Friday, August 6, 2010

PDE Ramayana: Sampati


Reading Guide. Remember Jatayu, the bird who tried to defend Sita from Ravana? As Hanuman and the army travel south, they meet Jatayu's brother: Sampati. He tells them they are headed in the right direction because Ravana has taken Sita to Lanka.

Image: In the illustration below, Sampati is depicted as a vulture-like bird, although both Sampati and Jatayu have been imagined in many ways by artists over the centuries, as you can see here: Jatayu and Sampati.

SourceMyths of the Hindus and Buddhists by Sister Nivedita (1914). [200 words]





And after a month the hosts came back from searching the north and west and east, sorry and dejected that they had not found Sita. But the southern host searched all the woods and caves and hidden places, till at last they came to the mighty ocean, the home of Varuna, boundless, resounding, covered with dreadful waves. A month had passed and Sita was not found; therefore the monkeys sat dejected, gazing over the sea and waiting for their end, for they dared not return to Sugriva.

But there dwelt a mighty and very aged vulture named Sampati in a neighboring cave, and he, hearing the monkeys talking of his brother Jatayu, came forth and asked for news of him. Then the monkeys related to him the whole affair, and Sampati answered that he had seen Sita carried away by Ravana and that Ravana dwelt in Lanka, a hundred leagues across the sea.

"Do ye repair thither," he said, "and avenge the rape of Sita and the murder of my brother. For I have the gift of foresight, and even now I perceive that Ravan and Sita are there in Lanka."





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