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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 Karma / Fate – Part 1 (7 more stories)

1.  The fruit of Karma returns anyway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  The lost wealth

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

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

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

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

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

The accountant was shocked to hear it.

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

3.  What is the real cause?

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

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

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

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

Nobody could find out how the food poisoning happened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma US Tour Satsang June 2016)

4.  Escaping death?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

5. Destined to happen

Amma narrated the following real incidence.

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Pitying the queen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.  Cyclic reaction!

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki – Tamil  Vol 2)

7.  The ropes

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

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

1.  Living in the present

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.   On a cold night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.  Regret – either way!

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

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

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

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

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

So both of them were disappointed.

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

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

4.  As you think

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Tamil Oliyai Nokki- VOl 3)

5.  Wisdom from parrot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  The subtle aspect of dharma

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-1 Tamil)

7.  Wrong choices

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

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

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

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

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

(Tuesday Satsang 15/9/2015)

8.  What is natural is easy

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

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

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

9.  The costly gift

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

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

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

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

(Source: ‘Awaken Children’)

10.  Day dreaming

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

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

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

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

11.  The right place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12.  What the mind cannot avoid

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

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

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

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

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

The king readily agreed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-4 Tamil)

13.  Trusting falsehood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

14. Different perspective

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

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

He wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

15.  The power of thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2 )

16. When reality dawns

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 2)

17. The beloved puppy

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

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

The boy stopped crying and he started smiling.

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

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

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

18.  Yielding to temptations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soon police arrested him and put him behind bars.

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

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 8/9/2020)

19.  Being careful

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amma’s Onam satsang 31/8/2020)

20. Habits die hard

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Part 1)

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

 

Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – Part 3 ( 15 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: “Discipling 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.”]

 

 

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 Nature of the World / People – Part 5 (15 more stories)

1.  Being in the present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

2.  Be happy with what you have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The God permitted them to do so and disappeared.

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

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

3.  There is purpose behind inequality

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

4.  “My life is best”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

5.   Ignoring sane advice (1)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

6.   Ignoring sane advice (2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Unaruvin Makkale- Malayalam)

7.   Bad omen!

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

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

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

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

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

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

(from Amma’s Vishu message 14/4/2017)

8.  Destructive mindset

Once upon a time there were three countries which were antagonistic to each other always and were fighting with each other. Each country wanted to destroy the other two and both the kings and peoples of the countries nurtured deep rooted hatred against the people of other nations.

God felt bad about such a mindset. He wanted to bring the antagonism to an end and he called for a meeting of the representatives of the three countries. He said to them, “My children, why are you always fighting with and hating each other? What do you want? I am here to fulfil your wishes; tell me your problems and I will solve them”.

The representative of the first country rose up and said with total disregard to God and said, “First of all, we don’t even believe Your existence. We believe only our leaders. If you really want us to believe you, then you should demonstrate your power to us”.

“What do you expect me to do, so that you will believe in my power?” asked God.

The representative of the first country pointed out the rep of the second country and said, “If you destroy his country fully, we will start believing in your power. We are even willing to build temples for you and worship you in our country.”

God was shocked to hear such a statement. He could not talk for a while. Seeing his silence, the first man said, “YOur silence proves that you are not capable of doing what I asked. It does not matter. We will do it ourselves; perhaps it might take a longer time, but it does not matter; we will do it.”

Without responding to him, God looked at the rep of the second country. He knew that the people of that country were theists. So, he thought the rep will speak more amicably. The rep said, “My lord! Our request is extremely simple: The first country should no longer be found in the world map. Let that place remain empty. Just in case you are not going to do it, our army will definitely do it with your blessings and grace”.

God was shocked much more when he heard this. If such was the state of people who believe in God, what to speak of non-believers? He sighed and looked at the face of the third person. He got up, bowed his head reverentially to God and smiled. God felt some hope seeing his gesture. ‘Oh! I hope at least this fellow understands me; let me at least save his country from destruction’ — thinking so, he asked, “My son, what is your wish?”

The representative of the the third country said, “My lord, I just have no separate opinion of my own. I will be happy if you concede to  the wishes of these two persons.”

(From Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

9.  Priceless indeed

Once there lived a beggar, who was quite healthy and looked young too. However, out of sheer laziness to work, he would beg at the passersby, saying, “Oh gentlemen, please look at my pitiable state; God has created me extremely poor and I am an orphan. There is no one to take care of me. Please have pity on me and give me a few coins.”

One day, a wise man was passing the street and the beggar begged money from him too.

The wise man said to him, “Why should you beg like this? I will give your ten lakh rupees. You give me both of your hands”.

The beggar was shocked. He said, “Sir, how can I live without hands; aren’t they priceless?”

“Fine; then give me both of your legs instead. I will give you the same amount” said the wiseman.

“Sir, are you mad? How can I ever give my legs? They are priceless”

“Then give my your eyes. I will give the same amount”.

The beggar got irritated. He said, “Not just eyes, I will not give any part of my body for a price”.

The wiseman smiled and said, “My dear friend, you have been begging by saying God had created you a pauper. But now you say your legs, hands, eyes and every organ in your body is priceless and you are not willing to give any of them for any money. Is it not now clear to you that God has given you a wonderful, priceless body? Using this body, why not you do work and earn your livelihood?  When you are quite healthy, don’t extend your hands for begging. It is nothing but utter laziness. God never loves anyone who wants to get everything given to him by charity. God does not like people who live like parasites in the society. Better find a job and live by earning.”

(From Arul Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

10.  The Solution!

[Amma: “Children, By serving others, you are blessed. In the same way, by doing evil to others, you will suffer. Let me tell you a story:”]

A person walking on the road, met a friend on the way. The friend looked a very agitated and disturbed. “What happened? Why do you look so disturbed?” he asked.

The friend said, “At the end of this street where taxi drivers park their cars, there is one driver who hits me at my back whenever he sees me. I have not been able to stop his behaviour. I am getting uncontrollably angry with him day by day. I want to teach him a fitting lesson one day”.

“Be careful; don’t do something hasty and get into trouble “ advised the person. But his friend said, “That driver’s behaviour has crossed the limits of my tolerance. I am going to give him a fitting punishment that he could not forget in his life”

What do you intend to do with him?”

“This is what I plan to do today. I am going to buy a country bomb and fit it on my back and cover it with my shirt. From tomorrow, that driver will not have a hand to hit me again. Haha!”

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-8 Tamil)

11.  The dress makes difference

[Amma: (When asked about her dressing up like Krishna and Devi during Bhava Darshans): “It helps people understand what bhava is. People have special preconceived ideas about Krishna and Devi and Their dress.  When one says “Devi” nobody will think of an ordinary girl. There must be a distinctive quality in the manner of dress. By wearing those beautiful sarees, crown and jewels, mother is planting an impression of Devi in the mind of the devotees and trying to help them to make their faith stronger in order to grow spiritually. Mother will make this point clear through a story:”]

One man was cutting down a tree which was growing by the side of the road. Another man who noticed it and said, “Don’t cut down the tree; it belongs to Government and cutting it down is against the law”. The first man not only did not listen but also started scolding the other severely. Actually, the person who tried to prevent the man from cutting down the tree was a policeman. He left the place immediately and soon returned in his official dress.

Even from a distance the man cutting the tree noticed that a policeman was approaching him. He stopped cutting and immediately fled from the place!

[Amma: “See the difference in the impact created when the policeman came in ordinary dress and later in the official dress! Therefore, special attire is needed to to teach ignorant people.”]

(From Awaken Children-2)

12.  Pride and its effect

Once a king who went to a forest for hunting, got separated from the rest of the party. As he was walking, tired and weary due to hunger, he saw some forest dwellers.

He asked them, “Which fruit is good to eat?”

They said, “Any fruit in this forest is good to eat. Even naturally bitter fruits are sweet here.”

The king was astounded and he inquired as to how it could be so. They said, “The king who rules this country is a repository of good qualities. Therefore the subjects are good-natured. Maybe it is because there is no one evil in this country that the trees give sweet fruits only. Nature is pleased with the good acts and qualities of the king and his subjects.”

The forest dwellers did not know that it was the king himself who was standing in front of him. Even so, they received him in a respectful way.

When the king returned to his place, he was brimming with pride. He was inflated with ego thinking that because of his greatness, even bitter fruits became sweet.  His manners changed; his pride made him arrogant. He started doing unrightful acts soon.

Later, the king went to the forest once again. The forest dwellers saw him while he was about to eat some fruits and said, “Don’t eat that fruit; it is very bitter. Everything is spoiled now due to the evil rule of the king of this country. Due to his wicked behavior, the subjects too are acting in a evil way; Nature has become displeased. None of the fruits here are good to eat.”

The king was shocked to hear this. He returned home thinking about all his evil actions with repentance.

[Amma: “Our character will be the cause of good and evil in this world. Knowing that, you should live cautiously. The actions of human beings are the basis of nature’s goodness”.]

(From Awaken Children-2)

13.  Too busy!

Once a man returned from office.

He found lots of letters delivered at the doors by the postman.  He collected them and started opening them one by one and began reading them.

