My beloved dogs

I had Kanu, our dearest of all. If I had a headache, a real headache, he would go and be on my pillow. Touching my head, he would take my headache. And I did not tell him even what was wrong with me. He knew. When I had a stomach ache, he would go and just be on my stomach. He used to cure me. That was Kanu.

Again, it is all a matter of gratitude. The owner said she would not sell him because the doctor said he would not last more than two or three weeks. She thought that afterwards we would blame her. So I gave it in writing that I would not blame her. One disciple went and gave her the letter and she sold us the dying puppy. He lived, I think, more than eleven years!

I would try to keep Kanu near my chest or near my head. He would not listen. He would go and be at my feet all the time. And I was afraid that my legs would squash him. So again I would bring him back to my chest, then again he would go back there.

Three times, I think, in the last few months of his life, he appeared to be dead. Then I would bring his lifeless body down the staircase. I would be asking myself, "How am I going to give this message to Ranjana? How am I going to give it?"

I saw that he was gone. Then, when I reached the meditation room, I sat with him and looked at him. O my God, he came back. These two dogs really showed me life-and-death scenes.

The first time Kanu left the body was the day I was supposed to meet with President Gorbachev. According to me, President Gorbachev is the world's greatest man, and I have such admiration for him. The interview was supposed to take place at the Governor General's palace in Canada. That was the time when Kanu was at Mridul's Animal Hospital. Somehow Mridul got me on the phone.

I said, "What happened?"

He said, "Kanu has passed away."

I concentrated and said, "No, Mridul, it cannot be. I know, I know. No, no, no, no."

Then I hung up. In a few minutes, he called me back. "Oh, Guru, he has come back, he has come back!"

I said, "I told you. He cannot go because my soul has that much connection with Kanu."

Here I was going to see the world's greatest man, but when I heard what had happened, believe me, my joy disappeared. My whole consciousness was concentrated on Kanu. How many times I called Mridul from Canada about Kanu.

These little, little animals can be so affectionate. There are so many stories about dogs who give their lives to save the master, in the same way that horses have been known to do during a battle. Is there any human being who gets a little food twice a day and is ready to give their life for somebody? No, no, no.

They say that God gave the name 'dog'. Reverse 'God' and it becomes 'dog'.

In Shakpura we had a dog called Bhaga. He used to take messages three miles away. We would put the message around his neck and he would go to our aunt's place and bring the message.

When we were leaving the village for the last time to go to Pondicherry, Bhaga knew that we were not coming back. He jumped into the river and started swimming. Then we had to take him into the boat. He was happier than the happiest. We stayed at our maternal uncle's place in the town for three days, I think, before we could go to Pondicherry by train. Bhaga was so happy to be with the whole family.

Then we left. After we reached Pondicherry, the message came that Bhaga had died. For one week, he would not eat anything; he fasted. They tried so hard, so hard, to feed him. He would not eat. He was so strong, so strong, but in a week, he died. That was the experience of our Bhaga.

4 January 2005