PureHeart Sekar ("cow eyes"). Dispenser of love.
Namaste' dear People,
I wasn't going to write a report for several weeks, but came across a beautiful story from a number of years ago and wanted to share it with you. If there's any one word that describes our Work, it's HEART. And in this report I want to give you a sense of it. Om Namah Shivaya.
The story is about a gentle, gentle cow named Lakshmi whom we came to love. The story, below, was written at that time.
Sunday, January 10th...
Yesterday we buried our beloved Lakshmi.
We had rescued her from slaughter in a James Bond-like action drama almost two short years ago. She was missing part of her rear leg (just below the knee). She had been hit by a truck and Dr. Raja had lovingly nursed her back to health--every three days completely changing her bandage/cast--warding off infection, encouraging healing.
We had found a lovely home for her outside of town on Hari's estate where we were intending to place her. But during the healing process, which took six months, we had come to love her...Her gentle nature...Her sattvic presence...Moving here and there around the Shelter garden...Giving us her darshan...And so...she was happy and content with us, and we decided to keep her.
After 1 1/2 years, she became weak and unable to garner enough strength to stand up. It was on a Friday. We contacted the one government veterinarian who was expert in large animals. He was in meetings all day and was unable to come on Friday. Dr. Raja arranged to meet him at the Shelter 7:30 Saturday morning.
It was geting cool here at night, and we were concerned about her. In the evening, Dr. Raja had Prakash enclose her entire "resting area" with plastic to ward off any breeze and cold air--and made a bed for her of straw covered with a blanket. Our Staff picked her up and put her on it. (She was lying on her side). Late evening we were still concerned. Vishwa and I scanned the shops in town before they closed. We bought two extra "space heaters", and five wool blankets.
She was comfortable. Prakash gave her a lot of attention and love during the night. But she quietly left her body around 4:30am. We don't know why. She expired before the large animal expert had a chance to examine her.
Vishwa arranged for a beautiful burial. Her body was put on a flatbed bullock cart. It was adorned with vibhuti (sacred ash) and cum-cum, and totally covered with yellow, blue and red flowers. Four photos: Two of Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi (one with him and his beloved cow, Lakshmi; another with Jackie the dog), a photo of Satya Sai Baba, and a print of Chenrizig (an aspect of Avalokateshwara, the Tibetan Buddhist bodhisattva of compassion). There was a large yellow garland (six inches in diameter) encircling most of her body. She actually looked beautiful and peaceful.
Eight of us followed the bullock cart, on foot, as we slowly made our way to a quiet remote burial spot facing the sacred hill, Arunachala. We threw flower petals on the road the entire way as is the Hindu custom. The eight young men lifted her body off the cart and gently placed it in the prepared grave.
We said brief prayers. All participated in covering her with earth. It rained for five minutes immediately after we finished--a blessing and very auspicious. The grave site was prepared beautifully. A large cluster of incense was placed on it. Camphor was burned at the foot and head. Vibhuti and cum-cum were liberally sprinkled all over . The large garland was placed on top of the dirt mound. And as is the local custom, a small pool of milk was poured on it, with a stick of incense placed in the middle--beginning and ending of life with milk.
We will miss her.
And these, dear People, are two other special stories written in the past.
Here, in this sacred land of Shiva and Bhagavan, the energy can be so intense...With the extremes of happenings unfolding in this land of magic...All of them leading One inexorably closer to the Heart.
Our beloved Shelter seems, almost, to have a life of its own as it unfolds--one with many, many beautiful stories happening. It has evolved to a place where it is more a Center of Healing still adhering, though, to its sanctuary and rescue shelter roots...A few stories, below.
Raghu...He's the blind dog that we've had for over a year. As you enter the veranda, he's on the left.
When Raghu first came to us he had gone thru a severe trauma, and hovered on death. He had either been hit by a vehicle or severely beaten.
He remained in a coma-like state for several weeks. For the first week, he got i.v.'s, spinal injections of an anti-inflammatory, and intramuscular injections of pain killers. Then he started getting intramuscular injections of Neurobion (vitamins). As death receded, and he started moving a little, we saw that he was blind...A lot of loving...A lot of touching and stroking...A lot of nutrition...And he started sitting up.
After several months he was able to stand, and walk a little, tho' unsteadily. He then got proton and laser therapy from a European practitioner, which helped a lot. He was able to walk pretty well, but often he'd go in repeated, tight, clockwise circles...going around and around.
We contacted Sharon Callahan, a well-known animal psychic who supports our work. She sent a floral esence remedy (similar to Bach flower remedies, but prepared specially by her). It really softened the "circling", but didn't eliminate it completely.
Then just a month ago, we had a flash insight that the remaining circling might have a muscular, rather than neurological basis. So Vishwa, with an xray of the neck area, took Raghu to Suresh, the "maha" massage master. He had tight musculature in the neck area, and a tiny bone a little out of place. Suresh showed Vishwa a protocol of masages to be given twice a day. And it worked wonders. Raghu completely stopped circling. And his personality profoundly changed. He's now very relaxed. (The poor sweetheart has gone thru so much).
In order for him to have a good life with us, though, he has to roam free in the garden. So Vishwa, I think even today, is about to start the process of releasing him into the garden. Say a prayer for him.
Night time rescue of a large cow...About a month ago at 11pm we got a call that a large cow had fallen into a six foot deep backyard septic tank. Vishwa, our beloved hero, called six friends and rushed over with ropes.
I got there around midnight. I was concerned because it was taking so long. Dr. Raja was also there when I arrived. The poor baby's stomach was resting on a small submerged wall across the center of the tank. Vishwa had thrown in a pile of sandbags on which her back legs could rest. The tank wasn't large area wise. Basically enough for the length of her body. The width was about three times her body. They'd partially dug a small ramp-like thing on one side hoping to pull her out. But they couldn't.
