K. V. Dominic
“Why are you so cruel to us, chasing us for such a long time, but not falling upon us?” the male mouse asked the herd of seven cats, large and small.
“We shall tell you the reason. We are souls of the seven cats whom you poisoned to death in your previous birth. Do you know who you were in your last birth? You were Stephen, an Advocate and this, your wife, Stella, a housewife. I am Preethi, the grandma of all these children and grandchildren. These two are my first daughters, Manikutty and Ammini. The others are their children, Kinganan, Rowdy, Kittu and Kitty. Tell us why did you kill us? What harm did we do to you?” Preethi exploded.
“We don’t think that we had a life before this,” the male mouse said.
“Even if we had one we hadn’t killed anyone,” the female mouse added.
“That’s the problem with you. Your religion then had not taught you of the phenomenon of rebirths. You believed that after your death your soul will go either to heaven or hell. You believed in the shallow philosophy that man is the centre of universe and all other creatures are created for you. You believed that you are created in the image of God and you are His choicest. You can’t remember your past since divinity has lost in you by your unholy, criminal deeds,” Preethy said.
“We don’t understand anything. Kindly tell us what we did in our past,” the male mouse said.
“I will take you back to your past. As I said, you were then Stephen, an Advocate who lived with your wife, Stella in a big mansion-like house in a vast compound. You had two daughters who were highly employed, married to and settled in metro cities. You had no domestic animals, not even dogs or cats. You had a neighbour, one Agricultural Officer named Krishnan who lived with his aged mother, employed wife and two children. Being Hindus, Krishnan family had a culture distinct from yours. They were vegetarians and believed in the philosophy of Advaita. They were our masters who loved us as their own children. We three generations lived with them for five years,” Preethy broke for a minute.
“Then what happened?” the female mouse asked.
“Krishnan was also a poet. The poet in him moulded him and his family as nature lovers. He had only ten cents of land and there he planted papaya trees, not for him or his family, but for birds like crows, mynahs and cuckoos to feast upon the ripe fruits. He fed crows with rice everyday and kept a basin full of water for the birds to drink and bathe. For us cats he brought salmon fish everyday when he returned after his morning walk. Thus we were fed with rice and fresh fish. They never allowed us to be hungry even for an hour. We belonged to the Ootty pedigree with bushy tail and snow-white fur. They took us like angels and loved like anything. Krishnan bought plastic balls for us and we enjoyed playing football in his drawing and dining rooms. Inexpressible is the happiness the Krishnan family got from our presence there. We sat on their laps longing for strokes which we got in abundance. Very often we slept on their sofa and settees which they liked most. Their guests had to sit elsewhere when we occupied their settee,” Preethy stopped.
“Then why were you killed by Stephen?” the male mouse asked.
“We cats have no boundaries as you mice too. The Creator has created this earth for all animals and plants. He has not given human beings any special right to fence any land. But the selfish man does so. The divine universal instincts in us tempt us to step over or jump over the boundaries humans make. Thus we lovers of freedom liked to run and play in the vast compound of Stephen. There were great beauties in his compound which attracted us—butterflies, birds, squirrels, grasshoppers etc. Most of the day time we preferred to play there, often running after another in great delight. Stephen and his wife didn’t like our presence there. Their petty sense of ownership couldn’t tolerate us intruding into their property. Moreover we defecated in the compound, but covered the shit with soil,” Preethy stopped for a breath.
“Then you might have entered into his house which provoked Stephen,” the female mouse remarked.
“No. We never did it. We never wanted any food since we were well fed by our masters. Stephen might not have liked us defecating in his compound. The paradox is that he and his wife went to church every day. Listened to Christ’s message that you have to love your neighbour and even your enemy. Love your neighbour includes loving whatever possessions and properties your neighbour has. Stephen knew very well that Krishnan and his family loved their cats as their children. But the devil in him and his wife nurtured hate for us and it ended in poisoning us. Very early morning before going to church he put some rat poison in fried fish and placed it very close to my master’s compound. Which cat is averse to fish? Early morning when we went out from the master’s house we smelt the tempting aroma of fish and ate the pieces one after another. We were murdered in three attempts. My Manikutty and Ammini were the first victims. How much our masters shed tears then! They didn’t complain to Stephen because he would deny it and insult them in return. Several months after, Kinganan, Rowdy, Kittu and myself were the victims. Our mistress went to Stephen’s house then and complained in tears. But they denied the charges and pretended innocent. How my master dug graves for us with aching heart and shaky hands! The poison’s effect fled us to our master’s kitchen for water but we couldn’t drink. My master and mistress in great agony and wails tried to drop water into our mouth with filler but we couldn’t drink and after several minutes of great pain and shrieks we bade good bye to our masters. After a few months our kitty, just three months old, was also poisoned the same manner. It was beyond any tolerance for our masters and they decided not to have any more cats in their house in future. Now you are that Stephen and you, his wife. The cruelty you had shown to us and our masters are the karmas which demanded reaction. The gravity of your crimes was such that it could not be atoned by any punishments when you were still alive as human beings. So you are destined to be born as mice to be chased by the souls of the seven cats you dispatched in your last birth,” Preethy exploded
“We don’t want to live any more. We want Moksha**. Kindly kill us as we killed you,” both the mice implored.
“We never wanted to do so, but the Almighty orders us to dispatch you. It’s nothing but Sanchita Karma. My children finish them now,” Preethi ordered and in few minutes the mice were killed and eaten.
*Sanchita Karma is one of the three Karmas or actions of human beings mentioned in Hinduism. The other two are: Kriyamana Karma and Prarabda Karma. Sanchita Karma is the accumulated result of all your actions from all your past lifetimes. This is your total cosmic debt. Every moment of every day either you are adding to it or you are reducing this cosmic debt. Such actions done by you are not ripe to give fruits immediately or on the sport but take some time to get ripened. Such Karmas are kept in abeyance pending in the balance waiting for the opportune time to become ripe, to give fruits in future. Till then they remain in balance and are accumulated. Until their fructification, these Sanchita Karmas would not be neutralized.
**Moksha is the liberation from Samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth.