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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 Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 3 ( 16 more stories )

1.   Compassion is the measure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

2.   The lame puppy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

3.   Something more valuable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4.   For the sake of others

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

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

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

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

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

He walked away with satisfaction.

5.  Not official

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

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

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

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

6.  How to have real enjoyment

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

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

7.  It is with you

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

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

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

“No,” replied the boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

8.  The story of Pakkanar, the saint

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.  A helping hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Take only as much

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

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

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

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

(Source:  Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol 3)

 

11. Honesty to the core

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

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

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

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

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

(From Oliyai Nolli-Tamil-Vol 3)

12.  Unwanted poison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

13.  Cancelled pilgrimage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Compassionate boss

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 14/7/2020)

15.  Awareness about wastage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16.  More prayers?

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s satsang dt 12/12/2020)

 

 

Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 7 (10 more stories)

1. Finding fault with others

Once a ordered his subjects to make one statue from each family and bring them to him. On the due date, people brought the statues to meet him. The king ordered his minister to assess the quality of the statues and give prizes to people proportionately.

The minister could not find any appreciable quality in any of the statues. Each statue had some fault or other. The minister went to the king and said, “Nome of the statues look good. I don’t even find average ones”.

The king did not like what the minister said. He said, “Common people are not sculptors. They have made statues with whatever skills they possessed. There is nothing totally perfect in this world. There will be some fault or other in every creation. I really feel sorry for you as you are incapable of even finding one statue that you can consider reasonably acceptable, to give some little prize. You have no qualification to be my minister anymore. I am dismissing you from the minister’s post.”

Thus the man who could only find fault with others lost his job.

[Amma: “Children, every object in this world will have something good in it. We must have the eye to identify it. If you are a devotee of God, you must stop finding and speaking the faults of others. God can never live in the heart of those who find fault with everyone else. Strive not to find fault with others.   Since we have faults in us, we find faults in others. Never forget this truth. For a person who sees only goodness in others, chanting one japa will give the benefit of chanting it a crore times. Amma’s heart will melt at the thought of such a person. God will bless them with all their needs.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

2. Being in tune with the world

Once a sanyasi went to a village. The village people ridiculed him.  The sanyasi was a man possessing miraculous powers but he was impatient and egoistic. He got infuriated by the villagers’ behavior. He took out some sacred ash, uttered a mantra and sprinkled it into the village common well, with a curse that all those who drink it would become mad.

There were two wells in the village. One was used by the people and the other by the king and his minister when they visited the village officially.

The villagers drank water from their well and all of them became mad. People started talking all sorts of nonsense. They started singing, dancing and shouting.

The kind and the minister visited the village and were staying there on some time. As they drank water from their exclusive well which was not contaminated by the  curse of the Sanyasi, both of them remained normal.

However, the villagers observed that the king and the minister were behaving totally differently unlike all the other folks and hence they felt there was something seriously wrong with the duo. According to their perception, the king and the minister were mentally deranged! How can a country be ruled properly if both the king and minister are mad? The villagers felt that they were duty-bound to save the nation from the rule of mad people!

They decided to catch the king and the minister and tie them to a tree. Having come to know of their intentions, the king and minister started running; the people started chasing them.

As they were running to save their lives, the minister said to the king, “The whole of people of this village have become mad; in their eyes we two look to be mad people and that’s why they want to arrest us. I believe if we don’t  start behave exactly like these mad people, they will not leave us in peace. I am afraid the best way ahead of us is to start behaving madly like them; then we can think of finding some cure for these people to get relieved from their madness. It is like policemen disguising themselves as thieves to catch hold of thieves.” The king agreed.

Immediately, the king and the minister started shouting and dancing madly in the same way as others. The villagers felt happy. They thanked God for ‘saving’ the duo from a calamity!

[Amma: “Children, spiritual aspirants are like the king and the minister of this story. Spiritual practitioners would look like mad people in the eyes of common men. But the fact is, those who have no inclination at all in spirituality are indeed mad people. Saints have to come down to the level of common people to teach them dharma and lead them on the right path. They may have to do many things hand in hand with the common people; that is the way they could lead the people to know their true Self.’]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

3. Dissecting a poetry!

Once the wife of a scientist who was in a poetic mood wrote a verse describing the beauty of a woman by comparing her face with the full moon and s on. She gave it to her husband to read. The husband had no poetic inclination and showed little interest in reading it. But since his wife insisted, he went through it. The wife was very eager to get her husband’s feedback.

The husband said, “What nonsense have you written? Man had spent millions of dollars to go to the moon and explore it. What’s there in the moon except rocks and craters? There is no air too. If such a moon is kept on the neck of a woman, will not her neck break?…” Like this, he kept on criticizing each and every line in the poem!

Exasperated, the wife snatched the paper from his hands and said, “You can never understand poetry; give that back to me”.

The husband had only an intellect that dissected the poetry scientifically. He could only see rocks and craters in the moon. He was devoid of the heart to appreciate the beauty of the poetry.

[Amma: “One who says that he would believe only those perceived with sense organs has lost the purity of heart.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

4.  The protector

[Amma: “Diversity is the hallmark of  creation. Most creatures in earth accept this diversity and live in peaceful coexistence. But only man refuses to accept the diversity in creation and fight with each other in the name of country, language, religion, claste, creed and so on. Unfortunately, man looks with suspicion and fear at those who are different from him and develop hatred on them”.]

Once three persons were undertaking a long pilgrimage. After crossing several rivers and hills they arrived at the foot of a mountain. Their next destination was a holy shrine at the top of the the mountain. A sadhu whom they met there wanted to join their group so as to undertake the arduous journey with company. The sadhu had very strange looks and he was from a different country too. The three travellers did not develop a liking on him and were not too keen to take him along, but they nevertheless agreed out of basic human courtesy.

After the sadhu joined their group, somehow their onward journey up the mountain,  ceased to be a smooth one, unlike their earlier experiences. Their journey became more and more arduous as they proceeded. It started raining heavily. Thunder and lightning too was severe. There were no inhabitants on their way and they suffered from lack of food and drinking water.

