Jamvanta (जाम्वन्त) or Jambavanta (also known as Jambavan (जाम्बवान) is a bear in Hinduism and believe to lived from Krita Yuga to Dvapara Yuga. He is also considered King of bears and first son of Brahma, before humans were created. Jambavan was present when the churning of the ocean took place and was supposed to have circled the world seven times.
Jambavantha had killed a lion, who had acquired a gem called Syamantaka from Prasena after killing him. Krishna was suspected of killing Prasena for the jewel, so he tracked Prasena's steps until he learned that he had been killed by a lion who had been killed by a bear. Krishna tracked Jambavantha to his cave and a fight ensued. After twenty-one days, realizing who Krishna was, Jambavantha submitted. He gave Krishna the gem and also presented him his daughter Jambavati, who became one of Krishna's wives.
In the epic Ramayana, Jambavantha helped Rama find his wife Sita and fight her abductor, Ravana. Later, it is he who makes Hanuman realize his immense capabilities and encourages him to fly across the ocean to search for Sita in Lanka.
Animal depiction of warriors
When Rama besieged Lanka, all his supporters like Kishkindha king Sugriva and his commander Hanuman, Jatayu, Jamvanta etc were Jat warriors. Bhaleram Beniwal has pointed out that these characters have been depicted as monkeys or animals is out of jealousy of the manuvadis and agents of dharma who never wanted to bring the true history of Jats. 
The Jat hostorian Thakur Deshraj has explained about the reasons of animal depiction of people prevalent in India during Ramayana period. During this period all four varnas had come into existence in Aryans. The duties of each varna were defined but they could change varna. Brahmans had come into a dominant position and had full control over kings and the society. Some kshatriyas like Kartaviryarjuna had become rebellions against the increased influence of Brahmans. In Sarswati ashrama a big organization under the leadership of Parsurama was constituted by Brahmans to penalize such kshatriyas. Brahmans suppressed kshatriyas like Kartaviryarjuna and deprived these kshatriyas from their status. The Aryans by this time had crossed Vindhyas and moving towards south. Vanars were inhabitants in southwest Vindhyas. Pampa sarovar was their main center. Vanars were not monkeys but either aboriginal inhabitants of that area or people of Aryan groups who had come from Iran via Bombay and reached south of Vindhyas. 
- Jambavantha motivating Hanuman for the task of leaping the ocean. in Valmiki Ramayana - Kishkindha Kanda in Prose Sarga 65 - Accessed Augest 14 2006.
- Story of Syamantaka from www.tirumala.org - Accessed Augest 14 2006.
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