Book III : Aranya Kanda - The Forest Trek
Jataayu names Ravana as the abductor of Seetha while breathing his last. Though he struggles hard to say what all has happened, the Time called death takes him away, at such a time when the important information is about to be said to Rama. Receiving that much information at least, Rama consigns Jataayu to funeral fire, like his own relative and performs other rites, and then proceeds for searching Seetha.
raamaH prekSya tu tam gR^idhram bhuvi raudreNa paatitam |
saumitrim mitra sa.mpannam idam vacanam abraviit || 3-68-1
1. raudreNa= by atrocious - Ravana; bhuvi paatitam= on ground, felled by; tam gR^idhram prekSya= at that, eagle, on seeing; raamaH tu= Rama, on his part; mitra sampannam saumitrim= friendly, asset - who has the assets of companionability,] to Soumitri; idam vacanam abraviit= this, sentence, said.
Rama on seeing that eagle felled to ground by the atrocious Ravana, said this sentence to Soumitri who is an asset for good companionability. [3-68-1]
mama ayam nuunam artheSu yatamaano viha.ngamaH |
raakSasena hataH sa.nkhye praaNaan tyajati mat kR^ite || 3-68-2
2. mama artheSu= in my respect, concerning himself - took trouble for me; yatamaanaH= while trying; ayam vihan gamaH= this, sky goer [bird]; sankhye raakSasena hataH= in combat, by demon, assaulted; mat kR^ite= to me, owing to; [duH tyaje= impossible to cast off - lives]; praaNaan tyajati= lives, leaves; nuunam= definitely.
"While this bird is venturing in my concern the demon felled him in combat and he is leaving off his lives owing to me, definitely... [3-68-2]
ati khinnaH shariire asmin praaNo lakSmaNa vidyate |
tathaa svara vihiino ayam viklavam samudiikSate || 3-68-3
3. lakSmaNa= oh, Lakshmana; [asya= his]; asmin shariire= in this, body; praaNaH ati khinnaH vidyate= lives, are very feeblish, they appear - obviously; tathaa hi= it is natural, isn't it; ayam= he is; svara vi hiinaH= his voice, very, dull; vi klavam= highly anguish [in his looks]; samudiikSate [sam ut iikshat]= he is being seen by us - he appears.
"Obviously, lives in his body are very feeble, oh, Lakshmana, it is natural, isn't it, and he looks highly anguished with a dulled voice..." Thus on saying to Lakshmana, Rama then spoke to Jataayu. [3-68-3]
jaTaayo yadi shaknoSi vaakyam vyaaharitum punaH |
siitaam aakhyaahi bhadram te vadham aakhyaahi ca aatmanaH || 3-68-4
4. jaTaayoH= oh, Jataayu; punaH vaakyam vyaaharitum shaknoSi yadi= again [further,] sentence, to speak, you are able to, if; te bhadram= to you, let safe betide; siitaam aakhyaahi= about Seetha, relate; aatmanaH vadham aakhyaahi ca= your, about murder, you relate, too.
"Oh, Jataayu, if you are in fine fettle to further reiterate words, relate about Seetha, let safe betide you, and recount how you are murdered, too... [3-68-4]
kim nimitto jahaara aaryaam raavaNaH tasya kim mayaa |
aparaadham tu yam dR^iSTvaa raavaNena hR^itaa priyaa || 3-68-5
5. raavaNaH= Ravana; kim nimittaH= for what, reason; aaryaam jahaara= noblewoman, he abducted; maya tasya kim aparaadham tu= by me, towards him [in his respect,] what, wrong is committed; yam dR^iSTvaa= which, keeping in view; priyaa raavaNena hR^itaa= my ladylove, by Ravana, is stolen.
"What is the reason for Ravana in stealing that noblewoman, and even what is the wrong I have committed in his respect, keeping which in view that Ravana stole my ladylove... [3-68-5]
katham tat candra sa.nkaasham mukham aasiit manoharam |
siitayaa kaani ca uktaani tasmin kaale dvijottama || 3-68-6
6. dvijottama= oh, bird, the best; tasmin kale= in that, time - of abduction; candra sankaasham= moon, similar; mano haram= heart-stealing one [face]; tat mukham= that, face - of Seetha; katham aasiit= how, it was - when abducted; siitayaa= of Seetha; kaani uktaani= what are [words,] uttered.
"How was that moon similar heart-stealing face of hers at that time of abduction, oh, best bird, and even what are the words she uttered when being abducted... [3-68-6]
katham viiryaH katham ruupaH kim karmaa sa ca raakSasaH |
kva ca asya bhavanam taata bruuhi me paripR^icChataH || 3-68-7
7. saH raakSasaH= he, that demon; katham viiryaH= what is, his stamina; katham ruupaH= what is, his form; kim karma= what are, his actions [strategies]; asya bhavanam kva ca= his, residence [stronghold,] where is it, also; taata= oh, sire; paripR^icChataH= the enquirer [eager to know, inquisitively]; me bruuhi= to me, you tell.
