This story has
been well-known in India for thousands of years. It is the story of a crow
landing on a branch of a palm-fruit (cocoanut) tree. At just the instant the
crow lands, in a very unexpected and accidental occurrence, a ripe fruit falls
from above the branch and lands upon the head of the crow, killing it.
In India, the
mention of the crow and the cocoanut denotes any very unexpected, coincidental
occurrence, whether it be positive or negative; welcome or unwelcome.
readers who do not know this story as part of their cultural heritage, the
many references to the crow and the cocoanut in the Yoga Vasistha can be
misleading. The story is usually told with extreme brevity, as simply as 'the
crow lands, the cocoanut falls'. Most Western readers envision the crow
landing on a branch with a cocoanut on it, which is dislodged by the crow.
This feels very much like cause and effect, which is the opposite of the
meaning of the story.