On the Death of Animals
Comforting words from a letter sent by Mehera to Irene Conybeare, in regard to the death of Joy Adamson’s lion Elsa. Quoted by Wendy Connor:
A source of great comfort was a beautiful explanation dictated by Baba for a letter Mehera sent to Irene Conybeare. Irene and her friend, Joy Adamson, were quite upset over the death of Joy’s pet lioness Elsa, and had questioned Mehera about it. Some may remember that the movie Born Free, released in the ’60s, was about the life of Elsa. Meheru gave me and Buz a copy of the letter and has given permission to print it here:
“There is never a creature, animal or human that is any ‘less’ by dying—it is always a ‘progress’, for life is a continuous chain of many lives, progressing ever FORWARD in evolution. And, however incongruous or senseless it may all seem to us, it is in harmony with the pattern of a great united whole, in God’s plan. We cannot deprive any creature or man of the experience of suffering which makes him always the richer and takes him always forward and closer to the Self within.
“Elsa’s was one of those rare souls which had evolved to the point where human contact was imminently essential to its progress. And because of your understanding and sympathy you were attracted to that soul housed in the body of a tiny lion cub. And thus Elsa’s love and deep attachment to you who gave her so much love will make her progress all the greater.
“You should be happy that you had not simply tamed the wild beast in Elsa, but that you were one of the very few who had had the privilege of making Elsa forget her wild nature. Therefore do not mourn your missing her, do not weep for yourself; Elsa having made so close a human contact from the wild, it was natural that she could no longer remain in her present animal form. So rejoice with Elsa in her leap forward towards greater freedom.”
And Meherabad resident Janet Judson told: “We had a much loved dog which was very, very sick and we were caring for him as if he were in ICU. Every time I went to Meherazad during this period, Eruch would ask me, ‘Have you put him down yet?’ and I would reply, ‘No, Eruch.’ This happened a number of times until he said, ‘Why don’t you do it? Do it! If you love him, you’ll do this for him. It’s for humans to suffer and animals to evolve — suffering does not help them.'”
When a pet dies
Source: Kitty Davy, Love Alone Prevails, p. 295
It was at the railway station in Quetta that Elizabeth found one of her numerous dogs. Apparently the dog had last seen his owner there, for he continually tried to jump onto a train for more than twenty-four hours — refusing all food — so the station-master said. This so touched Elizabeth that she brought him home, naming him “Foundy,” and Baba allowed her to keep him. Foundy traveled back and forth with her in India, and later even to America.
Baba had great feeling for all life. Life must not be treated lightly. Not a worm or an ant must be trodden on consciously. If unconscious then it was excusable. If a mouse or a rat was caught on the hill or fell in a well, it had to be rescued and taken in a trap a mile from the compound and given its freedom; or again, if a lizard was seen on the wall, it was caught in a towel or shooed through the door. Sick birds, little hares, lame dogs — all found a haven near Baba and were given into the care of Naja who had a healing touch.
When any of our pets died, Baba would always see that they were properly buried, supervising the operation Himself, but He did not want us to be emotionally upset. Had they not been touched, cared for and loved by Baba? Thus, death to them meant progression in evolution.
On Euthanizing Animals
Source: Murshida Ivy O. Duce, quoted in Pascal M. Kaplan, Understanding Death from a Spiritual Perspective (Walnut Creek, CA: Sufism Reoriented, 1977), pp. 72-73.
I’ve often been asked wither a dog or a cat should be put out of its misery, and here I am stumped. After all, we have taken these animals into our homes and have acted as their keepers and have used them as pets and guards and have fed them over the years and all of that. So what do you do when they’re getting old? I’m not entirely sure that it isn’t right to have them chloroformed — or whatever method is used — when they get to the ultimate part of their suffering. Animals don’t have any of the background that we have, they don’t have the reasoning, they don’t have the knowledge of what’s going to happen to them; and they probably think that we’re terrible because we don’t help them. Perhaps that’s the most loving thing to do.
1) Source: Meher Baba, in Sparks of the Truth, ed. C. D. Deshmukh
“Killing an animal for sport, pleasure or food means catching all its bad impression since the motive is selfish. But no such bad impressions are caught from snakes or germs and the like, which are a danger to humanity, when they are killed out of philanthropic motives and only when absolutely necessary. Such killing, when it is not a duty, will certainly create binding impressions….”
2) Zo Newell on her 70-lb shepherd, Durga (Facebook “Baba-lovers” group, 1/14/13):
“Her hips gave out to the point that, toward the end, all we could do was change the towels under her and try to keep her clean, but she still enjoyed being with us. I realized that, in the wild, she’d have died long ago, either from predators or by crawling away into a cave; it was her love and loyalty to us that were holding her here, and that the loving and responsible thing for us was to help her move on to another, healthier body. It was a very hard decision, but she actually wagged her tail when the vet came to euthanize her, and afterwards I felt very strongly that we’d done the right thing. Adi K. Irani. said once that animals can’t benefit spiritually from physical suffering as humans can; that thought helped me.
3) Raelia Lyn reported (personal communication, 2012) that Mehera asserted that Baba was very firm that you must not let an animal suffer unnecessarily.