The Green Parrot With Red Eyes

I am astounded at the transformation of Jatayu into the Lord himself. Never in any earlier readings of the story (in another language) have I encountered such a description. (Aranya Kanda, Sriramcharit Manas)

Parahit bas jinh ke mann mahim/ Tinh kahu jag durlabh kach nahim//

Tanu taji taat jaahu mam dhama/ Devu kaah tumh poorankama//

Lord Ram spoke to Jatayu : ‘For someone who always places others’ welfare ahead of his ( one who is compassionate. Passion means suffering, compassion-suffering with another) can attain any spiritual heights. Go and attain my abode, my child, after giving up your mortal guise. What is left for me to bless you with? You are complete in yourself.’

Geedh deh taji dhari Hari roopa/ Bhooshan bahu pat peet anoopa//

Syam gaat bisaal bhuj chaari/ Astuthi karat nayan bhari baari//

Jatayu renounced his vulture’s body and assumed the form of Hari. He was dressed in resplendent yellow garbs and was wearing splendiferous ornaments. His body was blue-black in hue, he possessed four mighty hands and his eyes were filled with love and bliss…and he started singing glories of the Lord.

(Note: When attaining salvation aka the abode of the Lord, the devotee is depicted as merging with the Lord himself.)


Searching, I turn to Joseph Campbell’s conversations with Bill Moyers in ‘The Power of Myth’.

‘You quote those lines from the Upanishads : “Thou art the dark blue bird, and the green parrot with red eyes. Thou hast the lightning as thy child. Thou art the season and the seas. Having no beginning, thou dost abide with immanence, whereof all things are born.”

‘There’s a wonderful saying in one of the Upanishads: “Oh wonderful, oh wonderful, oh wonderful, I am food, I am food, I am food! I am an eater of food, I am an eater of food, I am an eater of food.“…A yielding to the flow is the great mystery experience that goes with thanking an animal that is about to be eaten for having given of itself. You, too, will be given in time.

‘I’m nature, nature is me.’


And then, Dr.Clarissa Pinkola Estes, in ‘Women who run with the wolves’…

She is the Life/ Death/Life force, she is the incubator. She is intuition, she is far-seer, she is deep listener, she is loyal heart. She encourages humans to remain multiligual; fluent in the languages of dreams, passion, and poetry. She whispers from night dreams, she leaves behind on the terrain of a woman’s soul a coarse hair and muddy footprints. These fill women with longing to find her, free her, and love her.

She is ideas, feelings, urges, and memory. She has been lost and half forgotten for a long, long, time. She is the source, the light, the night, the dark, and day break. She is the smell of good mud and the back leg of a fox. The birds which tell us secrets belong to her. She is the voice that says, ‘This way, this way.’

She is the one who thunders after injustice. She is the one who turns like a great wheel. She is the maker of cycles. She is the one we leave home to look for. She is the one we come home to. She is the mucky root of all women. She is the things that keep us going when we think we’re done for. She is the incubator of raw little ideas and deals. She is the mind which think us, we are the thoughts that she thinks.


I am at peace.

Same divinity in everything…Says the Lord (Aranya Kanda)

Ek baar prabhu such aaseena/ Lachiman bachan kahe chalheena//

Sur nar muni sacharachar sayim/ Mai poochavu nij prabhu ki nayim//

Once the Lord was seated graciously on his seat. Then his brother Lakshman spoke simple, heartfelt words: ‘Lord of the devas, humans, sages and all living and non-living things! May I ask you something…?’


Mohi samuchayi kahahu soyi deva/ Sab taji karamu charan raj seva//

Kahahu gyan birag aru maya/ Kahahu so bhagati karahu jehim daya//

‘Dear Lord! Kindly make me understand the ways in which I can relinquish everything and devote myself only to the dust of your feet. Tell me about wisdom, detachment and illusion. Also elucidate about the bhakti which makes you so compassionate.’


Eswar jeev bhed prabhu sakal kahau samuchayi/

Jatem hoyi charan rati sok moh bhram jayi//

‘Dear Lord! Do explain the difference between godliness and the mortal life. May my devotion to your lotus feet increase; so that my misery, desire and worldly confusion might end.’


Dhorehi mah sab kahavu buchayi/ Sunahu that mati mann chit layi//

Mai aru mor tor taim maya/ Jehim bas keenhe jeev nikaya//

(Sri Ramji said) ‘Dear brother, I shall explain everything. Listen with your intelligence, mind and heart. ‘I and mine’, ‘You and yours’ : that is Maya or illusion which has enfolded everything in its grip.’


