Whilst on a little saunter that I took this morning, I rolled down the sidewalk, on the street where I live. I happened to glance into the street and saw what appeared to be a crow (?) but definitely a bird of some kind, laying in the road, flapping its wings, clearly struggling to hang on to life.
My first instinct was to cross the street and grab it and put it on the sidewalk. I am not a veterinarian. I knew that I could offer very little assistance other than to assure he was not hit by a car. The only problem was that while my side of the road was clear, on the side of the road where the bird lay, car after car zoomed by. Not one seemed to slow a bit. Yet the bird seemed not to be any further injured as each passed. It continued to flap. But still there was not enough time for me to cross. I am a bit hesitant to take any chances since breaking a leg last winter, and flinging myself out into traffic in my wheelchair seemed to qualify as a “chance.”
I spoke a most simplistic of mantras on the bird’s behalf, “Aum Namah Shivaya, Aum Namo Narayanaya, Jai Shankaranarayana” as I passed another pedestrian on my side. When I looked back again, the traffic had passed by on the bird’s side, but there was a car coming on my side. I saw the bird flap one last time and then become still. Once I saw that it was still for an extended period of time, I was happy to see that its life had come to an end, that it would not suffer further. I knew that it was now transformed. It was something else now.
Even while identifying as a Vaisnav I saw the greatness of Lord Shiva. I now identify more as a Smarta which only aids me in recognizing the oneness of Shiva and Vishnu, and all of the ishta-devatas. The bird transformed today, but was protected and maintained in it’s sojourn through death.