The three travelers started thinking that the new Sadhu who joined them was the cause of all the hardship they were facing. The raining became more and more severe; thunders were deafening. They noticed a dilapidated hut en route and decided to take shelter under it till raining stopped.

One of the three persons said, “I am afraid the hardships we are facing now must be due to the evil fortune and sins of one of us in this group. God appears to be angry at him. That’s why we have been undergoing so much of hardship in this journey. Let us do one thing. One after another, let us go out of the hut and stand in the open at a distance from here.  When the person on whom God is angry stands alone in the open, God is sure to punish him. Then the rest of us can proceed with our journey without trouble”. All of them agreed.

The person who proposed the idea went first to stand alone in the open. He stood there for a while and nothing wrong happened to him. He returned to the hut and the second person went out. He too returned safely to the hut. Then the third person went out and stood alone. He too returned safely. Now it was the turn of the stranger. He walked out and stood in the open.

That very moment a lightning stuck at the hut where the three persons stood and within no time the hut turned into ashes, killing all the three.

Thus it turned out that the good fortune of the stranger was indeed saving the rest of the three from calamities all along their travel in the mountain!

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.  Earning a livelihood

[Amma: “If there is something that destroys all goodness in a human mind and makes all his capabilities to a naught, it is poverty. Poverty is the most unfortunate happening in any human life. When Amma tours to various countries abroad, children coming to meet Amma would bring with them pictures drawn by them to show to Amma. In one country, a group of children came to receive Amma’s darshan. They too brought pictures drawn by them to show to Amma. (Amma narrated further on what happened: “]

Practically all the pictures drawn by these children contained tanks, warships, bombs and guns. In one of the boy’s picture, he had drawn Jesus Christ with a gun in hand. Upon inquiring about those children, Amma came to know that there were all poor kids from the ghettos.

Amma asked them, “Why have you drawn a gun in Jesus Christ’s hand, my children?”

One boy replied: “If Jesus Christ feels hungry, doesn’t he need food? He has to earn it. isn’t it? That’s why he needs a gun”.

“Will people give food only if he shows a gun?” asked Amma.

The boy said, “Our father grew us up only by showing gun at the face of others to earn money” they said.

“Why? Doesn’t your father have good health to do some work and earn money?”

“He is quite healthy. But when our father searched for jobs, the employers asked him where he was living. When he mentioned that he lived in a ghetto, none would offer a job to him; then our father started earning money by threatening others with a gun.”

[Amma: “These sort of experiences go deeply into young children’s hearts. Thus poverty combined with bad examples in life kindle violent tendencies in them. This is where there comes the need for expression of love and compassion towards such people.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

6. Dawn of Wisdom!

Once there lived an young man, who was called an idiot by everyone. As he was rather dull headed right from his childhood, everyone considered him an idiot. Whatever he said or did, his father would call him an idiot. He received the same treatment from his mother and brothers too.  Since his own family members called him an idiot, all the villagers did the same.

The young man was very sad about it. He used to think, “Since everyone calls me idiot, it must be true that I am really an idiot”.  Yet, he  repeatedly tried his best to prove to others that he  did possess brian and intelligence, all his efforts never yielded any result. He was considered a worthless fellow both inside and outside his house.

As life went on like this for the youngman, one day a Mahatma came to his village. The young man went to the Mahatma and prostrated before him; he conveyed his mental anguish and cried. The mahatma felt very compassionate towards him. He consoled him and instructed him  as follows:

“Don’t grieve. Do one thing from today onwards: Whosoever tells you anything, you should  object to their statement and oppose it. For example, if someone says, ‘Look at that flower. see how beautiful it is’, you must immediately say, ‘Nonsense! Who said that flower is beautiful? Can you explain what beauty is?”. Suppose somebody talks to you about the greatness of love, you should argue: “Love? What is really love? Is there anything really existing as love? Don’t simply say some nonsense about love. Where is the proof that love really exists?”. Likewise, without looking back or doubting, you confront everyone with a negative or counter argument; never waste any opportunity; question them, oppose them, criticize them, and demand their explanation! Nobody will be able to explain these sort of things coherently and consequently they will look like idiots! By questioning everything, you will become an intellectual….!”

The young man immediately agreed.

After a few years, the Mahatma came to the same village once again. Villagers who met him spoke to him with reverence and wonder, saying, “Maharaj, last time when you visited, you have really done a miracle in our village! By your sheer blessing, a rock-hard idiot in our village suddenly turned to be a brilliant fellow! He is now a very smart person and an intellectual! It is a wonder beyond words!”. The Mahatma immediately understood whom they are talking about. Soon the young man too came to meet the Mahatma. He said to the mahatma with heartfelt gratitude, “Maharaj, What you said did come through! Now everyone in this village consider me a very brilliant person!”

The mahatma said, “Fine. Make sure that you never reveal the secret to anybody!”

 [Amma: “Amma does not mean to say that logic and intelligence are not needed nor they are to be discarded. Amma only wants to convey that they alone cannot be considered the ‘be all and end all’ “. Where intelligence and logic are essential, do make use of them. But there are countless situations in life where the heart has to be given the prominence.  In such situations one must use the language of  love, faith, patience etc.” ]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

7. Demanding thankfulness?

Once a very rich man went to a temple to do worship. Once the puja was over, the rich man gave an unusually large some of money to the pujari.  But the pujari neither expressed thanks nor did he show any extraordinary courtesy or humility to the rich man. Noticing this, the rich man felt somewhat offended. He started loudly boasting to the priest saying that none would have ever given such a large amount of money to a pujari like him. He continued to boast about his largehearted-ness and his philanthropic mindset.

The priest kept listening it patiently for some time.  But since the rich man did not stop his self-boasting, he intervened and said, “Why are you explaining so much to me? Do you want me to say “thank you” for your donation?”

The rich man said, “Ah! Why not? What is wrong if  I expect a ‘thank you’ from you when I have given such a large amount to you?”

The priest said, “Actually, it must be you who should say ‘thank you’ for my accepting this amount from you. In fact, this is only a small amount when compared to the huge wealth you have amassed which truly belongs to God! Only if you could  surrender this amount without any  pride, you will become a recipient of God’s grace. YOu must in fact feel thankful that you have now got the opportunity to serve God and his devotee with your money. If you can’t do it, it will be better if you take back the money with you”.

