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'Animal Matters' (May 2015):

Dolphins, Dolphins, Dolphins... Magical Ambassadors of the Ocean.

“Every being is God. Every animal is God. The Eternal resides in every living being. There is the microcosm and the macrocosm. What it means is that God resides in all beings but who is God or Ishwar? Every man is God. Every being is God. Every animal is God. Every life-form is God”. (Sathya Sai Baba in Divine Discourses to his Students”, Volume 4, chapter 2: Study to be Steady, p 13). - So:

“Love the God in all beings and the God in all beings will respond with Love”. (Sathya Sai Baba)

There can't be anyone who does not love magical true stories about dolphins, for example, dolphins saving humans and other sea creatures from danger, especially from sharks. There are certain lone dolphins who seem to have come on a mission to help human beings and they frequent the same spots every year to greet and swim with them. Many dolphin lovers believe that dolphins have incarnated as teachers and healers of mankind. They see them as marvellous beings from another dimension, gifted in ways that we are not. Whatever the reality, they are remarkable creatures and possess an intelligence and intuition we can only wonder at.

The joy and upliftment that can come from swimming with special dolphins is now well documented ... the unconditional love that people feel they receive from their dolphin companions brings deep healing to hidden inner wounds. In his film, 'The Dolphin's Touch', Dr Horace Dobbs, renowned dolphin expert, demonstrates that swimming with a free wild dolphin in open seas had profound and beneficial effects on three very different people with clinical depression. He he has said, “Wild dolphins have a mysterious way of reassuring you that somebody loves you. They generate an enormous sense of well-being in people. I can't tell you how they do it. Their brain is as big as a human's, but they must be doing something with it that we don't understand”. In fact, we are now beginning to unravel the mysteries behind the dolphin's ability to bring healing and joy. One reason, it seems, according to John Lilly (Communication between Man and Dolphin, 1978), a well known dolphin researcher, is that dolphins' brainwaves generally match those in the alpha frequency range, the frequency associated with meditative states, intuition and unconditional love. As they interact with us, our own brainwaves start to align with theirs and it is in this space that healing, relaxation, a sense of euphoria and even learning can take place. It would also appear that the special sounds they make for communication and echolocation can also affect us beneficially. Dr Dobbs, simply using a CD called Dolphin Dreamtime (a recording of dolphin communication), has helped many cancer sufferers as well as himself... listening to the dolphins singing, for whatever reason, has helped them to feel better.

In the United States , a centre in Florida for 'Dolphin Assisted Therapy' helps children with severe learning difficulties to learn to read ... There, Dr D. Nathanson has consistently reported improvement in attention span and learning ability with such children. Just petting and playing with the dolphins there has brought them so much joy that somehow they have been stimulated to learn.

Perhaps one of the most moving and relatively recent dolphin tales is the one in which an Arab Bedouin fisherman named Abid'Allah, who lived by the Red Sea, was 'taught' to speak again by a dolphin, whom he called Olin. This story is recorded in “The Dolphin's Boy” by Pascale Noa Bercovitch. Here is the story in a nutshell: When Abid’allah was five years’ old, he fell from a palm tree. From that moment on, he couldn’t hear or speak. Because he couldn’t communicate, he withdrew into himself more and more and became more and more solitary. He was only really happy when he was swimming in the sea. When he was nineteen, his mother, whom he was very close to, died in a tragic road accident when a lorry hit her. After this, he was heartbroken for a long time and he spent more and more time alone at sea in his fishing boat. One day, while he was fishing, two dolphins started to follow him. They did this day after day. Then the male dolphin died. After that, the female dolphin, whom he named Olin, became the fisherman’s best friend. Everyday, she followed his fishing boat, and every evening she played with him in the sea. Abid’allah was so happy playing with the dolphin that little by little, he started to change. His unhappy heart started to heal and to open more and more and people could hear him laughing and shouting with the dolphin. After several weeks of this play, he started to make sounds. And only then did the dolphin answer in her own language. In this way, Abid’allah learned to speak again. His hearing also improved. He came right out of his shell and amazed everyone around him. Because of this Olin's fame grew and people came from all over the world to swim with her. For fifteen years, she interacted thus with humans, bringing prosperity to a village which would have otherwise strugged for its existence. Finally, at the age of 31, she was found dead and, according to Abid'allah, she had a speargun mark in her side. Sadly, I read a rumour that beautiful Olin, who had served humankind so well, was killed 'for fun' by an underwater diver. The bedouin tribe who protected her so lovingly and so dutifully for so long, considering her as one of their very own, could not in the end prevail against the callous stupidity of one member of the human species.

