The Swami and the Strays

Imagine a situation where a tragedy is imminent. The heart aches. Tears just about line the rims of eyes. The devotees begin the mournful pre-emptive dirge, the inner circle cries foul, the victim indicates he was the target but he smiles. He has to. He teaches everyone to do so in the face of all odds, ends and tails.

The investigators arrive. Big man, big audience. They move swiftly and the trail takes them to a farm from where a bullet travelled 2,500 feet to reach the ashram and grazed one member of the meditating congregation. Who was it aimed at?

Four stray dogs that had mauled a sheep at the farm-owner’s property. With his licensed .32 revolver, Mahavira Prasad fired three bullets; one bullet decided to travel farther out.

The Swami has said, “It is a closed chapter and will be forgotten.”

I am thinking about all those high-powered devotees who rushed to claim fealty and wondered in sorrowful tones about how anyone would want to target a good man like the swami. He himself had insisted that the intention was to hit him. He still believes that there is prejudice against swamis: “I suggest Karan Johar make a movie titled ‘I Am Swamy, But I Am Innocent’, which could show that all religious leaders are not like that.”

Those dogs could be innocent, too. Did the farm-owner know exactly which strays had mauled the sheep? Did the sheep stray into stray territory? Since it is a poultry and sheep farm, weren’t the fowl and the animal meant for consumption?

Why did Prasad first fire two rounds and the third near the gate of the ashram where another dog was? That dog could have been a devotee or planning to join the satsang. Have the police considered this angle?

There is in this incident a sense of a weird deus ex machina…a powerful man’s potential martyrdom snicked by a dog.

Also, imagine this one stray, perhaps human in an earlier birth, quite besotted by the swami yearns for a glimpse. Several frustrated attempts lead her astray and she goes berserk as the Swami’s car whooshes past, the dust rising and stinging her eyes. Day after day. On that fateful day, she scampers to the farm stomping on the grass and then as she watches the sheep quietly munching away she lunges, gnawing at the flesh. How she aches!

Her anger subsiding, she decides she can only pine. And so she waits at the gate. For a glimpse and dust in eyes:

A song from Sati Savitri yelps in her mind:

Tum gagan ke chandrama
Main dhara ki dhool hoon
Tum pralay ke devta ho
Main samarpit phool hoon

- - -

For those interested in the report, here’s a brief summary:

The mystery bullet that Art of Living guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar claimed was intended for him and cops insisted was merely a stray slug was actually aimed at scaring stray dogs at a farm near the guru’s ashram.

Karnataka police chief Ajai Kumar Singh said Mahadeva Prasad, chairman of Dr B R Ambedkar Medical and Dental College was on his poultry and sheep farm last Sunday around the same time the guru was addressing his congregation. Prasad was taking aim at four stray dogs near his farm since they had recently mauled a sheep. He fired three shots, missed the dogs completely and one bullet travelled over 2,500 feet in the air before grazing Vinay, a devotee at the ashram. “Taking the ballistic expert report, gradient of landscape and time of firing, it was confirmed the same bullet had travelled to the ashram,’’ Singh said.


  1. FV
    Alright, from now on I am going to be silent to make sense.

    I will just visit your blogs and won't comment as I'll be a silent LURKER.


  2. FV, thanks for chuckles. Always found (Sri)^N ravishankar to be a little too pious for my taste. Here is a question: isn't it better to just feed strays and increase piety rather than shoot at it?

    PS: the ^ symbol stands for "raised to the power of". If only I was pious enough for a couple more Sri's in front of my. Name....sigh

  3. This is funny with a message, these days you are being gentle!!

  4. Circle:

    Ah, so you take this guy seriously? I like silence after...


    The Sri-ek is not pious, just manages a bit of mumbo-jumbo and manages a few stray...oops...thoughts.

    How you treat strays has nothing to do with piety or garbage bins where they rummage for food would be very pious indeed.


    Am I being gentle? I just use a chisel sometimes instead of a hammer. It is gentler on my hands...

  5. This is really a great read for me. Thank you for publishing articles having a great insight stimulates me to check more often for new write ups. Keep posting!



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