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

8.  False pride

In the court of king Bhoja, a Congress of Poets was going on. Poets vied with one another to sing accolades about the king.  One poet sang a poem comparing king Bhoja with Lord Rama and his rule to be identical to Rama Rajya ( The rule of Rama which was considered a golden period).  Everyone in the assembly clapped their hands and king Bhoja was proudly acknowledging all the praises. Suddenly a crow flew into the court and defecated at the head of the poet who sang comparing King Bhoja with Lord Rama.

The poet felt very disturbed.  The king ordered his guards to catch the crow. The crow started speaking thus: “O Majesty, since this poet said falsehood, I defecated at his head. Neither you are  equal to Rama nor your kingdom equal to Rama Rajya. I can prove this to you, if you could kindly follow me.”

The king, minister and the poet decided to go behind the crow. The crow flew out and went to cave outside the city.  The crow flew inside it. Others followed. The crow wanted the soil inside the cave to be cleared. The minister and the poet engaged themselves in clearing the sand layer, there were thousands of gemstones underneath!

The crow said, “During Rama’s rule, there was a rich man who had no children. He prayed within his heart to Lord Rama to bless him with a son and he made a owe to donate a potful of gemstones to the king if his prayer was answered.  By God’s grace, a male child was born to the rich man. He felt extremely happy and went to meet king Rama with a pot of gemstones. When he told the matter and kept the pot under Rama’s feet, the Lord was not willing to receive it. He said, “I have no need for these gemstones in my treasury. You may please distribute it to the poor and the needy”. As the rich man went in search of poor people, he could not find anyone in the country. When the rich man reported this matter to Rama, the Lord asked him to freely distribute it to others.  But in the land of Rama, no one was willing to receive any free gifts saying that they cannot take anything for which they had not worked for.  The rich man finally left the gemstones in this cave. These are precisely the same gemstones”.

After narrating it, the crow said, “O king, will you now ask your minister and poet to open up their palms?”

When the king ordered so, the minister and the poet reluctantly opened their fists and each of them had handfuls of gemstones that they had collected secretly for themselves when they found the gemstones there! The crow said, “O king, isn’t it now absolutely clear that your kingdom is not equal to Rama rajya?”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

9.  Reserved judgement!

 [Amma: “Children, most people, knowingly or unknowingly,  form opinions about others with preconceived notions. Because of this, one does not correctly understand another person.”]

Once, in a courtroom a case was in progress. The advocates of the plaintiff and the defendant were very strongly arguing the case in favor of their parties. Unfortunately, the magistrate was dozing off in his seat and he did not listen to the legal arguments from them. After a while, he woke up. Seeing his condition, the court clerk politely spoke to the magistrate, “Sir, I am afraid you dozed off; you have not listened to the arguments presented by the lawyers”.

The magistrate said coolly, “Oh! It does not really matter.  I have already decided the final ruling for this case”. So saying, he resumed his sleep!

 [Amma: “If we do things with preconceived notions, just as the magistrate in this story, we may sacrifice justice and truth. On account of it, sume people may get unjust advantages and some may be put into unjust difficulties.”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

10.  What went wrong?

Once a rich man wanted to celebrate his 50th birthday on a grand scale.  He arranged to print very attractive  invitation cards by selecting a very costly design and quality of paper.

He got his whole house painted afresh. He bought a costly chandelier to decorate his reception room.  He kept himself very busy in making his house and surroundings clean and beautiful.  In order to project a rich look on his birthday,  he bought very costly dresses for himself. He bought a thick golden chain and a diamond ring.  In order to prepare a variety-rich and tasty feast, he engaged a very famous cook.

Finally his birthday arrived. As the time for arrival of the guests came, he dressed himself up with the new clothes and wore the chain and ring. The chief cook and his uniformed staff were busy readying a variety of tasty dishes and were all ready to do the serving.

The rich man came and sat in the reception awaiting the guests but surprisingly, no one turned up. The evening went pst and the night was advancing. Yet, no guest was at sight. The rich man started worrying and wondering. What happened? What went wrong? How come not a single fellow had turned up?

Impatiently, we walked to his table and he noticed something there. The big bundle of invitation cards was still lying there! Now it became obvious. He had been so busy and engrossed in making all the preparations for celebrating his birthday on a grand manner that he totally forgot to send the invitation cards to all his friends and relatives and acquaintances!

 [Amma: “Like this, in our pursuits behind all the petty things in life, we are engrossed so much that we have totally forgotten our goal of human birth.  Because of it, we are not able to enjoy the right peace and joy in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

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 the Nature of God, Avatars and Mahatmas – Part 2 (16 stories)

1.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 1

[Amma:   Naranathu Branthan was an Avadhoota (Madman like sage) who lived in Kerala a few centuries ago. He was a self-realized yogi, whose behavior was known to be very weird. There are many stories associated with his life and Amma will narrate a few of them”.]

Once a spiritual aspirant wanted to become a disciple of Naranathu Branthan and follow him wherever he went. He approached Branthan and made this request. Branthan did not have any inclination to accept anyone as his disciple.  Hence he rejected the request. But the sadak was very adamant. He kept on pleading Branthan to accept him as a disciple.

Finally Branthan said, “Fine; you can follow me. But there is a condition for it. You should do whatever I do.” The sadak agreed very enthusiastically.

Branthan started walking. He walked and walked. One day passed; the second day passed and yet Branthan would not stop walking! The Sadak could not just cope up with Branthan’s walk. He cried, “Guruji, I have no energy left; unless I eat something, I will die”. Branthan did not reply.

After a short while they came across a smithy shop.  At that time they were melting Lead there. Branthan went inside, took a handful of molten lead in his hand and drank it. He called his disciple and said, “Come on, now drink this as much as you want and quench your hunger!”

The disciple gathered whatever little energy he had and ran away from the spot!

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

2.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 2

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’ means mad man. His behavior was beyond the comprehension of common men. Hence they called him mad. He accepted it without a protest.  He never tried to change the opinion of the people nor tried to teach them spiritual wisdom.  He never explained his behavior to people. In fact, he was least bothered about people and their opinions”.]

