--> Skip to main content

Jabali in Ramayana and other Hindu Scriptures

Jabali is the name of a counselor in the Ramayana. Jabali is also the name of numerous other people in Hindu scriptures especially the Puranas. In Ramayana, Jabali was the saint counselor of King Dasharatha. Here are some of the important stories of Jabali in Hindu scriptures.

Jabali in Ramayana

He accompanied Bharata to bring back Bhagavan Sri Ram from his exile. Jabali was an atheist and he argued with Rama to return to Ayodhya. Taking a rationalist view of life, he argued that there was no such thing as the other world and therefore he should not worry about the word he had given to his father.

He argued that what is important is the world as we know and he should not be bothered about the unseen world. He also attempted to convince Rama about the futility of human relationships.
Rama was not happy with the arguments and he stressed on the need to uphold Dharma. He completely negated the atheistic thoughts.

Jabali thus failed in convincing Bhagavan Sri Ram.

What is important here is to note that an atheist was respected in Ayodhya. He was an important member of the royal court. There was no intolerance. All streams of knowledge were welcomed and given appropriate place. This is the hallmark of Hinduism.

Jabali in Skanda Purana

Jabali Rishi was performing intense austerities in a deep forest. Such intense penance can displace Indra, the king of Devas. Indra, who is always sacred of losing his status, deputed damsel Rambha to break the penance.

Rambha succeeds in her mission.

A daughter is born to the couple.

King Chitrangada of the region happens to see Rambha and carries her away.

Rishi Jabali curses the king to become a leper.

Jabali Son of Rishi Rtadhvaja

Rishi Rtadhvaja once cursed divine architect Vishwakarma for perpetuating cruelty to his daughter Chitrangada. Vishwakarma was cursed to become a monkey.

Vishwakarma decided to take revenge on Rishi Rtadhvaja. He kidnapped Jabali, the five-year-old son of the saint and tied him to the top of a banyan tree on the bank of a river.

Vishwakarma then attempted to kidnap Damayanti, daughter of Gandharva Anjana. She jumped into the river and the currents carried her to the Banyana tree on which Jabali was tied. Both narrated their sad tale to each other. Jabali asked her to pray to Srikanteshwara form of Shiva.

She then wrote a poem on the wall of a temple describing their misfortune.

Rishi Rtadhvaja read the poem and rescued Jabali with the help of a son of Ikshavaku.

However, a branch of tree was stuck to the body of Jabali and it could not be removed.

Jabali devotee of Sri Krishna

This Jabali was once wandering in the forest and he came across a handsome youth who was meditating. He waited for the young man to come out of his meditation. After several years, the youth opened his eyes.

He then imparted the secret method of meditating on Sri Krishna to Jabali.

Jabali then spend the rest of his life in the worship of Sri Krishna and was reborn in the family of a cowherd.

In Chandogya Upanishad, there is a popular story of Satyakama Jabali, son of mother Jabala. This Jabali was a seeker of truth you can read the story here. This great story clearly proves that anyone can seek knowledge and only qualification he/she should speak the truth and should be fearless. This negates the concept of caste system.