In this amazing exchange of ideas a single thought percolated in both the minds. What kind of animals are best as pets. While both agreed that cats made good pets though they are not necessarily the most loved animals to most people in today's world, the idea of dogs for pets took a controversial turn. Santhanam had been meditating for long on this topic, watching closely at reality for clues to substantiate his theory and he was now quite assured that he was right. His assumptions had slowly begun to turn in to belief and as he poured out his findings he left Srinivas almost converting his belief to a fact.
This truly turns to be a very controversial topic to all dog lovers, but here were a few points though irrational to the logical head, might make an Indian mind rethink as we belong to the ancient system that believes such and we [Indians] would largely not dispute anything extraordinary though we would like to keep away from it as well.
Santhanam rolled out his thoughts:
Dogs :), though one of the most endearing creatures that make their emotions felt in minutes are not the best recommendations for animals to be bread within a home. Unlike cats that sense impending danger and can alert the inmates of a home, dogs on the other end do not give any such prior notice. Now, this changes our definition of keeping pets. Pets are not just a nice to have at home, or lovable and entertaining, they definitely have a job to do :), apparently!
This is ancient belief, that when there is a possible danger, or impending disaster to any of the inmates, cats behave strangely to indicate a possible mishap. Cats make a number of circles in front of the main door and do not wish to allow anyone who is a part of their pack to leave the home because they sense approaching trouble. They come with a superior sensibility and try to protect the family of which they feel they are a part even though they may not be as emotive and might appear rather selfish at first glance.
Dogs on the other hand behave differently. There have been many stories and myths that dogs can see spirits and ghosts of the night... well possibly they do and we don't see this behavioral change. Well where do we have the time for such small nuances in life that bring that additional punch! Dogs tend to howl or cry in the middle of the night, nearing the peak of midnight, the hour when all bhootas [ghosts] and pishachas [spirits] are alive and ruling the space. It is also the hour when bhaktas of the darker side awaken. This is their hour of awakening, this is their auspicious hour of living and worship. Dogs just don't sense ghosts and spirits, they attract them too. This is probably why they didn't make it to the most recommended pet list of our ancients.
This phenomenon may have also been the meaning of the stark representation of our Gods. While Goddess Durga has a tiger for a vahana, representing the emotions of life, agility, movement, energy and power, the aghora form of Shiva [Bhikshatana, Bhairava, Rudra and Kala Bhairava] always has a dog for a vahana, appear terrific and fierce [though dogs on the face of it do not appear to have any such quality]. Interestingly Kali Ma in her terrific form doesn't have a vahana, but in her sobered version has a tiger just like Durga. Could these representations mean more than just mythical vehicles?
Srinivas and Santhanam thought conclusively, cats definitely made more useful pets if we were in tune with their behavior. Dogs may make good pets if we would like to discount the idea that they possibly attract ghosts where ever they are at certain times of the night.
We can choose to ignore or accept the presence of spirits and ghosts or we can take up an unbiased attitude towards them. But this forces me to go back to a reference that makes bhootas and pisachas look reasonably unfriendly:
Hanuman Chalisa: Bhoota pisacha nikat nahi ave, mahavir jab naam sunave.
Santhanam and Srinivas sat back thinking. While in the current world animals are endearing and entertaining to us as pets, in the ancient world the thought of keeping pets meant something entirely different. Something that went in the direction of protection from all impending trouble, keeping ghosts and spirits away from one's home and maintaining a clean and trouble free environment to ensure better evolution towards a possible spiritual growth.
What a thought!
Disclaimer: This article is entirely based on analysis of traditional hand me downs spread by word of mouth and has not been validated by any reference from the Pakshi Shastra.