22 March 2018

Death of Rukku, Our Elephant at Arunachaleswarar Temple

At the young age of approximately 30 years Rukku (the Temple elephant) passed away at her night enclosure at Arunachaleswarar Temple at 12.30 a.m. on Thursday March 22, 2017.

It is my sincere hope that Rukku will be the last Temple elephant held at Arunachaleswarar Temple. Below in a narrative from an earlier posting, I tell of the sad, pitiful life, Rukku led as a Temple Elephant.

Rukku on duty at Temple

“So our dear sweet Rukku, who never gets to meet other elephants or go on proper walks, is manacled all night in a way she is barely able to move. So, after the undiluted misery of her night, there should be at least something to look forward to in her day?—but no, the day brings her hours of mind numbing, painful, standing in one spot to beg . . .  and get coins from pilgrims for blessing them on the head with her trunk. How can it be a blessing for a pilgrim when the cost of it is the torture of the one giving the blessing?

Try standing in one place for eight to ten hours, not being able to move; just shifting from foot to foot, and you will get an idea of the horror of dear Rukku’s day.

A message to all . . . remember that by going to the Kerala processions (and similar functions), allowing elephants to bless you with their trunk, going on elephant rides or visiting circuses, processions or Elephant functions, you are unknowingly promoting the exploitation and (often) torture of these magnificient, social and highly intelligent beings.

Please support the Elephant by not supporting its bondage, abuse or torture.”

Rukku’s life started far away from Tiruvannamalai. She was born at The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park, daughter of Bama, a permanent resident at the Sanctuary.

Information from the International Elephant Registry

A search The Hindu newspaper archives of 2007 talk of Rukku’s mother and her retirement at the grand age of 60 years old. To read full narrative go to this link here.

August 18, 2007

"A familiar figure at the Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary and National Park has earned a much deserved rest: she has joined the list of “pensioners.”

Bama, a female elephant, was captured on August 1, 1963 in the Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary when she was about 15 years old.

In 1965, she was brought to the Mudumalai sanctuary. Having attained the age of 60, she “retired” on July 31.

Bama, Rukku's Mother

Bama had given birth to two male and two female calves. While Rukku was given to the Tiruvannamalai temple, Bairavi died in 1999. Wasim was at Mudumalai and Mahesh had been sold to Devar Films.

Dr. Kalaivanan said that out of the 24 departmental elephants at Mudumalai, Bama was the most docile . . ."

Arunachala Service

Even though Rukku’s life was desperately pitiful, her enforced tapas will lead to great auspiciousness for her. 

Rukku during 2017 Deepam Nayanar Procession

In the Skanda Purana Sri Siva explains to his consort the efficacy of engaging in Arunachala service. He tells of the unimaginable blessings received by people who display their reverence and obedience to the Divine and illustrates the extent of those blessings by giving examples of the result of performing Arunachala Service.

Spider and his Web

A spider, going about her business, spun a cobweb of threads in some spot around Arunachala. This inadvertent act was sufficent for the spider to reincarnate as a devotee with memory of its previous birth. The devotee returned to Arunachala with offerings of opulent silk cloths.

Glow Worm

A glow-worm of green colour came and made its nest in a branch nearby the Hill. The worm attained salvation because unintentionally its glow served in the place of a jyothi illuminating and worshipping Arunachala throughout the night.

Mouse with jewel cluster

A mouse inadvertently dragged a cluster of jewels into the sanctum sanctorum of the Siva Lingam of Arunachaleswarar Temple and thereby brightened the shrine. The worship was enough for the mouse to attain instant liberation.

Sweet Rukku now with the Golden Lord


Sankar Ganesh said...

Really painful to know about Rukku's Death. Hope and Pray, no more birth for Rukku by Arunachala Siva's Grace.

Anonymous said...

While the elephant was alive, we saw the mahout forcing the elephant to drink in a small water tap that common temple visitors use to quench her thirst and that too he without even allowing her to drink enough he chased her to her place in order to force her into begging in the name of blessings and though he had already collected 5 large plastic bags full of coins, he was promoting that her hair is lucky and one can easily wear them on two fingers and demanded money in thousands from the pilgrims. Whoever say this plight simply prayed loudly that only lord Shiva has to save her and now we hear the news that she got scared by some monkeys and dogs hence both of her hind legs were tied and then she hit herself on the walls to death. Hope the truth comes out and Lord Shiva rescues all the temple elephant across India that seems to endure similar inhuman treatment.

Anonymous said...

Shocking and terrible! They should have an inquest and punish the cruel mahout. Please complain to SPCA!