Saturday May 25, 2024

A beautiful gift

By Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani
January 06, 2023

During a phone call with my US-based friend, I came to know that the US observes National Bird Day on January 5. Many bird enthusiasts celebrate the day by adopting birds. The occasion also sees several awareness campaigns that include activities relating to bird care – how to feed them and keep them protected.

Be it ancient or modern times, people have always taken great interest in bird-watching. Every morning, the chirping of beautiful, charming and melodious birds informs the dreamy people about the start of a new day. In the evening, the birds flying to their nests in disciplined rows in the sky are indeed a lesson for humans.

Undoubtedly, birds are an amazing creation. In ancient times, humans considered birds as messengers of God, a medium of communication between the Creator of the universe and the creatures living on earth. Even today, in various films and dramas, the flight of a bird to the sky is shown to depict the death of a person.

In Hinduism, birds have a special significance as the eagle is attributed to Vishnu, the owl to Lakshmi, and the swan is related to Saraswati. Peacocks are also a sacred bird according to Hindu teachings. In some traditions, the presence of a crow on the house rooftop is considered as the possible arrival of guests. The holy Ramayana also mentions several birds.

The Sant Nenuram ashram, located in my native town Islamkot, is an amazing place where langar (distribution of free food) occurs round the clock. Sant Nenuram, born in 1898, was a pious saint, who followed the peace-loving teachings of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Bhagat Kabir and Bulleh Shah. He established an ashram with an aim that its doors would always be open to every human being regardless of race, colour, gender and religion.

Besides humans, animals and birds coming there from nearby and faraway places are also given special attention. Small pots here remain filled with water to quench the thirst of the birds. It is a matter of honour that every year on the birthday and death anniversary of Sant Nenuram, I inaugurate the ceremonies by performing havan yagya.

There are millions of birds in the world. Interestingly, God Almighty has made such a flawless food plan for the birds scattered around the world that these birds leave their nests early in the morning in search of food and succeed in not only feeding themselves but also bringing food for their babies waiting in the nests, and start the next morning by praising God.

God has sent us in this world to serve His creatures – humans, animals, birds, etc. Unfortunately, we have deviated from the original purpose of life. The current situation has become so unfortunate that people are running after money, and not following ethics and moral values. Today, we are building concrete houses for ourselves at the cost of harming nature. By cutting down trees, we are taking away the homes of birds. Ultimately, we are facing big challenges in the form of global warming.

In our traditional society, our elders take special care of the hunger and thirst of birds, and ensure to keep food and water for birds on the roofs of their houses. As a result, no matter how high the inflation rate is or how bad the economic situation is, God always blesses His servants who selflessly serve innocent creatures.

If we want eternal peace and happiness in our life, we must consider keeping post in our houses to provide water to birds. The chirping of birds is a sign of God’s countless blessings.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council. He tweets @RVankwani