Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Happiness is a Crow

by Gabriel Rosenstock

A seminar conducted by the Cook in the Year of Nothing.

Location: The Ashram of Krishnamurphy, Ireland


Hark how the crow in the grey morning crows! Maybe this was the language of call used among the first brothers.

Miodrag Pavlović



a crow calls

and I, too,

am alone




Q: At your suggestion, we have all adopted a crow. What should we give him to eat?

A: Give him worms and he will become wriggly.

You can give him anything that doesn’t wriggle or squirm.


He is not too stuffy.

Q: Fussy?

A: Yes, it is a bit fussy in here.

Open a window, please.

A banana skin is fine.

Do not overfeed him or he might womit.

Q: Vomit? What about a gin and tonic now and again?

A: No.

A little champagne on his birthday.

Nothing Soup would be better still.

Q: How do I make Nothing Soup?

A: There’s nothing to it.

Q: Does a crow have a penis?

A: I am thinking this is a matter for himself.

Q: Should I wash my crow?

A: No, he is washing himself.

You wash him and his colour is coming off.

Q: Ramana Maharshi had a shrine built to a crow. Is this correct?

A: So I am hearing.

Possibly an enlightened crow.

Q: What is the crow mantra?

A: Crow mantra I am learning long time ago from Sister Assumpta is in Irish:

Is mór an náire

Do Mháire Ní Dhálaigh

Bheith chun deiridh bheith chun deiridh…

Excuse pronunciation.

The name Máire Ní Dhálaigh is anglicised as Mary Daly.

The mantra was intoned when a crow was flying at back of flock.

This is bringing crow up to front again.

It is the mantra of our crow movement which is spreading as the crow flies.

Q: Why is it poets have written odes to nightingales and not to crows?

A: You are thinking only of the posh poets.

There are, in fact, more poems about crows than about nightingales – but you must know where to look. Crow is getting a bad press to be sure but does not Shani sit on a crow?

Q: Who is Shani?

A: Indeed! Next?

Q: How can a crow make me happy or sane?

A: The mad Japanese monk – good poet, not posh poet – Ikkyu, he is going completely sane when he is hearing the crow in his boat on Lake Biwa. Like this:


He becomes as sane as a button.

Q: What name would you suggest for my crow?

A: Perhaps something beginning with C if a crow begins with C in your language:

Cedric, Catherine the Great, Catullus, Cervantes, Cernunnus, Cleopatra, Cromwell, Conan, Chaityana, Chang, Colm … but Colm means a dove which might be leading to crisis of identity.

Q: How far can a crow fly ‘as the crow flies’?

A: As far as he wants.

Q: If my crow leaves me, will he come back?

A: This is a matter concerning his karma and yours and how they are linked as far back as Cro-Magnon man.

Q: Where should I bring my crow on a holiday?

A: Croatia.

Q: Can a crow be as faithful as a dog?

A: Absolutely!

And he not be barking at postman.

Q: Do crows like music?

A: They have a fondness for operatic arias.

Q: Will I become closer to my crow if I wear a crow’s feather in my hair?

A: No. In fact this could be quite dangerous.

Q: If my crow dies, can I eat it?

A: Only with a pinch of salt.

Actually, ‘to eat crow’ is a metaphor and should not be taken literally.

Q: Is it true that an Anglo-Irish gentleman on seeing the ragged condition of the crows’ nests on his estate, had them all dismantled and reconstructed again?

A: Yes.

This happened in Killucan.

A long time ago.

Crows were very upset.

And they haven’t forgotten it.

It is an example of the ‘improving’ tendency in certain kind of men which is often doing more harm than good.

You wouldn’t believe some of the improving tendencies in my first teacher, Sister Assumpta. I seem to be recalling that she was from Killucan so there must be something in the water there.

Q: Can I sleep with my crow?

A: If by sleep you are meaning sleep, then I don’t see why not.

Q: If I talk to my crow, how much will he understand?

A: It is depending on topic of conversation.

Lives of the Saints, such as Mirabai, St. Francis etc., this is very good fare.

But you cannot interest him in politics.

He can see through all that. The crow is also interested in astronomy and you should talk to him about the constellation Corvus which, as you know, lies somewhere between Virgo and Hydra. Not quite sure exactly. Long time since I was there.

Q: Let’s say I’m having some people over for dinner or drinkies on the patio – and they don’t know about the crow. Should I hide the crow?

A: When your relationship with the crow is maturing, the last thing you are wishing to do is hiding him away from friends and relations. You might as well go and hide yourself.

If the mother-in-law isn’t liking it, you are dropping the mother-in-law, not the crow.

Show them all your photo albums with you and your crow.

Holidays in Croatia and so on.

Q: What if my crow gets sick?

A: Check his temperature?

If he is really miserable, call doctor.

Not vet.

Vet is putting him down.

Vet not like crow movement at all.

Less poodles.