"What is his stamina of that demon? What is his form? And what are his strategies? And where is his stronghold? Oh, sire, tell me while I ask you inquisitively..." Rama urged Jataayu thus for information. [3-68-7]
tam udviikSya saH dharmaatmaa vilapantam anaathavat |
vaacaa viklavayaa raamam idam vacanam abraviit || 3-68-8
8. dharmaatmaa saH= virtue souled [warm-hearted,] he that Jataayu; anaathavat vilapantam= orphan-like, one who is waling; tam udviikSya= him [at Rama,] seeing up [rolling up his eyes]; viklavayaa vaacaa= with a fluttery, voice; raamam idam vacanam abraviit= to Rama, this, sentence, said.
Then that warm-hearted Jataayu with his eyes rolling upwards saw Rama and with a fluttery voice said this sentence to Rama who is wailing like an orphan. [3-68-8]
saa hR^itaa raakSasendreNa raavaNena duraatmanaa |
maayaam aasthaaya vipulaam vaata dur.hdina sa.nkulaam || 3-68-9
9. saa= she is; dur aatmanaa= by evil minded [flagitious] one; raakSasa indreNa raavaNena= demons, chief, by Ravana; vaata= windstorm; dur dina= bad, day [cloud cover]; sankulaam= tumultuous one [on creating]; vipulaam maayaam aasthaaya= immense, maya [illusionistic devices,] resorting to; hR^itaa= is abducted.
"Resorting to his illusionistic devices like creating an immense and tumultuous windstorm and cloud-cover, the flagitious chief of demons Ravana abducted Seetha... [3-68-9]
Annex: 'he created such illusion only to render me unsteady in my flight combat... and for his escape in the dark of the day...'
pariklaa.ntasya me taata pakSau chittvaa nishaacaraH |
siitaam aadaaya vaidehiim prayaato dakSiNaa mukhaH || 3-68-10
10. taata= oh, dear boy; nishaacaraH= night-walker; pari klaantasya= over, tired; me pakSau chittvaa= my, two wings, on hacking; vaidehiim siitaam aadaaya= the princess from Videha, Seetha, on taking; dakSiNaa mukhaH= south, faced [southward; pra yaataH= went away.
"That night walker hacked both my wings when I was overtired, and went southward taking the princess of Videha, Seetha, along with him... [3-68-10]
uparudhyanti me praaNaa dR^iSTir bhramati raaghava |
pashyaami vR^ikSaan sauvarNaan ushiira kR^ita muurdhajaan || 3-68-11
11. Raaghava= oh, Raghava; me praaNaa uparudhyanti= my, lives, are being obstructed - stifling; dR^iSTiH bhramati= sight, is spinning; ushiira kR^ita muurdhajaan= cuscus grass, made, as their head-hair - treetops; sauvarNaan vR^ikSaan pashyaami= golden, trees, I am seeing.
"My sight is spinning and my lives are stifled, oh, Raghava, I am now seeing golden trees with cuscus grass as their treetops... [3-68-11]
The cuscus grass is the aromatic fibrous root of an Indian grass, Vetiveria zizanaoides, used for making fans, screens, etc., Urdu kaskas. This odd combination of trees of gold, instead of wood, and grass instead of leaves, is an omen of death.
yena yaati muhuurtena siitaam aadaaya raavaNaH |
vipranaSTam dhanam kSipram tat svaami pratipadyate || 3-68-12
vindo naama muhuurto asau sa ca kaakutstha na abudhat |
12, 13a. kaakutstha= oh, Kakutstha; raavaNaH= Ravana; yena muhuurtena= by which - in which, spell of time [of the day]; siitaam aadaaya yaati== Seetha, on taking away, while going - has gone; asau vindaH naama muhuurtaH= that one is, Vinda, named, spell of time; vi pra naSTam dhanam= very, utterly, lost, riches - even if riches are completely lost in that spell; tat svaamii == its, [original] possessor; kSipram= very quickly; prati padyate= return, possesses - repossesses; saH ca= he that Ravana, even; na abudhat= not, aware [unmindful of it.]