Vishwa called the Fire Dept. Rescue (I didn't even know Tiru had a Fire Rescue...Remember...This is India). A Fire Truck with four burly guys arrived. They worked for another hour and still couldn't do it. (I was worried that she'd tire and drown. I kept going to Vishwa for reassurance. He'd say, "Don't worry sir, we will do it"). But they needed more hands, yet. They went onto the street and got ahold of two other fellows. They struggled and struggled.
Finally it was decided that a thick rope at a particular spot under her belly would do the trick. But no one wanted to go in to put it in place. I mean it was a septic tank with all kinds of shit floating on the surface. To place the rope you'd be submerged up to your neck in shit. So Vishwa, our young hero, took off his clothes and in his underwear did the deed.
The poor cow was terrified. There had been all kinds of shouting to get her to move when extricating her. But no fractures. No major wounds. Suprisingly, she was strong and had a lot of energy. Dr. Raja gave her an injection for pain. We tied her up. (It was like tying a bucking bronco)...and set about to reassure her.
And so Dear Ones, our Shelter moves on, lifting suffering.
I talked about the exponential increase in Shelter activity in the last Report. Fortunately it appears to have leveled off. It's a good thing because we're really pressed. It's the first time I have seen stress on the faces of our beloved Staff.
We're getting between 550 and 800 treatment visits a month in the clinic. And the number of emergency rescues have been between 70 and 100 a month. Remember, too, that the big increase in clinic visits is auspicious because it's a clear sign that the Hearts of the people are really opening to the Precious Ones, and caring more for them...And the big increase in emergency rescues, most of which are traffic related, is ominous. It's a a sign that the traffic intensity is getting worse and worse for the Furry Ones.
We're crowded. The Precious Ones, though, still feel safe, cared for, and loved, AND are happy. They still play and wrestle, but they can't run around as freely as they did...I'm always so moved by the Staff, Dr. Raja, and Vishwa. I place my head at their feet.
A much larger facility is our number one priority. There's a real possibility of getting two acres of land right next to us that's owned by the Municipality. It's basically a vacant lot, and the Shelter is on a thin strip off on the side. It's the only possibility of staying close to town. There's no land like this otherwise available. Even if there were it would be financially out of reach for it would go for over $300,000US an acre. We could get this "empty lot" land on a longterm lease. It's very, very political, though. But there's a chance. Maneka Gandhi spoke to the Collector (like a regional governor). Dr. Raja and I met with him, and it went well. He might have the power to push it thru. Say a prayer for us.
The other night I was riding on my Honda Activa, feeding the 10 to 20 dogs I see nightly. It's a private thing, not Shelter. It simply feels good. Came across a young one who was really thin--her ribs prominently showing, and her stomach very narrow. It was about 9 or 9:30pm. Called Vishwa at home and he sent two of our guys from the night shift to get her. But she was too shy of people, and I didn't want her chased down. So Vishwa came out and after a lot of gentle coaxing he was able to get her.
We brought her in on my two wheeler. I had given her a lot of Pedigree and biscuits while I was waiting for Vishwa, so she wasn't very hungry when we got to the Shelter. But she loved the warm milk. It may have been the first time, ever, that she had any.
It was already about 10 or 10:30 when a man drove up with his dog and told us she'd been in a squabble with a cobra and was bitten on the head. Called Dr. Raja who was there in ten minutes. With a lot of i.v.'s and whatever else he gave her, she lived. Om Namah Shivaya.
Vishwa, Dr. Raja, and I went home.
I called Vishwa around midnight to tell him how blessed we were to be able to do this Work.
And now for a more serious note that I have mentioned in some of the individual communications I've sent.
There are a lot of good things happening, but also there's a wall of local government/bureaucratic/institutional indifference in which we have to operate. And your support helps us to move within that environment...to traverse the difficult passages looking neither to the left nor right, to stay focused on what we're doing, to fight the battles without attachment, to resonate only with the positive energy, and to give the Precious Ones love, caring, and protection.
I try to remember when things get really tough, that it's not situational, and it's not meaningless...It's really burning thru the obstacles for the Precious Ones. You can see it working as a lot of the heaviness lifts and things get better and better for them in Tiruvannamalai. Om Namah Shivaya.
Blessing of blessings. It isn't often in one's life that they get a chance to be involved in lifting so much suffering.
Locally, institutionallly, there is major movement. It's the beginning, but auspicious. The new incoming president of Ramana Ashram is strongly supporting us. And Shantimalai, a large excellent NGO, is now strongly supporting us.
Hoping that each of you is doing excellently...That you're unfolding beautifully and strongly inside. My Baba said that nothing is gained without some inner austerity. I think of it sometimes in worldly terms as, "Growing up ain't easy".
We're traversing some difficult terrain, and can use any support you're inclined to give. Recurring donations, even quite modest ones, are best for us. So please...Keep your support coming.
As in previous Reports, I've included a collection of photos. Hoping you'll enjoy them. Remember...The theme is simply LOVE.
With love, blessings, wishes for all things, good...Happy New Year...Leslie, The Ageing Expatriate Warrior.
Our beloved Lakshmi being worked on.
It's Prem's eyes that anoint our Precious Ones
How blessed we are to have you, dear Mani.
You can simply tell by the eyes. Bless you, Prabha
Love. Love. Love.
O' my God. It's a mongoose. Be careful.
AND...He made it across, safely.
Mooji-ji...blessing our beloved Shelter.
Leslie, greeting Little Ones at nearby school.
Ken, Dr. Raja, and Leslie at Mooji concert.
"Da' Guys" standing up to greet a newcomer.
Now that's what I call a real kiss!
Poor baby...Getting real close.