Buddha Tales – Power of chanting Lord’s name

Value          : Devotion
Subvalue   : faith, conviction
 
Once, Lord Buddha knocked at the door of a lady for alms. While offering the food, the lady asked Him, “Why do people remember God by chanting his Name and attending satsang? Are they important?”
Lord Buddha smiled, and promised that He would tell her the answer the next day. He also requested her to prepare plenty of Kheer ( a liquid rice pudding), to be able to answer the question she had asked. The lady did not understand why Lord Buddha needed the Kheer. But since she was very curious, she decided to prepare the Kheer for Him.
The next day, Lord Buddha came and requested for alms in His bowl. The lady brought the big vessel of Kheer she had prepared, and stepped forward to pour the Kheer in the bowl. She was surprised to find that the bowl was full of mud. There was no space to pour the Kheer. She did not know what to do.
Lord Buddha instructed her to pour the Kheer on top of the mud. She followed the instructions and began pouring the Kheer into the bowl.
At first, the Kheer spilled on the ground, but gradually, due to the force with which the Kheer flowed into the bowl, the mud began to spill out as well. Finally, all the mud spilled out, and the bowl was filled to the top with Kheer. She was puzzled about why Lord Buddha had asked her to pour and waste so much of the Kheer.
Lord Buddha then explained, “I have just showed you the importance of chanting (the Lord’s Name) and satsang on the impure mind.
When we chant and attend satsang, we constantly pour the positive thought of God’s Name into our mind. Even if our mind is at first filled with bad qualities like anger, jealousy, greed, lust, etc., these slowly wash away, and it is then filled with God’s Name that is full of purity and joy like God is.”
The lady understood instantly and started chanting God’s Name with faith everyday.
Learning: 
The above story explains how chanting the Lord’s Name, and attending satsang purify the mind. Like the lady, we too, can start chanting God’s Name, and try to be in satsang of saints or at least spiritual books, to get rid of our negative feelings and experience joy everyday.
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Nagarjuna and his begging bowl

Value     : Honesty

Subvalue : obedience, discipline

 

A beautiful story is told about a great mystic, Nagarjuna:

He was a fakir, but he was loved by all real seekers. A queen asked him one day to come to the palace, to be a guest in the palace. Nagarjuna went. The queen asked him a favour.

Nagarjuna said, “What do you want?”

The queen said, “I want your begging bowl.”

Nagarjuna gave it — that was the only thing he had — his begging bowl. And the queen brought a golden begging bowl, studded with diamonds and gave it to Nagarjuna. She said, “Now you keep this. I will worship the begging bowl that you have carried for years — it has some of your vibe. It will become my temple. And a man like you should not carry an ordinary wooden begging bowl — keep this golden one. I have had it made specially for you.”

It was really precious. If Nagarjuna had been an ordinary mystic he would have said, “I cannot touch it. I have renounced the world.” But for him it was all the same, so he took the bowl.

When he left the palace, a thief saw him. He could not believe his eyes: “A naked man with such a precious thing! How long can he protect it?” So the thief followed….

Nagarjuna was staying outside the town in a ruined ancient temple — no doors, no windows. It was just a ruin. The thief was very happy: “Soon Nagarjuna will have to go to sleep and there will be no difficulty — I will get the bowl.”

The thief was hiding behind a wall just outside the door — Nagarjuna threw the bowl outside the door. The thief could not believe what had happened. Nagarjuna threw it because he had watched the thief coming behind him, and he knew perfectly well that he was not coming for him — he was coming for the bowl, “So why unnecessarily let him wait? Be finished with it so he can go, and I can also rest.”

“Such a precious thing! And Nagarjuna has thrown it so easily.” The thief could not go without thanking him. He knew perfectly well that it had been thrown for him. He peeked in and he said, “Sir, accept my thanks. But you are a rare being — I cannot believe my eyes. And a great desire has arisen in me. I am wasting my life by being a thief — and there are people like you too? Can I come in and touch your feet?”

Nagarjuna laughed and he said, “Yes, that’s why I threw the bowl outside — so that you could come inside.”

The thief was trapped. The thief came in, touched the feet… and at that moment the thief was very open because he had seen that this man was no ordinary man. He was very vulnerable, open, receptive, grateful, mystified, stunned. When he touched the feet, for the first time in his life he felt the presence of the divine.

He asked Nagarjuna, “How many lives will it take for me to become like you?”

Nagarjuna said, “How many lives? — it can happen today, it can happen now!”

The thief said, “You must be kidding. How can it happen now? I am a thief, a well-known thief The whole town knows me, although they have not yet been able to catch hold of me. Even the king is afraid of me, because thrice I have entered and stolen from the treasury. They know it, but they have no proof. I am a master thief — you may not know about me because you are a stranger in these parts. How can I be transformed right now?”

