Why do people worship Garuda

Garuda Purana

The Garuda Purana, a Vaishnava Purana, is a sacred Hindu text contained in the Smritis (part of the Vedas). As in the other Puranas, the Garuda Purana deals with topics such as creation, world ages, genealogy of the solar and lunar dynasties, the worship of Vishnu, description of Vishnu rituals and the Vishnu feast days and also the worship of other deities such as Shiva , Durga, Surya and Ganesha.

Vishnu rides Garuda; Painting by Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906)

The first part of Garuda Purana is a dialogue between Vishnu and Garuda, the king of the birds. The second part of Garuda Purana contains details about the afterlife, burial rituals, and the metaphysics of reincarnation, and as such it is recited as part of Antyesti (Antim Sanskar) or Hindu burial rituals. In the Padma Purana, Garuda Purana is classified as a Sattva Purana, a Purana that represents purity and goodness. In Garuda Purana, the number 14 always plays an important role. Garuda Purana speaks of 14 manus, of 14 generations of ancestors, of 14 years of exile for Rama and Sita, as well as of 14 worlds - and of 14 types of precious stones.

Content by Garuda Purana

In the Garuda Purana, Vishnu gives instructions to his mount, the eagle Garuda. These deal with astronomy, cosmography (description of the world), medicine, the art of palm reading, grammar and other things such as B. Gemstones. The Garuda Purana is considered to be the authoritative Vedic source describing the ancient Indian teaching on precious stones. Chapters 68-80 contain information about the 14 most important gemstones, namely ruby, pearl, yellow sapphire, hessonite, emerald, diamond, cat's eye, blue sapphire, coral, garnet, jade, colorless quartz, heliotrope and one more. In chapter 69, the chapter on pearls, the speaker, Suta Goswami, describes 7 types of pearls other than oyster pearls. These are pearls of mussels (shankh-moti), boar head (varaha-moti), elephant head (gaja-moti), cobra head (naga-moti or nagamani), bamboo trunks (venu-moti), fish heads (matsya-moti) and from the sky and the clouds (akash-moti or megh-moti).

Structure of Garuda Purana

The Garuda Purana consists of 19,000 verses (shlokas), making it a medium-sized Purana. Skanda Purana e.g. B. consists of 81,000 shlokas and Markandeya Purana has only 9,000 shlokas. The Garuda Purana is divided into 2 parts: purva khanda (first part) with 234 chapters (adhyaya) and uttara khanda (following part) with 45 chapters. This second chapter deals with the afterlife and is generally recited by Hindus during the cremation of the dead. Uttara Khanda is very extensive and is organized very unsystematically. It deals with everything to do with death, the dead and what comes after death. There is the concept here of the fate of the soul after death; Karma, rebirth and liberation from the cycle of rebirth; of desire as the cause of samskara; of the harbingers of death, of the way into the realm of the dead; the fate of the Pretas who send dire premonitions and dreams; the agony of hell. In between there are rules about the rituals to be carried out when death approaches, the treatment of a dying person and their body, burial rituals, ancestor worship and the special burial offerings when a widow and her husband are burned at the stake (note. of the translator: this custom is banned in India today). There are also occasional legends that recall the Petavatthu Buddhist scriptures, which deal with the appearance of pretas, which tell the reason for their miserable existence. Of the Mahatmyas (literary genre for the praise of a deity) who are part of the Garuda Purana, the Gaya Mahatmya deserves special mention. It especially praises the pilgrimage site of Gaya, where one can earn special merits through intense faith.

Suta, Romaharshana and other saints in Garuda Purana

Here is one of the main stories in Garuda Purana: Suta was an educated sage. He was well versed in the Puranas and Shastras and was a Vishnu devotee.

Vedavyasa taught the Puranas to one of his disciples. This disciple was called Romaharshana or Lomaharshana. He was so named because his hair (roma) stood on end (harshana) and he got goose bumps when he heard his teacher recite the Puranas. It was Romaharshana who passed the Puranas on to everyone else. In the Bhagavata Purana it is mentioned that Romaharshana had a son named Suta and that this son passed the Puranas on to the other sages. On the other hand, Romaharshana belonged to the Suta class, so that he could possibly also be called "Suta". If you read the Garuda Purana, however, you get the impression that Romaharshana is personally telling the stories and not his son. Anyway, to get back to history, Romaharshana came to a forest known as Naimisharanya. He sat down there and pondered the mysteries of Vishnu.

