An Autobiography of a Goat

Like other animals, after traversing through many rebirths, when, after living in my mother’s womb for five months, I took birth, I found world, a nice and pleasant place to live in. Man and his little children treated me with all kindness and affection, held me in their laps and fed me with their hands with tender green leaves and I felt so much endeared to them. Drinking, side by side, my mother’s milk, I started growing fast. Our master used to pat and pet me and take me to his farm, where I used to feed myself on green leaves. He was not annoyed even when I dirtied his farm with my body-wastes. My mother told me that our wastes turned into manure for his plants, giving him better yields. That was why he never got angry with me.

Time slowly passed as I lived with contentment along with my companions. After about a year and a half, one day, a stranger visited my master. They talked for a while and then my master brought us about 40 young goats to stand in a group before the visitor who looked happy on seeing us. Within few minutes, a big truck came and we were all forcibly taken into it. There was nothing I could do, though I cried to go back to my mother. As I attempted to go back to her I was hit by a monstrous looking man with a stick and was forced to squeeze into the truck. My head began to reel due to the over-crowding and congestion. My companions were no better. Fear was writ large on the face of every one of us. We do not know for how long we traveled in the truck like this, may be two or three days. In between, we were given some little food which could hardly fill half our bellies. The vehicle at last stopped in a big city. A tall bearded, another monstrous looking man approached our vehicle and we were all handed over to him and he forcibly drove us into a big farm house. We were made to stand in the scorching Sun with an unknown fear. We could somehow sense, something bad was going to happen to us. But what!?

After what seemed an eternal wait, we were ultimately pushed into the house. A giant monster of a man was there and he examined each one of us with some tube attached to his ears. We were then sent into another room. I could not comprehend what was going on but a matured companion told me that he was the doctor and that we all were nearing our end. Already half-dead with hunger, thirst and tiredness, I lost all my appetite on hearing this and could not eat even whatever was given to me. Even water hurt my throat instead of soothing it. Then an adjoining room’s door was opened and what I saw inside made me tremble worse with terror. My legs failed me and I started shaking. The cries and wails coming out of that room made me unbearably sick and I almost fainted. As I tried to escape a so called man held me by my hind-legs and threw me inside the room.. And what an unpleasant scene was in store for me! A horrible looking giant-like-person was slitting open the throat of one of my companions, paying no heed to his wails and cries as blood splashed out from the cut.

Suddenly thoughts flashed into my mind. “Is this the same man who claims to be the descendent of saints and sages of those ages, who preached non-violence, kindness and love!? No! it just cannot be the same man! Even the most dreaded animals which feed and live on the flesh of other weaker animals do not indulge in such mass killing.” As I thought on these lines, ruminating over my fate, another terrifying man, held me tight by my ears and pushed me towards this giant-looking killer. The pain and fear turned into rage and I tried to break loose but in vain. The resultant failure and frustration made me froth through my mouth and pass out urine and solid waste involuntarily. Oh! God ! Don’t you have pity on us!. What wrong have we done to these men!? Why are we meeting this end? Our cries fell on the deaf ears of the Lord. Two other ominous looking men held me tight, one held my legs and the other held my head and the man with the knife started slicing through my throat. A fountain of blood splashed out from my neck: my entire body rattled with pain. Then I had no other go but to pray for instant death rather than suffering this prolonged agony. But no. I was destined to suffer because the knife only went through half my neck. Death was still far away and every moment of this torture dragged on for what I felt like aeons. Cursing my fate and still remembering God, I continued to pray awaiting death.

I do not remember when, but slowly darkness enveloped and I lost my consciousness. It appeared that I had died and messengers of Death were carrying me to the sky. As I went up the sky I could look down at my own carcass. What is this ? Two person were skinning my hide removing the flesh and fat and I no longer felt any pain! I became curious to know what was going to be done to my remains. Some moments later, a person came there and took my flesh along with others’ to the kitchen of a grand looking hotel. There a person cut my whole flesh into small pieces.

RUBBING SALT TO WOUNDS:

“After making a pulp of the sliced meat, he added salt and chilly powder and put them in a vessel kept on a fire and the whole thing got fried. What an act of barbarism from a Man considered to be divine? Now what next? As I started wondering, I saw another person arranging my cooked meat decoratively on a plate and took it into a big decorated room where lots of tables and chairs were neatly laid. He took my meat to a couple seated in a corner. As soon as the plate was laid on the table, the male started eating my meat with great delight. However the lady with him obviously disliked eating my meat and did not even touch it. She seemed to give only company to her husband

Then my vision changed. I was standing before ‘Lord Yama’ in a queue. There was his assistant ‘Chitragupta’ narrating in a loud voice, the account of all good and bad deeds of every soul that came up before him. When my turn came, I went and stood before him and he revealed that in my previous birth I was born as a human and had feasted gloriously on the flesh of goats. As a retribution I had to be born as a goat and offer my meat to others. He also said that the persons who ate my meat in the hotel were my own loving children of the previous birth, who I had loved so much and for whose sake I staked so much in that life of mine. He further stated. “ Now that they have eaten your meat in their present birth, they will have to suffer similar punishment in retribution, in their next birth”

Hearing this, even as a soul I shivered. How could I allow my progeny to suffer the same tortures as had been inflicted upon me? I therefore pleaded with Lord Yama to forgive all of them as I too had forgiven them and wanted no revenge or retribution of any kind. The lord took pity upon me and graciously pronounced that since as a goat, I had eaten only leaves and grasses and had done no harm to any one and had forgiven all those who had harmed me I should be reborn next as a man. My soul was then sent back to earth to take the shape of a human.

As I entered into re-incarnation, I took a vow that I would behave with utmost rectitude and be a votary of truth and non-violence. I will not kill any animal or bird nor eat any of its flesh. I will desist from causing the least harm or pain to any living being but will spare no effort in offering protection to every living being.

(Rewritten, inspired by a pamphlet on "Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian" by Gopinath Aggarwal)

emailed on 06.04.2007 by K.M

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