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THE TIGER STORY

Swamiji loves all creatures in equal measure and He cannot tolerate the killing or hunting of animals. One day after Baba had returned to Puttaparthi from Uravakonda a strange thing happened. An English officer who was a big game-hunter had gone hunting in the forest on the other side of the Chitravati River. He had shot a tiger and was driving back to Anantapur. Suddenly for no apparent reason, the jeep stopped right outside Puttaparthi village. Despite their best efforts neither the driver nor the officer could get the jeep started.

Now it so happened that the driver had heard the stories about the young Sai Baba. So he told the English man that there was a boy in the nearby village who could create holy ash by a circular movement of His palm; the ash could cure everything and would probably even cure the jeep. Since he was stranded half-way and at a loss to know what was wrong with the engine, the officer agreed to wait in the jeep, while the driver went into the village to find Baba.

thetigerstoryThe driver wandered through the streets of Puttaparthi for some time and at last he saw the boy–before he could say a word, Baba said, “I am coming to the jeep Myself.” Swamiji walked across the sandy river bed to the place where the jeep had stalled. He looked inside the jeep and saw the beautiful tiger, which the officer had shot just two hours ago. Then Baba explained to the men that it was He who made the jeep stop outside Puttaparthi, because the tiger that was now dead, had been the mother of three, two-week old cubs. The cubs were crying hungry and lost without their mother. “Go Back”, Baba instructed sternly “Get those cubs and give them to a zoo where they will be well looked after. And do not shoot wild animals, for they have done you no harm. Why do you go in search of them surrounding them and laying traps to catch them?” Baba suggested that instead, the officer should shoot animals only with his camera; it was a superior weapon that would not maim or kill animals. The English man did just what Baba had said. He took the cubs to a zoo and from then onwards used only his camera for hunting. He discovered that hunting with a camera was even more challenging than with a gun and it was also a more peaceful, nonviolent and virtuous way to live.

The officer was so touched by Baba’s wisdom that he could not bear to look at the tiger skin when it came from the taxidermist. So he took the skin to Puttaparthi where he met Baba again, and placed it at His Feet.

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