Branthan had the habit of cooking his food at cremation grounds using the fires of the pyre there. One night, he was cooking his food this way. At that time, a group of spirits, headed by a devata (celestial being)  came there. They had the custom of dancing around the burning pyres. Those spirits would not opt to display their dance in front of human beings. Hence the devata ordered Branthan to go away. However, Branthan was adamant and he would not budge. Soon there was heated argument between him and the devata.

The Devata argued, “It is customary for us to dance around the pyre. We shall not swerve from our practice”.

Branthan said, “Like you being firm about your custom, I am also very firm about my custom of cooking my food in the pyre. I will not move from here. Why don’t you move to some other cremation ground to locate another pyre?”

Noticing his adamancy, the spirits thought that, being a human being, he could be scared by them and chased away. They took up very gory and scary forms and made thundering noise and threatening gestures towards Branthan. But Branthan laughed seeing their antics and was busy with cooking.  So the head of the spirits stopped their antics and realized that Branthan was no ordinary human being, but a sage.

The devata saluted Branthan and said, “Sir, I accept my defeat; as told by you, we will go to some other cremation ground. However, having been impressed by your courage, I would like to offer a boon; Ask whatever you want”

Branthan said, “I need no boons; I have no needs nor desires; There is nothing that I need to accomplish. Just leave me alone so that I can concentrate on my cooking”.

But the devata was adamant. It wanted to offer something to Branthan.

Branthan said, “Fine. Tell me the date of my physical body dying in this world”. The devata told him the date and said, “This is not a boon at all. Ask something”.

Branthan said, “Okay. Just advance my date of death by a day, or postpone it by a day”.

“I don’t have that power to alter the date of your death; ask something else” said the devata.

Branthan took pity on the devata. He was suffering from elephantiasis and his left leg had been affected by it. He said, “Fine. Since you are so particular to offer a boon to me, you can change the elephantiasis from my left leg to right leg.” The devata did it. Branthan said, “Okay. I don’t need anything more. All of you leave from this place”.  The spirits left the place immediately.

[Amma:   ‘Branthan’s story clearly depicts the nature of a true Yogi who is totally surrendered to God. Even devatas and spirits are subservient to such a sage. Such a yogi never has fear; he has no curiosity or excitement; He is not worried about or disturbed about anything. While he is capable of changing the effects of prarabdha Karma himself, he is least inclined to do it and he accepts whatever pains and pleasures that come to him as per fate. He is beyond any vasanas and he he is able to laugh at anything and be a witness to all happenings”. You must also notice that Branthan did not express compassion too! We can’t say whether he was compassionate or not, because he is not concerned with the world or society, as he is immersed in a higher state of existence in unison with the ultimate”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

3.  Naranathu Branthan – Story 3 – Ambalapuzha temple

WHen the Ambalapuzha temple was built and the consecration ceremony was to be done, priests were invited for the installation of the main deity’s statue and do the related ceremonies. All of them were eminent scholars who could chant all the four Vedas by hear. In spite of their knowledge, they could not fix the statue firmly on the altar, however much they tried.

When the problem remained unsolved, the temple authorities made some astrological calculations in consultation with the priests. According to their calculations and predictions, a competent person to do the installation was sitting a few yards away from the temple compound.

When they went to the identified spot, they found a primitive and crazy-looking man siting there and chewing betel leaves, having just finished eating fried fish.  He was none other than Naranathu Branthan.

They brought him to the place where the installation was taking place, in spite of the priests’ mocking at him and making rude remarks to the temple authorities. They held their noses and spat on the ground to express their disgust seeing Branthan.

They thought, “What made these people to bring this ugly and low caste man here? What is he going to do?” Suddenly all the priests vomited, but what came out of their mouth was fish! Then the crazy man, who ate fish spat on the ground and out came basil leaves. Everyone was wonderstruck. Taking some betel leaves, he chewed them and spat on the altar; he uttered a few words in a scolding tone, “Hey Krishna, sit there!”. The statue became firmly fixed thereon.

[Amma:   “The name of the town Ambalapuzha originated from the word ‘tambulam’ (betel leaves, when chewed with arecanut and lime, which together are known in Sanskrit as tambulam). The town was previously knowns as Tambulapuzha. It was that illiterate layman’s spittle and his chiding of God that bore fruit and not the vedic chanting of priests. This was because the ‘crazy man’ was a Perfect Soul; whereas the priests were only after money. They did not have any spiritual power”.]

(From Awaken Children-Vol 2 )

4.  Forbearance – (1)

[Amma:   “The glory of the rishis and saints of our past is immeasurable. Without their compassion, the world have become a hell by now. It is their sacrifice and compassion that protect the world even today.  IT is their patience and love that compensate and balance the evil effects of the selfish acts of the people of the world.  We cannot fathom the depth of their compassion. Their compassion extends to those who intend to harm and eliminate them too”.]

A king brought his young son to get him admitted to a Gurukula. It was the practice in those days that whether one is a son of a king or the son of a poor man, children lived in the company of their Guru and learned Vedas, shatras, arts and also moral education. Children would not have contact with their parents during their period of stay at Gurukula.

When the king and the prince arrived, the place was calm and peaceful. There was nobody to be seen in the Gurukula. After searching for a while, the noticed a saint– the guru,  sitting under a tree. He was in deep state of samadhi.  The king and prince waited for some time for the saint to open his eyes. When he opened his eyes, the Guru noticed the king. He pleasantly welcomed the king and offered him a seat.

But the king was rather upset and angry that he was not properly accorded welcome at the Gurukula and that he had to search for the guru and also wait indefinitely till the guru finished his meditation. As a king, he was so much used to getting royal treatment wherever he went that he was angry about such a callous treatment meted out to him.

The guru asked respectfully, “Your majesty, may I know the purpose of your visit?”

The king bursted out. “Are you trying to mock at me? Instead of according me the proper royal welcome, you are asking me why I have come here! Where are all the students and disciples here? May I have the fortune of having a darshan of them?” he asked with sarcasm.

