Why do we?

Science behind Crows and Pitrutharpanam 

On scientific analysis of various aspects of Sanatana Dharma, we will find that it is more a science than just a religion filled with utopian theories. Every prescribed action that we do in Santana Dharma has a purpose and an evidential meaning behind it. We have analyzed and come out with interesting information about the ‘Science behind Crows and Pitrutharpanam’. 


Pitrutharpanam or Śrādh is an ancient practice followed in Sanatana Dharma. It is a conviction that this practice is performed monthly to satisfy our ancestors whose Jīvātma (soul) has/had left the body. Many might think, what is the connection between a Jīvātma and a crow? How can a crow be treated as our own ancestor? As there was no scientific truth found to convince the rational intellect, people wrongly concluded it as a superstition. This article gives you information on the mythological stories behind the practice and the SCIENTIFIC evidence for it. 

Mythological Story: 


[1In the Valmiki Ramayan, we find an excerpt of Jayant, Indra's son being disguised as a crow and cursed by Ram for disturbing Sita's comfort. Once in their vanvasa, Sita was sleeping in Ram's lap while Jayant, disguised as a crow pecked her on the feet. Ram recognized Jayant and cursed him for being so discourteous. He said, “From now on, you will have only one eye. You will only be able to use one eyeball at a time, not both.” Therefore, crows cannot see with both eyes together. They do not have clear vision when they use both eyes together. On asking for forgiveness Ram was pleased and gave him a boon, “whatever is invisible to the two-eyed creature will be visible to you.” That means crows have the power to see jīvātmas in the pretayoni, pishachayoni and the pitruyoni also. Jayant is pleased when the crows are fed. Once the crows are satisfied, Jayant carries the message, or the ātma's last desires to Aryama, the caretaker of Pitras. 



 [2] Crow is the vāhana of Shanidev. Shani (Saturn) is the son of Surya (Sun) and Chhaya and elder brother to Yamraj (Lord of Hell). These both are responsible for maintaining Dharma (righteousness) in the three realms and punishing those souls who are Adharmi (not righteous). Shani is also responsible for punishing the soul for all its ill deeds performed through previous births also. Satisfying the crow is indirectly a way to please Shani. When he is pleased, there will not be any restrictions in soul's passage to pitrulok. Feeding the crow is indirectly asking for forgiveness from Shani for the ill deeds performed by the soul in all his births, thus ensuring a clear passage of the soul to pitrulok. 


Scientific Proof behind Crows: 

 In the evolving world, everyone must be aware of Metaphysics and Quantum Physics than just stop with material physics. The findings of Metaphysics show stunning and in fact, unbelievable relation to the concepts explained in Santana Dharma.  


On 28 September 2020, an article was published in sciencealert.com by Michelle Starr. The article was titled, ‘Crows Are Capable of Conscious Thought – Scientists Demonstrate for the First Time’. It brought us goosebumps when we came across the article. (*link to the article has been given at the end). 

The article states that research was done by a team of three scientists from the university of Tübingen, Germany. They have found out that Crows’ brain activity gives rise to subjective perception through their experiments"The results of our study opens up a new way of looking at the evolution of awareness and its neurobiological constraints," quotes the scientist-animal physiologist, Andreas Nieder.  


"Our results, however, conclusively show that nerve cells at higher processing levels of the crow's brain are influenced by subjective experience, or more precisely produce subjective experiences." "The last common ancestors of humans and crows lived 320 million years ago," he said. "It is possible that the consciousness of perception arose back then and has been passed down ever since. In any case, the capability of conscious experience can be realized in differently structured brains and independently of the cerebral cortex." This means primary consciousness could be far more common across birds and mammals than we have realized. 

Explanation in common tongue: 

Subjective experience refers to the experience of a normal human, like how a normal human could perceive the worldly objects. With this scientific finding, it easy for us to draw close to conclusion that the jīvātma in order to express its needs searches for a body. The crow’s body, as per the scientific proofs, is the close approximate to human and so the jīvātma expresses through a crow's body. The fact propounded by our Shastras is beyond subjective experience. The progress made by the science is appreciable, but is it not amazing that science has got a long way to travel? 

Our ṛisis were far more scientific than we could ever think. It is not with this only evidence we are drawing conclusions but with all findings and actions from temple to tomb we find science than mere empty theories. 


1. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-only-crows-eat-the-rice-balls-offered-during-the-Hindu-ritual-of-pinda-daan-What-is-the-significance-of-rice-balls-being-used 

2. https://www.quora.com/Why-do-only-crows-eat-the-rice-balls-offered-during-the-Hindu-ritual-of-pinda-daan-What-is-the-significance-of-rice-balls-being-used 

* https://www.sciencealert.com/new-research-finds-crows-can-ponder-their-own-knowledge 


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