Suddenly he remembered that it was the last date to pay the electric bills. He wanted to  write a cheque for the bill amount and he started looking for his cheque-book. As he started frantically searching for the missing cheque book,  he noticed that all the utensils, plates and glasses were lying unwashed after the dinner party he had at his house the previous night.

He started washing them one by one at his kitchen sink. While he was doing it, he noticed that the plants he had kept at the windows were withering because they had not been watered for the past couple of days. He stopped the cleaning work and started watering the plants. As he walked around to water various plants, he noticed that his car in the garage had gathered lots of dust as he had not bothered to clean it since a couple of days. He suspended watering the plants and went to the garage to wash his car.

Suddenly he remembered about the electric bill and his search for the cheque book! He also realized that he had not finished any of the tasks that he undertook that evening!

At that point of time, he received a phone call and it was his friend. The friend asked: “How was the day?”

The man sighed and said, “Don’t ask me. It is too busy a day!”

[Amma: “This is the state of affairs with most of us. Being busy has become a disease! Nowadays everyone including children say, “I am too busy”. But the reality is that there is no focus on the job at hand. Instead of living in the present, we live either in the past or in the future. Only when we learn to be in the present, we will be able to finish our tasks in hand effectively. Plan while you plan in the present. Once planning is over, undertake the task in the present. While planning don’t think and worry about future. “]

(Amma’s Monday Satsang 16/12/19)

14.  The hidden treasure

Once there lived a very rich man who had four sons. All the four sons were lazy and they lived an easy life rolling on  luxuries and spent money lavishly from their father’s earnings.

The richman who had come up in life in the hard way, was extremely worried about the future of his four sons. No amount of good counselling had any effect on them.

Worrying about his children, the richman got sick and soon he was in death bed.

He was constantly thinking of ways to inculcate some value for working and earning into his children.

One day, he called his sons and said, “I am not going to live any longer. I am sharing this secret with you. Please listen; I have got a huge treasure containing lots of gold and diamonds earmarked for your inheritance, I have kept them buried in four huge pots under four different trees in our orchard. After my death, you may dig them out and make use of it for your future”. He breathed his last.

After doing his last rites, the four men went to the orchard enthusiastically. They started digging the land under the shade of each tree one after the other. There were several hundreds of  fruit trees in the orchard and they did the digging under all the trees. However they were disappointed that there was no treasure buried anywhere.

One of the four sons said “Our father has squarely cheated us. What to do now?  Having dug so many holes all around the orchard, let us at least do one thing. Let us put fertilizers and manures in them and fill them up again with soil”. The others agreed.

Six months passed by. The fruit season came and all the trees, having received lots of nourishment through the manure, gave bountiful yield of fruits. The brothers could make lots of money selling the fruits.

They understood the real secret behind the treasure their father had hinted to them.

[Amma: “There is no doubt that divine grace is always there for the sake of devotees. But one has to really put effort to become eligible for that grace”.]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)

15.  The nature of children

Once, in a village, two little children were playing a game with a stone. The game involved keeping a small stone at the back of a hand, throwing it up and catching it. It had to be done 100 times continuously without fail to get 100 points. Whatever number of times a player failed to catch the stone, that many points will be lost. In the game, one of the children scored hundred while the other scored only eighty. As per the rule of the game was that the winner would give 20  mild beatings in the palm of the loser for having scored less by 20 points.

On that day, the winning child happened to give harsh beatings in the hand of the loser that caused considerable pain. The child got angry and ran away to his home crying. He went and complained to his mother that the other child beat him severely while playing with him.

The mother got worked up. She went to the house of the other child and started scolding him harshly for having beaten her son. The mother or the other child got very angry on the lady who came and made a big issue of it. She started scolding the lady. Soon they started verbally fighting with each other on the streets. Hearing the matter, the husbands of the two women came to support their wives. They started shouting angrily against each other. In the process, they lost temper and started physically abusing each other. Seeing the men attacking each other, lots of  village people rushed in. Soon they got divided into two groups, each supporting one of the men and soon it evolved in to a group clash.

Someone reported the matter at the police station.

Policemen rushed to the scene and brought the mobs to control. Once a semblance of order was restored, the Policemen started inquiring the cause for the group clash. Finally they came to know that it all started with the fight between two children.

“Where are the children? I want to enquire them too” said the Sub Inspector.

Everyone started looking around but the children were not to be seen anywhere nearby. As the parents started searching for the children across the village, they found them at the river bank playing together joyfully.

[Amma: “Children, unlike the elders, don’t get entangled in the past or future. They live in the present and enjoy it.”]

(Amma’s Tuesday Satsang 7/1/2020)

 

 

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

1. There is no point in carrying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Beach Satsang 2/1/2017)

2. The enlightened disciple

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

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

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

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

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

(From Arul Mozhigal-7 Tamil)

3. The essence of true knowledge

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

(From Arul mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4. Relinquishing is not easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Ammavin Anbu Ullatthilirunthu – Tamil)

5.  Wider vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

(From Amutha Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

6. Who is the right person to take charge?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

7. Camel is my right guru!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

8.  Obedient Disciple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do you feel intoxicated?” asked the guru.

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1 Tamil)

9. Guru’s tests could be toughest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-1)

10. Spiritual life is no cakewalk

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

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

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

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

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

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

“No; I have no desire at all”

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

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

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

“Yes; I want to renounce everything”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Upadesamritam-2)

11. The final test

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Not ripe yet

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

13. Sakshi bhavam (Attitude as a witness)

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

The guru did not give a reply immediately.

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

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

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

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

14. Guru’s teaching

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

15. Guru’s only advice

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

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

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

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

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

(Amma’s satsang 28/2/2020)

 

 

 

 

Humorous stories from Amma – Part 4 (15 more stories)

There is no dearth of fun and frolic in the company of a Mahatma like Amma. Amma narrates several humorous and funny stories that carry spiritual wisdom. Here are  more such little stories:

1.     Surmountable Problem!

Once there were two colleagues – a male and a female – working in an office at adjacent seats. When some serious issues or crisis comes up in the office works causing them mental stress, both of them had a habit of opening their wallet and looking at a picture they had kept there. They would close their eyes and then start resuming their work with revived vigor.

Others in the office who have been watching this for long were curious to know what picture did they carry in their wallets that could give them mental peace in moments of tension.

When they inquired, the man showed the picture and said it was his wife.

“Oh! You love wife so much that when you look at her picture itself you feel energized?” they asked.

The man replied coolly, “No. At the moment of extreme problem at office, when I look at my wife’s photo, I think ‘when I have been facing such a huge problem in life, is it a big deal to face this problem in the office?’. Immediately I get the vigor to surmount any problem”.

They asked the woman colleague. The woman showed the picture which was her husband and said the same about her husband!

[Amma laughingly said, after narrating this story, “If I say the story of only a man looking at his wife’s photo, the woman folk here would come and fight with Amma that she is not fair! So, I added the woman character too in this story to escape from complaints of partiality!”

Br. Shubhamrita, who was the translator of Amma’s satsang from Malayalam to English, while translating this narrative added on his own: “Of course Amma is always partial towards men for justifiable reasons, but she added the woman character in the story today  just to ward off criticism only!” Amma too joined the laughter when Shubhamrita added his quip!]

(Beach Satsang Fri 6/2/2015)

2.  Experience

[Amma: “Rational thinking and proper understanding are same. When you can think rationally,  your understanding increases and vice versa.  If you can stay in the present wilfully, your awareness increases and you get clarity in thinking. When you get clarity,  you can foresee hints about dangers and problems that are going to come. Let Amma share with you a story she had heard:”]

Once a correspondent from a newspaper came to interview a very successful businessman. The conversation went on like this:

Correspondent: “Sir, what is the secret of your success?”

Businessman: “Just two words”.

C:  “What are they?”
B: “Right decisions”

C: “How do you take right decisions?”
B: “One word”.

C: “WHat is it?”
B: “Experience”.

C: “How do you gain experience?”
B: “Two words”.

C: “What are they?”
B: “Wrong decisions!”

(Source: From ‘Ammavin Anpu Ullaththilirunthu‘ Tamil)

3. Owning the Guru!

[Amma: “A disciple must make use of the external physical form of the guru to grasp his internal subtle form. To know the subtle form of the guru, the disciple should have a subtle mind. A disciple, instead of grasping the Guru’s real subtle form,  serves only the external physical body, it may lead to dangerous consequences. Let Amma tell you a story to narrate this:”]

Once a guru had two disciples. Both of them were always competing with each other to serve the guru. Once, while relaxing in the bed, the guru asked his disciples to massage his legs. Both came and sat on either side of the Guru. The disciple sitting on the right side said to the other, “Listen; this right leg of the guru belongs to me and the left leg is for you; Is that alright?”

The other disciple said, “OKay. But make sure to confine your services to the right leg only. Never attempt to encroach on “my” left leg of the guru. Is that clear?”

“Fine; I will take care of “my” right leg.  You should ensure that “your” left leg should never come on “my’ way. Right?”