"In which spell of time Ravana has gone taking away Seetha, that spell is named as Vinda... if any riches are lost during that spell, the original possessor of those riches will repossess them very quickly... oh, Kakutstha, he that Ravana is unmindful of that fact and stole Seetha only to loose her... [3-68-12, 13a]
The daytime has fifteen spells of time that have their own effects on humans. The fifteen are: raudra× sveta× maitra× ca tath˜ s˜rabha÷a× sm®ta× | s˜vitro vaiþvadeva× ca g˜ndharva kutapa× tath˜ | rauhiõa× tilaka caiva vijato nai®iti× tath˜ | þambaro v˜ruõa× ca eva bhaga× pañca daþa sm®ta× || and the Vijaya said above is also called as 'Vinda,' the eleventh spell of the day. bindo n˜ma bindu gulika× | tasmin samaye ˜rabdham k˜ryam kartu× viparŸtem bhavati iti s¨citam | tath˜ ca - utpala parimale gau¹Ÿ prakaraõe - manvarka digdantiras˜bdhi netr˜ s¨ryasya v˜ra ˜di viÿ˜ muh¨rt˜× | gargamarendr˜di munŸdr˜dib®ndai× te nindit˜× karmasu bindasañjñ˜× || - iti - dk Any action initiated in this spell of the day entails adverse effects, in so far as that aim and action of the initiator. Ravana, though an eminent astrologer, and though he is said to have written an astrological treatise called raavaNa samhita, did not care about it.
tvat priyaam jaanakiim hR^itvaa raavaNo raakshaseshvara |
jhaSavat baDisham gR^ihya kSipram eva vinashyati || 3-68-13
13b, c. raakshasa iishvaraH raavaNaH= demons, chief, Ravana; tvat priyaam jaanakiim hR^itvaa= your, ladylove, Janaki, on stealing; baDisham gR^ihya jhaSa vat= baited hook, on catching [ on swallowing,] fish, as with; kSipram eva vinashyati= shortly, only, utterly ruins himself.
"On stealing your ladylove Janaki, that chief of demons, Ravana, will ruin himself, as with a fish which swallows a baited fishhook... [3-68-13b, c]
na ca tvayaa vyathaa kaaryaa janakasya sutaam prati |
vaidehyaa ra.msyase kSipram hatvaa tam raNamuur.hdhani || 3-68-14
14. tvayaa= by you; janakasya sutaam prati= king Janaka's, daughter, towards; vyathaa na kaaryaa= anguishing, not, to be done; raNa muurdhani= in war, in vanguard of; tam kSipram= hatvaa= him [Ravana,] in no time, on killing; vaidehyaa ramsyase= with Vaidehi, you will delight.
"Impractical is your anguishing for the daughter of Janaka, as you will delight yourself with Vaidehi in no time, on killing that Ravana in the vanguard of a war..." Thus saying Jataayu paused for a while. [3-68-14]
asa.mmuuDhasya gR^idhrasya raamam prati anubhaaSataH |
aasyaat susraava rudhiram mriyamaaNasya sa amiSam || 3-68-15
15. raamam prati anubhaaSataH= to Rama, towards, who is speaking on; a +sam muuDhasya= not, together with, mindlessness [mind not yet inert, with an alert mind]; mriyamaaNasya= who is about to die; gR^idhrasya= of eagle; aasyaat= from mouth; sa amiSam= with, flesh [shreds]; rudhiram= blood; su sraava= freely flowed.
Though Jataayu is speaking on to Rama with an alert mind, blood freely flowed from his mouth with shreds of flesh as death verged on him, even then he struggled to say. [3-68-15]
putro vishravasaH saakSaat bhraataa vaishravaNasya ca |
iti uktvaa durlabhaan praaNaan mumoca patageshvaraH || 3-68-16
16. [That demon is]; vishravasaH putraH= of Vishravasa, son; vaishravaNasya saakSaat bhraataa= of Vaishravana [Kubera,] manifestly [literally,] brother; iti uktvaa= thus, on saying; pataga iishvaraH= birds, lord of; dur labhaan= impossible, to get [unobtainable for oneself]; praaNaan= lives; mumoca= released.
"That demon is the son of Vishravasa... literally... the brother of Kubera..." on saying thus, that lord of birds released his lives, which are unobtainable for oneself. [3-68-16]
Information about Ravana is given here in the first stanza of the verse, in a half-way-through manner. And the character of Jataayu itself is evanished by a jump cut of the couplet, only to be filled by his brother Sampaati in the later parts of Kishkindha Kanda. In between these two stanzas of one verse, where one brother says one stanza, the other by another, the episodes of Kishkindha come to take part. The second foot just contains the name of Lanka where Ravana dwells. But it is not said here for dramatic effect and for the flow of epic through its own course. Further, Jataayu is not 'dead' but he released his lives. And he is safeguarding his lives so far, only to tell Rama. For this Skanda Puraana says that Seetha blesses Jataayu to live until Rama comes to him, and listens form Jataayu. But she did not stipulate as to how much Rama has to listen or how much Jataayu has to report. devŸ m˜Õ pr˜ha× r˜jendra y˜vat sambh˜ÿaõam mama | bhavata× t˜vat ˜san me pr˜õ˜ iti ˜ha j˜nakŸ || Maheshvara Tiirtha. So, the bird called life flew away for bird Jataayu...
