Friday, December 27, 2013

10. The Birth of Garuda, the King of Birds


Prajapati had two daughters by name Kadru and Vinata, Both were given in marriage to Sage Kasyapa. Kasyapa offered to give each of them a boon of their choice. 

The two sisters had developed some rivalry between themselves. Kadru was the first to ask for the boon. She wanted to have for sons a thousand snakes, all of equal splendour. Vinata wished to have two sons surpassing the thousand offsprings of Kadru in strength, energy, body size and prowess.  Kasyapa granted them the wishes they had asked for. Kadru produced thousand eggs and Vinata two eggs. Kasyapa asked his wives to preserve the embryos carefully and went to the forest for doing penance. The maids deposited the eggs separately in warm vessels.


After Five hundred years, the thousand eggs produced by Kadru burst open and thousand snakes came out. But the two eggs produced by Vinata did not hatch. Vinata was jealous and impatient. She broke one of the eggs. It had an embryo with the upper part developed but the lower part undeveloped. The child in the egg became angry and cursed his mother, saying "Since you broke the egg in haste and prevented the full development of my body. I curse you to become a slave. If you wait for for five hundred years and allow the other egg to develop fully, an illustrious son will emerge out of it and will free you from slavery."


Immediately after pronouncing this curse on his mother, the child rose to the sky. Surya, the Sun God  saw him and immediately took him as his charioteer. He is Aruna, who is seen in the morning at the time of sunrise. (The term Arunodhayam is used to refer to the sunrise)


After five hundred years, the other egg burst out and Garuda, the Eagle (commonly called Pakshiraja, the King of Birds) came out. Garuda, the serpent-eater felt hungry immediately on his birth and started flying in quest of the food assigned to him by the Creator


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