Monday, December 30, 2013

15. Garuda forced into Slavery

Garuda returned to be near his mother Vinata who was suffering the pains of slavery.. Once, Kadru asked Vinata to carry her to a remote place in the midst of the ocean inhabited by the Nagas. The mother of the bird of fair feathers carried the mother of the snakes on her shoulders. Garuda also carried the snakes on his back, as directed by his mother.

Carrying the snakes on his back, Garuda began to ascend towards the Sun. The snakes, scorched by the rays of the Sun, swooned. Seeing the plight of her sons, Kadru prayed to Indra, the Chief of the Devas, to protect her sons by causing showers to fall on them.

Indra answered her prayers by causing the clouds to cover the sky above the snakes and then to come down on the earth as heavy downpour. The earth was flooded by the torrent of rain and the rain waters reached even the Netherlands. The snakes were delighted by the rain. They, along with their mother, eventually reached the island called Ramaniyaka.

This island had a pleasant appearance with bountiful tress bearing fragrant flowers full of honey. The snakes enjoyed themselves for sometime. Then they commanded Garuda to carry them to some other island that had pure water (since the water in this island was salty). Garuda having been on the air often should have flown through some such places, they reasoned.

 Garuda asked his mother why he should do what the snakes ordered him to. Vinata told him about the wager that led to her becoming a slave to Kadru. Garuda, grieved at learning this, asked the snakes what he should do to free his mother from slavery. The snakes asked him to bring them Amrita (the divine elixir that would grant immortality to anyone who drinks it, the substance that caused the Deva-Asura war), getting it by force. They promised to free him and his mother, if he did that.

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