An important element in devotion is the Dasya Bhava signifying the spirit of service to God and His devotees. Ádisesha and Garuda are two close associates of the Lord who are engaged in His constant service. Garuda is addressed as Periya Tiruvadi because of his closeness and service to the Lord. Garuda’s birth and deeds leading to his role as the mount of Lord Vishnu is described in the Adi Parva of the Mahabharata.

Vedanta Desika was specially blessed by Garuda when he invoked him with the Garuda Mantra. His Acharya had imparted this mantra and he began meditating on this at the Oshada Parva in Tiruvaheendipuram. Garuda appeared before him and imparted the Haygreeva Mantra by chanting which Vedanta Desika was gifted with the extraordinary skills of poesy and philosophy, pointed out Sri V. S. Karunakarachariar in a lecture. As a mark of gratitude to Garuda, who laid the foundation for his scholarship and learning, Vedanta Desika has paid a tribute to Garuda in Garuda Dandaka and Garuda Panchashat — two works that extol the greatness of Garuda, the salient aspects of his service to the Lord and the efficacy of meditation on mantras.

Garuda’s parents are Sage Kasyapa and Vinata. Once, Garuda’s mother Vinata lost a bet to her sister Kadru, the mother of serpents and thereby her independent status as well. Garuda wanted to free his mother from this bondage to Kadru. The serpents told Garuda that if he brought the Amrita (elixir that confers immortality) from the celestial beings, his mother could be free. But this was not an easy task as the celestial beings guarded the elixir with the most formidable security. But the dauntless Garuda took the elixir and headed towards the serpents. Vishnu intercepted him, and promised him immortality even without drinking the nectar. Garuda in turn offered his eternal service as a mount to the Lord. Indra too followed Garuda to get back the elixir. Garuda promised to return it after he had freed his mother from bondage. Garuda advised the serpents to have their ablutions before partaking of the elixir. During this spell Indra took it back to the celestial region.