Jataayu confronts Ravana on hearing the crys of Seetha. He boldly forestalls Ravana and his air-chariot in the sky itself, and as an elderly being he reviles Ravana from the viewpoint of righteousness befitting to kings, but of no avail. His dilemma is that he cannot take flight to Rama’s place, nor he can forestall Ravana until Rama comes. Yet, he persists to affront Ravana.
तम् शब्दम् अवसुप्तस्य जटायुः अथ शुश्रुवे |
निरैक्षत् रावणम् क्षिप्रम् वैदेहीम् च ददर्श सः || ३-५०-१
niraikShat raavaNam kShipram vaidehiim ca dadarsha saH || 3-50-1
Jataayu who is slumbering away craned and stared on hearing the voicing of Seetha and then he saw Ravana and even Vaidehi. [3-50-1] .
ततः पर्वत शृंग आभः तीक्ष्ण तुण्डः खग उत्तमः |
वनस्पति गतः श्रीमान् व्याजहार शुभाम् गिरम् || ३-५०-२
vanaspati gataH shriimaan vyaajahaara shubhaam giram || 3-50-2
That best bird majestic Jataayu with a very sharp beak and appearing like a mountain peak, then uttered these words of expediency still perching on a tree. [3-50-2] .
दशग्रीव स्थितो धर्मे पुराणे सत्य संश्रयः |
भ्रातः सः त्वम् निन्दितम् कर्म कर्तुम् न अर्हसि संप्रताम् ||३-५०-३
जटायुः नाम नाम्ना अहम् गृध्र राजो महाबलः |
bhraataH saH tvam ninditam karma kartum na ar.hhasi saMprataam ||3-50-3
jaTaayuH naama naamnaa aham gR^idhra raajo mahaabalaH |
“Oh, brother, now it is inapt of you to undertake a deplorable deed. I am one of those who abide by perpetual probity and avowed to truthfulness. Such as I am, oh, Decahedral-demon Ravana, I am the mightiest king of eagles known by the name Jataayu. [3-50-3, 4a]
This self-assured statement of Jataayu is like this: aham puraaNe dharme sthitaH ‘I abide by the sanaatana dharama, ‘The Eternal Virtue…’ ‘belonging to the master and the servant…’ aham daashyaH, ‘I am a humble servant of Supreme Soul…’ aham satya samshrayaH, ‘I am sheltered by the Everlasting Truth… that Everlasting Truth is made known in satyam j~naanam anantam brahma… and thus bhagavat ekopaaya niSTaH, ‘I have a complete dedication unto god…’ – ‘I with my unwavering determination am subservient to Him alone, and such as I am, in my presence you cannot undertake a deplorable deed, deplorable to that Eternal Virtue or to three worlds…’ On telling about himself, next he started to tell about his master. Govindaraja.
राजा सर्वस्य लोकस्य महेन्द्र वरुण उपमः || ३-५०-४
लोकानाम् च हिते युक्तो रामो दशरथ आत्मजः |
lokaanaam ca hite yukto raamo dasharatha aatmajaH |
“Rama, the son of Dasharatha, is the master of all the world, one similar to Mahendra and Varuna, the Rain-god, and the one who is connected with the well-being of all the world. [3-50-4b, 5a]
The simile of Indra and Rain-god to Rama is to say that ‘Rama is a bestower of rains and livelihood like Indra, the presiding deity of east, through the Rain-god, the presiding deity of west, unlike you who are a pilferer… and he is the preserver of all the worlds… so, you also get persevered by him, because he is also the lord of yours…’ Govindaraja.
तस्य एषा लोक नाथस्य धर्म पत्नी यशस्विनी || ३-५०-५
सीता नाम वरारोहा याम् त्वम् हर्तुम् इह इच्छसि |
siitaa naama varaarohaa yaam tvam hartum iha icchhasi |
“Whom you desire to abduct now, that best lady is Seetha by her name, and this glorious one is the legitimate wife of that preserver of all the worlds, namely Rama. [3-50-5b, 6a] .
