Ramana Maharshi and Cow
Ramana Maharshi was not a man of many words; he was not very educated either. He was only seventeen when he escaped into the mountains in search of himself. He was a very silent man, and people used to go particularly to have a taste of his silence.
One thing very miraculous was watched by every comer: whenever he sat in the veranda of the temple, waiting for people who wanted to sit with him in silence, a cow used to come without fail, exactly at the right time. She would sit there, and people could not believe it: “What kind of cow is that?” And when Raman Maharshi moved inside his room, and everybody dispersed, the cow would come close to the window and put her head inside — just to say goodbye, every day. And then she would go back. Then tomorrow she would come again.
It went on continually for years. But one day she did not turn up, and Raman Maharshi said, “She must be either very ill or she must be dead. I must go in search of her.”
The people said, “It doesn’t look right for a man of your heights to go in search of a cow.” But Raman Maharshi did not listen to the people, he went. People followed, and the cow was found. She had fallen in a ditch.
She had become old. She was coming, she was on the way, but she had slipped and had fallen into the ditch.
But she was still alive, and as Raman Maharshi reached her, sat by her side, the cow had tears in her eyes. And she put her head into Raman Maharshi’s lap and died.
Raman Maharshi told his people,”A great temple should be made in her memory here, because she has died enlightened — she will not be born even as a human being.” And even today the temple stands there, with a statue of the cow inside.
Perhaps we have not made much effort to communicate with animals, with trees, with mountains, with rivers. Certainly their language cannot be our language; some other ways have to be found. But in silence many people have experienced a harmony with the trees, with the animals, with the birds.
So it is not only a parable, it is also an indication of a possibility for the future. Man just has to explore… there is so much to explore! But we are engaged in trivia. We are not concerned with the real and great values of life. We are not concerned even with life itself and its different forms. All these are different forms of the same life which we are made of — the same stuff. There must be some way of communion.
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