Victory in defeat – Jatayu’s fight is an inspiration that even defeat is a step to success

The moment one starts to chase the challenges of life, one craves for victory. But, what is the real victory of life is a wisdom thought. It is never a win and win situation in life, and one faces defeat too. But if the defeat helps in winning a greater challenge, then it is greater than victory. This is not a modern day motivational lesson, but an age old lesson that Ramayan has taught, where the noble bird Jatayu faces defeat in the hands of Ravan, but helps Shri Ram find his way till Lanka and defeat Ravan. Jatayu wins a greater war with his ultimate sacrifice proving that devotion helps win the war of life and become dear to the Almighty.
When Shri Ram along with Mata Sita and Lakshman came to reside at Panchavati, he meets the great bird. Jatayu introduces himself as the son of Arun and Sheyeni, the younger brother of Sampati and the nephew of Garud. When Jatayu meets Shri Ram, he fondly remembers his friendship with Maharaj Dasarath. He offers his services and protection to Shri Ram at Panchavati which delights Shri Ram.
However, things turn up into a different way. Ravan kidnaps Mata Sita with deceit. He forcibly puts Mata Sita into his Pushpak Viman and starts for Lanka. Mata Sita shouts out to Shri Ram and Lakshman, but in vain. However, Jatayu listens to her call, and immediately rushes to her aid.
Jatayu was very old by the time and was not as strong as his youthful days. Yet without a second thought, he gets ready to fight a mighty warrior like Ravan. He warns Ravan and advises that it is not good to abduct another’s wife. But, Ravan does not listen. Jatayu although knowing that he is no match for Ravan, still fights a war with all his strength. He hurts Ravan and breaks Ravan’s aerial chariot. Unable to take the attack of Jatayu, Ravan falls unconscious.
Jatayu had all the opportunity to kill Ravan in that time, but as a true warrior sticks to the rule that a warrior never hurts the enemy when he is unconscious and waits. Ravan gains back conscious and realising that Jatayu is a mighty warrior, cuts the wing of Jatayu, breaking the rules of war. Jatayu falls down in pain, and Ravan goes away with Mata Sita.
Being defeated by Ravan, Jatayu still fights a war, a war to live till Shri Ram comes to him, so that he could tell the whereabouts of Mata Sita. Searching for Mata Sita, Shri Ram and Lakshman come to him and see Jatayu wounded. Jatayu tells Shri Ram the abduction of Mata Sita and the important information that Ravan went south. Thus looking at Shri Ram, Jatayu breathes his last. For the ultimate sacrifice of Jatayu, Shri Ram as a son does the supreme duty of performing the final rites to the noble bird. Jatayu attains salvation and reaches Vaikunth Dham for his eternal devotion and sacrifice.
Ravan felt that he defeated Jatayu, but never understood that it was Jatayu who won the greater war. Jatayu did sacrifice his life, but led to the doom of Ravan too. Even though Jatayu was a flesh eating bird, he merged with Bhagwan Vishnu. The victory Jatayu attained was the highest and hence he is remembered as the noblest among the birds and with great honour among the devotees of Shri Ram