Saturday, January 11, 2014

21. Garuda frees his mother from slavery

Garuda said, "Let there be friendship between you and me as per your wish. You have asked me to spell out the limit of my strength. As you know, good people do not speak highly of their own strength or of their other merits. Since you have made me your friend and asked me the question, I have to give you an answer. I can bear, on a single feather of mine, this Earth, with her mountains and forests and with the waters of the ocean, and with you also stationed thereon. I can bear without fatigue even all the worlds put together, with their mobile and immobile objects."

Hearing this, Garuda said,”Please accept my friendship and if you don’t need the Amrita, return it to me. People to whom you intend to give this will always be inimical to us."


Garuda said, 'I am taking this Amrita for a purpose. I shall not let anyone drink the Amrita. After I put it down, you can take it back immediately.”


Pleased by this assurance from Garuda, Indra  offered to grant Garuda any boon that he asked for. Recollecting the slavery imposed on his mother by the deception carried out by the snakes, Garuda asked for the boon that the mighty snakes be his food. Indra granted it and also got it ratified by Vishnu, the God of gods.


Garuda then went to the snakes carrying the pot of Amrita and told them, "I will place the pot of Amrita on this Kusa grass. You can drink of it after you perform your ablutions and religious rites. Please release my mother from slavery as promised by you."


The snakes released Vinata from slavery and then went to perform their ablutions. Meanwhile Indra took the form of a bird and flew away with the pot of Amrita. The snakes, returning after performing their ablutions found that the Amrita has been taken away. Expecting that some Amrita might have spilled on the place where the pot of Amrita was kept, licked the Kusa grass. The sharp blades of the grass cut the tongues of the snakes and their tongues became split.

The Kusa grass became sacred because of its coming into contact with the pot of Amrita.


Garuda delighted by his mother having been freed from slavery due to his efforts enjoyed himself in the woods accompanied by his mother. Revered by all birds, he gratified his mother by devouring the snakes.


Next Post:  Sesha, the Virtuous Snake

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