Garuda Thai amulet
The story of Garuda from Hindu Myths
Kasayapa or Northern Polar Star is a powerful old sage who has two wives. These two are sisters, Vinata and Kadru by name. Kadru received the wish from her husband that she should have a large number of children, and gave birth to one thousand Naga Serpents (Snake like Dragons). The Nagas choose the underworld, under the ocean bottom as their home.
Vinata requested from her husband that she should have only two sons, but each son being supremely powerful than the Naga children of Kadru. Her wish was granted and she laid two eggs. Five hundred years passed but the eggs show no sign of change. Being impatient, Vinata broke one of the eggs to find out what was inside.
Inside the broken egg was a boy with upper part of his torso and hands fully developed but has no limbs. Being supremely powerful from the birth, he rose to the sky and found out that his deformity was the cause of his mother, he was so angry. Thus he uttered a curse that Vinata should become a slave for five hundred years. Then he rose high up to the sky to the direction of the Sun. Suriya, the Sun God took pity of the deformed boy and given the position as his charioteer. The boy was later known as Arun or the dawn. Thus the dawn has immensely great upper portion but no lower portion.
The curse of Arun over Vinata came to pass. At the time of churning of ocean to recover the lost treasure during the universal deluge, a powerful horse was produced from the ocean dept to be ridden by the Sun God Suriya. The two sisters guessed the color of the horse.
Vinata predicted that the horse of the sacred mission should be pure white. Kadru said it should be grayish or black. Their talk turned into quarrel and finally laid a wager by which the looser should be the slave to the winner for a period of five hundred years.
The sacred horse was pure white by birth. However, Kadru ordered her children the thousand Nagas to stick to the horse?s hair to look grayish. Arun, the charioteer of the Sun god knew the truth but biased to his aunt by glooming the sky to twist the vision. The innocent Vinata lost the wager and became her sister’s slave for Five Hundred years. She was kept in custody in the underworld of Nagas’ population underneath the sea.
Another five hundred years passed and the second egg broke and out came Garuda. His golden body shone so bright and his body so big that his head reach heaven. Many gods and divine rush to witness his birth and was told that he is one of the incarnations of Agni, the god of Fire.
Upon his birth Garuda looked for his mother. Being informed that his mother was kept as a slave in the underworld of Nagas, he negotiated with the Nagas for her freedom. Nagas agreed to set Vinata free on the condition that Garuda bring them the Pot of Amrita (the elixir of immortality) from the Moon, which is closely guarded by the supreme divines.
He flew up to the sky and reached to the Moon. He seized the Pot of Amrita, hold it in his right hand and started his journey back to free his mother. An army of gods who guarded the Pot of Amrita, led by the Great fighter God Lord Indra, immediately pursued him.
A fight broke out in which Garuda defeated every one. Lord Indra was so furious and threw his most powerful weapon VIJIRA the Thunderbolt to Garuda. At the impact, the mighty VIJIRA Thunderbolt was broken into pieces but Garuda was unhurt. However to show his respect to Lord Indra, he let one of his golden feather be dropped to the feet of Lord Indra.
As the Thunderbolt was broken, Lord Indra was stunned and had to sermon the ultimate Divine God Vishnu, the god of universe. As Vishnu knew that as a divine right by birth, Garuda cannot be defeated. So he came to terms with him. He asked Garuda whether he had had a drink of the elixir of immortality. Garuda replied that he came for the selfless mission to free his mother and he did not drink it. Being impressed by his honesty and bravery, Vishnu gives him the position as his carrier or vehicle. Since then Vishnu rides upon Garuda. When divines of the universe goes for the war against evils Garuda as the flag of Vishnu, sits on his Flagpole.
When war God Lord Indra saw the fallen feather of exquisite beauty, he was impressed by Garuda’s power and find out why he is Thunderbolt proofed. Garuda replied that the selfless love for his mother allows for ultimate protection. Thus with the consent of Vishnu, Lord Indra agreed to let Garuda bring the Pot of Amrita to the Nagas and he would bring back the Pot of Amrita elixir by himself. Lord Indra hid behind the wings of Garuda and went to the underworld of Nagas with him.
As Garuda reached back to the underworld of Nagas, he talked to the assembly of Nagas that he had accomplished his mission and brought back the Pot of Amrita. It was agreed that after they release Vinata to him he would leave the pot on sacred ground strewn with Kusa Grass.
Garuda took his mother in his arm and leave the Pot of Amrita on the Kusa Grass. They flew away from the Naga world. Then Lord Indra appeared, took away the Pot of Amrita and instantly vanished into the sky.
To show his gratitude, Lord Indra turned the fallen feather of Garuda into a female garuda and presented to his friend. Garuda made her his queen. Lord Indra also allowed that Naga serpents be the natural food for Garuda.
As per the grant of Lord Indra, Garuda flew everyday to the Naga world to snatch his meals. Hunting for the Nagas went on, causing fear, commotion, injuries and loss of life for many Nagas. To avoid a great havoc each time he hunts for his meal, the King of Naga finally agreed to sent a full grown Naga each day on a slab of stone at the sea shore for his meal, where Garuda could come and eat it without anymore hunting.
One day it was the turn of a young Naga, the only son of a beautiful Naga Princess. She came up along with him to the seashore, refused to turn back and insisting to sacrifice herself in order to save her beloved son.
When Garuda reach to the stone slab at the seashore, he saw the Naga mother and son weeping and fighting to sacrifice their lives for each other. The virtue of a mother’s love touched his warm heart and he agreed to let the mother and son be free. Finally as he found out that the Naga Princess is his own cousin sister, he made her his queen. To show his great love to the Naga Princess, Garuda stopped eating Nagas, and peace prevailed once more.
One can see some of Garuda’s images with a lovely Naga Princess around his neck, whilst other Nagas he took for food are gripped by his hands or by his powerful foots.
One story of Garuda was also told that, once Garuda assumed the form of the young man and went to play dice with the King of Varanasi (now Panta in India), the King’s beautiful Queen eloped with him. He kept the Queen at his abode in Suvarnabhumi, a land supposed to be in the Mountains of Malay Peninsula.
Due to his great heart, exquisite beauty and supreme power, all his queens adore him immensely and Garuda lived a peaceful harmonious life with his three queens happily ever after in his abode in Suvarnabhumi, where the high mountains meet the wide deep sea. It was told that all his queens never practice jealousy out of great respect towards him.
It is believed by the Hindu men that citing the word “GARUDA” every night before one goes to sleep could give great powers for sex and also harm proof against snake bites and gun fire.
In addition to the above Hindu Myth, which is well believed in South East Asian countries, in Thailand Garuda has the specific of the servant to the King. As it is believed that the Thai Kings are the later incarnations of Lord Vishnu, Garuda as the vehicle of Lord Vishnu indicates the emblem of the Royal Thai Government, the royal servant of the King. One can see the emblem of Garuda in every institutions and buildings that belong to the Government or the King.
Thai population, especially the Government servants adoringly keep the Garuda images as the most powerful and sacred Amulets.