Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Acts of Affection

                        The elephants are the largest living land animals. They have a regular requirement of a large amount of water for their survival. The elephant drinks by sucking up water into its large trunk, poking the open end into its mouth and then blowing out to release the water into the mouth as a spray. A big elephant bull may hold up to 10 litres of water in its trunk and may drink even up to about 200 litres per day.

                       During a summer season, there was a severe drought in a forest. The ponds, rivers and streams became dry. Animals ran frantically in search of water. A bull elephant and his loving partner, a cow elephant were wearily wandering about in search of some water in the scorching summer sun. They came near the sandy bed of a dried up river. The bull elephant dug a deep hole and found a little water. He lovingly invited his partner to drink the water. But the loving cow elephant insisted that he may drink it alone, pretending that she was not very thirsty. They argued for a while and finally decided to drink the water together. They immersed their trunks into the water and pretended to drink by raising their empty trunks to their mouths frequently, but the level of water in the hole did not drop as none of them had really drawn the water into their trunks to drink. They were enduring their thirst to let their partner quench the thirst. Later they realized the strength of their mutual love and embraced each other using their trunks. The animals in this story were displaying true sacrificial love, the greatest form of love.

                        Sadhu Sundar Singh  was passing through a forest. He came to a place which was destroyed by a wild forest fire. He could see charred plants, trees and animals everywhere. He saw a burnt bird and touched it with a stick. The charred body of the large bird fell down and then, from within the burnt body of the mother bird, some chicks came out. He could trace the events easily. The mother bird had flown into the raging fire in an attempt to save her chicks, but finding that she was unable to move them away, she covered them completely in an earnest embrace and received the burns on her own body, saving the chicks by sacrificing her own life in the fire. She had obviously voluntarily offered her body to be burnt alive! He used to quote this incident as an example to explain the virtues of sacrificial love.The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.
© By Dr. Babu Philip, Professor, Cochin University of Science & Technology, Fine Arts Avenue, Kochi-682016, Kerala, India, Prof. Mrs. Rajamma Babu, Former Professor, St. Dominic's College, Kanjirappally and Leo. S. John, Maniparambil, Ooriyakunnath, Kunnumbhagom, Kanjirappally, Kottayam-686507, Kerala, India.
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