|Values for Life:
The sacrifice which Sampati made to save his brother Jatayu proves that blood is thicker than water.
Most of the prominent captains proceeded towards the south. They traversed through many forests comprising dangerous animals, rakshasas, serpents, mountain peaks, rivers, hamlets, townships and cities. They walked further southward and reached atop the Mahendra Hills. They could see, in front of them, the vast, endless ocean. Everyone was silently speaking to each other:“How will we cross this ocean? Even if we could cross it, how can we make sure that Sita Mata is there and that we can meet her?”
Observing the endless ocean , Angad, under whose leadership the entire force had set out, fell into disappointment.“I don’t see a way out. How can we cross this ocean,”Angad said. He told his comrades to return to Kishkindha as he felt the task was impossible. “Those of you, who wish to go back, may go. I shall lie down here without taking food and water until I meet my death. It is better to die rather than being killed by Sugreev,”Angad said.
Hearing these words from Angad, all other vanars wept and told him:“Prince Angad, you are our leader. Without you, we don’t wish to live. We shall also lie down with you and die.”
“Hah! What luck! God’s mercy is incalculable and incredible. They heard a sound from close-by. It continued: “I can’t fly and catch my prey. So seeing my sad plight God has sent all these vanars to me. I shall eat them on first-die-first basis. Hah…hah.” When some of the vanars looked around they found a giant eagle, wingless though, with sharp eyes and a bent needle like beak.“Surely this eagle will eat us away,” said one vanar. All the vanars were disappointed and said that, “we are of no use to Sri Ram”. “What a blessed life was that of Jatayu! He sacrificed his body and soul for Sri Ram,” said another.
Hearing this, the bird said: “Who has mentioned the name of Jatayu? Come near. Fear not.” Listening this, Angada went to him and saluted. “I am Angad, the leader of this group. May I have your acquaint please?”
“I am Sampati, the king of eagles. Jatayu is my brother and we parted away several thousands of years. Wingless as I lay, I did not have any news about my brother. Tell me whatever you know about him. In turn, I shall try my best to help you.”
Angad gave full account of Sri Ram’s story to Sampati. He gave a detailed story of Jatayu who died a brave death fighting Ravan. Angad also told him about the unfulfilled mission of the vanars.
“First, you people take me to the sea shore and help me do the last rights to my brother,” requested Sampati. A large number of the vanars carried him to the sea shore. The rituals being over, Sampati told vanars,“Jatayu was my younger brother. We were so mighty and powerful that with one flutter of our wings the entire surroundings quaked. In our youthful pranks, we decided to compete in flight to reach the pinnacle of the sky. As we flew up and up, my wings caught fire by the heat of the Sun. I shielded my brother under my wings and kicked him down lest his wings also catch fire. Then I lost my consciousness. After thousands of years I became conscious. I could see my own predicament. Both wings burnt out, helpless I lay.”
Further narrating his story Sampati said, “After some years a saint friend of mine came this way. Seeing me in this condition he consoled me and said that during Threthayuga, Lord Vishnu will incarnate as Sri Ram to recover the world order killing Ravan and his tribes. Ravan will kidnap Sita and keep in his orchard. The vanar force will come in search of her and you do your best to help them. Then your burnt wings will sprout out again.”
Sampati stopped for a little while, gaped and continued: “I have seen Ravan going to Lanka in his viman with Sita. Now she is sitting in his Simsipa orchard heart-broken and languishing. As a hawk, I can see her close-by. One among you must cross the ocean, meet her and give her news that Sri Ram will be reaching there soon killing Ravan and will recover her. Good luck to you all. Ha, what a wonder! The words of great saints will never go in vain. Look, I have got my wings back.”Saying these words of exultation, Sampati flew up and vanished.
KK Shanmukhan ( To be concluded )