Less money for vet.

Crow seldom sick.

Q: Should I encourage my crow to attend religious services?

A: If you wish.

The crow has an immortal soul like anybody else and religious services are useful, sometimes.

But maybe your pastor, or rabbi or whatever, might not approve.

Let your crow crow!

This is the best religious service of all.

Q: Should I teach my crow tricks?

A: Crow not monkey, Crow just crow.

It is his crowness that you are bringing into your life, his thereness, his being.

The flame as dark as the raven, as Yannai says. Crow.

Just as he is.


Why you have him standing on his little head?

Q: Is it OK to watch TV together?

A: Weather reports fine.

No News.

No News good news.

Q: Will my crow lay eggs?

A: Possibly, if he is a she.

Q: When do crows mate?

A: In Ireland, on Feast of St. Brigid, 1st February.

Q: As a crow owner, should I object to such phrases as ‘I have a crow to pick with you?’

A: Yes.

But do not think of yourself as a crow owner. You are not owning him.

Nor is he owning you.

As your relationship develops, this is becoming clear.

Q: My crow is depressed. Any ideas?

A: Crow not normally suffering from

depression. You may be cause.

Are you really appreciating crow?

Or is this just new fad?

Care for crow, grow with crow – or let him go.

Q: I have been trying to give my crow a mixed diet – seeds, berries, snails and so on. I believe crows are fond of insects. Where can I purchase good insects on line?

A: No need for purchasing insects.

Let crow out.

He will find them.

Crow knows best.

Q: But… the crow is a dirty bird, a scavenger. Why should we have anything to do with it at all? Is it not associated with death in Indian mythology.

A: Mythology shitology! You are coming here for myths or truth?

Q: Truth. But what does a crow know about truth?

A: More than the Pope! More than the Dalai Lama.

Listen to this, listen. I have a book here. It is mentioning one of the greatest crows that ever lived, Bhusundi. You are hearing about him?

Q: No.

A: You are hearing about him now. This is a book called Songs of the Saints of India by John Stratton Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer. One of them might be wrong but do you think the two of them are wrong? And book is published by Oxford. You are hearing of Oxford?

Q: Of course.

A: Not famous for telling lies, Oxford. Bhusundi knew god (Ram) when Ram was only a child. Ram always reaching out to catch Bhusundi but Bhusundi he is dodging all the time, you see? A bit like yourself, eh? Artful dodger. Now, crow playing a game with god! Ram, he is getting frustrated. Tears are flowing. Bhusundi says to himself. This is no good. Ram crying. My God! Bhusundi perplexed. God grabbing the crow again, lunging, crow skipping away. Frustration. And so on and on like this, all the time. And God crying his eyes out and Bhusundi can’t stand it anymore and closes his eyes and what happens?

Q: What?

A: He falls.

Q: Who? What? Where?

A: Bhusundi falls into the mouth of God.

Q: What?!

A: Here I must open the book. Now I quote. I am describing the incident exactly as it happened. Now you are seeing what a great crow is this Bhusundi. Normally I don’t read from books. Anyway. Here we go: “Before long Bhusundi had to close his eyes to save his sanity, but at that point he fell into the mouth of the child and watched endless eons pass as the pantheon emerged and Ram again manifested himself as a child on earth. Then as the child in his vision laughed, he was disgorged from the mouth of this other child – but the same one, really – and begged from him, in wonder and terror, the boon of faith. It was granted, and that is how Bhusundi came to have the privilege of singing Ram’s praise eternally, incarnation after incarnation, on the banks of the holy lake at Mount Pravarsan, which is located far above the valley of illusion where the rest of us stumble about …’ Next question, please?

Q: I am Jewish. I wonder should I have my crow circumcised?

A: Do not even think about it.

Q: Can I teach my crow a few phrases?

A: In Welsh, yes.

And Sanskrit.

Old Irish is also acceptable.

These will suit crow very well.

Other languages are to be avoided.

Do not teach him Australian English or he will have a complete personality change and before you know it he is saying,

Get me a beer, you fat bastard!’

Q: I sometimes dream about my crow. Does he dream about me?

A: Yes.

Q: I sometimes get the feeling that my crow is laughing at me.

A: Maybe he is.

Q: There aren’t really any famous crows in history, are there?

A: Whose history?


What about theirs?

Q: This crow business … you’ve started something really big. I mean, it’s a real craze! I was surprised to see a crow on the cover of Time magazine recently.

A: So was the crow.

Q: There are many pro-crow and anti-crow groups springing up in society and people are becoming quite vociferous about the whole matter.

A: Don’t blame the crow. Blame society.

Q: I want to do new things with my crow.

A: Just let crow be crow.

Not riding a bicycle or dancing a jig.

The whole meaning of the crow movement is simply to witness the crowicity of the crow, from hour to hour, to take the mind away from all worries and mundane affairs, to sink into crow, to be crow.

