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Amma’s stories on Unselfishness, Compassion & Sacrifice – 4

1. Equal Punishment?

Long ago, there lived a very rich landlord in a village. He was a miser and lead a life of utter selfishness with no compassion for the poor and the needy.

One day, he went to the village magistrate and made a complaint against another villager saying that he had stolen money from his almirah.

The person accused was extremely poor. When the magistrate summoned him and interrogated him, he openly admitted that he had indeed stolen money from the rich man’s almirah because of unbearable hunger in his family.  At the end of inquiry the magistrate gave a ruling that the stealer and the rich man should undergo imprisonment for equal period.

The rich man could not digest such a ruling. He made sure that a complaint about this reached the king of the country. The king called the magistrate for an inquiry. The magistrate spoke to the king, openly expressing his views without any fear, “Your majesty, while I punished the poor man for the act of stealing, I punished the rich man for his act of amassing money far beyond his needs and never coming forward to help the poor and the needy with his money and properties.  Even if he could not help the poor directly, he could have at least  come forward to donate money to charitable organizations who work for the downtrodden and the needy. He never did that too. Even though God has given eyes and ears to him, he could never see the suffering of hungry people; he could not hear the lamenting of the poor in need of help. That too is a crime according to me and that’s why I gave him punishment.”

The magistrate paused for a while and then continued: “Now I think it is wrong on my part to have given equal punishment to both the persons. I should have indeed given an additional punishment for the rich man for another crime — the crime of abetting a poor person to resort to stealing. Had he donated some money for the fellow villager whose family had been driven to extreme poverty and hunger, the poor man would no need to steal from the rich man’s house. This rich man indeed is the cause for creating a thief. That’s why he should have been punished for it too”.

[Amma:  “Accumulating more and more possessions is also adharma; it is a  sin. That’s why we should always negate pomp and extravaganza. By saving money being spent on such things, we should divert it to help the poor and the needy.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

2.   Compassionate request

Once a school girl took part in a prestigious competition and won the first place. The sponsors of the competition offered her a free trip to Visit USA as the reward.

At the award function, the anchor asked a question to the girl, “How happy are you feeling in winning the competition and getting the chance to visit to USA?”

The girl said, “I am indeed very happy to have won this competition; but I would be happier if I could get the award in cash equivalent to  all the expenses of sponsoring my trip to USA”.

“Why are you desiring cash? Are you not interested in visiting USA?” asked the anchor.

The girl said, “It is not so. My mother is a nurse. Last week I accompanied my mother to the hospital where she is working. There I happened to meet a girl of my age, and as I interacted with her,  we became friends. I came to know that she was undergoing treatment for cancer. It was shocking for me. My mother told me that her cancer  was in advanced stage and if at all she should recover, she should undergo more advanced treatment in a bigger hospital. Unfortunately, her parents are poor and they could not afford any costlier treatment. She would not survive for long in this condition. I felt very painful; such an young girl, who would have lots of dreams about her future, who is not still aware of her precarious condition, who believes she would soon recover, will be dying shortly because there was no money with the parents to save her.  Suppose this reward comes to me in cash, I want to give it to the girl’s parents so that they can use it for treating her. That would truly make my winning the  competition worthy”.

Hearing her speech, the organizers immediately took a decision to give the reward to her in cash and they made an announcement about it immediately.

[Amma:  “On this day of New year, let us all make a resolution to do at least one act that could bring happiness or comfort to others without any selfish motive.  Even if we are not capable of doing big things, it does not matter. A word of compassion, a friendly smile, a friendly heart that is ready to hear the sorrows of others — even such little things are good enough.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

3.   Compassion is more important than worship

Once a group of pilgrims were travelling to Rameshwaram after taking holy bath in the Ganga at Kashi.  They were carrying Ganga water in small pots for the purpose of doing abhishekam to Lord Shiva’s linga at Rameshwaram as per the traditional practice.

Somewhere at the middle of their travel route, they had to cross a dry landscape. It was a hot day and all the travellers were suffering from thirst. But unfortunately, they could not locate any source of water in the stretch. Since all of them were very particular to carry the Ganga water for Rameshwaram, they did not want to quench their thirst with the Ganga water in their pots. They somehow managed to bear with their thirst and moved on.