Thus settled, both of them started to message their side of the leg of the guru.  As the guru had already dozed off, he did not hear the conversation between the disciples and their ‘property sharing agreement’.

During sleep, the Guru turned side wise. Now the right leg was lying over the left leg.  This made the second disciple very angry. He shouted at the first disciple “You have broken your agreement. I hust cannot tolerate the right leg resting over “my” left leg. Remove it immediately, else I will show you my true color. Don’t blame me for the consequences later”.

The first disciple got very angry on account of this provocation. He stood up and said, “you arrogant rascal! Don’t throw any hollow words. Come on! Show me what you can do; if anything happens to “my” right leg, that will be your end!”

Both got worked up. They took two wooden sticks in their hands. The second disciple was ready to break the right leg that has insulted the left leg by resting over it. The first disciple was also ready to break guru’s left leg, if only ‘his’ property of right leg was hit.

Hearing this commotion, the guru woke up from his slumber; he was shocked to see his disciples standing at his two sides with wooden sticks in hand, with their faces red with anger. “What happened? What are you up to?” asked the Guru.

The disciples replied, “Maharaj, you just lie down and continue with your sleep. This is something between the two of us and you don’t have to bother interfering in this matter. We will settle it ourselves!”

(From Arul Mozhigal- Part IV)

4. Going through the motion

[Amma: “Even in the path of bhakti (devotion), certain amount of jnanan (knowledge) is essential. Rituals have their place and purpose in the practice of Bhakthi but their significance must be properly understood. Blindly following rituals will not really help in one’s religious practices”.]

Once there lived a person who was very systematic in his daily worships. He would offer milk, panchamritam etc to the deity, light lamps, chant hymns and prayers daily.

He had a pet cat in his home. While he performed the pooja and chanted the hymns with closed eyes, his cat would sneak in and lick the milk kept in front of the deity. Having noticed this once, he felt bad that the milk meant for offering to God was defiled by the cat. To prevent it, the man would catch the cat before commencing the pooja,  put a basket over it to cover it and thus prevent it from roaming around.

His little son would watch his father doing pooja daily and also noticed his practice of covering the cat with the basket. However, he did not know why he was doing so.

Years passed. The father died. So did the cat. The family tradition of conducting daily pooja to the deity came on the shoulders of the son who had grown up now.

The son too arranged the materials for the pooja, prepared milk and panchamritam and did every minute details of the pooja exactly as his father used to do. Suddenly he remembered: “Oh! The cat is missing!” There ws no cat in the house, but their neighbor had one pet cat. He went to the neighbor’s house, got their permission and carried the cat to his house for the sake of puja; he placed the cat by his side and covered it with a basket! He started singing his hymns only after that.

He made this ‘ritual’ a regular one, so that the ‘traditional’ pooja procedures established by his father were practiced by him impeccably!

(Tuesday Satsang 28/3/2017)

5. The closed case

[Amma: “Most people don’t have true faith. They are only in the grip of blind faith. Instead of devotion to God, what they have is fear and doubt. Even educated people won’t accept in God, but they have lots of faith in their car, house, TV etc. These worldly things can perish at any time and yet they have faith in them; but they don’t have faith in the imperishable atman which is the indweller in all beings. What a pity! Let me tell you a story:”]

Once in a village, an aged patient lost consciousness and looked almost dead. Everyone thought he had died. As per rituals, they bathed his body, adored him with a new clothe, placed him in a coffin, conducted the last religious sermons and carried the coffin in a procession towards the cremation ground.

People carrying the coffin suddenly heard a knocking sound from inside the coffin. First they were scared. Then they stopped the procession, placed the coffin on the ground and opened it. The person inside the coffin spoke in a feeble voice, with his eyes still closed, “I am not dead; please take me out”.

But the people around did not believe what he said. They said, “The doctor checked your body and declared that you were dead; The priest too had finished the sermons and given permission to conduct your last rites and bury you. Sorry. We can’t help now”

They closed the coffin, carried to the burial ground, dug a pit, buried the coffin and returned home!

 

6. Willingness to Share

[Amma: “Most people can talk eloquently about unselfishness and sacrifice. But when it comes to putting them practically in life, they would never do it wholeheartedly”.]

Once a man was telling his friend “I really want to serve the world unselfishly and become a renunciate”.

Noticing that his voice was dry and lacked any true emotion, the friend asked, “Do you really understand what unselfishness and renunciation mean?”

“Oh, definitely” said the man.

“If so, you should be prepared to share one of your TV Sets if you have two, to a poor person who does not have TV”.

“Yes. I am ready for it”

“If you have two cars, you should give your car free to one who does not have a car”.

“No doubt about it. I will surely give”.

“If you have two cows, you should give one to a poor person who does not have a cow”.

Now the man said, “Sorry! I cannot give the cow”.

His friend got  surprised. He asked, “Why can’t you give a cow? When you can share a TV set and a car with others, will not the same logic apply to cows too?

The man said, “No. That logic would now apply. In reality, I don’t have two TV sets or two cars. But I do possess two cows!”

[Amma: “Children! This is how our renunciation truly is! If someone comes to us for help, we would wriggle out saying, ‘I could have helped you if only I had this or had that’. But in reality, even if we are in a position to help others, we really don’t wish to do it. We will invent reasons for not helping them and turn them away”.]

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

7. Where did God hide?

Long long ago, when God decided to create the world, his idea was to create a nice place for him to reside. So,  he created this earth with beautiful mountains, meadows, forests, rivers, seas, birds and animals. He lived happily in it. Everything was going fine.

Unfortunately, God made a blunder one day. He created the human beings too!

From that day onwards, he was in trouble! Day and night people started complaining to him. They prayed for something or other. Not allowing him to eat, rest or sleep, people were constantly knocking at the doors, demanding something or other from him.

God lost all his peace of mind by the never ending demands of human beings.Once he solved one problem, another problem came up. The solution he gave to one person became a problem to another person.One person prays for bountiful rains. Another person complaints that his crops get affected by rain, his roof leaks and hence he wants the raining to stop. Whatever God did brought fresh problems to him and people ceaselessly complained.

God got fed up. He called his advisors and sought a solution to escape from people. One advisor told him to retire to Himalayas. God said people would find him there and soon come chasing him. Another person suggested God to move his residence to the moon. God said, “Dear friends; the problem with you is that you cannot foresee future, while I can. In future man will travel to moon too and find me there”.

His advisors fell silent. After a while, an old advisor came close to God and murmured something in his ears. God’s face brightened up hearing his suggestion. His suggestion was: “Dear lord, you hide yourself in the hearts of the people”. God said, “Yes. This is the right suggestion. Man will never search God  within himself and hence he will never find me out there!”

[Amma: “Children! God resides in the deepest recess of our hearts. He resides there in the form of guilelessness and pure love; Our mind and our ego hide his presence there; he is always there; we have forgotten that he is ever there”.]

8.  He is cured!

Once a physician came late to his dispensary to attend to the patients. As he entered into his dispensary, he saw a man with a miserable expression on his face, as if he was trying to control something with extreme difficulty. He was standing with his back tightly pressed against the compound and legs tightly close.

Before going to his cabin he asked the compounder cum assistant who was already there at his desk as to who the person standing against the compound wall was.

The compounder said, “Oh! That man has been waiting for you for the past one hour. He came here with uncontrollable cough. Since you were late, he wanted me to give him some cough syrup for his relief. I told him that cough syrup is presently presently out of stock. But he kept on insisting me for some relief till you come and attend to him. I took pity on him and gave him a purgative syrup for relief”.

The physician got extremely angry hearing it. “Are you a fool? Are you mad to give him a purgative instead of a cough syrup?”

The compounder said coolly, “Sir, my treatment has really worked. Look at him! He is not coughing at all!”

[Amma: “Sometimes certain wrong decisions we take in life might look might deceptively look right in the short run”.]

(Amma Singapore Satsang 2/5/19)

9. Cause and effect!

Once a man with a bandage on his forehead went to meet his friend.

His friend asked: “What happened? How did you get injured?”

The man said, “Yesterday my wife fell down”.

“If she fell down, how come you have injury on your forehead?”

“When she fell down I laughed. She got angry”.

10. Searching – for what?

Once a person called up his relative over phone. It was a child voice that answered “Hello”. The person knew that it was the little son of his relative. He said, “Hi my little boy, How are you? Please call your father”.

The boy said in a very hushed tone: “Father is very busy”.

“Then call your mother”.

“Mother is quite busy”

“Both are really busy? Right. Call your elder brother”.

“Elder brother is also busy” said the boy in hushed voice.

“What my dear son! How come everyone is busy? Who else is there in the house?”

“Some policemen are there”.

The caller was intrigued. He said, “Then call one of the policeman”.

“No. They are also busy!”

“Whaaat?  Then who else is there in the house?”

“Fire service men are there”.

“I wonder what is wrong there. Call one of them”

“They are also very busy”

The caller came to his wit’s end. “What is the nonsense happening there my son? Why are so many people there? what are they busy about?”

The boy said in a hushed tone: “They are all busy searching for me!”

[Amma: “People search for happiness everywhere, but the real source of happiness is within us”.]

