One day, while the Buddha was staying at Jetavana, the monks asked him
if there was any benefit in sacrificing goats and other animals as
"No, " replied the Buddha. "No good ever comes from taking life." Then
he told his story.
Long, long ago, when Brahmadatta was reigning in Varanasi, a brahmin decided to offer a Feast for the Dead and bought a goat to sacrifice. He said to his students, "Take this goat down to the river, bathe him, hang a garland around his neck, feed him some grain and bring him
They led the goat to the river. While they were brushing it, the goat
started to laugh and then weep loudly.
The students hurriedly took the goat back to their master and told him what had happened at the river. Hearing the story, the master asked
the animal why it had laughed and then wept.
"In times past, " the goat began, "I was a brahmin who taught the
Vedas like you. I, too, sacrificed a goat as an offering for a Feast
for the Dead. Because of killing that single goat, I have had my head
cut off 499 times. I laughed aloud when I realized that this is my
last birth as an animal to be sacrificed. Today I will be freed from
my misery. On the other hand, I cried when I realized that, because of
killing me, you too, will be doomed to lose your head five hundred
times. It was out of pity for you that I cried."
"Well, goat," said the brahmin, "in that case, I am not going to kill you."
"Brahmin!" exclaimed the goat. "Whether or not you kill me, I cannot
escape death today."
"Don't worry," the brahmin assured the goat. "I will guard you."
"You don't understand," the goat told him. "Your protection is weak.
The force of my evil deed is very strong."
The brahmin untied the goat and said to his students, " Protect him " .
After the goat was freed, he stretched out its neck to reach a bush
growing near the top of a large rock. At that very instant a lightning
bolt hit the rock, breaking off a sharp piece of stone which flew
through the air and cut off the goat's head. A crowd of people
gathered around and began to talk excitedly about the accident.
A tree deva had observed everything and drawing a lesson from the incident, admonished the crowd: "If people only knew that the penalty would be rebirth into sorrow, they would cease from taking life. A horrible doom awaits one who slays." The spirit urged them only to do
good, to spend their lives in charity and meritorious works.
The Buddha ended his lesson, identifying that Birth saying, "In those
days I was that deva." ~ Matakabhatta Jataka (Jataka No. 18)
How sad that we have forgotten the magical status of the Goat in every
mythology across the world. Mythology is not simply story : much of it
is actual history that has been made easier to believe , much of it
conveys the ethos and culture of the time. My favourite god is the
Greek Pan ( the name means All), half goat , half man , flute player
and lord of the forest creatures. The tradition of half animal half
man only shows the closeness of all creatures – just as we have the
snake – man traditions in India
Let us look at the goat's place in all religions. There are hundreds
of goat fertility spirits but here are some major temples and gods.:
There is a carving of a goat in the Jokhang at Lhasa, Tibet. This
commemorates Dungtse Rama Gyelmo, the goat that filled the lake with
earth so that the great shrine could be built there. The animal
vehicle of Damchen Garway Nagpo the Blacksmith, a sworn protector of
Tibetan Buddhism, is a brown goat.
In Indian cosmogony, Prakriti, the mother is depicted as a female
goat. Her colors of red, black and white represent the 3 gunas of the
Hindu samkhya metaphysical system.
The Hindu Goddess Kali 's vehicle is the black goat. Strangely enough
, goats are sacrificed to her everyday at Kalighat in Kolkata – I'm
not so sure I would want my nearest companion to be killed .
Agni, the Vedic fire deity, rides Mesha his ram, and in Hindu tantric
practice the manipura chakra whose symbol is fire is depicted as a
ram. Kubera the Hindu deity of wealth, is depicted sometimes as a ram
The famous Temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece was built in the 6th
century BC, on an inaccessible rocky spur of Mt. Parnassos because
goats browsing there had been heard to speak. Amalthea was a Greek
nymph, who as a nanny goat nursed the infant Zeus, the head of the
Greek Gods . One of her horns was broken off and Zeus transformed it
into the cornucopia [horn of plenty]. A star associated with her is
considered the source of lightning. The sacred animal of Athena is the
Odin is the head of the Scandinavian Norse gods. His steed is Heidrun
the goat and from her udders comes the mead that feeds the warriors
The Egyptian God of the sun , Amon-Ra and Amen -- a word that seals
the prayers of at least 2 of our widest contemporary religions -- was
depicted with a ram's head or as a sun-disc with ram's horns. Which
means that when you say Amen or Ameen , it is in part praying to a
goat headed God . Then you eat him ?
join the animal welfare movement contact : firstname.lastname@example.org
Animal Owners’ personality traits resemble their Pets’
Human Propensities of Goat
sacrifice at the altar of religion
as foster parent
feed from rendering plant
Intelligence of Birds
Human Propensities of Cow