|22. And how can one forget the
cuckoo? Whom does it call? In the summer, when rivers and tanks have gone
dry, tender young leaves sprout on the trees. It seems to ask, "Who gave this beauty to the
trees? Where is the giver of these gifts?" How sweet, how eager is the
call! In the Hindu religion there is a vrata, an observance, relating to the
cuckoo's voice. Women take a vow not to eat any food until they have
heard the cuckoo's call. This vrata teaches us to see the Supreme manifest in the voice of the cuckoo.
The cuckoo calls so sweetly that it seems to be chanting some Upanishad. One hears its voice, but
does not see it. The English poet Wordsworth sings -
"O Cuckoo! shall I call thee Bird,
Or but a wandering Voice?
... ... ... ... ...
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green;
And thou wert still a hope, a love;
Still longed for, never seen."
While the great English poet wanders in search of the cuckoo,
the ordinary women in Indian homes eat no food till they see it. This kokila-vrata confer on Indian
women the status of poets. In the cuckoo that calls so sweetly bringing such joy, we see the Lord
in His beauty.
23. If the cuckoo is beautiful, is the
crow ugly? No, the crow too is worthy of respect. To me it is very dear, with
its deep black color, and its deep strong voice. Do you think
its voice raucous? I don't, it voice too is sweet. As it comes near,
beating its wings, how lovely it looks?