Rāmāyana | Āraṇya Kaṇḍa | Chapter 68

68. Jatāyu's Death

[Jatāyu tells Rāma that Sītā was abducted by Rāvaṇa, the son of Visravas and brother of Kubera. He tells that Rāma will get back Sītā because anything stolen at that time would be recovered. Jatāyu dies. Rāma cremates him and offers him oblations.]

Rāma seeing that vulture who has been thrown fiercely on the ground, told Lakṣmaṇa, these words of great friendliness. 68.1

"It is for my sake that this bird made efforts to fight the battle with the Rākṣasa and having been defeated by the Rākṣasa, he is about to give away his life." 68.2

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa, He is suffering too much and is about to give up his life which is difficult to give up and as of now he appears, blank, agitated and not able to speak." 68.3

"Oh Jatāyu, if you have sufficient strength talk to me again. Be safe and please tell me about abduction of Sītā and how you have been stuck down." 68.4

"For what reason has Rāvaṇa abducted that noble lady? What offence has I committed against him based on which he has abducted her?" 68.5

"How was the pretty and moon like face of Sītā when she was being abducted? And what did Sītā tell at that time, Oh great bird?" 68.6

"What is the form of that Rākṣasa? How powerful is he? What did the Rākṣasa do? Where does he live? Oh father, please tell as I am asking you." 68.7

Afterwards, that piteous bird Jatāyu, wailing, addressed Rāma in a low tone and spoke these words." 68.8

"That king of Rākṣasas Rāvaṇa assuming a magical form and producing dust of wind and clouds took her away through the sky route." 68.9

"Oh Lad when I was completely tired that Rākṣasa cut off my wings and taking Sītā with him travelled towards the south." 68.10

"Oh Rāghava, my life is resisting, sight is whirling and I see golden Uśīra roots grown on tree tops similar to root hairs." 68.11

"Oh son of Kākutstha clan, that Rāvaṇa has taken away Sītā in the Vinda period and it is known that things lost in this period, later speedily join the owner and that Rāvaṇa without bothering about this has taken her to lose her quickly." 68.12

"By abducting your darling Sītā the king of Rākṣasas Rāvaṇa, is swallowing the hook just like the fish and would be destroyed quickly." 68.13

"There is no need for you to worry about the daughter of Janaka for you will soon enjoy her company after killing the Rākṣasa." 68.14

When the vulture was conversing with an alert mind to Rāma, blood mixed with flesh started flowing from him indicating that he is dying. 68.15

The king of the birds gave up his life which was difficult to get while saying, "Rāvaṇa is the son of sage Visravas and real brother of Kubera." 68.16

As Rāma with folded hands was requesting the bird, please tell, please tell", the soul of the vulture left its body and went to the sky. 68.17

Then he put down his head on the earth, stretched his leg and lifted his whole body and fell on the ground. 68.18

Seeing the mountain like vulture with red eyes die, Rāma who was already in great sorrow, pitiably with great sorrow told Lakṣmaṇa. 68.19

"He lived happily for many years in this Daṇḍakāraṇya, where many Rākṣasas live and his life has been shattered here." 68.20

"Being extremely old, he has lived for very many years and he is lying dead, for it is not possible to escape the dictates of time." 68.21

"See Lakṣmaṇa, this vulture which has done help to me is dead and he was killed by the strong Rāvaṇa when he tried to help Sītā." 68.22

"He forsook the land of vultures which belonged to his ancestors and the king of birds has given up his life for my sake." 68.23

"Oh Lakṣmaṇa even among those born from the womb of animals and birds, you would be able to see good people who are followers of Dharma, valorous ones and protectors." 68.24

"Oh gentle one, Oh scorcher of enemies, the grief caused to me by the abduction is not as much as the grief caused by the death of this vulture for my sake." 68.25

"Like the famous king Daśaratha of great fame deserves my worship, so does this king of birds deserve it." 68.26

"Oh son of Sumitrā, you collect firewood and I will generate fire by churning, as I wish to cremate the vulture king as he died for me." 68.27

Then Rāghava placed the body of the king of the world of birds on the pyre and told Lakṣmaṇa, "Oh son of Sumitrā, I will burn him who was killed by a Rākṣasa with great anger." 68.28

"Oh great and mighty eagle, please attain that status which is attained by those who perform Yagnas, those who kindle sacrificial fires, by those who do not return back alive and by those who give land as gift, Purified by the fire that I have lit, please go and attain the incomparable heaven." 68.29-68.30

After telling this, Rāma placed that god of birds on the funeral pyre and lit it, treating him similar to a relative of his. 68.31

Then Rāma along with the son of Sumitrā who was valorous went to the forest and killed a large stately deer, spread it before the pyre and offered it to the great bird. 68.32

That famed Rāma took out the flesh of the deer from its skin made them in to balls and laid them on the lovely grass and offered it to Jatāyu. 68.33

Then Rāma chanted those Mantras which would be chanted by Brahmins pertaining to father, which were meant for sending a human being to heaven. 68.34

Those blessed sons of the king then went to river Godavari and offered oblations of water for the sake of the king of vultures. 68.35

Thereafter both sons of Raghu clan took funeral bath in the river and offered oblations of water as per scriptures to the king of vultures. 68.36

That king of vultures having done a very difficult job which will bring fame in the battle and was killed, by having been offered funeral rites as per scriptures attained a holy and auspicious state 68.37

After offering water oblations to that great bird, after thinking about what has been told by the king of birds and fixing their mind firmly on future course entered the forest like Vishnu and Indra. 68.38

This is the end of Sixty Eighth Sarga of Āraṇya Kanda which occurs in Holy Rāmāyaṇa composed by Vālmīki as the First Epic.