Friendship is a beautiful bond which can be between anybody, be it humans, animals, birds or any living creature. It is selfless, and thinks for the good and well-being of the friend before self. One such beautiful friendship which crossed all such barriers was between Maharaj Dasarath and Jatayu. While one knows about the friendship of Shri Ram and Jatayu, the actual friendship goes back to Jatayu being friends with Maharaj Dasarath, father of Shri Ram, because of which even Shri Ram becomes so close to Jatayu.
There was once a great drought in Ayodhya. When Maharaj Dasarath asked his priests the solution for the problem, they asked him to please Shani dev (Saturn) so that he could remove the ill effects on the kingdom. Maharaj Dasarath sets out in his chariot to meet Saturn. But Saturn was worried that if he would directly look at Maharaj Dasarath when he comes to him, his effect would kill the pious king, and hence he directed his gaze towards the king’s chariot and it reduced to ashes. Maharaj Dasarath started falling down from the sky. Jatayu who was passing in the sky, saw the king falling and caught hold of him and rescued him. Since then, Maharaj Dasarath and Jatayu became friends for a lifetime.
Later when Maharaj Dasarath was fighting Shambarasur, the demon alongside the Devas, Jatayu too accompanied the Devas and Maharaj Dasarath and helped them gain victory in the battle. It was in this very battle that Queen Kakikeyi saves the life of Maharaj Dasarath and the king grants her two boons. Later, Queen Kaikeyi demands those boons for the exile of Shri Ram and crowning of Bharat, by which Shri Ram comes to Panchavati and meets his father’s dear old friend Jatayu.
Friendship cannot be restricted to two people and if it is true and strong, then it passes through generations. Jatayu proves the same when he extends his friendship to his dear friend’s son Shri Ram. He offers protection to Shri Ram at Panchavati and says that he would be guarding them with his life while they live a peaceful life at Panchavati. Shri Ram feels elated with Jatayu’s warm gesture and regards him like his father and takes his blessings.
As promised by him, when Mata Sita was caught in grave danger with Ravan kidnapping her, Jatayu rushes forward to save her. Although he was old, he gives a tough fight to Ravan and makes him unconscious. Respecting the rules of war, he waits for Ravan to gain conscious to fight him, but Ravan understands the might of Jatayu and wounds him through deceit by cutting of his wings. In spite of Jatayu’s effort, Ravan carries away Mata Sita.
Though wounded badly and near to his end, Jatayu waits for Shri Ram and Lakshman to come so that he could give Jthem the indication of what happened with Mata Sita and who carried her away. After fulfilling his duty of the same, he peacefully passes away in the hands of Shri Ram and attains salvation because of his great sacrifice of offering his life to protect his friend’s family.
Jatayu proves that in spite of being a carnivorous bird, he was good at heart and a true friend. He puts his own life in danger, thus fulfilling his greatest duty towards Maharaj Dasarath’s friendship with him. Friends like Jatayu are the greatest treasures and as worth as life to cherish and possess all time.