Wings and Chirps

Wanderings of an Itchy Feet

Tag: hanuman

#MythicalMondays – Sampati

Most of us are aware of Jatayu and his role in Ramayana. This post is about his lesser known brother Sampati. Sampati turned out to be crucial in Sita’s search in Valmiki’s Ramayana.

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The great king Daksha Prajapati (father of Sati, Shiva’s consort) was one of the Manasa Putras of Lord Brahma, born from his right thumb. Daksha had two wives; Prasuti and Panchajani. Vinata was one of the daughters of Daksha and Panchajani. She, along with twelve other sisters, was married to sage Kashyapa.

Vinata had two sons with Kashyapa, Aruṇa and Garuda. She brought them out as eggs. She was promised that she will have two powerful sons when the eggs hatch. However, out of impatience and curiosity she broke one of them. Aruna, radiant and reddish as the morning sun, was born from the broken egg. Due to premature breaking of the egg, Aruṇa was not as bright as the noon sun as he was promised to be. Aruṇa’s brother, Garuda, was born at full term, and eventually became the main vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Aruṇa supposedly was the charioteer of Surya, the Sun God.

Sampati and Jatayu were the sons of Aruna. Sampati and Jatayu were giddha (vultures) of the Deva (demi-gods) dynasty. Sampati was the King of Vultures and he was an old friend of Dasharatha (Ram’s father). He was the elder brother of Jatayu.

As young children they used to compete with each other as to who could fly higher. They could fly higher and higher than any other bird in the sky. On one such occasion, Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get charred by the scorching sun rays. Sampati saved his younger brother by spreading his own wings over him, protecting him from the hot flames of sun. But in this attempt Sampati got injured and lost his wings forever. Wingless, he fell down on to the earth near the Vindhya Mountains by the Southern Sea. Jatayu also was no longer able to fly and fell near the banks of Godavari River. This way, the two brothers got separated from each other.

Sage Chandrama informed Sampati that he will have to wait there till Lord Vishnu’s incarnation reached the place and restored his wings.

Later on in Ramayana, when Sita was abducted by Ravana, Jambuvant and Hanuman led Sugriva’s army of monkeys and reached the seashore in search of Sita. Tired and exhausted, they had collapsed on the sand when an old and hungry Sampati came out of the cave and thanked the Lords for bringing him food.

Picture Courtesy – Good Kids

Jambuvant told Angad how ironical life was. He said how this vulture was waiting to feast on them while another blessed vulture named Jatayu tried to rescue Sita from Ravana when he was on his way to Lanka after kidnapping Sita. They also informed him that Jatayu had fought a fierce battle with Ravana before he was defeated and his wings were cut. When Rama and Lakshmana reached there searching for Sita, they found an injured Jatayu. A dying Jatayu informed Rama about his fight with Ravana and also informed them the direction in which Ravana had taken Sita.

The moment he heard of Jatayu’s death, Sampati wanted to perform his last rites. The monkey army helped him in this. Afterwards Sampati, who could see beyond what others could see, informed them of how Ravana had taken Sita across the sea to Lanka in his Pushpaka Vimana. He also told them that Sita was waiting for Rama in the Ashok Vatika underneath a tree. At this time Sampati’s wings were healed. After thanking Jambuvant, Hanuman and the monkey army, Sampati flew away.

#MythicalMondays – Rahu & Ketu

Last Monday I had shared the story of Samudra Manthan/Palazhi Madhanam. I had promised last week to share Lord Ayyappa’s story today. But it had to be postponed to next Monday because this story of Rahu and Ketu was equally important to share and it had to be told to complete Lord Vishnu’s Mohini Avatar. Since this story is a continuation from there, I would suggest you to read it before going ahead.

Lord Vishnu’s Vishwa Mohini Roopam had helped the Devas obtain Amrita (the nectar of immortality) that the Asuras had snatched from Lord Dhanvantari and get rid of Sage Durvasa’s curse. Finally they defeated the Asura army lead by King Bali.

As I was going through various versions of this story I read this particular one which was new to me. Sharing it for the knowledge of my readers.