And Nagarjuna said, “If in an old house for centuries there has been darkness and you bring a candle, can the darkness say, ‘For centuries and centuries I have been here — I cannot go out just because you have brought a candle in. I have lived so long’? Can the darkness give resistance? Will it make any difference whether the darkness is one day old or millions of years old.

The thief could see the point: darkness cannot resist light; when light comes, darkness disappears. Nagarjuna said, You may have been in darkness for millions of lives — that doesn’t matter — but I can give you a secret, you can light a candle in your being.”

And the thief said, “What about my profession? Have I to leave it?”

Nagarjuna said, “That is for you to decide. I am not concerned with you and your profession I can only give you the secret of how to kindle a light within your being, and then it is up to you.”

The thief said, “But whenever I have gone to any saints, they always say, ‘First stop stealing — then only can you be initiated.'”

It is said that Nagarjuna laughed and said, “You must have gone to thieves, not to saints. They know nothing. You just watch your breath — the ancient method of Buddha — just watch your breath coming in, going out. Whenever you remember, watch your breath. Even when you go to steal, when you enter into somebody’s house in the night, go on watching your breath. When you have opened the treasure and the diamonds are there, go on watching your breath, and do whatsoever you want to do — but don’t forget watching the breath.”

The thief said, “This seems to be simple. No morality? No character needed? No other requirement?”

Nagarjuna said, “Absolutely none — just watch your breath.”

And after fifteen days the thief was back, but he was a totally different man. He fell at the feet of Nagarjuna and he said, “You trapped me, and you trapped me so beautifully that I was not even able to suspect. I tried for these fifteen days — it is impossible. If I watch my breath, I cannot steal. If I steal, I cannot watch my breath. Watching the breath, I become so silent, so alert, so aware, so conscious, that even diamonds look like pebbles. You have created a difficulty for me, a dilemma. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Nagarjuna said, “Get lost! — whatsoever you want to do. If you want that silence, that peace, that bliss, that arises in you when you watch your breath, then choose that. If you think all those diamonds and gold and silver is more valuable, then choose that. That is for you to choose! Who am I to interfere in your life?”

The man said, “I cannot choose to be unconscious again. I have never known such moments. Accept me as one of your disciples, initiate me.”

Nagarjuna said, “I have initiated you already.”

(From – Inspirational Stories)

The Divine Upholder of all – Story from Mahabharata – The fight between Arjun and Karna.

Value : Truth

Sub value : Faith, humility

There are many caveats of Mahabharata, some which may not be mentioned in the original. But many of them are very interesting and provide deep insights.This is one such story:

The battle of Kurukshetra was at its zenith, Arjuna and Karna were  fiercely fighting each other. It was an epic battle to witness,  with a  flurry of arrows were being exchanged rapidly from the quivers  of unparalleled warriors of that time.  It’s said that the Gods  too were witnessing this epic battle between the two great warriors. The impact of Arjuna’s arrows were so intense  that Karna’s chariot would  sway and be pushed back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this, were amazed  by  Arjuna’s skills. Karna wasn’t inferior either, his arrows would make   Arjuna’s chariot  sway and push it behind by 3-4 feet.

Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer  would  always applaud Karna, every time his arrow would hit Arjuna’s chariot, much to Arjuna’s dismay;   but not once did Krishna applaud Arjuna’s skills. At the end of the day, Arjuna  unable to control his annoyance , he asked Krishna “Oh Lord, the arrows I shot at Karna’s chariot,  the  displaced the chariot like a feather in the wind, but not once did you appreciate me or congratulate me. Rather you appreciated Karna’s skill knowing well it wasn’t as potent as mine”.

    

The all knowing Lord Krishna smiled and replied “Oh, Arjuna, remember, your chariot was being protected by “Hanuman” at the top as the flag, “Me” as your charioteer in the front and by “Sheshnag” at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna would hit us with his arrows”. Karna’s chariot was not protected by any such force, he was on his own, yet he fought  so valiantly”.

It is said that after the battle of Kurukshetra was over, Krishna refused to get off the chariot till Arjuna got down first. Once Krishna alighted from the chariot, it burst into flames and turned to dust.

Krishna then said “Oh Arjuna, your chariot was destroyed by Karna long time ago, it is I who was protecting it thus far”.

“Never in your life have the arrogance to say that you have achieved something, if you have achieved something, it is the divine will, it is the Divine Intervention that has always protected you, cleared your path and gave you the right opportunities at the right time”.

Learning : Its God’s grace and benevolence, that protects us from many pitfalls and dangers in life. Our lives and situations, whether they are good, bad, horrible or passable, all happen with Him as the upholder; as the scriptures say not a blade of grass moves without His consent.

 

Master’s Messages-5.1 Re-establishment of Righteousness

Avatars come to earth to re-establish Dharma

avatar

Avatars like Sai Baba has come to sow the seeds of faith of devotion in religion and in God. Many atheists doubt, question and once they experience they dedicate their lives to the teachings of the avatar.

