Sunday, January 5, 2014

20. Garuda's Boon To Vishnu!

Garuda descended on the heaven in pursuit of the Amrita and was resisted by Indra’s men guarding it. Many of them were unable to face Garuda’s onslaught and got killed. The immortals who guarded the Amrita were blinded by the dust raised by Garuda’s feet and wings and hence could not see him.


Indra  commanded Vayu (the God of wind) to dispel the shower of dust. Accordingly, Vayu  drove away that dust. With the dust cleared off and their vision restored, the celestials resumed their attack on Garuda.  Roaring like a cloud appearing on the sky at the end of  the Yuga, Garuda rose on his wings and attacked them on all sides. He overpowered his adversaries and went to the place where the Amrita was.


Seeing that the pot of Amrita was surrounded on all sides by fire, Garuda assumed hundreds of  mouths and filled them with waters of many rivers. Returning with great speed, he extinguished the fire with that water. After extinguishing the fire, he assumed a very small form with the intention of entering into the place where the Amrita was kept.

As Garuda entered the place, he saw that a wheel of sharp steel razors revolving incessantly near the pot of Amrita. The instrument had been devised by the gods for cutting into pieces all intruders attempting to rob the Amrita.


Garuda, seeing a passage through the wheel, stopped for a moment and diminishing his body, instantly passed through the spokes of that wheel. Having passed through the wheel, he saw two large snakes guarding the Amrita. The snakes had a fierce appearance with eyes blazing like fire, tongues shining like a flash of lightning, and mouths emitting fire . Their eyes were inflamed with rage and anyone coming under their gaze would instantly be reduced to ashes.


Garuda suddenly covered their eyes with dust and attacked them from all sides. After crushing them to pieces, he approached the pot of Amrita without loss of time. He lifted the pot from the place where it was kept and rose on his wings with great speed, breaking into pieces the machine that had been placed there. 


Garuda then came out, taking the Amrita but without drinking it himself. He then wended his way without the least fatigue, darkening the splendour of the Sun by covering its rays with his giant wings. On the way, he met Lord Vishnu. Lord Visnu was gratified at Garuda’s act of self denial in not drinking the Amrita and offered to grant him a boon. Garuda asked for two boons, “I should be above you. I should be immortal again and free from any disease even without drinking Amrita."


Vishnu granted him the two boons. Garuda told Vishnu that he would also like to grant a boon to Vishnu. Vishnu asked him to be his carrier. He made Garuda sit on the flagstaff of his car so that he would stay above Vishnu, thereby fulfilling his first boon! Garuda then took leave of Vishnu and resumed his flight.


Trying to stop Garuda from taking away the Amrita, Indra hurled his Vajrayudha (a deadly weapon made with the hardened bone of a sage named Dadhichi) at Garuda. Struck by this weapon which was like a thunderbolt, Garuda laughed and told Indra, “ Your Vajrayudha has not caused me even a slight pain. But I will respect the sage from whose backbone this weapon was made. I will also respect you and the Vajra. So, I will let the weapon cut away this feather of mine.” He then cast one of his several  feathers


All creatures were amazed at Garuda’s invulnerability to the Vajrayudha. Looking at the  golden color of the feathers, they  gave him the name Suparna (having fair feathers).



Indra was also fascinated by what he witnessed and told Garuda, “I desire to know the limit of your strength. I also desire eternal friendship with you.”

Next Post: Garuda Frees His Mother From Slavery

Previous PostThe Genesis of Garuda's Birth

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