Animal Kingdom (Tiryak) in Epics

by Saranya P.S | 2019 | 51,616 words | ISBN-10: 8190396315 | ISBN-13: 9788190396318

An English study the Animal Kingdom (Tiryak) in Epics.—The present thesis is based entirely on Ramayana and Mahabharata although an attempt is made to analytically compare the Animal kingdom with Mriga-pakshi-shastra—‘The ancient Indian science of of Animals and Birds’....

Chapter 3.4 - The story of Jambavan (Immortal characters, part 1)

Immortality does not bring happiness to any person. Commonly says gods are immortals because they have no death and they are lived in heaven, a different world from the earth. According to Ramayana, there were communications between these two worlds. Gods come to earth to attend the yajnas and receive homage of the kings. Apart from the gods there were four individuals who were immortals. They are Hanuman, Jambavan, Vibhishana and Tushanku. Indra compelled to give it to Hanuman, and Jambavan recieved it as reward from Rama.

Jambavan, is considered to be a very powerful person. It is really very difficult to decipher if Jambavan was a bear or a monkey. In some of the Ramayanas in the Indian Languages, Jambavan is described as a monkey. In Malayalam, since the very ancient times it has been believed that Jambavan was a monkey. Whatever be the case, he is introduced in the story of Ramayana. In the original story of Valmiki Ramayana, for Jambavan the words buffalo and monkey are used. In the animal directory of Amarakosha we see words like Bhalluka, Risha, Accha, Bhalla, Acchabhalla, Bhaluka etc. as the synonyms of bear. From the statement “Jambavan Rishipungava”[1] in Valmiki Ramayana, it can be surmised that Jambavan was a bear.

Immersed in the thoughts about creating monkeys, Brahma yawned. Valmiki Ramayana says that as Brahma was yawning, a creature jumped out of his mouth and this creature is Jambavan.[2] According to Kamba Ramayana, the Madhu Kaitabhas who were born from Vishnu were walking across the waters and then they saw Brahma who was resting in a lotus bud. They invited Brahma for a fight. Brahma was terrified by the Asuras and his sweat began to trickle down his cheeks and joined with the waters. It is believed that Jambavan was born from this divine sweat.[3] That is why Jambavan is also called Ambujata.

Jambavan’s birth was timeless in a still universe. Therefore neither time nor terrain or his birth can be determined. From Vishnu’s incarnation as a fish (“Matsyavatara”) through all his subsequent incarnations Jambavan has witnessed. At the time of the Incarnation as Shri Rama (Shriramavatara).Jambavan was a minister of Sugriva.[4]

Footnotes and references:


Valmiki Ramayana I.17. 6




Kamba Ramayana Purvakanda


Ramayana Ramayana IV.41

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