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Valmiki Ramayana - Aranya Kanda in Prose
Sarga 14

Rama and others on their way to Panchavati come into contact with Jatayu, the mighty eagle. When Rama questions about its identity, Jatayu narrates the creation of animal species along with humans, and informs Rama that he is a friend of King Dasharatha and would like to help Rama in exile.

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Then, on proceeding to Panchavati that Rahu's descendent, in a while reached a mammoth eagle of gigantic might... On seeing at the eagle, those two noble brothers Rama and Lakshmana, being in forest and presuming it to be a demonic bird spoke to it thus, "Who you are?"

But that eagle is sweet worded and said softly and pleasingly, "Oh boy, know me as your father's friend... " Said that eagle.

Accepting him as his father's friend Raghava revered it and he that Rama then asked for that eagle's name and lineage. On hearing Rama's words about his ancestry and himself, that bird said to them [and in doing so, that eagle also narrated] the overall genesis of all beings.

"Early in time, oh dextrous one, those Prajapati-s, Lords of People, that were prevalent, all about them I will narrate from the beginning, oh Raghava, listen... Of them Kardama was there at first, and afterwards Sesha and Samshraya was there with many children and a vigorous one he was... Sthaanu, Mariichi, Atri, the great mighty one Kratu, Pulasthya, Angira, also thus, Pracheta and Pulah, then... "Daksha, Vivaswan, [were there as Prajapati-s,] and then oh Raghava [one who has the other name of] Arishtanemi, the great resplendent Kashyapa, was there later...

Comment: Arishtanemi is read as a separate Prajapati while some say that Kashyapa is also known as Arishtanemi.

"For Daksha Prajapati there existed sixty daughters, thus it is verily heard, oh glorious Rama, [they the daughters of Daksha were] well-renowned ones... Of them Kashyapa accepted eight well-waisted [daughters of Daksha Prajapati, namely] Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kaalakaa and... Taamra, Krodhavasha, also thus Manu also even Anala also, and to them the girls that gladdened Kashyapa said in turn...

"Sons, who can sustain the three worlds and similar to me shall be delivered, [by you all..." said Kashyapa to his eight wives.] Oh Rama, Aditi agreed for that, also Diti, and also even Danu agreed... Kaalakaa also agreed, oh great dextrous Rama, but others became unheedful of Kashyapa's words. From Aditi born are thirty-three Aaditya-s, gods... oh enemy-destroyer... They the Aaditya-s [twelve of them, Sun-gods] Vasu-s [eight Terrestrials -god,] Rudraa-s [eleven Fury-gods] and two Ashvini [Medicinal-gods are Aditi's progeny, while] Diti gave birth to sons called Daitya-s [so called demons,] sire, the noted ones [are those demons...]

"Earlier this earth was theirs with forests and oceans, and Danu gave birth to son Shvagriiva [or also called Hayagriiva, Horse-headed god] oh, enemy-destroyer

"Kaalakaa gave birth to Naraka and Kaalaka, thus Krounchi, Bhaasii, Shyenii, Dhritaraashtrii, like that Shukii are given birth by Taamra. And Taamraa but delivered five girls as above, well-renowned ones in the world, [and from each of them in turn emanated are the other species, where] Kraunchii gave birth to Uluuka-s [owls,] Bhasii gave birth to Bhaasaa-s [birds of prey...]

"Shyenii gave birth to Shyenaa-s [vultures,] and also eagles, which are of great brilliance, Dhritaraashtrii gave birth to all kinds of Swans and Kalahamsa-s, [another variety of swans...]  Chakravaaka-s [water fowls,] also are given birth by that lady [Dhritaraashtrii,] and Shukii gave birth to Nata [a female,] and Nata gave birth to Vinata, [another female...]

"Ten of them, are given birth by Krodhavasha, her soul-born ones they are, Mrigi, Mrigamanda, Hari, Bhadramanda [elephant species] and...

"Then, Maatangii, Sharduulii, Shweta, Surabhii, like that Surasa, who is embodied with all giftedness, and even Kadruva...[are the ten daughters of Krodhavasha...]

"Children are the deer, all of them, of Mrigayaa, oh Best of the best-men, Rama, and Riksha-s [Bears,] are of Mrigamnda, and Srimara-s, like that Caamar-s [are the Himalayan yak species who are also the children of Mrigamanda...] "Then Iravati named girl took birth and was the daughter of Bhadramanda, and her [Iraavati's] son is the world's leading elephant the great, Airaavata...

"Also Hari's offspring are lions, sagely/mighty monkeys and baboons, while Sharduulii gave birth to tigers... "Then Maatangi's offspring are Matanga-s [elephants,] oh Rama, best among men, but Shweta gave birth to Dishaagaja...

"Then, oh Rama, Surabhi's daughters took birth, two of them, named Rohini, safe you be, and noted one Gandharvi... Rohi bore cows [and other livestock, while] Surasa gave birth to Naagaa-s [many headed serpents, while] Kadru to [ordinary] serpents...

"Manu, the wife of great-soul Kashyapa procreated humans, Brahmins, Kshatriya-s, Vaishyaa-s, and Shuudra-s, oh Rama, the best among men... The Brahmins emerged from face, the Kshatriya-s from chest, the Vaishyaa-s from two thighs, and the Shuudraa-s from two feet...thus we hear from the sciptures [Veda, i.e., Rig Veda Purusha Shuukta...]

"All the merited fruit-bearing trees are given birth by Anala, and also I will narrate about Vinata, the daughter's daughter of Shukii, and Kadru, the sister of Surasa... Kadru gave birth to the serpent [with thousand heads, Aadi Sesa,] who is the bearer of this earth, and Vinata's two sons are Garuda and Aruna, like that...

Comment: Garuda is the eagle-vehicle of Lord Vishnu, while Aruna, also called Anuuru, for he is a thigh-less being and the charioteer of Lord Sun's seven-horse chariot. The seven horses of Lord Sun's chariot are the seven vibgyor colours of light as in a rainbow. Aruna and Garuda are of avian origination and attributed to be the speediest propellers, and Jatayu and Sampati belong to that lineage.]

"From him, that Aruna, I am born and Sampaati is my elder brother, know me as Jatayu, son of Shyenii, oh enemy-destroyer...

"That is what I am, I will be your helpmate at your residence, should you wish so, for this forest is one that is impassable and adorned by predators and demons...oh boy, I wish to protect Seetha, if you go out of your residence with Lakshmana..." Thus Jatayu said to Rama.

At Jatayu reverent is Raghava, gladly hugging him Rama became bowed down to Jatayu with a fatherly affection, and that kind-natured Rama hearing the friendship with his father from Jatayu, who narrated it well, time and again...

He there from, taking Seetha, rather Maithili, along with that very mighty bird proceeded to Panchavati and also with Lakshmana, as though to incinerate enemies, like the fire that burns down the grasshoppers...

 

Thus, this is the 14th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.

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2001, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao