Even more water flowed under the bridge of my life. A decade or so later, without really meaning to—after all, woman proposes and Great Spirit disposes—I found myself in Tiruvannamalai, a famous temple town in south India. Despite a never-ending series of trials and tribulations, I decided this would be the home I’d been looking for—for the simple reason that I felt strongly that it was here that I could pursue my “Moksha Project”. (“Moksha” means liberation—defined by Ramana Maharshi as “permanent freedom from desire and fear”—and, in my opinion, the highest goal to which a human on the inner path can aspire.)
My new home was being built and I was looking forward to the prospect of cultivating a garden and adopting animals. So when my Latvian friend offered me two gorgeous pups of Himalayan origin, I leaped with joy.
The pups—whom I named Kali and Durga after my favorite Indian goddesses—won me over instantly. Tragically Durga was attacked by a deadly virus when she was a few months old and dissolved back into the elements; which left Kali, whom I almost lost as well. As I nursed my adorable jet-black fur-ball back to health, I processed the aching grief and guilt I felt over Durga’s passing.
Kali and I were immensely close—I knew right away we’d been connected in past lives. Every time I left home for a few hours, Kali would look so dejected that I simply had to get her another canine companion. Which is how Aghori—her rambunctious step-brother—came into our lives, once again through our Latvian friend.
As time rolled by, I found myself putting the doggies’ welfare before my own selfish desires. My sweet God! Finally my long-cherished dream of learning how to love unconditionally was coming true!
I stretched myself for the divine canines in ways I would not have considered doing for a human friend: I went out of my way to get them the food they enjoyed, shepherded them for endless vaccinations without excessive complaining—Tiruvannamalai is not an easy place to do things like this!, cajoled them to eat when they turned their noses up at my offerings, took them on daily walks despite the pain in my arms—the direct result of Aghori going wild at the sight of a peacock or monkey, and made sure they received a constant outpouring of love. I passed up several out-of-town and foreign trips in order to stay with my puppies, and when I did leave home on necessary jaunts, I made sure a friend who loves them took over from me.