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Love and Light

Region 6 - Grieving Parrots and Weeping Camels and more....

“Manana (deep contemplation) will confirm the fact of God being in every living being, bird, beast, tree and when this awareness is established, you will not be tempted to hate or ridicule or envy any other living being in creation. For you are he and he is you, fundamentally. Until you come to this stage, you are only a partial devotee, still a long way to go”. Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 10, chapter 12.

Thanks in part to Descartes, the 17th century philosopher, who proclaimed that animals were mere automatons (with dire consequences for many animals ever since then), for a long time, the so-called scientific mind has held that animals cannot be proved to have thoughts or feelings – they cannot express them as we do – and to attribute emotions to animals amounts to anthropomorphism – a very unscientific attitude to be thoroughly scorned and despised. This has closed the hearts of many and blinded them to the actual facts as they are, that animals do have feelings just as we do and deserve them to be recognised. It has lead to an insensitive and often callous attitude which has allowed all kinds of ‘legitimate’ horrors to be perpetrated on the animal kingdom. Luckily, the tide is at last beginning to turn………and this attitude is slowly changing because scientists of animal behaviour are very much finding otherwise. They are now acknowledging what many humans who have interacted with the animal kingdom have intuitively known all along through their own observation and experience. They are finding that animals have rich emotional lives and are capable of more complex thought processes than hitherto realised.

Parrots, for example, may have walnut sized brains but they are not actually birdbrained and have demonstrated unsuspected and remarkable cognitive abilities. Recent research has shown that some can also use the language they learn at appropriate moments and not just randomly, showing much more understanding than previously thought. I know of a good example of that when my mother’s parrot screeched out some rude words in Greek when a particularly tedious and draining acquaintance was visiting and complaining long and loudly. It did the trick in that the neighbour, on hearing the parrot ‘s words, jumped up in high dudgeon, gathered up her belongings and flounced out of the house, never to come back, saying she had never been spoken to like that before in her whole life. A zookeper once told me that parrots are very particular about whom they mate with. He explained that he had great difficulty in finding Mr or Miss Right for the parrots he looked after because they were extremely fussy and had to feel a real affinity with any prospective partner. As we know they are monogamous, as are swans and some other animals, and this seems to apply not just to their parrot mates but also to the humans with whom they bond. They become very attached. My mother’s own parrot literally died of a broken heart when her family had to emigrate and leave him in someone else’s care. He was my mother’s darling and when abandoned by his human flock, he refused to eat from that day on. Such was his grief that he just pined away and soon died. However, good news on that front has recently come to light …………….

Now onto the subject of weeping animals: As some people may already know, elephants have been known to shed tears in times of pain, stress and distress. A famous true story tells of one Sadie, a timid young female circus elephant in the Robbins Brothers Circus in Missouri, America. She simply could not understand how to do her tricks no matter how hard she tried. Not understanding what was required of her, she finally gave up and tried to escape by running out of the ring. At this, her trainers (the methods of circus trainers have now been exposed to be very cruel) brought her back and punished her. She immediately sank to her knees, then lay down on the ground and with tears pouring from her eyes, great sobs shook her huge body – she was crying like a human being and her trainers just stood there dumbfounded. Other reports exist of elephants crying in different situations, sometimes when they have been captured and separated from their families, sometimes in the throes of being shot and killed as well as on other occasions.

There is a report from the Chemical Defence Establishment at Porton Down which conducts warfare experiments of various kinds on animals, for various reasons and secretly of course. What goes on there reminds me of the words of the Lord Bishop of Manchester “ I have heard it said once and the saying has haunted me ever since – that if animals believed in the devil, he would look remarkably like a human being”. The following is written by an electrician who happened to be contracted to work there and this is what he found when he inadvertently opened the wrong door: “At first I thought I was ill. I thought I was seeing things, and then I went a little nearer and looked. It was a little monkey enclosed in a glass case… its eyes seemed to be falling out and it couldn’t breathe. It was in dreadful, dreadful distress. I forgot everything and went near it and said something to it and it buried its head in its arms and sobbed like a child. I never slept that night and next day, I managed to go back to the same room, but it was nearly finished by then. It had sunk to a little heap at the bottom of the glass cage”.

Dr Christian Barnard, the pioneering heart transplant surgeon, and one notorious for doing multitudes of animal experiments, most of them thought to be useless, talks about two male chimps whom he used. He had bought them from a primate colony in Holland. They lived in adjacent cages and when he took one away to become a heart donor he said, “When we put him to sleep in preparation for the operation, he chattered and cried incessantly. We attached no significance to this but it must have made a great impression on his companion, for when we removed the body to the operating room, the other chimp wept bitterly and was inconsolable for days. The incident made a deep impression on me. I vowed never again to experiment with such sensitive creatures”. Sadly, however, thousands of primates of different kinds are still used in laboratory experiments. Many of these undergo the additional trauma of being brutally captured in their native habitat, torn away from their families and transported to laboratories all over the world.

Seals too have been seen to weep witnessing seals cubs being clubbed by seal hunters.

A documentary made in Mongolia called The Story of the Weeping Camel, tells us the moving story of a baby camel and her mother who also shed tears when healing took place and the bond of love between mother and child was restored, thanks to her human carers (Nomadic Mongols). Their care and sensitivity in bringing healing to the couple was exemplary and deeply impressive. (The film can be seen on You Tube).

How can we help? By teaching our children to think thoughtfully and sensitively about the animal souls around them, to learn to care for them when possible and be sensitive to their needs. This does not mean, however, jumping in where angels fear to tread and exposing them to hungry polar bears, jumping into a bear’s den or hugging lions, for example.

By buying cruelty-free products whenever we can. Most companies test their products on animals – and nearly every single everyday product is or has been tested. Make no mistake about it: these tests cause a great deal of horrendous suffering leading to eventual death. They are not “just a pinprick”. Look for the Jumping Bunny Logo on the back of a product to be sure it is really cruelty-free and send up to Naturewatch for a cruelty free shopping booklet. Uncaged also provide information on this online. In that way, not only will we be helping bring an end to this cruel and unnecessary practice, but we will also be supporting ethical and compassionate businesses who are a prototype for a better future and need our help to grow and thrive. Moreover, as spiritual aspirants and Sai Baba’s torchbearers, we will be walking our talk even in the most mundane areas of daily living.

"There is only one royal road for the spiritual journey…………LOVE, love, love for all beings as manifestations of the same divinity that is the very core of oneself". ~ Sathya Sai Baba