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Story Of Dasharatha And Jatayu In Ramayana

As per Bengali Krittibasi Ramayana, there was a severe drought in Ayodhya during the reign of King Dasharatha. The people and the land suffered greatly, and there seemed to be no relief in sight. Indra, the god of rains and thunder, had previously promised to King Raghu, an earlier ruler of Ayodhya and Dasharatha's ancestor, that there would be no drought in Ayodhya. Disturbed by the breaking of this divine promise, King Dasharatha decided to confront Indra to understand why he had failed to keep his word.

Gathering his army, King Dasharatha set out for the heavens. He was renowned for his prowess and possessed the Shabdabedi baan, a weapon that could strike down enemies merely by their sound. The devas, or gods, were frightened of Dasharatha's might and the potential consequences of his wrath. Understanding the gravity of the situation, Indra welcomed Dasharatha with honor rather than confrontation.

Indra explained to Dasharatha that the drought was not due to his negligence but was caused by the malefic influence of Shani (Saturn), who was now positioned in the Rohini constellation. Shani's influence on Rohini was known to bring misfortune and natural calamities, such as droughts.

Determined to resolve the issue for his people, Dasharatha took leave of Indra and set out towards the abode of Shani. As he approached, Shani's mere glance caused Dasharatha's chariot to shatter, and his horses collapsed to the ground. With no support, Dasharatha began to plummet towards the earth, his life in grave peril.

At that moment, the great bird Jatayu, son of Garuda and the younger brother of Sampati, was flying in the skies. Jatayu saw the king falling and swooped down with incredible speed, spreading his mighty wings. Dasharatha landed safely on Jatayu's wings, thus averting what would have been a fatal fall.

Grateful for his life being saved, Dasharatha began to prepare his chariot once more. He turned to the majestic bird and asked, "I would have fallen to the ground and died, but you have saved my life. Who are you?"

The bird, in his deep and resonant voice, replied, "I am Jatayu, son of Garuda and younger brother of Sampati. I was flying around when I saw you fall. Knowing who you are and understanding that your death would mean the loss of a noble soul, I decided to save you."

Deeply moved by Jatayu's selflessness and bravery, Dasharatha decided to honor their newfound bond. He lit a sacred fire, and together, he and Jatayu pledged eternal friendship to each other. This sacred bond between man and bird was sealed with oaths, symbolizing loyalty, protection, and mutual respect.

From that day on, King Dasharatha and Jatayu shared a deep and unwavering friendship, and Jatayu would go on to play a significant role in the epic tales of Ayodhya, especially during the reign of Dasharatha's son, Rama.