bruuhi bruuhi iti raamasya bruvaaNasya kR^itaa.njaleH |
tyaktvaa shariiram gR^idhrasya jagmuH praaNaa vihaayasam || 3-68-17
17. kR^itaanjaleH raamasya= one with palm-fold, of Rama [before= very eyes of Rama]; bruuhi bruuhi iti bruvaaNasya= tell, tell, thus, one who is still speaking; gR^idhrasya praaNaaH= eagle's, lives; shariiram tyaktvaa= body, on leaving; vihaayasam= to sky - into thin air; jagmuH= went away.
But the lives of Jataayu departing from his body went into thin air before the very eyes of Rama who is still speaking to him with folded-palms, "tell... tell more..." [3-68-17]
sa nikSipya shiro bhuumau prasaarya caraNau tadaa |
vikSipya ca shariiram svam papaata dharaNii tale || 3-68-18
18. saH= he [Jataayu]; tadaa= then; shiraH bhuumau nikSipya= head, on ground, placing [flopped down]; caraNau prasaarya= feet - legs, on sprawling; svam shariiram dharaNii tale= his own, body, on earth's, surface; vi kSipya= jerkily, writhing; papaata= collapsed.
Jataayu flopped his head on earth, sprawled his feet on ground, and then his body collapsed onto the surface of earth writhing jerkily. [3-68-18]
tam gR^idhram prekSya taamra akSam gata asum acalopamam |
raamaH su bahubhiH duhkhaiH diinaH saumitrim abraviit || 3-68-19
19. su bahubhiH duhkhaiH= with - very, many, sorrows [mishaps]; diinaH= desolate one [worsened one]; raamaH= Rama; taamra akSam= reddened, eyed one [eyes bloodshot- Jataayu]; gata asum= gone, lives; acala upamam= mountain, similar; tam gR^idhram prekSya= him, eagle, on seeing; saumitrim [idam ]abraviit= to Soumitri, [this way] said.
He who is worsened by very many mishaps that Rama, on seeing the mountainous eagle whose eyes are bloodshot and whose lives have gone, said this way to Soumitri... [3-68-19]
bahuuni rakSasaam vaase varSaaNi vasataa sukham |
anena daNDakaaraNye vishiirNam iha pakSiNaa || 3-68-20
20. rakSasaam vase= for demons, a habitat; daNDakaaraNye= in Dandaka forest; sukham bahuuni varSaaNi vasataa= happily [fearlessly,] many, for years together, while living; anena pakSiNaa= by this, bird; [ellipt. mat kR^ite= because of me]; vishiirNam= wilted [to death.]
"This bird which for years together lived fearlessly in Dandaka forest, a habitat of demons, that bird wilted to death, because of me... [3-68-20]
aneka vaarSiko yaH tu cira kaala samutthitaH |
so ayam adya hataH shete kaalo hi dur.hatikramaH || 3-68-21
21. an eka= not, one [many]; vaarSikaH= years [of age, though having, longevity]; yaH= which - Jataayu; cira kaala samutthitaH= for a long, time, strived actively; saH ayam adya= such as he was, he is, now; hataH shete= killed, prostrating; [ellipt. mat kR^ite= because of me]; kaalaH hi= time, indeed; dur ati kramaH= impossible, to over, step [infringe.]
"He who has longevity over many years, who actively strived for a long for rectitude, he is now killed and prostrating before the Time, because of me... alas... it is indeed impossible to infringe the Time... [3-68-21]
pashya lakSmaNa gR^idhro ayam upakaarii hataH ca me |
siitaam abhyavapanno hi raavaNena baliiyasaa || 3-68-22
22. lakSmaNa= oh, Lakshmana; siitaam= to Seetha; abhyavapannaH [abhi ava pannaH]= who went [dashed] to rescue; me upakaarii= to me, who rendered help; ayam gR^idhraH= this, eagle; [ellipt. mat kR^ite= because of me]; baliiyasaa raavaNena hataH= brute-forced, by Ravana, is slain; pashya= you see.
"Lakshmana, this eagle which has dashed to rescue Seetha in order to render help to me is slain by that brute-forced Ravana, only because of me, you see... [3-68-22]
gR^idhra raajyam parityajya pitR^i paitaamaham mahat |
mama hetoH ayam praaNaan mumoca patageshvaraH || 3-68-23
23. ayam patageshvaraH= this, birds, lord; pitR^i paitaamaham= of father, forefathers; mahat gR^idhra raajyam= great, eagle's, empire; parityajya= on abandoning; mama hetoH= for my, sake - on my account; praaNaan mumoca= lives, released [abandoned.]
