Sunday, December 29, 2013

14. Aruna and Garuda- Two Great Brothers

The next morning, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, went out to view the divine horse Uchchaisravas from a close point.

In the meanwhile, the Nagas (serpents), after discussing among themselves, had decided to do what their mother wanted them to, hoping that she would free them from her curse. They also feared that they would lose her affection completely if she lost the wager. They made the horse's tail look black by becoming hairs in the horse's tail.

The two sisters reached the abode of the horse after crossing the ocean. They observed that the horse had a white body and a black tail as a result of the black hairs on the tail. In terms of the wager, Kadru put Vinata  into slavery.

This happened before the birth of Garuda. Thus the curse of Aruna on his mother Vinata came true.

Then Garuda was born when the time came, bursting out from the egg. Soon after his birth, he  grew in size and ascended the skies. Suffering from the fangs of hunger, Garuda looked fierce and his roaring made him appear terrible. He looked like an ocean fire.  The Devas were terrified of him and sought the protection of Agni, the God of Fire.

Agni said, “He is Garuda. He is equal to me in strength  and splendour. He is the mighty son of Kasyapa and is born to make Vinata happy. He is the destroyer of the Nagas, a foe of the Asuras and a well-wisher of the Devas. So there is no need for you to fear him. Come with me and look at him from close quarters.”

The Devas then praised Garuda acknowledging his greatness and appealed to him to decrease his body size and splendor since his mighty stature and roar were making many creatures panic. Garuda accordingly diminished his size and splendor. He then carried his elder brother Aruna on his back and went to his mother’s place.

In the meanwhile Surya, the Sun God who was sought to be swallowed by Rahu during the Solar eclipse became angry that he had to bear the brunt of Rahu’s anger though he had acted only in the interest of all the Devas and for the well being of the world. He was sore that the world was watching passively when he was being devoured by Rahu. So he decided to destroy the world using his rays. He went to the mountains of the West and began to radiate his heat towards the world.

The sages who were surprised by the intensity of heat at midnight went to Brahma, the Creator and expressed their anguish and consternation. Brahma told them of Sun’s resolve to destroy the world. As soon as the Sun rose in the East, the world would be burnt to ashes, he said. But he assured the sages that he had already provided a remedy to the problem by making Aruna, the elder son of Kashyapa the Sun’s charioteer. Aruna would absorb all the Sun's heat and save the world from destruction, he said.

Aruna, at the behest of Brahma, did all that he was ordered to do. And Surya (the Sun God) rose, veiled by Aruna's person.

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