WHY DO ANIMALS MATTER?
Why do animals matter? Although Sai Baba often begs us not to lapse back into our animal ancestry because spiritually our task is – with His help - to rise higher and higher up the evolutionary ladder………. he nevertheless tells us that:
“Why should you argue that animals, beasts and birds are bad? Each is treading its own dharma. It does not overstep or undermine. They have greater cooperation and mutual love than even men. Each has to be judged from the point of view of the equipment and the opportunity. Man can live better if he learns from the animals. He is degrading himself even lower. When the Lord incarnates, He has as one of His tasks the protection of sadhus, of beings with quiet, innocent natures. Among animals are countless sadhus, remember”. (Sathya Sai Baba in a question and answer session... from Peggy Mason’s magazine, Summer 1996)
Animals matter because among them are some remarkable and beautiful souls, perhaps old souls of the animal kingdom. One only has to have eyes to see this.
Animals matter because they are sentient beings just like ourselves. Although they can’t speak in our human language, this does not mean that they are automatons with no feeling as certain ‘scientific’ and ‘philosophic’ thinking claimed for a very long time…..an attitude which justified all kinds of cruelty and exploitation of animals. Animals are feeling beings with complex emotional lives. They feel joy, love, pain, fear, anxiety, sorrow and demonstrate humour……..the range of animal sentience that is now being recognised is amazing………even a bull has been known to grieve at the death of his owner, the humble chicken is capable of deception and empathy and as for parrots, that is a whole story in itself and must wait for another time!.
Animals matter because many of them are full of love with a capital L. As Sai Baba tells us:
“I was really moved by their love and affection. I could not come out of that place. Such intense love is not to be found even among human beings today. The humans hate one another………I could witness an intense, unparalleled love and equality in those animals”… (Sathya Sai Baba Speaks, Volume 30)
“Love is present not only in human beings but also in all creatures, birds or beasts. Nor is that all. It is in fact all pervasive. Love pervades everything in creation. Man’s humanness is vitiated when he fails to recognise this love”. (Sai Baba)
Animals matter because:
“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”. (Sai Baba)
The same atma which flows through us also flows through them. Our treatment of them matters because what we do to them comes back full circle to us, the human kingdom. While our abuse and exploitation of animals continues on the grand scale that it does, mankind will never know peace…..Baba has said we are creating an enormous karma in our mistreatment of the animal kingdom and long ago, in the times of Ancient Greece, in the sixth century BC, Pythagorus, the mathematician and mystic philosopher said something similar:
“As long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love". (Pythagorus)
(Article written by Mercini Sherratt for Vedanta Empire's charity incentive)
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