Sage Chyavanar was once meditating under Ganges for many years continuously and one day he got caught in the fishing net of the local fishermen. The fishermen were shocked to see a Sage in meditation midst the catch and the Sage came out of his meditation.
The fishermen pleaded for the Sage's mercy and they told him that it was a mistake that he was fished out his meditation from deep waters. The Sage understood that it is not their mistake and he submitted himself to them and said,"I am your catch and you can sell me just like you would sell the fish". The fishermen did not know how to react and they ran to their king and told them the story.
The local king then was Nahusha, who was known for his governance and dharma. He came running to the Sage offering apologies for the inadvertent mistake of his people. Then a discussion starts between Sage Chayvanar and King Nahusha which is called as "Chayvana- Nahusha Samvadam".
King: Oh! Sage, please accept my apologies for the mistake of my men. Please tell me how can i be of help to you.
Sage: Never mind Nahusha. It is not their mistake and I belong to them now and they should see me like any other catch of theirs. You can buy me from them and set me free for me to continue my meditation.
Nahusha realized the embarrassing position he was put in. He was also scared to put a value for the Sage, so he requested the Sage to tell him what the value is so that he can pay that to the fishermen. The king thought that he would offer few thousand gold coins and buy out the sage from the fishermen. Just as he was thinking the Sage said:
Sage: Use your Buddhi (intelligence) and decide for yourself as to what my value is.
King: Can i value you and offer 100000 gold coins?
Sage: Please talk to your ministers and decide what my value is.
King: The king summoned most intelligent of his ministers and finally came to the Sage and said, Can i value you and offer 10,000,000 gold coins?
Sage: The sage neither agreed or disagreed but said, please talk to learned Brahmins and decide what my value is.
King: By that time the word had spread and the crowd has started swelling around the place. After consulting the learned Brahmins, the king said, i can offer my entire kingdom for you Sage. Please accept my offer.
Sage: The sage neither agreed or disagreed but said, please talk to wise Sages in your country and decide what my value is.
The king for the first time realized that there is something of more value than his kingdom which he thought is the highest value that he can offer. Probably he understood the difference between his perception of value and the Sage's perception of value. As he was about to set off to his forest to meet wise Rishis, one Rishi was walking through the country at that time.
The King prostrated to the Rishi and explained him the problem and requested for a solution. The Rishi quipped just once sentence and walked away. What was the one liner that provided instant solution for this problematic question?
The Rishi's answer was "Gaurmoolyam Parikalpatam", meaning that just offer one Cow as the value for that Sage and free him from the fishermen. Sage Chyavanar accepted this happily and the issue was resolved.
This is captured in Mahabharatha (13.51.27,28) as:
गवां प्रशस्यते वीर सर्वपापहरं शिवम्।।
गावो लक्ष्म्याः सदा मूलं गोषु पाप्मा न विद्यते।
अन्नमेव सदा गावो देवानां परमं हविः।।
"King, Cows are the most sacred among the universal creatures.
Even seeing them, talking about them, donating them can reduce your sins
Goddess Lakshmi is permanently residing in the cows
All the Devas are kept happy through the offerings from Cows"
Not just protection of the cow but praying Cows as mother goddess is deeply embedded in our culture. Should i say WAS part of our culture.
Today I can't express my emotions after i saw this film in you tube. I want you to watch this movie in the You tube and spare 30 minutes:
Tamil version of the film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
English Version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
From being country which respected every living being and killing a cow was thought to be one of the worst crime you can commit, we are today among the top 5 exporters of meat / meat products. The government of the day encourages slaughter houses and gives concessions with tax payers money.
I shall write a separate article on the importance of Cow protection and how our future is inextricably linked to the welfare of cattle. But for now, let me stop this blog with a quote from MAHATMA GANDHI:
"If there is an option to choose between Independence and prevention of Cow Slaughter, I would choose the latter, for its protection shall open all means to achieve true independence."
And we did not know that Gandhi placed cow protection above India's independence.