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Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Bear Giant

"हे प्रभु, यदि आप मुझ पर प्रसन्न हैं तो, मुझे अमरत्व का वरदान दें"
(O Lord, if you are pleased with me, then kindly bless me with immortality)

Immortality, the yearn to stay young, the desire to stay alive; for forever. Countless times we have seen or read this ambitious implore made by an aspirant turned ascetic, who takes break from this materialistic world, in order to achieve his higher goal. Most of the times it is demons (daitya, daanav or raakshas) with this plea; Considering their recklessness, Brahmm Dev refuses to every such request, death being the final destination.

But man hasn't given up on this dream, to defeat death and ageing. We often read in newspapers, scientists claiming to have identify the gene responsible ageing process and soon they boast to defy death. But nothing successful has been materialized till date, as death is the ultimate truth and necessary too, coz. we don't want this world to be overloaded, which will ultimately result chaotic.

Although, if we turn pages of our sanatan/ancient scriptures, there are plenty of instances which clearly states that immortality isn't a myth. Since the beginning of the creation, beings from various species have been granted with immortality or enhanced longevity for a purpose. And when I say 'beings from various species', it indeed is true to the last word. Here I meant the sons of Vinita: Arurn & Garurn, the generation of Sagar Manthan: Kaamdhenu & Ucchaihshravas, king of elephants, Airavat and many others; these species apart from the devas, daitya king Bali, the saptrishis and others, too are blessed with immortality, with a purpose.

Ramayan also mentions some eminent immortals, that still are believed to exist. When Bhagwan Ram left for his solemn egress, every devotee of him, from the Ayodhyaites to vaanars and rakshasas, they all left the mortal world by taking a dip in the holy water of Saryu. But before to that, he instructed five of his devotees to stay on earth for a longer time. Those devotees are:

  • Vibhisharn
  • Hanuman
  • Maind & Dwivid
  • Jambvant
In my last blog we learned about Maind & Dwivid. Today let's know the oldest or one of the oldest immortal, Jambvant.

{Image courtesy: Molee Art}

Long before, when the creation was in its initial stage i.e. evolving, when the sons of Aditi had become the devas but were still mortal, there emerged a son who was born immortal. Originated from Brahmm Dev's sneeze, Jambvant was born to shape many divine motives, to help them reach the desired endings for Dharmoday, rise of truth.

There had been confusions whether he was really a bear, or a vaanar in actual. But the scripture clearly states his identity; Valmiki Ramayan entitles Jambvant as king/chief of the bears, i.e. Riksh-Raj (king of riksha species, that in today's dialect has become reech, i.e. bhalu/bear). He was among the rare individuals who was fortunate to live the three yugs: Satyug, Tretayug & Dwaparyug, and to witness 5 incarnations of Bhagwan Vishnu: Kurma, Vaaman, ParshuRam, Ram & Krishn. Many scriptures including Ramayan give details of episodes that happened in different yugs where Jambvant presence is depicted:

  • During Samudra-Manthan, Satyug, Jambvant is mentioned among the ones to witness the unprecedented event, and the Kurma Avatar.
  • During Vaaman Avatar, Jambvant displayed his agility; when King Bali donated Shri Vaaman three foot land. Vamaan ji raised his foot to cover the three foot land, Jambvant circumambulated his giant form in very little time.
  • In Dwapar Yug, during Krishn-Avatar, Jambvant reference is given during the episode 'syamantak' gem. Due to a misunderstanding, Shri krishn & Jambvant were engaged in a duel that continued for 18 days. It was in the 18th day when Jambvant realized Shri Krishn's identity (Vishnu's incarnation, another form of Shri Ram). He bowed to Krishn and handed him the gem, as well as her daughter Jambvant's hand in his. (Ref. MahaBharat)

As far as Tretayug is concerned, Jambvant was one of the pivotal characters n Ramayan, he was an amazing tactician who was allied with the vaanar kingdom of Kishkindha. He served Sugreeve as his minister, directing him kingly matters. During the great war, he remained counselled Shri Ram & Sugreeve at every step guiding them to . Following are some instances in Ramayan where Jambvant proved his worthiness to Shri Ram and the divine motive:

  • During their expedition towards southern direction, when all vaanars felt clueless as to how traverse the great sea; Jambvant, who was aware of Hanuman's potentials, made him realize his immense capabilities. It was only after that, Hanuman was able to cross the great sea and what followed was Lanka's destruction.
  • Indrajeet was defeated in the war very first day, by Angad in hand to hand combat. Since then his only recourse was cheat. When he cowardly used Brahmmastra on Shri Ram's army it was a complete mayhem. Very few people including Shri Ram were able to remain conscious. Jambvant then directed Hanuman to fly towards Himalayas and found the mountain of herbs situated between the Kailash & Rishabh mount. Hanuman instantly flied towards north and brought the herbs, and with Jambvant's intellect, he saved the day.
The role of Jambvant in Ramayan isn't depicted much as a warrior, but as a strategist who with his tactical abilities, helped Shri Ram in winning the war.

This is the legend of Jambvant, son of Brahmma and the most humble character in Ramayan. He, like Maind & Dwivid had their lifespan till the dawn of Kalyug only, but considering his origination in the starting of Satyug, enhanced longevity will not be the appropriate term, because if we compare lifespans, he has lived more than Hanuman. And the fact that even the devas will perish during pralay/universal dissolution, Jambvant can be seen as an 'immortal'.

For those who consider Jambvant as Brahmma's avatar, though I have cleared that he was son of Brahmma, I recommend a read of my blog for a detailed understanding:

http://srirom.blogspot.in/2015/10/avatar-conceptualisation.html

I will take your leave from here, we will meet in my next blog with another legend to discuss. Till then, Be Proud :)

"Sometimes, a tactical mind plays a bigger role than an ironfist"

'सियाराम'