“It is not so much the innocent animals that are killed, but those wretched persons who kill them that deserve to be pitied. For the persons who kill innocent animals like lambs and cows have to suffer terribly, not only in their present but also in their several future lives.” (Meher Baba)

Some have claimed that while dolphins offer humans help, they themselves do not seek help from humans. However, the following story very much demonstrates the contrary:

When two French fishermen were fishing in the Bay of Niece in l988 a dolphin suddenly appeared at the side of their boat. They threw him a fish but he didn’t seem hungry. Instead, he tried to push the boat gently in a certain direction. At first the fishermen thought he was playing but then they saw that he was not. On the contrary, he seemed to be sad and depressed and didn’t show the joy that dolphins usually show. They also realised that the dolphin wanted them to follow him. He was trying to attract their attention to something. Ahead of them they could see a female dolphin. She was just floating in the water and one of her fins had been torn off. There was blood in the water and they could see that she was badly injured with a very deep wound. She was probably already dead but the male dolphin, crying out all the time, rushed up to her and, with his own body, tried to stop her from sinking. He was hoping the men could save her, but they couldn’t do anything for her. It was too late. They were very distressed and said, “It was so upsetting. We could hear him crying all the time and see the blood on the water and we knew the sharks were going come and get her”. (Adapted from The Mail on Sunday 2.10.1988)

That so much love exists in all creatures is humbling, mankind having firmly believed for so long that he alone understands and is capable of love. How wrong we have been as the following poignant story also shows:

A small female dolphin was so shocked and so badly injured by a hook used to catch her that the researchers who had caught her were afraid that she was going to die. She couldn’t breathe because she couldn’t rise to the surface of the water and dolphins need air to breathe. The worried researchers tied large glass jars to her body which made her float so that she could breathe, but she was so despondent that they thought she was still going to die. Finally they decided to put a male dolphin in her tank. Immediately, she responded joyfully, making greeting sounds to her new companion in dolphin language. She was so happy that she even tried to swim. The researchers then removed the glass jars from her and the male dolphin swam with her, gently pushing and lifting her to the surface of the water whenever she needed air. Again and again, with great patience and total devotion, he helped her to keep breathing. At last she began to get better and for two beautiful months, the two dolphins would swim and play together affectionately for hours. However, the female dolphin had been so traumatised that suddenly, she died from her wounds. The male was utterly bereft and while she was dying, he swam round and round her in circles, crying out in distress. Afterwards, he refused to eat and swam in circles calling for her for three days until he, too, died (adapted from Peaceful Kingdom: Random Acts of Kindness by Animals by Stephanie Laland.).

Of course, nothing in manifestation at our present state of evolution is perfect and therefore to counter any objections from those who might think dolphin worshippers are over sentimental about the specialness of dolphins, I had better add that dolphins, like all of us, do occasionally show a darker side … behaving at times in ways that are rather shocking for those who put them on a watery pedestal. For example, in recent years, let loose among a shoal of porpoises, young male dolphins, behaving much like the worst kind of teenage human delinquents, can turn into savage bullies. Of course, they are wild creatures. However, something is changing. Scientists are still trying to understand what is causing this relatively recent development in their behaviour. As the dolphin bullies all seem to be young males, could their behaviour be due to sexual frustration? Or could they too be becoming disturbed like so many members of the human species? … Disturbed as a result of how we are treating them, imprisoning them in dolphinariums and the like, brutally slaughtering them on a regular basis in places like Taji Bay in Japan, bombarding their watery environment with underwater military tests and thus disturbing their ability to echolate, throwing them right off course and causing them unimaginable stress on all fronts, overfishing and so depriving them of their usual foodstores, causing them to struggle in some cases for survival, poisoning them with devastating oil spills and killing hundreds of thousands of them through entanglement in fishing nets, exploiting their intelligence and unique echolation abilities by using them to guard naval installations and vessels, or detect enemy divers, mines and submarines. Whatever the reason, we can be sure that at this time in history, mankind's antics have something to do with the recent development of misbehaviour in any creature and forgive them for their light and wondrous side … for as my father once told relation to persian carpets... every carpet must be made with a flaw because in Islamic thought, nothing in this world can be perfect... only Allah is perfect.

On a parting note, a past life regression therapist I once knew well told me that latterly, many young people who came to her for past life regression, clearly remembered lives as whales and dolphins. A young girl I also knew well, when aged 11, once told me that the previous night she had had a dream in which she was a whale. In her dream she was hunted and slaughtered and cut into pieces. Later on in the dream, she came back as a whale and rescued two children who as adults in her previous life as a whale, had tried to save her. I wondered whether she had seen or read anything previously to have prompted that dream...her answer was an emphatic “No”. Her dream was very clear and vivid, feelings included, so who knows? Somehow, it seems that the human and dolphin psyche is deeply interconnected.

And as a further parting shot: as for eating these marvellous creatures as some do, one can only wring one's hands in despair because we are so far from bringing in a Golden Age, so often talked about and dreamed about. We can only hope that time quickens and a day will soon come when as Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now do upon the murder of men” and hopefully now, he would certainly include all sea creatures too... More urgently than ever now do we need to take on board, not just for the sake of God's other creatures, but also for the sake of our own planetary home , that not only is overfishing massively depleting the oceans but also the growing consumption of meat is contributing hugely to global warming, thereby seriously endangering our planet further.

(Article written by Mercini Sherratt for Vedanta Empire's charity incentive)

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