In 1976, a small number of
deer were brought from the Madhumalai forest to Brindavan, and the grounds
were cordoned off for the deer cage. Everyday, Bhagavan Baba would feed
the deer with apples. A small cage inside also had a few partridges and
parrots. Some students were blessed with the opportunity of maintaining
the cages. One day, as Bhagavan was coming towards us after feeding the
deer, looking at our faces pressed against the mesh, with a twinkle in His
eye He indicated the students and told an elderly devotee, "These are two
legged 'dear'. Those are My four legged deer. All are dear to me." We were
thrilled by His statement.
(which was among the first deer to come to Brindavan) addressed to the Lord, we shall never know. But the response was swift. The doors of Trayee opened, and Sai Baba walked quickly down the marble steps, across the hot marble floor, instructing the students to get some apples. He entered the cage and patted the deer affectionately. As the fruits were brought on a tray, Bhagavan Baba fed the deer with His own hands. The deer ate the apple pieces quickly. Bhagavan finished feeding it, and after patting it lovingly, He left. After a few minutes the deer collapsed. Its hour had come. The Lord had entered the cage to release the soul encaged as a deer. Had he not said, "All are dear to me."
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