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Chapter 08: Birth of Garuda and Vinata's Freedom

Posted by Arun Mohan ~ on ~ 0 comments

One day, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata saw a wonderful, seven-headed horse called Uchaishravas. The horse was one among the fourteen jewels that came out of the ocean of milk. Uchaishravas is considered as the most beautiful horse in the world. Both of them watched at the horse in wonder during its riding. Soon they argued each other about the colour of the divine horse. Vinata said the colour of Uchaishravas is fully white but Kadru argued that its body only was white and its tail was black. They decided to lay a bet on this issue, whoever would win, would become the other's slave.

Having made this bet, the sisters decided to wait till the next morning during its journey. Kadru knew that the horse's tail was white and she also wanted to win the bet at any cost. So she asked her sons to go and twist themselves around the tail so that it looked black while watching from a closer distance. The serpents hesitated to participate in this trickery and refused. Kadru became angry towards the disobedience of her sons and cursed that all of them would die in a yajna fire. Kadru and Vinata spent a restless night and woke up early in the morning to see the horse. Meantime, the scared snakes decided to follow their mother’s order. They believed that if their mother pleases with their actions, then there is a chance for free them from curse. So the next morning, they went to the place where Uchaishravas was grazing and wrapped around the tail of the divine horse and made it look black. After seeing the black tail of horse from a closer distance, Vinata accepted her lost of bet to Kadru and became her slave.

After five hundred years, the second egg laid by Vinata hatched. A huge radiant bird-like creature emerged from the second egg. This bird was so powerful and shone brightly. His eyes were shining with yellow beam and its body was as intense as fire. The bird then flew into the sky and started growing further to a gigantic size. It flew with greater speed than wind. When it flew through the sky, gods first thought that it was Agni (god of fire) growing in size. Then they found their mistake and realized that it was a giant creature called Garuda, the son of Vinata. Garuda then restrained his size and energy to normal level.

One day, Kadru ordered Vinata to take her and her sons to an island. She wants to see the beautiful site beneath the ocean with her sons. Vinata then said to his son, Garuda to fulfill their wish. Garuda obeyed his mother and took the serpents on his back and went to the island. But Kadru and the snakes did not like the island. So they asked Garuda to take them to the next island. Garuda obeyed and took them to the next island. Garuda was upset with his stepmother and stepbrothers, since he is being treated as a servant to them. After much consideration, Garuda inquired Vinata about the reason for being serving them as slaves. His mother then tells his foolish bet with Katru and her trick to win before he born. After hearing the story, Garuda asked the serpents that what he want to do for them to free her mother from slavery. The snakes replied that they want the divine drink, nectar from gods to free her mother from slavery.

Garuda agreed the condition offered by serpents to free his mother from slavery. Garuda after taking the blessing from his mother went to heaven for nectar. On the way, he saw his father, Kashyap who was meditating in a mountain. Garuda saw his father for first time. Kashyap opened his eyes and heard about the bet and Vinata’s slavery from him. Kashyap then told his son about a story of an elephant and tortoise. In their earlier birth, both of them were brothers and fought each other for their ancestor’s wealth. During their fight, they both cursed each other. In this birth, one became elephant and other became tortoise due to each other’s curse. Now both of them were living in an island by keeping rivalry on each others. So Kashyap ordered his son, Garuda to kill those creatures and to take it as food. Kashyap then blessed his son for obtaining the divine nectar an also to kill those creatures.

Garuda then went to the island, where the elephant and tortoise living. He then killed both of them and took the meal. After his meal, Garuda resumed his flight to heaven for obtaining nectar of immortality. As Garuda drew near to heaven, Indra got the sign of omen in Heaven. He then went to guru, Brihaspati and inquired about the omen. Brihaspati replied that Garuda is coming here to humble him for nectar. He is the son of sage Kashyap and Vinata, who was blessed with the power to become a mighty creature and even had the power to seize the nectar from gods. As soon as Grauda came near, his enormous, waving wings drew a large dust storm, which disturbed the gods and he then attacked the gods with his beak and talons. Finally after beating the gods, he managed to enter the place where the nectar was kept. He then took the pot of nectar and flew back to the serpents without drinking a drop of nectar. Pleased with Garuda’s dedication of not drinking a drop of nectar and also his need for nectar to save his mother from slavery, Lord Vishnu appeared before him. The Lord then asked him for boon Garuda replied two requests, one for serving the lord and other for becoming immortal without drinking the nectar. The Lord granted these boons and disappeared.

On the way, Indra tried to attack Garuda with his mighty weapon, Vajra but it became useless in front of him. However Garuda dropped a feather to pay his honor towards the weapon. Thus he got the name Suparna. Indra was amazed by Garuda’s strength. Finally, Indra bowed his hands and requested to return the nectar, since the serpents that the garuda going to feed will make the gods lives unbearable. Garuda said his reason for seizing nectar. He then told Indra to pick the pot of nectar at the moment when he transfers it to serpents. Indra was reassured by garuda’s solution and he asked him for boon. Garuda then remembered the betrayal and cruelty of serpents towards his mother. He then asked Indra to grant serpents to become his food. From that day Garuda became the enemy of serpents.

Then Garuda went to serpents and transfer the nectar and thus they released his mother from slavery. When the serpents rushed to drink the nectar, Garuda stopped them and advised to bath before drinking since it was a divine drink. He placed the pot in the sharp blades of kusha grass. When the serpents were gladly taking their bath, Indra flew down calmly and took away the pot of nectar and flew back to Heaven. During snatching the pot, a few drops of nectar fell on the kusha grass. Seeing this, the serpents went quickly and started licking the grass in the hopes of getting a few drops. But the grass was so sharp that their tongues were sliced into two. The serpents then realized that it happened so due to their evil deed done to Vinata. Since then, the kusha grass became sacred and is used for sacred ceremonies. Vinata who got freedom his son Aruna’s curse, then happily lived with his son. Garuda later became the king of birds and his fame spread to all regions. With the boon granted by Lord Vishnu, he served the Lord by becoming his vehicle.

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