Animal Devotees Of The Lord

The Lord Who often repeated, My Life Is My Message,  lived up to His dictum proving the world ‘Practising His Precepts…When it came to the animal kingdom, Bhagawan has often spoken about the human qualities of Compassion and Love, urging humanity to extend their heart to creatures living in this vast creation. Man has to coexist with the rest of the creation sharing Compassion and Love is one of the the most profound messages humanity has to imbibe from all that Bhagawan showcased with His most exemplary Life…an article from Ms Mercini Sherratt, from the UK.

“In 1968, Swami took the hands of two elderly American devotees in His hands and said to them, “And I want to share something with you that you must never forget.  In the end, in the final analysis when the body turns to dust and is gone. The only thing that will matter is how much love you have shared with all of creation”.  Swami then paused and added, “How much love you have shared with all of creation in every single moment of your life.” (from Radio Sai Journals, volume 10/01 May 12/04).

All great souls have felt tenderness for the whole of God’s creation.  As we grow in Love and expand in Love, our hearts become sensitive to and open to all forms and we can understand Baba when He says:

“Foster the tiny seed of love that clings to ‘me’ and ‘mine’, let it sprout into Love for the group around you, and grow into Love for all mankind, and spread out its branches over animals, birds and those that creep and crawl, and let the Love enfold all things and beings in all the worlds.  Proceed from less Love to more Love, narrow Love to expanded Love.”    (Sathya Sai Speaks, volume 8, chapter 16)

We all know of Swami’s great love for the animal kingdom and that He kept many pet animals over his lifetime.  In the early days, he would talk to and pet each cow in the gokulam daily.  According to Kasturi and to Peggy Mason in “The Embodiment of Love,  He used to keep pairs of dogs (14 pairs up to the date of writing the book in 1982),   Stories are also told of dogs which came to die at His Feet, including one called Kuttan, a ‘pure atma’ as Baba called him.   In Sathyam, Sivam, Sundaram-1,  we are told that as a small child, He would run up to and embrace to His heart  any chicken whom He knew was about to be slaughtered, in an attempt to shield it from its coming demise.  He kept away from places where animals were slaughtered or tortured or where fish were trapped and caught.  Because of His great love and consideration for all creatures, His neighbours called him “Brahmajnani”.   Once in the early days, Kasturi tells us He was found privately taking leave of a buffalo who had carried water for Him and His party on a trip away.  He was heard to say, while patting the buffalo very affectionately, “You have done Me good service, Bangaru  (Golden One).”

The tale of His enormous love for Sai Gita and hers for Him is legendary.  From the day that He rescued her from her orphaned state in which she was heard to be crying pitifully, He showed her the love of a thousand mothers.  Gita lived only for Him and her adoration and devotion had no equal.  Just as He knew what was in His human devotees’ hearts and minds, so too did He know what was in Sai Gita’s heart and  mind, especially it seems, when she came to complain to Him about her various mahouts!

The animals He kept over so many decades must have adored Him for as He says,

“There is no human being without love.  Even beasts, birds, animals and insects have love.  This love is experienced in even the smallest of creatures.  We should have deep conviction that God is present in every being in the form of the Atma – consciousness.”

When one little deer in His sanctuary was about to die and gazed longingly up at His window, Baba appeared with an apple and a banana to feed it.  On seeing Him, it ran up to Him with a heartbreaking expression of sorrow in its eyes, according to the Sevadal who was present.  As the small deer ate from Baba’s hand, two clear tears trickled down its face.  Very soon afterwards, the little deer passed away.  According to students present at the time, Baba told someone, “these are My two-legged ‘dear’ (meaning the students) and those are my four-legged deer.  All are dear to Me”.

Another animal which had cause to be grateful at least was the cat called Minkie.  One day,  Minkie foolishly stole some fish and was beaten for this.  While she was being beaten, she must have screamed out in agony and all the 16 pictures of Baba in the house swayed violently and some fell down with a big bang, terrifying those present.  As Minkie started to recover from her punishment, big puffs of fragrant Vibhuti came out of her fur and fell thickly on the table, leaving the room smelling divinely fragrant and showing Baba’s omnipresence!   The Divine Healer had got to work on her straightaway and from a distance.   Six months later, in November 1972, when Minkie’s owner visited the ashram, Baba gave her some packets of Vibhuti, tossing two more unto her, saying “these are for the cat.”

However, how many more animal devotees of the Lord are there that we do not know of?  An article included in the March 1987 Hatfield Magazine (UK) written by a certain Paulette talks of a cat named Fluffy. To summarise, Fluffy became seriously interested in Sai Baba from the minute she was first given some Vibhuti.  She purred ecstatically while licking this Vibhuti.  Three days later, her fur exuded a lovely smell of Vibhuti.   Every morning after that, she sat with her mistress facing Baba’s photograph and started the day with a little Vibhuti.  Whenever a book about Baba arrived in the post, she would try and get inside the parcel, sometimes lie on it and once it was unwrapped, monopolise it for half-an-hour or so, not allowing her mistress to have access to it.  She seemed to know when a parcel arriving in the post was a book about Sai Baba and got excited even before it was opened.  Three years after having been introduced to Baba, she had a heart attack and died with His photograph, Vibhuti and sand that He walked on, beside her.  Her owner found the Vibhuti container unexpectedly open and how Fluffy opened this remains a mystery as it would have been almost impossible for a cat to open it.  Fluffy must have been one special soul for around the time of her passing,  her owner, who was in a church,  had a vision in which she saw Baba and following Him closely were several animals, including Fluffy.

I would like to share the following about one of my own cats who had been present at Sai Baba meetings in my home for most of her life . She ‘communicated’ very strongly around the time of her passing to a psychic animal communicator that she wanted to be buried in a brightly coloured scarf, with Vibhuti rubbed into her fur and of course, this was done.  According to the communication received, due to the influence of Baba around her, she wanted to come back as a guide dog in order to serve. Perhaps she too had become a secret and undeclared devotee! Who knows?   Certainly her level of consciousness had increased greatly during her lifetime and she had also become very sweet-natured in her old age.

Finally, please note that activities of a spiritual nature also benefit the animal souls around us for

“Spirits of animals and birds can only hear but they cannot speak.  When they listen to bhajanas, they will also be spiritually elevated.  This is the reason why I keep on telling you to sing bhajanas loudly.” (Sathya Sai Anandadayi – Journey to Sai).

II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II