The guru expressed sorry and said, “This is a gurukula where we follow strict rules of discipline for the students; every student and disciple has a time schedule for study, work, worship, japa and other spiritual practices. As each of them follow their discipline, you could not see any of them outside. I too was immersed in meditation. That’s why we could not offer a formal reception to you”.

This explanation could not convince the king. “Do you intend to demean me?” he asked. Not knowing how to convince the king. The guru kept quiet. The king remembered that his purpose of coming there was to admit his son to this gurukula. This particular gurukula was most reputed in his kingdom for teaching knowledge and character to the students. Hence, the king controlled his anger and showing an external act of humility he sought forgiveness from the saint for his display of anger.  He then requested the Saint to accept his son as his disciple.

The guru instantly agreed and the formalities of admission were completed. The king left his son behind and departed; yet the sense of anger and hurt was still simmering in his heart.

The prince proved to be an excellent student. He was humble, had good conduct and character and also had devotion to God. The Guru was extremely happy with the boy and showered his love and care on him. The boy grew up to a youth in the Gurukula and he excelled not only in scriptural knowledge, but also in weaponry. His character remained impeccable.

The day of completion of his education came soon. With tear filled eyes, he stood before the guru with utter humility and said, “My respected master, I belong to you. I have nothing to claim as mine. In front of your greatness, I am nothing. There is nothing equivalent to the love, affection and care you took in grooming me. I want to give you something as my Guru dakshina (tuition fees). I am waiting to know your wish”.

The Guru touched the prince’s face with affection and said, “My son, your obedience, humility and devotion to me is the greatest Guru dakshina which you have already given to me. What else do I need?”

The prince insisted again and again. The guru said, “My child, Since I have no need at present, I will collect the Guru dakshina from you at the appropriate time of need. Don’t worry” and bid farewell to the prince.

The King was still nurturing the anger towards the saint and he was only waiting for his son to complete his schooling and return to the palace. Once the son came back, without his knowledge, the king sent his soldiers to the Gurukula and arranged to burn all the thatched huts, class rooms and residential places in the Gurukula. His soldiers also tortured the Saint and his disciples.  Leaving them to lurch for food, clothing and shelter, the soldiers returned to the palace and reported the matter to the king. The king felt very happy that he had done the long nurtured revenge on the saint.

Days passed. The king decided to crown the prince as the future king and retire. Before taking up the throne, the prince wanted to visit his guru and take his blessings. He went to his gurukula and was shocked to see the condition of the place. There were no huts, no class rooms, no facilities.

He frantically searched for the guru and finally found him meditating under a tree. He waited till the guru opened his eyes and then fell at his feet; impatiently he asked, “My master! What has happened here?”

The guru said patiently, “Nothing my son; there was a forest fire and all the huts got burned. That’s all”.

But the prince was shrewd enough to find out that the damage could not have happened due to forest fire and he suspected something fishy.  By that time, the other students and disciples gathered around the guru. He inquired them what happened and they told him the truth after a brief hesitation.

The prince was shocked beyond words. However the shock turned to anger and he roared, “Father, you coward! What a dastardly act you have done. I am going to finish you off.”  He gripped his sword with his right hand and the horse’s rope by the left hand and swiftly mounted it.

Immediately the Guru jumped in front of his disciple and stopped the horse from charging forward. He tried to convince him to drop his anger.  But the Prince could not be tamed; he wanted to take revenge on his father for having done such a horrible act of vengeance against his beloved Guru.

Having failed in his attempts to pacify the prince, the saint finally said, “Fine, my son! I will permit you to go. But before you leave, please give me my Guru dakshina”.

Immediately, the prince got down from the horse, saluted his Guru and said in a pleasant voice, “Oh! Thank you my master for conceding to my prayer at last . Please let me know what you want”.

The guru said, “My son; please drop your planned act of punishment to your father. This is the guru dakshina I want”.

The Prince was dumbstruck hearing this plea. He stood there stunned, looking at the radiant face of his great master. Tears rolled from his eyes. He slowly fell at the feet of his guru.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.  Forbearance – (2)

Once a saint was living the life of a traveling mendicant. One day he was resting under a tree. A ruffian came there and for no reason, without any provocation, he beat the saint with a stick in hand. It was a heavy beating at the shoulder of the saint. At the swiftness of the hit, the stick fell on the ground. The saint took it on his hands; fearing that he would hit him back with the same stick, the ruffian took to heels.

The saint too started running behind him with the stick in his hand.

Some people who witnessed the ruffian hitting the saint, came running to the scene and they caught hold of the ruffian.

The saint came near him and said to him, “Here is your stick; I came behind you only to return this to you!”

Hearing this, those who to the help of the saint to catch the ruffian were terribly surprised.  One of them said, “What are you saying, Swami? W all saw this rascal hitting you with the stick for no reason at all; you should definitely thrash him — not once, but many times. He deserves the punishment”. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement.

The saint smiled and said, “Why should I beat him?  I cannot do it.  It is true that he beat me with that stick and I believe it happened by God’s will only. Suppose, instead of this fellow hitting me, what would I do if a branch from the tree got broken and fell on me? SHould I hit back the tree?  I take it that this is a punishment I am receiving at the present time, for some crime I must have done in some previous birth. It means that I am only receiving the fruit of my karma and this fellow is just an instrument for it.  Hence there is no meaning in hitting him back. If I do so, it will only end up adding to my bad karmas, instead of cancelling out the past karmas”.

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

6.   The story of Poonthanam – Krishna’s devotee

Poonthanam was a great devotee of Lord Krishna, who lived in Kerala some 4 centuries ago. His life was marked by several tragic happenings, but he lived a life totally dedicated to Krishna and accepting all the unfortunate happenings in his life as the divine play of Lord Krishna of Guruvayur.

He was extremely sattvic (full of pure qualities) and lived a righteous life. He was simple and humble. His only child, born after lots of yearning and prayer to Lord Krishna died an unfortunate death. How did it happen?

His house was full of relatives who had gathered for the function. Poonthanam was celebrating the third birthday of his son; the celebrations and ceremonies extended till mid night.  Finally, they all retired to bed in a hurry. Suddenly at that time a powerful storm occurred. All the oil lamps in the house got extinguished in the wind. After the winds subsided, the lit all the lamps again.