कथम् राजा स्थितो धर्मे पर दारान् परामृशेत् || ३-५०-६
रक्षणीया विशेषेण राज दारा महाबलः |
rakShaNiiyaa visheSheNa raaja daaraa mahaabalaH |
“How a king adhering to probity can lay his hands on the wives of others? If it is a king’s wife, oh, great-mighty Ravana, she is to be safeguarded particularly. [3-50-6b, 7a] .
निवर्तय गतिम् नीचाम् पर दार अभिमर्शनात् || ३-५०-७
न तत् समाचरेत् धीरो यत् परो अस्य विगर्हयेत् |
यथा आत्मनः तथा अन्येषाम् दारा रक्ष्या विमर्शनात् || ३-५०-८
na tat samaacaret dhiiro yat paro asya vigar.hhayet |
yathaa aatmanaH tathaa anyeShaam daaraa rakShyaa vimarshanaat || 3-50-8
“Reverse your filthy course, or fortuity, or mind form laying your hands on other’s wives. A sagacious person does not undertake that deed by which others deplore him. As with the protection of one’s own wife from somebody’s laying hands on her, other person’s wife is also to be protected in that way. [3-50-8 [3-50-7b, 8]
If it is asked that a king’s wife is a special entity to be protected, and then other’s wives are less fortunate or what? Not so, it is said that the wife of a king is a motherly entity. Other’s wives may become sisters or sister-in-laws etc., but a mother is a mother. The difference in dealing with a king’s wife and with wife of a commoner is that of a difference between a sinner and a criminal. Either way unrighteous it is. The very basic concept of wooing others’ wives itself, is both a crime and a sin. ‘R^itaa upeyaat…’ iti shaastraat – gamyaa sva bhaaryaa | anyaa bhaaryaa agamyaa iti- maadhava aacaarya – dk.
Here the word ‘king’ also denotes the god, as Manu uses the word ‘raajaa’ for Yama, the Terminator yamo vaivasvato raajaa yaH tava eSa hR^iodi sthitaa… For this, Ravana may refute saying, ‘this Rama may be a god of yours… but not mine…’ And for this it is countered in saying, devaanaam ca devataaanaam ca saamaanyam adhi daivam… ‘there is no your god or my god, but god is one… to everyone…’
Jataayu is asking for a reversal of Ravana’s mind or course, otherwise misfortune likely to happen to him. Further, being a king one shall never do a deplorable and unkingly act. anena loka ninditam karma na kartavyam iti | tathaa ca vishNu puraaNe – parityajyet artha kaamo dharma piiDaa karau nR^ipa | dharmam api ashubhodarkam loka vikR^iShTam eva ca – dk .
अर्थम् वा यदि वा कामम् शिष्टाः शास्त्रेषु अनागतम् |
व्यवस्यन्ति अनु राजानम् धर्मम् पौलस्त्य नंदन || ३-५०-९
vyavasyanti anu raajaanam dharmam paulastya na.ndana || 3-50-9
“If the means to gain probity, or prosperities, or even pleasures are inconspicuous in scriptures, oh, the scion of Paulastya, then even the erudite scholars will conduct themselves following the king and his demeanour. [3-50-9]
There is another flex for the raajaanam anu as raajaanam anu as raajaanam iva ‘like king, like subjects…’ shiSTaaH ‘anyone who takes recourse to righteous behaviour…’ Because the king shall possess an aptitude to go through the scriptures and ascertain what is right and what is wrong, then only his subjects will follow likewise. Even if the course of conduct is imperceptible in scriptures, a king shall decide the right way, and thus the subjects automatically follow him, in the same way… thus, ‘being a king, yet behaving like a criminal and a sinner, is inapt of you…’ so said Jataayu to Ravana. Maheshvara Tiirtha.
