“Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to
us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”
– A.P.J.Abdul Kalam
When you are helpless or frustrated, assistance can come from
The monkey soldiers of Rama were despondent at their inability to find
mother Sita, so they decided to end their lives. They sat on the banks
of the Indian Ocean and were resolute in their determination.
Nearby, a giant vulture named Sampati delighted at this news. Eight
thousand years ago his wings were burnt when he attempted to enter the
sun’s orbit. This bravado not only caused him to struggle for daily
food, but he also fell thousands of miles away from his brother
Jatayu, and thus lived a solitary life. Sampati got frustrated as he
wobbled for food and lived a birdlife without wings. He decided to end
his life, but a kind sage, Chandrama, advised him against the act. The
saint predicted that one day Sampati would be of immense service to
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he should bid his time waiting
for this special opportunity.
Meanwhile, the monkey soldiers known as Vanaras had given up their
search because they had exceeded their time limit by two weeks. Their
leader Sugriva had given them four weeks to find the whereabouts of
mother Sita, and return to Kishkinda, their capital. Lord Rama had
even given Hanuman a special ring to give to Sita when he found her,
and assure her that He and Lakshma would come soon to rescue her from
the demon Ravana. Now, despite six weeks of intense search, they were
clueless about Ravana’s whereabouts and therefore felt no inspiration
to return back. They thus decided to fast unto death. And this was
welcome news for Sampati who wouldn’t have to then hobble for food.
The Vanaras spontaneously sang Lord Rama’s glories, whose service was
their mission in life. They had been saddened at their inability to
fulfill the Lord’s undertaking; so they loudly chanted and heard His
glories. Sampati heard carefully and waited patiently. By turn,
different monkeys spoke of Rama’s activities since birth – his
marriage, banishment to a forest, and his journey up until now.
Suddenly, at a particular point in the narration, they mentioned the
valorous sacrifice of Jatayu. This giant bird, despite being old and
weak, gave a tough fight to Ravana who stealthily kidnapped Sita. In
the fierce battle, Jatayu became a martyr.
When Sampati heard his brother’s name, he loudly exclaimed, “Wait! Who
chants my beloved Jatayu’s glories? When did he die? What happened?
Tell me everything.”
The Vanaras were surprised to see the wingless Sampati and explained
everything. Sampati cried tears of affection remembering his brother,
and his sacrifice for the Lord’s service filled his heart with pride.
He offered oblations to Jatayu’s soul and asked the monkeys why they
waited to die. On hearing their struggle, the huge vulture said, “I
know where Ravana has taken mother Sita. I can’t fly but my eyesight
is sharp. I can see that eight hundred miles from here, at Lanka,
Ravana has kept Sita as his prisoner.”
The monkeys were overjoyed at this help. What seemed a hopeless
search, suddenly became an exciting possibility.
To be continued…