Garuda

Garuda is the king of the birds in the Hindu Parthenon. He is half bird, half man, usually depicted with the body

garuda2.25134301_std

Garuda has an interesting relationship with snakes, as this picture highlights. Obviously I am not discussing that in this post, but it’s a great story you can find on the internet of you’re curious.

, arms, and legs of a human and the wings, beak, and talons of a bird.

Garuda is probably best known as being the carrier of Vishnu, and he can move between the world of the mortals and the world of the gods with ease. As with most religious figures, there are many stories involving Garuda. I’ll limit myself to sharing only the tale of how Garuda comes to be the winged mount of Vishnu.

When Garuda first hatched from his shell he was ravenous. His father sent him to a village to find food, the food being the villagers. His father told Garuda he could eat all he wanted, but warned him not to eat the Brahman. Garuda flew down to the village and began to feast, but in his gobbling up of the people he accidently ate the Brahman, who became lodged in his throat. Now Garuda found himself with a few problems. One, he was going to anger his father for eating the Brahman, two, he ate a Brahman, and three, he was in danger of choking to death. So he coughed the Brahman out, and along with him came all the villagers.

pyreaus_inspired_manifestation_garuda_sea_salvation_fullNow Garuda was really starving and frustrated, but little did he know Vishnu had been watching the whole scene. Vishnu went to Garuda and offered to let him perch on his arm and eat of his flesh. Garuda jumped at the chance for a meal and immediately bit into Vishnu’s arm, and was shocked to discover that his bite left no marks. This let Garuda know he was in the presence of a god and he pledged himself to him right then and there. And thus their relationship was born, and Garuda became the mount of Vishnu, allowing Vishnu to fly across the sky on his back.

So there you have a little tale of Garuda, and how he met Vishnu, one of the Trimurti, or holy trinity of Hindu gods. As with all gods and goddesses, the stories involving Garuda are numerous, and have some adaptations between tellings. The story I shared is a watered down snipppet of an age old tale.

I’ll leave you with this final thought….consider yourself very lucky if you ever find one of Garuda’s feathers lying on the ground.

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