“There the Lord plays His flute, His eyes like lotus petals, and the color of His Body like a beautiful cloud; on His Head a peacock feather. So attractive is He that He excels thousands of cupids.”
Bhagavad Gita 8:21 1968 edition
[The] peacock feather must be there on Krishna.* [letter from Srila Prabhupada, 8 June 1975]
PP 2.3: The Main Worship
Last night I was watching PBS and they had a biographical piece on Cab Calloway in their American Masters series. He was a groundbreaking performer from the 1930s and 40s who reinvigorated his career with an 1980 appearance in The Blues Brothers.
He was , amongst other things, the first black to have a chart topping hit. He was a singer, band leader, and actor, but what he is most remembered for is he was an unbelievable dancer.
They did a bit with a dancer from Alvin Ailey, one of America’s premier dancing troupes, and the guy was commenting how Cab had evolved steps he used without any classical training, that the Alvin Ailey troupe still learns and does today.
Naturally a lot of stories were told about the old days by people who knew him. One was that his band would travel by train in Pullman cars between gigs. Cab would bring a rooster with him on the train. He would study how the rooster moved, how it would raise its wings, how it comported itself.
This reminded me of Krishna. Krishna wears a peacock feather on is head, and is said to do so because the peacock is his dancing guru. I had always heard that but it had remained for me some arcane trivia but when I heard that the greatest dancer of his generation studied a rooster, it really struck me how the peacock could be Krishna’s dancing guru as well.
Peacock’s are very stately in their movements but quick when they want to be. I one time watched a young couple month old peacock who was sitting on a roost. A fly flew by and the peacock darted his head out and picked it out of the air for a little snack.
Peacocks are famous for eating snakes, and I know that requires quickness. They are great show men who are very aware when you are watching and will put on a display. They are certainly qualified to be dance instructors for one with a keen eye for observation.
“The gopis celebrate with an even more ecstatic dance. Then Krishna imitates the dancing of peacocks.”
Vrindaban Days Memories of an Indian Holy Town (by Hayagriva) 14: The Dance