Friday, September 11, 2009


Image taken from ORIAS The Ramayana image library
It is a detail of mural painting (late 18th century) at Wat Phra Si Ratana Satsadaram (Wat Phra Kaeo) Temple,
Bangkok, Thailand Photo: Garrett Kam

Have you ever heard of the mythical creature called Jentayu/Jatayu? Commonly described as a phoenix-like creature. Found in the Hindu epic written in Sanskrit called Ramayana, Jatayu is a demi-god in the form of a large bird and a friend of the epic's hero, Rama. The story tells of how Jatayu flew to the rescue of Rama's wife Sita, who was kidnapped by the demon king, Ravana. In the fight, Ravana cuts off Jatayu's wings leaving him mortally wounded. In the Ramayana, Jatayu is the nephew of the eagle-god Garuda,which explains why Jatayu is depicted as a type of eagle.

So why the sudden fascination with Jentayu and its story? Well, it is quite simple actually. I was listening to Jentayu by Sheila Majid this morning and it gave me goosebumps the way really good songs give you goosebumps. The song was released as a single in 1995 and immediately became a firm favourite. I thought I'd share it with you. Below is the music video complete with lyrics a la karaoke!

I've roughly translated the lyrics below for those who are interested.

Di paruhmu kemilauan sinar (Sadness glistens on your beak)
Menyepuhi sejuta rasa (Covered with a million emotions)
Kemuliaan di hatimu (The honour of your heart)
Bening budi terdampar di jagat raya (The brilliance of your righteouness shines across the vast shores of the world)
Di sayap taufan kau jelajahi (On the flanks of a storm, you explore)
Awan gemawan membawa rindu (Through the clouds, you bring news of (the one she) misses)
Kasihmu menentangi kezaliman ketidakadilan (Your love fights against cruelty and injustice)

Jentayu patah sayap bertongkat paruh (Jentayu with your wings broken, you use your beak)
Jentayu patah paruh bertongkat siku (Jentayu with your beak broken, you use your elbow)
Jentayu patah siku bertongkat dagu (Jentayu with your elbow broken, you use your chin)
Jentayu patah dagu bertongkat kuku (Jentayu with your chin broken, you use your claws)
(*note: this is figurative of Jentayu's tenacious nature in the fight for righteousness)

Pinjamkanlah hatimu untuk semua (Lend to all, your heart)
Pinjamkanlah syahdumu (Lend to all, your elegance)

Can you just imagine the eternal fight between the majestic Jentayu and the evil king Ravana? How righteous, loyal and noble! Oh, how romantic!

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