Garuda’s Splendor

Garuda statue at the Chennakeshava temple in Belur, Karnataka (Image by Ananth H V, Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link)

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Previous Post: Vinata Becomes Kadru’s Slave

Note: In the previous post, we read how Vinata became Kadru’s slave. Even though Vinata was cursed into slavery by her elder son, it was not indefinite slavery. He had given her a way out. If she cared for her second egg without losing patience then the son born out of that egg would set her free. 

This time, Vinata did not repeat her mistake. She cared for the egg without any impatience, and, when the time was right, the egg hatched. The mighty bird, Garuda, was born.

In this post, we will read about the splendor of the newborn Garuda.

Garuda burst forth from the egg when the time for his birth had come, and this mighty bird blazed like the fire. He lit up the universe in every direction. 

The noble bird was born with immense strength. He had the capability of taking any form at will. He could grow or reduce his size at will. Not only that, but he could also change his form to whatever he desired. He had the ability to go anywhere in the vast universe simply with the power of thought and he could call to his assistance any amount of energy from the cosmos.

Garuda looked like a blazing fire and he had eyes that resembled lightning flashes. Soon after his birth, he began to grow larger and larger.  He roared as his body grew toward the sky. This fierce roar with the blazing fire of his body made him look as terrifying as the second ocean-fire.

Note: The phrase “second ocean-fire” carries an allegorical meaning. I’ll reach out to experts and add their thoughts in the comments section below.

Even the deities became scared of this fierce, fire-like, object that kept on growing. Assuming it was Agni himself, the deities went to Vibhavasu (another name for the fire god, Agni) and bowed down to that god of many forms. They said, “O Agni do not grow like this. This huge fire is spreading wide. Will you consume all of us?”

Agni replied, “O vanquishers of the asuras. What you are seeing is not me. This is Sage Kasyapa’s mighty son – Garuda. Born to help Vinata and bring her joy, he possesses the same splendor as me. He is the destroyer of the nagas (serpents). He is an enemy of daityas and rakshasas and a friend of the gods.”

Thus saying, Agni asked the gods to accompany him and meet Garuda.

Note: In the next post, we will read about how the gods requested this great bird to stop growing, lest he consumed the entire universe. 

Table of Contents (The Complete Mahabharata in Simple English)

Next Post: The Gods Request Garuda to Reduce his Energy