Go gochar jah lagi mann jayi/ So sab maya janehu bhayi//

Tehi kar bhed sunahu tumh sovu/ Bidya apar abidya dovu//

‘My brother, know this: wherever your senses take you, and when the mind gets entranced -all that is part of illusion. Now listen to the difference between Vidya and Avidya. (Wisdom and ignorance).’


Ek dusht atisay dukhroopa/ Ja bas jeev para bhavkoopa//

Ek rachayi jag guna bas jakem/ Prabhu prerit nahim nij bal takem//

One is defective and causes unhappiness (Avidya) and mortals tumble into the well of worldly sufferings due to it. The other (Vidya) creates the universe and draws its inspiration from the Lord and has no strength of its own.


Gyan mann jah ekavu nahim/ Dekh brahma saman sab mahim//

Kahia taat so param biraagi/ Trin sam siddhi teeni guna tyaagi//

Wisdom is that which is devoid of ego (or pride) and which sees the same divinity in everything. (Sees Brahma in everything-living and nonliving- equitably).

Brother, consider that person as the supremely detached (vairaagi): the one who takes no time in ignoring (sacrificing) all his elevated achievements ( siddhis) and all three gunas (rajas, tamas, satvik) like a speck of dust.


Maya Ees na aapu kahu jaan kahia so jeev/

Bandh mochh prad sarbapar maya prerak seev//

The one who does not know Maya (illusion), God or himself is a mortal (living being caught in bhavasagar).

The One who grants salvation from further bonds (based on karma), is out of reach, and causes the play of Maya, is God.


Dharm tem birati jog tem gyana/ Gyan mocchprad bed bakhana//

Jaatem begi dravau mai bhai/ So mam bhagati bhagat sukhdayi//

From the practice of Dharma detachment ensues; from yoga comes wisdom; and wisdom leads to salvation (moksha): these are the teachings of the Vedas.

My brother, what pleases me quickly is a deep devotion to me, (bhakti) which in turn ensures joy and peace to my devotees.


So sutrantra avalamb na aana/ Tehi aadheen gyan bigyana//

Bhagati that anupam sukhmula/ Milayi jo sant hoyi anukula//

Bhakti  is  independent and free ; and does not need the support of wisdom or knowledge. Indeed, those are already servile to bhakti. Devotion triggers incomparable happiness; and one can obtain it when the good souls (sages, mentors) are pleased.


Bhagati ki sadhan kahavu bakhani/ Sugam pandh mohi pavahim prani//

Pradhamahim bipra charan ati preethi/ Nij nij karma nirat shruti reethi//

Now I shall narrate the ways of bhakti. For any living being, that path is the easiest way for attaining me. Be devoted to elevated souls. As per Vedas, do your assigned tasks sincerely.


Ehi kar phal puni bishay biraga/ Tab mam dharma upaj anuraga//

Shravanadik nav bhakti dridahim/ Mam leela rati ati man mahim//

Such efforts shall lead to detachment from sensory pleasures. Becoming detached, a deep devotion to me shall arise in the devotee. Then nine forms of prayerful devotion, including listening to my stories, shall become a practice. The narrations of my lila (Play of the Lord) shall fascinate my bhakta.


Sant charan pankaj ati prema/ Mann kram bachan bhajan dridh nema//

Guru pitu matu bandhu pati deva/ Sab mohi kah janai dridh seva//

My devotee shall have deep devotion to the ways of the saints (faithful to their lotus feet). In his mind, words and deeds he shall be firm on the ways of devotion.

For such a devotee, everything seems to be me: guru, father, mother, brother, spouse, and god. He or she is always walking the path of prayerful worship.(Everything done is an act of prayer)


Mam guna gaavat pulak sareera/ Gadgad gira nayan bah neera//

Kaam aadi mad dambh na jaakem/ Tath nirantar bas mai takem//

The devotee whose body becomes electrified while singing praises of Me, his voice breaking into sobs and his eyes welling with tears of devotion, such a one is free from desires, arrogance and pride.

I remain enslaved to such a devotee!


Bachan karma mann mori gati bhajanu karahim ni kama/

Tinh ke hriday kamal mahu karavu sada bishram//

The devotee who follows Me through his thoughts, words and deeds; adopting a nishkama attitude when he prays (doesn’t seek any results), I reside in the lotus of his heart.


Bhagati jog suni ati such pava/ Lacchiman prabhu charanahi siru nava//

Ehi bidhi gaye  kachhuk  din beeti/ Kahat birag gyan guna neeti//

Lakshman felt extremely blessed on listening to the ways of Bhakti Yoga. He bowed reverently before the Lord’s feet. Some days passed by in this manner, when they had discourses on detachment, wisdom, good qualities and rules of proper governance.