Some other rishis (wise men), led by Shounaka, also came into the forest and they said to Romaharshana, “You wise one, you know everything. Who is the god of all gods? Who should one worship? What should one meditate on? Who destroys evil? How was the world created? What are Righteousness, Ethics, and Morals? Talk to us about these things and more! ”“ I will gladly do that, ”replied Romaharshana. “I will recite the Garuda Purana for you. Many years ago it was told personally by the great bird Garuda to sage Kashyapa. I learned it from my teacher Vedavyasa. But first let me list the 22 avatars of Vishnu !! ”(Translator's note: there are major and minor avatars. It is common to list the 10 main incarnations. These are Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narashimha, Vamana, Parashurama, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki, the future avatar who is yet to come.)

The 22 avatars of Vishnu

Vishnu and 10 of his 22 incarnations
  1. The first incarnation was that of a boy. In this form Vishnu assumed celibacy (brahmacharya) and performed difficult tapas.
  2. In the second incarnation he was a boar (varaha). In this form Vishnu saved the world from the underworld.
  3. As a great sage (devarishi) Vishnu appeared in his third incarnation and spread the knowledge of various texts (tantras).
  4. In the fourth incarnation he appeared as two sages named Nara-Narayana.
  5. The great sage Kapila was Vishnu's fifth incarnation. Kapila taught his student the wonderful philosophy of Samkhya Yoga.
  6. The sixth incarnation was that of sage Dattatreya, son of Atri and Anasuya.
  7. In the seventh incarnation, Vishnu is born as the son of Ruchi and Akuti and makes many sacrifices (yajnas).
  8. As the son of Nabhi and Meru, Vishnu is born as Urukrama in the eighth incarnation. He taught a righteous way of life.
  9. In the ninth incarnation, Vishnu was King Prithu and brought seeds and herbs to earth.
  10. In the tenth incarnation, Vishnu was the fish Matsya. He saved Vaivasvata Manu from the great flood.
  11. In this incarnation, Vishnu takes the form of a tortoise (Kurma). In this way he could help the gods and demons whisk the ocean of milk.
  12. As Dhanvantari, Vishnu appeared in the 12th incarnation. Dhanvantari was the doctor of the gods and originator of medicine and founder of Ayurveda.
  13. In the thirteenth incarnation, Vishnu was a giant and revealed his cosmic form to the rishis of ancient times.
  14. As Narashimha, a being half lion, half human, Vishnu appeared in this incarnation to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu.
  15. In the fifteenth incarnation Vishnu was experienced as a dwarf (Vamana) in order to outsmart the demon king Bali and to recapture the sky for the gods.
  16. In this incarnation, Vishnu appears as Parashurama (Rama with the ax) to kill all the cunning warriors.
  17. In this incarnation Vishnu comes as Vedavyasa, the son of Parashara and Satyavati, and creates a transcript of the Vedas.
  18. Vishnu's eighteenth incarnation is the sage Narada.
  19. In the nineteenth incarnation, Vishnu appears as Rama. The previous Parashurama was an ardh-avatara (half incarnation), Rama is purna-manav avatara (full incarnation).
  20. In this incarnation, Vishnu appears as Krishna.
  21. That incarnation is Buddha.
  22. This incarnation is yet to come. Vishnu will appear as a Kalki Avatar to destroy evil and restore righteousness.

Description of the Purana

The description given to the Garuda Purana reads: "This Purana was recited by Vishnu in the Garuda Kalpa. This passage mainly dealt with the birth of Garuda by Vinata. It consists of 19,000 stanzas and is called Garuda Purana." The works bearing this name, which have been reviewed by Wilson, do not in any way match the description given. Wilson doubts whether such a Purana actually exists.

See also

Web links


  • Dowson, John: A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion - Geography, History and Religion; D.K. Printworld Ltd., New Delhi, India, 2005.
  • Hunzermeyer, Wilfried: The yoga lexicon ISBN 978-3-931172-28-2, Edition Sawitri
  • Mittwede, Martin: Sanskrit-German spiritual dictionary, ISBN 978-3-932957-02-4, Sathya Sai Association e.V.


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Classical writings of yoga: Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis, Puranas and Itihasas

Sukadev on Bhagavata Purana