On the way, a donkey was lying on the road, breathing heavily. It was obvious that the donkey was fatigued by the hot sun and it was extremely thirsty.  One of the pilgrims felt pity on  the donkey which was at the verge of death. He decided to feed the donkey with his pot of Ganga water. The donkey hastily drank all the water in his pot and felt rejuvenated. The man felt extremely happy that he could save the life of a donkey with the water he carried.

However, the other pilgrims did not approve his act of charity. They said that it was totally wrong to ‘waste’ a whole pot of Ganga water which was really meant for doing Abhishekam to Lord Shiva. They said he lost all the punya of undertaking the pilgrimage.

The man said, “I don’t care if I lose all the good fortune of completing Kashi Yatra; saving the life of a poor creature by feeding it with Ganga water is far more more important to me than doing abhishekam to God at Rameshwaram; I saw God in that poor creature. Seeing its pitiable condition, it was just impossible for me to walk ahead without offering help.”

[Amma:  “Four things make an act of charity invaluable:  1)  Sacrificing one’s own possessions and comforts  for giving to charity (2) Donating  selflessly without expecting anything in return or without the intent of getting name and fame (3) donating to someone more deserving than oneself  and (4) Seeing God in the receiver, offering a donation with humility. We all must develop the above attitude and do good to others. If we do charity with this attitude, we will get satisfaction and prosperity in our lives”.]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

4.   Indebtedness

Once  a hunter shot an arrow tipped with poison on a deer. The arrow missed its target and hit the trunk of a large tree. Due to the effect of poison, the tree started withering. Soon, all the leafs in the tree dried up and the tree was dead.

There were plenty of birds, worms, insects, rats, and squirrels living in the tree all long. Once the tree dried up, almost all of the creatures left the tree in search of alternative places for their living. But one parrot that lived in the tree for long did not want to leave the tree, because of its indebtedness and emotional attachment to the tree that had supported it and nurtured it all along. Forgetting food and sleep, the parrot grieved for the death of the tree and continued to stay there. All the fellow birds advised the lone parrot that it was meaningless to keep attached to a dead and dry tree and urged it to move on along with them. But the parrot  stoutly refused.

The news about the parrot spread across the three worlds and it reached Heaven too. Lord Indra was surprised to hear about it. He wanted to test the parrot.

Indra came to the tree in the form of an old brahmin and asked the parrot, “Why are you so foolishly clinging on to this tree which has dried up totally?”

The parrot said, “I know by virtue of my austerities that you are none other than Lord Indra. You see, I was born in this tree. I grew up in this tree and this is where I acquired all my skills and instincts.  It was due to the protection given by this tree, I lived safely from the attack of predators. How can I discard this tree which has nurtured and protected me all along?”

Hearing this Lord Indra said, “I am extremely pleased to hear your words of compassion. I will offer you any boon you ask for”.  The parrot immediately said, “Lord, I will be extremely happy if you could bring this tree back to life and restore its original status”. Lord Indra agreed and sprinkled nectar on the tree.  Within moments, the tree started to grow fresh leaves and soon it attained its original condition bearing flowers and fruits.  Seeing this all the birds and animals which had discarded the tree earlier returned to the tree joyfully.

[Amma:  “If only all of us have the same attachment and indebtedness towards mother nature just like the parrot’s attachment to the tree in this story, preservation of Nature would become effortless. Let us develop such a mindset and pass it on to the coming generations.”]

(Source: Amritam gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.   Personal touch (1)

Once a new Managing Director joined his office.  He was welcomed by all the managers. The personnel Manager said, “Sir, we have arranged your room ready at the 20th floor. We have one exclusive elevator for your use, which will take you straight to your floor without stopping at intermediate floors”.

The MD took charge. After a few days, he called up the personnel manager and said, “Please shift my office from 20th floor to the ground floor”.

The personnel manager humbly asked the MD, “May I know the reason Sir?  Are you not feeling comfortable there?  Have we missed giving any facilities there?”

