Article: The Forgotten Warrior: JATAYU
The Forgotten Warrior: JATAYU
The Forgotten Warrior: JATAYU
At half past twelve, on a desolate road in a random city, if you went on a drive and saw a woman was surrounded by five or six men, screaming for help as soon as she heard your car coming across. She is crying and screaming at the top of her voice. You see her, and she looks right into your eyes. You look around and see those men, surrounding her, growling like hounds, with their eyes on fire. They put terror in you with those. You are approaching there, but now the question arises, what would you have done? Would you help the woman even though you would be scared? Or would you simply look away and drive back home, to your safe space in four walls where nothing would harm you? Maybe, you would walk away, you would be scared for your own life, for your family. You will convince yourself that walking away from that was the best decision you have taken to protect your physical state. But there would be a very small and silent voice inside your head, who would ask you why didn’t you stand up? A small voice of bravery and righteousness. How did we forget our bravery? How did we come to this, the world where Ravanas are more powerful? Where Ravanas keep winning and we keep losing?
How did we forget that as soon as Ravana abducted Devi Sita, the first one to see her was Jatayu, the demigod in the form of a vulture, who put his own life on line to stand for what was right.
Jatayu was the younger son of Aruna, Surya’s charioteer and his wife Shyeni. Jatayu was identified as half vulture and half human form. He was the younger brother of well-known Sampati and nephew of Lord Vishnu’s vehicle, Garuda.
Jatayu’s structure was as tall as a mountain. It was said that he had the ability to shape-shift into a complete human on his free will for as long as he wished, this ability comes back from his roots since his lineage was of goddess Tamra.
The vulture king was also an old confidante of King Dashratha, father of Lord Rama. During the battle of Danavs Lord Indra, Jatayu saved his life by covering his forehead with his wings. Afterwards, when Lord Rama went to vanvasa, Jatayu was around the hut they had built for their protection.
Jatayu’s one very famous legend was the one when he and his elder brother Sampati, under a wager flew towards the Sun. Jatayu being younger and youthful, out flew Sampati and reached the Surya Mandala during noon, when the sun shone brightest. The fiery blazing heat of the sun began to scorch Jatayu’s wings. As soon as Sampati realized this, in an utter desperate ambition to save his brother’s life he flew ahead of him and threw his wings open in front of Jatayu to protect him. As a repercussion of this, Sampati got his wings burnt and fell down on earth, plummeting to Vindhya hills. Thereafter, he spent the rest of his life under the protection of sage Nishkara. Jatayu never saw his savior, his elder brother again.
On the other hand an instance that displays Jatayu’s selflessness perfectly is the one where Ravana had abducted Devi Sita, Jatayu saw Ravana’s pushpaka vimana with Sita in it, calling for help. Jatayu warned Ravana to leave her that very instant but he didn’t listen and they fought. Even though Jatayu had his limitations as of old age, that didn’t let it be a hindrance in his bravery. He fought the evil king unafraid and undaunted, not thinking about the outcome of the fight, he gave his all power to it to save Devi Sita. Ravana, during the fight, slit off one of his wing and Jatayu fell to the ground praying for Sita’s wellness and apologizing for not being able to save her from those evil grasps. When Lord Rama and Lakshmana were wandering all around trying to find Sita, they ran into wounded Jatayu fallen onto the ground with clipped wing, but it was too late to cure him and help, Jatayu’s last words contained apologies about how he couldn’t save Devi Sita and that Ravana had taken her to the south.
Lord Rama assured him that what he had done was the best that he could have given and if it wasn’t for him they wouldn’t have been able to find what had happened. Soon after, when the time had come, Jatayu attained salvation with the help of Lord Rama.
Even though Jatayu was aware of his containments, he fought for what was right. He fought for justice and he fought for Sita, even though he knew that his life was on stake. Till this date, Jatayu is remembered as a symbol for ‘The protection of women’. In kerala, a statue is built as a tribute to his bravery, and is said to be cherished ‘as safe as a rock’.
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As of today, he is still praised, and has inspired generations. The youth should never forget such warriors.The strongest will should be engraved in all our hearts, so much so that every Ravana steps into reality and stops that very second. That every human who thinks of committing such a deed should be scared till the core of their hearts that even if they even try to do that kind of sinful act, they are always going to have to fight against the right and this time, Jatayu will not be defeated.
- Ashi, Anime Devta