A fable of The Indian Vulture: How Vulture got an unappealing bald head!
A vulture is symbolic of God and Goddesses wide around the world. Brothers Sampati and Jatayu of Hindu mythology gives vulture popularity in India. While Jatayu was the warrior whose wings were cut by Ravana in an indecent act to abduct Sita, Jatayu lived longer enough, waiting for the right time to conclude the sacrifice made by his brother. He helped Hanuman, the monkey God in entering Lanka by spying the sky of Lanka and indicating location of Goddess Sita. In Hinduism, Sakuni (Vulture) is regarded as a mother goddess, she is terrible in appearance. It is said that when angel Meneka, threw her newly born daughter Shakuntala, vultures came to her rescue and raised her to life. Vultures are revered as purifiers who never kill and always feed on those who die naturally or are killed by others. Vulture is the vehicle of Saturn (Sani) the planet which is abhorred to bring disgrace and misfortune into people’s lives. In this regard vultures are considered as inauspicious but there gentle cooing is a good omen. Fables are an alternate world to science. Casted on assumptions here things make perfect sense and resolve many a mysteries. One such fable is of how vulture got his bald head.
In the earliest of time, the Sun lived very close to earth. All life on the planet suffered because of the strong rays and was dying one by one. It became necessary to find a solution and save the planet from being deserted. The fox, opossum, vulture and many others volunteered to rescue. The sun must be pushed away from Earth. The fox thought to hold sun in its mouth and started running away towards the heavens. However, the heat was so strong that the inside of its mouth started to burn. That is how it has still got a black mouth! Then it was the turn of the opossum, the bushy tailed animal wrapped the sun around its tail and relayed towards the heavens. The tail lost all its hair; the opossum has not been able to grow them till date.
Then it was the turn of visionary vulture. He too had to make his contribution to save the world. The vulture with the strength of its wings and push of his head started the act of taking the sun to the heavens. The rays fell strongly against his hairy crown and put them to ashes. Even then, the Vulture knowing that sun had to be shifted to the heavens flew with all the strength in its wings and pushed the sun up and up in the heavens, thence putting the relay to an end. He had lost all the hair of his head by then and returned bald. He was greatly lauded by the earth but lost his crown of hair on the head, which were once upon a time as graceful as his feathers! The sun was put at a safe distance, and the peace of the planet was restored. The strength and will of the vulture converted Sun from a destroyer to a healer of animal kingdom, till eternity.
If fable is to be believed, the raptor that once saved the world is itself struggling for survival in today’s time.
Courtesy : Vineeta Yadav