Puranic encyclopaedia

by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222

This page describes the Story of Kaka included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).

Story of Kāka



Kaśyapa was the son of Marīci, who was the son of Brahmā. Kaśyapa’s wife Tāmrā had many daughters like Kākī, Śyenī, Bhāsī, Gṛdhṛkā, Śukī and Grīvā. From Kākī were born the crows in the world. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 19).

Crows—the symbol of sin.

There is a reference in Śiva Purāṇa to this. Long ago the King of Kāśī had a daughter named Kalāvatī. Even in her youth, she received the "Śaiva pañcākṣara mantra." After that, she was married by Dāśārha, King of Mathurā, who was a sinner. When he touched Kalāvatī who was a holy woman, he experienced unbearable heat. Kalāvatī said that it was because of the King’s sin. So she took Dāśārha to the sage Garga, who purified Dāśārha with his mantras (incantations) and made him stand in water. At once the King’s sins came out of his body in the shape of crows. Some of them flew away. Many of them fell down with their wings burnt. Seeing this, the sage Garga said that all those crows were the volume of sins accumulated in the course of the innumerable births through which he had passed. (Śiva Purāṇa, Pañcākṣara Māhātmya).

The Crow and Rice-offerings.

In Uttara Rāmāyaṇa there is a story about the crow’s right to eat the offering of rice to Pitṛs. Once a King named Marutta performed a Maheśvara sattra. Indra and other gods attended the sattra. Hearing about this, Rāvaṇa came that way. The frightened gods fled away assuming the forms of different birds. Yama escaped in the form of a crow. From that time, Yama was pleased with crows. He gave a blessing that in future, when human beings worship the piṭrs by offering rice to them, the crows will have the right to eat that rice. Thus the right of the crows to eat offerings of rice, originated from that time. (Uttara Rāmāyaṇa).

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