Lord Mahavir and the Cow Herder

Posted: 05.10.2010
Updated on: 30.03.2011

Lord Mahavir and the Cow Herder

One day as Lord Mahavir was going from one place to another, he stopped near a big tree to meditate. While he was meditating, a cow herder came there with his cows. He needed someone to look after the cows, so he could run some errands. He asked Mahavir Swami if he would look after the cows for a few hours. Lord Mahavir was in deep meditation and did not hear the cow herder. However, the cow herder went away thinking that Lord Mahavir had heard him and will look after the cows.

In the meantime, the cows started wandering away, looking for and grazing grass. A few hours later, the cow herder returned and found all his cows missing. He asked Mahavir Swami, "Where are my cows? What did you do with them?” Lord Mahavir was still in meditation and did not reply. The cow herder started wondering. "Where could they be?” Since Lord Mahavir did not reply, the cow herder searched for them everywhere, but could not find them. While he was looking for the cows, cows returned to the place where Mahavir Swami was meditating.


Lord Mahavir sitting in meditation (print of a popular painting)

When the cow herder came back, to his amazement, all his cows were standing near Lord Mahavir. Mahavir Swami was still meditating. The cow herder became very angry with Lord Mahavir, because he thought that Lord Mahavir was hiding his cows. So, he took out his rope and was about to whip Mahavir Swami with it. Just then, an angel from heaven came down and held the rope.

"Can't you see that Lord Mahavir is in deep meditation?” Asked the angel. "But he tricked me!" said the cow herder. The angel replied, "He is a God. He does not care for your cows or anything else in this world. He was in meditation and did not hear you. He did not do anything to your cows. You would have gotten bad karmas for hurting him."

The cow herder realized that he had made a mistake. He apologized to Lord Mahavir and went away silently. The angel went back to heaven feeling happy that he could stop Lord Mahavir’s suffering.

Mahavir didn't have any bad feelings towards the cow herder, because he held no anger towards anyone.

Key Message:

We should not make hasty decisions, because we can be wrong. One should think from all perspectives before acting. Secondly, we should also not hurt anyone for any reason, and should forgive instead of displaying anger. This is the way we can stop new karmas from coming to our soul.

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