Brave Jatayu. Raman, Lakshmana and Sita were living in a forest. One day, the two princes were away from the ashrama. Sita was alone.
Raman, Lakshmana and Sita were living in a forest. One day, the two princes were away from the ashrama. Sita was alone.
She was anxiously awaiting the return of both.
At that time Ravana entered the ashrama. He was dressed like a sanyasi. Seeing no one was near, he carried Sita away, forcibly, in his chariot.
His was a magic chariot. It flew up in the air like a bird. Sita cried from the chariot, “O Rama! Lakshmana! Ravana is carrying me away. Stop him and free me!”
At that time Jatayu, a magnificent eagle, was sitting on a tree.
Jatayu was the king of the eagles. He had a brother called Sampati. Their mother was called Vinata. They were divine birds. They knew the sastras. They could speak like human beings and fight too.
Jatayu heard Sita’s cry for help and saw the chariot flying above. He flew up to Ravana, and protested, “Oh Ravana! It is wrong to carry away another man’s wife,” he said.
“A learned man like you should not take away, by force, a helpless woman. If Rama comes to know about it, he will kill you. Please set her free.”
Ravana said “No.”
So Jatayu fought with him. Ravana shot sharp arrows at the bird. They hurt him severely. Blood flowed from the wounds.
Jatayu attacked Ravana with his beak and talons. He kicked off Ravana’s crown. It fell down on the earth and broke to pieces.
He also killed the horses of Ravana’s chariot, and its driver. So the chariot too fell on the earth, and was smashed.
The bird then bit off Ravana’s hand that held Sita. But when one hand fell off, another grew on Ravana’s body!
At last, Ravana cut off the bird’s wings and also his talons.
Unable to fly, the bird fell on the earth. It was unable to move.
Sita wept for brave Jatayu.
Ravana now caught Sita, and flew again into the sky, carrying her. He reached Lanka, and put Sita in prison.
When Rama and Lakshmana returned to the ashrama, the ashrama was empty. They searched everywhere, but they could not find Sita.
Rama said, “Rakshasas must have carried her away, and eaten her up. O Lakshmana, why did you leave her alone?”
The two brothers then started searching the forest for Sita.
As they looked here and there, they saw the fallen Jatayu. He was at the point of death.
Hearing their voice, he said, “O Rama! Ravana has carried away Sita. I fought him but I failed to rescue Sita. He has taken her to Lanka. Go and get her. God will bless you.”
After saying these words, Jatayu died.
Rama and Lakshmana wept for Jatayu.
They also did the last religious rites for the bird.
Jatayu was a bird. Yet he tried to save a helpless woman from the clutches of a wicked man.