Let me tell you a story, if you don’t mind. Lomash Muni was a great devotee of Shiva. And he had one disciple who was so disrespectful, never did any work, always was laying around. The Guru would say, “Disciple, please, don’t act like that.” And the disciple said, “Eh! Who cares for you Guru?”
And Lomash Muni said again and again and again, “Disciple, please understand that the best way for you to progress in life is through devotion to the Guru. And do what you say, and say what you’re going to do. And be efficient, and move ahead with pure love and pure devotion. This will bring you the highest attainment.”
And the disciple didn’t listen. No matter how many times the Guru said, “Disciple, please!” The disciple didn’t respond. And one day the disciple got very, very insulting to the Guru, even told lies to the Guru. And the Guru said, “Disciple, please, don’t behave like that. Tell the truth. I’m your Guru, I only want for you the best that I can possibly offer.”
And the disciple didn’t respond, and Shiva got mad. And Shiva came there, and He took some water and said, “I curse you worthless disciple, you will take a thousand births in the lowest forms possible. You who disrespect your Guru, you who don’t tell truth to your Guru, you who don’t act in truth as a member of the ashram family. I curse you!”
And Lomash Muni said, “Shiva, I know my disciple is unworthy, and I know my disciple has committed error, but that’s my disciple. Now I’m going to sing a hymn to you.” And he sang the great hymn from the Ramayana. Namah Misha Ishan a Shani Nerbana”. And Shiva said, “I’m very, very pleased with you Lomash Muni, I’m going to give you a boon. What boon do you choose?”
And Lomash Muni said, “Please, forgive my disciple.” And Shiva said, “Well, I already gave him the curse, but because of your devotion I’m going to give him a blessing along with the curse. With every birth that he takes, that worthlessness, I pardon. In the lowest forms, whatever birth he takes, or she takes, he will always remember the name of Ram.”
Well, that disciple immediately took birth as a crow. And that crow lived off cadavers that he found in the forest. And he had a miserable existence, he use to eat the dead flesh of animals that died in the forest. And he would spend all his time flying from place to place thinking what a miserable life I’m leading. “While I was a disciple to such a great Guru, I was disrespectful and now I have this to look forward to for one thousand births!”
And as he was thinking thus, he flew over Ayodhya. And he looked down and he saw Ram. And he said, “That’s the avatar Vishnu, that’s the Incarnation of the Supreme Divinity.” And he flew down and started to watch the entire history of Ram. And he memorized the Ramayana.
So that when Garud had a doubt, “Hey, How could Ram really be Vishnu’s avatar?” Garud went to Narad Muni and said, “Hey, Solve my question. He was a man wandering on the earth crying out for his lost wife. How could that be the Supreme Lord Incarnate? How could he be an avatar?”
Narad said, “I can’t answer that question, you go to Shiva.” Garud went to Shiva and said, “Shiva, I have a doubt. He who was supposed to be the Lord of the Universe, the Supreme Consciousness made manifest, was bound by snakes and tied up and had to call me to save him? How could he be the Supreme Lord, if he needed me to help him out? I’m just a lowly being on this earth.”
And Shiva said, “I can’t help you. You better go see Kaka Bhushundi.” “Kaka Bhushundi?” “Yes, he’s a crow. And he lives on the bank of Manasarovar, the great river at the bottom of Kailash.” Garud went to see Kaka Bhushundi. And the King of the eagles bowed down to the lowest form of birds. And said, “You’re my Guru, please teach me, how is it that Vishnu could come in the form of Ram?” And Kaka Bhushundi recited the entire Ramayana, and removed all ofGarud’s doubts.
And so that’s how we got the preservation of the Ramayana. We owe that old crow a great debt of gratitude.