The legend of the sacred cat of Burma
It can be a bit tricky keeping track of names and who's who in this legend, but if you persist it is quite beautiful...
The legend of the Birman takes place in a temple built on the sides of Mount Lugh, in Burma. The temple housed the golden image of the Goddess Tsun Kyan-Kse. The holy Kittah (monk) Mun-Ha was head monk. The God Song Hio himself braided Mun-Ha's beard with gold. Mun-Ha always used to meditate in front of the Goddess with the sapphire eyes. The Goddess Tsun Kyan-Kse made sure that the Kittahs would be reborn as an animal for the duration of a life, after which the soul would be in Nirvana (the heaven beyond illusion), shining with a golden halo.
Accompanying him in his meditation was Sinh, a white cat whose ears reflected the yellow of the golden Goddess and the golden beard of his master, and whose nose, tail and paws were brown like the earth on which he stood. As the moon shone, one night, Mun-Ha entered a transcendental state which was so deep that he felt no pain when Siamese invaders murdered him. Sinh placed his gentle paws on the monk's robes. Facing the Goddess, Sinh's fur became gold, like the golden statue before him, and his eyes became the beautiful blue shining eyes of the Goddess. His legs, his tail, his ears and his face became a velvety rich brown. His paws, which were gently laid on his master's body became a purest white. The Kittahs, though in a state of panic due to the invasion, obeyed Sinh's commanding but serene look, and closed the heavy bronze doors of the temple, thus saving it from the invaders.
The next morning, the remaining ninety-nine cats had been similarly transformed, and thus the Birman breed has its origins. Sinh did not move from the place of his master's death, and exactly seven days after, he died, carrying with him the soul of Mun-Ha, which it was his duty to present to Tsun Kyan-Kse who would reward him with Nirvana.
On that same day, the priests were arguing about who should succeed Mun-Ha. All the transformed temple cats entered the temple and in complete silence surrounded the youngest of the Kittahs, who was to succeed Mun-Ha.
Thus it is believed that when a Kittah dies, he would be reincarnated as a Birman cat before attaining Nirvana. Another belief, according to Major Russell Gordon is this: "But woe also to he who brings about the end of one of these marvelous beasts, even if he did not mean to. He will suffer the most cruel torments until the soul he has upset is appeased."
Image via cute-cat-pictures.blogspot.com