Roj Fravardin Mah Meher, 1381 Yz.
Thereupon, the Mahatma delivered a sermon to us on the great sin of keeping animals and other creations of god as pets. ‘Every creation of God is born on this earth with a particular function and destiny. But never does any creation of God have the destiny of being put in a cage for entertainment of others.
Every creature which the Lord has made, has the fundamental right to enjoy its freedom and live it’s life naturally. Amongst all the creations of God, birds have earned the right of the largest freedom. Because of their ability to fly, birds can cover great distances in a very short time, which other creatures, including man, cannot do. Thus the influence of each bird extends to many miles around its nest. Within this area, nature has devised a specific function and destiny for it. For man to take such a free creature, separate it from its family members, keep it in an unnatural environment and imprison it in a 2 x 2 cage is a grave sin. To use the life and freedom of any creation of God for our own selfish and narrow pleasure or entertainment is a sin of very serious proportions. Is this true humanity? To upset the destiny and divine role which God has devised for each and every creature is to come in the way of God’s Divine Plan, which can only bring very grave reactions on the man who dares to do so.’
The Mahatma continued: ‘Further, nature has given the bird, and all other creatures, their ability to forage for their food and nourishment out in the open, which we men cannot understand or comprehend.
We may feed the bird all kinds of things in the cage, but because it is deprived of its natural nourishment and ability to forage, the bird slowly starves in the cage. In this manner we are worse than butchers who kill goat and cattle, for at least they finish their work in a second. But we prolong the misery and starvation of the bird to unbearable limits, thereby committing great sin. Think of what you are doing, Rustomji Seth!’
There arose a great consternation in Rustomji’s mind as he thought about the wise words of the Mahatma. As he remained silent, I could see the confusion in his poor mind. In order to alleviate his misery, I asked the wise one: ‘What if Rustomji were to set those birds free, O Mahatma? Would it be OK then?’ The Mahatma replied: ‘The birds kept by Rustomji are mostly from this area, so they will be OK. But that myna is from Bengal – over two thousand kilometers away. I will have to find a way of making it reach its home safely.’ We wondered how it would be possible to take the myna back to Bengal.
Who would carry the bird over that long distance, and even if that were done, how would we know which area or village to release the bird in? The Mahatma sensed our confusion and spoke: ‘I will make all the arrangements to transfer the myna back to its native village. But you must ensure that the myna is sent to my orchard as soon as possible.’
As we walked along a pathway bordered on both side by giant trees, we came to the end of the orchard and the beginning of a vast field. As we walked through for some distance we came upon a most beautiful sight. In front of us lay a large lake, on the shores of which rested two small but attractive boats.
The Mahatma guided us to sit in one of the boats and soon we were off, the boat being rowed by two attendants. The wise one sat at the rudder, guiding the boat’s progress through the clear waters of the lake. The environment of the lake was most calm and beautiful. The waters were clear enough for us to be able to see the floor of the lake. Here and there, large lotus flowers could be seen, their perfume wafting through the light wind which was blowing across. The lake waters were teeming with different species of fish which darted here and there. After about half an hour, we reached another shore where we saw a small flight of steps reaching to the top of the land. Our boat rested near the steps and we got off. As we climbed the stairs we saw a densely wooded area, full of bamboo trees, which were growing so close to each other that there was barely room for a man to walk in between.
The Mahatma lead the way through a barely perceptible path between the bamboo forest. I followed and behind me was Rustomji. As we walked behind the wise one, Rustomji asked if this was the other shore of the lake. The Mahatma replied that this was not the shore but actually an island that existed in between the two shores of the lake. He further added that without his express permission, no one was allowed on to this island. We walked for about fifteen minutes through the densely wooded forest until we came across a massive boulder which blocked our path. This boulder was so immense that not even fifty persons would be able to move it an inch. Hidden between the ground and the boulder was a small iron ring, which the Mahatma held and then pulled with some strength. To our surprise the ring seemed to come out of the ground, connected by a thick chain. The Mahatma signaled us to move away a bit. As the Mahatma pulled the chain lightly, the huge boulder began to slowly slide across to one way of the path. Once the boulder stopped moving the Mahatma gestured to us to come closer.
[to be continued…]
Ervad Marzban J. Hathiram