As every one knows there are a lot of cows in India. They are everywhere and – as they would say in America – they have a free range. So after a while you begin to ignore them, they are just one of the myriads of things that at one point one finds fascinating but after a while, one no longer pays any attention to. A few days ago we had a short ride from a wonderful Fort Hotel in Kishargarh to Pushkar. Pushkar is one of the holiest places to Hindus.
According to legend, Pushkar came into existence when the creator Lord Brahma happened to drop a lotus flower from his hand. Where the three petals landed, three small lakes were created in the middle of the desert. Pushkar is now a home for Hindu’s pilgrimages and there are about 500 temples in its vicinity. Pushkar is also a funky place visited by many backpackers seeking a bit of wisdom, drugs and revelations. And everyone that comes here, Hindus or agnostics is urged to pray at the lake where holy men says a few prayers on your and all of your family’s behalf. After the prayers are done you are supposed to pay an agreed sum, often without your realization that the sum negotiated was not the total sum but rather per individual member of your family. Thus some people depart the lake with less money than they intended to have in their pockets.
After arriving in Pushkar I took a shower and headed for the town. The town has a wonderful busy bazaar that goes on and on. I slowly meandered through the main street of the bazaar looking at the shops. Finally at one spot I noted a view of the lake and walked towards it. I came close to the ghat – staircase leading to the water – and paused to take in the view.
Here I interrupt the story to present more background. My father was a cattleman. Most of his adult life he was responsible for farms raising cattle. As a child I spent a lot of time around cattle. As a 7 year old on my summer vacation I took a couple of cows every morning to pasture and spent the whole day with a bunch of other boys tending to our cows or letting them loose while we played soccer or other games. So I would say I am comfortable with cattle whether they are holy or simply produce milk for consumption.
So there I was standing about 15 feet in front of the ghat contemplating the view and trying to decide whether I should ask for some prayers on my behalf when suddenly I feel this hit in my stomach that knocks me a couple of feet back. Stunned I look around. In front of me there is a young cow who has simply walked from my left side and butted me with her head. A full force butt.
So you tell me what was this all about? Why in this holy place I get butted by a cow – possibly a holy cow? Is there a message that I was not getting? Is it my karma or is it a message from my departed father who even after he retired, when driving with me in the countryside and spotting a cow, immediately ordered me to stop so he could take a better look and focus on the specimen.