"On abandoning great empire of eagles belonging to his father and forefathers this lord of bird has now abandoned his lives too, only for my sake... [3-68-23]
sarvatra khalu dR^ishyante saadhavo dharma caariNaH |
shuuraaH sharaNyaaH saumitre tiryak yoni gateSu api || 3-68-24
24. saumitre= oh, Soumitri; shuuraaH= valiant ones; sharaNyaaH= shelterers; dharma caariNaH= probity, followers of; saadhavaH= principled ones; sarvatra= everywhere [universally]; tiryak yoni gateSu api= in avian and bestial, uterine, having gone in, even in; dR^ishyante khalu= are noticeable, really.
"Universally noticeable are the protective, prepotent, principled ones that are the followers of probity, oh, Soumitri, even though their births are avian or bestial... [3-68-24]
siitaa haraNaja.m duHkham na me saumya tathaa gatam |
yathaa vinaasho gR^idhrasya mat kR^ite ca para.ntapa || 3-68-25
25. parantapa= oh, enemy-inflamer; saumya= oh, gentle one - Lakshmana; gR^idhrasya vinaashaH= in perish, of eagle - compared to the perish of eagle; mat kR^ite= by me, done [because of me]; ca= too [that too]; yathaa= as to how; me= to me; siitaa haraNa jam duHkham= Seetha, by abduction, caused, anguish; tathaa gatam= thus, obtained [or, tathaa vidham= that, kind of - that much]; na= it is not.
"To me, oh, enemy-inflamer, oh, gentle Lakshmana, anguish caused by Seetha's abduction is not that much, when compared with the anguish caused by the perish of this eagle, that too, because of me... [3-68-25]
raajaa dasharathaH shriimaan yathaa mama mayaa yashaaH |
puujaniiyaH ca maanyaH ca tathaa ayam patageshvaraH || 3-68-26
26. mahaayashaaH= highly renowned [Dasharatha]; shriimaan raajaa dasharathaH= celebrated, king, Dasharatha; mama= to me; yathaa= as to how - he is; puujaniiyaH= venerable; maanyaH ca= honourable, also; tathaa= likewise; ayam patageshvaraH= this, birds', lord.
"As to how the celebrated and highly renowned king Dasharatha is venerable and honourable for me, likewise this lord of birds is also a venerable and honourable one to me... [3-68-26]
saumitre hara kaaSThaani nir.hmathiSyaami paavakam |
gR^idhra raajam didhakSaami mat kR^ite nidhanam gatam || 3-68-27
27. saumitre kaaSThaani hara= oh, Soumitri, firewood, get; paavakam nirmathiSyaami= fire, churn out [produce by friction]; mat kR^ite= me, because of; nidhanam gatam= expiry, went into [expired]; gR^idhra raajam didhakSaami= eagle's, lord, I wish to incinerate - cremate.
"Oh, Soumitri, get the firewood and I will produce fire by friction of two sticks, as I wish to cremate this lord of birds who expired because of me... [3-68-27]
The fire produced in ritual acts is called araNi where a small concavity is made on one stick, and a pointed end to the other, and this pointed end is rubbed in churning mode in the concavity of the other stick, and then both the dry wood-sticks give out a small fire, which then is taken on cotton, to lit a huge pyre.
naatham pataga lokasya citaam aaropayaami aham |
imam dhakSyaami saumitre hatam raudreNa rakSasaa || 3-68-28
28. saumitre= oh, Soumitri; aham= I; raudreNa rakSasaa hatam= by feral, demon, killed; imam= this one; pataga lokasya naatham= birds, of realm, lord of; citaam aaropayaami dhakSyaami= onto pyre, mounting, I will incinerate.
"Oh, Soumitri, I will mount this lord of realm of birds onto the pyre and cremate him who is killed by a feral demon..." Thus saying to Lakshmana, Rama said this to dead eagle Jataayu. [3-68-28]
yaa gatiH yaj~na shiilaanaam aahita agneH ca yaa gatiH |
a para aavartinaam yaa ca yaa ca bhuumi pradaayinaam || 3-68-29
mayaa tvam samanuj~naato gacCha lokaan anuttamaan |
gR^idhra raaja mahaa sattva sa.nskR^itaH ca mayaa vraja || 3-68-30
29, 30. mahaa sattva gR^idhra raja= oh, great, mighty, eagle, king; mayaa= by me; sam anuj~naataH= aptly, consented to; tvam= you; yaj~na shiilaanaam for Vedic-rituals, virtuosos [where virtuoso is a person with a special knowledge of or taste for works of art or virtu, and where virtu is the usu. moral worth inherent in a person or thing]; yaa gatiH= which, worlds, [destined]; a +para aavartinaam= not, return, comers [to sanyasi-s, loners, anchorites in forests, or, those that do not retreat in combats]; yaa ca= which, is also - the course / worlds; bhuumi pradaayinaam yaa ca= to land, donors, which, also - is the course / worlds; aahita agneH [= to those who practices amid five Ritual-fires; yaa gatiH= which, is also - the course / worlds; that course / to those worlds; gacCha= you go; mayaa sanskR^itaH= by me, ritually cremated; an+uttamaan lokaan vraja= to un, excelled, worlds, you go.
