeated efforts of the boy to hit the bell. He took pity on him. He was a tall person and he came to the doors and rang the bell with his hand.

The authorities came out, noticed the boy and then served him a pack of food.

[Amma: “God’s grace would come to the person who makes sincere efforts.”]

(Tuesday Satsang 20/12/2016)

14.  Lord Shiva’s test

[Amma: “One must develop totally guileless faith in God. It means a faith without even a trace of doubt. Our heart is the centre of faith while our intellect is full of doubts and questions. Any superficial knowledge without deeper faith in scriptures is dangerous. A child-like faith is needed. Where there is love, there your will get guileless trust.”]

Once Devi Parvati had a doubt. Though it is widely known that taking a bath in the river Ganga absolves one from all the sins committed, she knew that it does not happen like that always. She asked Lord Shiva why.

Lord Shiva said, “People take bath in Ganga ceremoniously, without deep faith  in the power of Ganga in cleansing them off all their sins. That’s why”.

Parvati could not believe it. Lord Shiva said, “Okay; Let us go to the earth and I will show you the truth of my statement”.

Lord Shiva and Parvati took the guise of an old man and his wife. They went to the bank of river Ganga. Lord Shiva gave instruction to Parvati on what she should do and he dropped himself into  deep pit containing clay and slush.

As instructed by Shiva, Parvati beat herself on her chest and cried aloud begging at the passersby to save her husband. She said to the people returning from Ganga after their bath. “Please, please save my husband. Due to a major sin committed by him, he has been cursed to fall into the pit. Unless he is extracted from it before sunset,  he would die as per the curse. O beg you, please save my husband…”

Moved by the pitiable weeping of the old lady, many people came forward to pull the old man off the pit. Parvati, as if she remembered something that she forgot earlier, said. “Wait, wait! As per the curse, the person who attempts to save my husband must be totally free from any sin; else, the person who pulls my husband will also fall into the pit and die; his head will break into thousand pieces”.

Hearing this, those who came forward retracted their steps quickly and excused themselves from the place. No one was willing to take any risk.

After a while, a young man came there. Parvati explained her predicament to him. He said, “I have no problem; I can help you; I am coming here straight after taking bath in Ganga and hence I am free of any sin.”

He jumped into the pit and brought the old man out.

(From Tamil Arul Mozhigal-4)

15.  God’s Will be done

Once there lived a poor farmer in a village who was an earnest devotee of God. He lived there in a hut with his wife and a son. He owned a horse that would help him in his farming activities.

One day, his horse was missing. The farmer desperately searched for his horse everywhere, but he could not locate it. The other villagers came to know of his loss and visited him to inquire about it. They said, “How unfortunate you are to lose such a nice horse”.

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer went into a nearby forest to fetch firewood. He saw his horse grazing there along with a female horse! He tied both of them and brought them home.

Villagers, seeing this now said,  “How fortunate you are to get back your horse and a mate for it too!”

The farmer said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is fortunate or unfortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

After a few weeks, the farmer’s son wanted to ride the female horse. When he tried to mount on it, the horse threw him off to the ground. The son broke his leg.

Again the villagers came to his house and lamented saying that it was really unfortunate that the farmer’s only son had to have a fracture and be bed ridden.

The farmer again said, “Who can ever say for sure whether it is unfortunate or fortunate? Only God knows. I only know that God is embodiment of compassion”.

A couple of days after it happened, king’s army men came to the village. As the country was at the verge of facing a war, they were recruiting able bodied youngsters for serving in the military mandatorily. Since the farmer’s son was lying with a broken leg, he escaped from military recruitment.

When villagers again came to him and said that he was fortunate to have his son saved from joining the military, the farmer repeated his usual statement!

(Vijayadasami Satsang from Europe 19/10/18)

 

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

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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.