An eagle called Sampaati helped the monkeys locate Sita, said V.S. Karunakarachariar, in a discourse. Unsuccessful in his search for Sita, Angada decided to give up his life and recalled aloud how Sita was captured and Jatayu killed. An eagle, which was nearby, overheard Angada, and said he was Sampaati, the elder brother of Jatayu. The eagle then gave his life story. He and Jatayu were the sons of Aruna, charioteer of the Sun God, and were the grandsons of sage Kasyapa, through his wife Kadru. One day, Jatayu and Sampaati playfully flew near the Sun. The Sun’s rays began to scorch them. Not wanting his younger brother to feel the heat, Sampaati spread his wings to shield Jatayu. As a result, his wings were burnt completely, and unable to fly, he came hurtling down and fell on a mountain. For six days, he lay unconscious; when he regained consciousness, he looked around him, and judging by the flora and fauna, he came to the conclusion that he had landed on the Vindhya mountains. He knew that somewhere in the vicinity was the hermitage of sage Nishaakara, for he and Jatayu had both often sought his blessings. So, now Sampaati slowly made his way to the hermitage to meet the sage. Sampaati told the sage how his wings were burnt and expressed a desire to commit suicide, now that he was wingless and also did not know what had happened to his brother. The sage told him that his wings would reappear and he must not die, for he had a task to do. He told Sampaati of how Rama would come looking for Sita and Sampaati was to guide the monkeys. When such a good deed was to be performed by him, how could he talk of dying? Sampaati, therefore, gave up the idea of suicide.

Sampaati’s son Supaarshva had seen a beautiful woman being taken away by the demon Ravana. The lady had kept calling out to Rama and Lakshmana. Sages had told Supaarshva that the woman was Sita. Supaarshva conveyed this to Sampaati, and that is how Sampaati came to know the whereabouts of Sita. Sampaati told the monkeys that Ravana had his palace in Lanka. This was where Sita was held captive. When Sampaati told the monkeys about where Sita was, he got back his wings.

More In: Faith | Friday Review