The MD said, “No. The office and facilities are good. No complaints. All my employees are spread across the various floors down below in this building. I am not able to effectively interact with them”.

“Why Sir? If you call any of them to your room, they will always be glad to come and meet you there!”

The MD said, “No.  I don’t want to sit on a high pedestal and demand  their attention. I want to interact with them all in a more personal way.  I want to know about them, their hardships, their family problems and so on more freely. If I sit in the ground floor, all the people will have to pass through the ground floor only when they come to the office or leave the office and that way, I will have a better access towards them through casual meetings too.”

[Amma:  “In a similar way, Avatara Purushas come to the earth for the sake of the common people. They come down to the level of the common man and teach them in a way they can understand,”]

(Amma’s Onam Satsang 31/8/2020)

6.   Personal touch (2)

Once in an office, a departmental examination was conducted to select staff who are to be promoted to managerial posts in the organization.

While answering the question paper, a very odd question caught everybody’s attention:

  • What is the name of your Manager?
  • What is the name of the office assistant who does errands in the office?
  • What is the name of the tea boy?
  • What is the name of the sweeper in the office?

Practically all the people who wrote the exam wrote the Managers’ name correctly. Some people did not know the name of the office assistant. More people did not know the name of the tea boy. Most people did not know the name of the sweeper.

After the exam was over, they went and met the chief of HR department, who was in charge of setting up the question paper. “We wonder what is the need for that particular question. It is in no way connected with our technical skills, communication skills or knowledge of office matters and procedures which are essential for management.”  they argued.

The HR manager said, “In fact it is one of the most important questions that carries lots of weightage.  You see, when you people become managers, you are not just going to manage your work and responsibilities, but manage all the people who work under you. You have to be people-oriented and how you interact with your staff at human level is of paramount importance in your success as a manager.”

(From Amma’s Vijayadasami Satsang 25/10/2020)

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Amma’s stories on Nature of the World / People – Part 7

1. Finding fault with others

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

2. Being in tune with the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

3. Dissecting a poetry!

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Oliyai Nokki-Tamil – Vol 2)

4.  The protector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

5.  Earning a livelihood

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

6. Dawn of Wisdom!

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

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

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

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

The young man immediately agreed.

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 2)

7. Demanding thankfulness?

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

8.  False pride

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

9.  Reserved judgement!

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

10.  What went wrong?

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Source: Amritam Gamaya – Malayalam – Vol 1)

11. Open heart?

Once there was a king who ruled his country very well and all the citizens loved him dearly.  Unfortunately, he fell sick. The doctors diagnosed that he had a very serious heart ailment and only a heart transplant could save his life.  Who would come forward to donate his or her heart voluntarily for the sake of saving the king?

The minister decided to call the citizens for a meeting and make an announcement about it. Thousands of people came and assembled in front of the palace, curious to know what the announcement was. The minister explained to the people about the seriousness of the health of the king and sought their help to save the king from death. He said, “I know how much you people love our king; I know, at a time of such a crisis, you would be willing to offer your service to save the king at all costs. The king needs a heart transplant and such of you who is willing to offer his heart may please throw up your hands. His family will be richly rewarded by way of land, gold and many other gifts for making this sacrifice”.

Immediately all the thousands of people gathered there lifted up their hands in unison. The minister was very impressed. He said, “Such a wonderful spirit can nowhere be seen anywhere in the world. However, we need the heart of just one person. To select that person, let me drop a feather from the top window of this palace. The person on whose head the feather falls, will be chosen for the sacrifice”.

He dropped a small, very light feather from the topmost window of the palace. The feather glided through the air and slowly coming down towards the crowd.  However, the minister standing at the window and watching the people down below noticed that as and when  the feather was about to descent on a person’s head, it mysteriously floated up up again.  Hours passed this way and the feather was still floating in the air, here and there, but it did not descent on anybody’s head.

Very surprised and shocked, the minister came down to find out what was happening.  He realized that whenever the feather above the head of any person and was about to land, the person looked up and blew air — “phoo, phoo” so that it drifted up and moved away!