Ravana is the son of Vishravasa who again is the son of Pulastya, the brainchild of Brahma, who are all supposed to be the well-read scholars in all scriptures and sciences. Hence, Jataayu is addressing Ravana to remember his scholarship, which is in effrontery with his present behaviour. And the suggestion that ‘protect wives of others persons as you protect your own wife…’ is to say that ‘if somebody from your subjects, on following your present path, gains access to your wife Mandodari, do you tolerate?’ .
राजा धर्मः च कामः च द्रव्याणाम् च उत्तमो निधिः |
धर्मः शुभम् वा पापम् वा राज मूलम् प्रवर्तते || ३-५०-१०
dharmaH shubham vaa paapam vaa raaja muulam pravar.htate || 3-50-10
“A king is the best repository for probity, prosperities, and pleasures, and whether it is probity or felicity or even iniquity that will emerge from the fount called king. [3-50-10]
Other mms read raajaa dharmasya kaamasya… then ‘the king is the root cause for the prevalence of probity, felicity etc. anena prajaa raajaanam anusaranti iti suucitam… dk ‘subjects follow what a king does…’ .
पाप स्वभावः चपलः कथम् त्वम् रक्षसाम् वर |
ऐश्वर्यम् अभिसंप्राप्तो विमानम् इव दुष्कृती || ३-५०-११
aishvaryam abhisaMpraapto vimaanam iva duShkR^itii || 3-50-11
“Oh, prominent one among demons, deviltry and mercuriality are but natural for you demons, but how you have amassed affluence, as with an evildoer attaining an aircraft that puts him to flight to heaven.
“You by your nature are a devilish and mercurial personality though you have come from a decent lineage, how you have become an outranking demon among demons and how you could attain kingdom, which is to be ruled righteously, like an evildoer attaining a heaven-bound aircraft. [3-50-11] .
काम स्वभावो यः सः असौ न शक्यः तम् प्रमार्जितुम् |
न हि दुष्ट आत्मनाम् आर्यम् आवसति आलये चिरम् || ३-५०-१२
na hi duShTa aatmanaam aaryam aavasati aalaye ciram || 3-50-12
“He whose nature is such, that nature is perhaps impossible to efface, a sermon does not dwell in the heart of an evil-minded one for a long time, indeed.
“He whose nature itself is vile, it is perhaps impossible for him to efface it, and in the residence of such an evil-minded person, evilly acquired prosperity does not dwell for a long time, indeed. [3-50-12]
Ruling the kingdom righteously, in itself is a merit that leads that king to heavens. When the kingdom itself is acquired unrighteously, and so the oppulence, there is no question of merit or heaven, or even an air ticket to that heaven. For such persons, all these are ad hoc luxuries. anena paapiShTasya aishvaryam na bhavati | praaptam cet api na tiShTati – adharmaat ca eva nahuShaH pratipede rasaatalam – kaamandaka – dk
The reference to an aircraft that carries Ravana to heaven is not the Pushpaka aircraft, which he already grabbed from Kubera. The airports of Pushpaka aircraft are in the mortal worlds and in heavens it can land at the best in Indra’s heaven, say paradise. There is no entry for these petty airships into the higher realms of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshvara if piloted by Ravana like demons.
विषये वा पुरे वा ते यदा रामो महाबलः |
न अपराध्यति धर्मात्मा कथम् तस्य अपराध्यसि || ३-५०-१३
na aparaadhyati dharmaatmaa katham tasya aparaadhyasi || 3-50-13
“When that great-mighty Rama has not transgressed either in your country or in your city Lanka, then how you become a transgressor in respect of that noble-souled Rama? [3-50-13]
Vividly: ‘you may say that abduction of enemy’s wife is my hobby… but you are abducting the wife of one who is neither a friend nor an enemy of yours… why for is this fancy when viewed in the prospective of righteousness or polity of kingships… anena anaparaadhiShu samiiciineShu aparaadho na kartavyam iti suucitam | tathaa ca udyoga parve – mahaa bhaarate – duryodhanam prati bhagavad vacanam – aatmaanam kR^intati hi eSha vanam parashunaa yathaa | yatsamyak vartamaaneShu mithyaa raajan pravartate || iti – dk ‘No unilateral aggression is desirable at the unaggressive lot… Thus, Lord Krishna says to Duryodhana in Udyoga parva of Maha Bharata: broadly: ‘a wood is felled by its own kin-wood, namely a wooden shaft attached to the axe… so, the present pseudo-kings will be felled down by their own kinsfolk…’
Jataayu’s questioning is the same that was once Seetha asked Rama in the early chapters of Aranya, ‘why wage a war without a cause…’ She must have understood the answer by now by the acts of Ravana.
