Sunday, August 7, 2011

Temples of India-6


Birth Of Garuda

Vinata was serving Kadruva as a slave. After some time the egg that she kept safely broke open and a form emerged which was half human and half bird. He had a massive and strong golden body, a white face, red wings, eagle's beak. He was very handsome and possessed a radiance so powerful that was equivalent to millions of suns. 
Garuda was very obedient and was dutiful to his mother. Kadruva was very jealous of Garuda since he was very strong and handsome and possessed massive strength. She told him that he and his mother were her slaves and should serve her and her sons. So he served them. 

But Kadruva and her sons kept on ill treating Vinata and Garuda. So one day Garuda went and asked his mother why and how they became slaves and how long they have to continue like that. Vinata narrated about the bet and pleaded with Garuda that he alone could relieve them from slavery.

Garuda went to Kadruva and her (serpent) sons and asked them how he and his mother could be relieved from the slavery. Then the serpents replied that they wanted Amrutham or nectar which was in Devaloka under the custody of King Indra. If he could bring it, he and his mother would be relieved from slavery.

He took blessings of his mother and father and told them that he was going to bring the Amrutham from the Devas. He then flew to Devaloka and there was a fierce fighting between Garuda and Devas who were guarding the nectar. Devas could not stand mighty Garuda and fled away. 

Lord Vishnu appeared before him and granted him immortality without drinking nectar and also made Garuda his carrier(Vahana) and flag. Even today in the temples ofVishnu, Garuda is the prime carrier known as Garuda Vahanana and the flag called Garuda Dhwajam adorns the temple flag posts on special and important occassions
Garuda took hold of the pot containing nectar and was about to fly away when Indra appeared. He asked Garuda why and where he was taking the nectar. Then Garuda explained to him that he was going to give it to serpents to relieve his mother from slavery. On hearing this Indra said that the serpents were cruel and if they drink the nectar and become immortal, it would be very difficult to control them. Instead of the nectar he would give what ever Garuda wanted. Then Garuda told him a plan as to how to save the nectar from being drunk by the serpents. Indra was very happy with that and wanted to grant him a boon of Garuda's choice. 

Garuda then said that the serpents were cruel and deceitful and caused a lot of hardships to him and his mother. So they were his enemies and from then onwards they should be allowed to be main food Garudas. Indra agreed for that. To this day, eagles staple food consists of snakes.
Garuda took the pot of nectar to the earth. Indra followed him invisibly to get back the nectar. Garuda placed it on Darbha (kusa grass). He then clled on to the serpents (Kadruvas sons) and told them that as per the agreement he had brought the nectar so he and his mother should be relieved from slavery. The serpents were happy as they were going to become immortal and relieved Garuda and his mother from slavery. Garuda told the serpents to take a bath and purify themselves before drinking nectar. He then flew away with his mother on his back.

The serpents went to take a dip. Waiting for this Indra took away the nectar and returned it to Devaloka. 

On their return the serpents could not find the nectar. They became very sad. They thought that a drop or two might have been fallen on the grass. So if they lick them they will become immortals. So they licked the grass. Kusa grass known as Darbha is very sharp and the tongues of the serpents were cut into two. Till this day serpents have a forked tongue. Darbha grass is very auspicious to Hindus as nectar was placed on it.

So this is how Garuda relieved himself and his mother from slavery. He came to be known as a son who was dutiful to his mother.

From that day onwards the Garuds started killing and eating serpents.

In my next post you will know about how the killing of serpents was stopped and how this story is related to the temple site APPANAPALLE

So watch out for it.......


  1. Thanks for this post. I was searching for this story of garuda quite some time. I appreciate your interest in our puranas, plz keep posting...

  2. Thanks a lot. I will start posting shortly...


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