Only then they noticed that Poonathanam’s child was missing. Everybody started searching for the child in panic in all nook and corners of the house but could not find him. Suddenly one of the relatives noticed a huge heap of sleeping mats dumped at a corner of the house.

Actually, Poonthanam’s boy was sleeping at that corner.  When all the lights got extinguished, people who who woke up rolled their sleeping mats and threw them at the corner one after the other in the darkness.  Thus it became a huge heap under which the child got caught and was suffocated to death. When the mats were removed, the dead body of Poonthanam’s child was underneath.

Think of the extreme shock and pain that the couple had to undergo.  Poonthanam too cried. But soon he was able to gather himself and recover from the ill fate. How? The unwavering faith and surrender Poonthanam had on his beloved Lord Krishna elevated his mind spiritually and that  mindset taught him to wriggle out of the sorrowful calamity. As a poet, he sang,  “While little Krishna is dancing in our hearts, do we need little ones of our own?

But Poonthanam’s wife could not easily recover herself from her shock. She thought her husband must be a lunatic and she hated him. Once when Poonthanam was travelling to Guruvayoor, he was attacked by robbers on the way. He had many such unfortunate things happening in his life. Yet, his devotion to his beloved Lord never changed.

[Amma:   “When measured purely from worldly angle, Poonthanam’s life was a tragedy. But he was always in bliss. How was it possible? The answer lies in the above song. Once you establish God in the temple of your heart, then what remains is nothing but bliss. That bliss will be both inside as well as outside”.]

(From Arul Mozhigal-3 Tamil)

7.  Form and formless God

[Amma:   “Saguna (with form) and nirguna (without form) are not two different Realities. Ordinary people can reach Formless Being only through some kind of medium. For those who don’t know how to swim, a boat is necessary to cross the river, isn’t it? Mother is not saying you should stay in the boat for ever. After reaching the other side, you should get out”.]

Once there was a disciple, sitting at the banks of a river in the Himalayas, thinking “I see God in the form of my Guru but he says that he is not the body. Yet how can I believe him? How can one be with and without form at the same time? Doesn’t he talk to me and do all the other actions like ordinary people?”

While the disciple was brooding over the matter, a block of ice suddenly crashed into the river. As the disciple looked at it, a squirrel jumped onto the ice which floated across the river. Upon reaching the other bank, the squirrel got off and gingerly jumped away.

Seeing this, the disciple thought, “No doubt the ice is only water. But without it, the squirrel could not have crossed the river. THe formless water became ice and will eventually lose its form and river to its original formless nature as water, but the form serves a purpose. Likewise,  Nirguna becomes Saguna for taking us across the Ocean of Samsara. Henceforth, I will look upon my Guru as the embodiment form of the formless Absolute”.

[Amma:   “All forms have limitations. There is no tree which touches the sky, and there is no root which touches the netherworld. This means the names and forms are finite. We should go beyond all names and forms. Even though God is beyond all qualities and all-pervading, He will come in a form according to our sankalpa“.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

8.  What exist there is here

Once a group of devotees from Kerala planned to make a holy pilgrimage to Kashi in North India to bathe in the Holy river Ganga.  When they asked an old, saintly devotee in their village whether he would like to come, he said, “I am too old to make this journey. Please take my walking stick and after dipping it in the Ganga, return to me”.

When the devotees reached Kashi and bathed in Ganga, they dipped the old man’s stick in the river. Unfortunately the stick slipped and got washed washed away by the river’s swift current.

On returning to the village, they informed the old saint that they had lost the stick.

“Did you lose it in the Ganges?” he asked. “Yes; in the Ganges” they replied.

“Then it is no problem” he said; going to the backyard of his house, the saint waded into the pond there and pulled out his stick!

[Amma:   “For a knower of the Self, there is no good or bad, pure or impure. For him, there is  Purity alone. As for as he is concerned, there is no difference between the Ganges water and the water in the pond. But for ordinary people, all these differences do exist”.]

(From Awaken Children Vol-1)

9. What God looks for

[Amma:   “A true karma yogi is one who keeps his mind on God while being engaged in any work. We must have the mindset of accepting everything as God’s act. That is  true bhakti. If one is engaged in puja, but the mind is wandering on all external matters, that puja can not be taken as bhakti yoga. At the same time, if a scavenger does his job of cleaning by chanting God’s name and believing his work as a service to God, it is truly bhakti yoga as well as karma yoga”.]

Once there lived a woman in a street, who was very devoted to Lord Krishna. Whatever works she did,  she would dedicate it to God, saying “Krishnarpanamastu“. Whether she was sweeping her courtyard or bthing her child, she would not forget to say ‘Krishnarpanamastu‘.

There was a temple adjacent to her house. The priest in the temple did not like the woman always chanting Krishnarpanamastu.  He could not bear her saying it while throwing the garbage. He used to scold her for her behavior but she did not react.

One day, the woman through a handful of cow dung away from her house and unfortunately, it fell inside the temple front yard. The priest heard her saying Krishnarpanamastu while the cow dung fell in the temple. He got very furious. He caught hold of the lady and dragged her into the temple; he made her cleanup the dung and wash the area. Then he gave a few beatings to the women and chased her away.

When the priest woke up from the bed the next day, he could not move his hand. He was shocked. He cried in pain and prayed to God to cure him. That night, God appeared in his dream and said, “I cherish the cow dung thrown by the woman more than the sweet pudding you offered to me; what you do in the temple for me is not puja, but whatever the woman does is indeed puja for me. I cannot bear the woman suffering under your ill treatment. Only if you fall at the feet of the woman and beg her parden, your hand will get alright”.

10. Nature of God

Once a king and his minister were discussing about Puranas. Referring to the Story of the Elephant King Gajendra, whose life was saved by Lord Vishnu from the clutches of a crocodile, the king asked the minister rather mockingly, “I don’t understand why Lord VIshnu has to come personally to save Gajendra. Was he not mighty enough to send some of his soldiers to save Gajendra?  Rather, he could have dispatched just his Sudarshan Chakra right from his abode at Vaikuntham to kill the crocodile?  Why all the fuss to rush personally to save an elephant just because he called out by name?”

