Sarus Cranes, Valentine's Day and Love stories.
Updated: Apr 16
Valentine's Day is a great time to celebrate the beautiful Sarus Cranes. Throughout the ages through various cultures, they have been looked at as a symbol of love and commitment. They pair for life, and on the death of a partner the other one pines for it and never mates with any other, culturally believed to even starve itself to death.
These birds are even believed to have inspired the writing of the Hindu holy text of Ramayan by the Sage Valmik. The story goes that once while bathing in a river Valmik spotted at a distance a pair of Sarus Cranes lost in their mating dance, during which a hunter shot down the male. Hearing the pining cries of the distraught female Valmik found himself overcome with grief and cursed the hunter for killing the bird when he was so distracted by his love, saying. मां निषाद प्रतिष्ठां त्वमगमः शाश्वतीः समाः। यत्क्रौंचमिथुनादेकम् अवधीः काममोहितम्॥ roughly translating to.. Oh hunter, let this be the end of your life. When the male was with his partner with joy, you killed him. This is the cruelest of acts that one can deal to one who is most innocent. I utter this word of immediate annihilation of yourself.
The curse uttered came out as a perfect verse, and is popularly venerated as one of the first verse of Sanskrit Literature. Lord Brahma later appeared to Valmik and told him that it was him who has inspired him with the verse and also commissioned him to narrate the account of King Rama and wife Sita who had suffered so intensely as their love had been torn apart time and again, symbolically the cranes were thought to represent Rama and Sita and the hunter Ravana, and thus the Ramayana was penned down by Valmik.
Sarus Cranes are especially known for their lush Mating Dance, which we were fortunate to film from behind dense foliage for one of our upcoming projects. As we celebrate these beautiful creatures let us pledge to continue to work at preserving wetlands and other habitats so that these and many other species like them can thrive as they continue to amaze us.