 [Amma: “This indeed is the nature of people. What is acceptable in principle will not be acceptable if selfish interest is affected”]

12. Hidden treasure?

Once there lived a farmer in a village. The farmer owned a large farm grove where many coconut trees, mango and other trees were there.  The farmer also grew vegetables. He was a very hard working person; Day long he would work in his farm, watering the trees, putting manure, rearing new plants and so on. He would sell the coconuts and fruits from his farm in the market and earned very decently. He could lead a very comfortable life with his family in the village.

The farmer had three sons. He was extremely attached to them. He wanted them to get well educated, get good jobs in cities and become reputed citizens. Out of excess love on them, he pampered them a lot by buying and giving whatever they wanted. He gave them enough pocket money. He did not involve them in the physical labor at the farm grove and rather wanted them to study well.

Unfortunately his wife had a sudden death.  The farmer was immersed in grief. As he wanted to be a mother too to his children, his love and pampering increased multifold.

Unfortunately, his children evolved as spoiled kids. They got money from their father whenever they wanted. They cut classes in the school and went to movies. They ate all and sundry food at the hotels. They roamed around freely all the time without studying. As they grew up, they got into lot of bad company; Smoking, drinking and creating trouble in the village became habitual for them.

Unfortunately, the farmer realized his mistake only after they grew up as lazy, thoroughly spoiled and under-educated youth.  As they failed in their higher classes in school, they could not go to college. 

As the farmer’s worry about his children increased, he called them one day and said, “With no education and no worthy character, you won’t be able to get any job anywhere.  If you want to have any decent future, you have to start working hard right from now. You join me and assist me in the works in our farm.  Our farm can yield enough to ensure a comfortable life for you in future.”

But his sons, who were never used to physical labor all along, refused to heed to his words.

The farmer’s worry about his children affected his health seriously. He became bed ridden. No one was there to take care of the groves.

One day, he called his sons to his bed and said, “I don’t think I will live any longer. Two years ago, there were lots of robberies taking place at our village and surroundings. As I wanted to safeguard the money, gold jewels and other valuables in our possession, I decided to keep them hidden. I put them into 3 pots and buried them under three trees in our farm. I created some identifications too to know where I have buried them.  Unfortunately, due to my sickness, my memory has got affected. Now I just could not remember under which trees I buried the treasures.  My dear sons, I can die peacefully only when your future is safeguarded. You must dig those treasures and make use of the gold and other valuables to run a comfortable life.” So saying, he passed away.

The three sons were immersed in grief. They called their relatives and other villagers and conducted the last rights for their loving father.

After all the ceremonies were over, they sat together and discussing what to do next. 

The elder brother said, “We badly need the gold and money that are buried in our groves. Only with that we can resume our old, carefree life, smoking, drinking and enjoying life. For that, we have to necessarily dig out the pots, wherever they have been buried.  Unfortunately, we have got to do it ourselves only, as we cannot employ anybody for obvious reasons”. His brothers nodded their heads.

The next morning, with crow bars and shovels, each one of them went under a tree and started digging all around the tree. As they did not find the pots, they moved to another tree and started digging. They got tired easily and were sweating and panting profusely as they were not used to physical labor so far.

As days passed by, they had finished digging around all the trees in the grove, but could not find any treasure. They felt dejected. Anyway, the elder brother said, “So it is clear that we don’t have any treasure to rely on for leading easy life. Now our survival is at stake. The trees are not yielding fruits as they used to when our father was healthy and hard working. Now that we have dug the soil all around, let us do watering; let us put some manures too. Let us seed  some new vegetables. What else to do?”

Because of their hard physical labor in the past few days, they noticed that their laziness was gone; they felt some joy in exerting themselves. They felt good hunger and slept very well at nights. They noticed that their overall health and spirit were much better now. Hence, they started to work further in the farm grove the whole day. Soon, the coconut trees stared bearing lots of coconuts; the mango trees yielded lots of fruits. They could sell them in the market and earn good money for their comfortable living.

They finally understood that their father was indeed right; by working hard on their own of land, they could literally get gold and ensure a very comfortable living, though the gold was nut found buried in pots.