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Jambavan: The Immortal half man and half bear

A great devotee of Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe, Jambavan came down to earth in order to help him fight against evil

By Akanksha Sharma

Jambvan
Jambvan, Wikimedia Commons

  • Jambavan (Jambvan), the great half man and half bear, was the son of Brahma, the creator of Universe. Also known as Jambavantha or Jamvanta, he is believed to have born even before the Universe was created and is a mythological character who appeared in the epics of Ancient India.
  • A great devotee of Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe, Jambavan came down to earth in order to help him fight against evil. Jambavan in his previous life was the King of the Himalayas.
  • This immortal bear is said to be endowed with the strength of ten million lions and the wisdom and foresight of Gods themselves. He was a brilliant leader, an able strategist, and formidable opponent.
  • In Valmiki’s Ramayana, he was described as being a Vanara or monkey. He appeared in Ramayana to help Vishnu in his Rama avatar to confront and battle the wicked Ravana, a ten-headed devotee of Lord Shiva.
  • He is the one who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.
  • When Lakshmana gets severely injured during the battle against Ravana, Jambavan gives Hanuman tips for the identification of the life-saving herb (Sanjeevni Booti) on the Himalayas, describing them by their brilliant glow.

Related Article: Ramayana Traditions

  • Jambavan was also present when Vishnu took on his Vamana avatar and incarnated as Krishna in Mahabharata.
  • In Mahabharata, he had killed a lion, who had gained a gem called Symantaka from Prasena (Prasenjit). The gem was later renamed as the Kohinoor diamond of the present day. Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Parsena’s steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavan to his cave and a fight ensued. After eighteen days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavan submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna’s wife.

File:Jambavati weds Krishna.jpg
Jambavati weds Krishna, Wikimedia Commons

  • Jamthun, a village in Ratlam district, Madhya Pradesh, is known as the city of Jamvantha. Ancient bricks have been found in the excavations.

Akanksha Sharma is a student of Journalism in New Delhi. She currently works as an intern in Newsgram. Twitter@Akanksha4117

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