Ramayana was one of the two great epics written by thief turned sage Valmiki. While we peruse the great history of King Rama, we come across several interesting characters. One amongst them is the bird king Jatayu. While we all know how he tried to save Sita from Ravana's clutches and got himself incapacitated and breathed his last informing Rama about the kidnap, we have compiled some more interest piquing facts about the King of all birds. Continue on to know more about Jatayu, the lesser known warrior who laid down his life for Lord Rama.
Check Out The Unknown Facts About Jatayu
1. He was as big as a mountain
Jatayu was an eagle-like bird with humanoid features and was nearly as big as a mountain according to the Ramayana.
2. Jatayu's father is the Sun god's charioteer
Jatayu was one of the two sons of Aruna, the charioteer of Surya, the Sun god. Aruna's brother is the first Garuda and the vehicle of Lord Vishnu.
3. He could assume a human form
Since Jatayu was from the lineage of goddess Tamra, he could assume a human form whenever he wished to.
4. Jatayu was the guardian of Rama's family during his exile
Jatayu, in his human form, was the guardian of the hut in which Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana resided in Panchavti forest.
5. Jatayu's brother lost his wings protecting him
Jatayu and his brother Sampati often raced against each other and competed to see who flew the highest. Once when they flew too close to the Sun, the powerful rays hit Jatayu, scorching part of his wings. Sampati then shielded Jatayu with his own wings and in the process lost both his wings to fall back to the Earth.
6. Lost his brother long, long ago
After the scorching of his wings trying to protect Jatayu, Sampati is said to have led a life without wings and was never again found by Jatayu.
7. He had saved Rama's father's life in battle
Rama's father Dasharatha fought for Lord Indra (king of all angel) in the battle between the angels and demons. In this battle, Dhashratha was once saved by Jatayu as he spread his wings across Dasharatha's forehead.
8. He almost won against Ravana
Upon hearing Sita's cries when she was being kidnapped by Ravana, Jatayu immediately flew to her aid. He slashed and fought hard against the demon king and almost won if it wasn't for his aged body.
9. Ended up with the same fate as his brother
During his fight with Ravana, his aged body gave in and the demon king cut off both his wings, rendering him incapacitated. He is then said to have crashed to the ground.
10. Lord Rama performed his final rites
Jatayu had held on to his life to inform Rama of the whereabouts and the direction in which Ravana took Sita. Upon hearing his valiant efforts to save his beloved wife, Rama is said to have experienced extreme grief. He then performed Jatayu's last rites as his son, by summoning the seven sacred rivers (theertha) after cracking open the Earth with his arrow.