Killing of Krouncha Bird
Once hermit Valmiki set out for river Tamasa to have morning bath. A heron couple was engaged in love-play near the bank. Suddenly a sharp arrow pierced the chest of the male bird which fell bleeding near the feet of the hermit.
Filled with anguish, the hermit uttered a curse at this cruel act of the hunter which was spontaneously poetic.
"You have killed one of the love smitten pair, O! Hunter. You will not prosper for years to
come!" --He declared.
The curse was poetic and metrical. The hermit, who was an illiterate hunter himself earlier, had under gone a
change of heart and engaged in severe penance and study, over years. Now this heart-rending scene before his very eyes made way for spontaneous poetic expression. The meter of two lined verse, known as
anushthub became popular over the ages in Sanskrit.
The Killing of Krouncha Heron
Painting by Balasaheb Pratinidhi, 1911
The bewilderment of the hunter, anguish of the hermit, agony and shock of the accompanying disciple, at the bleeding bird are very well-depicted by
artist Balasaheb Pandit Pratinidhi.
- Source of Picture: Chitra Ramayana by Ramachandra Madhwa Mahishi,
Illustrated by Balasaheb Pandit Pant Pratinidhi, 1916
- Commentary: Dr. Jyotsna Kamat