RAMA'S father Dasaratha had a friend, the great bird, JATAYU, the king of Eagles. It happened that old Jataayu, half-asleep upon a tree, saw the chariot flying past. Startled by a woman's cry of distress he became wide awake in a moment and recognised Sita by her voice. She also saw him and appealed to him for help.
Jataayu's blood was fired by the sight of her piteous plight and he threw himself in the way of the aerial car crying: "Hold, hold! What is all this?"
"The King of Lanka is carrying me away by force," wailed Seeta, "but what can you do to prevent it, my poor old friend? O fly to Raama and Lakshmana and tell them my helpless plight!"
But Jataayu's fighting blood, the blood of generations of lordly ancestors who ruled the air and knew not fear, was on fire; he cared not for Raavana and his might; he only saw a princess in distress; he thought of his friend Dasaratha and his promise to Raama and he was resolved that this outrage should not occur while he lived to prevent it. First, he appealed to Ravana to release Sita and then warned him that he would perish if continued to act wickedly. But Ravana would not listen to good words.
He flared up in a rage. He attacked Jataayu. It was like a clash between a mighty wind and a massive rain-cloud. The battle raged in the sky above the forest. Jataayu fought like a winged mountain and was severely wounded by Ravana. Regardless of the wounds, he attacked Raavana fiercely and with his wings broke off and threw down his jewelled crown and deprived him of his bow. He attacked the chariot and killed the demon-faced mules and the charioteer and smashed the vehicle into a thousand pieces. Raavana fell on the ground, still clutching Seeta.
The gallant old bird swooped down on Raavana's back and tore great chunks of flesh off it, and tried to wrench off the arms which held Seeta. But Raavana had twenty arms, and no sooner was one pulled off than another took its place and Seeta was held in writhing helplessness.
At last Raavana let go Seeta and unsheathing his sword cut off the bird's wings and talons. The old bird was now helpless and fell on the ground unable to move, sad that he could not rescue Sita.
Raavana, chariotless, carried
Sita and sped like an arrow across the sky towards Lanka. They went over many mountains and rivers and Seeta saw some people below standing on a hill-top. She took off her sash and tying up her jewels in it threw the bundle down.
She did this hoping that the ornaments thus dropped may be seen by Raama and give him a clue of the direction in which she was carried away.