I had been shooting the birds since I was 10 years old. I was repeatedly told by my parents and other elders around not to do so but I never paid attention. Many years later when I was past middle age, something happened that transformed me completely and instantly.
In October 1987 (at nearly 42 years age), when one day I was telling a friend how many ducks I had hunted in just first two weeks of the month, my friend who was elder to me by several years asked very innocently, "And you are proud of it"? "Why not", I asked a counter question. He put another question, "Do you think killing innocent birds is a matter of pride"? I had no answer to that and kept quiet. He then said, "Khan, if you be merciful to innocent birds, God will be merciful to you". This advice instantly struck me deep and hard. Something instantly changed in me. I immediately decided to stop further bird shooting and promised to him that I wouldn’t shoot in future. I kept my word and haven’t fired a single shot since then. I sold out all of my guns. It is now year 2015.
Birds and animals are also living beings and part of our life. All of them deserve and need our love and kind attention. We should not restrict our kindness to just our families, friends and pets. I had written this article in year 2007 and posted on one of my blogs. Later, I discontinued and deleted that blog for some reason. Now I thought it wouldn’t be out of place if I reproduce it here once again.
The bird shooter shot at the bird … the bird fell down in a moment … wounded … bleeding …crying … dying …. not knowing the least why he was being killed, who was doing that and for what purpose. He never knew someone was killing him just for pleasure, a short-lived joy.
The shooter approached to pick up his prey …… the little bird in great pain asked him a simple and innocent question, "what was my fault?" …… but his voice reached only the ears of the shooter not his mind because he did not understand bird’s language…… it did not touch his heart because he was unaware of the pain the bird was going through…… it did not touch his conscience because he killed for joy…… the bird’s voice dissipated unnoticed….
He kept shooting for years… kept killing mercilessly … the birds kept falling … kept crying and kept asking … "what was our fault?" …… but their voices never reached the shooter’s heart, never touched his conscience …… they just flew past …. He did not have the ears to listen …. his heart had no ears.
Years passed by. A time came when the shooter’s hands could no longer pick up the gun … his eyes could no longer take the aim … he was too old to continue bird shooting.
He lied alone in his hut with old memories …… looking at the stuffed birds and animals that he had shot when suddenly a very weak but distinct voice echoed in his mind, "what was my fault?" For a while he wondered where the voice came from or was it a delusion, the creation of his own mind. Soon voice came again, "what was my fault"? This time his mind picked up and perceived as the voice of a beautiful little bird, which he felt as if coming from one of the stuffed birds asking the question. Now the voice came again but from a different side. It started coming again and again gradually becoming louder and clearer. Now he felt the voice coming from every stuffed animal, "what was my fault … what was my fault … what was my fault"? It seemed to come from every corner of the room. The voice echoed repeatedly haunting him and sending tremors of fear through his spine. He wanted to speak but felt speechless … he wanted to answer but … he had no answer … It was actually the voice of his own conscience, which he felt coming from all the corners, from all the stuffed animals, from all over the room.
He wanted to answer and apologize …… he thought that was the least he could do …… but there was no one …… no one to listen to him …… no one to answer …… no one to forgive. Those who were wronged …… those who could forgive …… had gone too far away …… far away from shooter’s world …… he had sent them away himself …… now there was no one to listen …… no one to forgive him. What he had around him were only the lifeless stuffed animals and birds …… lifeless statues …… speechless figures …… it was too late to realize that he had been killing the innocents for very short lived pleasure …… he had been very cruel but …… the damage had been done …… an irreversible damage. He had no remedy.
If you can sense the spirit behind this article and perceive what I am trying to say, don’t shoot birds and the animals just for your pleasure. If you are a hunter, please put down your gun because this is no entertainment. Rather than shooting, if you start loving and be merciful to them, I am sure you would certainly draw more pleasure than you do by shooting them. If you are a Reiki healer, give them Reiki whenever and wherever you can. They love it.
Muhammad Akram Khan, Reiki Master/Teacher