Sai has come down to the earth in response to the prayers of saints, sages and spiritual aspirants for the restoration of Dharma. Mahatmas, Mahapurushas and jnanis will work with Sai in re-establishing righteousness and paving the path for peace.

Story based on above message

Saibaba (known as Swami by His devotees) through His discourses always emphasised devotees to develop love for God. He told various short stories to drive this point home. One such story is shared below.

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/a-dear-devotee/

Source- Sathya Sai Speaks- Vol 1- Chapter 5

Sai Satcharita- Chapter 8- Love and humility

 

sai satcharita 2

Baba Begging Food

Blessed are the people of Shirdi, in front of whose houses, Baba stood as a beggar and called out, “Oh Lassie, give Me a piece of bread” and spread out His hand to receive the same.

In one hand He carried a Tumrel (tinpot) and in the other a zoli or choupadari, i.e., a rectangular piece of cloth. He daily visited certain houses and went from door to door. Liquid or semi-liquid things such as soup, vegetables, milk or butter-milk were received in the tinpot, while cooked rice, bread, and such solid things were taken in the zoli.

Baba’s tongue knew no taste, as He had acquired control over it. So how could He care for the taste of the different things collected together? whatever things He got in His zoli and in the tinpot were mixed together and partaken by Baba to His heart’s content.

Whether particular things were tasty or otherwise was never noticed by Baba as if His tongue was devoid of the sense of taste altogether. Baba begged till noon, but His begging was very irregular. Some days He went a few rounds, on other days up to twelve noon.

The food thus collected was thrown in a kundi, i.e. earthen pot. Dog, cats and crows freely ate from it and Baba never drove them away. The woman who swept the floor of the Masjid took some 10 or 12 pieces of bread to her house, and nobody prevented her from doing so. How could, He, who even in dreams never warded off cats and dogs by harsh words and signs, refuse food to poor helpless people?

baba begging

Blessed indeed is the life of such a noble person! People in Shirdi took Him in the beginning for a mad Fakir. He was known in the village by this name. How could one, who lived on alms by begging a few crumbs of bread, be revered and respected? But this Fakir was very liberal of heart and hand, disinterested and charitable. Tough He looked fickle and restless from outside. He was firm and steady inside. His way was inscrutable.

Essence

Baba was a personification of love and humility. By His begging, He showed His humility and as a Fakir; He had to live by begging food. One has to be totally egoless to spread His hands before another person. This does not mean that He encouraged begging. He was always particular that people work hard to earn for their living. He set an example by tirelessly working for the welfare of the people. He treated the sick with His medicines. He helped people to achieve both temporal and spiritual needs. He never expected anything in return. He could have earned a lot by charging people for His services. But He chose to resort to begging showing His humility. The food thus obtained was not for Himself alone, but shared with all the poor people and animals as well. He never cared for taste. He had complete control over His senses. In fact by begging, he showed His love to the people whom He gave a chance to do charity and get blessed. Baba, thus showed humanity how these values can be practised.

For children

From the above story, children can learn to share and care. Values of gratitude and love for all including animals can be learnt.

Another story to reinforce these values

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/love-in-action/

 

Master’s messages-4.4- Be Egoless

Divine can work only through the egoless

Sorrow springs from egoism. When egoism goes sorrow disappears. We should work on reducing our ego and should pray Lord to use us as His flute. This will only happen when we are hollow ; free from ego. He will then create a captivating music for all the creation to enjoy. Then we can merge our will in the will of God. Divine can work through us only when are egoless.

Story based on above message

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/story-about-the-flute-of-krishna/

“I am here”- Krishna and the little boy

Value- Right action
Sub value- Dedication
In a small town of Udupi, close to Mangalore there was a family  very devoted to Krishna except  for the 5 yr old grandson who was more into playing, and not keen on Krishna seva.  However, at his grand mother’s loving insistence  he agreed to go  for Krishna’s darshan and blessings at the temple before going to school everyday. The obedient grandson would go every morning to the entrance of the temple and say “I’m here” and  go about his daily routines.  Never did he make time to go in to see the Lord. This went on for about twenty years.
One unfortunate day, the boy met with an accident and was rushed to the hospital for surgery.  None of the  family members were allowed in during surgery.  As he was suffering alone his pain and  wondering if he would ever make it through surgery , he heard a voice  which said,  “I’m here”.  The boy was not able to comprehend who it was, he asked“Who is it?” He heard a voice quip back, “You came to see me everyday at the temple for so many years and said I’m here, today you need me and I’m here for you.  Do not worry”.
It was Lord Krishna, the compassionate  one, this shows that any good deed  done, however small,  doesn’t go  unseen.
If He comes to someone’s aid for having just made the effort to stop at the temple for a minute,  what would He do for those who make time  to chant His name  with devotion.  He will give not only the things you want but also HIMSELF.
Learning
Lord is always there for us. He is ready to help us in need. We just need to be grateful and thankful to Him remembering Him. We can connect to Him by regularly either chanting His name or doing good and help others by seeing Him in all.

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