Human-animal bond

Over recent years a fuller acknowledgement of the human-animal bond has been awakened in us. We have always relied heavily upon animals throughout our history but it seems that we have often taken them and their tremendous self offering to us for granted.

These days we are not only appreciating them more but also finding new ways to enable them to assist us with our problems. As an undergraduate vet student I remeber the inception of the organisation in Australia responsible for introducing dogs into hospitals and aged care facilities for the betterment of the lives of the people living there. This then led to a program of riding for the disabled when it was discovered that children with cerebral palsy could actually sit in horse saddles when not on chairs.

These programs were obviously successful not only for the physical benefits of the people but also because of the emotional well being brought about by interactions with a living soul, an animal, that gives unconditional love and support to those in need. Subsequently many such initiatives have arisen including the use of horses now to assist people with anger management and psychological imbalances.

“The Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) defines Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) as experiential psychotherapy that includes equines. EFP may be used to treat a variety of psycho-social disorders such as anxiety, depression, behavioral disorders, personality disorders and other psychotic disorders as well as post-traumatic stress, grief and loss.”

With the increased awareness of the existence of and acceptance of animal communicators and ‘whisperers’, these opportunities to work more closely with what Sri Chinmoy describes as ‘our little brothers and sisters’ is becoming more available. What we are discovering is that most of us have the capacity to communicate more effectively with others when we use our hearts and not so much our limited minds. Children can do this far more easily because they naturally are more heart based in their approach to life in their early years. The important thing is that perhaps we can all learn to reawaken our own ability to find this inner peace through practice and the willingness to try to see the good qualities in others.

The organistaions providing animals for the betterment of human lives have obviously embraced this secret. More and more we are looking for natural ways to calm and heal ourselves. Making the most of what Mother Nature in her infinite compassion has afforded us we are turning back to her for her assistance.

I would like to present an excerpt from Sri Chinmoy’s writings about pets and their role in our lives. It involves a question and his answer from his own experiences.

Question: Sometimes so-called unevolved things—for example, a dog—can have such noble qualities. A dog might give its life to save somebody. On the other hand, a human being that is more evolved might have such petty qualities.

Sri Chinmoy: God has given each individual good qualities. If the individual does not use those good qualities, bad qualities loom large. Good and bad, day and night, light and shade each individual has. Because we are human beings, we are more evolved than animals. But some human beings are infinitely worse than animals. For example, if you give a dog a little food two times a day, it is satisfied. But each human being has to be supplied with new food, most delicious food every day. Otherwise that person may get angry. The poor dog is getting the same meat year after year. But a human being will try to get better food, more delicious food. Is this evolution?

The human mind is highly evolved, but insecurity, jealousy, pride, anger and so forth play their role. When you see a large herd of sheep, immediately you notice how gracefully, how peacefully they are staying together. If one thousand human beings are together, there will be so much screaming and fighting. They will do many unkind things. There will not be any peaceful feeling among them. In that way, the sheep are more developed.

You have said that in many cases, animals, specially dogs, have given their lives for their masters. Many, many more animals have given their lives and will give their lives for human beings than human beings will give for animals. Pets can be so affectionate to their master, so fond of their master, that they can give their lives.

Just recently I read a book about animals that have given their lives and how these animals suffered. Animals far surpass human beings when it comes to sacrifice. As human beings, sometimes we get a kind of unconscious, malicious pleasure when somebody suffers. I have come to realise that in human life there is no such thing as friendship; it is all rivalry. If your friend has achieved something, immediately your heart burns. Unless and until you have established divine friendship, rivalry always exists. If you establish divine friendship, you are safe. At that time you feel oneness. Otherwise, so-called human friendship is made of rivalry and jealousy. Outwardly if your friend achieves something, you will give a broad smile and congratulate him, but inwardly you are cursing your friend or cursing yourself because you could not do that very thing. You feel that you should have done that thing or something better. Animals do not have that kind of developed mind. True, animals can be jealous, but they are not directly entering into the world of jealousy and cursing the person who has achieved something.

There are many, many ways animals can help us in our evolution. Again, in the process of evolution, we are higher because we are conscious of God. The poor animals are not conscious of God. Either we pray to God or meditate on God; it is up to us. But we are conscious that there is somebody in Heaven or inside us who is watching us, while animals are not. Unconsciously they are doing many, many good and divine things.

Again, this does not apply to all animals. In my own case, my dog Kanu used to take my suffering. When I used to get very painful stomach upset, he would sit on my stomach and take it away. So many times when I was miserable with very serious problems, he would come and sleep right beside my head, very, very affectionately. Then my problems would be solved. How many times he took away my real physical headache and my stomach pain. When he used to sit next to me, my problems would go away. I was able to see light on how to solve the problems. This was Kanu.

When I was young, we had a dog called Bhaga. Bhaga looked like a tiger. He was very big and very, very kind. He used to guard the whole Ghosh family—five or six houses. When we left Shakpura for good, Bhaga would not stay behind. He entered into the Kharnaphuli River and followed us. Our boat was sailing and he was swimming to catch up. Finally, we put him in the boat with us. We stayed for two or three days at our maternal uncle’s place and Bhaga was so happy. Then we had to go to Pondicherry and we could not take him with us. Our relatives were so kind to this dog, but in one week Bhaga died. That was Bhaga’s sacrifice for our family.

We had another dog named Tegh. Our house was in Shakpura and my aunt’s place was in Dhalghat. Tegh used to carry messages from one house to the other. My sister used to write down a message. Then the servant would go with Tegh for a half mile or so. Immediately Tegh knew what he should do. The servant would come back and Tegh would go all the way to my aunt’s place, three miles away, and deliver
the message.

If an animal is evolved and very close to its master, then that animal can do something very, very special to prevent a serious calamity from taking place either in the family or among the very dear ones. That kind of supreme sacrifice an animal can make.

Excerpt from Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 27 by Sri Chinmoy.

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