यदि शूर्पणखा हेतोः जनस्थान गतः खरः |
अतिवृत्तो हतः पूर्वम् रामेण अक्लिष्ट कर्मणा || ३-५०-१४
अत्र ब्रूहि यथा तत्त्वम् को रामस्य व्यतिक्रमः |
यस्य त्वम् लोक नाथस्य हृत्वा भार्याम् गमिष्यसि || ३-५०-१५
ativR^itto hataH puurvam raameNa akliShTa karmaNaa || 3-50-14
atra bruuhi yathaa tattvam ko raamasya vyatikramaH |
yasya tvam loka naathasya hR^itvaa bhaaryaam gamiShyasi || 3-50-15
“If Rama of indefatigable deeds firstly eliminated Khara who is stationed at Janasthaana, and who transgressed for the sake of Shuurpanakha, tell me what in actuality is the highly overstepping behaviour of Rama in that matter, whereupon you are stealing off with the wife of such a lord of world? [3-50-14, 15] .
क्षिप्रम् विसृज वैदेहीम् मा त्वा घोरेण चक्षुषा |
दहेत् दहनभूतेन वृत्रम् इन्द्र अशनिः यथा || ३-५०-१६
dahet dahanabhuutena vR^itram indra ashaniH yathaa || 3-50-16
“Instantly deliver up Vaidehi. Let not the disastrous and glowing fire-like eyes of Rama, which transmogrify so when he assumes fury, burn you down as the Thunderbolt of Indra once burnt the demon Vritta. [3-50-16] .
सर्पम् आशीविषम् बद्ध्वा वस्त्र अन्ते न अवबुध्यसे |
ग्रीवायाम् प्रतिमुक्तम् च काल पाशम् न पश्यसि || ३-५०-१७
griivaayaam pratimuktam ca kaala paasham na pashyasi || 3-50-17
“You are unconscious that you have presently bundled a lethally venomous serpent at the fringe of your attire, and you are equally unwary that the Terminator’s lasso is presently loosened around your neck. [3-50-17] .
स भारः सौम्य भर्तव्यो यो नरम् न अवसादयेत् |
तत् अन्नम् अपि भोक्तव्यम् जीर्यते यत् अनामयम् || ३-५०-१८
tat annam api bhoktavyam jiir.hyate yat anaamayam || 3-50-18
“Oh, cultured one, that weight alone is to be shouldered by which a man is not brought down, and that repast alone is to be consumed by which nothing upsets. [3-50-18]
Futile is the experimentation with impossible undertakings as they will be upsetting normalcy. anena ashakyam karma na kartavyam iti suucitm | tathaa ca kaamandake – shakya ashakya paricchedam kuryaat budhyaa prasannatayaa | kevalam danta bha~Ngaaya dantinaH shaila taaDanam – iti – dk ‘capability or incapability is to be assessed firstly, with a judicious mind… one’s own teeth may not be hit with a stone, only to examine how easily they can be broken by that stone…’ .
