And Garuḍa arrived, his large body temporarily blocking out the sun, and swooping down, picked up the valiant Jīmūtavāhana with his beak and talons, and carried him away to the Malaya mountains.
On the way there, the jewel that adorned Jīmūtavāhana’s crest was torn from his head, and drops of blood fell from his head, as he was held in the vice-like grip of the merciless king of birds.
Once he reached the mountains, Garuḍa laid down his prey, and began to peck him, ready to eat his flesh.
अत्रान्तरे स तद् रक्तधारास्रवशिरोमणिः ।
तस्या मलयवत्याश् च तत्पत्न्याः प्रापतत् पुरः ॥ १२,२३.१५४ ॥
सा तद् दृष्ट्वा परिज्ञाय चूडारत्नं सुविह्वला ।
अन्तिकस्था श्वशुरयोस् ताभ्यां साश्रुर् अदर्शयत् ॥ १२,२३.१५५ ॥
तौ च जायापती सूनोः शिरोरत्नं विलोक्य तम् ।
किम् एतद् इति संभ्रान्तौ सहसैव बभूवतुः ॥ १२,२३.१५६ ॥
ततः स्वविद्यानुध्यानाद् यथावृत्तम् अवेत्य तत् ।
राजा जीमूतकेतुः सा राज्ञी कनकवत्य् अपि ॥ १२,२३.१५७ ॥
वध्वा मलयवत्या तौ प्रावर्तेतां सह द्रुतम् ।
गन्तुं तत्रैव तौ यत्र तार्क्ष्यजीमूतवाहनौ ॥ १२,२३.१५८ ॥
तावत् स शङ्खचूडो ऽत्र नत्वा गोकर्णम् आगतः ।
ददर्श रुधिरार्द्रं तद् विग्नो वध्यशिलातलम् ॥ १२,२३.१५९ ॥
हा हतो ऽस्मि महापापो ध्रुवं तेन महात्मना ।
आत्मा गरुत्मते दत्तो मत्कृते सुकृपालुना ॥ १२,२३.१६० ॥
तद् अन्विष्यामि नीतः स क्षणे ऽस्मिन् क्वाहिवैरिणा ।
मज्जेयं नायशःपङ्के जीवन्तं चेत् तम् आप्नुयाम् ॥ १२,२३.१६१ ॥
इत्य् उदश्रुर् वदन् सो ऽथ साधुर् दृष्ट्वा निरन्तराम् ।
पतितां भुवि तद्रक्तधाराम् अनुसरन् ययौ ॥ १२,२३.१६२ ॥
In the meanwhile, the jewel that adorned Jīmūtavāhana’s crest, now dripping with his blood, had fallen in front of Malayavatī.
When she saw it, she recognized it as his, and broke into tears. She ran to his parents and showed them the jewel, and they too were shocked seeing it.
Then king Jīmūtaketu went into deep meditation, and came to know what all had happened, and how his son had offered himself to Garuḍa in order to save a Nāga.
He then rushed the Malaya mountains, along with his wife, and Malayavatī, in order to try to save Jīmūtavāhana’s life.
On the other side, Śaṅkhacūḍa returned from the temple of Gokarṇa, and to his dismay, found the stone of sacrifice wet with blood. He realized what had happened and broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Oh! What have I done! What a great sin has been committed by me! It is evident that that giant-hearted being, one filled with compassion, has offered himself to Garuḍa in order to save my life…”
“I will have to find them and save him, else I will not be able to live honorably, and find peace even in my afterlife…
He then started to follow the trail of the drops of blood, hoping to reach Jīmūtavāhana in time….
अत्रान्तरे भक्षयंस् तं दृष्ट्वा जीमूतवाहनम् ।
हृष्टं विरम्य गरुडश् चिन्तयामास तत् क्षणम् ॥ १२,२३.१६३ ॥
अहो अपूर्वः को ऽप्य् एष भक्ष्यमानो ऽपि यो मया ।
प्रहृष्यति महासत्त्वो न तु प्राणैर् वियुज्यते ॥ १२,२३.१६४ ॥
बिभर्ति लुप्तशेषे च गात्रे रोमाञ्चकञ्चुकम् ।
किं चोपकारिणीवास्य मयि दृष्टिः प्रसीदति ॥ १२,२३.१६५ ॥
तन् नैष नागः कोऽप्य् एष साधुः पृच्छामि नाद्म्य् अमुम् ।
इति तार्क्ष्यं विमृश्यन्तं प्राह जीमूतवाहनः ॥ १२,२३.१६६ ॥
पक्षीन्द्र किं निवृत्तो ऽसि न हि मे मांसशोणितम् ।
देहे नास्ति न चाद्यापि परितृप्तो ऽसि बुङ्क्ष्व तत् ॥ १२,२३.१६७ ॥
एतच् छ्रुत्वातिसाश्चर्यस् तं पप्रच्छ स पक्षिराट् ।
नागो नैवासि तद् ब्रूहि महात्मन् को भवान् इति ॥ १२,२३.१६८ ॥
नाग एवास्मि को ऽयं ते प्रश्नः प्रकृतम् आचर ।
प्रस्तुतार्थविरुद्धं हि को ऽभिदध्याद् अबालिशः ॥ १२,२३.१६९ ॥
एवं प्रतिवदत्य् एव तार्क्ष्यं जीमूतवाहने ।
प्राप्तः स शङ्खचूडो ऽत्र दूराद् एवाभ्यभाषत ॥ १२,२३.१७० ॥
Garuḍa, who was pecking at Jīmūtavāhana’s flesh, was observing him as well, and seeing that he was looking pleased, stopped immediately, and thought to himself…
“This is strange! This surely is a very elevated personality, for this great-hearted one rejoices even as I devour him!”
“He has lost. a lot of blood, yet, he hasn’t died…and he looks onto me lovingly, as if I am his benefactor!”
“He surely cannot be a Nāga, he must be a sādhu…I have to find out the reason behind this…”
As Garuḍa was lost in thought, Jīmūtavāhana said to him…
“Oh king of all birds, why did you stop? There is still flesh and blood in my body, and you are not full as yet. Please have your fill…”
Garuḍa replied with astonishment…
“Oh great soul, you are surely not a Nāga, please tell me who you are?”
“I am a Nāga! And why do you ask such questions? You are to act in accordance with your natural instincts, for who except a fool will act contrary to his basic nature?”
As they were engaged in conversation, Śaṅkhacūḍa arrived at the scene and called out from the distance…
to be continued…