Garuda’s Mission Causes Disturbing Omens in Heaven

Thunder and Lightening: Photo by Rahul Viswanath on Unsplash

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Sage Kasyapa Guides Garuda and the Valakhilya Rishis

Note: In the previous post, we read about how Sage Kasyapa requested the Valakhilya Rishis, who were doing penances on the branch that Garuda had mistakenly broken, to leave the branch and grant permission to Garuda to continue with his mission. After the Valakhilya Rishis left, Garuda ate the elephant and the tortoise on a remote mountain peak and proceeded toward heaven to seize the amrit.

In this post, we will read about the disturbing omens that appeared in heaven when Garuda flew toward Indra’s abode.

As Garuda proceeded toward Indra’s abode, various disturbing omens began to appear in the heavens. 

Indra’s favorite weapon – the thunderbolt – suddenly caught fire and blazed into a frightful flame. 

Thousands of meteors filled with smoke and fire began to rain from the sky.

The weapons of the Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Sabhyas, Maruts, and other gods began to direct their force against each other. This was unheard of. An event like this, where the weapons of the devas turned against each other, had never happened in any war between the gods and the asuras.

The sky resounded with loud thunder even though no clouds could be seen in it.

The flowery garlands that the devas wore around their necks started to fade and the devas felt as if they were losing their power.

And then, suddenly, the sky filled up with dense clouds and started raining showers of blood. The god of gods (Mahadev) had caused those showers.

Gusts of winds began to blow raising a storm of dust that made everything in heaven, including the crown of the devas, appear dark.

These events filled the devas with fear. Even the king of the devas, Indra – the deva of one thousand sacrifices – was confused and afraid. Seeking to understand these omens, the devas, along with Indra, approached their teacher, Brihaspati (Jupiter).

Indra said to him, “O worshipful one, why have these disturbances of nature started occurring? I do not see any foe, capable of oppressing us in war, approaching.”

Brihaspati replied to Indra, “O king of the devas, these fearsome omens are a result of your own fault and the ascetic penances of the Valakhilya Rishis. These two reasons have combined to become the cause for Garuda, the immensely strong son of Vinata and Kasyapa, to come to your abode to seize the amrit. O king of the devas, everything is possible for Garuda. He is capable of achieving the impossible.”

Note: I am sure you are eager to find out what Indra had done in the past to bring this misfortune to heaven. We’ll read about Indra’s mistake the day after tomorrow, because, even though Brihaspati mentioned it, Indra did not acknowledge any mistake at that time. Instead of asking Brihaspati about his mistake, Indra decided to first safeguard heaven by getting the devas ready for a battle with Garuda. 

In the next post, we will find out how the devas got ready for the impending battle, and in the post after that, we will return to Indra’s actions that were the root cause for Garuda’s hostile arrival in Indra’s abode.

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: The Devas Get Ready For a Battle With Garuda