The Mahabharata - First Book
"Sauti said, 'Having crossed the Ocean, Kadru of swift speed, accompanied by Vinata, soon alighted near the horse. They then both beheld that foremost of steeds of great speed, with body white as the rays of the moon but having black hairs (in the tail). And observing many black hairs in the tail, Kadru put Vinata, who was deeply dejected, into slavery. And thus Vinata having lost the wager, entered into a state of slavery and became exceedingly sorry.
"In the meantime, when his time came, burst forth from the egg without (the help of his) mother, Garuda of great splendour, enkindling all the points of the universe, that mighty being endued with strength, that bird capable of assuming at will any form, of going at will everywhere, and of calling to his aid at will any measure of energy. Effulgent like a heap of fire, he shone terribly. Of lustre equal to that of the fire at the end of the Yuga, his eyes were bright like the lightning-flash.
And soon after birth, that bird grew in size and increasing his body ascended the skies. Fierce and vehemently roaring, he looked as terrible as second Ocean-fire. And all the deities seeing him, sought the protection of Vibhavasu (Agni).
And they bowed down to that deity of manifold forms seated on his seat and spake unto him these words,
'O Agni, extend not thy body! Wilt thou consume us? Lo, this huge heap of thy flames is spreading wide!'
And Agni replied,
'O, ye persecutors of the Asuras, it is not as ye imagine. This is Garuda of great strength and equal to me in splendour, endued with great energy, and born to promote the joy of Vinata. Even the sight of this heap of effulgence hath caused this delusion in you. He is the mighty son of Kasyapa, the destroyer of the Nagas, engaged in the well-being of the gods, and the foe of the Daityas and the Rakshasas. Be not afraid of it in the least. Come with me and see.'
Thus addressed, the gods from a distance.
"The gods said,
'Thou art a Rishi (i.e., one cognisant of all mantras), share of the largest portion in sacrifices, ever resplendent, the controller along with the Rishi wended their way towards Garuda and adored him of birds, the presiding spirit of the animate and the inanimate universe.
Thou art the destroyer of all, the creator of all; thou art the very Hiranyagarbha; thou art the progenitor of creation in the form of Daksha and the other Prajapatis; thou art Indra (the king of the gods), thou art Hayagriva the steed necked incarnation of Vishnu; thou art the arrow (Vishnu himself, as he became such in the hands of Mahadeva at the burning of Tripura); thou art the lord of the universe; thou art the mouth of Vishnu; thou art the four-faced Padmaja; thou art the Brahmana (i.e., wise), thou art Agni, Pavana, etc. (i.e., the presiding deity of every object in the universe).
Thou art knowledge, thou art the illusion to which we are all subject; thou art the all-pervading spirit; thou art the lord of the gods; thou art the great Truth; thou art fearless; thou art ever unchanged; thou art Brahma without attributes; thou art the energy of the Sun; thou art the intellectual functions; thou art our great protector; thou art the ocean of holiness; thou art purity; thou art bereft of the attributes of darkness; thou art the possessor of the six high attributes; thou art he who cannot be withstood in contest. From thee have emanated all things; thou art of excellent deeds; thou art all that hath not been and all that hath been.
Thou art pure knowledge; thou displayest to us, as Surya does by his rays, this animate and inanimate universe; thou darkenest the splendour of Surya at every moment, and thou art the destroyer of all; thou art all that is perishable and all that is imperishable.
O thou resplendent as Agni, thou burnest all even as Surya in his anger burneth all creatures. O terrible one, thou resistest even as the fire that destroys everything at the time of the Universal Dissolution. O mighty Garuda who movest in the skies, we seek thy protection. O lord of birds thy energy is extraordinary, thy splendour is that of fire, thy brightness is like that of the lightning that no darkness can approach.
Thou reachest the very clouds, and art both the cause and the effect; the dispenser of boons and invincible in prowess. O Lord, this whole universe is rendered hot by thy splendour, bright as the lustre of heated gold. Protect these high-souled gods, who overcome by thee and terrified withal, are flying along the heavens in different directions on their celestial cars.
O thou best of birds, thou Lord of all, thou art the son of the merciful and high-souled Rishi Kasyapa; therefore, be not wroth but have mercy on the universe.
Thou art Supreme. O pacify thy anger and preserve us. At thy voice, loud as the roar of the thunder, the ten points, the skies, the heavens, the Earth and our hearts, O bird, thou art continuously shaking. O, diminish this thy body resembling Agni. At the sight of the splendour resembling that of Yama when in wrath, our hearts lose all equanimity and quake.
O thou lord of birds, be propitious to us who solicit thy mercy! O illustrious one, bestow on us good fortune and joy.'
And that bird of fair feathers, thus adored by the deities and diverse sections of Rishis, reduced his own energy and splendour.'"
And thus ends the twenty-third section in the Astika Parva of the Adi Parva.
Article published on