Following the screeches of the dying bird, the brothers soon find him. This ancient vulture lord of the sky lies on sparse yellow grass, bleeding quickly into the ground. Rama rushes up to him first. "Rama," The old vulture, nephew of Garuda, the Eagle god that Vishnu--when not taking human form--rides around on, rasps the name, "Rama. I know your father. I thought that woman may have been Sita. I have not seen her, but I heard. Yes, very beautiful. Not right to steal." He makes a vultury cough. "Even if she were a monkey's wife or daughter, I'd have acted no different." His breath goes out again. "I guess I am stupid that way. That was Ravana, against whom even Indra could not stand. Oh, and Lakshman is with you, I see. Come closer. I am dying, you know. It's good to have someone to talk to."
"Who are you?" Lakshman asks when he comes to the bird's side and begins examining his many wounds.
"Oh. Of course, one bird is the same as another, isn't it? Even a giant vulture is not spoken of by a father to his children. I am Jatayu, and I have lived most of my days alone. Once I had a brother, but we both flew too high. Then I hit my head. Then I lived a long life. Now I am here. I am Jatayu, for whatever that might be worth. I am a vulture, soon to be left for the crows. Karma, I suppose. I knew your father in his fighting days. Oh, what fun he was!"
Rama and Lakshman do not wish to interrupt the bird. He is dying, after all. But, "What happened Sri Jatayu? Who did this to you?" Rama asks, as politely as he can. "
"It was Ravana, Lord of the Universe, or whatever he wants to call himself." He lets out a vulture's moan. "I have eaten animals as close to death as myself. I felt no regret at this. If I am to be fair in my feelings, then I should feel no regret at my own nearness to death. But I do. I had a brother, Sampati. We flew together when we were young. But I lost him. I have no idea where he might be."
"Please, Sri Jatayu, can you tell us more of Ravana? He has my wife, Sita? You saw Sita?"
"Oh, yes, of course. Please forgive a dying demi-god in the form of a vulture. It hurts, you know, to die. It is easier if I speak." A whistle trails through his beak. "Sita. Yes, he took Sita south. Probably to Lanka. That's where he lives, you know."
"Lanka? Where is Lanka?"
"Oh, yes, Sampati and I, we flew together so high. We almost touched the sun, but I went too high and was almost burned. So he flew higher and spread his wings to protect me. And they burned while I fell, blind to the Earth. I don't know how long it was before I could see again. And Sampati, I never saw him again. But I do not think he died. I think I would know if he'd have died."
"Please Sri Jatayu, can you tell us more about Ravana and Lanka. Can you be more helpful?"
"Ravana lives in Lanka. I don't go down that way. Too many demons."
"What about Sita? Did he hurt her?"
"Sita? I saw her fighting to escape. I cannot stand to see a prisoner, and he was flying in his chariot. This place. I stay here because there are not so many demons. I should have remembered who Ravana was, maybe, and then I would not be dying. But to die is not so bad. And the woman was so scared, so weak in his arms. I became angry, I think. To die is not so bad. To live at war with oneself is far worse. Death, it is just the ending of a dream, the slipping into the deeper sleep or the rising into action. Please, Rama, can you give me some water?"
And here, Rama is moved by what the bird tried to do for Sita. In the welling up of his emotions, he becomes connected with his godly powers. He brings the seven sacred rivers to that place by shooting an arrow into the ground. Today, this place is a common point of pilgrimage called Lepakshi. Jatayu is supposed to have been given moksha, or release in English, by Rama.
Having been given a name for his enemy and a name for his destination and a direction to run, Rama ran. Naturally, his brother Lakshman followed to look after him.
They kill a demon that is really some cursed deity or something and the demon tells them that they should ask the monkeys for help. "What monkeys?" They ask. Then the demon fades away like in a Miyazaki animation.
Up on the mountain the monkeys sit talking about what to do with the necklace. The one wearing the necklace shouts, "It is clearly a plot from my brother to kill me. A trick! A trick!" Then he throws it into the small and unusually sedate group of monkeys around him. "This thing is poison!"
The monkeys around him start hooting and hollering, "You're crazy, Sug. Crazy." They all laugh, tossing the necklace around between themselves and trying it on.
"Ok. Ok. Maybe this one thing was not my brother trying to kill me. But everything else--!" He jumps into a tree and back down several times. The last time he decides to start climbing up. When he reaches the top he lets out a shriek like only the dispossessed king of a tribe who has had his main wife stolen from him by his older brother can. "Eeeee! Assassins! Assassins!" He jumps down from the tree immediately and begins digging a hole to hide in.
"Assassins?" One of the monkeys ask. "Like those bees that stung you the other day?"
"Or that bird that pooped on your head?" Another mocks.
"Enough. King Sugriva, what did you see?"
"I saw two men coming this way, Hanuman." Being called a king calms him. "Please, they scare me. They have bows. They look like they know how to use them. Vali could have sent them. Really."
"Why did we follow the weaker brother?"
"Well, I had a pretty good position with him. Also, I thought Vali might have been back as a zombie and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible."
"One of my wives was nagging me about getting a bigger house, and this seemed like a good excuse to get away for a while. With any luck, by the time we get back, she'll have a new husband."
Sugriva, to escape the inane conversation of his advisers, takes Hanuman to the side. "Can you go down and see what these men want?"
"Of course, your highness." And Hanuman puts on a monk's robe and then jumps up into the trees in the direction that Sugriva had been looking.
In Part Seven - My Kingdom for Remorse: Rama meets with Sugriva and hears his story, then onward to the monkey city, Kishkindha.