11.  Identify yourself!

Once a new teacher came to the Biology class. He was teaching about different birds, their features, food and hunting habits etc. He announced: “Tomorrow there will be a midterm test on this subject. You have to do more self-study on this subject yourself. Let me tell you beforehand that the test could be somewhat unconventional so as to test how well you have grasped the subject.”

One student studied the textbook and also memorized the standard questions and answers on the subject.  He was quite confident to score good mark in the crucial test.

The next day, the new teacher had kept some five curated and stuffed models of birds on the table, with their bodies fully covered and only their legs and claws exposed.

The question paper read: “Identify the birds by their legs and write salient details of each bird giving their features, habitats, flying capacity and food habits”.

The student, who was all along used to only conventional exams was very upset and angry because he could never imagine such an unconventional way of testing the students. He felt it was not at all fair to conduct a test like this.

He walked angrily towards the new teacher, threw his empty answer paper on his table and said, “Sir, we are not used to these types of exams. It is not right to force such a surprise test on us. I am sorry to tell you that it is very unfair to make us fail or lose marks this way. I am protesting against this test and I am going to walkout without writing this test”.

He stomped out of the room. When he was near the entrance, the new teacher shouted, “Hey! What is your name and roll number?”

The boy promptly turned back, lifted up his pants up to his knees and said, “Sir, Look at my legs and find out yourself!”

 

12.  You get what you deserve

Once a rishi was taking bath in a river. A little mouse that somehow fell into the river got drifted towards the sage by the river stream. The sage picked up the mouse and brought it to his hut. He somehow developed a liking for the mouse which interacted with him with love. Using his yogic powers, he blessed the mouse to become the  a beautiful princess of the country.

The princess grew up and the king started looking for the right match for her. One day the king brought the princess to the sage and sought his blessings and guidance for getting the right husband for her.

The mouse in the form of the princess fell at the feet of her erstwhile savior. The sage asked her affectionately, “What sort of husband do you wish? I will bless you accordingly”.

The princess said, “My husband must be the most powerful personality in the whole world”.

The sage said, “The entire world’s survival depends on the sun. He is indeed the most powerful ruler of this world. Shall I ask the sun God to marry you?”

The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can cover the sun from shining on the earth; is not the cloud more powerful than the sun?”

“Well; then I will arrange your marriage with the God of rains” said the sage.

The princess thought for a while and said, “But the clouds can be blown over and dispersed by the wind; is not the  wind more powerful than the cloud?”

“Well; If you think so, I will arrange your marriage with Vayu, the wind God” said the sage.

The princess thought for a while and said, “But I am afraid the mountain is more powerful than the wind, because it  can stop the movement of wind.  Is not the mountain  more powerful than the wind?”

The sage chuckled within himself and said, “Well; in fact there is something more powerful than the mountain too”.

“Who is it? I would be glad to marry him!” said the princess.

“A mouse. A mouse can dig a hole even through a mountain. Is it not more powerful than the mountain?”

The princess jumped with joy! “Yes, yes! I will marry the mouse!”

The sage laughed aloud; he sprinkled some holy water on the princess and converted her back to a mouse, so that she could marry a male mouse and live happily thereafter!

[Amma: “Every one of us are in fact the Atman which is essentially divine and beyond birth and death. Yet, because of maya, we tend to lower our real status by identifying ourselves with our body and mind and thus limit ourselves”.]

(Amma Satsang on 1.6.19)

12.  As you interpret, so you understand

Once two boys got a bunch of nuts to eat.  They went to sit under a huge shady tree at the back end of a cemetery. They took out the pack and decided to share them equally. Picking the nuts one by one they said, “This one is for you, this one is for me” and started dividing them. As they picked up the nuts some of them rolled out and fell close to the fence of the cemetery.  The boys noticed it and yet they continued with their job of dividing, leaving those nuts at the fence to be picked up at the end.

Just behind the fence, there was a road. A boy from the nearby locality came by bicycle towards that place. He heard some voices from inside the cemetery; he was curious to know what was going on. He stopped there, went close to the fence and sharpened his ears to hear the conversation inside. He heard “This one is for you and this one is for me” again and again. He was shocked.

With pounding heart, he rushed in his bicycle to share what he found out to the first person he encountered. An old man was walking by that side and the boy said, “Uncle! I heard the weirdest conversation between God and Satan inside the cemetery!”

The old man laughed and asked, “What did you hear?”

“I heard God and Satan sharing the the souls between them in the cemetery  saying “this one is for you and this one is for me!”.

“Whh..at? That is nonsense!” said the old man.

“But uncle, believe me! I heard it; please come with me; perhaps we can still hear it”.

Out of curiosity, the old man rushed to the spot along with the boy. Sure he could also hear “This one is for you and this one is for me” from inside the cemetery!

The old man was very curious to investigate. He went close to the fence and see whether there are any gaps through which they can peep in and see what was going on.  He found a small gap in the fence and when he looked in he could see a wide tree trunk and nothing more.  With difficulty he widened the gap so that both of them could look inside.

But they could still not notice the two boys there inside, as the tree trunk was hiding them. They heard, “Okay. This one is for you and this one is for me. We are almost finished. Let us pick those nuts at the fence and share between us. Then we are done!”

Hearing this the old man and the boy had the shock of their lives. Instantly they took to heels and ran like mad from the spot!

[Amma: “Limited by our own preconceived ideas and intellectual limitations, we misinterpret many things in life and suffer out of it”.]

13.  Perks?

Once, when the monthly phone bill came for the landline phone in the house, the husband felt shocked. The amount was exorbitantly high. ‘Someone is excessively using the phone here; it must be my wife’ he thought.

He called his wife and showed her the bill. “I am afraid you are excessively talking in the phone; it’s time you stopped it immediately” he said.

The wife felt offended. “No! I am hardly using this phone; whatever personal calls I make, I do it from my office phone and not from here! It must be our son who is doing this” she said.

The father called his son and inquired. “No papa! I don’t use our landline phone for my personal calls. I only make use of office phone for this purpose”. Then, after thinking for  while, he said in a subdued voice, “I think it is our new servant maid, who is using our phone. I have noticed her talking from our phone on a few occasions when none of us are in the hall!”

The father was shocked to hear this. He immediately called the new servant maid and inquired.  She admitted that she was indeed using the phone and added, “What’s wrong in it? I am also using the office phone, no?”

[Amma: “All of us nurture double standards in our life; whatever we do is perfectly normal but if others do it it is wrong!”]

13.  What’s the time?

Once, a person went to the house of an old friend. They were meeting after a very long time. The friends talked happily for hours reminiscing many old incidents across a couple of drinks. It became late at night. Suddenly the visitor said, “Oh! It is already late! Wonder how time just flew by talking about our good old days! What is the time like? My wife will be waiting for me and she will get worried; My mobile has no charge…” Saying so, he looked around for a wall clock.

The host said, “Sorry, I don’t have a wall clock or a timepiece. My mobile too is out of order… Wait! Let me find out the time for you…”

So saying, he took out a hammer from his tool box and started hitting the wall. After a while, there was a loud voice shouting from the adjacent flat: “You idiot!  Don’t you have sense that others are sleeping? What are you breaking at midnight 12 o’clock?”

The man smiled gleefully and said to his friend, “Got it? It is 12 o’clock now!”

[Amma: “Some people are so selfish and insensitive that they don’t care causing inconvenience to others in order to fulfil their selfish motives.”]

15. New Year Resolution

A group of friends were celebrating New Year Day. A youngster asked for a cigarette from his friend. His friend said, “Didn’t you tell me that you have taken a resolution not to smoke from this New Year?”

The youngster replied, “Yes. I am indeed stopping it stage by stage. The first stage is this”.

“What do you mean by first stage?”

“In the first stage, I have resolved not to buy cigarettes from my own money and I will smoke only by getting cigarettes from my friends”.

[Amma: “Children, our resolutions should never be like what this youngster did! Once we take a resolution, we should implement it, come what may”.]

 

 

 

Amma’s stories on Devotion, Faith, Effort, Surrender and Divine Grace – Part 2 (15 More stories)

1.  She gives, She takes

Once the king of a country did not have any progeny. He and his queen were extremely anxious about it. The king prayed Devi earnestly to bless him with a child. He conducted a yaga as per the advice of his guru and sought Devi’s blessings.

Very soon the queen became pregnant. The royal couple were overwhelmed with joy. Unfortunately, at the time of delivery, the child died. The king was crestfallen. All his hopes got shattered. He lost interest in living. Carrying the corpse of the new born, the king went up to a cliff of a hill with an intention of jumping from there and commit suicide.

When he was about to leap, suddenly Divine Mother appeared before him with all her glory and stopped him. She collected the body of the baby from the king’s hand. The king noticed that the baby suddenly became alive now and was kicking  and squirming. The king was overjoyed.  Shedding tears, he prostrated before Devi and then extended his hand towards Devi to receive the baby. Devi did not give the child; smilingly, she swiftly moved away from the the king. The king was shocked; he started running behind Devi, crying “Oh Mother! Please, please give me my baby; I beg you…” But Devi suddenly disappeared along with the child.

