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Jambavantha (Sanskrit: जाम्‍बवान; also known as Jambavan or Jamvanta or Jambavaan), the King of the Bears, is a sloth bear in Indian epic tradition, immortal to all but his father Vishnu.[1] He was created, like Hanuman, by Vishnu, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana.[1] Jambavan was present at the churning of the ocean, and is supposed to have circled Vamana seven times when he was acquiring the three worlds from Mahabali. He was the King of the Himalayas who had incarnated as a bear in order to serve Lord Rama. He had received a boon from Lord Rama that he would have a long life, be handsome and would have the strength of ten million lions.

Jambavantha had killed a lion, who had acquired a gem called Syamantaka from Prasena after killing him. According to a Hindu legend, this gem was later renamed as the Koh-i-Noor diamond of the present day.[2] Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Prasena's steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavantha to his cave and a fight ensued. After twenty-eight days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavantha submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna's wives.

In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana. Later, it is he who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.

Contents

Role in Ramayana

Jambavantha was one of the several advisers who left Kishkindha with Sugriva after Sugriva was exiled by Vali (Sugriva’s brother).

Jambavantha was considered very experienced and intelligent. He had a good knowledge of running a kingdom. Sugriva’s advisers included Jambavantha, Nala, Neela, Hanuman and a few others. Sugriva was residing on mount Rishyamook with these advisers. Jambavantha advised Sugriva to send Hanuman to identify Rama and Lakshmana, to find out who they were and what their purpose was.

He was very powerful when he was young. He said this while he was encouraging Hanuman to cross the 7 Yozan Sea and go to Lanka in search of Sita. He was so powerful that he circled 7 times to God when God grew so huge to measure all three loka i.e. heaven, earth, and patal (below earth) in two simple steps. Jambavantha circled(parikrama) seven times to God in a brief time. So he could have easily jumped 7 Yojan Sea had he been young.

Once during a duel with Ravana, Jambavan was quick and ferocious. He gave Ravana mighty blows with his hands and finally kicked him on his chest, knocking Ravana unconscious and making him fall flat in his chariot. As a result, the charioteer withdrew Ravana from the battle. Earlier, Ravana had dueled Hanuman, who is considered to be the incarnation of Lord Shiva, and Sugriva, known to be the son of Surya.

The city of Jamvanta

  • Jamthun (जामथुन) - Jamthun village in Ratlam tahsil in Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh, located in northwest of Ratlam city, has traces of ancient habitation. It is known as the city of Jamvanta (जाम्‍वन्त) or Jamvanta Nagari. Ancient bricks have been found in excavations. There is a water tank of very ancient style. There is a need for further excavation.[3]

References

  1. ^ a b Patricia Turner, Charles Russell Coulter. Dictionary of ancient deities. 2001, page 248
  2. ^ Koh-i-noor, a Mountain of Light
  3. ^ Dr Ajit Raizada: Art, Archaeology and History of Ratlam, Sharada Prakashan Delhi, 1992, ISBN 81-85320-14-4, p.115

See also

External links

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