One day as Lord Mahävir was going from one place to another, he stopped near a big tree to meditate. While he was meditating, a cow herder came there with his cows. He needed someone to look after the cows so he could run some errands. He asked Mahävir Swami if he would look after the cows for a few hours. Lord Mahävir was in deep meditation and did not respond to the cow herder. However, the cow herder went away thinking that Lord Mahävir had heard him and would look after the cows
In the meantime, the cows started wandering away looking for and grazing grass. A few hours later the cow herder returned and found all his cows were missing. He asked Mahävir Swami, “Where are my cows? What did you do with them?” Lord Mahävir was still in meditation and did not reply. The cow herder started wondering. “Where could they be?” Since Lord Mahävir did not reply, the cow herder searched for them everywhere but could not find them. While he was looking for the cows, the cows returned to the place where Mahävir Swami was meditating.
When the cow herder came back, to his amazement, all his cows were standing near Lord Mahävir. Mahävir Swami was still meditating. The cow herder became very angry with Lord Mahävir because he thought that Lord Mahävir had been hiding his cows. So he took out his rope and was about to whip Mahävir Swami with it. Just then, an angel from heaven came down and held the rope.
“Can’t you see that Lord Mahävir is in deep meditation?” The angel asked.
“But he tricked me!” said the cow herder. The angel replied, “He is a God. He does not care for your cows anything else in this world. He was in meditation and did not hear you. He did not do anything to your cows. You would have gotten bad karmas for hurting him.”
The cow herder realized that he had made a mistake. He apologized to Lord Mahävir and went away silently.
Then, the angel bowed down to Lord Mahävir and requested, ”Oh! Lord, I would like to be at your service, as you will have to undergo many hardships during your spiritual journey.”
Lord Mahävir answered, ”Arihantas do not expect others to help them and they do not attain Keval-Jnän with the help of others. Arihantas have to undertake their own efforts on the journey towards omniscience and liberation.
The angel went back to heaven feeling happy that he could stop Lord Mahävir’s suffering.
Mahävir didn’t have any bad feelings towards the cow herder, because he held no anger towards anyone.
We should not make hasty decisions, because we can be wrong. One should think from all perspectives before acting. Secondly, we should also not hurt anyone for any reason and should forgive instead of displaying anger. This is the way we can stop new karmas from coming to our soul.