The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973



All life is one
by T.L. Vaswani

Near the place of Tukaramís meditations in the forest there was a crop of corn. The owner of the corn often saw Tukaram sitting quietly in the forest. The owner promised to give Tukaram half a maund of grain, if Tukaram would protect the corn from the birds. Tukaram agreed. But when the birds came for a meal, Tukaram said to himself:-

Are not the birds, too, Godís creatures, -
Children of Vithal, the Beloved?
Are they not hungry?

Last year a famine spread far and wide:
This year God hath sent us a crop.
Have the birds no share in the crop of corn?
Must I turn them away?

Am I a true worshipper of Vishnu (God)
Or only a lip worshipper?
If, indeed, I am a true devotee of the Beloved,
Then I must not chase away the birds:
I must release them
Then greet them gladly
And feed them to their full!

The birds came, day by day: and Tukaram fed them, day by day as, in another country and another period in history, did St. Francis. The owner of the corn came, one day, to see the field. He was taken aback when he found that the whole field was empty. The peasant flew into a rage. Alas! He dragged the saint by the hair and brought him to the panchayat (city-council). They heard and they laughed: what else could they do?

Life is one. So do not separate man from the animal or the bird. And the One Life, that wakes in man and dreams in animals, is a mystery that we can but gaze at in reverence.

So injure not the creatures that creep or fly. Love them.

Received from the Sadhu Vaswami Mission:

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