I Care… So I Dare!!!

Atrocity is the word, strewn everywhere in the form of innumerable devious acts processed from the human brain. God gifted man with intelligence but centuries of conditioning have resulted in an inhumane frame of mind which is, to a large extent, devoid of love. It is said that when adharma rules and Mother Earth weeps the Lord comes down to establish dharma. And this time, it was in the form of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. His life and teachings have definitely made an imprint on earth, and His devotees, for sure, are going to live it to their best of their abilities. Here is one such instance, a laudable instance of a devotee engaging in love and compassion and putting His word into practice. Republishing an article involving Gomatha… on a day when Gomathas are welcomed in Sai Krishna’s Divine Presence in Prasanthi Nilayam.

The 29th of July, 2012 was no different from any other day in the sense that it had its own atrocities to unfold.  Ms  Jullie Chaudhuri, a Sai devotee, was on her way to a Durga Mandir in a rickshaw to meet a Sai youth there when she happened to see a very disturbing scene. A cow, tied with a rope to a tempo, was literally dragged behind the vehicle. As she continued to look at the pathetic scene she saw that the placenta of the cow was hanging! Horrified, Ms Chaudhuri asked the driver to stop the rickshaw and jumped out to question the man behind the torture. She spotted a couple of men running alongside the tempo and asked them to give reason for this torture. The answer was demonic: “How else are we to transport the cow?” Citing rules, Ms Chaudhuri stated that the cow should, in fact, be inside the vehicle. The man defended saying that the cow was aggressive as it had just delivered and hence would not cooperate. Aghast at the fact that the cow had just delivered a calf and was made to run behind the vehicle in such an inhumane way was too much to take in. It had to be stopped. Ms Chaudhuri stood before the van and blocked all traffic! She insisted on the cow being released and refused to take ‘no’ for an answer.

In the bustle of today’s life many might merely look with sympathy and pass by or even overlook the situation quite insensitively. But, with this devotee, it was not so? “Dignity for all living beings is important to me,” she says. And that is what Bhagawan had taught. This devotee was His true reflection.

Taking out her cell phone she threatened the men that she would call the police. This set them thinking. They set free the cow and sped off. The cow was aggressive as its calf was being taken away from it. Instead of the police Ms Chaudhuri dialed her niece, an animal rights activist, to her rescue. Another friend was also called upon. In the meanwhile the tempo had disappeared and to her utter dismay, as she looked around, the cow was also missing! As she tried to locate this ‘first-calf heifer’ she noticed a boy gesturing to her to look into the bungalow by the side of the road. Though the tall gates of the bungalow were locked she saw the smaller gate open and found the cow grazing inside the compound.  Ms Chaudhuri closed the gate and waited for her friends to arrive. In the meanwhile she prayed to Bhagawan. It was He who had brought her face-to-face with this appalling situation and she prayed that He bring respect and dignity to the abused four-legged child of His… and also to reunite the mother and calf.

When her friend and niece arrived plans were made: First feed the cow; call a van to transport the animal to Blue Cross, a non-profit organization that looks to the welfare of animals; register a case against the owner for this intolerant behaviour; reunite calf and cow.  As the owner of the bungalow was known to the friend, things moved on smoothly and Ms Chaudhuri went to a nearby retail shop to buy jaggery and chana dal (split chick pea). The niece mixed this with water and fed the cow. As the van came to ferry the cow, the owner of the cow came enquiring. He was informed by the niece that the procedure for confiscating the callously and carelessly treated animal had to be followed. Once the cow was taken to the animal shelter, a case would be registered and then the owner could come and take the cow from there. He was asked to bring the calf. The owner promised to do so and left but did not return.

Instead a man came striding and kicked up a lot of noise to scare Ms Chaudhuri and party away. But they remained rooted to their decision. When he threatened that he had good hold with the police and when they realized that he was involved with other ill treatment cases towards animals as well, Ms Chaudhuri decided to rope in the police.

When the police arrived one thing that struck the notice of the niece amidst the entire hullabaloo was that one policeman had Shirdi Sai’s picture on his key chain. Yes Swami was with them! Soon the youth whom Ms Chaudhari was to meet at the Mandir came there on hearing what was going on. He had a packet of Vibhuti and Ms Chaudhuri applied the Vibhuti on the cow. The cow, that was by now in the process of sloughing off the placenta, was flat on the grass. Soon it showed signs of progress. It sat up. The police ordered the cow handlers to bring the calf. Moments later the cow and its calf were reunited and the cow… was rejuvenated.

Amidst chants of ‘Sai Ram’ and fresh applications of Vibhuti the cow was soon on its legs. The placenta which was supposedly to take 7 to 8 hours to drop off took only 5 hours. His will! The next duty that lay before them was to transport the cow. But to get it into the van, it was a herculean task to push it up a plank and all attempts turned futile. Meanwhile, more policemen poured in and one of them came up to Ms Chaudhuri after having a talk with the same high-handed man who had come threatening earlier. He questioned her about her identity and how she thought she could take away the cow from its owner! The niece and friend showed their IDs’ as Animal Welfare Officers from AWBI (Animal Welfare Board of India) and for Ms Chaudhuri, she said her identity was: “A human being who cares and a citizen of India.”

By now night was fast approaching and the cow could not be got into the van. Praying earnestly to Bhagawan to help her to take the right decision Ms Chaudhari decided to give the cow back to the owner if certain conditions were met: she would visit the shed every now and then and that he must deal with animals more compassionately. So they all marched on; the cow, its calf, the cow handlers, the niece, the friend, the police and Ms Chaudhuri… all to the cowshed. Half way through they met the Senior PI of the central police station of that area who was a lady officer. The policemen introduced Ms Chaudhuri to her. This officer patiently heard Ms Chaudhuri through and then asked Ms Chaudhuri if an Animal Awareness Programme in that area could be conducted. She would provide full police support. She further decided to send an escort with Ms Chaudhuri when, later, Ms Chaudhuri would go to check on the cow and calf. Such is the concern and grace of Beloved Mother Sai for all creatures both great and small!

“Compassion towards all living beings is spiritual discipline. Man is crown of creation; he is the highest among living beings. Therefore, he bears great responsibility. He has to love other living beings, serve them and save them, for they are his kith and kin and they too have the Divine Principle at their core.”  -Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 14/pg. 182

That evening Ms Chaudhuri reached home late. After her narration, on being asked where she got the guts to do all this, she smiled and answered: “I care… so I dare. Bhagawan gives me all the courage. At the end of the day I must not hesitate to sit before Him in the prayer room and meet His gaze. I have to put His words into practice. I cannot let anything come between Bhagawan and me.”

Dignity for all living beings was important to me. While slaughter could not be stopped completely, since so many of us were ruled by our taste buds…why couldn’t our society at least ensure a fair semblance of dignity for our mute brothers and sisters till they were breathing?asked Ms Chaudhuri with so much of concern.

So, what do you think? True to His word the world is progressing for the better. Isn’t it? Ms Chaudhuri’s story is proof enough. Here is one devotee living up to His expectations only because she wants to meet His gaze guiltlessly, in the prayer room. What if we all earn for the same? If we do, we can spread His message by living it and thereby ‘make it a better place to live’. Yes, together we can make it happen.

 II Samastha Lokaah Sukhino Bhavantu II Samastha Jeeva Sukhino Bhavantu II