यत् कृत्वा न भवेत् धर्मो न कीर्तिः न यशः ध्रुवम् |
शरीरस्य भवेत् खेदः कः तत् कर्म समाचरेत् || ३-५०-१९
shariirasya bhavet khedaH kaH tat karma samaacaret || 3-50-19
“Who will undertake a deed that yields neither probity, nor deference, nor distinction but results in just physical drudgery? [3-50-19]
The words kiirti, yashaas may look synonymous but have been defined separately. kiirti is the fame which arises from acts of valour, etc., while yashas is the fame which arises from acts of charity and the like. In another way kiirti is the renown obtained from doing merited and socio-economic deeds done through conducting Vedic rituals and the like, and yashas is the renown obtained from having riches, wealth, and affluence. Rama Tilaka says that kiirti = deshaantara khyaati fame which ‘spreads in countries beyond one’s own country…’ while yashas = sva desha khyaaati is ‘the fame confined to one’s own country.’ Dr. Satya Vrat is of the opinion that ‘which of the two explanations of the commentator, Rama Tilaka, is acceptable and more reasonable we cannot say in our present stage of knowledge… In fact the commentator himself is not sure; one strikes him at one time, and another at another place…’ Kulluka Bhatt in his commentary on manu dharma shaastra says that jiivataH khyati ruupam – yashaH ‘fame in living time is yashaH and the other mR^itasya khyaati ruupam – kiirtim ‘the fame that remains after death is kiirti
Fruitless, wearisome undertakings are meaningless thus they need not be undertaken. ananena niShphalam aayaasakaram karma na aarambhaNiiyam iti suucitam | tathaa ca manuH – na karma niShphalam kuryaat yasmaat asukhodayam – dk .
षष्टि वर्ष सहस्राणि जातस्य मम रावण |
पितृ पैतामहम् राज्यम् यथावत् अनुतिष्ठतः || ३-५०-२०
pitR^i paitaamaham raajyam yathaavat anutiShThataH || 3-50-20
“I have dedicated myself to the kingdom of my fathers and forefathers according to tradition, and sixty thousand years have elapsed since I was born. [3-50-20] .
वृद्धो अहम् त्वम् युवा धन्वी स रथः कवची शरी |
न च अपि आदाय कुशली वैदेहीम् न गमिष्यसि || ३-५०-२१
na ca api aadaaya kushalii vaidehiim na gamiShyasi || 3-50-21
“You are youngish whereas I am oldish, you are an armoured archer darting arrows from an air-chariot, whereas I am pensile bird in an open sky. Nevertheless, on taking Vaidehi you cannot abscond safely. [3-50-21] .
न शक्तः त्वम् बलात् हर्तुम् वैदेहीम् मम पश्यतः |
हेतुभिः न्याय संयुक्तैः ध्रुवाम् वेद श्रुतीम् इव || ३-५०-२२
hetubhiH nyaaya saMyuktaiH dhruvaam veda shrutiim iva || 3-50-22
“It will be incapable of you to forcibly abduct Vaidehi when I keep an eye one her, as with the defilement of definitive Vedic scriptures by the logicians, dialecticians, materialists and suchlike non-believers, with their conjectural logic.
“Veda-s are definitive in their canons and their authority is established beyond doubt, yet the doubtful scholarly logicians still try to pamper their import with their conjectural logic, and when I am watchful of what is going on I do not let you pamper Seetha, as such take this caution and release her. [3-50-22]
The Indian materialists called caarkavaa-s, or, the nihilists like Sage Jaabaali, who tries to preach nihilism to Rama, and the non-conformists to Veda-s, called a-Vaidika-s like Buddhists and Jain-s etc., try hard to let down what Veda says, with all their masterly dialectics. Even then, at one stage or the other, they all yield up, or a stalemate, or a faux pas occurs in their debates. Thus, no scholar need abuse the scriptures, for he does not know the subject in its entirety, or what those scriptures contain. anena shruti pratipanno artho na aabhaasaiH tarkaiH baadhayitum shakyata iti suucitam | tathaa ca manuH – yo avamanyeta te tuubhe hetu shaastra aashrayaat naraH | sa saadhubhiH bahiShkaaryo naastiko veda nindakaH || – dk
This Seetha is compared with Veda-s, one to many times, for the reason of her sacredness as a devout husband-devotee. Sugreeva also says this alone at 4-6-5: ‘for I will fetch her very soon, like the retrieval of Scriptures of Veda-s…
Basing on these references of Seetha to Vedic canons, there is a thinking that the subject of Ramayana is the problem of god in retrieving the lost word, where that word was with the god at the beginning. Seetha is Veda, the word, Gayatri etc. And god has lost it. In search of that word, Veda, Gayatri, the god started his search. In his search he helps all those who abide by ‘word’ or ‘faithful to word’ and ultimately annihilates the demons that falsify or abuse the ‘word.’ .
