In Ramayan, Jatayu was a very old vulture bird.
When he met Ravana, he was very old. He was the King of the vultures but not very strong that time.
He saw that Sita matha was in trouble and she was calling.
Jatayu did not hesitate a moment to serve her. Not to save her but to serve her.
Jatayu did not think he could save Sita mata. He wanted to serve her.
There is a difference. We always think that we are saving the satsang program with all our association, but says it is good to remember that you are just a servant not a saviour.
We cannot do anything except to serve. So Jatayu few off into the sky to fight Ravana because he wanted to serve Lord Rama.
He said,”My body is of no value if it is not used in the service of the Lord. The Lord’s most precious mother Sita is being kidnapped. It is my duty to stop this”.
So Jatayu fought with Ravana and gave him a good run for his money. He made it so difficult for Ravana for a while and thought that mother Sita is going to be out of this demon king.
But then Ravana’s strength came back. Ravana chopped and chopped and somehow severed the wings and limbs of Jatayu.
Jatayu fell in the midst of heap of blood and his life was slowly going away.
When his life was going away, Lord Rama and Lakshmana came there.
Seeing Jatayu, they thought that he must be the demon who is trying to catch Sita. So they approached with caution.
When they saw Jatayu actually dying because of Ravana, Lord Rama’s heart was in pain.
Jatayu praised Rama,”My dear Lord please forgive me that I could not execute my service to the best of my ability. I failed in my service.
But I tried and I could tell you from my knowledge of shastra, the time in which she is leaving now is an auspicious time. Whatever you have lost in this time, you will gain back”.
Jatayu even in that condition tried to serve Lord by uttering sweet words to pacify the Lord. He didn’t have to because he is already dying. Even then he did not think, “My Lord I tried to serve you, now I am dying, what kind of a Lord you are?”
But we will do that. Because we think that if we do something, we must get something back. This is how we approach Bhagavatam.
This is how we approach bhakti. Every time when we come to Krishna, Krishna you are very nice but I need this, this, this… Krishna very nice to see you today, this is my list and I will add few more as the day goes by. This is what we think in our prayer to Krishna.
But we don’t realize our real prayer to Krishna should never be in that form. It is stated in shastras that Jatayu did a nice service to the Lord Ram, at that point Lord decided to conduct funeral of Jatayu just like he is His father and they are his sons.
Lord Ram with Lakshman did the funeral and as the body of Jatayu was being burnt, Rama said,”Today the loss of Jatayu is more painful to Me than the loss of Sita”.
This is how Lord Krishna, Lord Rama values the service of His devotees. And that service was done with eagerness. Jatayu fought like a young man.
It was done with devotion and meditation of Lord Rama and the result of that was Jatayu did not die in vain but pacified by the darshan of Rama. How many of us can claim to have darshan of the Lord at the point when we leave our body? We don’t know. But Jatayu had that. So what appeared to be a failure of effort materially is actually a great success spiritually and the reason for that is remembrance of Krishna.
Ravana, not being with the lotus feet of the Lord, lost everything.
Srimad Bhagavatam verse 3.29.39:
na caasya kaschid dayito / na dveshyo na ca baandhavah
aavishaty apramatto ‘sau / pramattam janam anta-krt
“No one is dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor is anyone His enemy or friend. But He gives inspiration to those who have not forgotten Him and destroys those who have.”
Service without expectation would please Krishna: The word inspiration means also ‘sacrifice’. There is a very subtle link between inspiration and sacrifice.
A devotee who wants to remember the lotus feet of the Lord will get inspiration because of his eagerness to do whatever is necessary for devotional service.