Mohini bewitched the Asuras with her beauty and made them agree to share Amrita with Devas. She had made Devas and Asuras sit in two lines. While the Asuras bedazzled by Mohini’s enchanting beauty and their desire to get married to her kept their eyes tightly shut, Mohini served Amrita to all the Devas.

One of the Asuras, Swarbhanu, opened one of his eyes and smelled something fishy. He realized that Mohini had served almost all of the contents of the pot of Amrita to all the Devas. He disguised as a Deva and quietly sneaked over to the other side and sat next to Surya and Chandra. Mohini did not notice this changeover and mistaking Swarbhanu for a Deva, she served Amrita to him as well.

Swarbhanu was the son of Viprachit (father) and Simhika (mother). Simhika was the daughter of Hiranya- Kashyapa the great demon who was the father of Prahlaadha, the greatest devotee of Lord Vishnu.

The Devas were about to consume the Amrita when Surya and Chandra noticed something amiss. They saw and extra Deva on their side of the line whom none of them had ever met before. While gulping down the Amrita, Surya looked closely and screamed, “He is not a Deva.” Almost simultaneously Chandra also shouted, “Oh Yes! He is not a Deva. I have never seen him before this.”

By now Swarbhanu had taken the Amrita in his mouth and was about to gulp it when Mohini changed into Lord Maha Vishnu’s Vishwaroopam form. He immediately charged his Sudarshan Chakra towards Swarbhanu’s neck, preventing him from swallowing the Amrita.

Picture Source: Pinterest

Since a bit of Amrita had flowed down his throat, Swarbhanu had become immortal. He did not die but his head was separated from his body. Lord Brahma made Swarbhanu’s head and body join with a snake. The head joined a snake’s body and came to be known as Rahu and the snake’s head joined with Swarbhanu’s body and came to be known as Ketu.

Lord Brahma granted Rahu and Ketu a boon for accepting this new form, a place amidst the planets, the Navagrahas. Depicted as a serpent with no body riding a chariot drawn by eight black horses, Rahu is one of the navagrahas. The other name of Rahu is Bhayanaka. It is believed that Rahu occasionally swallows the sun and the moon for pointing him out to Lord Vishnu and this is what causes the solar and lunar eclipses on our planet.

According to Buddhist Mythology, in the Candima Sutta and the Suriya Sutta, Rahu attacks Surya and Chandra before being compelled to release them by their recitation of a brief stanza conveying their reverence for the Buddha. The Buddha responds by enjoining Rahu to release them, which Rahu does rather than have his “head split into seven pieces”. The verses recited by the two celestial deities and the Buddha have since been incorporated into Buddhist liturgy as protective verses recited by monks as prayers of protection.

This is something I came across on Wikipedia. I am not sure of the truth about it, but I am amazed at how different mythologies are interlinked.

Rahu and Ketu’s power increases between sunset to sunrise. Their power of vengeance is so strong that they cause an astrological moment called the Rahu Kaalam that stays every day during the day for 1 hour and 30 minutes. This time is considered to be highly inauspicious for undertaking any good deeds. Now I know that these mythological stories made my Muthachan (maternal grandfather) stop us for a while before stepping out of the house for my Mema’s (maternal aunt) matchmaking.

Rahu and Ketu control over one’s courage, action, sorrow, valour, sin and provide for mental troubles and worries in current life depending on one’s own past karmas in their past lives. Rahu governs over the head portions, while Ketu governs over one’s ears, speech and hearing etc.

Once Hanuman was chasing Surya mistaking him for a ripe fruit. That’s when he spotted an unusual Rahu with the head attached to a snake’s body. He looked like a fire-spitting dragon. Hanuman chased Rahu. Rahu ran for his life and sought help from Indra. Indra attacked Hanuman’s jaw with a strong thunderbolt. This is the incident that made Vayu, Hanuman’s father, to withdraw air from the world. Vayu was later pacified by all the Gods and Hanuman was granted lots of boons including Lord Brahma’s powerful boon of escaping even the Brahmastra.

Another story from the Ramayana says that King Ravana had once imprisoned all the Navagrahas (the nine planets) and Hanuman had got them released. All grahas thanked Hanuman. It is thus believed that the negative influences of any graha can be overcome by worshiping Lord Hanuman.

Recommended References:  The lesser known story of Rahu and Ketu!

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