The Parable of the Sacred Nanny Goat

I have been to India upon a number of occasions. The primary purpose of these memorable journeys was not only to revel in India’s spiritual and magical energies, but also to observe and experience the techniques and examples of the Masters. Many of the profound parables I share with you here are my versions of stories based loosely from the lips of those Masters. The stories are pregnant with meaning.

The story of the sacred nanny goat

If a million people say or do an idiotic thing, it is still an idiotic thing.

Many hundreds of years ago there lived a great saint named Ramaswami. The enlightened Ramaswami had many devotees at his ashram. Each day at sunset, they would meet to sing spiritual songs (bhajans) and chant sacred mantras. After this session, Ramaswami would give a thirty-minute discourse from the sacred Vedas and when finished, all would share in the evening meal.

Ramaswami also had a pet nanny goat gifted to him by a devotee. The saint had no use for a goat but accepted the gift with humility and reverence. Each evening, after all had eaten, the goat was fed with the leftovers from the communal meal.

A problem gradually arose. Because the goat would hear the singing and realize it was near feeding time, she would wander over to the group and disrupt the devotees singing and chanting. These disruptions became a down-right nuisance and it wasn’t long before a few of the grumpy elderly devotees asked their guru if the matter could be brought under control.

Ramaswami made a decree. Before the bhajans began each day, the goat would have to be collected from the surrounding fields and tied up near the gathering. The problem was thus solved. After all, a decree is a decree!

The years went by. The crowds were now larger. The new arrivals soon realized that the collection of the goat was the significant sign that meant bhajans were soon to begin. Indeed, the person given the privilege to collect the goat was one of the most respected elders of the group. He even adorned himself with an ochre colored robe so that others would see the importance of the ritual. Several of the women of the group took it upon themselves to wash the goat each day, so as to keep the bhajans area pure and clean. They even embroided a blue and gold sash for the goat’s back.

Ramaswami merely smiled as he saw the development of this ritual and did not attempt to hinder the devotees.

Eventually the now ageing goat died and another was immediately chosen to replace the old goat.

Many years later, Ramaswami also dropped his body. The ashram was in a quandary. What to do now? Disband or continue?

The elders soon agreed that the ashram should keep going in memory of Ramaswami. They appointed themselves as guardian officers of the ashram. They insisted that there should be as little change as possible.

And naturally, the goat was still required.

A hundred years went by. The sect was now known as the Sect of the Golden Goat. At sunset, the procession of the goat would begin. The high priests would lead the goat to the altar. The sacred goat would be adorned with garlands of flowers and robed with an exquisite blue and gold sash. The devotees would bow and clasp their hands in reverence as the goat was led by.

After the bhajans, the priest would give a half hour discourse on the spiritual significance of the holy goat. These discourses would explain in some depth, how the goat unselfishly gives milk, wool and meat, how the goat survives in the most rockiest and steepest terrains without losing it’s footing and how goats have been placed upon this earth to give us deep spiritual insights.

Ramaswami was honored at each session as the enlightened one who discovered the holy connection between goats and spirituality.

Books were created from these discourses. Of course, each scholar added his or her own philosophical interpretation and knowledge to the text as each book was written. Soon a whole library of literature was available upon the esoteric teachings of the Sect of the Golden Goat.

A beautifully carved statue depicting Ramaswami’s body with a goat’s head was eventually placed upon the altar. Devotees would often prostrate themselves before the statue and ask the image of the Goat God to grant them favors or healings. Because of, either devotion or coincidence, often these favors would appear to be granted and healings would, indeed, take place.

Tales of miracles spread throughout the land like the Ganges in flood.

The high priests stature rose with each added million followers. Temples were built throughout the world. Money, gold and precious stones flowed into the vaults of the new religion’s hierarchy.
The religion of the Goat God was thus born.

If a million people say or do an idiotic thing, it is still an idiotic thing.




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