Bholenath and the Deer: A Moral Tale of Lord Shiva

Once, there was a hunter who was very fond of hunting deer. He would roam around the forest, looking for his prey and killing them with his bow and arrow. He did not care about the pain and suffering he caused to the innocent animals.

One day, he saw a beautiful deer grazing in a clearing. He was enchanted by its grace and beauty. He decided to kill it and take it home as a trophy. He aimed his arrow at the deer and shot it. The deer fell down, wounded and bleeding.

The hunter ran towards the deer, but before he could reach it, he heard a voice from behind. It was Lord Shiva, who had taken the form of a hunter. He said to the hunter, "Stop! Do not kill this deer. It is my friend and companion. I have been living with it in this forest for many years. It is very dear to me."

The hunter was surprised and scared. He said to Lord Shiva, "Who are you? How can you be friends with a deer? It is just an animal. It has no soul or feelings. It is meant to be hunted and eaten by humans."

Lord Shiva said, "You are wrong. Every living being has a soul and feelings. Every living being is a part of God's creation. Every living being deserves respect and compassion. You have no right to kill this deer or any other animal for your pleasure or greed. You are committing a great sin by doing so."

The hunter said, "But I am a hunter. Hunting is my profession and passion. I have been doing it since I was a child. It is my way of life. How can I give it up?"

Lord Shiva said, "You can give it up if you want to. You can choose a different way of life that does not harm or hurt anyone. You can choose a way of life that is in harmony with nature and God's will. You can choose a way of life that brings you peace and happiness."

The hunter said, "But how can I do that? What will I do for a living? How will I feed myself and my family?"

Lord Shiva said, "You can do many things for a living that do not involve killing or violence. You can cultivate crops, rear animals, make crafts, trade goods, or offer services to others. You can feed yourself and your family with fruits, vegetables, grains, milk, honey, and other natural products that God has given us in abundance. You can also share your food with others who are in need."

The hunter said, "But what about my passion? How will I satisfy my desire for adventure and excitement?"

Lord Shiva said, "You can satisfy your desire for adventure and excitement by exploring the wonders of nature and learning new things. You can also satisfy your desire by worshipping God and meditating on His name and form. You will find more joy and thrill in these activities than in hunting or killing."

The hunter said, "But what about my karma? How will I atone for the sins I have committed by killing so many animals?"

Lord Shiva said, "You can atone for your sins by repenting sincerely and asking for forgiveness from God and His creatures. You can also atone for your sins by performing good deeds and helping others in distress. You can also atone for your sins by chanting God's name and following His commands."

The hunter said, "But will God forgive me? Will He accept me as His devotee?"

Lord Shiva said, "Yes, He will forgive you and accept you as His devotee if you are sincere and humble. God is merciful and compassionate. He loves all His children equally. He does not judge anyone by their past actions but by their present intentions. He does not reject anyone who comes to Him with faith and devotion."

The hunter said, "I am sorry for what I have done. I want to change my way of life. I want to follow your advice and become your devotee. Please forgive me and bless me."

Lord Shiva said, "I am pleased with your repentance and transformation. I forgive you and bless you. From now on, you are my devotee and friend. You can call me Bholenath, the simple-hearted lord."

The hunter then bowed down to Lord Shiva and thanked him for his grace and guidance.

He then went to the deer and apologized to it for hurting it.

He then bandaged its wound and nursed it back to health.

He then took the deer with him to his home.

He then gave up hunting and adopted a vegetarian diet.

He then started worshipping Lord Shiva every day.

He then became a kind and compassionate person.

He then lived happily ever after with his family and the deer.

The moral of the story is:

- Hunting or killing animals is a sin that causes pain and suffering to them.

- Every living being has a soul and feelings and deserves respect and compassion.

- We should choose a way of life that is in harmony with nature and God's will.

The end. 
Image credit: Scott Carroll

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