Battle for the pot of nectar

Story so far: The snakes demand amrit as the price for Vinata’s freedom and Garuda sets out to get it for them.

As Garuda flew towards the celestial city, the devas sensed that something was wrong. The king of gods, Indra, rushed to his guru Brihaspati and asked, “Why are there so any bad omens?” Brihaspati answered, “It is Garuda; he is coming for the pot of amrit.” Indra was nervous; he knew that Garuda would have replaced him if Sage Kashyapa had not intervened.

The god began to plan: the pot of amrit would be placed in the centre of a spiked metal wheel with two snakes under it. This would be surrounded by a wall of fire, outside which a 1,000 armed devas would be the first line of defence.

When Garuda appeared, he had increased his size to massive proportions. He flapped his wings hard, raising up a huge dust storm. By the time Vayu blew that away, Garuda had pounced on the devas. Picking them up in his talons and beak, he flung them all away. None of their weapons had any effect. When he saw the circle of flames, he assumed a form with a 1,000 faces and filled all his mouths with water, with which he put out the fire. The pot was sitting right in the centre of the spiked revolving wheel. Shrinking himself to a tiny form, Garuda crawled under the wheel. When the snakes attacked him, he killed them and snatched the pot of nectar. He began to grow to his normal size, bursting the wheel into splinters.

Garuda began the journey back to Kadru’s palace to give the nectar to the snakes. “He didn’t even think of drinking the nectar himself,” thought Lord Vishnu, who had been watching the war with the devas, admiringly. He called out, “Garuda, stop!” Garuda immediately stopped and bowed to him. “I am very pleased with you,” said Vishnu. “I will grant you two boons.” Garuda’s first request was to be immortal and free from disease, which was granted. For the second, he asked, “I wish to be above you.” Lord Vishnu smiled and said, “Make yourself small.” Surprised, Garuda shrunk himself. Vishnu held out staff that was as tall as himself. “Now sit on the top.” When Garuda obeyed, he said, “Now, you are above me.” Garuda laughed and climbed down. “I would like to grant you a boon too, my lord,” he said. “Then be my vehicle and carry me everywhere,” requested Vishnu. Garuda agreed but said, “I will give this nectar to the snakes, free my mother, and then come back to you.”

Lord Vishnu blessed him and sent him on his way.

(To be continued)

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 2:56:39 PM |

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