Garuda and The Garuda Purana in Indian Mythology :

According to Hindu mythology Garuda is the carrier of Lord Vishnu and is described as having head and wings of eagle and rest of the

Garuda

Garuda : Image Credit- http://www.flickr.com/photos/nagarkatti/

body as that of a man. Garuda is the king o the birds and have been mentioned in several mythological stories in Mahabharata and puranas. Vinita, the wife of Kashyap is the mother of Garuda. He is often described to be massive enough to block out the sun. He is also known by the name of Vinayak and is believed to remove and destroy obstacles.

Garuda is the sworn enemy of serpents because of a dispute between his mother Vinita and Kadru, mother of serpents. According to one of the stories, Garuda once took hold of the moon and covered it under his wings. This act of Garuda worried all the gods. These gods along with Lord Vishnu attacked Garuda. Garuda managed to defeat all the gods, but could not defeat Lord Vishnu. Finally Garuda relented and Lord Vishnu made him his carrier and granted him immortality.

Another story mentions Garuda of stealing Amrit from the gods. He stole it for the purpose of purchasing his mother’s freedom from Kadru, the mother of serpents. Lord Indra came to know about it and engaged into a fierce fight between him and Garuda.

Although Lord Indra managed to recover amrit from Garuda but his thunderbolt was smashed in the struggle. Garuda has the power to cure those who have suffered snakebite. The emerald stone is associated to him and is considered as the antidote of poison.

Garuda is never worshipped as an independent god, but is worshipped with Lord Vishnu. In Lord Vishnu temples, he is often shown carrying Lord Vishnu on his back. Garuda had a son known as Jataju, who has been mentioned in Ramayana. He fights Ravana while trying to save Sita and gets badly wounded. He is later cremated by Lord Rama and is sent to heaven.

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