Sun, Moon,Clouds, Rain-Valentines of Birds

Birds love to live in lap of Nature. Trees with flowers and fruits are their beloved habitats.  Vast  open skies above and swaying lush green fields below are their play stations. Clouds and drizzles enchant them no end. Warmth of the rays of the rising Sun and the soft, soothing shine of the Moon turn them on.  Balmy breezes flowing after caressing the lakes and rivers become their natural playmates. They are the natural lovers of beauty, fragrance, songs, and dance. The ecstasies of nature are their perpetual and faithful valentines.

Sun-loving birds, Moon-loving birds and Rain-loving birds have been the subjects of legends of many cultures since centuries. Many species of the Peacocks have danced their way  into our visual imageries. And then there are the reputed Songbirds – the favourites of poets – the Nightingales and Cuckoos whose heart-rending melodies in gardens and groves reverberate in poetry around the world. We humans give our talented poets and singers the honorific analogies of these inimitable birds ! Sarojini Naidu, a freedom fighter who wrote three collections of mesmerizing poems, was called Bharat Kokila or Nightingale of India.

Sunbird (or Sheldrake) is a brightly colored, slender bird with downward-curved bill and is found mostly in Asia, Australia, and Africa. Legends say that the male and female sheldrakes (Chakva and Chakvi) stray about lakes and ponds at night in search of their beloved Sun. They sing melancholy songs, both longing for the Sun and for each other, (thinking after Sunset that they are alone), even when sitting in the same nest in darkness. Their joy knows no bounds when they see the first rays of  the Sun in the morning and simultaneously meet each other. A poet (Sarita Aditya Verma) writes the following lines in her poem, Dawn breakers.

Birds sing in chorus / Early morning orchestra / Sunbird leads the band

A beautiful intermezzo on the Sunbird (by Michael Holborn and William Henries) reads:

Some years ago, I lived a hard life, but Sunlight Burst a ray through those clouds. We finally seen the back of those grey days. Please let the summer back to stay. And Hold the Sunbird in your hands. Don’t let him Sing too sweet. For, too soon summer Sun will be in winter sleep.

In the Sikh Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak says one should worship God (and love his beautiful creation) as sincerely as the Sunbirds (Chakva, Chakvi) love the Sun.

Painting of the Sunbird (Chakvi) by RUPY C. TUT ( http://www.artbyrupy.com)

Moonbird (Chukar or Chakor) is a bird which loves the silky, soothing sight of the Moon. This bird is the National Bird of Iraq. Bhai Gurdas, a Sikh Scholar, writes that just as sunbird gets joy by looking at the bright rays of the Sun in the morning and the Moonbird gets supreme satisfaction on beholding the light from the Moon, truly spiritual persons get divine bliss by overcoming all worldly distractions and concentrating on worship of one Supreme God.

The Moonbird (Chukar or Chakor) loves the Moon

Rainbird (Chatrik, Babiha or Saring) is a very unique bird which craves for directly catching a drop of pure rainwater (called Swanti-boond) in its beak. This bird avoids drinking water from lakes and rivers, and waits patiently for the rainfall. Saint Kabir says dense clouds that appear in the sky fill all waterbodies, but the rainbird is still thirsty (without a drop of pure water falling directly in its bill). A devotee feels “thirsty”, without emotional union with God, other acts being superfluous.  Rainbird finds frequent mention in Gurbani verses in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

The Rainbird opens its beak for the Raindrop to fall in it

Peacock or peafowl (Mor), the National Bird of India, is famous as a lover of clouds, gathering to pour rains. It is said that ‘When the peacock loudly bawls, soon we will have both rain and squalls’. Male peacocks dance when the drizzle starts. Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, says the devotees love God just as the lotus flowers lovingly look up towards the Moon and the peacocks are enchanted by the loud thundering sounds of  water-laden clouds.

Painting of the Peacock (Mor) by RUPY C. TUT (http://www.art byrupyctut.com)

Black Cuckoo (Koiel or Kokil) is a bird with reputation of being a sweet singer. In a verse in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sufi Saint Farid addresses the cuckoo to question why its color is black. In his poetic vision, the mystic Baba Farid gets the cuckoo’s reply as : “My body color is burnt black due to the intense pain of separation from my beloved.”

The Cuckoo that sings sweet melodies mainly in mango groves

Nightingale (Bulbul),  the National Bird of Iran, is called the “Prince of Singing Birds”. It is said to be madly in love with the Red Rose, the “Queen of Fragrant Flowers”.  Sufi poet Hafiz, wandering in the beautiful Rose Gardens of the city of Shiraz in Iran, says the lovelorn bird is sad and his song bespeaks regret whenever his beloved Rose is plucked. In spring, Bulbul is overpowered by the flowers’ sweet fragrance and hovers about the Rosebush till he falls senseless to the ground and the rosebud bursts into a lovely Red Rose at the opening song of its Lover Bird !

“With every other flower that Earth has got, What is it to the Bulbul if there his Rose is not”.

Persian legend says other birds once complained to King Solomon that  they could not sleep due to the nightly wailings of the Bulbul, but the  King said he could not help. For the Bulbul excused himself on the plea that his intense grief was due to his irrepressible love for the Rose. He said, ‘I press  my breast against a rose to ease my heart’s unbearable pain, but I get more pain from the thorns !

The association of Bulbul with flowers (dear to the bird) is evident from a line which a devotee, poet Bhai Nand Lal Goya wrote (in Persian) to welcome Guru Gobind Singh (to his heart). He says : “My beloved Guru !  Both Bulbul and flowers are  waiting for your arrival (in my heart’s garden).” He seeks blessing of the Guru’s Vision.

Poets see these birds’ devotion to their beloveds as the ideal which human beings should emulate in their love and empathy for nature and for all mankind. This would be the noblest act of worship of God by any human being.

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Images shown in this blog are meant for education and appreciation of readers, especially children. There is no commercial or profit-making motive and no copyright rule is intended to be violated. The author acknowledges and appreciates value of these paintings with gratitude.

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