The king fell at his knees and cried uncontrollably.

Suddenly a thought dawned on to my mind. “Why am I crying like this? Whose baby is it? It was divine mother who blessed my wife with pregnancy. It was she who made the child lifeless upon delivery; it was she who stopped me from committing suicide and gave life to the child again. After all, it is her baby and she can do whatever she wants to do with it. How can I foolishly claim it to be my baby and ask her to give it back?”

The king felt real humiliation and surrender. He prayed to Devi again and again to forgive him for his foolishness.

At that moment, Devi appeared before him once again and gave him the child. She said, “Take this child; he will become a great king and a self-realized saint in future”.

2.   The right boon to ask

[Amma: “Stop searching for happiness; then you will realize that you have got rid of sorrow. WHen praying to God, pray for giving you a contented mindset under all circumstances. If you pray that you should be happy with whatever you get, it becomes the right prayer”.]

Once there was a devotee of Lord Vishnu who had the habit of praying incessantly for whatever he needed, liked and desired. Getting fed up with his attitude, Lord Vishnu appeared before him and said, “I am fed up with your non-stop prayers and demands.  I will give you just three more boons and that’s all. Nothing more in future”.

The devotee felt very perturbed hearing it. He thought deeply and then asked, “My Lord! Let my wife be dead”. His idea was that he could get married to a far better girl. God granted his wish and disappeared.

His wife died. So many people came to his house to inquire about the untimely death of his wife. His friends and relatives kept on speaking about her excellent qualities and consoled him. Only then the man realized that his wife was indeed an wonderful woman that he had never bothered to understand. He felt very bad about his hasty decision of asked his Lord to take away her life. He started wondering whether he could ever get another wife with such sterling qualities that his dead wife had.

So, he decided to use his second boon and requested Lord Vishnu to bring life back to her. Lord Vishnu agreed and his wife came back alive.

Now the man was left with just one boon only. He had already wasted two boons for nothing and he was extremely alert and concerned that he should wisely use the third one. He was quite confused as to what to ask. He consulted his near and dear ones on this matter. Different people suggested different things. Some advised him to pray for lots of wealth. Another suggested to him to pray for deathlessness. Yet another said, “If you don’t have good health, what is the point of living forever?” Yet another friend said, “Even if you have plenty of wealth, how can you enjoy it without the company of good friends? Pray for good friends”.

In such a confused state, the man spent several years.  Still he could not decide what to pray for. Finally, he decided that he should seek the suggestion from his Lord Himself!. He prayed, “My dear lord, please advise me: what boon should I ask you which will the best for me?”

Lord Vishnu said smilingly, “You pray for a  mindset that would remain contended in whatever you get in your life!”

[Amma: “Renounce and enjoy. True enjoyment and true bliss are inside your mind only. Learn to be contented with that enjoyment and bliss”.]

3.   Put it down

A devotee went to have a darshan of his guru. He wanted to offer something to his Guru. First he took a bunch of flowers. Then he had a doubt whether flowers would not be the apt and valuable offering to the Guru. So he took a few diamonds with him.

He reached the abode of his Guru. He was giving darshan to the public. He saluted his guru and took out the flowers for placing them at the feet of the guru.  The Guru said, “Put it down”.  He thought the Guru was asking him to offer the diamonds instead. Hence he placed the flowers on the floor and took the diamonds.  The guru said once again, “Put it down”. He got confused.

Having had the darshan of the guru, he was ready to depart. Before leaving, he prostrated before the guru. The guru said once again, “Put it down”.  He lifted up his head and looked at the guru. The guru smiled and said, “Yes! If you do not put down your head, that is, your ego down, you will not get self realization”.

(Source: Arul Mozhigal-6 Tamil)

4.   The thief who had the darshan of Krishna

[Amma: “For a person who, leaving behind all doubts and worries, attains dispassion and freedom from yearnings, his past becomes of no consequence.  For a person totally surrendered to the lotus feet of God, past loses all controls. He attains the vision of God and lives in its contemplation, leaving behind his past as a dream; God’s grace takes him along in his rest of life journey”.]

On a night, a thief was on his rounds, trying to locate places where he could steal. On his way, he noticed a large gathering of people where a person was seen delivering a lecture. He went closer to see what was happening. There a Pundit was giving a discourse of Srimad Bhagavata Purana (The stories of Gods, particularly of Lord Krishna from Indian mythology). He was beautifully explaining the childhood pranks of Lord Krishna at Gokulam.

He explained how beautifully was little Krishna adorned by his mother Yashoda. After bathing Krishna, Yashoda draped  Krishna with many ornaments and silken clothes. She placed a golden crown on Krishna’s head decorated with Peacock feathers and studded with  many precious stones. She fitted ear rings, put many ornaments having pearls and diamonds around his neck; golden waistband with tiny jingle bells and so on.

The thief did not know anything of Lord Krishna and his childhood stories of Gokula. When the pundit narrated the stunning beauty of Krishna well decorated with golden ornaments, the thief believed that the pundit was describing some boy from a filthy rich family whom he knew of! He thought, ‘if only I could find out who this boy is and where he lives, I can snatch all the ornaments he wears; then all my poverty and suffering will end; I and my family can live happily forever’.

After the discourse was over, he stealthily followed the Pundit. When they were in a dark and lonely place, the thief caught hold of the Pundit by his neck and threatened: “You old man! tell me where that little boy draped in golden ornaments lives. I will go to his house and steal them all. If you do not reveal the truth, I will kill you!”

The Pundit was dumbstruck in fear. The thief continued to threaten him; finally, he opened his mouth and blabbered: “Look! Don’t do any harm to me. What I told was just a story; the little boy is not somebody alive today. He is a fictitious character described in our old Puranas…”.

The thief was not willing to accept it. “You are lying. If it were so, how could you describe so vividly about the boy and the various ornaments he was wearing in detail? Will you come out with truth or prefer to die?” he threatened further.

However much the Pundit tried to convince him, the thief refused to believe. Finally, in order to escape from the thief, the pundit said, “Fine. Let me tell you the truth. That boy lives in the dense forest outside this town; his name is Krishna. Go and search for him there”. The Pundit thought that if the thief went deeper into the forest, he would get attacked and killed by some wild animal.

“Fine! I will go and search for the Krishna there. If I don’t find him there? I will come back and kill you” saying so, the thief left for the forest.

He roamed around the forest shouting “Krishna, Krishna…”. He was gripped by a single thought: ‘If I could locate Krishna and get all his jewels, rest of my life will be carefree’. His motive was wrong. Yet his mind was totally preoccupied with the beautiful form of Krishna adorned with jewels, as vividly described by the pundit. He roamed around the forest for three days, forgetting food and drink. His foot got pierced by thorns and sharp stones. He was bleeding. Yet he would not stop his search. He would climb over tall trees and look around for Krishna.  His mouth was constantly calling “Krishna, Krishna”. Finally, having lost all his energy, he fell down unconscious and yet his voice mumbling “Krishna, Krishna”.

Suddenly the thief regained his consciousness. With his eyes still closed, he felt he was lying at the lap of somebody. He could feel a soft palm caressing his forehead. He heard a sweet voice telling him, “Ah! You are gaining consciousness, good. You are indeed dead tired. Please open your mouth and eat this little food; you will gain energy”.

The thief opened his eyes. He was shockingly surprised to notice that he was indeed lying at the lap of that Krishna whom he was searching so frantically all these days! He could not believe his eyes. He rubbed his eyes again and again to check whether what he was seeing was indeed true! No doubt about it. It was the same boy he had heard described by the pundit. That dark skinned, unimaginably beautiful young boy, wearing a crown with peacock feathers, yellow upper cloth, wearing so many ornaments in his neck and smiling captivatingly at him!

The thief could not just turn his gaze away from the face of Krishna. Krishna lovingly proffered some food and unconsciously the thief opened his mouth; Krishna fed it into his mouth and he chewed it. Oh! What a bliss!

After the thief ate the food, Krishna helped him to get up from his lap and made him sit comfortably. Then, he started removing all his ornaments, bundled them up in his upper cloth and extended them towards the thief, saying “Didn’t you come in search of me for all these ornaments? Come, take them; go home and live happily”.

The thief still looking at the wonderful form of Krishna as if he was dazed was shook up by Krishna’s words; his voice choking with emotion, the thief said, “No Krishna! No. I don’t want these golden ornaments. I want you; Just you!”

What a somersault in the attitude of the thief!  Krishna insisted, “No, no! Take it. Having come in search of me all the way for these ornaments, I cannot allow you to go empty handed; take them”. But with eyes flowing tears profusely the thief said, “Oh Krishna, after seeing you, I have no desires left except for your company; Krishna! I want to embrace you; I want to lie in your lap again; I should for ever keep gazing at your face; please bless me for these; nothing more!”

