Faith

Powerful Garuda

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Garuda’s greatness is described by Vedanta Desika in Garuda Panchasat and Garuda Dandakam. In Garuda Panchasat, Desika says that the Gayatri mantra constitutes Garuda’s eyes. His name is the Yajur Veda. The chandas of the Vedas are his limbs. The altar at which priests sit while performing yagas is called drishnya, and this drishnya becomes the feet of Garuda. The atma of Garuda is the stoma part of the Sama Veda. Stoma are the eulogistic hymns of the Sama Veda. The fact that Gayatri mantra is said to be Garuda’s eyes is indicative of Garuda’s role as protector, for Gayatri mantra protects one who chants it. Thus, it is abundantly clear that Garuda is the personification of the Vedas, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.

In Garuda Panchasat, Vedanta Desika lists the qualities of Garuda, and says that Garuda knows the ashtamasiddhis- anima, mahima, garima, laghima, praapti, praakaamya, isitva and vasitva. Of these, Garima is the ability to make oneself heavier, and laghima is the ability to make oneself lighter. Garuda’s possession of these two powers can be witnessed in Nachiar Kovil temple, in Tamil Nadu.

When the stone Garuda here is carried out of the temple, initially four men are enough to carry it. But as the Garuda moves out, it becomes too heavy for four men, and eight men are needed to carry it. A little further, and 16 men are needed, and then 32 men, and then 64, until finally 128 men are required to carry the stone Garuda. But when Garuda returns to his place in the temple, he miraculously gets lighter, so that just four men are finally needed to carry him.

Thus, Garuda shows here that he has the powers of both garima and laghima. In other words, he can make himself heavy or light as he wishes.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 7:58:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/powerful-garuda/article22451113.ece

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