Garuda (lore)  

Information taken from Wikipedia

  • In Hindu mythology, a Garuda is a lesser Hindu divinity, usually the mount (vahanam) of Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having a golden body, white face, red wings, and an eagle's beak and wings but a man's body. He wears a crown on his head. He is ancient and huge, and can block out the sun.

  • His stature in Hindu religion can be gauged by the fact that an independent Upanishad, the Garudopanidad, and a Purana, the Garuda Purana, is devoted to him. Various names have been attributed to Garuda - Chirada, Gaganeshvara, Kamayusha, Kashyapi, Khageshvara, Nagantaka, Sitanana, Sudhahara, Suparna, Tarkshya, Vainateya, Vishnuratha and others. The Vedas provide the earliest reference of Garuda, though by the name of Syena, where this mighty bird is said to have brought nectar to earth from heaven. The Puranas, which came into existence much later, mention Garuda as doing the same thing, which indicates that Syena (Sanskrit for Eagle) and Garuda are the same. One of the faces of Sri Pancamukha Hanuman is Mahavira Garuda. This face points towards the west. Worship of Garuda is believed to remove the effects of poisons from one's body. Hanuman is also one of the Avataras of Garuda. In Tamil Vaishnavism Garuda and Hanuman are known as "Periya Thiruvadi" and "Siriya Thiruvadi" respectively.

  • In the Bhagavad-Gita (Ch.10, Verse 30), in the middle of the battlefied "Kurukshetra", Krishna explaining his omnipresence, says - "Of birds, I am the son of Vineeta (Garuda)" indicating the importance of Garuda.

  • Garuda plays an important role in Krishna Avatar in which Krishna and Satyabhama ride on Garuda to kill Narakasura. On another occasion, Lord Hari rides on Garuda to save the devotee Elephant Gajendra. It is also said that Garuda's wings when flying will chant the Vedas.

  • In Buddhist mythology, the garudas are enormous predatory birds with intelligence and social organization. Another name for the garuda is suparna , meaning "well-winged, having good wings". Like the Nagas, they combine the characteristics of animals and divine beings, and may be considered to be among the lowest devas.

  • The exact size of the garuda is uncertain, but its wings are said to have a span of many miles. This may be a poetic exaggeration, but it is also said that when a garuda's wings flap, they create hurricane-like winds that darken the sky and blow down houses. They are also capable of tearing up entire banyan trees from their roots and carrying them off.

  • The garudas have kings and cities, and at least some of them have the magical power of changing into human form when they wish to have dealings with people. On some occasions Garuda kings have had romances with human women in this form. Their dwellings are in groves of the simbali, or silk-cotton tree.

  • The garudas are enemies to the Nagas, a race of intelligent serpent- or dragon-like beings, whom they hunt. The garudas at one time caught the nagas by seizing them by their heads; but the nagas learned that by swallowing large stones, they could make themselves too heavy to be carried by the garudas, wearing them out and killing them from exhaustion.
  • In the Mahasamyatta Sutta, the Buddha is shown making temporary peace between the Nagas and the garudas.

  • The Sanskrit word garuda has been borrowed and modified in the languages of several Buddhist countries. In Thai the word for a garuda is Krut. In Burmese, garudas are called ga-lon. In Japanese a garuda is called Karura.

  • The Garuda is the symbol of the city of Ulan Bator, Mongolia. According to popular Mongolian belief, Khangard is the mountain spirit of Bojdochan-ula who became a follower of Buddhist faith. Today he is considered the guardian of the Bojdochan-ula mountain range.

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This page last modified 2008-08-13 00:37:32.