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Crow in Scriptures

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Crow in Hindu Scriptures
See also   Birds in Hindu Scriptures

Crow is from Corvidae family. Corvidae is a cosmopolitan family of oscine passerine birds that contains the crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, magpies, treepies, choughs and nutcrackers. The common English names used are corvids or the crow family, and there are over 120 species in this family. The genus Corvus, including the jackdaws, crows and ravens, makes up over a third of the entire family.

The earliest corvid (crow family) fossils date to the mid-Miocene, about 17 million years ago; Miocorvus and Miopica of France may be ancestral to crows . Many corvids of temperate zones have mainly black or blue colored plumage; however, some are pied black and white, some have a blue-purple iridescence and many tropical species are brightly colored. The smallest corvid is the Dwarf Jay (Aphelocoma nana), at 40 grams of weight and 21.5 cm of length. The largest corvids are the Common Raven (Corvus corax) and the Thick-billed Raven (Corvus crassirostris), both of which regularly exceed 1400 grams and 65 cm (26 inches). Species can be identified based on size, shape, and geography; however, some, especially the Australian crows, are best identified by their raucous calls.

Crow: the Representation of Pitri
It is the general belief among Hindu, that crow represent the Pitri. People who died will take food and offerings through a variety of crows called "Bali Kaak". Every year people whose parents or relatives have died will offer food to crows as well as cows on the Shraaddha day. Perhaps since they represent Pitri, they never become close to people. They keep distance. It is very difficult to catch crow as a bird, put in cage and bring it up like parrots. During Shraaddh, people ensure the crow to come and eat the Pind, and somehow for the reasons unknown, crows are also ready by the time Pind is to be offered. In fact crow itself is not the Pitri, it is only additional representation.

Ganesh as a Crow: Origin of Kaaveree River
Once sage Agastya was coming through South. He did not want to get separated from his wife Lopaamudraa, so he changed her into water, and poured her into his Kamandal and carried her with him. Lopaamudraa liked being water so much that she always desired to become a river. Once it was time for Rishi's Sandhyaa, so he kept his Kamandal on a small rock, went to a small nearby water pond and started performing Sandhyaa. Lord Ganesh took the form of a crow and came near the Kamandal. He tilted it a little bit and water in it started flowing as a river. This is the origin of he River Kaaveree. Sage also thought that "let her desire get filled up if it is so".

Lord Shaneeshwar and the Crow
Shaneeshwar holds a crow in his hand. It is said to ward of evils if any occur during Shani's Dashaa (period), Shani's sub-period, or Kandak Shani or Ashtam Shani. Astrology recommends to feed crows at that time. Otherwise also, whether Shani Dashaa is there or not, it is always good to feed crows. During Shani's Dashaa you will be more prompted to do so. It is good to give them water to drink. Since now-a-days because of new buildings architecture people cannot keep water outside, they really become thirsty with out getting water. So on can keep some water on one's terrace in a flat pot with out fail, especially in summer. They will come and drink water from there.

Battle Between Owls and Crows Before MBH War
A battle between crows and owls is said to have inspired the final bloody night of the Mahaabhaarat war.

Story of Raam and Crow
A story of a crow comes in Tulasee's Raamaayan. When Raam was passing His time in exile, once He made some flower ornaments and put on Seetaa's body and then lay down keeping His head in Seetaa's lap. By chance Indra's son Jayant was looking all this. He got attracted to Seetaa Jee, as he could not do anything else to Her, he assumed the form of a crow, bit Her foot with his beak and flew away. Seetaa's foot started bleeding. As Raam knew that a crow had bit Seetaa's foot, He took a broomstick type of thin stick, read a Mantra over it and released it at the crow. The arrow started following him. Jayant got afraid of that arrow so he started flying far and far from that arrow. However far he went the arrow followed him.

First Jayant went to his father Indra to ask for refuge, but Indra plainly refused him saying that he could not keep him saving from Raam's arrow. And not only he nobody, even Brahmaa or Shiv could give him shelter. If he has committed a crime towards Raam, only Raam can forgive him. In spite of this warning Jayant wet to Brahmaa Jee and Shiv Jee but nobody could give him shelter and said the same thing as his father had said to him. After roaming in Tri-Lok he had to come back to Ram and asked His forgiveness. Raam forgave him but He told that although he had committed the crime to be beheaded but since He was sparing him, he still must get some punishment. So He pieced his left eye with His arrow. Since that day all crows can see only with one eye.