युध्यस्व यदि शूरो असि मुहूर्तम् तिष्ठ रावण |
शयिष्यसे हतो भूमौ यथा पूर्वम् खरः तथा || ३-५०-२३
shayiShyase hato bhuumau yathaa puurvam kharaH tathaa || 3-50-23
“Stay for a moment, oh, Ravana, if you are valiant enough you can combat with Rama who will return right away, and at his hand you will be slain and sprawling on earth in the same way as Khara sprawled earlier. [3-50-23]
Or optionally, you can combat with me in which meantime Rama will come hither…
असकृत् संयुगे येन निहता दैत्य दानवाः |
न चिरात् चीर वासाः त्वाम् रामो युधि वधिष्यति || ३-५०-२४
na ciraat ciira vaasaaH tvaam raamo yudhi vadhiShyati || 3-50-24
“He who eliminated demons and ogres in combats time after time, that Rama though apparently attired in jute-cloths like a meek-saint, will become a towering-inferno in a given combat, and he eliminates you very soon. [3-50-24] .
किम् नु शक्यम् मया कर्तुम् गतौ दूरम् नृप आत्मजौ |
क्षिप्रम् त्वम् नश्यसे नीच तयोः भीतो न संशयः || ३-५०-२५
kShipram tvam nashyase niica tayoH bhiito na saMshayaH || 3-50-25
“What can possibly be done by me when those princes have gone far-off! It is beyond the scope of my fetching them in time! You knave, you who are scared of them will now be lost to my blockade, without a doubt. [3-50-25] .
न हि मे जीवमानस्य नयिष्यसि शुभाम् इमाम् |
सीताम् कमल पत्र अक्षीम् रामस्य महषीम् प्रियाम् || ३-५०-२६
siitaam kamala patra akShiim raamasya mahaShiim priyaam || 3-50-26
“When I am alive you cannot lead away this auspicious, lotus-leave-eyed Seetha, the dear queen of Rama. [3-50-26] .
अवश्यम् तु मया कार्यम् प्रियम् तस्य महात्मनः |
जीवितेन अपि रामस्य तथा दशरथस्य च || ३-५०-२७
jiivitena api raamasya tathaa dasharathasya ca || 3-50-27
“But I must definitely accomplish something to forestall you till they come, for I cannot willingly depart from here to fetch any of the two brothers, and that deed I needs must do shall be agreeable to the great-souled Rama, likewise even to Dasharatha, even at the stake of my life. [3-50-27] .
तिष्ठ तिष्ठ दशग्रीव मुहूर्तम् पश्य रावण |
वृन्तात् इव फलम् त्वाम् तु पातयेयम् रथ उत्तमात् |
युद्ध आतिथ्यम् प्रदास्यामि यथा प्राणम् निशा चर || ३-५०-२८
vR^intaat iva phalam tvaam tu paatayeyam ratha uttamaat |
yuddha aatithyam pradaasyaami yathaa praaNam nishaa cara || 3-50-28
“Stopoff! Stopoff! Oh, Decahedral Ravana, briefly learn of me as how I jettison you from your best air-chariot, as with the unloading of a burdensome fruit from its sepals. Oh, nightwalker, I will be giving guestship to you in a duel as long as I am alive. [3-50-28] .