"Oh, greatly mighty king of eagles, by me cremated ritually and by me aptly consented to, you depart to the unexcelled heavenly worlds... you depart to those worlds that are destined for the virtuosos of Vedic-rituals, and to those worlds that are destined for the practisers of ascesis amid Five-Ritual-fires, and to those that are destined for un-retreating combatants, and to those worlds that destined for the donors of lands..." So said Rama to the departed Jataayu. [3-68-29, 30]
Comment: [Font size can be enhanced under View menu] 'When a Vedic-ritual is performed the resultant factor is undoubtedly puNya 'merit' for those, yaj~naaH shiilam sadvR^ittam yeSaam te and the worlds yaa gatiH gamyata iti gatiH - lokaH. And this is different to that of practising ascesis amid Five-Fires. ahita agne, ahitaaH paristhaapitaaH agnayaH yaH pancaagnayoH yasya saH... 'But animals or birds have no faculty to perform those rituals and they have their own course of lifecycle after their demise. Then where is the question of a bird going to heaven, which heaven is scheduled to some specialists...' is the objection. But Jataayu acquired all those 'merits' when he combated without any retreat a paraa vartinaam and he is getting a short cut without undergoing too many other kinds of births, and he is given mukti 'emancipation' from lifecycles, for his action on behalf of a godlike Rama is justifiable and befitting to get a final release, by word of Rama by me cremated ritually and by me aptly consented to... where He alone can transcend the manmade rules.
'Then the cremation, that too ritualistic one, is unavailable for birds and animals, how then can Rama perform funerals for birds, or get them performed for monkeys, as in the case of Vali...' For this it is said, 'that's why Rama had to cremate Jataayu and further said by me cremated ritually and by me aptly consented to... as sort of special sanction of mukti, because the animality has no authority in scriptures or its rites. Taking some action, endeavouring to protect dharma, or obstructing a dharma, itself is superior to mere reverencing a god, or performing a daily rot of yaj~na, yaaga-s,, etc., which in itself is a subjective performance. Here Jataayu did not attack Ravana keeping Rama or Seetha in view, but attacked Ravana only to play his part in stalling a dharma, which is not that easy, like purchasing some temple tickets to perform some ritual, for and on behalf of ticket holders and their families. For this it is said in nR^simha puraaNa says that mat k®te nidhan yasm˜t tvay˜ pr˜pt˜ tam dvijottama | tasm˜t mama pras˜dena viÿõu lokam av˜pyasi || 'because of me you attained your demise, thereby you get the realms of Vishnu...' where 'because of me' is to be taken not as an individual godhood, but as dharma, 'because of dharma...' itself. Hence the special sanctions to Jataayu, where such sanctions are absent in the case of Vali, as he followed the course of a dharma and there are many scripts that say Rama gave this emancipation to Jataayu, in chorus uv˜ca gaccha bhadram te mama viÿõo paramam padam - ˜dhy˜tma r˜m˜yana - r˜ghavasya pras˜dena sa g®dhra× paramam padam - padma pur˜õa - sugrivo hanum˜n ®kÿo gajo grdhrio vaõik patha - tilaka -teÿu bhagavad aÕþeÿu anur˜giõa× kosala nagara janapad˜× te api tan manas˜× sats˜lokyat˜m ˜pu× || viÿnu pur˜õa
