Ramana Maharshi’s Love of Animals
Origin of Lakshmi the Ashram Cow
A villager had a dream in which he was told to offer his next calf to Ramanasramam. He brought his cow and the calf to Bhagavan. The jungle around the Ashram was thick at that time and there were cheetahs. The Ashram people were perplexed and refused the offer, but the villager was taking his dream seriously and would not take the calf away. The mother cow had to remain with the calf to feed her. Finally, the cow and the calf were entrusted to a devotee in the town. The calf became the famous cow Lakshmi. She grew up and had three calves within a few years. She would come daily to the Ashram to have her meals, graze on the Ashram land, enter the Hall and sit contentedly near Bhagavan. In the evening, she would go Backto the town as other women did.
Once Lakshmi came into the Hall. She was pregnant at that time. It was after lunch time when Bhagavan was reading the newspapers. Lakshmi came near and started licking the papers. Bhagavan looked up and said: “Wait a little, Lakshmi.” But Lakshmi went on licking. Bhagavan laid his paper aside, put his hands behind Lakshmi’s horns and his head against hers. Like this they stayed for quite a long time. I stood nearby looking at the wonderful scene. After some ten minutes or so, Bhagavan turned to me and said: “Do you know what Lakshmi is doing? She is in Samadhi.”
I looked at her and tears were flowing in streams down her broad cheeks. Her breathing had stopped and her eyes were fixed on Bhagavan. After some time Bhagavan changed his position and asked: “Lakshmi, how do you feel now?” Lakshmi moved backward, as if reluctant to turn her tail towards Bhagavan, walked round the Hall and went out.
Shantammal, Eternal Bhagavan
Animals Treated as Equals
I looked around. Squatting on the floor or sitting in the Buddha posture or lying prostrate face down, a number of Indians prayed-some of them reciting their mantras out loud. Several small monkeys came into the hall and approached Bhagavan. They climbed onto his couch and broke the stillness with their gay chatter. He loved animals and any kind was respected and welcomed by him in the ashram. They were treated as equals of humans and always addressed by their names. Sick animals were brought to Bhagavan and kept by him on his couch or on the floor beside him until they were well. Many animals had died in his arms. When I was there he had a much-loved cow who wandered in and out of the hall, and often lay down beside him and licked his hand. He loved to tell stories about the goodness of animals. It was remarkable that none of the animals ever fought or attacked each other.
Mercedes de Acosta, Here lies the Heart
The Maharshi Nurses Newborn Squirrels
In the roof of the Old Hall, squirrels would build nests. Once, some new-born squirrels dropped on Bhagavan’s sofa. Their eyes remained yet unopened and the size of each baby may not have been more than an inch; they were very red in color with fresh flesh, absolutely tender to touch. The mother squirrel ignored them. Now what to do? How to feed and attend to such tender things?
The baby squirrels were in the palm of Bhagavan. Bhagavan’s face glowed with love and affection for them. While there was a question mark in the faces of those who surrounded Bhagavan, He Himself was happy and cheerful. He asked for some cotton to be brought. He made a soft bed for them. He also took a bit of cotton and squeezed it to such a tiny end, the end portion looked like a sharp pin. He dipped it in milk and squeezed milk into the tiny mouths. At regular intervals, Bhagavan repeated this act of compassion. He tended them with great care and love till they grew up and ran around. They did not run away, only ran around their ‘Mother’. Kinder far than their own mother!
V. Ganesan, Moments Remembered
Keeps Company with Dying Deer
Once an Ashram deer was attacked by some animal and the wounds turned from bad to worse. Sri Bhagavan sat near the deer and held its face in his hands, looking at its tearful eyes. Sri Bhagavan sat like that for a couple of hours. Chinnaswami asked my uncle who was standing close to look after the deer and relieve Sri Bhagavan. Sri Bhagavan heard this but did not make any response. Sri Bhagavan sat there till the deer breathed its last. That was the compassion that Sri Bhagavan had for that deer. Soon after, Sri Bhagavan went to the hall. There is a Samadhi for the deer in the Ashram.
From: Dr. K. Subrahmanian, A Tribute