Become humble and simple like crow.

Love the beak, the plumage, the hunger of the crow, the poise, the stillness, the legs, the eye, the nervous energy, the raucousness, the silence, the alertness, the lack of gaudiness and show, the wisdom of the crow.

Q: My crow died. What happens when a crow dies? Is there a heaven? I have had him stuffed but I would love to know what has happened to his spirit.

A: Stuffed crow is abomination.


Heaven is not an exclusive club for men and peacocks.

Why should a crow not go to heaven?

If you believe in heaven …

Q: My crow smiled at me. Was I imagining it?

A: No. And even if you were, what harm?

Q: I don’t have a crow or any intention of having one. I mean, the whole thing is crazy. Look at all the problems in the world, it’s unbelievable and this crow-craze has taken over. Are we all totally mad or what?

A: It’s perfectly obvious you are not having a crow.

Maybe crow doesn’t want you either.

You have heard Krishnamurphy’s Gaelic curse:

Mallacht na bpréachán ort’.

Q: Which is to say?

A: The curse of the crows on you!

Q: Meaning?

A: May you give up what you are doing before you enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Q: I see …What is a kunguru?

A: It is a house crow, in Kenya.

Q: My crow was into mouna there for a few weeks. Complete silence. Yo wouldn’t believe it. Not a twitch out of him, not a word. And then, suddenly, out of the blue – ‘Caw!’ It floored me. It was the most beautiful thing I ever heard in my life.

A: I believe you.

It is the blessing of Ikkyu, rediscovered in our time.

A ripple from Lake Biwa.

Q: Someone stole my crow. What should I do? Broke in and stole my crow he did. No use reporting it or offering a reward. Had no special features. Wasn’t an albino or nothin’. A perfectly ordinary crow. And someone stole it.

A: Get another one.

Q: How many crows have you known?

A: None.

You never get to know a crow.

That’s the great thing about it.

The mystery.

The challenge.

It’s the whole point of it really.

He’ll probably get to know more about you than you are ever knowing about him.

Q: Had a staring match with my crow. He won.

A: Doesn’t surprise me.

Q: Can you teach yoga to a crow?

A: Crow is already doing upa yoga.

Q: What is upa yoga?

A: Attentiveness.

You are having a banana?

Crow is attentive.

He is wanting to see what’s left … he is wanting to take the crumbs from your table.

He is not watching the news on television.

He is waiting for leftovers.

This is attentiveness.

Upa yoga!

Jains says this is best yoga.

Not standing on head.

Q: My crow is a thief.

A: So, what is he stealing?

Your credit card?

He’s just moving things around a bit.

No harm.

Live with it.

Learn from it.

A: OK, my question is a bit spooky… Where do I begin? The crow’s name is Canute. OK? He can come into a room without my knowing it. After a while I feel his presence. Which one of us is psychic?

A: Crow, probably.

Silent type, eh?

He’s probably a thinker, you know?

Maybe he’s trying to figure out what’s going on in your head – studying you from behind, wondering if you’re some kind of an illusion or something.

It is best when you are not trying deliberately to get into their minds – or they in yours.

I am recommending some aromatherpay oils for thinking crows.

Wild indigo is one such treatment.

It might be doing the both of you some good.

A six week course and you will not be caring one way or the other; you will both be fine and relaxed, unsuspicious of one another’s motifs.

Q: My mother-in-law came to dinner and was very surprised that our crow was served first. She didn’t know much about the crow movement and was offended. I tried to explain and it became a bit of a shouting match and the crow became upset.

A: Yes, these things are happening for a reason.

It is all this hierarchy and labelling in life – boss, mother-in-law, ayatollah, bishop.

When a crow is introduced to this equation, we begin to look at our human institutions again and ask ourselves do we really need all this baggage.

The crow is introducing a re-balancing act into our lives.

Look at a crow and you will ask yourself have I lost something strange, something deep, something simple, something fundamental, something mysterious in my life and, in fact, we are putting a huge burden on the crow to help us transmogrify everything and allow us to reconnect with who we are.

And with our essential freedom.

The crow is capable of taking on mankind’s loss of direction as his responsibility.

In that glance from the crow, all wars can end. He unravels us.

He simplifies us.

He exposes us.

Humbles us.

He helps us to love him.

And ourselves. To be tolerant and forgiving. Aware.

For he is bold and asserive – and sly if needs be – and is the darker side of us that is longing for the light.

And he can teach us manolaya, a temporary stilling of the mind.

Hundreds are experiencing it.

Some are even gifted by the crow with manonasa, permanent stilling of the mind.

Is wonderful, no?

And crow loves his mate.

And that is why we will free him, to find his mate – once he has taught us a thing or two – so that he may snuggle down in his nest,

one with his mate and, eventually, forget us.



This is an extract from a collection called

The Pleasantries of Krishnamurphy: Revelations from an Irish Ashram

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