Bird and Animal characters, from an ant to an elephant are found in many episodes in our Puranas, Epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha and Bhagavatha and Jataka tales. They also play a very important roles. It is a deer that enabled RAvanasura, the king of Lankapuri to abduct Sita Devi. Monkeys enabled Sri Rama to go to Lankapuri, kill Ravanasura and get back Sita Devi. It is the bird-kite Sampati that told Hanuman and others the whereabouts of Sita Devi. In Bhagavatha many demons came disguished as animals; Vatsasura as a Calf, Aghasura as a huge serpent, Dhenukasura as an Ass, Kesi as a Horse and Arista as a bull to kill Krikshna at the behest of the demon king Kamsa. Lord Sri Vishnu, in out of the ten Avataras he took, he took the form of a fish (Mastyavatar), Tortoise (Koormavatas) boar (Varahavatar) and Lion (Narasimhavatar). The Vahanas of the Gods are all animals and birds. In Padma Purana the benefits of reciting each Chapter of Bhagavad Gita are narrated in the shape of episode. Birds and animals make their appearance very prominently in each episode. In Bhagavad Gita also Lord Sri Krishna mentions animals and birds as follows:
“Know Me as Ucchswava (Name of Royal Horse) among horses, among the elephants the Iravata, among cows I am the “wish fulfilling cow called Kamadhenu. Among serpents, I am Vasuki, Among beaste I am Lion and Vainateya (Garuda) among birds. Among fishes I am the Shark” (verses 27 to 31 Chapter-X of Gita).
“Sages look with an equal eye on a Brahamana endowed with learning and humility, on a cow, an on elephant and even on a dog and an outcaste (Verse.18, Chapter V of Gita).
Jataka tales deal with the life of Goutama Buddha during some incarnations and in one of his previous births (life) as a Bodhisatta. In most of these tales, the characters are exclusively animals and birds. This shows the importance given to the animals and birds by Gautama Buddha also. Fifteen of these tales are included in this book.
There are several others involving about forty animals and birds.
I have made an attempt to cull out more than one hundred such episodes from our Puranas, Epics Ramayana and Mahabharatha, Bhagavatha Bhagavad Gita and the Jataka tales and presented them to the readers, young and old, in the following pages. Each episode forms a full-fledged story by itself.
The main object in this my humble effort is to highlight the fact that in God’s creation the animals and birds have as an important place as human beings.
Brahma Sutras (79)
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