Story of Lord Garuda

Let’s start today by recollecting the birth of Lord Vishnu’s Vaahan – The great Garuda.

Legend

The story traces back to Rishi Kashyap, one of the fabled Sapta Rishis, and his two wives Kadru and Vinata. It is said that Kadru and Vinata did not get along well with each other and the two took every opportunity to outsmart the other. One day, Rishi Kashyap decided to conduct a powerful Yagna to beget more children. He approached his two wives and asked them to tell their wishes. Kadru wished for many sons who would obey all her wishes. The more thoughtful Vinata wished for two sons who would be better than all sons of Kadru in terms of bravery and strength. The powerful Rishi immediately agreed to the wishes of his wives.

Rishi Kashyap required wood of a unique tree to successfully conduct the Yagna. Further, he took help of the Valakhila Rishis as they were very learned. So, the great Rishi summoned Lord Indra and the Valakhila Rishis and asked them to fetch wood for the Yagna. Now the Rishis were diminutive in size and were not as powerful as Indra who easily felled and carried trees on his shoulders. A haughty Indra laughed at the Valakhila Rishis when they struggled to carry the wood. This angered the Rishis a lot and they decided to teach Indra a lesson.

Sage Kashyap conducted the Yagna and got 1,000 eggs, which he gave to Kadru asking her to take good care of them. The Valakhila Rishis started the second Yagna for Vinata and started uttering mantras that would lead to the birth of a person who would be more powerful than Indra. Realizing this, Indra immediately rushed to the Rishis and asked for forgiveness. The Rishis modified the mantras in such a way that the person would be the King of birds. The yagna resulted in two eggs, which Rishi Kashyap handed over to Vinata.

While the thousand eggs of Kadru hatched in due time giving birth to 1,000 snakes, the two eggs of Vinata failed to hatch for a long time. Unable to bear the pangs of being childless, Vinata cracked open one egg only to find a half-formed baby. The baby cursed Vinata that she would work as a servant for Kadru. A shocked Vinata begged for forgiveness and asked the baby to offer a solution for relief from the curse. The baby replied that the son born from the second egg would release Vinata from the curse. As prophesized by the baby, Vinata lost a bet to Kadru and became her servant. The second egg cracked open after a long time and Garuda with the body of a human but with the head, wings, beak, and talons of an Eagle emerged.

Interesting trivia: Garuda Indonesia is the national airline of Indonesia.

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