This discourse tells you about the greatness of Garuda and why even Devas worship him.
While the assessment of the skills of Pandavas and Kauravas was going on, Karna came there and challenged Arjuna. Kripacharya told Karna to disclose his lineage because Arjuna as a prince would fight only someone who is equal to him in status. Karna’s foster father Adhiratha was a charioteer. At that time, Duryodhana appointed Karna as the ruler of Angarajya. When Bhima realized that Karna’s foster father was a charioteer, he insulted Karna saying that you don’t even deserve to die at the hands of Arjuna. Better pick up the whip which is the profession of your clan. Just as offering kept in the yaga vedi can not be consumed by a dog, you don’t deserve to be the king of Anga.
Garuda got boon from Indra that the serpents shall be his food. A pact was reached between Garuda and the serpents that one serpent will go to Garuda every day as his food. Kaliya did not recognize this arrangement. Garuda attacked Kaliya when he was in Kalindi. Sage Saubhari was observing tapas on the banks of Kalindi at that time. The lashing of Garuda's wings splashed water all over the Sage and disturbed his tapas. The Sage cursed that if Garuda ever comes back to Kalindi, his body would shatter into a thousand pieces. Thus Kaliya continued to live in Kalindi protected from Garuda.
Kadru wanted to win the bet and make Vinata, her sister, her servant. The bet was about whether the divine horse Ucchaisravas was fully white or its tail was black. Kadru said its tail was black. Vinata said it was fully white. Kadru told her sons, the serpents to go and hang on to the tail of the horse when it comes the next day so that it would look black. They refused and she cursed them saying that they would all burn to death in Janamejaya's Sarpa yajna. One of them, Karkotaka, went to his mother and....
Kadru wanted to win the bet and make Vinata, her sister, her servant.
The bet was about whether the divine horse Ucchaisravas was fully white or its tail was black.
Kadru said its tail was black.
Vinata said it was fully white.
Kadru told her sons, the serpents to go and hang on to the tail of the horse when it comes the next day so that it would look black.
They refused and she cursed them saying that they would all burn to death in Janamejaya's Sarpa yajna.
One of them, Karkotaka, went to his mother and said: I am ready for it.
Many others also followed him hoping that then mother would withdraw her curse.
Next day, Kadru and Vinata went through the sky to check out whether Ucchaisravas's tail was black.
That's when they saw the ocean.
The description of which we saw in the 21st chapter and learned the concept of Vadavanala.
They found the horse and since Kadru's sons, the serpents were hanging on to its tails, it was black.
Vinata became Kadru's servant, slave as per the bet.
In the meantime, Vinata's second son Garuda broke open the egg and came out.
The first son Aruna's body was damaged since Vinata out of her impatience broke open the egg before it was ready for hatching.
Garuda was huge, valorous.
He could assume any form that he wanted, but his first appearance was in the form of a bird.
When we say Garuda what comes to the mind is the bird form as the vehicle of Mahavishnu.
The description of Garuda in Mahabharata will completely change this concept.
He could go anywhere he wanted, instantly.
He could display his valour to any scale that he wanted.
In the sky, Garuda appeared like a huge fire in the form of a bird.
As fierce as pralayagni itself.
Lightning was flashing from his eyes.
His voice was like thunder.
When Devas saw this, they went to Agnideva and said: why are you doing this?
Why have you assumed this fierce form?
Are you going to destroy the world?
Agni Bhagawan said: you are mistaken.
It is not me.
This is Garuda.
Equal to me in power.
He is Vinata's son who has just hatched out of the egg.
He is your friend.
But enemy of Nagas, Asuras and Rakshasas.
You don't have to be afraid of him.
Come with me to take his darshan.
Devas and Rishis went along with Agni Bhagawan to Garuda.
They started praising him.
The praise that they sang is an expansion of the Vedic concept- इन्द्रं मित्रं वरुणमग्निमाहुरथो दिव्य: स सुपर्णो गरुत्मान्। एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्त्यग्निं यमं मातरिश्वानमाहु:॥
In this mantra itself the term सुपर्णो गरुत्मान् is there which is Garuda.
This Veda mantra says- Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, Garuda, Yama, Vayu: they are all different names of the same entity.
That single Paramatma only scholars call by these different names.
Here, Devas and Rishis are addressing Garuda as Paramatma.
All the Rishis are different forms of you.
You have only revealed all the mantras assuming the forms of Rishis.
You are the king of birds.
They are praising Garuda.
You alone are Agni, Surya, Parameshti, Prajapati, Indra, Hayagreeva, Shiva.
You are the lord of the universe.
Noble people are called the mouth of God.
Because whatever you feed them, it goes to God just like whatever you offer in Agni goes to Gods.
The noble people are your own manifestations.
You are Brahma, the creator.
You are creator of Brahma the creator.
You are Agni, Vayu.
You are the great Mahavishnu.
As mahat tattva and ahamkara, this world has originated from you.
You are fame itself.
You are the most desirable in the world.
You are our protector.
You are power and strength embodied.
You are kind.
Abundance is under your control and command.
Nobody can withstand your assault.
This world and Time, they have come out of you.
You are the greatest.
You only create, you only administer, you only dissolve the world.
If you are angry you are capable of burning down everything.
At the time of pralaya, you only appear as the all consuming Samvartakagni.
You are the lord of all living beings.
You remove ignorance from the minds of people.
You freely move about in the sky like clouds.
You are both cause and result.
You only hand out blessings to everyone.
You are undefeatable.
You are as brilliant as molten gold.
Please protect us.
We are afraid of your brilliance.
We are not able to travel in the sky because of your blinding brilliance.
We are scared, you are kind.
Please assume a peaceful form.
The whole world is shaking because of your roar.
Please be kind with us.
Please assume a gentle form.
Upon hearing this stuti, Garuda assumed a gentle form.
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