One of the names of Lord Vishnu in the Vishnu Sahasranama is Saasvatasthanu. Parasara Bhattar interprets this as ‘One who is eternal and steady.’ The Lord is Eternal and is like nectar to His devotees. But the crucial difference between this nectar and the nectar for which the demons and celestial beings churned the ocean, is that the Lord cannot be taken away from His devotees, whereas nectar can be taken away easily. The story of Garuda illustrates how nectar was taken away easily from the world of the celestial beings, said M.V. Anantapadmanabhachariar, in a discourse.
Sage Kashyapa had two wives — Kadru and Vinatha. One day the sage sought to confer boons on them. Kadru wanted a thousand sons, and Vinatha wanted two sons who would surpass Kadru’s thousand sons in strength and prowess. The sage granted them their wish. Kadru had many eggs and Vinatha only two. Kadru’s eggs broke soon and snakes crawled out of them. Vinatha’s eggs did not break, and losing patience, she broke open one of them, only to find a half formed child. Angered over her mother’s impatience which resulted in his growth being stunted, the child cursed Vinatha and said that she would be the slave of Kadru.
One day Vinatha observed that Indra’s horse was white, but Kadru contradicted her and said that the tail alone was black. The two women entered into a bet, whereby the one who was wrong would be the slave of the one who was proved right. Kadru asked her serpent sons to coil themselves around the tail of the horse, thereby giving it a black colour. Vinatha thus ended up being Kadru’s slave.
When the other egg of Vinatha hatched, out came Garuda, who wished to free his mother from servitude to the snakes. The snakes said that Vinatha would be freed only if nectar was brought from the celestial world and given to them. Garuda went to the celestial world, where the nectar was well guarded. But none of the hurdles in his way stopped Garuda, who got the nectar easily. Thus the nectar got from the churning of the ocean can be taken away easily. But none can take the Lord from His devotees.