Sita fell into the trap of Ravana and struggled to escape him. The might of Ravana as well as the flight and reach of Pushpak Vimana made Sita helpless in that situation. However, Jatayu came to the rescue and tried his full might to make sure that Sita escapes the demon. But alas, the might of the 10 headed demon overpowered the old vulture who gave in its soul to save the future queen. Ravana had cut his wings and he fell down. While he breathed his last, Rama had finally returned to the hut with Lakshmana.
Lakshmana had found Rama in the forest. After hours of searching and trying to spot the deer, the duo had returned to the hut. Rama got worried as Lakshmana had come to find him and left Sita alone. Rama was disappointed in him but as Lakshmana explained Sita’s worry, he understood Lakshmana’s state of mind and they both hurried to the hut.
The hut was empty and Lakshmana also saw that there was no one inside. Neither was there anything done to the Lakshmana Rekha. Both the brothers got extremely worried now. They started searching the forest frantically. They went from one corner to the other. Meanwhile, Maricha who had taken the form of the golden deer had escaped from the sight of Rama and transformed himself to his true form and returned to Lanka.
While the brothers searched for Sita, they heard a cry. The cry was full of despair and distress. They tried to locate the cry and found it near a river. They rushed there. They spotted Jatayu who was breathing his last breathes. Rama understood the situation and knew that Jatayu would not survive.
Realizing that Jatayu was in Rama’s arms, he spoke,
“Oh Lord, please forgive me! I could not save Sita from Ravana. They were flying in the Pushpak Vimana and I tried to rescue Sita but Ravana cut my wings and I fell down. They were moving towards the south. Please forgive me!“
“Oh Jatayu, I know that you gave your best to rescue Sita and left no stone unturned to do so. Please do not be sorry. I should be sorry because I was not there when Sita needed me the most. I cannot thank you enough for the act of bravery, courage, and strength that you have shown. You would be remembered for ages to come for this act and you would also attain Moksha. You have done your best. You may rest now!”
Jatayu breathed his last and died peacefully in the arms of Rama. Rama made sure that Jatayu got a proper cremation. He cremated the mighty bird himself and went to the river to immerse the ashes. Rama and Lakshmana were now tensed and rested for a while. They had decided to fight Ravana and get back Sita. A long difficult journey was awaiting them. They were also planning what to do next when they got an idea to visit the king of Kishkindha and seek his help.