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Our life in those days (Pārvati Story)

16 August 2021

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I patted her consolingly and told her that I did not forget her at all. I tried to explain to her how sad I was in the morning to leave her behind without telling her anything, and also how I could not convince our Swamiji about her gentle nature and intelligence. Finally, she turned her face towards me. There were profuse tears rolling down her cheeks!

My days used to be occupied with various kinds of Ashram work – like supervising construction, looking after the coconut garden, going to the market (to buy vegetables, groceries, and other items), serving in the Annakshetra, making buttermilk and ghee, occasionally cooking for Swamiji and feeding him (Swamiji used to say that my cooking was better than Mā’s!), helping Swamiji in publication and socio-religious movements, etc.

A routine work I really loved was to look after the animals of the Ashram – the cows and the calves, to which I later added the team of squirrels, birds, cats and kittens. I used to take the cows and the calves for grazing, feed the cats, squirrels and the birds timely everyday, give them names and talk to them lovingly in Bengali. I would teach the mother cats to become universal mothers. The women working in the Ashram used to complain smilingly that I had made the cows Bengali-speaking and they no longer obeyed their orders. Of course, they had no complaint about the other animals who did not have any opportunity to learn Malayalam.

Swamiji used to appreciate my conversation with the animals, perhaps because I was never so loving with the human beings! Swamiji would often ask whether the animals really understood what I said. I had no doubt about the calves and cats and snakes, but about the grown up cows I had some doubts, because they used to kick me when I tried to milk them under Swamiji’s tutelage.

In 1991, when the new Guesthouse in “Kānanam” across the road was under construction, we had a calf called Pārvati. Every morning at 8 o’clock I had to go to the site to supervise the construction. I would take Pārvati along, play with her in Kānanam for 15 minutes, and then start my work. The game was “catch me not” – Pārvati would run after me and try to hit me from behind. After playing for a while she would happily go alone for grazing.

One day the masons had cast some RCC slabs, which were kept on the ground for curing. That evening Swamiji told me that Pārvati should not be allowed inside Kānanam for at least three-four days. I pleaded: “Swamiji, I do agree that Pārvati sometimes likes to pull or chew the masons’ dhoti (cloth) from behind when they are at work; but I am sure she would never spoil any work.” But Swamiji was quite firm.

So, the next morning, with a heavy mind I had to stealthily reach Kānanam avoiding Pārvati’s notice. When I came back to the Ashram building after some time, Mā told me that Pārvati had entered my room looking for me. Not finding me there, she had enquiringly appeared in Mā’s room. Hearing Pārvati’s footsteps, Mā got alarmed and chased her out. No one had seen her after that.

I started calling “Pārvati, Pārvati”, but no reply. Usually hearing me she would immediately respond from wherever she was. I looked all around calling her anxiously, but she was nowhere to be seen. Finally I discovered her standing just outside the building under a shed behind the well.

She was standing silently, with her face away from me, hidden in one corner. I patted her consolingly and told her that I did not forget her at all. I tried to explain to her how sad I was in the morning to leave her behind without telling her anything, and also how I could not convince our Swamiji about her gentle nature and intelligence. Finally, she turned her face towards me. There were profuse tears rolling down her cheeks!

– From Vicharasethu

Photo: Nutan Swamiji playing with one of Ashram’s pet calves.

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“A routine work I really loved was to look after the animals of the Ashram – the cows and the calves, to which I later added the team of squirrels, birds, cats and kittens. ”

“I would teach the mother cats to become universal mothers.”

“Swamiji used to appreciate my conversation with the animals, perhaps because I was never so loving with the human beings! ”

“The women working in the Ashram used to complain smilingly that I had made the cows Bengali-speaking and they no longer obeyed their orders.”

“I would take Pārvati along, play with her in Kananam for 15 minutes, and then start my work. The game was “catch me not” – Pārvati would run after me and try to hit me from behind. After playing for a while she would happily go alone for grazing.”

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