'Has this Rama got no other work than weeping for his beloved ones and patiently performing obsequies to all lowborn, lowly subjects like dead monkey, birds, or even each individual demonic soldiers... they are all shuudra-s' is haunted feeling to some. For this it is said na þ¨dr˜ bhagavat bhakt˜ vipr˜ bh˜gavat˜ sm®t˜ | te þ¨dr˜ ye hi a bhakt˜ jan˜rdane || 'one who is devotee of Vishnu cannot be called a shuudra... he is to be called vipra, Bhaagavata... but a non-devotee, may he be in any caste, he is a shuudra...' And shuudra is upa lakshaNa to birds or animals, thereby even animals and birds are on an even footing, if it comes to paying deference to god, and god alone is capable to decree emancipation to every or any being. 'Again it is said that Rama is god, but yet he weeps... is it not self-contradictory...' Not so, when a neighbour weeps for the hardships of his neighbour, won't the neighbourly god weep...' that too on incarnating as a human... vyasaneÿu manuÿy˜õ˜m bh®þam bhavati du×khita× 'when humans are in difficulties, He wails much...' but waits much also, till those humans can correct or come over their problems on their own, keeping a little faith on Him...' Here also, the sobbing of Rama is comparatively nothing when compared to the sobbing for Seetha, because the action of Jataayu is not that sob-ful, in encountering a dharma... thus Valmiki is aware of 'good' sobbing and 'bad' sobbing in this sob-stuff, called Ramayana. And for this Dharmaakuutam says: anena mahad anujñay˜ uttam˜ gati× bhavati it s¨citam | tath˜ ca adharvaõŸ þruti× - yam yam lokam manas˜ saÕvibh˜ti viþuddha sattva× k˜mayate y˜þca k˜m˜n | tam tam lokam jayate t˜m ca k˜m˜an tasm˜t ˜tmajñam hi arcayet bh¨ti k˜ma× - bh˜ÿyam - ukta lakÿaõam sarv˜tmanam ˜tmatvena pratipanna× | tasya sarva ˜tmatv˜t eva sarv˜ av˜pti lakÿaõam phalam ˜ha - - - ˜tmajñam ˜tmajñatena viþuddha anta×karaõam hi arcet p¨jayet - ata× p¨j˜rha eva asau |
evam uktvaa citaam diiptaam aaropya patageshvaram |
dadaaha raamo dharmaatmaa sva bandhum iva duHkhitaH || 3-68-31
31. dharmaatmaa raamaH= ethical-souled, Rama; evam uktvaa= that way, on saying; patageshvaram citaam aaropya= bird's, lord, onto pyre, on mounting; duHkhitaH= sorrowfully; sva bandhum iva= his own, relative, as with; diiptaam== in flaring fire; dadaaha= incinerated.
On saying that way, that ethical-souled Rama mounted that lord of birds onto the pyre and he sorrowfully incinerated that eagle in a flaring fire of pyre, as he would do in respect of his own deceased relative. [3-68-31]
raamo atha saha saumitriH vanam yaatvaa sa viiryavaan |
sthuulaan hatvaa mahaa rohiin anu tastaara tam dvijam || 3-68-32
32. atha= then; viiryavaan raamaH= resolute one, Rama; saha saumitriH= with, Soumitri; vanam yaatvaa= to forest, on going; sthuulaan mahaa rohiin hatvaa= robust-bodied, big, Rohi [or, Kesari animals,] on killing - hunted; tam dvijam= for him, the bird; saH= he; anutastaara= spread sacred grass - to place offerings.
Then that resolute Rama on going into forest along with Soumitri hunted a robust-bodied, big Rohi animal, or, Kesari animal, and then he spread sacred grass on ground to place that offering to the deceased soul of that bird. [3-68-32]
rohi maa.msaani ca uddhR^itya peshii kR^itvaa mahaayashaaH |
shakunaaya dadau raamo ramye harita shaadvale || 3-68-33
33. mahaayashaaH= highly renowned one - for his observance of religious ceremonies; raamaH= Rama; rohi maamsaani= Rohi animal's, meat; uddhR^itya= pulling out; peshii kR^itvaa= to gobbets, on lumping it; ramye harita shaadvale= on pleasant, greenish, on pastures; shakunaaya dadau= for the bird [Jataayu,] gave [as offering.]
On drawing up the flesh of that Rohi animal and lumping it to gobbets, that highly observant Rama placed those gobbets on pleasant greenish pasturelands as obsequial offerings in respect of that bird Jataayu. [3-68-33]
yat tat pretasya mar.htyasya kathayanti dvijaatayaH |
tat svarga gamanam pitryam kSipram raamo jajaapa ha || 3-68-34
34. tat yat= that, which; dvijaatayaH= Brahmans; pretasya martyasya= departed, mortal's [soul]; svarga gamanam= to heaven, going [leading to]; kathayanti= [Brahmans] say; tat pitryam= that [chanting of,] in ritual for paternal, manes; kSipram raamaH jajaapa ha= immediately, Rama, chanted, indeed.
