Musk deer are unaware of their own beauty and roam all their life not knowing that it lies within them.
Male musk deer are the one of the most endangered and rare species on this planet. They are also known as melanistic deer, for they produce excessive amounts of melanin and are shiny black or dark brown in color. Most of us have heard of them because of the strict ban imposed on hunting them. However, it’s not their rarity or color which makes them special and mysterious. It’s neither the only reason why I am so fascinated by them nor entirely what they are all about.
Male musk deer produce the most expensive scent in the world—famously known as Kasturi in Indian Ayuverda.
This scent is produced in between its rectal and naval area in a small, hairy pouch. The pouch is also known as a musk pod. It is this musk pod which makes them so valuable in the eyes of the world. And, the deer is equally enchanted by its own scent.
Musk deer roam for miles. An important goal of the deer is the discovery of the source from which the fragrance emerges. Practically, the deer is madly in love with it. But, it never finds the source or the truth.
It never gets to know about the uniqueness within; instead it looks for it outside—investing a considerable amount of passion in the pursuit.
Most of the time, it destroys the musk pod by rubbing it upon the rough edges of the mountains. It never occurs to them that the creamy liquid inside this pouch is the very essence of their beautiful self. Once destroyed, the pouch can reappear within a year or two. But, the deer never appreciates the reappearance and destroys it every time until it is finally butchered into nothingness by a human who knows its worth.
The story ends here for the deer. But the essence never dies.
The fragrance of musk deer lives and roams anyway, miles away, from one human to another. Every now and then—in mysterious and quiet lands of lush green grass, the eternally shy melanistic deer will fall in love with a ghost. It is the destiny for the deer. The musk is its soulmate, purpose and destination in life. It is its little existential struggle or midlife crisis in the animal world. Or, just a beautiful inspiration which keeps the deer going.
Similarly, in our lives, we run away from our most powerful source of inspiration and instead seek it in others. Many of us never discover the musk emerging from our own souls, which is as unique as a musk pod. On the other hand, there are those who are capable of seeing our potential. Some of us may live all our lives without even knowing that our souls are being butchered, every day, by a hunter who doesn’t respect us enough.
Regardless, I cannot stop thinking about the most beautiful journey of this deer. Its intellectual faculties are not even close to mine but the innocence is more pure than my intellect can ever be. I find more spirituality in its struggle of finding the source of its own musk than all the books I have ever read about mysticism. And what makes me cry is the fact that it never gets to know the truth.
The innocence of the musk deer challenges us to take up the spiritual journey we have been delaying for so long.
It provides us an insight into the way we crush our unique talents every time they try to resurface. The musk deer inspires us to trust our unique scents. It asks us to pursue whatever we are madly in love with—even if at first we think of it as mere illusion or a ghost.
Author: Zaufishan Qureshi
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons