Chapter 19 Khandavaprastha and Saranga Birds
In the Puranas, animals and birds converse in human tones and occasionally offer wise counsel or even impart spiritual knowledge.
But those species’ inherent traits have been deftly crafted to shine through this human shroud.
This joyful blending of nature and imagination is one of the distinctive characteristics of the Puranic literature. Hanuman, who is portrayed as being highly smart and scholarly, is forced to cavort with apish ecstasy in a charming passage in the Ramayana when he thinks the lovely damsel he saw at Ravana’s inner courtyard was Sita.
Children are frequently amused by tales in which animals and birds are given human speech. But because the Puranas are stories for the elderly, they often provide some context for the idea that some animals have the ability to speak like humans.
The typical strategy used is a former birth when those entities were humans. For instance, a fox was once a king and a deer was once a rishi. The ensuing degeneration was brought on by a curse.
In certain situations, the deer will behave normally while speaking like a rishi, and the fox’s cunning nature will be tinged with the traits of a seasoned and wise monarch. As a result, the stories become captivating vehicles for the profound truths they occasionally express.
When the Pandavas took control of Khandavaprastha, that jungle filled with uneven terrain, thorns, and prickles as well as the decaying remains of a long-dead city, it was undoubtedly a terrifying place.
It was inhabited by animals and birds, and it was rife with crooks and evil people. Krishna and Arjuna decided to burn down the forest and build a new city there.
There was a saranga bird residing with its four fledglings. The male bird was enjoying himself by ambling through the woodland with another female bird while ignoring his wife and little family. The mother bird took care of her young.
The terrified mother bird started to cry out, “The fire is approaching more and nearer scorching everything, and soon it will be here and destroy us,” as the forest was set on fire as ordered by Krishna and Arjuna, spreading in all directions and performing its terrible work. All woodland animals are in misery, as the agonising crash of falling trees fills the air. The poor wingless infants! You’ll fall victim to the flames. So what do I do? Your father has abandoned us, and I am unable to fly away while holding you.
The kids addressed the sobbing mother, saying, “Mother, don’t torture yourself because of us. Leave it up to fate for us. If we pass away here, we will be given a nice birth in a subsequent life. Our family will perish if you sacrifice your life for us. Fly to a safe location, find another partner, and enjoy yourselves. You’ll soon have more kids, and you’ll be able to forget about us. Think it over, mother, and do what’s best for our race.
The mother had no intention of leaving her kids in spite of her sincere plea. I will stay here and die in the flames with you, she declared.
This is the backdrop of the narrative of the birds. A rishi by the name of Mandapala lived a long life committed to his vow of perfect brahmacharya, but when he tried to enter the higher realms, the gatekeeper turned him away, saying, “There is no place here for a childless man.” He then had a partner named Jarita and was born as a saranga bird. It produced four eggs. Then he parted ways with Jarita and went exploring in the woods with Lapita.
The four birds listed above were the four that came from Jarita’s four eggs that hatched on schedule. They could support and uplift their mother in the manner they did because they were the offspring of a rishi.
There is a rat hole on the side of this tree, the mother bird warned her young ones. I’ll move you there. You can enter the hole and get away from the flames. I’ll plug the hole’s mouth with soil so the flames won’t get to you. I’ll let you out when the fire goes out. The kids would not concur. They said: “The rat in the hole will consume us. It is preferable to die in the flames than to pass away dishonourably by being devoured by rats.”
The mother bird replied, “I witnessed an eagle consume the rat, trying to allay the children’s anxieties. You are no longer in danger within the pit.” However, the kids said, “There are definitely more rats in the hole. The eagle’s killing of one rat does not put a stop to our peril. Before the fire reaches us and this tree catches fire, kindly save your life by taking to the air. We are unable to enter the rat hole. Why would you give up your life for us? How did we earn it when we did nothing for you? Since we entered the earth, we have only brought you misery. Live happily and find another partner.”
The fire which burned the whole forest, luckily left the young birds uninjured. The mother bird returned after the fire had stopped and was amazed to discover that her young were secure and singing happily. She gave them a warm embrace while beaming with joy.
The male bird had confided his anxieties to his new love-bird Lapita while the fire raged, worried for the safety of his young. She had chastised him indignantly. She said, “I know your thinking, I know that you yearn to go back to Jarita, having had enough of me,” after hearing his repeated cries of “Is it so?” Why bring in the children and the fire on false pretences? You yourself assured me that the Jarita children would never perish in flames since the Fire God had granted you that blessing. If you choose, you can come clean and depart for your cherished Jarita. I’ll just be one of the countless innocent women who put their confidence in unfit men and were dumped to roam the wilderness. You can leave.
You are mistaken in your assumption, the bird Mandapala remarked. I was born a bird in order to have offspring, therefore I naturally worry about them.
I’ll simply visit them first, and then get back to you. After comforting his new partner in this manner, he proceeded to the tree to see Jarita sitting there.
Jarita paid her partner no mind, preoccupied as she was with her relief at discovering her children still alive.
She then asked her husband, in a nonchalant manner, why he had arrived. Are my kids content? he asked lovingly. Who among them is the oldest?
Jarita then abruptly interjected: “Do you really care? Return to the person you left me for. Be content with her.”
“A lady would not care about her husband after she has given birth,” said Mandapala.
This is how things are in the world. Thus, Arundhati disregarded even the innocent Vasishtha.
Keep Mahabharat Book at Home and Read Daily – DO NOT FALL TO FAKE PROPAGANDA and Allow Enemies to Weaken our Dharma and Bharat
This historical epic Mahabharat is known as fifth Veda. It is a common misconception spread by mlecchas; muslims and christian missionaries, and secular Hindus that reading Mahabharat or keeping it at home will likely lead to arguments and fighting. All of this misinformation was spread by illiterate mlecchas and anti-Hindus, and it is completely incorrect. It is done to mentally weaken Hindus so that they avoid reading Mahabharat. Because Mahabharat invokes bravery, pride and sense of confidence in Hindus.
Keep a copy of Mahabharat at home and read it online at the HariBhakt website. Mahabharat is rightly called the fifth Veda for Kaliyuga people because it is a tool and guidance to invoke confidence and bravery in Sanatan Dharmi Hindus.
You can read complete Mahabharat by following Chapter links given below. You can check Glossary of Mahabharat here.