(25) BABY CHEETAHS
18th January, 1946
About a year ago, some person who was rearing two baby cheetahs brought them into Bhagavan’s presence. When they were fondled and given milk, not only did they move freely amongst the people in the hall, but they got on to the sofa with Bhagavan’s welcome and slept soundly thereon.
One of the Ashram devotees took a photo of that unusual group. From about 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Bhagavan confined himself to one end of the sofa keeping the cubs on the sofa in the same position all the time. They woke up afterwards and were there till about 4 p.m., moving about freely in the hall. Once again, before Bhagavan went up the hill at the usual time, photos were taken with the cheetah cubs on the sofa and also on the table in front of the sofa. They were published in the Sunday Times later.
The wonder of it was that even the cheetah cubs lay down happily on the sofa, overpowered by sleep induced by the touch of Bhagavan’s hands. While they were there, the squirrels came and ate nuts and the sparrows came and ate broken rice, as usual. In olden days, when animals and birds of all sorts moved about together without enmity in any place, people used to think that it was perhaps a Rishi Ashram.
There are stories like this related in the Puranas. But here we see the same thing before our very eyes. When I read out to Bhagavan yesterday’s incident about the pigeons, and the worship of the cow, Bhagavan said, “Many similar things often happened here previously. But who was there to record them at that time?” When the first edition of this book (in Telugu) came out and was being read in the presence of Bhagavan, one of the devotees who heard the above story said, addressing him, “Is it a fact that when you were in Pachiamman Koil somebody got frightened and ran away from an approaching tiger there?” Bhagavan said, “Yes, yes! When I was there, Rangaswami Iyengar used to come off and on. One day, when he went to answer calls of nature it seems he saw a tiger in a bush. When he tried to drive her away by shouting, she replied by a mild roar. His body shook with terror and getting up involuntarily from where he sat, he began running towards me gasping for breath, and shouting at the top of his voice, ‘Oh, Bhagavan! Ramana! Ramana!’ I happened to come out for some work and so met him. When I asked him what all his fright was about, he said imploringly, ‘Ayyo, tiger, tiger! Come, Swami, we must go into the temple and close all the doors, otherwise she will come in. Why don’t you come?’ I said, laughing, ‘Let us wait and see. Where is the tiger? It is nowhere.’ Pointing towards the bush he said, ‘There it is in that bush.’ I said, ‘You wait here. I will go and see.’ When I went there and saw, there was no tiger. Still, he could not shed his fear. I assured him that it was a harmless animal and there was no need to be afraid, but he would not believe me. Another day, while I was sitting on the edge of the tank opposite the temple, that tiger came to drink water, and without any fear, roamed about for a while looking at me, and went its way. Iyengar, however, observed all this, hiding himself in the temple. He was afraid of what might happen to me. After the tiger left, I went into the temple and relieved him of his fear saying, ‘Look! What a mild animal it is! If we threaten it, it will attack us. Not otherwise.’ I thus dispelled his fears. We too were not there for long after that,” said Bhagavan.