Childhood tale1I didn't come of a poor family; I came of a rich family, but we gave all our material wealth to the ashram. My eldest brother went first to the ashram and then the younger ones went. My uncle was against it, but my brother said that all would stay. He said, "If they leave the ashram, then I will also leave. Right now they are young. It is my duty to do the right thing for them." Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh, has taken our property. But in those days we had two or three large gardens and several houses. My father was the inspector of a large railway junction then.
When I was a child in Pondicherry, I had a dog named Bhaga. It means "tiger." We wanted our dog to be in the city with our relatives. Finally, we took him in a boat and he stayed with my maternal uncle.
Bhaga was very devoted. Several miles he used to cover to deliver a message. He went three and a half miles to my aunt's place and gave her a message. Then, from my aunt's place he was so eager to come back. Twice he did that.
Bhaga was big, spirited and very powerful. If you dropped something, if you made any sound, then you were finished; he used to bark for five minutes. When we were studying for our examinations, we never studied silently. To convince the physical mind that we were studying, we used to recite aloud. At that time, when anything went wrong, the dog used to bark. That was Bhaga.
I had a white hare. I had also many, many birds. I had a kite and others. Then we had a few monkeys. One monkey was named Madhu. I was very fond of monkeys. There was a chain hanging down from a pole and at the top was a small round house where they lived. The monkeys' lives were spent climbing up and down the chain and screaming. Then from their own bodies they removed bugs. Every second they used to discover some thing on their skin. We could not see anything, but a monkey sees everything on its own body.
The monkeys used to bite. When a monkey starts running toward you, you have to lie down and stop breathing. If you act as if you are dead, then it will never, never bite. So many times I did that when I was about six years old. Little children of one or two years and elderly people they never bite, but young boys and girls they bite. A few times I was caught. I have at least ten or twelve marks. I used to go near a monkey with such fondness and joy, but then I forgot that the chain was so long. Sometimes, before I brought food for the monkey, it used to bite me. We had a servant who was fourteen or fifteen years old. There was not a single day when he was not bitten by one particular monkey.
When monkeys are tame, they show affection. My mother was not bitten even once. They felt kindness in my mother. My sister once or twice was bitten. The monkey-bite hurts a lot. It bleeds immediately and profusely. How many times my right or left thigh or my elbow was bitten! Their teeth are very small but they grind. My brother Mantu never gave them any bananas or anything else to eat. He didn't like monkeys, he didn't like dogs, he didn't like cats. He was against every kind of animal. Monkeys do something that is really worth seeing. They climb up a tree and from the very topmost branch they jump into a pond. Then they swim across.
I have disciples whose children were once upon a time their pets. In a previous incarnation somebody had a pet dog, and now the pet dog has become a member of the family. Suppose you had a dog; now that dog has become your brother. In your family it has taken its first human incarnation, Like that, we also had maidservants who wanted to come into our family. They pleased us so much and their wish was to come into our family. Just open your third eye and see whether I am telling you the truth!
JH 1. During an informal gathering, Sri Chinmoy related this story about his childhood days.↩