44: Garuda - The Eagle
Prajapati created many creatures like Gods, Danavas, Humans, Animals, Birds, serpents, etc. Every living being is blessed by the Lord with a special and unique power. One such being with outstanding and extraordinary power is ‘Garuda’ ‘Khagendra,’ ‘Eagle,’ ‘Indra of the Birds,’ ‘King of the Birds’.
In the epic Mahabharata, ‘Garuda’ was born as an answer to the sages’ prayers to the Lord for ‘a creature with supernatural powers who is even stronger than Lord Indra.’ ‘Garuda’ is described as ‘viśhālkāyarūupa’ and ‘suparṇa’. From birth, ‘Garuda’ bravely faced all obstacle and challenges. While bringing the Elixir from heaven ‘Garuda’ battled with Lord Indra. Despite being struck by Indra’s thunderbolt, ‘Garuda’ did not falter. Indra was impressed by ‘Garuda’s’ extraordinary strength and befriended him. The Supreme Lord, pleased by Garuda’s performance, praised him, “Garuda! I am proud of you. I want to give you a boon.” The ‘Eagle’ asked for the ‘Lord’s constant presence, which is far superior even to the Elixir.’ The Lord lovingly said, “Today onwards for eternity, you are my vehicle and your symbol will always be on my banner.” Garuda was blessed with superhuman powers. This incident is highly motivational. Humans should face challenges with a strong mind and will. They should never lose hope.
Due to the constant association with the Lord, and his devotional services, Garuda acquired ‘Daivi sampatti’. His visual prowess to see distant object’ is unparalleled. Due to these divine qualities, ‘Garuda’ is respected in the world today. Garuda has received national honour abroad. The special team of the Indian Army has named as ‘Garuda Commando Force’. In Indian culture, ‘Garuda’ has attained the status of deity among the Vitthal pancadevatā.
Let us prostrate at the Divine Garuda’s feet!