Story of Kaagbhushundi Jee
This story also comes in Tulasee's Maanas. Kaagbhushundi Jee was a crow. He was fortunate enough to play with infant Raam and got the boon of being real immortal and telling Raam Kathaa to all birds. When Garud Jee (see From Maanas) got deluded when he helped Raam and Lakshman to cut their Naag Paash and free them, that what kind of Bhagavaan they were if they could not free from Naag Paash themselves. He went to Shiv Jee and thinking that Garud Jee was a bird so only Kaagbhushndi Jee could remove his delusion, he directed him to Kaagbhushundi Jee. He went there, listened to Raam's Kathaa and got Gyaan.

Story of a Crow in MBH
A story of crow appears even in Mahaabhaarat.

Devtaa As Crow

So crow is such a bird that even Devtaa also assumed the form of crow --

Ganesh Jee as Crow
The first mention of crow is that Ganesh Jee assumed the form of a crow. When Shiv Jee was marrying Paarvatee Jee, all Devee, Devtaa, Rishi, Gandharv etc came to Kailaash Parvat to witness it. This gathering was so huge that the Northern part of the land started dipping, so Shiv Jee sent Agastya Muni to south to stabilize the Earth, and told him that he would be able to see all the ceremonies from there only.

In those days, in South, there was a Raakshas named Shoorpadm who had terrorized all Devtaa. Varun Dev could not rain so all areas were without rains and dry. Even Indra's garden was also dry and without flowers, so Indra's worship was also interrupted. Naarad Jee told Indra that there was Kaaveree River in Agastya Muni's Kamandal." But Indra did not know how to take out Kaaveree's water out of his Kamandal and get that water for his garden, so he prayed Ganesh Jee. Ganesh Jee assumed the form of a crow, flew to Agastya Muni, sat on his Kamandal and toppled it. The water started flowing from Muni's Kamandal. Muni raised his hand to shoo the crow, but the River Kaaveree thought that the Muni was asking her to flow in that direction, so she started flowing in that direction.

After that the crow changed his form to a small boy, so Muni hit him on his head. The boy changed his form again and came into his real form (Ganesh Jee). Now Agastya Jee knew that he was Ganesh Jee. He started beating his head with his own hands in repentance, but Ganesh Jee stopped him doing so. In fact once Kaaveree was disrespectful to Agastya Jee, that is why he had trapped her in his Kamandal.

Yam Raaj as Crow
After obtaining boons from Brahmaa Jee, when Raavan went for the world victory tour, he went to Usheerbeej country to win Raajaa Marut. At that time he was doing a Yagya. All Lokpaal were present there. As soon they saw Raavan, they got afraid and they assumed Tiryak Yoni (lower form of life) form to disguise themselves from him. Indra changed himself to peacock, Dharm Raaj (Yam Raaj) changed himself to crow, , Kuber changed himself to chameleon and Varun Dev changed himself to swan. When Raavan went away, they all granted boons to these animals and birds.

Indra's Son Jayant as Crow
This story comes in Raamaayan. When Raam was in exile for 14 years, once Raam was lying near Seetaa keeping His head in Her laps, that Indra's son Jayant wanted to test Raam's power. So he assumed the form of a crow, hit his beak in Seetaa's foot and flew away. Blood started flowing from that place. When Raam saw this, He looked around, He found a crow sitting ther nearby. He identified him as Indra's son Jayant. He also thought to teach him a lesson for this misbehavior, so He picked up a Kush grass straw and released it as an arrow after reciting a Mantra on it.

Seeing the arrow coming towards himself, the crow flew away. Now the crow in front and the arrow at his back. The crow had been to all Lok, but he could not find any shelter anywhere. He came to his father Indra but he also refused to help him. Then he met Naarad Jee. When Naarad Jee asked him what was the matter, he told him everything. Naarad Jee said to him - "You have to go back to Raam. Who is committed crime towards Raaam, nobody else can save him except Raam only. You go to Him and ask for His forgiveness. He is very kind, He will surely forgive you."

Then Jayant went back to Raam, fell on His feet and asked for His forgiveness. Raam forgave him saying - "Although you have committed such a crime that you should not be forgiven but since you have come to ask me forgiveness, I forgive you; but still I will pierce your one eye to teach lesson to others." He pierced his left eye and freed him.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/9/09
Updated on 10/03/13