Homage To Babiya, The Satvik Crocodile on Sadgati

Babiya, the Vegetarian Crocodile attains Sadgati after 80 years of Bhakti at Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy Temple in Kerala

The news came in that the most beloved vegetarian crocodile had passed away last Sunday.  Though the news also featured the death of terrorist Mulayam Yadav, the heart-warming story which touched more hearts is that of Babiya, the female crocodile.  

Babiya was the only crocodile resident at the lake of the Ananthapadmanabha Swamy temple in Kasaragod district, Kerala, and was a true Sri Vishnu devotee, living just off the prasad offered to her by the temple priests and guardians.  The last such crocodile became a victim of the British when it was shot though Babiya made her way to the lake soon thereafter, probably via the nearby caves to grace the premises with her divine presence.  

She was considered to be a holy and divine presence as she behaved unlike her natural instincts – Babiya never attacked other animals or humans and happily gave blessings to those who visited her to get her blessings.  Her prasadam often consisted of rice and jaggery though there were fish in the lake and perhaps Babiya did indulge in non-prasad foods.  

The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare aptly commented “Babiya, the god’s own crocodile of Sri Anantapura Lake temple has reached Vishnu Padam. The divine crocodile lived in the temple’s lake for over 70 years by eating the rice & jaggery prasadam of Sri Ananthapadmanabha Swamy & guarded the temple. May she attain Sadgati, Om Shanti!” in a Tweet.  

According to the temple trust board chairperson, “We had the rituals and prayers associated with the burial of a Hindu swamiji. The body was lowered to the pit near the temple. In [the] future, devotees can come and pray at the ‘samadhi.’”

Only in Sanatan Dharma do we see such love that animals have toward the divine and also the love that human beings have toward all creatures, in this case, a crocodile which is ferocious by nature.  Hindus believe that the same prana flows among all living beings, and technically the intricacy of an ant or a crocodile or even an insect that only lives for a few hours given its life span is the same.  This means, humans, though we have the discriminating power or vignanmaya kosha seem superior to other life, one should never forget that life is life.  Humans and the animal kingdom have most things in common – hunger and reproduction, though only humans have the opportunity to transcend.  However, Babiya’s life, bhakti, and dedication make us think twice about who is superior and how.  

Some might believe that Babiya might have regressed to an animal birth from previous, human-like birth and had some karma to work out in her life without creating additional karma.  Regardless of one’s belief, it surely is beautiful to see that hundreds of people have flocked to the temple since the news of her sadgati to pay their respects.  According to lore and past observations, the people await a new crocodile to make the temple lake his/her new residence.  

May Babiya’s memory and devotion remain warm in our hearts for decades to come and may we learn to live a conscious, ahimsa-inspired life like the divine sanyasi crocodile. 

Featured Image:

Babiya’s carcass kept for public homage I Photo: Ramanath Pai/ Mathrubhumi, Facebook