Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Saint Namdev, The Emperor And The Cow


     Namdev, a great 17th century Saint from Maharashtra, India, was a devotee of Lord Pandurang. The Lord helped Saint Namdev in a great many ways due to his intense devotion. Tales of these incidents reached far and wide. His fame finally reached the Mughal Emperor in Delhi. The Emperor decided to test Namdev.

          One day, Saint Namdev was teaching some people about God and chanting. The Emperor ordered his men to place a dead cow outside of the place where Namdev was teaching. When Namdev heard the commotion, He came outside. He immediately felt compassion towards the cow and said that it would come back to life in a few days. The Emperor watched with interest.

    Saint Namdev prayed to The Lord and chanted His Name; devoutly calling to God to bring the cow to back life in a few days. Sure enough, Lord Pandurang appeared in front of Namdev on the 4th day and revived the cow. Everyone was amazed to see the cow come back to life! The Emperor too, lost his pride and bowed in prayer to The Lord. "But," it was asked, "Why did The Lord wait 4 days before bringing the cow back to life?" Namdev explained, "God loves His devotee and does what the devotee prays for. Since we asked Him to bring the cow to life in a few days, He came to revive her in 4 days. If we had prayed to Him to bring the cow back to life at that moment, He would have done so."

Thomas Hewes Hinkley, Cow, 1869, Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania


  1. Curtis,

    That's a fine bumpersticker and a haunted, apprehensive cow, whose glance might stay entry into the river of no return toward the captive-bolt gun of eternity... for about one second.

    Why is it that there is never so deep a pathos in the glance of even the most Spiritual of human beings?

  2. This cow actually has a mate, who will be making an appearance at some point. I was unaware of this artist and painting, but last week visited the Brandywine River Museum and saw it nestled in the same gallery with N.C. Wyeth works, as well as others by illustrators Howard Pyle, Maxfield Parrish and the fascinating Chester County, PA, black "primitive" artist, Horace Pippen, who Caroline's mother knew a long time ago when she was very young. It was a lot of fun. The museum is best known for its large collection of Andrew Wyeth works (it's in Chadds Ford) and works by Wyeth family members and it's a lovely building at a beautiful bend in the river. Seeing the N.C. Wyeths, especially the Robert Louis Stevenson-related pictures, is always wonderful. A bit of sad nostalgia there are the original Maxfield Parrish maquettes for the Old King Cole Bar at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. That used to be a very special room, which the hotel wrecked when they redesigned it a few years ago. It had been perfectly planned originally and, according to some, was the birthplace of the bloody mary. Hinkleys cows are very moving. Every day on the drive to Bryn Mawr, which we take twice a day to Jane's school, we see a herd of black cows who appear to have certain magical qualities. Sometimes the drive is further enlivened by a fox's appearance. Slipping and Sliding -- that's how it feels. Curtis