Jambavana also known as Jambavanta is a character originating in Indian epic poetry, popularly found in Ramyana. The King of Bears, he is an asiastic or sloth bear in Indian epic tradition (though he is also described as a monkey in other scriptures), immortal to all but his father Brahma. Several times he is mentioned as Kapishreshtha (Foremost among the monkeys) and other epithets generally given to the Vanaras. He is known as Riksharaj (King of the Rikshas). Rikshas are earlier described as similar to Vanaras but in later versions of Ramayana Rikshas are described as bears. He was created by Brahma, to assist Rama in his struggle against Ravana. Jambavana 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.
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Jambavan in his previous life was the King of the Himalayas who had incarnated as a bear in order to serve Lord Rama. He received a boon from Lord Rama that he would have a long life, and have the strength of ten million lions. In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find His wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana.
Tadaka and Subahu attempted to harass as many rishis as they could, by destroying their Yagnas with rains of flesh and blood. Brahmarishi Vishwamitra was especially at the receiving end of Tadaka’s harassment. Unable to cope with her mischief any longer, Vishwamitra finally approached Dasaratha, the King of Kosala, for help. The King obliged by sending two of his four sons, the 16-yr-olds, Rama and Lakshmana, to the forest, charging them to protect both Vishwamitra and his Yagna. Vishwamitra and the two princes came to Tataka’s forest and the sage ordered Rama to kill the demoness to free the area from her terror. Rama was hesitant to kill her as she was a woman and initially maimed her, chopping off her hands so that she could not attack him further. Using her demonic powers, she changed form, disappeared and continued to attack them whilst remaining unseen. Sage Vishwamitra advised Rama, that as a prince, he had to carry out his duty regardless of his own personal reservations about killing a woman. Rama swiftly pierced her heart with his arrows. This act gained the young princes the blessings of not just Vishwamitra but also the blessings of all of the assembled sages in the yagnashala.
Shabari is an elderly woman ascetic in the later versions of the Hindu epic Ramayana. She is described as an ardently devoted woman who received Rama’s darshan and blessing due to her Bhakti to him. Everyday Shabari would go out of her ashram, with the help of a walking stick and pluck berry fruits for Lord Ram. She would pluck a fruit, first taste it, and if it was sweet she would put it in her basket and discard the bitter ones. She wanted to give the good and sweet fruits to Ram. The thought never came to her that she should not taste it before it was offered to a deity. Traditional writers use this narrative to indicate that in bhakti, faults are not seen by the deities. Thus collecting a few fruits, Shabari went back to the ashram and eagerly anticipated Lord Ram’s arrival. Shabari is commonly used as a metaphor for an endless wait for God.
According to the scriptural account, even though hundreds of other yogis were waiting to receive Rama in their ashrams, Rama went only to Shabari’s ashram because of her sincere devotion. On seeing Rama, Shabari became ecstatic and said, “There were so many exalted yogis waiting for your darshan, but you came to this unworthy devotee. I do not have anything to offer other than my heart, but here are some berry fruits. May it please you, my Lord.”