Peacock: A Constant in Indian Culture

  • bookmark icon


“With a view to cause satisfaction to the world, you indulge in your dance, thereby creating happiness at a time when it withers, being stricken or afflicted by the scorching sun. So, I approach you, who are the descendant of that race of Indra who are the only solace to those opposed by grief, in the same manner as the sun is approached as a friend of the lotus.”
These lines are addressed to a messenger peacock by an aching lover who is separated from his spouse, in the 16th-century poetic work called Mayurasandesa (The Peacock’s Message) by Udaya, a poet from Kerala.
It is not surprising that the lover in the above-mentioned work expressed his anguish through the peacock. The bird has always been an object of wonder and inspiration, and has been mentioned in accounts dating back more than 2,000 years. It adorns the crown of Lord Krishna, the most loved god of the Hindu pantheon, who has been an inspiration to artists across the subcontinent, Its beautiful train and hypnotic mating dance have captured the imagination of foreign visitors in ancient times; it became the symbol of many an Indian royal; and it was eventually adopted as the national bird of India.

Enjoying the article so far?