The learned minister did not respond immediately.  He waited for the right opportunity to explain it to the king.

Ther minister was very fond of the Little Prince (the son of the king) and he used to spend some time with the kid to play with him. The minister secretly got an idol of the prince made that looked exactly like the prince.

One day, the minister and the prince were playing at the Palace gardens. The king was standing at the balcony of his palace and he could notice the two playing at some visible distance away from him.  There was a well in the Garden. As the two were playing, suddenly the king saw his little son standing at the brim of the well and then suddenly falling into it. He was utterly shocked. But the fact was that the minister had indeed arranged to keep the idol of the prince there and pushed it into the well, knowing well that the king was noticing it from a distance.  The king was unaware that it was just the idol that was pushed into the well.

Gripped by anxiety and agony, the king got down swiftly from the Balcony and came running to the  garden, shouting for help.  When he arrived at the spot, he was surprised and relieved to see his little son there, holding hands with the minister.

“Oh! What happened here? I saw my son falling into the well and hence I came rushing” said the king.

The minister said smilingly, “Oh revered king, what is the need for you to personally come rushing here to save your son? Won’t it be enough if you call your security guards and send them to save your child from drowning?”

The king said, “What do you mean? How can I remain cool and issue order my soldiers to do something when my own son is drowning here?”

The minister said, “That is precisely what Lord Vishnu did when he heard the cries of the elephant Gajendra!  For the lord, Gajendra was just like a son! Every living being is like His son and daughter! When any of them cry to Him for help, how can’t he help but to rush personally for saving him/ her! That is the nature of God”.

11. What God looks for (2)

Once there lived a poor laborer who was a deep devotee of Lord Krishna.  It was his regular habit to visit the temple of Lord Krishna adjacent to his house every evening after his daily jobs were over.  He would promptly present himself at the time of deeparadhana (vesper service) and would feel spiritually surcharged; he would not miss this habit.

One day, due to extra work, he was held up late at his workplace.   When he rushed to the temple, the deeparadhana had been completed and the priest was coming out. The laborer felt very disappointed for having missed to see the deeparadhana.  He stood there with a sunken face.

The priest noticed the man’s disappointment. He knew that he was a very regular visitor to the temple who was always present at deeparadhana time and watched it with rapture. The priest was deeply impressed by the devotion of the poor laborer.

He went close to him and said, “I am doing deeparadhana daily to the Lord. I will give all the punya (accrued merits)  of doing this service for lord to you. Will you please give me the punya of your longing for God to me?”

The laborer happily agreed to this proposition.

On that night, Lord Krishna appeared in the laborer’s dream. He said, “To day, you have done a foolish thing. Why did you exchange the punya of your deep love on me to that priest for his act of doing deeparadhana? After all, he is doing it as a part of his job as a priest. His merits of doing this procedural service to me can never equal the love and devotion that comes from your pure heart.”

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

12. What God looks for (3)

Once there lived a Brahmin who was well versed in scriptures and he was a deep devotee of Divine Mother. Wherever he went, Devi too would go with him. Though others could not see Devi, the Brahmin would see her and even converse with her.

One day, he was undertaking a pilgrimage and Devi too was following him. At one place, the Brahmin happened to see whether Devi was coming behind him as usual, he was surprised to notice her missing. He started walking back in search of Devi. After going back some considerable distance he noticed that Devi was sitting in a platform inside the hut of an untouchable man.  The untouchable was actually worshiping Devi by placing a sword and Trishul on the platform, deeply involved in his prayerful worship. Devi was patiently sitting in front of him as long as his worship was continuing and was blessing him by accepting his worship with a smiling face. Once the pooja ended, Devi came out of the hut to be with the brahmin.

The Brahmin said, “Mother, I know how stressful it would have been for you to sit  so long in front of that untouchable low caste person who did some dubious worship without knowing any mantra or tantra. Please do not do such things again”.

Hearing this Devi smiled and said, “I have been with you all along and still you have not understood my nature.  I always look at the heart of the devotee. I have no discrimination based on someone being higher or lower in social order. Whosoever calls me with total love and devotion, I would go there.  I value pure, guileless love more than scriptural knowledge. I don’t want to follow you hereafter as you have not even grasped this basic nature of mine”, So saying Devi disappeared.

[Amma:   “The moment egoism and differentiation rises up in a devotees’ heart, he gets distanced from God immediately.”]

13. Your responsibility

Once a person who lead a life of righteousness and accumulated punya (fruits of good karmas) in this world died and went to heaven on account of his goodness.

There one day he noticed a strange shop; the shop carried a board :”All goodness and wealth are available here for buying free of cost”. The God himself was the seller in the Shop. The man went inside the shop, bowed to God and said, “May I get happiness and peace for all the people of mankind from this shop?”

The God immediately gave him a bag full of seeds. The man said, “Well, I am afraid I have not asked for any seeds”.

God smiled and said, “My son, whatever you have asked for is available here, but only in seed form. It is up to you to put all efforts to grow them into trees and then pluck the fruits of happiness and peace from them!”

[Amma:   “All of us in this world possess the seeds of goodness inside us, given by God.  They are indeed in the form of ‘bija’, the seed . It is up to us to sow them, give water and nourishment and and take due care of them, they will grow big and flower one day. Then the fragrance will spread all around and the life will be blessed. “]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

14. The right person

Once there lived a Sadhu, who was a great devotee of God. He was extremely humble and lived a life immersed in the bliss of devotion to God. Lots of people came to him in search of peace; they became his disciples and devotees.  He was extremely popular and revered in that locality.

One day a Pundit came to see him.

The pundit too was somewhat famous for his scholarship and his knowledge of the scriptures. He was a very proud man; he was extremely argumentative and he loved engaging others into arguments. He derived lots of joy in defeating them in intellectual arguments based on kis knowledge on scriptures.

The pundit did not like the popularity of the Sadhu, who, according to his judgement, would not even have rudimentary knowledge of scriptures.  He wanted to establish his superiority there.

