This Hindu Goddess-Dog Saved Daylight and In So Doing, Mankind


My name is SaramA.

I am a dog-god, and I sit at the right hand of Indra, Hindu king of all gods.

To know more about our relationship, you first must know more about Indra. This king of

all gods is not born in the usual way, but is so special and pure that he comes out of the mouth of

the Primordial God. This god of all gods is named Perusha. He takes special time and care

fashioning Indra, making certain that when his progeny takes the throne, he has the ability to rule

lightning, thunder, storms, and rivers.

Besides the gifts of ruling nature, Indra is also a great warrior.

Sadly, that is the easiest part of my story to tell. What I wish to relate comes from the

Hindu sacred text called the Mahabharata, which is rich and colorful but very confusing at times.

Tales about me have been rewritten so many times so that I cannot always remember my own

history. I will be as clear as I can.

For the gods, day turning to night and night turning to day is an eternal struggle between

two forces. The day-force is called Devas. It is all about light. The night-force does not have a

name because it is stolen and we do not want to deify it by calling it a name. In any case, that

force is only about the absence of light. We know that the sun’s rays are stolen by the night and

that every morning, dawn has to rescue light from the darkness.

In our religion, the hoarding of the sun’s light by the darkness eventually became

associated with merchants. The reason is that merchants were believed to hoard goods and

money. These hoarders of the sun’s light (and possibly money and goods) are portrayed as

envious demons named PaNis.

Every day, Indra wants to recover the rays of light. Here’s where it gets complicated.

Somehow, these rays of light become referred to as cows. Maybe the writer of the Mahabharata

believed that as a dog, I would be more adept at finding these cows than rays of light. So I was

put on the scent of finding stolen cows.

When I arrived at the hidden cave of the cows, in a place far beyond the mythical river

RasA, the PaNis mocked me and my god. The PaNis said that the cows were theirs and that Indra

was just jealous of the demons’ possessions. If they were just cows, it wouldn’t matter so much.

But if they were rays of light, it was essential for me to get them back…………….

In the Company of Dogs
By Jeannette Barnes