Garuda is the king of the birds and often acts
as a messenger between the gods and men. Garuda has the head,
wings, talons and beak of an eagle and the body and limbs
of a man.
mother was Vinata and his father Kasyapa, the law-minded grandfather
of the world, who did tapas at the banks of the Lamhitya.
When Garuda crawled out of his egg, he was very
hungry. His mother sent Garuda to get advice from his father,
who sent him to a place, where he could find food. Garuda
could eat the natives living there, but he was adviced to
spare the Brahmin, who was living with the natives. However
by accident, Garuda swallowed the Brahmin, who got stuck in
his throat. The Brahmin said that he would give up his life,
if Garuda would not let go all of his relatives. Out of fear
to murder a Brahmin, Kasyapa ordered Garuda to spit out the
natives with their Brahmin.
Still hungry, Garuda's father sent him to the
ocean, where a giant elephant and a tortoise where fighting.
He took them and flew to the sky. When Garuda perched on the
branch of a tree it broke and again Garuda was full of fear
of killing cows and Brahmins with the falling branch, so he
caught it. Meanwhile Vishnu
saw the bird and asked what Garuda was doing. The bird replied
that no tree or mountain seemed able to support his weight.
Vishnu offered his arm to sit on and did not tremble when
Garuda took place on it.
Even after eating, Garuda
was still hungry, so Vishnu offered the flesh of his arm.
When Garuda ate from it, no wound showed. Garuda bowed his
head to Vishnu, realizing his divine nature and was his heroic
friend for all times. In many indian epics, Garuda
At a time when Garuda's mother Vinata became
imprisoned by Kadru, mother of the serpents, Garuda sought
to release her. As a ransom, the serpents demanded the cup
of Amrita, which was held by the gods. Garuda stole the Amrita
from the Gods and thus he could liberate his mother. Just
as the serpents were about to drink from the Amrita, Indra
snatched the cup away from them. Nevertheless, a few drops
were spilled and licked up by the serpents, which made them
immortal and also split their tongues.