A common complaint against God is that He doesn’t appear before us. Saints say that He does come, but we fail to recognize Him because we expect God to put on the costume of our favourite deity whereas All-Pervading God appears in any form He pleases, as a dog to Namdev, a man-lion to Hiranyakashipu, a parrot to Tulsidas.
Shirdi Sai Baba personally told a devotee that he had come as a hungry dog to his door but the devotee had shooed him away. Last Saturday at 6.00 a.m. while worshipping Shiva in the temple, wild barking jolted me. I ran out with the beggars and flower sellers and we saw a malnourished male calf trying to dodge ferocious dogs that were biting at its legs. I shooed them away and it scurried inside the temple compound and stood shivering in front of the shivling.
Its right ear was completely bitten and one leg had old wounds covered with flies. The calf stood there bleeding and trembling. I asked the priest if he had antiseptic but he shifted his position and continued reading Sunder Kanda, the Ramayana section about God and His animal friends. The flower seller coaxed the calf outside the temple and I ran to get help.
A good soul at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital asked me to call 9810394051, a Gau Seva Sansthan in Munirka (near JNU) that helps animals and birds in distress. It was the number of Chowdhury Mahendra Singh Tokas’s truck driver, Pratap. Pratap assured us he would come if we remained with the calf. Meanwhile the beggars had decided it was wrong to tie an injured calf and released it.
The calf trotted away and I tracked it to a kanwaria camp. That was uncanny, this little Nandi going to a Shiv-sthal. We called Pratap to tell him our new location. He took away the calf, but not before the police pulled up and accused us of injuring it ourselves! Incidentally, Chowdhury Mahendra Singh accepts no donations for these services, in the true spirit of seva.