Rama immediately chanted Vedic hymns that are employed in such funerals of one's own paternal people, as Brahmans say that those hymns are employable in such rites as they lead the soul of the departed to heaven. [3-68-34]
Rama chants two Vedic passages yaamya suukta, naaraayaNa suukta - aapastamba sutra-s as they are usually recited by Brahmans in such funeral rites. Here it is 'so imperfectly conducted, because it is for an ineligible bird, that too by an unrelated highborn Kshatriya Rama, reciting unconcerned Vedic hymns...' is the objection. Jataayu is beyond any caste or creed by way his devotion to duty and by his self-sacrifice while on duty. Hence, he is beyond eligibility or opposite of it. Funerals are to be conducted by one's own sons or nearest relatives. If none of the relatives of the dead is present to cremate, they are to be undertaken by the king of that kingdom. When Rama blessed the soul of Jataayu to go to highest realms, which are far beyond the Veda-s of mortals, it is a sacrosanct act to chant those hymns... on human level; hence, Rama's action is clearly pro-Vedic. And in Vaishnavaite tenets everything culminates into one - Vishnu. 'the adherents of Vishnu, may it be an animal, like Gajendra, the elephant, or humans, like Shabari et al., or a bird, like Jataayu, by Him, by Vishnu alone, they are led to the Ultimate course of the realm of Vishnu...'
tato godaavariim gatvaa nadiim nara vara aatmajau |
udakam cakratuH tasmai gR^idhra raajaaya tau ubhau || 3-68-35
35. tataH= then; ubhau tau= both, of them; nara vara aatmajau= among men, notable one, sons of - Dasharatha's sons; godaavariim nadiim gatvaa= to Godavari, to river, on going; tasmai gR^idhra raajaaya= for him, to eagle's, for king; udakam cakratuH= water [oblations] they did [offered.]=
Then both the sons of that notable man, namely Dasharatha, on going to River Godavari they have oblated waters for that king of eagles, Jataayu. [3-68-35]
shaastra dR^iSTena vidhinaa jale gR^idhaaya raaghavau |
snaatvaa tau gR^idhra raajaaya udakam cakruH tadaa || 3-68-36
36. tadaa= then; tau= both of them; raaghavau= both Raghava-s; shaastra dR^iSTena vidhinaa= from scriptures, viewpoint, by custom; gR^idhaaya= for eagle; jale snaatvaa= in waters, bathed - funeral baths, cleansing ceremony; gR^idhra raajaaya udakam cakruH= for eagle's, king, waters, made [offered.]
Both of the Raghava-s took funeral baths in the waters of River Godavari and then made water oblations to the king of eagles. [3-68-36]
sa gR^idhra raajaH kR^itavaan yashaskaram
su duSkaram karma raNe nipaatitaH |
maharSi kalpena ca sa.nskR^itaH tadaa
jagaama puNyaam gatim aatmanaH shubhaam || 3-68-37
37. raNe= in combat [with Ravana]; su duS karam= highly, not, possible; yashas karam= credit, worthy; karma kR^itavaan= deed, having performed; nipaatitaH= one who felled down; saH gR^idhra rajah= he, that eagle, king; tadaa= then; maharSi kalpena ca= by sublime-sage, one who is equal to [by such Rama]; sanskR^itaH= consecrated; puNyaam shubhaam= merited, auspicious; aatmanaH= of his own; gatim jagaama= to [heavenly] realms, went away.
That king of eagle Jataayu, who has performed a creditworthy deed of stalling and combating Ravana, but who is felled by that Ravana, went away to the merited and auspicious heavenly realms of his own, as and when consecrated by sublime sage like Rama. [3-68-37]
kR^itodakau tau api pakshi sattame
sthiraam ca buddhim praNidhaaya jagmutuH |
praveshya siitaa adhigamane tato mano
vanam surendrau iva viSNu vaasavau || 3-68-38
38. tau api= those two, even; kR^ ita udakau= having performed, water oblations; pakshi sattame= regarding bird, best one; sthiraam buddhim praNidhaaya= firmed up [assertively,] thought, on keeping [giving thought to Jataayu's information]; tataH= then; siitaa adhigamane= Seetha, to get at [in searching for]; manaH praveshya= mind, entering [mindset to]; sura indrau= gods', chiefs; viSNu vaasavau iva= Vishnu, Indra, like; [ellipt. dakshiNaam ] vanam jagmutuH= to [southern] woods, went.
Even those two, Rama and Lakshmana, on performing water oblations in respect of that best bird Jataayu, and on assertively giving thought to the information given by Jataayu, they like the chiefs of gods, namely Vishnu and Indra, went to southerly woods when their mind is set to search for Seetha. [3-68-38]
iti vaalmiiki raamaayaNe aadi kaavye araNya kaaNDe aSTa SaSTitamaH sargaH
Thus, this is the 68th chapter in Aranya Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana, the First Epic poem of India.
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© April, 2003, Desiraju Hanumanta Rao [Revised : January 05]