He spoke the Sadhu: “Swamy, I will be glad to have a debate with you on the matter of God”. The sadhu said with folded hands, “O revered Pundit, I have the least knowledge about scriptures. You are a great scholar, I cannot even stand before you and talk on the matters of spirituality. What do I know? I know nothing.”

The Pundit felt proud and happy. He said: “If you are not inclined to debate with me, will you give me a letter stating that you have accepted defeat from me on the matters of God?”

“Definitely” said the Sadhu. He got a letter prepared as wished by the pundit, signed it and gave it.

The Pundit went to attend a large Conference of scholars and spiritual seekers where various matters of scriptures were being expounded.  There were seminars, panel discussions and debating sessions. The pundit spoke in a session and said, “Perhaps you people are already aware of my extensive knowledge in our holy scriptures. In fact very recently I met this Sadhu in such and such place. I don’t know why, so many people throng to him and show lots of reverence to him. When I met him, this sadhu really got scared of me! He gave me a letter stating that he has accepted defeat from me on the matters of knowledge about God! Here is the letter signed by him!’

He circulated the letter amid his audience. People went through the letter and started talking very excitedly amid themselves. Some of them laughed.

“Why are you feeling so excited? Why do you laugh?” asked the pundit.

Some of them got up and said, “Sir, we are indeed extremely glad to see this letter. All along, we have been searching for the right person to guide us on spiritual matters. We are glad that we came to know who it is, today”.

“Good. You have understood that it is me. Right?” said the pundit.

“No Sir; Not you. We meant the Sadhu who gave you the letter. Even though we have been studying and discussing scriptures, we also know that God cannot be found through scriptures. We know that knowing God by real personal experience is what really matters, and for such a realized person, scriptures are not really of any value. Humility is the hallmark of such a person.  At last, we have now understood that the Sadhu must be the true knower of God! We are all eager to go and meet him and get his blessings!” said the people in the gathering.

(From Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

15.  For the fun of it

Once a prince was playing hide and seek with his friends in the garden adjacent to his palace. At one point of time, the prince was the catcher. He kept his eyes closed and all his friends ran away to hide themselves in different places. The Prince started looking around for them. One by one, he caught a few of the boys from their hiding places. But a couple of them could not be easily located. The prince was frantically running around here and there to find out where they were hiding.

Watching this, one of the guards said, “Your majesty. You are a Prince and if you can’t find your friends, it is enough if you just issue an order loudly and they will have to come out of their hiding places. Why should you waste your time running in search of them like this?”

The prince said, “What you say is true. But there won’t be any fun in the game if I do so!”

[Amma:   “When God takes an avatar, he accepts the nature of human beings and comes in such a form to earth.  It is his lila (divine play) to be among the human beings. He tends to demonstrate knowledge and ignorance, power and weakness in this divine play.  We can observe that these avatars too undergo pains and pleasures, problems and resistances in their lives like ordinary human beings. Only then they could mingle easily with others  and relate with them. Once they have opted to play this game, they should change the rules in between, should they?”]

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

16.  The hands

Once  in a village, there was a prominent statue of a famous saint. The statue was sculpted in such a way showing the saint extending both the hands. An inscription at the base of the statue read “Come into my hands”.

As years passed, both the hands of the statue got broken.  The villagers felt bad about it. Even though the hands were broken, the inscription below the statue was still prominent and clear. Some villagers felt that the old statue should be removed and a new one of the saint with extended hands must be installed again there. Some other people said, “There is no need to discard this statue. It is enough we we repaired it to attach two hands.”

An old villager came there and intervened in the arguments. He said, “There is no need either to change the statue or fix new hands.”

If we don’t do it, then the inscription saying ‘Come into my hands’ looks meaningless and awkward” said some people.

The old man said, “That’s okay. It is enough if we add another sentence under it like this: “I have no other hands except yours. My hands are nothing but your hands”.

[Amma:   “God has no separate hands other than ours. He acts only through us. Hence we should bring God in our hands; in our legs; in our tongues and in our hearts. This way we must transform ourselves to God.”]

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Vol.2)

 

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.

 

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

1.   Sacrifice for higher purpose

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

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

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

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

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

(Matruvani May 2009)

2.  Natural action

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

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

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

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

3.  I too will

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2018)

4. The most beautiful person

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Malayalam Matruvani June 2017)

5. The real test of Graduation

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

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

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

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


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

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

6. The cracked glass pane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Matruvani Tamil Dec 2016)

7. Sharing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.    No you and me

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

The man said, “It is me”.

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

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

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

He said, “It is you”.

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

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

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

10. How a beggar became king

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

(Singapore Satsang 02/05/19)

11.  A simple act of love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. The compassionate husband

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

13.  Sympathy and empathy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14.  Mother’s hands

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

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

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

“No” said the young man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15.   A few compassionate words

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

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

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

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

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

(Oliyai Nokki-Tamil-Vol 2)

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

1.   The flow of compassion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Sharing

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

Amma narrated the following real incidence from her childhood:

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

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

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

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

3.   The compassionate daughter

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

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

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

This infuriated the landlord.

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

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

4.   The Compassionate Shopkeeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But why collect those worthless seashells?”

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

(Amma Onam Satsang – Monday 4/9/17)

5.   Compassion, Punya & Selfishness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yama said “Alright; call the carrot here”.

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

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

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

(Amma Friday  Satsang – 08/9/17)

6.  For the sake of others

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

7.  The Dead dog

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

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

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

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

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

“Did you remove it?”

“No Swamy”

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

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

8.   Success and failure

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

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

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

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

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

(Malayalam Matruvani July 2017)

9.  The 3 magic words

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 30/8/2016)

10.  On a bitterly cold night

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

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

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

The second man thought, “That person is from the country that has always fought against us. I wouldnít dream of using my wood to make him comfortable!”

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

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

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

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

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

11.  Left behind

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s New year day Satsang 2016)

12. Deserving the gift of an apple from Amma

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

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

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

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

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

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

13.   The book on Compassion

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

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

The saint simply smiled and did not give a reply.

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

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

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

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

(Matruvani – Purattasi – 2008)

14.  The dying mother

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15.   Where is God?

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

He followed them.

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

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

(English Matruvani Sept 2016)