[As Amma was narrating this story to her close disciples (as this incident happened in August 1984  and recorded by one of her disciples in the book ‘Arul Mozhigal-Vol 5) Amma stopped further narration of the story for a while. She stood up from the cot where she was sitting. Her whole frame and face glowed as though surcharged by a divine light. Her right hand showed ‘chin mudra’. A captivating divine smile adored her lips. Devotees around her felt immediately that Amma was acquiring and displaying Krishna bhava. It looked as if her whole body was vibrating in waves of spiritual ecstasy.  Her body was swaying sidewise. Those who were blessed to witness this happening felt that they too were getting immersed in a wave of devotion and great bliss.

With the assistance of a devotee, Amma with faltering steps, managed to reach the cot once again and sit there. Quite some time passed before she could regain outer consciousness. A devotee reminded her about the story and then she continued it, saying “Oh, yes; where did I leave?” Okay…:]

Krishna placed the bunch of ornaments in front of the thief and disappeared. The thief, maddened by the grip of deep emotional love on Krishna was shocked to see Krishna missing. He ran here and there, shouting “Oh Krishna, where are you? Please, never leave me alone; please come back, come back!”

But Krishna did not show his face to the thief again. He searched for Krishna like a mad man for a few more days. Disappointed, he took the bunch of golden ornaments with him and returned to his native place; he headed straight to the house of the pundit and knocked at his doors.

The pundit saw through the window as to who was knocking at his doors. He was shocked to see the thief standing there. “Oh my God! this fellow has come back to kill me after searching for Krishna in the forest in vain”. He was too scared to open the doors. But the thief continued to knock it; he said, “Oh Panditji, please open the door; I have seen Krishna! I have seen Krishna!”

Still shaking with fear, the Pundit finally opened the door, closing his eyes tightly, expecting the thief to pounce on him and stab him with his dagger. But nothing of that sort happened. He felt somebody touching his feet. He opened his eyes and saw the thief prostrating on the floor in front of him! “What is this? What are you doing?” blabbered the Pundit, surprised by the thief’s behavior.

The thief got up and placed the bunch of golden ornaments at the feet of the Pundit. Tears were flowing from his eyes; he said, “Panditji! I saw Krishna with my own eyes! He gave me all these ornaments! But, I don’t want any of them. You are indeed my guru who blessed me to have the darshan of Krishna; all these jewels indeed must belong to you; please accept them and bless me!”

The Pundit was confused as well as shocked to hear what the thief said. It all sounded like the blabbering of a madman to him. He believed he must have killed some rich kid and robbed all the ornaments. He shouted, “You sinful rascal! Which child did you kill and brought these sin-tainted jewels here?”

The thief replied calmly, “No master; I did meet Krishna. He made me lie on his laps; he fed me with his own hands; he voluntarily gave all these ornaments to me”. Seeing the tears flowing from his eyes and the total change of attitude in him, the Pundit got intrigued. He opened the cloth bundle, He could not believe his eyes! It ws absolutely clear to him that those were just not the ordinary ornaments human beings wear but were indeed the divine jewels that adore God.” It dawned to him that the thief had indeed met Krishna. In voluntarily, “He started crying “Krishna, Krishna!” He could not control crying; with choking voice he cried, “Krishna! Am I a greater sinner than this thief?”. He ran out from the house like a madman and rushed to the forest.

He too roamed around the forest, shouting “Krishna, Krishna!” He pleaded to Krishna: “My lord! Am I not fortunate enough to have your darshan? Have I not been telling your story and singing your glories for the past thirty years? I wonder what extra merits that thief who commits murders and robberies could have acquired for getting your darshan! AM I not worthy enough to get your darshan like that thief?” He fell unconscious crying aloud like this. He woke up, cried again and lost his conscience again and again.

But Lord Krishna did not turn up.

The Pundit felt dejected. He thought ‘What is the point in living hereafter? Let me commit suicide’. He tied his upper garment to a tree branch, made a noose and was ready to hang himself. At that point of time, he heard the divine voice of Lord Krishna:

“Stop my dear Pundit;  Calm down. You are indeed my beloved devotee. I am indeed very pleased with your services to me. However, for the time being, I am not going to come before you. You were wondering what extra merits that thief  could have acquired for getting my darshan. Shall I tell you the truth? He totally believed that I was a real child and not a fictitious character! When you described my beautiful form, he believed totally that I do live in that form and he longed wholeheartedly to see me. His thirst for seeing me had the power of doing severe austerities. Once he saw me, he became mad with devotion on me.

“But, think of you! You were narrating my stories and singing my glories all these years, but you were thinking I was only a character in the story of Bhagavata! When the thief threatened you, you told him that I never existed in reality except in a story; thus you denied me, the ultimate truth of existence, out of fear for your life! Where there is fear, I will not be. Where there is faith, there is no fear.

“You were narrating my story and singing my praise only mechanically; you never longed to see me. You were eating and sleeping in time promptly day after day, whereas the thief lost interest in his food and sleep while searching for me with a single pointed desire to see me.

“For the time being, be contented with hearing my voice. Anyhow, I will give you my darshan one day in this birth itself. Till that time, keep spreading my story; keep singing my glory. This way, thiefs, sinners and atheists will turn a new leaf; they too would start doing good for the world”.

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-5 Tamil)

5.   Destroying vanity

[Amma narrates this story from Upanishad]

With the support of Adhya Shakti, the primordial power of Brahman (God),  Devas won the wars against Asuras. However devas were gripped by vanity after tasting success; they became very proud of their prowess. Ignoring God, they celebrated their victory. God (Brahman) assumed the guise of a Yaksha (demi God) and appeared before devas.  Indra. the Lord of devas was intrigued to know who the yaksha was. He sent Agni, the Lord of fire to find out who he was.

Agni went to the yaksha to inquire about him. The yaksha asked in turn, “Who are you?”

Agni said, “I am agni. I am capable of burning anything”.

The yaksha put a shred of hay in front of Agni and asked him to burn it. Agni tried to burn it. Despite using his full power, he could not burn it at all. Humiliated, he went to Indra and reported to Indra that he could not understand who the yaksha was. He did not reveal his failure in front of the Yaksha.

Indra sent Vayu, the Lord of wind to the yaksha. Vayu introduced himself saying that he had the power to blow anything. The yaksha asked Vayu to blow away the shred of hay. Vayu used his full might to blow the hay but could not even move it a bit. Vayu too went back to Indra and hiding his failure, he said he could not identify who the yaksha was.

Now Indra himself went to see the yaksha; he went there with some humility as the other two, who themselves were powerful celestial Gods, could not grasp who the yaksha was. The Yaksha disappeared and in his place he saw Divine Mother (Parashakti) shining forth as a brilliant light.

Indra prostrated before her and asked “Divine mother, who was that yaksha?”

The divine mother said, “It was verily the power of God; it is because of its action through your hands that you could win the war. Whatever laurels you get are due to its working through you”.

[Amma : “Children, whatever you achieve in life is not your achievement but the achievement of Brahman.  Behind every success and failure of yours there is the will of  Brahman acting. You have to understand this. The true success in life lies in understanding the truth”.]

(Source: Amutha Mozhigal-9 Tamil)

6.  Worshiping stones

One small boy, who saw the priests worshiping Shivalinga in the temple cherished an intense desire to do the same, but he could not go into the temple as he was not a brahmin. The thought of performing a puja to Shivalinga became stronger and stronger in his innocent heart.

One day, he had an idea.  He took some stones and placed them  one on top of another. Considering that as lord Shiva, he started doing the worship. But the poor boy did not have the necessary ingredients to offer to the deity as the priests in the temple. Therefore he offered plain water, imagining that it was rose water; sand became the food offering and he used pebbles instead of camphor. After the worship the boy sat in meditation just as he had seen the priests do, all the while thinking of Shiva. Seeing their friend doing the puja to the Shivalinga, the boy’s friends too sat around him and imitated him, their eyes closed as if meditating.

Their parents, not having seen them for long time, cam in search of them. They found their children and saw what there were doing. Taking it only as an insignificant child’s play, the parents knocked down the Shivalingas. Seeing their parents, the children got frightened and ran back to the homes, all except the first boy. He sat there motionless. When he opened his eyes, he found that his shivalinga had been knocked over. Bursting into tears, he called aloud “Oh Lord! What happened to you? Where are you? What am I to do now?”

In a few seconds, Lord Shiva Himself appeared before the boy and blessed him.

[Amma : “This is the power of conception (bhava) and faith. The Lord was pleased even when worshiped with sand and stones. All those ingredients, though imagined became real, owing to the ‘bhavana shakti’ of the innocent child, and the lord was pleased”.]

7.  It is the state of mind that matters

Once there were two women who lived in neighboring houses. One was a munificent lady and the other a prostitute. The prostitute was a poor lady and had no other way of making a living. However, each time she committed a si, she prayed to God with great remorse for forgiveness.

The other lady, although she was munificent, always spoke critically of the prostitute neighbor to anyone who came to visit her. Having given something in charity, she would tell them, “look, that woman is a prostitute.  Don’t go there”. She would say this even to beggars. Having heard of this criticism, and the fact that the neighboring lady had talked about her manner of making a living  to all the visitors, the prostitute’s mind was always filled with repentance. She sincerely prayed to God for forgiveness.

