Jatayu, aka: Jaṭāyu, Jatāyū; 7 Definition(s)


Jatayu means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Itihāsa (narrative history)

Jaṭāyu (जटायु), an old eagle, is taking rest on a tree, hears her helpless cry. He realizes that she is the daughter-in-law of his old friend Daśaratha. In spite of his old age, the bird hurries to help her. A fight ensues between the old bird and the ten-headed mighty demon. The eagle is no match to the force of the demon. The latter leaves Jaṭāyu in a pool of blood by cutting its wings. Jaṭāyu in agony is waiting for Rāma. In search of Sītā, Rāma with his brother Lakṣmaṇa arrives there. They find the poor bird in a pool of blood. Jaṭāyu relates to him the whole story and breathes his last. In the Rāmāyaṇa by Vālmīki, it is mentioned that, Jaṭāyu being their family friend, Rāma performed the necessary funeral rites to the bird.

(Source): Archaeological Survey of India: Śaiva monuments at Paṭṭadakal (rāmāyaṇa)
context information

Itihāsa (इतिहास) refers to ‘epic history’ and represents a branch of Sanskrit literature which popularly includes 1) the eighteen major Purāṇas, 2) the Mahābhārata and 3) the Rāmāyaṇa. It is a branch of Vedic Hinduism categorised as smṛti literature (‘that which is remembered’) as opposed to śruti literature (‘that which is transmitted verbally’).


1a) Jaṭāyu (जटायु).—A son of Aruṇa and Gṛdhri (Syeni, Vāyu-purāṇa) brought forth sons Kaka, Gṛdhra and Aśvakarṇi; king of vultures and younger brother of Sampāti;1 father of Karṇikāra and Śatagāmi;2 Dahanakriya of, done by Rāma; attained release by satsaṅga.3

  • 1) Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa III. 7. 447-48.
  • 2) Matsya-purāṇa 6. 35-6.
  • 3) Bhāgavata-purāṇa IX. 10. 12; XI. 12. 6; Vāyu-purāṇa 69. 326-7.

1b) Mountain a hill in Himālayas, the birth-place of Jaṭāmāli of the 19th dvāpara.*

  • * Vāyu-purāṇa 23. 186.
(Source): Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index
Purāṇa book cover
context information

The Purāṇas (पुराण, purana) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahāpurāṇas total over 400,000 ślokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

General definition (in Hinduism)

Jatyu was the son of Syeni who was a daughter of Daksha. The sage Kashyapa was his father. He succeeded to the kingship of the birds from his elder half-brother Sampati, when Sampati's wings were burnt away by the sun while trying to shield Jatayu.

He tried to stop Ravana from kidnapping Sita the wife of Rama. (This episode is narrated in Ramayana). Ravana cut off his wing and left him close to death. He held on to his life till Rama came by, and then died. Rama accepted him as his elder brother and performed the funeral rites for this great bird.

(Source): Apam Napat: Indian Mythology

1) In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Jatayu is the son of Aruṇa and nephew of Garuda. A demi-god who has the form of a vulture, he was an old friend of Dasharatha (Rama's father). He tries to rescue Sita from Ravana when Ravana is on his way to Lanka after kidnapping Sita. Jatayu fought valiantly with Ravana, but as Jatayu was very old Ravana soon got the better of him. As Rama and Lakshmana chanced upon the stricken and dying Jatayu in their search for Sita, he informs them of the fight between him and Ravana and the direction in which Ravana had gone (i.e., south).

2) Jatāyū (जटायू): Jatāyū was king of all the eagles-tribes, the son of Aruna and nephew of Garuda. A demi-god who has the form of an (eagle), he tries to rescue Sita from Ravana, when Ravana is on his way to Lanka after kidnapping Sita. His brother was Sampatī

Etymology: Jatayu (Sanskrit: जटायुः Jatāyu, Tamil: Chatayu, Thai: Sadayu, Malay: Jentayu or Chentayu), Indonesian: Burung Jatayu which means Jatayu Bird

(Source): WikiPedia: Hinduism

Jaṭāyu (जटायु).—A devotee of Lord Rāmacandra who was the king of the vultures, and the brother of Sampāti. He fought with the demon Rāvaṇa when the latter kidnapped Sītā, the consort of Lord Rāmacandra.

(Source): ISKCON Press: Glossary

Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

jaṭāyu (जटायु).—m S A fabulous bird recorded in the rāmāyaṇa.

(Source): DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary
context information

Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

Sanskrit-English dictionary

Jaṭāyu (जटायु).—m. A son of Śyeni and Aruṇa, a semi divine bird [ He was a great friend of Daśaratha. He once saved his life while he was thrown down along with his car by Saturn against whom he had proceeded when a drought, said to be caused by the planet, well-nigh devastated the earth. While Rāvaṇa was carrying away Sītā, Jaṭāyu heard her cries in the chariot and fought most desperately with the formidable giant to rescue her from his grasp. But he was mortally wounded, and remained in that state till Rāma passed by that place in the course of his search after Sītā. The kind-hearted bird told Rāma that his wife had been carried away by Rāvaṇa and then breathed his last. His funeral rites were duly performed by Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa.]

Derivable forms: jaṭāyuḥ (जटायुः).

See also (synonyms): jaṭāyus.

(Source): DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
context information

Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

Relevant definitions

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1) Bheruṇḍa (भेरुण्ड).—A bird, born of Jaṭāyu.** Matsya-purāṇa 6. 36.2) Bheruṇḍā (भेरुण्ड...
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Jaṭāyus (जटायुस्).—m. A son of Śyeni and Aruṇa, a semi divine bird [ He was a great friend of D...
Jaṭāmāli (जटामालि).—The avatār of the Lord of the 19th dvāpara in the Jaṭāyu hill of the ...
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Śatagāmī (शतगामी).—A son of Jaṭāyu.** Matsya-purāṇa 6. 36.
Gṛdhrarāja (गृध्रराज).—the lord of the vultures, an epithet of Jaṭāyu; अस्यैवा- सीन्महति शिखरे ...

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