Animal story: Brahmana and ungrateful crane!

Animal story: Brahmana and ungrateful crane!

In Panchatantra, there is a story of a crane and a brahmana.

The brahmana was a good friend of the crane. Brahmana was very poor but he was very big hearted.

The crane was very greedy and one day he went to the brahmana and said, “O brahmana, I don’t have food. I don’t have money. I am in difficulty. Please help me.”

So the brahmana told the crane, “I know some rakshasas living behind the forest. When I go and cut wood, I see them and even though they are very difficult people, I always give them some wood for fire. So they have become good friends with me. They know a mantra that if you chant, it will make you very rich and you will never be wanting for anything. So you go and tell them my name and they will help you.”

Now this brahmana did not have to do this. But he was helping another person.

So the crane goes to the rakshasas. Rakshasas are ready to hunt him.

But the crane says, “Stop! I know so and so brahmana.”

The rakshasas said, “Oh! If you know so and so brahmana, you are our friend also. So what do you want?”

The crane said that he wanted the mantra. So they gave him the mantra.

So the crane thinks that I am the only one in the world who should know the mantra. Except for the brahmana, only I know.

So what does he do?

In the night, the crane kills the brahmana. Very ungrateful.

Then he goes to the rakshasas and he asks for another set of mantras. The rakshasas had some magic power. They came to understand that the crane has killed their good friend, brahmana. So what do the rakshasas do?

They catch the crane and they say, “Frankly speaking, we should be eating you. We should be killing you now. But we have a rule and principle in our community. Rakshasa community may be rakshasic but we have some principles and there is one principle we always follow. We never eat the flesh of one who is ungrateful. If we ever eat that, we will die immediately and you are an ungrateful person and so we are going to catch you and throw you to the cannibals, our cousins. Cannibals are little bit more higher in standards because not only do they eat flesh, they also eat each other. They don’t discriminate. They eat everything and any one. So we will throw you to them.”

So they bring the crane to the cannibals and they tell the cannibals, “My dear brother, here is food for you.”

Cannibals asked why you are not eating it? Rakshasas say because this crane is very ungrateful. He killed the man who gave him the power to become better.

Cannibals said, “We are very sorry. But in our books, we also have a principle and that principle is we can even eat each other’s flesh, that is acceptable but we can’t eat the flesh of one who is ungrateful. We will also die.”

So nobody wanted to eat flesh of ungrateful crane.

Moral of the story:

Even rakshasas and cannibals don’t want to touch an ungrateful person. That’s how bad ingratitude. That is how much we must avoid being ungrateful.

Ungrateful persons never succeed in devotional service and if you want to be peaceful in your life, then as soon as you see Krishna and His devotees, we should immediately think, “If not for them, we are in difficulty.”

If we want our mind not to be dusthita matih, we don’t want it to oscillate like a pendulum, we have to see the hand of Krishna and we have to see and be grateful to all living entities.

This culture of gratitude is the foundation for bhakti.

Where gratitude is lost, mind can’t be controlled. Where mind can’t be controlled, memory is lost. Where memory is lost, intelligence is gone. Where intelligence is gone, we are completely in cuckoo’s land.

So whenever we are troubled in devotional service, the real reason for the trouble is not this prabhuji, that mathaji, this program , that problem, my wife, my children ,no…The only source of the problem is the inability of us to put our hands together and thank Krishna for what we have. That is the reason why we cannot be peaceful.

Srimad Bhagavatam verse 3.31.18.

yenedrshim gatim asau dasha-maasya isha
sangraahitah puru-dayena bhavaadrshena
svenaiva tushyatu krtena sa deena-naathah
ko naama tat-prati vinaanjalim asya kuryaat

“My dear Lord, by Your causeless mercy I am awakened to consciousness, although I am only ten months old. For this causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the friend of all fallen souls, there is no way to express my gratitude but to pray with folded hands.”


1. The starting point of spiritual life begins with one word and it is gratitude.
2. From acceptance of all the situations in our life, comes the gift of tolerance. We accept the situations because that is what we deserve.
3. The Culture of Gratitude – realizing the causeless mercy of Krishna, we should behave expressing our gratitude by seeing the hand of Krishna in all the situations and always uttering the words “Thank you” and “sorry”.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

PS: I humbly request all the devotees to please forward and share this moral / instructive stories they hear so that everyone can be benefited by hearing about Krishna and his dear devotees.


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