As I was reading through Ramayana – the biography of Shri Rama, my mind wandered towards extrapolating the character of Jambavan. For those who never studied Ramayana, Jambavan is a leader in Shri Rama’s army, a renowned warrior, considered foremost among his peers and was a part of search operation looking for Sita Mata. Sita Mata, at that time, was abducted by the antagonist of the story, and the army was tasked in finding her whereabouts to launch an attack.
As the epic goes, the group with Jambavan comes across an seemingly insurmountable (literally) problem in their search. They have credible information about Sita Mata’s whereabouts, and would need to cross a waterbody of 100 yojanas (1 yojana = 8 miles) to reach the island holding her. Dismayed by the size of the jump, the vanaras sit on a beach lamenting the situation. The leader of a group, who happens to be the crown prince, exhorts the group at length and asks each member how much they jumped or believe can jump to see the most able to do the task. The one person who did actually make the jump (and beyond) remains silent because he has no recollection of the incident.
At this juncture, Jambavan reminds Hanuman of his capabilities, achievements and caliber. He reminds him of his strengths that were displayed time and again since childhood. He encourages Hanuman to take up the responsibility of finding Sita Mata’s whereabouts and making their operation a success. One can safely say that if Jambavan didn’t act at this juncture, Ramayana might have taken a different route to completion.
Jambavan wasn’t Hanuman’s guru, lord, confidant or mentor. He was simply someone who had an unbiased view of the group’s strengths (and weaknesses as illustrated in another part of the same context) with a willingness to speak up when the need arose.
The universality of such moments in my life struck me as I was reading this. I am no hero by any stretch of imagination. However, I had multiple moments that called for a Jambavan to step in. Moments where I was flummoxed by the huge obstacle in my way, when I forgot my own strengths & weaknesses, and ended up sitting on the sidelines and went way too close to letting the occasion slip through my fingers. This makes me believe that everyone, irrespective of who and what stage of life they are in, needs a Jambavan in their life. Someone who can encourage (or discourage) by reminding your achievements, offer unbiased opinion, and help you surmount your obstacles. One whom you can implicitly trust if they say “You’ve got this” and take up the challenge. Everyone needs a Jambavan. I know who they are in my life. What about you?