The Jatayu wiki last edited by Soren on 02/12/13 08:08PM
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Rivalry with Sampati
In his youth Jatayu once challenged his brother Sampati to a competition, as to determine who could soar the highest. However, Jatayu would fly to such great heights that he was in danger of being immolated by the sun's flames. Sampati rushed to his brothers aid, shielding him from the sun with his own out-spread wings. And so Sampati was seared greatly and lived the remainder of his life's span wingless.
Jatayu is featured prominently in the Ramayana, one of the great Hindu epics. He was said to be an old acquaintance of Dasaratha, a kshatriya of the Ikshvaku clan, and father to Rama of Ayodyha.
When Ravana kidnapped Sita and fled to Lanka, Jatayu came to his side, warning him of the fate that awaits him, of the uncontrollable vengeance of Lord Rama. Ravana disregards his warning, singeing Jatayu's wings with an arrow. They then engaged in a fearsome aerial battle, though Jatayu is naturally weighed down by his great age and partial blindness. Having blinded the steeds that carry Ravana's great chariot, the pair are brought plunging down to earth. Ravana ultimately gains the advantage, hacking the vultures wings apart, leaving Jatayu to die in the forest.
Rama and Lakshmana come across the wounded demi-god on their way back to the asrama, receiving news of SIta's abduction, before administering final burial rites for their fallen friend.