Arden and Frank – The Emily Dahl Foundation

Arden and Frank

ALL great beings have been kind and loving to animals. The examples of two great men, namely, Sri Ramana Maharshi, the great sage of South India, and Sir Isaac Newton, the great British scientist, are noteworthy.

Sri Ramana Maharshi's love drew towards him not only devotees from far and near but also animals and birds. His Ashram used to be the home of dogs, cows, monkeys, squirrels, peacocks, and many other animals and birds. He gave them the same attention and love as he did to the people who came for his darshan and blessings. He never referred to an animal as "it," but always as "he" or "she." "Are the lads given food today?" he would lovingly enquire about dogs. In fact, it was a regular Ashram rule that, at dinnertime, the dogs were fed first, then beggars, and last, the devotees. 

Once, a monkey approached the Maharshi with her child. The devotees were trying to drive away the monkey because they thought that it would disturb the peace in the prayer-hall. But the Maharshi said, "Let her come. Don't stop her. She has come to show her daughter o me and get my blessings as you people do."

There was a cow in the Ashram. The Maharshi named her as Lakshmi. Even in a devotees' gathering, she would go straight to the Maharshi without taking notice of anyone else. She was so sure that he would be keeping bananas or some other fruits for her. She had become a pet of everyone in the Ashram. Lakshmi gave birth at least to three calves on the Maharshi's Jayanthi or birthday.

When Lakshmi became old, she fell ill, and one day, her end seemed near. At that moment, the Maharshi came to her and said "Amma (mother), you want me to be near you?" He sat down beside her and took her head on his lap. He placed one hand on her head and caressed her with the other. Soon thereafter, Lakshmi left her body quite peacefully. After full religious rites as is done for human beings, she was buried in the Ashram compound near the graves of a deer, a crow, and a dog. A square stone was placed on Lakshmi's grave, and on it was mounted a small image of her own likeness.

Such was the kindness, love, and respect which the great sage had for animals.

Just because you are in the body of a human you think you are a human being, and because a dog is in the body of a dog you think him a dog. Why don’t you think of him as a great soul, and treat him as a great person? Why do you treat him like a dog?” Those with knowledge of "the truth" respect animals and birds and that action is most striking. Your true nature is to treat them as equals. Some serve them food like a respected visitor, and if they happened to die in their homes, they give them a decent burial and a memorial stone. The tombs of deer, crows and the cows can still be seen in holy places in India. 

The Emily Dahl Foundation 
May 15, 2022