Years rolled by and both the ladies died. As the munificent lady was well known for her charitable activities, her dead body was cremated with reverence and honor by many people who came to pay their last respects. But there was none to attend the corpse of the prostitute. Somebody took it and threw it into the graveyard, where it was pecked and eaten by vultures and dogs.

However, interestingly enough, the prostitute’s soul ascended to the heaven and the munificent lady’s soul went to the hell.

[Amma : “Children, do you know why it happened so? Although the first lady was munificent by nature, her mind was always keen on finding fault with the other lady.  Therefore her body, which did all the charity was cremated with all honors while, her soul, which was only keen on finding fault with others went to hell. In the prostitute’s case, it is with her body that she did wrong things but her mind was always intensely repenting and praying. Therefore her body was treated befittingly and her soul went to heaven for rewarding her pure mind. THis will be the result if we sit looking at the other people’s faults instead of correcting our own wrong attitudes”.]

8.  Why should I fear?

Once there a father and son in a village.  The son had an ailment and the father took him to the local physician. The physician told the name and description of a specific herb which was essential for curing the ailment. Since it was not found in the village, the physician told them to go and fetch the herb from somewhere and if they could bring it, he would make a medicine out of it and give to them.

Both the father and son set out in search of the herb. The wandered around bushes and fields to locate the specific herb in vain. They made inquiries at many other villages but none was aware of such a herb. They got very tired’ they were hungry and thirsty. As they looked around for water to quench their thirst, there was a well nearby and also rope and a bucket. As the father bucket and rope to fetch water from the well, he was surprised to note that there were some rich growth of plants inside the well at water level and he could recognize that it was nothing but the specific herbal plant they were searching for!

After drinking water, the father tried to get down into the well; but he could not, because the well did not have provisions to place his feet or palms to grip and descend. He did not think twice. He tied the rope around his son’s waist and holding the rope firmly he made his son descend into the well. “Be careful; the moment you touch water, start gathering the plants; call me and then I will pull you out; don’t worry”.

A few passerbys came that side and were curious to see what was happening. They were shocked to find the man sending his young boy deep into the well. They asked the man. “Are you a fool? Hod dare you risk the life of the boy by doing this?”

The man did not bother to heed to their words. His son plucked enough plants and upon hearing his call, he carefully lifted up the rop and brought his son out. The passersby asked the son, “Were you not afraid? How did you get this much courage to tie a rope around your waist and venture into this deep well?”

Without any hesitation, the son said, “What is there to be afraid of? Is it not my father who was holding the rope?” That was the level of trust he had on his father.

[Amma : “Children, we must have such a faith in God. ‘God is there taking care of me and protecting me; why should I have any suffering or worry?  When such a faith is there, there is no thought of even getting Self-realization. If somebody keeps doubting every minute, his devotion is no devotion. It is not faith worth the name”.]

(Upadesamritam-1)

9. True acceptance

[Amma : “Children, the type of devotion that most people have today on God is a devotion purely for wish fulfilment. There is no spiritual understanding behind devotion to God.If things happen as prayed, they love God; if things happen contrary to their expectations, they hate God. This cannot be termed bhakti at all! Never expect any joy from such a bhakti”.]

There were two neighbors living in a village. Both of them, despite getting married 10 years ago, did not have progeny.

One of them was extremely desperate to have a child. He would pray feverishly to God to bless him with a child.  Practically he would cry to God everyday for favouring him with a child.

One night, as he was sleeping, an angel appeared in his dream and asked, “Will you really be satisfied if you get a child?”

The man replied, “There is no joy in life without a child; I would really be satisfied if I get a child”. The angel blessed him and disappeared. Soon, his wife became pregnant. The man felt extremely joyous. Yet, soon he started worrying: ‘Is there likely to be some physical handicap on my child? Will he have some serious health issues? Will he be good looking?’ — such thoughts started disturbing him. Now he did not find time to think of God. His whole mind was occupied with the thoughts of the child.

His wife delivered a healthy male child. The couple felt extremely happy.  He started saving money meticulously for his son’s education. As he wanted to ensure the best life for his son, he started working hard to earn money. He also started demanding and getting bribes in his office so as to maximize his income. When the boy reached five, he sent him to school. His mind was always worried in thoughts like ‘What if my son fall down at school? What if somebody harms him?’

His son, as he started growing , proved to be very adamant and mischievous. He had least interest in studying. Now the man’s mind was preoccupied with the worries of his son’s future. As he got matured further, he stared developing bad habits; he had evil company; teachers started complaining about him to the parents.

As he joined college, he acquired drinking habits. He came to the house drunk, fought with parents and demanded more and more money for his enjoyments. He did not hesitate to shout at parents using filthy language and at times even indulged in physically abusing them. In fact his return from college daily became nightmarish for the parents.

He started selling off their wealth and possessions in order to get money to feed his evil habits. One day, he took out a dagger and threatened his parents that he would kill them if they were not meeting all his demands. Fearing that he would do as he said, they started borrowing money and giving to him, as they have already lost their properties to meet his lavish expenditure.

When people came to know that the no longer have any property to back their loans, none came forward to give any loans. Everyone in the village started hating and isolating his family. The son understood that he could no longer extract any money from parents. He ditched his family once for all and left somewhere, never to return.

The man and his wife lived a life full of misery and alienation from friends, relatives and neighbors.

Now let us see what the neighbor’s life was like.

The neighbor too had deep devotion to God. But his devotion was not materialistic, but spiritual. He prayed to God for God-realization. He cried to God for his vision and his prayer was to get pure love on God. He was not disturbed by thoughts of not having an offspring. His thinking was, ‘If at all I am destined for having offspring, God will give it; but my real attitude should be to see every child as my own”.

He spent in time in japa, singing hymns in praise of God; he spoke of God and stories on God’s divine play to the villagers. Everyone liked him and enjoyed his spiritual company. He spent a portion of his income on charities.

God was pleased with his demeanor of selfless devotion and blessed him to have an offspring.

His wife gave birth to  a male child. The couple were not really overjoyed and they continued to live a life dedicated to God. They brought up their child in the ambience of chanting God’s name and singing his bhajans. The child grew up to be a boy of very good virtues.  Everyone in the village liked the boy. The parents were not extremely attached or possessive about the child. They continued to be totally devoted to God.

Even during their old age, they remained independent. They received visitors to their house with love and care; they spoke only of God and his glories. They remained the most adored couple of the village; they remained happy and contented before they got the child; they continued to remain so even after begetting a son, because their life always depended on God.

10. The broken doll and the bad omen

Once the king of a country, as he got old, wanted to handover the kingdom to his offspring. He had twin sons. As per tradition, the elder son must be given the throne. As one of the twins was elder to the other by a time difference of 10 minutes, the king made that son the king.

At the time of coronation, a saint visited the palace. He blessed the twins and gave them each an identical doll. He said, “Please keep this doll with you in safe custody. If this doll gets damaged, bad times will befall on you”.

The new king called his minister and handed over the doll to him. he said, “Make sure that this doll is kept very safely. If something goes wrong with it, you will be held responsible”.

The second son gave the charge of safeguarding the doll to his faithful servant.

A few years passed. Once when the minister was handling the doll to clean some dust, the doll fell down and broke. The minister got very scared. Anyhow, with heavy heart, he reported the matter to the king.  The king got very angry with the minister. He was extremely worried that as per the saint’s prediction, he was going to face very bad times. “Despite my warning, you have failed in your duty to safeguard the doll. Considering the gravity of the mistake, I have no option but to behead you”. The minister pleaded with the king to show mercy on him, but the king was in no mood to relent. The minister felt that he could very well break the other doll too, so that one more person would not face a threat to his life like him. Any way, the king carried out his order and the minister was executed.

The king was constantly worrying about the loss of the doll and this worry started affecting his health. One day, he was affected by a stroke, He became bed ridden.

In the meanwhile it so happened that the second doll at the custody of the younger son’s servant too broke. The servant came and reported the matter to his master. The younger said thought about it for a while and said, “Don’t worry. Don’t inform this to anyone”.

The younger son thought that considering the possibility of arrival of bad days, he should engage himself in some philanthropic activities and divert his mind. He started a home for the aged. He opened dispensaries in villages to give medicare to poor people. Thus he initiated a few more welfare activities for the benefit of the country.

The king’s health went down day by day. It became very clear that he was not likely to recover and rule the country effectively. Hence the old,erstwhile king  decided that his younger son should be made  the new king of the country. The decision was announced and the coronation date was fixed.

The saint who came for the previous coronation and gave the dolls too was invited.

The old, retired king asked the saint, “Swamy, during my first son’s coronation you came and gave them two dolls and warned that if the dolls broke bad times would befall them. Recently both the dolls broke. My elder son got a stroke and he has become bed ridden. he is no longer fit to be a king. But even though my second son’s doll too broke, he has become a king now and his life has turned out to be better! How is this?”

The sage said, “When your elder son’s doll broke, he became highly disturbed. He even went to the extent of killing his minister for it.  Thus he committed a serious sin too. On the other hand, your younger son started doing philanthropic activities in order to counter the evil effects of a bad time. He acquired punya for his positive actions and this punya karma has come to his rescue to protect him”.

