Part 5 – Goat Attack !
I managed to wake up at about 4am and finished my rounds in my newly found brahmachari cottage. Once done, I trekked up the hill to relish another round of lecture by His Holiness Devamrita Swami. This morning he would deliver a beautiful lecture on one of the pastimes of Krishna which can be found in the 23rd chapter of the book, “Krsna” – Delivering the wives of Brahmanas who performed sacrifices. Once the lecture was completed, we took our prasadam to our heart’s content cooked by the wives of our Melbourne prabhus ! It was so delicious, that we were all delivered, I think !
Vivek prabhu, who was completing his rounds came up to me and asked if we could go for a walk and explore the farm. Another person joined us but I can’t remember his name but I remember him telling us that he came from Kashmir. So, let’s call him “Kashmiri prabhu”.
The Sunday had turned out to be a beautiful “Sun” day. Plenty of sun everywhere, yet there was a chilled wind about. No complains though. We went through winding paths, passed some ponds, looked at tall trees and ignored the songs of wild birds and listened to the soft blowing wind. Ahhh. So peaceful. So much of clean oxygen everywhere. This is like being in Vrindhavana. What could possibly go wrong?
In one of the lectures, I remember Srila Prabhupad mentioning how there were no demons in Vrindhavan but once Krishna arrived, it all changed. Demons of all kinds attacked Him and His friends. And that’s what happened to us. Vivek prabhu and myself walking through the pastures were attacked…by a goat ! Yup.
Goat-asura was previously a human in past birth. He was a rich businessman in down town Melbourne and would frequent its streets everyday to get his lunch. Once, as he dug into his double whooper burger with a vanilla milk shake by the side, he heard a ringing noise in his year. It was some sort of rhythm. And then as seconds passed, he could hear a drum beat. Then some people’s voices. As he looked out of the window of the street cafe, he could see a band of people in orange and white clothes, with shaved hair and all, jumping and dancing and singing. He was spell bound. They passed him and took a right turn at Flinder’s Street. They were gone but he knew his calling in life had arrived. Over the coming months, he left his young wife, 3 kids, a mistress, a thriving business and went to the forests of Winchelsea to mediate on the absolute truth and the song he had heard.
One day, he saw a baby goat drowing in a nearby creek. He put his life on the line and jumped into the water to save the animal. What a noble act. He brought it back to the shore, wiped him clean, covered it in a blanket. Over the days and months, he began to develop a strong attachment to the animal and yes like modern day man with pet dogs, he made the goat, his pet. So attached was he to it, that his spiritual exercises began to be neglected. One day, the grown up goat went away and the businessman went madly looking after it. He fell into ditch, broke his neck and died. (Why does this story sound so familiar?)
Anyway, just before he died, he had thought about his pet goat whom he dearly missed.
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.
– Gita Chapter 8, Verse 6
After a few minutes of gazing, he zoomed towards us. Not having seen a goat for some time in our lives, we stood there like a tree, not knowing what to do. Our mobiles had no coverage. No one would hear us if we yelled. And if I died here, I would die without my bead bags ! I left it at the lecture hall ! More importantly, I shouldn’t think of this goat. Else, I could end up as a photography loving goat destined to end up as a Vindaloo in someone’s kitchen. I wouldn’t die…I have devotees around me. They will protect vaishnavas. Unfortunately, they were the first to run away when they remembered that they can run.
Anyways, he attacked me first as you can see above. He looked like a horse there. I never knew a goat could do that, attack with 2 feet in the air. I knew what to do. Well, i actually took a step back and he bought his thick forehead onto my ankles and left it there for sometime, basically pushing me away. Luckily, he heard Vivek prabhu laughing his guts out nearby. And that’s what Goatasura wanted to do to him – take his guts out. In a flash, the asura went after him.
Vivek prabhu is non-violent. He believes in negotiations to fix a problem. He had used this technique in the past with his devotee friends and it always worked. He used this weapon again. But to no avail. Why? Well, he spoke to the animal in Hindi. The goatasura was Australian.
Listening to Vivek prabhu’s hindi, Kashmiri prabhu began to laugh his guts out. As we know, Kashmiris speak better Hindi. But Goatasura misunderstood. Thinking that he was laughing at him and that too in complete view of his other 2 vanquished humans, he attacked Kashmiri prabhu from the back. Kashmiri prabhu was a kshatriya in his past life so he very skillfully, counteracted the demon’s moves. But it was getting tiring. The goat demon was getting more and more powerful as minutes passed. But Vivek prabhu (who was a brahmana in his past birth) came to the rescue.
Vivek prabhu knew that one can be protected from all kinds of dangers by chanting the holy names of Krishna. So, confidently and slowly, he looked into the direction of the slowly approaching goat demon and said,
“Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”
The goatasura was stunned. It stood there, centimeters away from Vivek. He was listening. Has he heard this before? Was he remembering something? “Those orange people, that ringing sound, that drum sound and what were they singing then? It sounded like what this person is now saying…I am getting calm, blissful….”
And then at that instant, goatasura was transformed.
Through the compassionate nature of a devotee, the goat had been delivered. Or atleast his process of deliverance had begun. All this while, he had been troubled. He hated humans. He knew how his family members, friends and contacts were slaughtered for meat. Why?
Srila Prabhupada: Some people say, “We believe that animals have no soul.” That is not correct. They believe animals have no soul because they want to eat the animals, but actually animals do have a soul.–
Reporter: How do you know that the animal has a soul?
Srila Prabhupada: You can know, also. Here is the scientific proof… the animal is eating, you are eating; the animal is sleeping, you are sleeping; the animal is defending, you are defending; the animal is having sex, you are having sex; the animals have children, you have children; they have a living place, you have a living place. If the animal’s body is cut, there is blood; if your body is cut, there is blood. So, all these similarities are there. Now, why do you deny this one similarity, the presence of the soul? That is not logical. You have studied logic? In logic there is something called analogy. Analogy means drawing a conclusion by finding many points of similarity. If there are so many points of similarity between human beings and animals, why deny one similarity? That is not logic. That is not science.
– Science of Self-Realization (pp. 35-36)
The excited goat then made up for his bad behaviour and began to display signs of hospitality. First, he licked our hands and then invited us to play hide and seek with him. We let him win. He has been through so much already.
He then introduced us to his neighbours and friends whom he considered like his own family. He really looked up to the cattle on the farm. They were his everything. He loved them and knew they were important to the world. Maybe, that’s why his species were called go(at). Lame, I know.
Our goat friend took us to all sorts of amazing places. He gave us company, played with us, only fought with us for fun now and more and more, we were beginning to smell like him too.
We realized during this time with the animal, that they have the right to express their emotions too. They can fight or befriend just like us. What brings all things diverse together is that we are all together surviving in this material world and we are all making our journey towards the spiritual destination. If a goat can make a quick u-turn in his compassion towards his enemy, why can’t a superior being like humans make a u-turn to love all living beings in an instant and without any discrimination, share the holy name with all ? No prejudgement whatsoever.
jiva doya. This means “compassion to all souls,” regardless of outer covering, or regardless of the specific body nature gives to them. You see, all beings are made of the same spiritual substance — we’re all parts of Krishna. Therefore, we should all receive the same respect and love, even if we happen to be animals. This is a cardinal teaching of Vaishnavism. So Hare Krishnas believe that animals should be given the same rights — or at least similar rights — as we give to humans.
– Online Interview with the author of “Holy Cow: The Hare Krishna Contribution to Animal Rights”, Satyaraja Das
And coming next soon – Part 6 – Glories to the cookers !