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 2019)

11. Mother is there

Once two children were practicing swimming in a swimming pool. The mother of one of them was also with them. The place where they practiced had just 2 feet deep water. As the children were about 4 feet tall, there was no risk of them getting drowned.

Yet, as they started practicing swimming, one of the boys sank into the water and started crying in panic. Immediately, the mother of the other child who was with them immediately lifted the boy from water. She asked him, “Why are you panicking like this? The water is not deep at all; look at this boy; is he not swimming without any fear? Why are you creating a scene here?”

The boy said, “I thought ‘if I sink into the water, there is none to save me’; Fear gripped me; my legs became numb and my head started swirling; I lost control and sank”.

The woman asked her son, “Why didn’t you get any fear?”

Her boy said, “You are next to me, no? If I sink I know you will rush to save me; that’s why I had no fear”.

[Amma: “His faith in his mother gave him self-confidence. It awakened ability to swim; swimming became a joyful to him. Having faith in God too is similar to this. We must have the strong faith that God, who is the embodiment of all powers, is always there to take care of us and that He will come to our rescue when we get into any trouble. If we have such a faith, then we can face life boldly without fear. When discrimination and faith go hand in hand, there won’t be any fear in life”.]

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

12. True longing is missing

Once Sage Narada, on one of his sojourns to earth, noticed a group of priests gathered at a place with depression and disappointment writ large on their face. He went near them and asked them about their concern. They said, “We have been conducting Yagas through many years, but we have never been blessed with the vision of God. That’s why we are feeling very disenchanted”.

Narada said, “It is indeed true that you people have been conducting Yagas methodically across many years; but tell me, have you ever had deep love and yearning for God? Were you guileless in your conduct?

“I know of a fisherman who longed to have a vision of the Divine Mother. He went and asked his guru as to what he should do to get Devi’s vision. The guru said to him. “Suppose you hold the head of a person by hand and immerse him in water and don’t allow him to raise up from water, what will be his condition? Will he not get highly agitated and become frantic to get his breath? If you could become so frantic and restless to have the vision of Devi, she would definitely come before you”.

“The fisherman took whatever his guru said to his heart; he left his home, forgot his concern for his body or life and jumped into water shouting “Oh Mother” aloud, with a single and firm resolution — ‘I will not come out of water until Devi gives her darshan to me’ .

“As he sank into the water, Divine Mother instantly appeared before him and said, “My son, what do you want from me?”

“The fisherman felt extremely happy; he said, “My dear mother, I want nothing; I just wanted to have a vision of you and that’s all! Let the world get what is good; Mother, if you feel hungry, I request you to come to my house and eat something!”

After narrating this story, Narada said, “You people must develop the same amount of deep longing and love for God as the fisherman had; you should become as guileless as he. Then you too would get the vision of God”.

[Amma: “A stage should come where one feels there is no point in living without knowing God”. When such a deep longing comes the life’s fruit is attained”.]

(From Amritamgamaya -Malayalam Part 1)

13.  Faith and surrender

[Amma: “It is possible to overcome fate by dedicating all our actions to God. We must always strive not to turn lazy and blame the fate. It is the nature of lazy people not to put any effort but blame the fate for all their ills”.]

Once two friends went to meet an astrologer and they gave their horoscopes to him for study. After scrutinizing their horoscopes, the astrologer predicted that both of them would die of snake bite.

One of the friends lost his mental peace and balance from that day onward. He was constantly fearing about snake and the arrival of his death by snake bite.  He became mentally deranged on account of this fear. Because of his mental disturbance, everyone in his family became very unhappy.

However, the second person was not overtly troubled by the prediction. He started looking for ways and means to escape from any snake bite.  He consulted many people on this matter, but soon understood that there was no foolproof way available for permanently escaping from any possibility of snake bite. He resigned himself to this fact and surrendered to God for saving him. Moreover, he also  took necessary precautions to avoid any encounter with snakes to the extent possible. He mostly stayed in his room.

Finally the day for the snake bite to happen arrived. He was inside his room, doing his prayers to God.  As the thought of snakebite crossed his mind, he got up suddenly. Inadvertently his leg hit upon a snake doll kept in his room. The doll had two steel wires protruding from its mouth to look like the tongue of the snake. The wires pierced on the man’s leg and caused a small wound.  Thus, by God’s grace, the man escaped from a real snake bite, but ended up by getting a little wound from a snake doll.

On the other hand, his friend got his whole life spoiled on account of his fear of a snake bite. Thus by leading a life of surrender to God it is even possible to escape from fate through the intervention of divine grace.

(From Oliyi Nokki-Tamil Vol 1)

14.   Feeling Krishna’s pain

Once a there lived a farmer whose life revolved around farming activities busily all through the day.  One day, he saw a group of people walking past his hut. He inquired where they were going. They said, “A discourse on Bhagavad Gita is taking place in the nearby hall; we are going there to listen it”.

The farmer too felt desirous of listening the discourse on Gita. He too went to the premises. The hall was practically full and most of the listeners looked well educated, impeccably dressed and sophisticated. The farmer with his rag clothing and unclean looks was prevented from entering into the hall by the program organizers.

The farmer felt very disappointed.  He lamented to God, “Oh my Lord, these people are not allowing me to listen to the discourse; Am I such a sinner that I should not hear about your holy story? If your Will is such, let it be; let me sit outside and listen”.

He sat under a tree. The discourse was actually in Sanskrit and the farmer could not understand a single word of it. He lamented again saying “Oh God! Have I done so much of sins that I am unfit to comprehend even the language?” He cried. At that moment he saw a large picture of Lord Krishna kept at the entrance of the hall. In the picture, Krishna was standing at the chariot reining the horses and he was turning his head backwards and looking at Arjuna and delivering his Gita discourse.  The Farmer kept on looking at the picture of Lord Krishna intently; he could not move his eyes away; tears started trickling from his eyes. He sat there transfixed and did not feel the passage of time.  Suddenly he gained outer consciousness and noticed that people were leaving as the discourse had ended. He too returned to his hut.

He came to the venue the next day too. He sat under the tree and started gazing Lord Krishna’s picture. His mind turned inwards and he started shedding tears. He did the same on the third day too. This time, the form of God started glowing at the lotus of his heart as he sat there eyes closed and his mind fully immersed in the divine form. Tears of joy trickled from his eyes.

After the lecture was over, everyone was returning home. The Pundit who delivered the discourse came out of the hall; he noticed the poor farmer sitting under the tree with eyes closed and shedding tears; his face was glowing in bliss. The pundit was extremely surprised. He wondered, ‘Why is this poor man still sitting here and crying even after my lecture got over? Has he been impressed and emotionally moved simply by hearing my discourse?’

The pundit went near the farmer.  The farmer seemed totally oblivious to the surroundings. His face was shining blissfully, reflecting the inner joy he was experiencing. A feeling of total peace seemed to be surrounding the farmer. The pundit touched him. The farmer slowly opened his eyes. The pundit asked, “Was my discourse so impressive for you?”

The farmer said, “Sorry Sir, I could not follow a single word that you spoke as I don’t know Sanskrit; but when I kept thinking about Lord Krishna’s compassion, I am unable to control my tears. See, he has been standing and talking to Arjuna and his neck is so much twisted in order to see Arjuna sitting behind! When I thought how much pain would the lord be having in his neck for doing this and I could not bear his suffering; I start crying”. When the poor farmer said so, he lost his body consciousness. He attained God realization. His compassion and guileless heart made him fit for receiving the divine grace.

When the Pundit and his companions heard the farmer’s words, they too shed tears. The Pundit felt a deep sense of peace that he had never felt in his life earlier.

[Amma: “Children, the Pundit may be very learned; the people who came to his lecture too could be very learned. But it was the guileless farmer who was blessed with the darshan of Lord. The farmer shed  tears feeling the pain of the lord. It was totally a devotion evolving not out of selfishness, but out of totally selfless love on God feeling the pain of God as if it was his own. It was because of such a pure and childlike heart that  the farmer became eligible to receive Lord’s grace“.]

(From Oliyai Nokki – Tamil – Part 1)

15.   Make a start – good things follow

Once a woman got  the first place in an painting competition. She received a nice chandelier as the prize. It was a beautiful looking chandelier made of glass stones.  She brought it home and hanged it at the reception room of her house.

As she stood there appreciating its beauty, she noticed that the paint in the room walls had faded and discolored at several places. She felt that the nice looks of the room on account of the chandelier was marred by the wall paint and she immediately took a decision to repaint the walls. Once it is done, she noticed that the curtains in the windows were pretty dirty. She washed them. Next she noticed that the carpet in the room had become very old and the coir in them were loosened at several places.  She threw the carpet away and spread a new one.

Thus the arrival of a new chandelier paved way for several improvements in the reception room leading to bringing in a new and refreshing look to the old room.

[Amma: “Children, like this, if we start practicing a good habit in our life, many other good qualities will come to us naturally.  Our life itself can turn a new leaf this way. It is so because God is the embodiment of all good qualities. When we acquire one good quality from Him, rest of them would follow. However that first step of acquiring a good quality is very essential.”]